i spent the afternoon at ye olde charity bookstore cafe brodarting donated rare books—that is, sandwiching their dust jackets between trimmed clear plastic and acid-free paper as libraries do. it's even more satisfying than heat sealing, a process my borders coworkers and i loved so much c. 1999 that we shrink-wrapped a guy's head (he was into it; summer jobs, i salute you). i brodart thanks to V, a beautiful german arts journalist who walked me through the craftiness on one of our shifts in december. she's waiting to hear if she's been selected as a finalist in a memoir competition; her manuscript, now in the semifinals, is about her time as the owner of a cinema in the british virgin islands. as we worked our way down our stack today, i showed her a fancy second edition of gabriel garcía márquez stories. V went to mexico to interview him in the '80s, she said; "it was right after he won the nobel prize and he decided he wasn't in the mood to be interviewed after all. at the last minute, he said fine, he would speak to me, but only in french." not a problem; V speaks french. afterward he drew a flower for her in the copy of one hundred years of solitude she'd brought along: una flor por V. an hour later i started working on a joyce carol oates book with an outlandishly foxy, '60s-era ponytailed author photo: "joyce! who knew?" V interviewed her, too, at home beside her giant white piano. V worked for an art and architecture magazine and would spend three weeks at the chateau marmont developing story ideas and collecting polaroids of los angeles for her editors. she has yet to see juergen teller's photo of joan didion in giant céline sunglasses. "my friends and i worry about her when things like superstorm sandy happen," i said. "what if she just blew away?"