Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thrifty Chick

I admit, I can sometimes let money slip through my fingers (hey, it’s mostly on good food- I do have a family to feed), but I still love a good bargain. Some people turn their noses up at thrift shops but I love them. There’s a great one in my city and I seem to find myself there at least twice a month. It’s amazing what I can leave there with, but even better, what I don’t have to leave with-guilt!

As I write, I’m listening to the LP Plastic Ono Band and to my hero singing “Love is you, you and me, love is knowing we can be”. A beautiful record and a collector’s item, and it didn’t cost me 60 euros, but three. That’s not all though. This is THE place to get my fix when it comes to cookbooks, art books and unique pieces of literature. If you see my bookcases at home, you’ll see what I mean. Among my more pricey books, you’ll find original books from as far back as the 19th century. These are the ones I love most because for some reason, I can feel the history at my fingertips. I have reprints from classical pieces of Dutch literature, like my all-time favorite, Gysbreght van Aemstel . They are so beautiful and I can truly enjoy this type of book so much more than a modern day copy.

I’ve stunned more than one professor with my thrift shop finds. Two years ago I had to write a paper and I must’ve walked around for what seemed like ages, desperately looking for a brilliant subject. The weekend before we had to present our topics to our work group I decided to stop by this thrift shop and came across a little old book with excerpts of Dutch literature and there I read about a writer who I’d never heard of, Johannes Kneppelhout. I was thrilled to see that he was not just any writer, but that he had been a student at my university in the 19th century. He wrote some very interesting and at the time controversial pieces of literature. I researched his Studententypen (1839-41) and Studentenleven (1839-44) which he wrote under the pseudonym, Klikspaan (this basically translates to “tattletale”). In these works, Kneppelhout scrutinizes everyone and everything at the university but what I found so fascinating was not that he was so unknown among my co-students but that he didn’t write these books to stir up trouble but actually believed these works had a purpose. They were meant to warn students and keep them on the right path. Needless to say, his co-students at the time thought differently. Anyhow, I found him fascinating, had never heard of him and that one little trip to the thrift store got me a brilliant subject which in turn got me a grade of a 9.5 and huge compliments from my professor. A year later I was preparing a speech on the Dutch romantic writer, Willem Kloos and came across an original copy from 1835 of his very own magazine De Nieuwe Gids. I could barely contain myself and could not wait to let everyone see this baby!

Today’s finds weren’t as spectacular, but they were pretty good:

-Plastic Ono Band
-Cuisine Actuelle
-Lekker Vegetarisch (Delicious Vegetarian)
-Koken op z’n Spaans (Spanish-Style Cooking)
-Gucci, mode-poepjes en de juiste bone-structure (Gucci, Fashion Farts (!) and the Right Bone Structure) … I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this one just as much all that intellectual reading!)
-Seeing Through Clothes. Fashioning Ourselves. An Intriguing New Look at Image-Making (a history of changing images through fashion. Pretty cool.)
-Rembrandt. Leven tussen licht en donker (Rembrandt. Living between Light and Darkness)

Nice that I have some time on my hands, no?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

That is SO cool!!! I love thrift stores and used to wear a lot of vintage clothing. Your books look very interesting! Terry took us to an awesome shop in Aix -- I only regretted I didn't have a container to ship back a crocodile water fountain.