Booking a Room with a View

Join me as I shuttle and shoulder through the worlds of literature, cinema, and the awards seasons attending both.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some time has passed since the initial post heralding the launch of Booking a Room with a View with Graham Swift's Last Orders -- and I thought it best to let the few readers I have, at this point, know the reasons behind it remaining unread in all these weeks.

I'm a sucker for the perfect cover, a reader with a hang-up on aesthetics, and have long coveted the British cover of Swift's novel. Having seen the Fred Schepisi film based on the book, the foam from a pint seems to me the perfect image. I once almost bought the novel while in England and have countless times come this close to ordering it online, but all editions featuring this cover are now out-of-print and so it fell to me to order what turned out to be a first edition from a rare book dealer in Chicago -- $25 with free shipping seemed a reasonable amount for a first edition hardcover in fine condition. Except that -- according to the book dealer -- it shipped almost five weeks ago and has yet to arrive in my mailbox. I've sent three e-mails inquiring after tracking data, none of which have brought a response. The first time I called, half a week after having no luck with the e-mails, the seller picked up the phone and knew what order I was asking about before I even had the sentence spoken (imparting to me the above shipping date and promising an e-mail with tracking details) -- a sure sign he has caller ID. All three or four further phone calls I went on to make (when the tracking e-mail never arrived) going unanswered and unreturned can, in all likelihood, be attributed to the caller ID. The last message I left on the seller's machine was a diplomatic demand that my $25 be refunded -- which it still hasn't.

So the reading of Last Orders is on hiatus until an edition is in my possession. Should no refund appear on my charge card statement, I'll be contacting the Better Business Bureau in Chicago about Printer's Row Fine & Rare Books.

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