Friday, September 30, 2011

Pick and choose

There's nothing quite like going to a big used book sale. Weaving your way through the aisles, squinting at the crowded spines and dodging the (sometimes dodgy) other bibliophiles. Then there's that little thrill, that minor exultation, at finding a real treasure. This time there were a couple of gems wedged between the innumerable Star Trek and Dragonlance volumes.

I was pleased to find a copy of the The Best of Henry Kuttner (1975) and even more pleased to find it was in near-mint condition -- for just 50¢! Nice. I also picked up The Startling Worlds of Henry Kuttner, also in fine condition (though not quit as cheap).

I found a few others to add to my collection, like Aldiss' Cryptozoic!, Davidson's Peregrine: Secundus and Forrest J. Ackerman's collection of A. E. van Vogt stories, Monsters. I even grabbed Lin Carter's early study of hobbitry, Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings". None of these were in the best of shape, but they weren't too tatty, and the Carter book is a first edition.

The real find of the day took me by surprise. It's so rare to find books by him. Even among the fancy-schmancy trade paperbacks they're as rare as hen's teeth. But there it was and in excellent condition. The Dell paperback edition of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s Breakfast of Champions.

Okay, so it's not a first edition, it's the seventh printing. But just finding a Vonnegut, let alone one in great shape is good enough for me. So it goes.

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