This is topic Libraries in forum Grist for the Mill at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by History (Member # 9213) on :
I love them.

Wherever I have traveled with my family when I was young, or when I was with the service, or when I moved for my career (and even when vacationing in other towns and cities), one of my joys has been to visit the local libraries. They could be crowded into a one room cottage or in a palatial multi-storied edifice, but regardless they would elicit in me a thrill of not knowing what treasures I might discover within them.

This has suddenly become rather personal.

After nearly 50 years of collecting books, mostly f&sf and Judaica, I find my personal library has taken on independent life. It has begun to surprise me and inspire my wonder and awe in discovering the unknown (well, alright, forgotten) works it contains.

A year ago I had a hankering to read some good old fashion sword and sorcery and re-read L. Sprague de Camp's The Tritonian Ring. Researching on-line, I found there were also 7 short stories that took place in the same world as the novel, all together called the Pusadian series [ ]. The novel and three of the stories were published together in one volume in 1953. Later English reprints of the novel did not include any of the short stories. The remaining four short stories were published in various anthologies and diverse and rare periodicals between 1969 and 1974. I was disheartened that I wouldn't be able to read all the stories of deCamp's Pusadian cycle...until I discovered them in my library!

This week I've been reading Gods of Opar by Philip Jose Farmer and Christopher Paul Carey, the latter who posthumously completed the third long-awaited Farmer Opar novel. This is its first time in print. In the Forward, I learned Farmer based much of the background of his series on an unpublished copy of a late 1960's article written by Frank Bruekel and John Harwood intended for an Edgar Rice Burroughs fanzine, but it never was published. The article finally saw print in a small press oversize paperback in 2000 [ ood ]. I really wanted to read it...and, yes, I discovered it in my library!

Either I can give thanks to my obsessive compulsive collector's nature over the years or to my incipient Alzheimer's for not remembering what I've collected. [Wink]

Of course, my library may be sentient and "magical", akin to Dr. Who's TARDIS. Perhaps it scans space and time to collect for me what I desire.

Now wouldn't that be wonderful.

Now where did I put my copy of Action Comics #1 which was the first appearance of Superman? What was that library? Did you say, "Don't push it?"

Have any of you discovered a book in your library you desired to read but didn't know you possessed?
Does anyone else feel as much awe in visiting a library as they do a place of worship or a historic site?


[ June 09, 2013, 04:36 PM: Message edited by: History ]
Posted by KellyTharp (Member # 9997) on :
My personal library is down stairs in my studio and I am always finding books I'd forgotten I had, or worse, wondering where this book went from a series because I forgot to write down who I loaned it to (my bad). I've kept most all the sci fi/fantasy books I've read. Have a few nicely autographed too. I rarely get to the library as too many books at home to keep reading. Between therapy jobs I worked at a small little book store with a huge sci fi/fantasy section. When Boarders came to town and my store closed, I went home with four huge boxes of books (50% off). I will have to live to 120 to read them all! Right now trying to get through Pier Anthony's "Shade of the Tree". A ghost story - I think. It's quite different from his Xanth series. Keep on reading Hx. KT
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
I've found lately I've bought books I've bought a few weeks before...the subject interests me, I don't get around to reading it, and I forget I've already bought it.

But the only time I wanted something, and found I already had it, didn't involve books. I found I enjoyed the song "Should've Been a Cowboy," by Toby Keith, but didn't have it on CD. (This was before I joined iTunes.) Or so I thought. Before I could buy a "greatest hits" collection, I found I already had it, on a compilation set called "Fifty Years of Country: Music from Mercury [Records]." (Later I bought the "greatest hits" package for other songs.)
Posted by hoptoad (Member # 2145) on :
Hey, History.
I married a librarian.
I used to work at an old botanical gardens, it was the first established in Australia, (although this honour is claimed by another). Behind my office was s a library that contained the original books collected before the colony was established and brought out to Tasmania with the specific intent to establish a Gardens here. It was pretty cool to sit in the quiet, looking through books and newspapers from the late 1700s early 1800s. One collection of newspapers was regularly collected in London and sent to Hobart for more than forty years because of its articles on gardening and new plant discoveries, however I discovered that they also contained the Charles Dickens novel Martin Chuzzlewit serialsed over about two years or so. It was a nice experience to just happen upon it.

[ June 10, 2013, 10:24 PM: Message edited by: hoptoad ]
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Hoptoad. Wow, that would be a nice experience...unless you ran out of papers before you ran out of book. [Big Grin]

Robert I've done that a time or two, now I'm more careful with what I buy if I can't recall not buying it,

Dr Bob Wow to you too.

You know that idea you had about your library would make a great story idea,

My library is kinda of scattered and needs to be cut down. One thing I hope to do is during my vacation is to put up some of the books on the internet to try to sell.

But you guys have outdone mine.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Of course it's different from deliberately buying books I know I already have. For instance, I've bought new editions of classic SF to replace tatty old paperbacks and such. I was rewarded recently by finding an edition of Heinlein's The Star Beast that, at long last, restored a page of material I'd last seen in its original Scribners edition---which I didn't have. But most of the time it's just wear and tear and (occasionally) inaccesibility.

There's also wanting something on my Nook Color (I've recently been contemplating buying de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall for Nook), but that's a whole other matter...
Posted by History (Member # 9213) on :
Of disturbing interest, my library contains a fair number of books that are out-of-print.

This makes me further appreciate both what Ballantine Books and, more recently, Wildside Press[] and on-line sources like Sacred Texts ( )has done to make available epic, older "modern", and even more recent classics of sf & fantasy.

Dishearteningly, this also teaches me that "being published" is also a transitory thing. And the goal of authors is not actually to "be published" but to "be in print."

I may have to rethink my own goals in light of this, and in light of a recent Daily Kick in the Pants post of 06/14/13 by Dave Wolverton who writes, "Many older writers feel that they don’t have the time left to spend years trying to find an agent, get a publisher, and build a career. They may be right. If you’re say 55 or above—, and your goal is simply to publish some books, perhaps as a legacy to your children or as a supplement for social security down the line, then I don’t see anything wrong with self-publishing."

Dr. Bob
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Not much for me to say about Dr. Bob's note. It's up to him. But there have been a couple of older writers who made it big. (Shoulder Shrug)

How about make it on a medium level?
Posted by History (Member # 9213) on :
Originally posted by LDWriter2:
How about make it on a medium level?

(chuckle) How would you define this, LD?

My other point, the reality that most published authors and their works fade to or remain in anonymity, suggests that it takes a fair amount of humility (or fatalism) to be a writer.

At least a sane one. [Wink]

Dr. Bob
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Actually, I was thinking of EGO not humility.

But medium level would be having a few books out on a level of sells that are okay but not Big time. Well known enough to have readers want your books but not enough to be a bestseller. Just enough to quit your job or almost enough to make a living off of it.

But the fading into anonymity thing could go for almost everything. Paintings, music, inventing computer systems, Doctor of the year.

Leaving a good mark on the world by your life is usually the better way to stay known. Your family, friend, people helped , etc.
I got a feeling you know all that already but there's a reminder.

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