Thursday, September 9, 2010

Snatched From The Jaws

This Labor Day weekend Half Price Books was holding one of their sales (20% off half price), one of those deals irresistible to bibliophiles everywhere. My brother John and I scraped together our resources and headed out to our nearest outlet (some 30 miles off), and the hunt was on. When we entered the store there was a subtle hint of feeding frenzy in the air and we found ourselves navigating larger than usual numbers to get at our favorite sections. Although the shelves were already rather fished out (at least of the books I had hoped to find there), I was able to glean seven good books at more than reasonable prices.

The Gammage Cup, by Carol Kendall. I had gone in hoping to find an omnibus volume of Diana Wynne Jones to send to my Florida niece and nephew, but it was gone. However, this classic fantasy tale is of the same high rank and rather hard to find compared to some, so it is a good substitute.

Ben and Me, by Robert Lawson. A hardback copy of one of my favorite books, for under three dollars.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting, illustrated by Michael Hague. I like Michael Hague's work, and this version of Dr. Dolittle is, perhaps, the best compromise I've seen between leaving the mildly offensive episode of Prince Bumpo in or removing it entirely. The Foreword is entirely forthcoming on the rewriting that has been done: historical honesty has been served, while the offensive (but not hate filled) passage has been changed.

Perrault's Fairy Tales, illustrated by Gustave Dore. Before Grimm, before Anderson, there was Perrault. Includes thirty-four full page pictures by the renowned illustrator.

Early Irish Myths and Sagas, translated by Jeffrey Gantz. A Penguin book. My brother Kenny has lately stirred my interest in the early Irish tales again lately, and this book has many stories I haven't read yet.

Dancing At The Edge Of The World, by Ursula K. LeGuin. A collection of her articles, reviews, papers, and speeches. LeGuin is one of those writers who, even if I never completely agree with all of her views, is always interesting and to be considered. Of special interest to me: her review of The Dark Tower and other stories by C. S. Lewis, and her contemporary review of Star Wars and Close Encounters.

Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship, by Colin Duriez. Although at this stage of the game I think it unlikely I will be presented with a new fact about my two favorite authors, a book totally dedicated to their relationship and how their works interacted with each other is a different emphasis on the whole Inkling thing. Also (like a hobbit) I never get tired of reading what I already know and enjoy.

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