Home > Uncategorized > The Joy of Dullness

The Joy of Dullness

Of late I have been assembling a collection of dull, curious or odd book covers. I wasn’t really getting anywhere until I hit the collection of fellow Anglian dealer Robin Summers , a man with a whim of iron and one of the major contributor’s to Brian Lake’s magisterial Bizarre Books. So here they are, the scholarly ones are actually of some value and one even sold while I was putting this together, so does not appear — a book on the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure entitled Not Saussure: A Critique of Post-Saussurean Literary Theory. With the paperback selling at £50 the joke became too costly to hold on to. The collection is devoted to dullness mixed with the curious and the odd which includes the oddly dull and the curiously odd. Here goes:

A bundle of laughs. The puff reads ‘ By contrasting Pound’s political values with those of Stein and Zukofsky, this study argues that these three different writers share a complex set of attitudes that are grounded in a collective social fantasy corresponding to the rise of mass consumption and the emergence of corporate social forms.’ Some jokers want £100 for this although the committed shopper can find it for £10.

A little light reading.

Part of a small but select number of works on the brassiere. Not dull, but curious (in the old biblio sense.)
Good Housekeeping’s family doctor has the answers.

Yes but do you have anything on extinct horse furniture in the Brussels area?

Useful book. Useful name.

Anything on consonants in the late Neo-Babylonian era?

I need this one badly. Actually an online search revels no copies – so £899?

One man’s quest.

Someone had to write it.

Sadly some of these are not as dull as could be hoped, and I feel bad about that. However some are just plain odd or at least intriguing. A few are from the Summers collection and two (the plane and the office ones) are from the monumental Awful Library Books site, which has 100s of examples, some mind alteringly dull and bland.

Something that has briefly crossed my mind on long haul flights in moments of near desperation.

Written in 1993. Dullish title but the author was a child prodigy.

The kind of book that makes me glad I don’t work in an office. The workers at the keyboard are a bizarre, slightly frightening image.

Very dull but probably quite saleable. The dental mason on the left looks like the kind of guy who prefers to work without anaesthetics.

Odd title– basically it refers to legal cases in a ‘nutshell.’ Blurb says ‘they include a number of features such as boxed “think points” to make them easy to use and retain the information. Nutcases are an essential revision aid…’ Probably not P.C. anymore.

About 1914. Beware of the flying piano.

Written in pidgin English and coming out of Southern Africa in the early 1950s. Hints include ‘moving as cleverly as a monkey’ when you see a nice girl, speaking like a ‘honey-tongued orator’ (or like a nightingale). Girls will pretend indifference ‘like a traffic police on duty..’ Early in the genre of books on how to pick up girls and now somewhat superseded.

No laughing matter here. V sign from Churchill, Tartan from Harrods.

Handbook used by the British aristocracy.

The book that launched Subway.

Potential bestseller.

Dull, sad with some bathos and pathos.

Part of a small body of books on potatoes and possibly not as dull as it looks.

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