Oxfam book shops are great, even those in decline like the one in Lancaster is. And from Lancaster, over Easter weekend I picked up these two little pieces of chintzy, glittery, bejewelled gold. Unbelievably shitty and confused metaphor aside, what I should have simply said is 'I bought two nice books, and here they are':
PRETTY STORIES AND FUNNY PICTURES
By Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann
An edition from 1996, but looking older, this bizarre children's book was originally published in German in 1845. It was written by a doctor who was concerned that all the kids books available were a bit two shit for his precious three-year old so, what with being a doctor and having so much free time on his hands, he wrote and illustrated his own kids book. It is a sort-of pisstake of cautionary tales, morals and fables, and includes such classic stories as the one about the hare who nicks a hunters specs and boomstick, the little thumbsucker who gets his thumbs snipped off with a massive pair of scissors, and the creepy Shock-headed Peter of the book's title. There is also the obligatory racist story about a "woolly-headed black-a-moor" being teased by three little twats called Edward, William, and Arthur. A gigantic wizard-looking chap decides to punish the three tiny knob-heads by dipping them in a massive inkpot. ...yeah? ...?
SIGNS OF FAITH IN THE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SAM FENTRESS
Photographs spelling out quite plainly the nuttiness of religious America. Up and down the endless highways, blacktops and desert-tracks are scattered signs reading:
Repent! Confess your sins. God will abundantly pardon. Read 1 Jon 1:9
Justice of the peace Jesus | Righteous Judge Jesus
don't let phony Christians KEEP YOU FROM JESUS CHRIST matt. 7:15-29
CHRIST SEEN ALIVE! Over 500 reports by Eyewitnesses
SOLD OUT FOR CHRIST MINISTRY † BLOOD COVERED (JESUS)
GI E SAT N A INCH & HE'LL B E THE RULER
LA GLORIE DE LA FEMME HAIR STYLIST "JESUS IS LORD"
God forgive me. I have sined. Give me he BLOOD of JESUS. Iamsorry. Please send, the HOLY ghost. Amen
Dios -Es- Amor
REPENT JESUS IS COMING IMMEDIATELY!
YAHWEH ELOHIMGod plus one is always a majority.
My copy also has the added bonus of a handwritten dedication "To Roger & Sue, with thanks for a terrific architecture party! July 2009". For me this raises some questions. What on earth is an architecture party, and could it possibly be as dull as it sounds? What happened between Roger & Sue and the person who gave the gift of this book, which meant that after only a couple of years this book ended up in the charity shop? God knows.