This is what happens when you get books at charity shops. You are swept away by their cheapness and the feeling that you are doing a good deed, and in the end you have more books than you need (I’m kidding; that’s impossible – I mean, of course, you have the wrong books), and must find a way to get rid of the books with discretion and courtesy.
I bought The Wizard of Earthsea in small, crappy hardback form, and I really had to force myself to finish it. My mother and sister have always said it’s so, so good, and all my life I’ve felt this strange certainty that I wouldn’t like it. But they had it at the charity bookshop, and I thought, hey, I’m probably just being close-minded like I was about The Three Musketeers and Inherit the Wind and Salman Rushdie, so I went ahead and got it, and I read it, and ugh, I didn’t like it one bit. The main character was tiresome and nothing fun ever happened. I mean if you’re going to be super duper powerful, something fun should happen sometime. But nothing ever did. So much for Ursula K. Le Guin and her seminal fantasy book.
I also got From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which was on my list of books I really needed to buy in order for my book collection to be halfway acceptable. And I saw Journey to an 800 Number, and when I first glanced at the spine I thought it was The View from Saturday which I also love. When it turned out not to be The View from Saturday, I got it anyway because I figured I like three of E.L. Konigsburg’s books and maybe I would like more of them. (The book that put me off her was Silent to the Bone. I found it deeply creepy and upsetting, which may have been more to do with the personal stuff in my life that was happening when I read it, but after that I never read another new book by her.) I didn’t care for this one, however. It wasn’t bad, not creepy like Silent to the Bone, but it was a bit bland – not vivid the way Jennifer, Hecate, etc was, and not charming like Mrs Frankweiler and The View from Saturday.
I’m finishing up Disturbances in the Field. Thoughts on that to follow shortly.