R. Alan Lewis, President
Ground Zero Books, Ltd.
October–how did the root of some words for ‘Eight” become the ‘Tenth” month? Blame it on the Italians?!! October is the tenth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, and one of seven months with a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October, retained its name (from the Latin “octo” meaning “eight”) after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the Romans. So, if they had put January and February at the end of the year, we would not have this conundrum or paradox.
So, the Romans doctored their calendar, as well as going a long way to create the medical arts and sciences. I am pretty sure that sacrificing roosters to the gods to address a medical condition falls into the “arts” category. On the science side, war has been an accelerating influence in the development and implementation of a range of medical improvements, from air evacuation to synthetic blood products. Not every development has been in vein.
We are now entering the month of October. The end is nearer–end of the year, of course. It is time for some to take stock. To help this process, we encourage you to take some of our stock–books, monographs, ephemera, pamphlets, government documents, technical reports, and even some odd-ball items that defy conventional description. We have not figured out yet how to catalogue it, but we have a Japanese ten cigarette pack that we were advised dates from the Second World War (offers welcome). We also have several items in Farsi (including one signed) which we are investigating (scans available upon request).
Since our last column, we have continued to add items to our holdings in essentially all areas. We have a large amount of material awaiting cataloguing, including many signed items, entertainment related, memoirs, holocaust-related, political, and military campaigns and training. Many of these items have been put online in response to your requests that we add items on specific topics, themes, and authors. Perhaps I gression? Gression–why whatever do you mean? Actually it is a seldom used word meaning to walk backward. But I digress, but hopefully do not regress so as to evoke an aggressive response from you our dear clients.
The point is, with over 50,000 items on line and more than that awaiting cataloguing, we serve you, as we have tried to do for nearly 40 years. We replace thousands of sold items with “restocks” and comparable items (putting online an inscribed item back-filling one that has sold, but clearly inscribed to a different person). We seek to keep up with new publications, but generally wait for such items to go out of print unless they are signed or otherwise distinguish themselves. We continue to delve into the recesses of our holding areas for 19th and early 20th century items that are no longer common in the marketplace. Unlike many of our colleagues, we will catalogue single issues of magazines (such as two issues from the early 1900s of The Outlook for which Theodore Roosevelt was a Contributing Editor), pamphlets, and ephemera.
We thank you, once again, for your wants–whether single items or lists, research projects, column suggestions, expansions and elaborations of our annotations (and occasional corrections), and of course purchases. We continue to offer, upon request, a ten per cent discount for all purchases made directly from us–through our website, by phone, by e-mail, by regular mail, and even by telepathy (if verified by PayPal).
We hope you have a wonderful October, with or without paradoxes.