Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Sad Little Library Book

A month or so ago, I read online somewhere that they were planning on making a couple of movies out of Terry Brooks's fantasy epic Shannara series. I read the first three books of this series as a teenager and loved them (I have particularly vivid memories of reading the first book, The Sword of Shannara, while on a family trip through Pennsylvania one summer).

Even though I kept copies of the books throughout most of my life, I never really read them all the way through again. So when I read that the books might be turned into movies, I decided that it would be fun to read the books again. I logged onto the library's website to see if I could order a copy.

To my surprise, the whole entire Hawaii state library had just one copy of the first book. Two other copies had been lost - one, the website said, all the way back in 1986. The only copy was checked in, although on another island, so I requested it. I was the only person on the wait list.

Still, it took more than a month for the book to find its way to my local library, which isn't necessarily uncommon when you order books here, I've noticed. But it finally came in this week, so I dutifully went down to pick it up. And this is the book that I found waiting for me:

The name of the book is written on the spine in pen ink. The book is held together by packing tape. On the inside, the binding is slightly broken. The book is also water damaged.

I've thrown away nicer copies of books than this at the bookstore where I volunteer. Heck, I've seen way nicer copies of this particular book at the bookstore than this. I'm kind of tempted to buy one (for just 10 cents) and donate it to the library.

Honestly, I may sound mad, but I'm more amused than anything. I really kind of can't believe that this is the only copy of this book that the library owns. In a way, though, it does make me a little sad. There aren't many fantasy fiction fans in the world, I know, but I am one of them. And it makes me sad that fantasy books get so little "love" from bookstores and libraries.

I have to admit, after ordering the book, while I waited for it to come in, I wasn't sure that I wanted to read it again after all. But now that this sad little book has found its way to my hands, I feel compelled to give it a good turn.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

Once upon a time I tried to check out "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" from the library. They didn't have it. I refused to believe they wouldn't have a copy of one of the most excellent books set in high school ever written and so I asked the librarian. She was similarly aghast. But it is true. No copies. That Multnomah County Library discards things like crazy. So I'm glad your book is still in circulation, if not in the best shape. I hope both the spine and the plot hold up for this rereading.