Books, Thoughts

Free To A Good Home

I’ve been mostly good about my no new books resolution.  I stress mostly because I have managed to bring a few new books home.

One resulted from pure forgetfulness on my part.  I was in Read All Over in January & found a forlorn little copy of rest area by Clay McLeod Chapman on the shelf.  Chapman has been involved in past JRW conferences & contributed the great story “The Battle of Belle Isle” to Richmond Noir.  A very creative guy, from my fringe contact with him.

Anyway, so I see this copy & pick it up out of curiosity.  Not only is it a nicely put together book, but on the inside it’s signed “Thanks for picking this up!”  My heart gave a little pang, as if I had seen a big-eyed puppy behind a pet store window.  Before I knew it, I was taking it to the register.  Right when the cashier punched the sale key, I blurted, “Oh shit!  I’m not supposed to buy any books this year!”  The cashier looked at me like I was a freak until I explained.  She asked me if I still wanted it & of course, I said yes.

So technically, I don’t count this one because it was a “rescue.”  & the next one I’m about to tell you about doesn’t count either.  I’m serious!

I recently checked out the new coffee place near downtown, Blackstone Coffee.  Like many coffee places, they had a “leave a book, take a book” shelf.  Among books as diverse as Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned & philosophy books published by Penguin, there was a copy of Poppy Z. Brite’s Wormwood.

I picked it up, mainly because I’ve danced around Ms. Brite’s works for years.  I’d read a few of her pieces in anthologies when I was younger, but never really let myself explore her.  At that point in time, when I could pull off wearing black leather & rosaries around my waist, Clive Barker, Darcey Steinke, Kittie and Smashing Pumpkins were all in heavy rotation.  I was dating a former “Vampire: The Masquerade” LARP-er & seriously considering trying it myself.  If I had picked up something like Laurell K. Hamilton or Poppy Z. Brite at that time in my life, I would have vanished into a cliché.

So, while waiting at Blackstone for a friend, I took a chance & read the first two stories in the collection.  I really liked it.  A lot.  (Thank my stars I waited.)  So I took it home, as the sign on the bookshelf instructed me to.  Another new book.  Oh me.  But, there’s a sticker in this one for, so there’s incentive to pass this one along when I’m through with it.

So see, it was free, I technically didn’t buy a new book.  I am trying not to acquire new books, really I am.  It’s just. . . I can’t . . . just abandon one that needs a good home!


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