Google “Baltimore used bookstore” and click “I’m feeling lucky.” You will be. The first hit is Normal’s Books & Records, one of the best used shops I’ve ever been to. It isn’t just the selection that makes it great, though it’s clear that Rupert Wondolowski, who runs the buying there, knows great literature beyond the classics. It isn’t just the personality of the store, even though there are plenty of funny signs and doodads around to keep your friends interested while you spend an hour searching for some lost dub record. What I like best about Normal’s is: dang, they are invested in the local arts scene. Aside from stocking all the amazing books, music, zines etc. that get put out around town, the collective hosts weekly shows at the Red Room, which is attached to the store, Rupert runs an always-interesting reading/performance series called “Shattered Wig Night” and he also puts out an old-school tape-up journal called The Shattered Wig Review. Oh yeah, and he wrote a pretty dynamite book called The Origin of Paranoia as a Heated Mole Suit (Publishing Genius 2008). Interview about bookselling after the break. READ MORE >
I have read The Origin of Paranoia as a Heated Mole Suit by Rupert Wondolowski. It is as good as the title would mandate being to warrant having such a bad ass title on the cover. The poems here are amazing and weird and funny, and for $9 you can’t really ask for much more. Get this quick.
If you don’t believe me just by believing, here is the first part of one of the poems in the book:
I wake up screaming.
I scream scratching the dog’s belly in bed,
scream seeing the third pillow has fallen to the dusty floor.
I scream during breakfast, wet bananas on lips.
Shaving, I scream. I scream cleaning up the bloody mess.
Scream when the neighbors pound, when the police
I scream on the walk to work, yard ladies gyrate
Arabbers hurl eggplant torpedos at me, their horses stomp, dogs bark.
I scream the news grotesque,
football game shooting in Anchorage,
Middle East imploding.
I scream under Manhattan like undigested pork.
The previous day, screaming, I crossed
a small lake in the countryside on a rowboat.
Screaming, I ate a picnic lunch, ants
forming a moustache above my screamhole.
I scream quietly during a polo-shirted
golf match, a drink umbrella catching
on my sore uvula.
The rest of the book is as fun and new as that. Adam at PGP just keeps poppin bottles. Check ‘er out.
Publishing Genius Press