Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Ol' Library

Was considerably depleted on June 26, as you can imagine. If you are a reader at all, you have probably participated in the "desert island" exercises where you pick the books you absolutely cannot live without should you be stranded on a desert island and have a choice.

Well, restocking a book collection is a similar process. I've spent some time mulling over what to buy first - that I want on hand at all times just in case I want to read it. Of course, my list is far larger than just these few, but I sure gave it some thought. So, I bought these:


The complete series of Horatio Hornblower books by C. S. Forester. I discovered Horatio as a freshman in high school because some outfit or another had a book sale where they brought the books to school, and if we liked what we read, we could buy it. I bought Ship of the Line, which in retrospect was a good starting point even though it was more or less in the middle. Hornblower was at his obsessive best with the huge responsibility of a ship of the line and all the endless attention that required, plus having to fret about Lady  Barbara Wellesley, whom he carried on board in the previous novel, and had fallen in love with her, plus his tangled feelings of shame because he was already married to the hapless Maria (whom he had married in a fit of feeling sorry for her, as earlier novels revealed). Plus, every decision he made was endlessly dissected in fits of self flagellation.

Well, for an angst filled teenager who felt much the same, this was quite a revelation - that he could feel this way and still be a success. It was a bit of an inspiration. I spent some years trying to accumulate the rest of the books in the pre-internet world of the seventies and eighties - and I think it wasn't until the nineties that I actually had all of them. Not matching editions at all, but By Gawd I had 'em. This set had to be purchased from three different places online, but they do match, and dammit all, I've got 'em all! Whee!

There are so many other books that I gotta have, but I think I can find them in used bookstores if I just look - things like Lonesome Dove and some of McMurtry's other works, some of James Clavell's stories of the Orient including Shogun, Tai-Pan and King Rat, for sure. Science fiction and fantasy classics have to be included - Ringworld, Ringworld Engineers, The Foundation Series (Asimov), and probably even The Lord of the Rings series. I used to have a big collection of Stephen King novels up to a point - I suppose I'll have to get The Stand, but he started pissing me off politically, I didn't think he was as good as he used to be, and he took too damned long on the Dark Tower series and I lost interest.

Sis got me hooked on the Kinsey Milhone alphabet novels by Sue Grafton, but Ms. Grafton has left poor Kinsey stranded in the eighties, and that was just a little while ago, you know. I kinda feel the same way about the Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee novels by Tony Hillerman, which are fascinating looks into two members of the Navaho Tribal Police and all the cultural ramifications that involves. If I need to read them, I know just who happens to own all those books, and she happens to be willing to loan them to me!

Of course there are the Great Novels - Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo, Steinbeck, Jack London (for sure The Sea Wolf!) and so many more that just slip my mind at the moment, but when I run across 'em, I'll be snagging immediately if not before (finances willing).

So, it's kinda fun to do this - I'm sure I'll end up with a bunch of rag tag dog eared paperbacks, but that suits me fine. I'm not much of a snob when it comes to what a book looks like, as long as it doesn't fall apart and I can read it, we're good to go!

9 comments:

threecollie said...

Oh, Lord, I never thought about losing books. That is just awful. Have you ever looked on ABE books? they have an amazing array, sometimes not too expensive.

Jeffro said...

No, never heard of 'em, Marianne! Thanks!

drjim said...

No worry about what you're reading as long as you read!

ShirleyJo said...

Dodge City Public Library has a used book sale the first Saturday of every month. They have a big room in basement with lots of books of all kinds. Just make a donation. Enter on west side of building.

Jeffro said...

Thanks, Shirley!

farmist said...

If you're at all interested in e-books, many of the classics are available in free Kindle editions - and free Kindle software for PC or smartphone. I have several of those (Count of Monte Cristo and SeaWolf, among many) on my phone for standing-in-line occasions.

The Old Man said...

Jeffro, I hope that your reading list includes a few of Robert Heinlein's books. Even his juvenile books are worthy. He is not a total engineering geek like Mr Niven, but he gives a soul to his books.
Don't forget abebooks.com...Read a lot of PJ Farmer's books that were outstanding. One from the World of Tiers or Riverworld series will leave you panting for another.

Jeffro said...

@farmist: I've got the Sea Wolf on my phone, too, but man - I just like having a hard copy in my mitts!

@The Old Man: Well, ya know they are on my list too! Heinlein rocks, and I ate up the Riverworld series. Missed World of Tiers, will have to rectify.

Another series I didn't mention was the Thomas Covenant Illearth arc - pretty good as well. Didn't mention Bradbury - figure the library would be underserved w/o some of his stuff.

There are so many different directions my reading took me - I had all the Louis L'Armour Sackett novels plus a buttload of his other works, but I doubt I'll try to get all of those again. Same with Ken Follett, Trevanian, Michener, and O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin sea classics. Liked all of 'em but probably won't reread. Mostly I'm just looking to replace the books I enjoyed rereading, not that new ones won't be selected, though....

Earl said...

I always thought Hornblower was a real man, for years, then found out there were real men like him. Fun to look at your list.