As dragons are with their gold and gems, so are book lovers with their books.
H is for hoard.
This isn’t what I’d originally planned for my H post, but this last Tuesday I was at the university library, in the really cool part of their special collections, and gazed once again upon a book that I don’t have a copy of for my own collection but really, really want…
At times I’ve been a little bit obsessive about having my own copies of everything by my favorite authors. After reading Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz, for example, I started seeking out the rest of his novels. If I didn’t have them all, my collection was incomplete — arrrghhh! And if there happened to be any related works by other writers — such as The Atlas of Pern to go along with Anne McCaffrey’s novels — I had to have those, too. (Yes, I have a copy of The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern. Yes, I have tried the recipes in it. What kind of fan would I be if I didn’t try to make imitation klah at least once? )
So, about that book of poetry: To Spin Is Miracle, Cat, by Roger Zelazny. I have nearly all of Zelazny’s fiction, and a good number of those related works (like The Illustrated Guide to Castle Amber, or that book with all the pictures by Gray Morrow whose title I actually cannot remember at the moment). And I have an original printing of Nine Princes In Amber, the three-part serial in Galaxy magazine… with synopses before the second and third parts with Zelazny’s own words stating that Florimel is blonde. (Believe it or not, this is something fans debate, because the description in the novel itself is ambiguous, and some people think she’s a redhead. *shrug*) I’ve been told that old issues of Galaxy aren’t worth anything, and my reply is, “Who cares?” I bought those because I wanted them, not because I could get a lot of money from selling them. Me, part with books, especially books I like? Never!
I’ve gone through about half a dozen copies of one of my favorite science fiction novels simply because I used to loan books out to people. I know I shouldn’t have, but it was the only way I could get friends to read that particular novel (and if they didn’t read it, I couldn’t talk to them about it), since it was out of print. In recent years, it has become available for free on PDF, so I don’t have to let anyone get their hands on mine… I’m not selfish, but people who don’t return books annoy the hell out of me.
I have become a lot more particular in recent years about what books I buy, partly because I know that if I like a new series, or a single novel by a new (to me) author, I’ll want everything. This is why I only occasionally allow myself to check the shelves of discount bookstores for anything by Alastair Reynolds that I haven’t read (and bought a copy of) yet, and why I’m having to talk myself out of looking for the revised version of F. Paul Wilson’s last novel in his Adversary series. I’m trying to avoid things that set off that “my collection is incomplete!” reaction.
It isn’t easy. I wonder how dragons deal with it.