I love library sponsored book sales. The books are always sold at the lowest prices because the libraries are eager to rid themselves of unwanted donations, and remarkably good books often find themselves among the undesirables. A few weeks ago, I found two Modern Library of America editions of Herman Melville’s novels–two collections which included six novels, Billy Bud Sailor, and some assorted writings. I snatched the two of them for one dollar.
This day saw a library sale at the nearby public library, which offered an opportunity for enriching myself with perhaps as stellar works cheaply. However, browsing among the fiction, historical, and political books failed to excite my interest. They all looked lifeless sitting there. I covered everything save one final section, having made the mental note that there were two books I might want–both political in scope–or I might quit the book sale entirely. This last section happened to be the fantasy section.
How different I felt looking at these books! They seemed to hold the promise of life and adventure. You might say that comics, having kindled in me the desire to read, are my first love; but, fantasy works were my second. Shortly after reading The First King of Shannara during grammar school, I devoured Terry Brook’s works and soon joined the Science Fiction Book Club in order to enrich my experience of fantasy to a greater extent. I even wished to be an epic fantasy writer á la Tolkien. I confess to have discarded fantasy after college, preferring to concentrate on classic, religious, or historical works as being more useful and esteemed. For a short time, I have felt myself deprived, as anime–whether fantasy or otherwise–did not fill up this whole in my life for the fantastic. Reading Conan the Cimmerian, Latro of the Mist, and The Lord of the Rings gave me a peculiar joy, but I have not been ready to make a full return. Indeed, I returned to my usual fare after these works.
Yet, these fantasy books in the sale! I wonder whether I hid my excitement as I beheld familiar authors like David Drake, Terry Goodkind, Raymond Feist, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, and the rest. That which was once my great love stood stretched out before my eye. Initially, I thought that I would pick up a few books. Instead, my famished appetite for the fantastic resulted in this impressive haul:
And all for $3.50! Amusingly, the first thing I did when I got home was to open up Wizard for Hire by Jim Butcher. Historical, classic, and religious works may collect a little dust for now.