Jumpdrives & Cantrips


More Book Sale Madness

I love book sales. I love being able to search through piles of books and pick out the treasures, and sometimes find treasures for other people.

This past weekend I managed to hit part of the Children’s Hospital Book Sale–which is a bonus, because all profits go to a good cause as well. And you know something? As much as I like reading classic SF, I can’t always bring myself to shell out the $11 per book that it costs. I am a cheap person, and looking back at some of these book prices… I mean, for god’s sake not much more than twenty years ago, paperback books were still under three dollars! Talk about craziness, eh?

Of course, I managed to pull out some treasures this time around: two novels by James Tiptree, Jr. which I am sure are out of print, a pile of Leigh Brackett, a not-quite-so-battered copy of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, Clarke’s Childhood’s End since I have always managed to miss it, the second and third books following Kate Elliott’s Jaran, an omnibus of the first three books in Diane Duane’s Wizard series, and a copy of Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself for $4 in trade paperback. I suppose given that I now have Abercrombie’s first book, I’ll be able to find out what all the fuss and bother is about.

One of the other things I love about book sales is looking at all the different covers over time for certain books. Stranger in a Strange Land is particularly good for this, but it’s neat to see how design ideas change (or don’t) over time. And sometimes finding odd notes in the books used as bookmarks. I once found a letter apologizing to a lover after an argument; but I commonly find more prosaic things like grocery lists, or classified clippings from the automotive section. I always wonder about the people who read the books. Did they ever finish, or did they just stop?

And just a reminder: if your book smells like vomit, please don’t give it to a book sale. I don’t care if it’s immaculate and has never been touched by projectile body fluids. If it smells like someone puked on it, I will not buy it. Not even if it was a first edition of some extremely famous literature. Not even if I could auction it off for a small fortune (a large fortune I may consider in special cases, and while using a hazmat suit).

Anyhow, largely I enjoy the smell of books. But, you know… there are limits.

If you’re wondering what’s up next, I’m currently reading Sandra McDonald’s The Outback Stars and Grimspace by Ann Aguirre.

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‘He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.’
March 19, 2008, 2005
Filed under: news | Tags: , , ,

Arthur C. ClarkeI was saddened to see that Sir Arthur C. Clarke died today. The New York Times wrote an entry, but it pales in comparison to the sense you got from the man himself. I rather liked La Gringa’s entry on her experience knowing him. I never met him, but when I was younger I would wait for reruns of Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World and the series that followed, and I remember the warmth in his voice when he spoke at the end of episodes. He always had something interesting to say, and I never got the sense he spoke in platitudes.

While he was never one of my favourite authors, I think he was one of the few hard science fiction writers to really bring a sense of wonder, a joy of awakening, and a love of knowing into his works.

When asked by Wired in 1993 if he had put any thought into what he would want on his epitaph, Clarke said he had.

“Oh, yes,” he said. “I’ve often quoted it: ‘He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.'” (Wired)

And really, that’s all I feel I need to say about that.

Here are some other interesting things I stumbled upon, with some good causes to boot if you happen to feel generous:

  • Good Cause #1: Authors for Autism Research is an auction running March 23 – April 2 to benefit Autism Speaks. You, yes you, can bid on being a character in numerous authors’ works, including Elizabeth Moon, Christine Feehan, Ken Follet, John Henry (AKA Jack Campbell), and many others. One even promises a death scene!
  • Good Cause #2: There’s been a lot of buzz about this on the internets, so I figured I’d do my part and point all of you nice people out there towards Match it for Pratchett, a website aiming to match Terry Pratchett’s million dollar donation to Alzheimer’s research.
  • Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review is one year old, so go over and help him celebrate because he’s cool and stuff!
  • Pat of Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has an interesting post about blogging, his style of writing reviews, and so on here. I agree that you can’t really argue with results. Though, the arguing itself can be fun.
  • And, if only more housewares were designed with the mythic in mind. Or at least the amusing.