05 March 2005

Not More Books!

Yes, more books! I found out Thursday that today was the annual Times Colonist (that's the Victoria newspaper) booksale, proceeds going to support literacy programs. So this morning (not very early) Sue, Mum, and I set out for downtown Victoria, and spent a couple of hours looking at books. Alas, no comics, though I almost bought The Encyclopedia of Superheroes (think that's what it was called), becuase it had all kinds of obscure old heroes I'd never heard of. I kind of wish I had bought it. Oh well, I found plenty of other things.

  • The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman. Hillerman's mysteries are addictive. I saw quite a few of them (mostly copies of The Thief of Time, oddly enough), but this was the only one I was sure I hadn't read. My goal is to get them all, read them in chronological order, then trade them in at the used book store.
  • The Gray Wolf and Other Fantasy Stories by George Macdonald. Wonderful, magical, fairy-tale-like stories. And it even matches my copy of The Light Princess.
  • The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson. Shapechangers. Fox shapechangers. I've been wanting to read this for ages.
  • Inez by Carlos Fuentes. I'm not sure why I got this one. It has a nice cover and it sounded good. Do I need any more reason?

  • The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay. I don't know if I'll ever actually learn to do any of these tricks (I still haven't managed to juggle, after all), but it'll be useful if (no, not if, when) I get around to writing my Victorian magic ghost-busting psychic-debunking novel Bunk. I'll need to at least know the theory for that. Plus, I think I'll need to go to Vegas and watch a bunch of magic shows. Anyone wanna go? It's for research, of course.
  • A Guide to the Prehistoric and Roman Monuments in England and Wales by Jacqetta Hawkes. I seem to be getting quite a collection of books like this--guides to the prehistory of England. I'm really going to have to actually go there one day. (Hey, I need to do some research in Aberfoyle and Skye . . .)
  • The Science of Jurassic Park and The Lost World, or, How to Build a Dinosaur by Rob DeSalle and David Lindley. Caitlín Kiernan mentioned this one in her blog, saying it was a good one to consult "for more on Crichton's bad science." Heh. So of course I had to buy it.
  • A Rum Affair: The True Story of a Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. Here's another one with a nice cover that sounded good. Scientific hoaxes are always fun.
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky. This one was recommended as a good example of creative non-fiction in a workshop I took in my last year of the most recent degree (the BFA). It's been on my to-read list for quite a while. Ugly fish, but quite yummy. If you're ever in Newfoundland, see if you can't find someplace to eat cod cheeks (you could have cod tongues--not actually the tongue, but the meat from under the chin--which is more popular with locals, but I liked cheeks better). Mmmm. Now I'm hungry.
  • Dinosaur Plots and Other Intrigues in Natural History by Leonard Krishtalka. Dinosaurs, palaeontology, conflicts and hoaxes in science. Looks very good.
  • Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner. I suspect there's a new(er) edition of this out, but it was only $2, so I can't complain. I have something else of Gardner's (can't remember what, and I too lazy to go look at the shelf). It was good, I do remember that, and this one's also a favourite topic of mine.
  • Sir Henry Morgan: Pirate and Pioneer by Rosita Forbes. I like reading about pirates. This book's pretty old and so could be rather outdated, but it's got endpaper maps. Endpaper maps are cool.
  • The Pirates by Douglas Botting and the editors of Time-Life Books. Yeah, it's a Time-Life book, part of the "Seafarers" series, But it has pictures of the different kinds of ships pirates used (showing rigging and sails and how many masts) and pictures of piratey weapons, and portraits of different pirates. Time-Life books can be surprisingly useful, sometimes.
  • The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing by David Kahn. I think this may be the fattest book I own that isn't a dictionary. It's 1164 pages (including the notes and index). That's not why I bought it, though. I'm not that sort of a freak. I got it because secret codes are cool. I have a secret decoder wheel on my keychain (it's the simplest code of all, but it's still cool). Hee hee.

I think I am giddy from the smell of books. Now I just have to find the time to read them all, plus all the other ones I already own. It is time for a book purge, though, as painful as it will be. I have a lot of fiction I'll be weeding out. The non-fiction will be harder, because how can I know for sure I won't need it again? I have a lot of somewhat obscure books. Not obscure enough that I can sell them on eBay for pots of money, but enough that finding them again could be awkward, especially if I need them in a hurry. So I shall have to be careful. And just to show that I am actually reading, and not just acquiring volumes in a bibliophiliac frenzy, my very next post will be about my recent reading. Or puppets, but probably reading.

Alas, I found not a single puppet book at the sale.

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