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Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Ed Peters

How totally cool. That explains why Guardini, one of my top favorites, arranged for me to walk into an Ann Arbor thrift shop yesterday, one which i rarely visit, and find on a book shelf otherwise full of junk, a clean, solid, hardback copy of THE LORD, for just $ 1.50, which I immediately scarfed up. How completely cool is that?

Mark Brumley

Absolutely cool. -459 degrees F cool

Carl E. Olson

Hardback, eh? That's pretty cool. My best find ever was a free, hardcover edition (the only edition, from what I can tell) of Hugh Kenner's Paradox in Chesterton (Sheed and Ward, 1948), which is nearly impossible to find for under $100. It doesn't hurt that it's a great book, although The Lord is better.


It didn't impress my wife, and hasn't impressed others I've told, but I thought it was pretty neat when a couple of years ago I found in the gift shop of a California mission a still new first edition (Doubleday) of the Gospel of Life.

I think that "The End of the Modern World" was ahead of its time when it was published in the 1950s, and still is.

Ed Peters

Right guys, zero Kelvin cool.

ps: you'll like this: my home-school Latin club, which is translating Evangelium secundum Marcum, is celebrating the Feast of St. Jerome with brownies tonight, only one day late (we only meet on Wednesdays, sooo...)

Coolness all round it seems.

Nick Milne

You surely seem to have a friend in Guardini, Dr. Peters. I myself do not; when I went to the thrift shop myself yesterday a copy of THE LORD fell on me from a high shelf, injuring me, and then when I went to pick it up it burst into flames and was gone.

More seriously, however, throughout the English department's floor in the Arts building at my university can be found shelves and shelves of books that have been left, donated or abandoned for whomever has the will or need to take them. Sometimes you can find some excellent stuff. Today I found a first edition of Chesterton's George Bernard Shaw, though it is unfortunately marred somewhat by a library stamp. There's also a copy of the first volume of Wilfrid Ward's biography of Cardinal Wiseman that I intend to snag later, but I didn't have the room to take it home today.

I was also blessed Monday to find a sturdy paperback edition of Hilaire Belloc's Complete Verse on a shelf in a bookstore that I frequent quite often. I would never have looked at the shelf at all, though, if I hadn't been forced to tread delicately around a stack of milk cartons and so look in an unusual direction; the book itself was lying flat on the very top, and would have been essentially invisible from a more conventional angle. The rest of the shelf was devoted to New Age materials and Eastern mysticism, anyhow, and I had been in the habit of ignoring it completely. Seeing as I had suggested that Ignatius publish such a collection only a day or two earlier, the finding of the thing seemed grossly providential. It was at this same store that I found a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent for $1.87, the price having been reduced enormously due to a tear in the back cover.

I can't say that I've ever had an experience equal to finding that Kenner book, though, Carl. The nearest I could boast of was finding well-preserved first editions of Belloc's The Crisis of Our Civilization and C.S. Lewis' Miracles, still with their original dust jackets, for a nickel each at a book sale. I nearly perished lugging home the imprudently large number of books I bought that day (nearly forty, in all), but I dare say it was worth it in the end.

Mark Brumley

It sounds ever so cool in Petersland. I wish the whole world could have brownies.

Ed Peters

LOL Nick.

Ed Peters

I enjoyed these stories guys. It reminded me of the times, eg, I found the works of Orestes Brownson in the junk bin outside a Catholic university library, or got a complete set of Reiffenstuel (1878) for $ 3 because someone mistook the name of the publisher for the name of author, and no one since had bothered to check the Latin frontispiece.

The next generation of book hounds will likely only tell internet book stories (and I admit, I do 95% of my used book buying there now). But they will, I fear, miss out on the great book find stories that we can share. Pity, that.

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