First things first: I have a warm welcome to offer Autumn on this midnight of its equinox (or rather, the midnight after its equinox)…except that Autumn hasn’t yet shown up where I am. In fact, the last couple of days have felt like blazing midsummer. Which irks me, as Autumn is my favorite of the seasons. The cool breezes bearing faint burnt scents, the sharp slate skies, the foliage of amber, flame, and emerald mixed together. I drink it in, even though our Autumn isn’t as lush as those elsewhere.

But it hasn’t shown up yet, so I can’t welcome it. Fiddlesticks.


“But surely,” criest thou, “that canst be the reason for this post, which beareth the noble title of library book sale?”

“Of course it canst,” repliest I, “and callest me not Shirley.”

(Credit where credit is due.)

Despite the distinct lack of Autumn, this day was not a waste. I only worked a half day, and in the evening I went to one of my local library’s triannual book sales, that I so love. And here, dear friends, is my loot, bought for a mere $4.50.

YES, I already own a copy and have reviewed it here. But three times a year, every year, I go to these book sales combing the tables for a Sutcliff novel, and this is the first time I have FINALLY found one. It’s the exact same edition as the one I already own. It’s in perfect condition, which is kind of sad because it means virtually no one has read it. But now I have an extra to give away! That makes me happy.

I bought The Sable Quean mostly out of nostalgia for Brian Jacques, but also because this is one of his later novels which I haven’t read. The plot sounds standard Redwall, but it should be comfortable slipping back into Jacques’ charming world. It’ll probably get a review once I read it, eventually.

What can I say? I’m a medievalist with an interest in philosophy, so this was nearly irresistible. As the title suggests, it traces the influences and development of medieval philosophies and thought from the ancient Greeks and the Bible on through the Romans, the early church fathers, Arab thinkers, etcetera. When I’ll have the time to read this, I don’t know — I’ve got many other similar titles lying around, giving me great pleasure to look at but losing places on my reading list to more and more fantasy.

Ta-da! The cream of the crop. I’ve been hearing about Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn for longer than I can remember. Both the book and the animated movie have been called classics of fantasy, and I’ve never had the chance to see for myself. Well, that will change. I’ve got a copy in my book stacks, and at some point in the maybe-kind-of-not-so-distant future, I will read it, and probably review it. +)

On other news fronts: the Series 3 Doctor Who review is STILL coming, yes it is; just be patient. I’ve been super busy lately.

Also, the Highlander Audio reviews should be coming very soon as well. I feel very guilty for neglecting those, as I was given review copies by one of the writers, and the polite thing would have been to review them earlier this summer. But they are not forgotten! I will review them ASAP.

And lastly, I am about halfway through Stephen Lawhead’s Merlin, the sequel to Taliesin, and loving it. So far, the book has showcased more of Lawhead’s strengths as a writer than Taliesin did, and has kept the melodrama to a minimum (although some still creeps in now and then).

So, have you folks made any interesting book purchases lately?

21 thoughts on “Library Booksale Raid #2

  1. Good ol’ Redwall!

    I went on a read-the-book-first-then-see-the-movie kick, so the last few books I read were David Nicholls’ One Day and John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

    One Day was good until the end, and then it felt like a waste of time, but Nicholls’ style is interesting. It’s similar to Nick Hornby. However, I discovered he wrote Starter For Ten, which I didn’t know was a book as well as a film. Since the film was about ten times more lighthearted than One Day, I’m keen to discover if the book is, too.

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy… it was good, but difficult to read. Not because of the story, but because of the author’s style. He tells more than he shows.

    I have at least 4 more books I need to read that I can remember off the top of my head, and yesterday I raided my stash of books I keep at my grandmother’s house, so now I have my C.S. Lewis books waiting patiently for me. Plus, Laurie R. King just published the latest book in the series of hers I’m reading, so I need to get that at some point.

    Do you ever feel as if there are too many books in this world to read?

    Enjoy Lawhead and Who!

    1. I’ve been sort of interested in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” — there was a TV miniseries in 1979 starring Alec Guinness that looked neat, but I’ve never seen it nor read the book.

      Heh, I was kinda distressed to hear of “One Day” just because I wrote a short story by the same name. But it doesn’t seem like there’s any similarity, so I guess I won’t accuse them of stealing. +)

      Yes, Emily, all the time. All. The. Time!

      I am, thanks!

      1. I think if I weren’t convinced that stories will still be told in heaven in some form, my greatest fear in dying would be the thought of all the books left unread!

  2. Alas for lacking autumn! Our leaves are only just starting to turn, but the weather is gorgeous and the soft rain and autumn smells are in full swing. I wish I could shoo some your way. Congratulations on your excellent library book finds!

    As for books… I recently bought my own Joy of Cooking at a garage sale, which is exciting for me, as I love cooking, but doesn’t quite count on the novel front. ^_~

    As for novels, I did acquire four of the five Prydain books of Lloyd Alexander. I am missing only The Castle of Llyr.

    A friend just got her book Breath of Angel published, and I got a signed copy! Exciting!

    1. I almost bought a Prydain book at the book sale, but I forgot which three I already own (as it turns out, The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, and The Castle of Llyr). It really is a fantastic series. Have you read them before?

      Cool! I get signed copies of all my friend’s self-published books, and I’m sure a hundred years from now, when he is dead and his mark on global literature is assured, that they will be worth lots of money. +) At least we keep telling ourselves that.

      1. Aye, indeed. I read them when I was a kid and wanted a bauble of my very own. I’m re-reading them now, of course. I had forgotten how much it had seeped into my subconscious as far as my own writing is concerned.

        I certainly hope so! 😀
        My friend has published childrens’ titles before, but I believe this is her first YA novel.

        1. It’s funny; in a way I remember so little of Prydain, and yet methinks when I do reread them, it shall all come rushing back. I remember certain things very much out of order: meeting Eilonwy with the bauble, Gurgi’s babblings, those fearsome Hunters who grow stronger when one of them is slain, the arrogant prince who selflessly destroys the Black Cauldron, Fflewddur Flam’s broken harp strings, Taran finding out how hard it is to forge a sword….and that’s mostly it. Well, that and the delightful joy I felt while reading them as a kid.

          Another friend of mine is trying to get her manuscript — beautifully self-illustrated — published. It’s an excellent story; probably would get marked as young adult, but should be of great interest to all lovers of fiction like us.

          1. It’s funny, but unlike with moth authors, it isn’t his writing that stands out to me. The language takes a back seat most of the time, and all I notice is the story. I think it has something to do with the strength of his characters. I mostly wish they weren’t so short.

            All the luck to her! People who can write AND illustrate beautifully are a marvel to me! I can sculpt, but that’s harder to fit between pages…

            1. Haha, it happens to all of us.

              Definitely his characters that stand out the most. My impression is that his writing style is very good, but I never remember it — it’s always the characters that stay with me.

            2. Btw, now I am imagining just what kind of book a moth author would write. Something about porch lights and evil owls, probably.

              *twangs a broken string*

  3. Yay, I’m so happy to hear you’re going to be reading The Last Unicorn soonish. Though I should warn you, it’s one of those books that I’m almost afraid to hear anyone dislike, so, um, if you don’t like it, still tell me you do, okay? Though I don’t think you won’t. Actually, you probably should be honest, but I’m that much in love with it. Oh, and I think that edition has the pretty illustrations in it, doesn’t it? I need to get myself an illustrated copy (even though the cover is kind of hideous).

    Those are fiddlesticks? I always assumed the fiddlestick was the bow. I expect a scholarly dissertation upon this subject.

    My exciting book purchase was the second volume of Finder which I had preordered and which was supposed to come out last week, and then Amazon said it was set back to January ALAS, but then that was wrong too, and now it is in the mail and should be in my hot little hands tomorrow. Ah, for the love of books. Actually, there is this awesome chain down here called Half Price Books, which has a large store downtown and has been the source of several exciting finds so far, including a Patricia McKillip novel I read and adored this past summer and a Brian Froud / Terry Jones picture book on the Goblins of the Labyrinth. Ah, for the love of books!

    1. One of my other friends who genuinely has excellent taste also loves The Last Unicorn to pieces, so I strongly suspect I shall get along well with it. And yeah, it does have some illustrations! I just noticed them. Neato.

      Those are what showed up in a Google search for fiddlesticks earlier this year when I was doing the Book Meme. Apparently they are part of a musical kit for little kids…and were the subject of a recall because they had caps that sometimes came loose and let the ball bearings inside fall out. Why they have ball bearings inside them, I do not know. Perhaps in the future I shall try to find a photo of some genuine fiddlesticks. According to the Great Wiki [1], true fiddlesticks are actual sticks or knitting needles, used by a second person to beat a rhythm on the fiddle while the fiddler plays the instrument in the normal manner. The practice was usually called “beating the straws,” and may have begun among African slaves on the plantations [2]. It also appears to be a uniquely American invention, not appearing in British or Irish fiddling traditions [Ibid.]. It is a rare occurrence these days, but certain folk musicians still make use of it.

      There’s a Half Price Books about 20 minutes or so north of me, and I’ve been meaning to visit it sometimes soonish. I hear they buy back books too, which would be a nice way for me to cut down on my stacks (which isn’t normally a good thing, except that I need to plan ahead for eventually moving out and minimizing the packing work. Plus making room for new books.) And which McKillip was it? I’ve still only read the Riddlemaster Trilogy, and really need to read more of her.

      1. You actually did it! Ha! Interesting. Though if anybody comes near my fiddle with sticks of any sort, I will kill them. Or at least maim.

        The McKillip was Solstice Wood, which is a very nice modern faery story. Though if you read it, you must read Winter Rose first. I was so happy with Solstice Wood because it is a sequel but I didn’t know that when I first started reading. It actually takes place a number of generations later than Winter Rose, to descendants of characters in it, and part of what made me so happy was that it confirmed that two characters whom I wanted to believe would end up together actually did so. Anyway, if you ever want McKillip recommendations, I can do that. In fact, I shall give a few unsolicited ones now: The Bell at Sealy Head and Song for the Basilisk. I started the Riddlemaster Trilogy, and got distracted halfway through. It is sitting on my shelf with the bookmark still in, taunting me. I can definitely see the beginnings of McKillip’s talent, but it’s not as good as her more mature writing.

        1. My impression of Riddlemaster was that the writing, especially in the first half, was ambitious but extremely flawed, unpolished, and clumsy, with lots of failed metaphors and confusing attempts at imagery. Yet somehow I ended up loving the story and characters. Also, it was fascinating because I could actually see her writing improve before my eyes. The first book was chalk full of style issues, but the third book was almost issue-free and was getting fairly eloquent. She was definitely still finding her voice in that series.

          Thanks for the recs!

          (and duly noted about the sticks)


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