Thursday, June 26, 2008

295th Post - Books I Want To Read

I have a house full of books. I have a madness, a fetish, an incontrollable desire to get books.

I wish it were not so. It kills me to get rid of much of anything. I have finally decided to unload a bunch of magazines I have read once, if at all, but I don't want to do it.

I have a lot of books I have never read, and never will read. I sift through them from time to time to find the ones I think will be collectable, and sell them on ebay.

Sometimes, I'll hear about an interesting series of books, and purchase one of them in the series. But before I read it, I think to myself that it would be good to start with the first book in that series, where the main character is introduced, so that I can get in on the ground floor as it were.

Such is the case with the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. At my previous job, one day they had a book sale. I went into it looking for something that might catch my eye. There were something like 17 of the Sharpe novels there, so I bought them all. I had heard of this series as being a good one. Since each book was a mere dollar each, I figured I was getting a bargain. I even managed to get one of those books from a guy who was already to buy just one of them. He saw my lean and hungry look and let me buy it instead. Thank you, Clarence. I hope you enjoyed the Thane Dunn concert as much as we did.

I got the books upstairs to my office and began to look at them. The publisher had listed all of the Sharpe novels in chronological order. I arranged the books in that order only to discover that the very first novel in the series, Sharpe's Tiger, was nowhere to be found.

What was I to do? I began to look through the used bookstores in Halifax. While they would often have many Sharpe novels, they didn't have that one.

When the Book Room closed in March, I purchased other novels written by Mr. Cornwell, ones not devoted to Richard Sharpe.

Finally, in May, I went into the bookstore in The Halifax Shopping Centre, and there it was: The first book in the Sharpe series (unless Cornwell decides to write another novel and retroactively insert it at the beginning).

So, now I have 18 of the books in the series.

Haven't read a word of them, other than things like the introduction or the author's note at the end of some of them.

You get the idea. There is another writer named Stephen Hunter who writes books about a sharpshooter named Bob Lee Swagger. One of those books became the basis of a Mark Wahlberg film called Shooter. Pretty good movie; go check it out.

I sought the book, and noticed to my horror that there were several books in this series with this character. And, he had a father, Earl Swagger, who also had a series of books. There are references to a grandfather (Charles Swagger), but am unaware of any such books. Jeepers, is there a greatgrandfather there somewhere? Ebenezer Swagger?

Not sure what to do. Do I buy all of the books, and then try to read them? Do I just try to read the one I do have, hoping that I do not become lost, wondering about the character's earlier adventures? Do I try out the Earl Swagger books first, since he is Bob Lee's daddy? Do I take up drinking?

Now you know about some of the stress in my life. Sharing the load is fun for me.



Unknown said...

Hey Bev,

I've found that books in a series, if they are any good, are usually pretty good about bringing people up to speed. I read, I think, the fifth book in the "Burke" series by Andrew Vachss first, and while there were references to earlier happenings, he made me feel welcome in the universe, and made me want to seek out the earlier books, w/o needing them to tell the current story. I imagine the Swagger and Sharpe books would be the same.

We just came back from a visit to New Orleans. While everyone else in town was looking for the best cocktail, we found three old bookstores.

Sorry I haven't been commenting. We are doing well. Gina is recovering a little more each day.


Bevboy said...

Thanks for taking the time to wrote, Joseph.

You and Gina are never far from my thoughts.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Joe for his help last year. When I quit the Tony Isabella Message Board after that indignity Tony treated me to, Joe was very supportive and helpful, encouraging me to start this blog.

You have him to blame, folks!

Joe, please feel free to write back and plug your blog. And tell everyone about mine on yours.

Patricia is doing much better, too, Joe. Glad the women in our lives are getting healthy.

Have a great weekend, Joe and Gina.