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 bookcrossing.com, 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!