Sunday, March 04, 2007

Of Many Books

My book collection grew by 12 this weekend. And I've already run out of bookshelf space in this new apartment (even with the built-in bookcases that are on either side of the fireplace) so I'm not sure what I was thinking.

Oh, wait. I wasn't thinking.

Of anything but having more and more books, that is...

I actually trimmed down by taking a bunch of books I either 1) hated/was-ashamed-to-own or 2) knew I would never read (some books I buy just to see if they'll be good without knowing anything about them; usually doing this ends badly) to Aqua Books* on Friday. (Amazingly I even managed to get rid of my copy of The Celestine Prophecy! HA!)

After acquiring a nice little credit balance with which to buy books, I picked up the following:

from Aqua Books:
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Greenwitch (Book 3 in The Dark Is Rising sequence) by Susan Cooper
The Grey King (Book 4 in The Dark Is Rising sequence) by Susan Cooper
The Secret Island by Enid Blyton
Big Planet by Jack Vance*

I've had a copy of The Dark Is Rising - book 2 in the series - for years (I think Elliot gave it to Karina and I?) and I think I even read it once a long time ago, but I never had the other books and so just gave up on it until the other day when someone left it lying out and I started to remember little bits and pieces of it: wintertime, a rowdy happy family, an old country house, breakfast being cooked, a secret room, a mystery, danger. The combination of those remembrances made me eager to find the rest of the series and finish the story, finally! Plus, I recalled that (in the tradition of Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis) they seemed to have been very cozy books - with a goodly amount of danger, certainly, but balanced nicely with generous helpings of warm scones, strawberry jam, and tea. (Food is extremely important to any avid adventure book reader. I remember realizing this as a little girl reading Heidi for the first time and munching on cheese and crackers [pretending it was goat's cheese of course].)

from the Salvation Army:
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

from Value Village:
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
The Wave by Todd Strasser
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Far Side of the World by Patrick O'Brian

On Saturday I went out thrift store shopping with my friend Sarah. When Sarah and I do thrift stores we hit them in sequence as follows: lingerie (but we draw the line at articles too intimate - you know what I mean, eww), books, and teacups. Well, actually, Sarah usually does go through most of the clothing section because she has a great eye for fashionable treasures; while she's doing that I wander over to the books.

Do you know, until yesterday I had never stepped foot into a Salvation Army store! It was quite the exciting experience!

No, not really.

But I did notice that Sally Ann stores are much cleaner then Value Villages. And the books are better too! By that I mean - in much better condition and cheaper. Unfortunately, the one we went to did not have a very large selection so we moved on to the VV down the street.

And lastly we hit McNally. I had to buy some gift cards and they always have the neatest ones. Also, I obsessively check their bargain book section at least once a week. And it was a good thing I did because there I found...

from McNally Robinson (bargain section special for $4.99):
Over Sea, Under Stone (Book 1 in The Dark Is Rising sequence) by Susan Cooper

Now, one thing that really bugs me is when I own all of the books in a series... but their covers don't match. You know, a series can sometimes be reprinted many different times and each time with a different cover illustrator. Am I the only one who isn't quite obsessive enough to insist on a matching set, but who is still just a little miffed over the fact that my set doesn't match? *sigh*

Ah, well. I'm off to finish up Over Sea, Under Stone...*

* It came highly recommended by Kelly, the store owner. Is it just me or is "Jack Vance" a really cool sounding name? Kinda like Aeon Flux. Or Lola Montez.
* The cover of my copy is endorsed enthusiastically by Diana Wynne Jones who says: "I wish I had written these!"
* Which is tied with McNally on my personal favorites list for best bookstore in Winnipeg. Of course, if Aqua had a restaurant that sold gingerbread cake that would probably push them right up to number 1...

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