Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Montana Book Roundup: Christmas Edition!

I hadn't planned on posting anything today, but since I visited my family and family friend in Montana, I managed to acquire quite a few books as gifts, and also as I browsed my favorite thrift shops. In addition, I received a Barnes and Noble gift card, which I spent on something that I had to search two bookstores in two separate states for.

My grandma decided to buy a new, more comfortable loveseat for her apartment, leading to a new addition for my library:

This loveseat is nice, despite its terribly unpadded arms, because it has a pull out twin bed. This means I can basically live in my library- provided I never need to bathe, eat, or drink. I was fortunate that the narrow library doorway/hole in the wall allowed this little piece of furniture to enter, as most of what I have in there had to be strategically maneuvered inside. My mother also bought me a little floor pillow (the brown leather-looking round thing), which will be nice for sitting on while I'm organizing the bottom shelves.

Thrift Shop Books

These are some I found at my favorite thrift shop:

Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey
I'm not sure who exactly recommended this to me, but for the past 2-3 years I've been looking for it. Tolkienesque, but also featuring gray morality, is what I've been told.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger
This has also been on my 'need to find for super cheap' list for quite some time, and I was glad I found it at the thrift shop. I'd considered buying it at Barnes and Noble with my gift card, but got it for a fraction of the price instead.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I was recommended another book by the author, but couldn't find it, so I settled for this one. Described in a bipolar fashion on Goodreads, I'm not sure what to expect, but hope it's good.

Heaven's Net is Wide (Tales of Otori Prequel) by Lian Hearn (AKA Gillian Rubinstein)
Take a look at that cover! I couldn't resist buying it for that reason, and also it is about a mythical, medieval Japanese world. Sold.

Celtic Myths and Legends by T.W. Rolleston
I have just about every book on Greek myth, but know little about other culture's mythology beyond some basic folk tales. In order to remedy this, whenever I come across a book of myths and legends that isn't Greek or Roman, I buy it.

The Gift Horse

First of all, I bought Jeff Kacirk's Forgotten English Page-a-Day Calendar that covers 'Vanishing Vocabulary and Folklore' with my Barnes and Noble gift card. It may not be a book, but quality entertainment that helps me remember what day it is is always something I need.

My brother got me Goodnight Darth Vader (Jeffrey Brown's Star Wars) by Jeffrey Brown as a gift, so I spent Christmas night reminiscing about one of my favorite childhood film series. From the reviews on Goodreads, it sounds like some of his other books might be more entertaining, but I absolutely loved this one and gave it five stars. If I was still a kid, I'd read this every night.

My mom gave me a big pile of books for Christmas, which was slightly surprising. I only asked for one antique volume of The Lady of the Lake by Walter Scott, which I found at an antique shop, but she also got me Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. She hadn't heard of the book before and thought it was rare, but I disclosed it wasn't- Little Men has a tv series and two movie editions of it, and is the sequel to Little Women, which I haven't yet read.

My mom also expanded my first edition Stephen King collection by getting me Pet Sematary. Sadly, I haven't gotten around to actually reading any Stephen King books yet, I'm simply collecting them for the time that I will read them.

The Simple Joys of Life Journal by Ellie Claire is kind of like a page a day calendar- it doesn't give much room for your thoughts on the quote or inspirational gesture of the day. My favorite part about it other than the quotes is the pages are cut with scalloped edges, which is cute. Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II is something my mom got me that kind of left me scratching my head as to the reason why. It is a first edition, but I doubt it's very rare- a pope should always have a massive audience, especially considering how beloved he was.

My Endurance Quest for the Holy Grail

When I got my Barnes and Noble gift card, I figured I'd spend it on things I haven't yet read. But when I was doing my inner price inventory on the things in the store in Billings, I couldn't buy any of the books I wanted to read. Not only did they not have a hardcover Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson  (the Benevolent) (an unpardonable sin, in my humble opinion), they also didn't carry a book I hoped to buy for myself for Christmas: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews. What they did have that I actually wanted was a signed hardcover of The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss, one of my favorite books EVER. But, there was a problem- the signature in the book was exceedingly scribbly- I couldn't even make out anything besides the first letter.

Disappointed, I left the bookstore with only a page-a-day calendar, but continued to think about buying that damn book. Who cares if I can't read the signature? It's pretty much my favorite book by a living author, something I'll probably never find again. I'm too weird to ever go to a signing- I'd probably blurt out something profane followed by 'and my dogs like your beard' before melting into a puddle of perspiration.

Convinced of my inability to participate in any author signings, I returned to the bookstore, set on buying my very own holy grail.

An unforeseen problem occurred- in the three hours since I left the store, the book disappeared. Someone either hid it from me, bought it, or burned it on site to spite me. The holy grail was gone. The quest had ended.

I licked my wounds and a day later, we arrived in Idaho, where I knew I'd be able to find a signed copy of something by Brandon Sanderson (the Benevolent). Mr. Sanderson (the Benevolent) had been at a signing in a nearby city about a year ago, and I knew they would make him sign everything in their stock. Of course, I never considered going due to my confessed spontaneous 'say something incredibly weird when you're nervous' syndrome, so I obviously let that opportunity slip through my fingers.

I found more than several copies of his books I wanted to buy, but there was a problem (AGAIN) with the signature. Although Patrick Rothfuss's had been pretty illegible, Mr. Sanderson's (the Benevolent's) was worse in another way. To save time, he'd simply given his initials above his printed name on the title page.

In other words, there was a giant pile of B.S. in his books.

Let that sink in for a moment. Yeah, his signed books (despite their collective magnificence) were completely unbuyable for the native/rural Montanan in me.

I was completely crestfallen by this turn of events. I would not be getting any signed copies. I had run out of ideas for things I wanted in Barnes and Noble. This was the end.

Making my way back to the front, I noticed something prominently shelved in the Sci-fi/Fantasy section. A very recognizable cover. A sticker touting it was a "signed copy". Could I have found my holy grail again?

I opened the cover- what would the signature look like? Would it be unreadable? Simply initials?

Yes, the tail end of the signature isn't as neat as I'd like, but at least I can make heads and tails of it. While in the other I had seen only scribbling, this I can see "Pat" in, which is incredible. And, it wasn't a flaming pile of B.S.. All's well that ends well.

How was everyone's holidays? Anyone else find their holy grail?

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