Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How I know an author's good...

Terry Pratchett has written how many books? A bazillion? Two bazillion?

The largest used bookstore in the region (McKay's) had exactly two, count 'em - two, Pratchett paperbacks in the shop: Guards! Guards! and Going Postal. There are damn few authors anywhere near that prolific that are that sparsely represented in the used book stacks (*coughHeinleincough*)


(PS: It was weird; today was the first time I ever carried books into a used book store. Whoever gets the copy of the 2nd edition of the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson that says "TAM" in Sharpie inside the front cover, use it in good health...)

(PPS: FireFox's integral spellchecker recognizes "bazillion" as a word. But not "spellchecker".)

28 comments:

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

I have both, and neither will be in a used book store any time in the near future. Or the far future.

Excellent point Tammy.

minuteman said...

I had the same experience last weekend. Two or three Pratchett titles on the shelf.
I did find "Grumbles from the Grave"
Score!

LabRat said...

Yep. You'll pry my Pratchetts out of my cold, dead hands, at the estate sale.

Even the ones I wound up with two of thanks to marrying Stingray I gave away to deserving individuals instead of selling...

Stingray said...

And anybody figuring on getting 'em from LabRat's estate sale better hope I went first, or my aim has gone shaky.

Zendo Deb said...

See I don't get it when authors write a bazillion books....

How can they be good?

Joyce wrote 4 or 5.

Tolkien really only wrote 2 or 3, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. The Simarillion was his notes on the backstory for LotR, which got published later. And his unfinished tales got published much later.

The early Honor Harrington - good. The later Honor Harrington - not so good.

Bujold's latest creation (The Sharing Knife) stunk. Well, not as bad as some authors (who shall remain Kim Harrison), but she is in the Book a Year (or better) mode. I don't hold out much hope for the final 2 in the "series." Even the Hallowed Hunt (book3 in Challion) had problems -- but it was right one time.

Or S. King. He at least had the sense to get off the treadmill for a while.

Aegis said...

If you're looking for a good used book outlet, I recommend Powell's Books. They're based here in Portland, but their online store at www.powells.com has access to all the books in inventory.

Incidentally, if you're ever in Portland, Oregon, stop by Powell's City of Books. It's the largest bookstore in the world; I think you'd appreciate it.

Billy Beck said...

Powell's has been in the top five of my favorite used bookstores in America for about fifteen years.

Definitely don't miss it if you're in Portland.

LawDog said...

Guards! Guards! is my favorite Pratchett novel -- also the first one I read.

'Course, not only do I commiserate with Fred Colon and Nobby Nobbs, sometimes I think I am Fred and Nobby.

*sigh*

BryanP said...

The good news is you'll like Guards! Guards! The books centering around Vimes, Carrot et al are my favorites.

And Lawdog, as long as you don't feel like you're turning into Foul Ole Ron it's okay.

deadcenter said...

I haven't read any Pratchett, but based on what I've seen here, I'll be correcting that soon. But, from what I've seen here, it seems like you might enjoy Mary Gentle's "Grunts". Not sure if it's still in print though.

dc

mdmnm said...

Yeah, finding used Pratchett is always hard. I end up giving selected volumes to folks and then having to buy them again. Both of those are nice finds, though.

Linoge said...

Having worked at a few Friends of the Library used book stores, and visited quite a few used book stores beyond those, I have never ceased being annoyed at how few Heinlein books make it to them. I was, and still am, quite cheap, and wholeheartedly like the idea of "recycling" books. Over the years, I have finally broken down and procured new copies, but it still amuses/annoys me. Such is the life of a Heinlein addict.

Cybrludite said...

Zendo Deb said...
See I don't get it when authors write a bazillion books....


Rent. Car note. Groceries. Critical acclaim doesn't put food on the table.

phlegmfatale said...

You know, I had the EXACT same problem last weekend. I was looking for "Stardust" or anything by Gaiman and/or Pratchett and found only one. Apparently folk who read their books are keen to hang on to them.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting patiently for George R.R. Martin to finish the next volume in his Song of Ice and Fire series. Reccommended.

Diamondback said...

Linoge,
I was about to say the same thing... I hardly ever see Heinlein books used in the book stores. But then, I'd never give mine up either. It seems when I do see used Heinlein it is usually Starship Troopers. Probably due to folks that saw the movie but didn't realize it is only loosely based on the book.

Tam said...

I usually pick up a copy of Starship Troopers when I find one at the used bookstore. I keep extra copies of that book on hand so I can give them away.

Gene said...

Every Pratchett hardcover is on my shelf, in order, mostly British FEs. I have some in paperback for those people who want to borrow, after some bad experiences, I don't loan out my hardcovers anymore.

I agree with the Mary Gentle recommendation, if you like PTerry, you'll almost definitely like her.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Try finding the works of William Burroughs in a used bookstore.

jdege said...

Uncle Hugo's in Mpls stocks Pratchett - and Gaiman.

To the extent of stocking the UK editions of titles that aren't in print in the US.

Unfortunately, many people live outside the borders of the civilized world (defined as being within convenient distance of a quality SF bookstore.)

ifconfig said...

I resisted Pratchett for a while, for reasons that I truly cannot recall.

Thankfully, my wife is and was a huge fan, and has pretty much the entire Discworld series.

If you haven't already, make sure to pick up Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman, and deadcenter 's recommendation of Grunts, by Mary Gentle.

As for used bookstores, whenever I decide that I have too much money on my hands, I check out ABE Books (www.abebooks.com), which is an online network of used book dealers. My wife and I have purchased (successfully, I might add) books from as far afield as New Zealand that way.

Linoge said...

"I keep extra copies of that book on hand so I can give them away. "

Not a bad idea, that...

Tam said...

I also try to keep on hand extra copies of The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, The Weapon Shops Of Isher, and The Stars My Destination.

Jerry The Geek said...

I resisted Pratchett for years, for the single reason that I have been constantly disappointed by authors who try to write 'funny'. It all too often falls all too short of the mark.

Then I discovered Pratchett, and shortly after Donald E. Westlake (not SF, but still ...)

I'm not sure what makes a book 'funny', but I'm convinced it's a combination of (a) conjuring up a really weird situation and just letting it flow, (b) being an excellent writer and choosing to emphasize the humor, and (c) being a REALLY weird person to begin with, then being smart enough to consider that an asset.

Whatever it takes, I'm still working to build up my library of both authors. These two, I do NOT loan out.

Anonymous said...

I just hate going into Hastings and seeing only three Heinlein books, and usually one Arthur C. Clarke. How can they call themselves a bookstore?

Diamondback said...

Even the local Books-for-a-Million carries only 3 of Heinlein's works...That's why I love the interweb for shopping. You can even find signed first editions with relative ease...Twain, Shelly Even Heinlein ;-)

Diamondback said...

Oh, and books should always be given to someone, never loaned.

Raven said...

You know, I've been reading your blog for a while - found you from AD - and only now did I realize that you live within five miles of me. What a small world.