Monday, June 14, 2004

There's nothing to read out there ...

Well of course, that's not really true, but I can't find anything.

A friend, several months ago, had made a comment about the Lemony Snicket series of books stating that he couldn't wait until my boys were old enough to read them and sent me a link to the "author's" website. I filed the information away in the back of my head for later retrieval, but otherwise didn't act on it.

Fast forward to the present when my cravings for some new reading material (outside of the 2-foot stack of magazines on the bathroom floor read and re-read during my morning obligatories) disinterred the recommendation. Yes, I know the books are written for children, but (ostensibly) so are the books in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - and I certainly enjoyed those. However, unlike the tales of Master Potter, the Lemony Snicket books are short enough for me to consider reading them to my sons as part of their bedtime rituals.

Problem is, they're not available.

Well, all right, YES they ARE available, but not in the cheap packaging I prefer. They've been in print more than long enough to have filtered their way into the used-bookstore system, but apparently not long enough to have found their way into paperback. has them, Barnes and Noble has them - heck, even Wal•Mart has them (just not volume one, blast it!), but they exist only in hardback and command hardback prices.

So, loading up the wife and children in the much-used Mercury wagon, we set out to find used copies at Half-Price Books' nearest location and came up empty, after a thorough search of the aisles and more than one furtive, stolen glance at the more bohemian clientelé.

"Daddy, what does she have an earring in her nose?"
"Because she missed, sweetheart... Never get dressed in the dark."

Rather than pack up the boys and head to another neighborhood location, we decided to go for the big money and drive downtown to the Grand High Poobah of Half-Price Books' locations, the Main Store. This place is larger (by far) than most municipal libraries in north Texas.

I decided not to fool around this time, but marched directly to the information desk upon arrival and asked them point-blank if they had any copies of Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events." A man behind the counter, who had the look of your usual "undecided-so-let's-just-get-a-Liberal-Arts-degree-in-10-years" type made a noise somewhere in the back of his adenoids that I realized was a giggly little laugh. Perhaps it was the look on my face that made him reconsider, and he helpfully explained that the books in that series, along with "The Davinci Code," "The South Beach Diet" and a few others were the holy grail of used books, and were frequently resold and leaving the store tucked under the arm of its purchaser before the original owner could get back out of the parking lot.

Disappointed, but determined to make to most out of the trip I sauntered over to the section where I'd find motorcycle books. If I wanted a coffee-table picture book singing the praises of Harley Davidson in its one-hundredth year of operation, I'd be set - there were dozens. Those of us riding metric Japanese bikes were out of luck. Next, I wandered over the the martial arts section, to see if any of the Aikido books I've been interested in finding could be located. There were NO Aikido books on the shelf. In fact, the entire martial arts section was smaller than my collection of cookbooks at home.

Feeling less and less enthused, I made my way to the sci-fi/fantasy section of the store and wandered up and down the aisles grazing among the colorful covers and familiar authors. But alas, not knowing what I wanted, coupled with the general malaise that had come over me at my repeated failures to acquire anything new to read, saw me leaving the huge bookstore two hours later with nothing to show for it.

On the plus side, my two boys each got a few books out of the deal. They used them to bludgeon each other in the back seat on the long, sullen ride home...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket are fine, but in my opinion, it's a tough job to best the master: Roald Dahl:

- James and the Giant Peach
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
- Matilda
- The Witches

Also worth checking out, by Norton Juster

- The Phantom Tollbooth

June 14, 2004  
Blogger HeadCheese said...

Thank you, Mr. Anonymous (mind if I call you Chris?).

Those are some of the titles of my youth and I'll definitely try and dig them back out for my own boys.

Ummmm.... you fellows don't happen to have the Lemony Snicket books, do you?

June 14, 2004  

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