Sunday, April 25, 2004

Suffering, Bookworm-Style

I can't believe that this is my first blog post for April. Would you believe that I was busy reading? I got off to a rocky start with BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: AN AMERICAN LIFE. I checked it out from the library & took way too long to finish it. I kept being distracted by books like BROTHEL, understandably so. I'd like to think Mr. Franklin would've understood.

When I went back to check it out again for the second time, I was told by the sympathetic clerk that there was a waitlist. Adding to my guilt was the fact that I had snatched up the large-print version in my impatience to read about old Ben.

The clerk put me on the waitlist when I brought the book back the next day. She's so nice! I bet she doesn't like to read. Non-reading extroverts seem to work well in libraries. During my brief stints as a library clerk, I was always grabbing books for myself, and glaring at the patrons that got to them before me. I bit my lip more than once when patrons would come back in and criticize a book I'd liked, and vice versa, when they burbled enthusiastically about something I considered a waste of ink, glue and paper.

I meant to remember what page I'm on, but already forgot! I do know that Franklin is sloooowly beginning to realize that the English do not want to play ball with the colonies; they do not want the colonies to have a voice in Parliament. They're being Friday turds at Saturday market, and they're about to piss Ben off once and for all.

But Ben can take his time.

Right now, I'm all achy and inconsolable because I want the book I cannot have. Again. This time it's the novel THE SUM AND TOTAL OF NOW by Don Robertson, who wrote THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD. I just finished SLICED BREAD; I polished it off as quickly as a loaf of the real thing during one of my reading comas, in which people tried to speak with me, and I could only respond irritably and fretfully to the shadow of their bodies blocking the light on the page.

I'm ripe and revved to read THE SUM AND TOTAL OF NOW because it's the sequel to SLICED BREAD. In fitful protest, I didn't even start a book today, which added to my irritability. So why don't I take care of this problem? Why don't I hunt up a copy of THE SUM AND TOTAL OF NOW?

I've got my reasons. One hundred and twenty two of them.

After procuring THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD in the happy fashion described in last month's blog, I set out to complete the trilogy. Book #3, THE GREATEST THING THAT ALMOST HAPPENED can easily be had for around 25 dollars. Book #2 is a different story: I searched the internet & THE SUM AND TOTAL OF NOW can be purchased for $122.00 at the cheapest.

Ow. Looks like I'll be reading an interlibrary loan copy for now.

One hundred and twenty two dollars. Dang.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not above spending a lot of money on books. I love to wander into a bookstore and come out hours later in a blur, holding a really really really oh-my-carpal-tunnel-is acting-up-again heavy sack full of
books -- sort of like Ray Milland having THE LOST WEEKEND. But $122.00 for one book? I didn't even pay that for my leatherbound copy of RABBIT, RUN, and that book looks better than many expensive cars.

In addition, the sellers aren't promising a nice clean copy with a nicely creaking front cover. No, they're offering ex-library copies some without a dustjacket.

Gnash, grind. Why is the middle book so damn expensive? There's got to be some logical reason, but I'm baffled for now.

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