|The way my copy looked before I removed the price sticker|
The first is/was a perfect copy of Zadie Smith's 2012 novel, NW, that I've wanted to read for a long time ago. "NW" is a postal code in London, and when I lived there my code was "TW." I came to understand how different the areas within those code boundaries can be even if they are very close together. Anyway...I've been curious about the book for a long time, so it was nice to find a first edition hard copy for just six bucks (especially in the condition it was in when I left the store with it).
The second book is a new one to me: also from 2012 it is called Basic: Surviving Boot Camp and Basic Training and it was co-authored by Colonel Jack Jacobs and David Fisher. I grew a little nostalgic flipping through the book as it began to remind me of things I had forgotten about my own basic training in 1968 at the Army's Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Had to have it.
My first surprise (the good one) was that the new bags I posted about earlier this week are already in the bookstores. When the cashier placed my purchases in one of the new bags, I learned something I didn't know about them; they feature two different books, not one. Mine has a portion of the first page of Tom Sawyer and an illustration of Tom smoking his pipe on one side, and a selection from the first page of Moby Dick with an illustration of the whale sinking beneath the ocean's surface on the other side. They really are pretty cool.
My second surprise (the bad and ugly one) occurred when I got home and tried to remove the price sticker from the Zadie Smith book. Why don't bookstore clerks realize that not all dust jackets are made from the same material? The price sticker that will easily pull off a slick cover will damage a cover made of rougher (and more fragile) paper. That's what happened to me. Suddenly my Zadie Smith dust jacket turned from a pristine one into an embarrassment. Now I'm ticked. The "TH" of Smith's name was once dark, dark black on a snow-white background. Now it's got little white dots on the bases of those two letters and the white background is smudged black. Just shoot me now, B&N. It would be quicker than this kind of slow torture.