Prohibitively Expensive Books

prohibitively expensive – something which costs so much it would prevent most people from being able to do or purchase it.

We are well aware of how prohibitively expensive formal education, high quality marijuana, automobile-dependency, and living indoors is, but have you ever, out of pure curiosity, done a spontaneous search for a book you are hoping exists, and then, when you start to zero in on what that book might be, you discover the price is “prohibitively expensive” – as in, you could never justify the purchase?

[Who are you talking to, Mike?]

[ – It’s called writing, if you don’t mind. I’m “talking” to an imagined audience. It’s how I amuse myself. – ]

Anyway, so there are these areas of interest we may be drawn to, and the texts associated with these interests are extraordinarily high-priced … and the public libraries can’t get them either. You want an example?

Suppose you are obsessed with BLACK HUMOR, i.e., DARK SATIRE, dark comedy … You want to not just read or view examples of it, you want to explore it. This is just one example. We each have our own peculiar obsessions and idiosyncrasies. There is a text called American Dark Comedy: Beyond Satire by Wes D. Gehring. List price: $223; lowest price used: $97.


From Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Gehring presents a compelling theory of the black comedy film genre. Placing the movies he discusses in a historical and literary context, Gehring explores the genre’s obsession with death and the characters’ failure to be shocked by it. Movies discussed include: Slaughterhouse Five, Catch-22, Clockwork Orange, Harold and Maude, Heathers, and Natural Born Killers.

Notice that most of the films listed above were novels first.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner sells for $177.84 at You might get lucky following this link.

I think you might get a better bang for your buck checking out Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s mad scribblings or even John Kennedy Toole’s masterpiece comedy that wasn’t even published until 12 years after his suicide. They might even be at your public fucking library. Maybe you can get them for a few bucks on Amazon DOT COM.

Another thing you might try, when you feel frustrated with not being able to purchase the literature you think you want, wondering if it even exists, is to get yourself a fresh composition notebook and about five decent pens. Just start writing what you think you would like to read. If you dig the kind of stuff Dostoevsky was scribbling in Notes From Underground, then start off like that, just writing about your own anxiety and frustration. Complain to the Abyss. Scream into the Void.


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