Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Previously Loved Books

You're looking at my treasure haul from a recent used book sale.

I visit a couple of different annual used book sales. No, I won't tell you which ones. I don't need the extra competition for the prime books. Besides, one of them is closed to the general public.

I love used books. Not only can you get great stuff at discounted prices, you may chance upon an out-of-print title unavailable elsewhere.

My first stop at a sale is the sports table to look for martial arts books. Most of the time I don't find any. When I do find some, they are usually pretty crappy titles (e.g. "101 Deadliest Karate Moves"). Judging from the martial artists I know, it seems we tend to hold on to the instructional books we accumulate.

After that, I'll usually drop by the history table. Old history books are an interesting window into different interpretations of historical evidence. I always end at the science fiction / fantasy table because I can always find something there worthwhile. I'm happy working my way slowly through pulp masters from the 50's , 60's, and 70's. So while others are fighting over hardcovers or graphic novels, I'm content with old paperbacks with lurid covers. I have a collection of Robert E. Howard books and some of them are duplicate titles that I bought just for the different covers. I'm always excited to find a Howard collection of obscure stories. Just when I think I've got all his stories, I find more.

I'll sometimes go to a used book store, but not as often as I should. There's a good one in the next county over. If there's a particular title I need, I've been known to use the Internet used book services. But it feels like cheating to me. There's not thrill of the hunt or discovery of a treasure. Also, those are professional book dealers, so they know what they have, and they make you pay a premium for the books.


Ben said...

I love used books as well. Always check the martial arts section first! How else are you going to find Understand? Good. Play! for less than a month's rent? :) It just seems like you can spend all your money on books and not feel bad at all, unlike the compromising feeling of buying several new shirts and ties for work...haha. I see a Sandman graphic novel wedged in your loot - someday I want to invest in the absolute editions. Have you seen those? Gorgeous. Ah, dreams...

jrf said...

Fortunately, I go my copy of UGP when it was new. I have paid huge amounts for lesser related volumes, however, so it all evens out.

I actually find UGP to be somewhat useful as an idea starter. Thankfully, Ben "Kukan Balls" Cole decided not to interpret Hatsumi's words, but simply record them. So it reads much like Tao of Jeet Kune Do, allowing the reader to read into the ideas as much as he reads out of them.

Yes, I found a copy of The Kindly Ones at the sale. I'd read all the stories year;s ago, but they were borrowed copies. At last year's sale, I managed to score the first several volumes in the Sandman set, but missed the last couple. That happens. This year I managed to find books 1, 2, 4, and 5 in Llyod Alexander's Prydain fantasies. But no 3. It's hardly rare, so I should be able to track it down in the same edition. The thrill of thr hunt.