Blog Archive

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Finds at Half-Price Books

We had to go out to PetSmart yesterday to get a new set of nail clippers for the cat; our existing pair have vanished and Julie and I are of the opinion that he stole and hid them. PetSmart is just up the street from the local Half-Price Books, and if you don't have a HPB in your town, you have my sympathies. It's an amazing store and probably my favorite book store/resource out there. I'm sure if I ever become a bestselling novelist my opinions about secondhand book stores might change, but I won't know till I cross that threshold.

In any case, we stopped at HPB on the way home from the pet store, as we always do when we're out that way, to browse and see if there are any good finds. Sometimes there's just nothing. Sometimes you find treasure. Last night I found treasure--nothing immensely valuable, mind you, but treasure for me, nevertheless.

My first stop, as always, was to the RPG section, which is a single shelf tucked underneath the vinyl records (they sell records, tapes, CDs, VHS tapes, and DVDs as well as books). Someone had dumped their first edition AD&D collection off there. Neat to flip through, but not of interest to me as I have every AD&D first ed. hardcover already. Then I saw the first treasure: the original Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home. For those unaware, this was a general (non-game-related) sourcebook to the Dragonlance Saga. It includes all the songs from the books, with music, as well as recipes, information on magic items, characters, places, etc. It's been out of print since, well, forever. It was later followed by two more volumes: More Leaves and Lost Leaves, but this was the original.

There didn't look to be any geeks around, so I left it tucked on the shelf for the time being and moved to my usual second stop: the religion and new age sections. Nothing great there this time, and I determined that they really need to move their section on Gnosticism over where the Christianity section is, because there are redundancies and it's difficult to properly search the collection with the works on the Gnostics occupying their own two shelves a goodly distance from the rest of Christian studies. They also mix Gnosticism with Kabbalism under the heading "Gnostics and Mysticism," which further confuses the issue. Kabbalism is Jewish; Gnosticism is Christian.

Just a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

Anyway, after finding nothing there, I moved to my third usual poke-point, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror. There, on the shelf, I found The Peoples of Middle Earth, Volume 12 (the final volume) in Christopher Tolkien's The History of Middle Earth series. It's not out of print that I know, but it's for some reason really hard to find on the shelves of book stores. I've been looking for it forever, and there it was, in hardcover, for $6.00. Needless to say, I grabbed it up.

Moving to my left, I scanned the "H" section as I am still laboring under the sad delusion that someone who doesn't know what he's got will some day drop off all three volumes of The Complete Letters of Robert E. Howard. They weren't there, but what was there was a book entitled Blood and Thunder: the Life and Art of Robert E. Howard. That was $5.00. I grabbed it as well.

Making my way back towards the rpg section, I realized I didn't have enough money on me to pick up Leaves and these two books. Leaves was pretty beat up, and I reasoned I didn't really have much of a use for it now, so I left it on the shelf and picked up the Howard and Middle Earth books. Maybe I'll get lucky and Leaves will still be there next month, after payday.

They also had the entire Babylon 5 TV series for $30 a season. That would've been very tempting, save I didn't have the cash for even a single season of it.

Anyway, that was my adventure last night. Now I just have to find time, between school and freelance commitments, to manage to read these books alongside the six dozen others I have yet to crack.


  1. If you're a member of Sam's Club, you can pick up B5 for $19.88 or so a season. I did just that a month and a half ago or so, and am almost done with season 2 already.


Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, and Mary Magdalene.

I'm not a mad bible thumper--Sophia, however, is my inspiration and always in my heart