Library Note:
Broken Back
11 July 2018

As resolved (at the other blog), I took Jane Jacobs’s Cities and the Wealth of Nations down from the shelf and have been re-reading it. It’s better, more inciting, then ever. But perhaps, in being gripped by Jacobs’s “principles of economic life,” I grip the book too hard. More likely, it’s age. Whatever the cause, the book just split in two in my hands. 

I kept on with the reading, but I’m sure that pages are going to start falling out, so I’ve ordered a new copy.

Something similar happened with Frances Fitzgerald’s Fire in the Lake, when I re-read that a few years ago. The binding held, but the pages slipped away from the spine like so many autumn leaves. The thing is, I couldn’t bring myself to throw the book away, even after I replaced it. There’s something about the intense imperial yellow of the original that I can’t live without. 

But I don’t feel the same attachment to my old copy of Jacobs’s book, which was published in 1984. Why isn’t there a price on the back of the book? Although a Random House ISBN is given on the copyright page, I strongly suspect that the book was printed by QPBC — the late, once-great Quality Paperback Book Club. 

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