You might know this already, but I am a big fan of Miroslav Sasek’s This Is series. Despite my enthusiasm, I have a slow-but-steady (and cheap) means of grabbing them up: wait until they are within $5-$10, depending upon how hard they have been to find, and purchase one a month. Usually I find them on the Amazon marketplace, though sometimes half.com comes through for me, too.
My latest acquisitions were This is Paris and This is Venice. The trouble is, they never arrived at my apartment here in Boston. Because I was so excited to find them for $3 each, I rushed to buy both before someone else did. After all, we are talking about some of the finest collectible art I can actually afford.
Yes, I did just admit that my price ceiling on fine art is $10. Christie's, here I come.
You know that phrase "haste makes waste?" Well, it’s true. The reason they never arrived was because I accidentally sent them to my parents’ house. Doopy. Having never in their lives ordered illustrated travel books from the 1960s (not even in the 60s), they were understandably shocked to find them. The fortunate turn to all of this is that the mistake gave my parents a great idea for a Christmas gift. Thanks to them, I now have This is Hong Kong and This is Israel, two of the harder-to-find books in the series.
What’s the point of writing about this? I suppose it's the unceasing realization that I admire Mr. Sasek’s work, and though I am not of his caliber, I really want to be. His books are like a reoccurring dream that I rarely ever want to leave. He, like Will Eisner, captures city life in a way that is truthful, inspiring, and colorful. Compared with Eisner's penchant for capturing the characters in a city, Mr. Sasek illustrates the character of the city. In every book Mr. Sasek puts the city’s best foot forward, creating a fun and imaginative way to experience armchair travel.
Can you imagine having a book series that invites you to travel the world, drawing everything you see? To me, it sounds like the ultimate dream job, something worth working towards. In fact, I would love to read a biography of Mr. Sasek to find out how he did it!
In the meantime, maybe I can steer the blog in a pseudo-This is Boston direction of my own. It is the start of a new year, after all.