Yesterday, when my work was done, no actual writing, just the busyness of writing, Spooky and I decided to visit Books Again in Decatur, where we still have credit because of all the books we took there just before the move here from the Kirkwood loft in December '04. It seems we only go on rainy days. It's a nice place to be on a rainy day. Anyway, we weren't there as long as usual, but I came away with the following:
A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore by Kenneth L. Gosner (Peterson Guides)
Atlantean Chronicles by Henry M. Eichner
Unfinished Tales by J. R. R. Tolkien
Dinosaur Tales by Ray Bradbury
The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Small Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (a nice hardback from Scriber's, circa 1950s)
The Eichner book was a real score, a delightful bit of crackpottery, and I'll probably write more about it later. I needed the copy of Unfinished Tales, a hardback, because I only ever had a paperback and someone borrowed it years ago and never returned it (this has happened so many times I've ceased loaning books). And I already had a copy of Dinosaur Tales, but only in paperback, and this is the hardback with William Stout's wonderful cover. But. The real find was the 1962 Canaveral Press edition of Burrough's The Land That Time Forgot, which also includes the two sequels, The People That Time Forgot and Out of Time's Abyss, with beautiful illustrations by Mahlon Blaine.
And here's where the day got a little odd. I was browsing through the sf/fantasy books and Spooky emerges from the adjoining aisle with this volume of Burroughs and asks me if I have it, if I want it. I told her I only had the books in paperback, the Ace editions from the late 1970s, but that the Canaveral Press edition was the one I read as a child. There was a copy in the Leeds Public Library. I must have taken it out a hundred times between 1973 and 1978 or so. I was telling her all this, and as she handed me the book I noticed that it was a library discard...from the Leeds Public Library. Not believing that this could possibly be the very same copy I read as a child, I flipped through the pages, dumbfounded. I looked at the little slip of paper pasted into the back with return dates rubber-stamped on it, many of them from the 1970s. And then, on page 126, I found a note scribbled in the margin. In blue ballpoint. In my handwriting. Generally, I didn't write in books. It's one of those things my mother had managed to convince me was some sort of minor sin, like talking with my mouth full or making farty noises which my armpits. But here I had written in this book. It doesn't much matter what, and I can only guess the year. It was astounding. Like a note I'd left for myself, and here I was now, in Atlanta, all these lifetimes away, looking back across more than three decades and 130 miles and somehow that book had made the journey from the Leeds Public Library to this little bookshop in Atlanta. And I was holding it again. It's almost a ghost story, and I am ever impressed at the inevitable occurrence of such great unlikelihoods. Why the frell should anyone ever need goddesses greater than simple Chance and Happenstence?
Maybe I'll scan that page and post it here later.
Not much else to say about yesterday. I lay on the couch and read Unfinished Tales, "The Istari." Spooky made a wonderful sort of curry and coconut soup last night, with fresh basil, shitake, porta bellas, broccoli, and garlic, served over udon noodles. Then we watched Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), because she'd never seen it and after Titanic and Patton I was still in the mood for big movies. I love this film, but it's impossible not to make fun of Claudia Cardinale's ridiculous false eyelashes. I called them windshield wipers. Spooky called them tarantulas. I suppose tarantula's are more in keeping with the film. I didn't know until last night that Dario Argento worked on the script.
Oh, also, Spooky had a Coke Blak (Coke et coffee) yesterday and pronounced it "the nastiest thing I've ever put in my mouth." I only sniffed it, and that was more than enough to convince me she was right. Anyway, time to bake the doughnuts and flog the platypus and leave more notes for myself to find decades further along.