Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Bibliophile: The Book-Sale

Some time has passed since I posted a regular blog article. This has something to do with limited Internet access, a terrible allergy season, my Pinterest addiction, a gigantic book-sale, general procrastination, and an ever-growing stack of library books—currently including eight novels.

I have acquired, over the course of the past two months, approximately sixty-five books. I just counted them. Part of me reacted by slumping in my chair and staring alternatively at my computer and my bookshelves. Another part of me wanted to jump into the air, fist to the sky, and shout “YES!” I have also just realized that I have added an approximated eighty books to my collection since the start of the year. For a bibliophile, that’s cause to party. For someone with limited space, it’s cause to weep.

Fortunately for me, this huge number of books about doubles the number I owned before, which might not sound like reason to celebrate, but this means I had some room to spare where books are involved. Now, emphasis on the word ‘had’, as I no longer have that luxury. Not only are my shelves filled, but the tops of my dresser and a disused desk have now been transformed into book hotels.

Enough complaints though. Now I’m going to brag.

If asked to pick a favorite from my most recent accumulations, I’m not certain I would be able to make a concrete decision, but I can list my favorites—plural.

First we’ll mention the book that I somehow managed to win in a random-drawing contest, courtesy of Gillian Adam’s Hobbit Birthday. Andrew Peterson’s On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. This title easily fits into three selective categories: Favorite Children’s Book, Favorite Christian Fantasy Book, and Favorite All-Time Book. Needless to say, I love it. You should have seen the expression on my face when I opened my mail that day. (Thanks again, Gillian!)


And I have to list the oddest books I found. I doubt I ever would have paid money for these books alone, but when you’re at a sale hosting a Dollar-A-Bag deal, then how can you refuse the little curiosities you happen to find? 

1.One is the Official Guide to Old Books and Autographs, by William Rodger—a little paperback of a ripe age itself, concerning old books and their values and all sorts of notes on keeping old, rare books, and etc.
2.Then there’s The Book of Irish Lists and Trivia, by John Gleeson. This little paperback is exactly what it sounds like, including lists of everything from the most common first and surnames in Ireland; to (opens random page in book) ‘Cheating the Executioner’, Irish people sentenced to be executed but survived and what became of them. Ironically, the first name listed is a Lady Betty whose trade, the list claims, became the Public Hangwoman, Roscommon.
3.The last oddity of the book-sale is The Toastmaster’s Treasure Chest, by Herbert V. Prochnow and Prochnow, Jr. This is a book of quotations, ‘wit and wisdom of famous persons’, stories, anecdotes, famous toasts, unusual facts, and a hundred other tidbits that I feel certain I will make good use of in my writing in days to come. Two quotes on the same page: “Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.” ~Rudayard Kipling. (and) “Fame is proof that people are gullible.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.

My three favorite ‘Classic’ finds: (The first two of which, along with On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, are the only titles here listed that did not come from a recent library book sale.)

1.Best Loved Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a book of a most ingenious poet that caused my eyes to light up the moment I laid hands on it. Some of my favorite poems include Whither, The Day is Done, The Christmas Bells (which is made a popular hymn), and Travels by the Fireside.
2.A Treasury of the Familiar, edited by Ralph L. Woods. This contains one of my new favorite poems; the enchantingly strange ‘The Barrel-Organ’, by Alfred Noyes, author of the infamous ‘Highwayman’ lyric. Not only does this collection contain poetry, but also presidential addresses and inaugural speeches, famous quotes and historical documents, various biographical tales and essays, and etc.
3.I also managed to snatch up a copy of The Two Towers, by Tolkien. It’s a large, hardback edition illustrated by Allen Lee and is quite an imposing presence on my shelf. I am holding out hope of someday acquiring the other two parts of The Lord of the Rings in such fine form.

And now for two from the Children’s genre:

1.A slightly battered copy of The Dark Hills Divide, the first title in the Land of Elyon series penned by Patrick Carman. This series is among some of the best of Christian Fantasy, especially for children. (It also inspired me to write my first novel, however horrid that endeavor turned out.)
2.The Deep Freeze of Bartholomew Tullock, by Alex Williams was probably the first steampunk-esqu book I ever read. An enduring favorite of mine and one of the few novels I’ve somehow made time to read more than once.

Last-but-not-least, there’s my latest and greatest book fitting into the category of Miscellaneous Reference:

1.It is called Window Seat, by Gregory Dicum and is precisely what it sounds like, a guide to the landscape of the earth (focusing on North America) from the perspective of an aerial sweep. This fantastic little flight handbook expounds upon the geography of the United States and Canada, plus a look at the sky and the science of flying through it. The book contains maps, colorful topographical photos, interesting factoids of different places, and a narrative on how to distinguish from the air what you are seeing on the ground. I’ve never flown, personally, but that doesn’t stop me from loving this book and I think it, too, will come in mighty handy when I’m writing.

Besides these, I acquired a number of encyclopedia and dictionaries, more of my favorite children’s books, classic literature collections, and some writing books.

This bibliophile is looking forward to amassing a fantastic private library and has made a pretty good start of it, if I do say so myself.

And, yes, that Pinterest account comes in handy. :)

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