Book Giveaway Part Two – Antiques Carry On and More

May 25th, 2021 by Max Allan Collins
Antiques Carry On cover
E-Book: Google Play Kobo

I have ten copies of Antiques Carry On by Barbara Allan (my wife Barb and me) to give away in exchange for reviews at Amazon (and elsewhere). These are beautiful hardcovers from our new publisher, Severn. Only about half the books on last week’s giveaway are gone, so this is Part Two.

[All copies have been claimed. Thank you for your support! — Nate]

Another important aspect of these giveaways that I sometimes fail to mention is that Amazon won’t publish a review until a book is available for purchase – until its publication date. And sometimes I am sending advance copies. So don’t try to post something, fail because of this Amazon loophole, and forget about your (don’t mean to sound scolding) obligation. As usual, that obligation becomes optional if you don’t like the book.

* * *

Barb and I ventured into the wild again – a day trip to Cedar Rapids (sixty miles from us) and Iowa City (a little more than half of that). We had a wonderful time, though it got rainy late in the afternoon, as we headed home.

We are simple souls. We listened to Dragnet radio shows in the car, to and fro, and had a nice Italian lunch at Biagi’s in CR. We shopped a little – separately – and wound up in Iowa City for more shopping, a modest amount, and had a pizza at Pagliai’s, probably our favorite pizza anywhere.

A delightful day, but the world is…different. Masks are still in evidence, and various Covid precautions, which is fine by us. We were the first patrons in the door at Biagi’s and it felt a bit like eating in a haunted house. But for some years, the older version of us has sought to eat early and go to movies at off-times, because we find our species better taken in small doses.

Barb, in her clothes shopping, found higher-end merchandise – which I quaintly refer to as designer clothes – in short supply. The amount of sweat pants on display indicates a lifestyle change during the pandemic. More startling were the bookstores, both Half-Price and especially Barnes & Noble, where things were laid out differently. Nothing negative about it – mostly bigger aisles and sometimes areas arranged in a square you entered to shop in – just different. At both Barnes & Noble and Best Buy, the decline of physical media was shockingly apparent. Best Buy’s Blu-rays and DVDs were perhaps a tenth of what they’d been pre-pandemic, areas partitioned off with nothing inside. Barnes & Noble’s music and movie section was a ghost town, perhaps a third empty bins and a dominance of the hipster LPs that have me scratching my head – I guess some people like clicks and pops.

Books and magazines seemed about the same at the CR Barnes & Noble, although rearranged and moved around, sometimes for Covid safety, with perhaps a dollop of having kept the staff occupied with busy work during the pandemic.

At any rate, the notion that we could blink away a year and a half and return to “normal” seems wishful thinking. This feels more like England after World War Two.

Another aspect of this new normal is that Barb and I watched, that evening, Army of the Dead, the new Zack Snyder movie that is in theaters and on Netflix. It’s exactly the kind of movie we’d have gone to see in the theater, pre-Covid. While I won’t review it, I will say we both liked it. I may discuss it in detail later on.

I mentioned Dragnet in passing, and one of these days I’ll go into that in depth, too. I will say the collection we’re listening to – “Get ‘Em” from Radio Spirits – is an outstanding one, including some of the earliest, toughest episodes (from 1949).

In the meantime, Matt Clemens and I have answered the proofreader queries on To Live and Spy in Berlin, which is now safely in the Wolfpack pipeline. And I am about to begin a novel based on an unproduced Mickey Spillane screenplay (non-Mike Hammer), also for Wolfpack.

So, with your permission, I’ll get to work.


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3 Responses to “Book Giveaway Part Two – Antiques Carry On and More”

  1. JohnJ says:

    Book stores reducing stock reminds me of my most recent trip into the Clinton library. At least half of the books have vanished from there. The walls that used to be covered with various reference books were taken up with books on cds. The only part that hadn’t changed that much were the rows of computers, still occupied by too many people playing video games for god only knows what reason.
    I donated a bunch of the Russ Cochran EC b&w volumes several years ago and I used to be able to see where they displayed them and see that they had obviously been borrowed. Now I’m afraid to go to their book sale section for fear of seeing them on sale. I’d be tempted to buy them back.

  2. Fred Blosser says:

    Barnes & Noble was the first to sweep DVD and Blu-ray off its racks about four years ago, and the others have followed since, Wal-Mart and Target too. The 4K shelves were fairly healthy for a while, but they’ve dwindled visibly too. Consumers have gotten tired of trying to keep up with new video technologies that make the last one obsolete. The rapacious streaming services couldn’t be happier. Al, your analogy to Post-WWII Britain is apt. I’d add Weimar Germany and the lead-up to Black Tuesday 1929 to the list too. Neither COVID nor Trump has finished with us.

  3. The Barnes & Nobles varied widely from store to store in the year or two before the pandemic. The Oak Brook (Chicago area) had a fantastic section of home video up till about two years ago. I was aware of the phase out or downsizing at B & N and also Best Buy in the Quad Cities and Cedar Rapids and had visited both within a few days of going into Covid lockdown. And the post-lockdown versions of both were radically different. Davenport B & N is sort of…okay; but the once proud Cedar Rapids is empty-bin city. Some of it is Covid aftermath, but the streaming services are sucking the life out of physical media (not much of an observation, I grant you).

    The saving grace are the botique Blu-ray/4K labels like Arrow, Severin, Scorpion, Vinegar Syndrome, Eureka, among others, who are bringing obscurities and cult classics to physical medium. Kino is issuing Blu-rays like a drunken metaphor, and it’s generally a great thing but there is some utter shit they are putting out there, too…about 25% of what I buy from them goes to Half Price Books, often without me making it through the damn disc. But God bless them all, anyway.