Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Books are not rolls..."

One of my favourite bookish quotes comes from Clifton Fadiman:
"Books are not rolls, to be devoured only when hot and fresh."
As a librarian and a former used bookstore owner, I concur with this sentiment. There is a great deal to be said about buying used, and finding those out-of-print or generally unavailable treasures. But, being a used book dealer meant we were always on the lookout, going to sales at churches, libraries, yardsales and so on, always looking for a book with resale value. And we did not shop in other bookshops, more because of a lack of time and some book fatigue than through any policy.
Today for the first time in forever, I went to a used bookstore not my own, for the sole purpose of seeing if there was anything I WANTED TO READ! It was very novel. And it seemed the Literary Gods were with me. To the sheer enjoyment of looking around at books just for my own pleasure was added the joy of finding quite a few to purchase.
I found:
1. Princess Priscilla's fortnight / Elizabeth von Arnim in a strange 70's paperback edition I had no knowledge of. This is a novel I've been searching for, for nearly 10 years now.
2. The Scent of water / Elizabeth Goudge This should help me finish up all of her books.
3. Mariana / Susanna Kearsley I'm so excited to find the one book I haven't read by this Canadian author, who writes like Mary Stewart or Barbara Michaels.
4. Icefields / Thomas Wharton A Canadian historical novel, set in the glacier fields of Alberta, which I read ages ago and wanted to own.
5. The Yellow Boots / Vera Lysenko An early Ukrainian-Canadian novel that I just learned about recently -- there it was, waiting for me.
6. Dictionary of the Khazars / Milorad Pavic A very strange looking Serbo-Croatian novel that I know next to nothing about; but it looks fascinating.
Ah, the joy of book purchasing. I do it so rarely. We own so many books already, and I work at the public library, so purchases are a rare pleasure. I was very lucky today; now I'm off to make a pot of tea and read the first chapters of all my new books!


  1. Did you read Green Dolphin Street? Did you like it?

  2. Bybee - I read Green Dolphin Street years ago; it was the first I'd read by Goudge. It has always stuck in my mind, but as I read it as a youngish teen I think I'd have to read it again to see whether I like it. In any case those two sisters are unforgettable.


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