Wasting time trying to buy ‘Elbowing the Seducer’

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I wasted two days trying to buy the out-of-print 1984 novel “Elbowing the Seducer” after reading about it on The New York Times website.

Times critic Dwight Garner wrote about the novel in his “American Beauties” column June 16 and this led me to an obsessive search of online stores because the book sounds intriguing and I would like to buy a copy to read this summer.

Garner hooked me with these two paragraphs:

The tangiest literary-world roman à clef to emerge from the ’80s — it is almost certainly the best of the past four decades — is “Elbowing the Seducer” (1984), the first novel from a writer named T. (for Trudy) Gertler.

It’s awful that this novel is out of print. It’s more awful that Gertler, who is still with us, has not written a second book. She has a high style, a feel for social comedy and a deadly eye for detail.

I enjoyed the column, which is “about undersung American books of the past 75 years,”  and I was on my way seeking a used copy of “Elbowing the Seducer” for under $10.

Hardback. Paperback. It didn’t matter to me as long as it was in good condition.

Right to Amazon

I looked at a lot of sites, Amazon being my go-to, but one seller there wanted $157.71 and $3.99 shipping for a used paperback in good condition. That sounded money-hungry.


Then I ran into two Amazon third-party sellers seeking ungodly amounts of money: $999 plus $3.95 shipping for a used “Elbowing the Seducer”  hardback copy in good condition and $2,360.10 plus $3.99 shipping for a used hardback in good condition.


Greedy guts!

You might say, “Why not go to the library in your town?” I did. “Elbowing the Seducer” was not in the library database. Instead, it was suggested I search for “Plumbing the Elmer” and “Skidding the Row.” That’s what the titles looked like to me. Maybe the type was fuzzy.

Maybe at eBay


Not long after that, I found four offers for under $10 from an eBay seller and I’ve included a screen shot of three of the offers.


I eliminated two offers after learning the condition of  both copies was merely acceptable. One didn’t have a dust jacket.


The best copies from this seller were a used paperback in good condition for $4.47 and free shipping and a used hardback in good condition for $7.64 and free shipping.


I was all set to use my PayPal on the paperback or the hardback until neither one showed up in my shopping cart. I couldn’t contact the seller so I talked to an eBay customer customer service rep, and after 45 minutes on the phone with him, he told me the seller probably had not updated their settings and that the copies probably had been sold.

If I am able to buy two good copies of “Elbowing the Seducer” somewhere else for under $10 each, one will be for me and the other I will give to you. You won’t even need a cart.

 

 

 

Beatles fans in their own write

By JOHN E. BIALAS

Going back to the biography Hunter Davies wrote in 1968, when I was 16 years old, I have at least 20 books about the Beatles.

Did I really need to read another one? Yes, I did.

The latest is In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs.”

The collection of essays is really a book of stories that are deep, meaningful and emotional.

A Beatles obsessive will go in with a lot of knowledge and will learn even more.

The stories are personal, familial, analytical and opinionated.

They offer fresh takes. There are twists and turns.

All of this makes me happy, just like a Beatles record makes me happy.

Baby and the basset

Tilly is our 4-year-old basset hound, and since her name is in the title of this blog, I’m required to have something related to Tilly to help me get clicks.

One of the ways I hope Tilly will get me clicks is the game I play on my Facebook page: Tilly or not Tilly?

On Facebook, I post a photo or video of a basset who looks like Tilly and ask, “Tilly or not Tilly?”

This blog’s first Tilly or not Tilly? is inspired by a video I saw on “Inside Edition” on Tuesday. Don’t ask me why I was watching “Inside Edition.” I will just tell you. I was stranded in the house until 5:30 p.m. because of rain from Tropical Storm Cindy.

You can see the video here. Tilly or not Tilly?

 

 

Pursuing my interests one post at a time

By JOHN E. BIALAS

Pictures of Tilly is the title of this new blog and the name is inspired by The Who song “Pictures of Lily” and our family’s 4-year-old basset hound, Matilda, better known as Tilly.

The blog will be about my many interests, Tilly being one of them. You can expect to see pictures of Tilly. I just might have one running with this post. The thing is that the blog will not be pet-centric.

I’ve got so many other things I want to write about: The Beatles, books, bootlegs, pizza, po-boys, gyros,  New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, Covington, Madisonville, Mandeville, sports, TV, movies, art and photography.

In recent years, I’ve written about my favorite food on my Give Pizza A Chance Facebook page and I’ve written about my favorite music on my Tripe Face Boogie Facebook page. Some of the posts on this blog will have the spirit of Give Pizza A Chance and Tripe Face Boogie.

And if I think of anything else I like, I will write about that, too. Oh, yeah. Maybe doughnuts.

For now, this is a work in progress, but I have the time and the patience to speed up the process.

This post was originally published Monday on a free WordPress site. It’s being reprinted with some rewrites after I paid for a Go Daddy-hosted WordPress site with all the SEO bells and whistles.

I have a lot of time for writing about my interests. I retired from the Sun Herald newspaper on March 3, 2017, after 45 years and now every day is a day off and every week is a week’s vacation.

My plan is never to take a day off from blogging.

What else might I write about this week?

  • “In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs,” a new anthology of essays
  • An exercise in futility: A failed pursuit to buy an intriguing out-of-print novel after reading about it on The New York Times website
  • My long-running debate with Sun Herald sportswriter James Jones about Paul McCartney vs. Phil Collins

After that, maybe doughnuts.