Saturday, September 24, 2011
The only authors whose books I was specifically looking for were Louis Auchincloss (a lawyer-writer about whose work I intend to write a paper) and Charles de Lint (a fantasy writer whose novels and short stories about the fictional city of Newford I’ve recently fallen head-over-heels for), and I did well on both counts: The House of the Prophet and Fellow Passengers by the former; and Tapping the Dream Tree, Muse and Reverie, and Spirits in the Wires by the latter.
While I was searching the “A” section for Auchincloss, I stumbled upon a pair of Chinua Achebe novels of which I already own copies, Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, but how could I resist a matched set of classic paperback Penguin editions?
Then I found my way to the literary criticism and biography section and I was done for. Because, the thing I enjoy most about big second hand book sales is stumbling upon obscure works of literary criticism, and difficult-to-find copies or cool editions of books by or about writers that I already love or that I’m curious to know more about. I picked up a ridiculous number of books during a lengthy browse but, after persuading myself to relinquish two-thirds of them, these are the ones that I actually bought and brought home:
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis (for my research on writers’ trials);
A.B. McKillop, The Spinster & The Prophet (another story of a literary trial, this one about a 1925 plagiarism suit brought against H.G. Wells by Canadian scholar Florence Deeks);
Hazel Holt, A Lot to Ask: A Life of Barbara Pym (Barbara Pym!);
Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being (her much-lauded letters);
Donald Stevens, Bliss Carman (Carman shared a U.S. publisher with L.M. Montgomery⎯the nefarious Lewis Page⎯, so I’ve been reading about him for a bit more context); and,
Surviving: The Uncollected Writings of Henry Green (it’s always exciting to come across anything by Henry Green!).
All in all, not a bad day’s work.