RARA-AVIS: Literary Types, Library Cards and Biblioholism

From: T. Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 25 Jul 2005

Surely with all the stuff Joyce Carol Oates has churned out, she has written something that would qualify as hard-boiled or noir.

I am another person who has used a library card almost forever, but that hasn't controlled my purchasing. At the beginning of 2004 I made a resolution that I would try to read three books of fiction from my collection for every book I borrowed from the library or purchased. For non-fiction I was trying for two for one. I never bothered checking the results but this thread spurred me to do so. Did I achieve my goals - of course not.

During 2004, I read 26 books from my collection, 30 from the library, three gifts, and 34 that I purchased. During the year I made two unplanned trips to England where I read 13 more purchased books that aren't included in the total. Had to buy something to read while there.

About 60% of the books I read were crime books and the first-time authors for me included Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Jim Thompson, Kem Nunn, Louise Welsh, Malcolm Pryce, John Rickards, Terrill Lankford, James Sallis, Karin Slaughter, Theresa Monsour, James Hime, Teddy Hayes and Jim Kelly. I also bought and read Ian Rankin, John Sandford, John Harvey, Kent Harrington, William Kent Kreuger, Richard Barre, Michael Connelly, Ace Atkins and Randy Wayne White to mention a few favourites.

The stats really don't seem too bad, but they don't include the rest of the books I purchased as my total for the year was 327 books. Yes, this means that I purchased 280 books in 2004 that I haven't read.

I blame the members of Rara-Avis for part of this as I am always visiting thrift stores, hospital and church sales, etc., looking for older paperbacks by authors mentioned on the list. I'm also trying to complete my Brett Halliday and John D. MacDonald collections
(Ross M., Hammett and Chandler are now complete) and find all the books listed in the 100 Favourite Mysteries and They Died in Vain books as well as Edgar and other award winners. Luckily when you find them the price usually is less than $1.00.

But I agree, it's difficult to return those library books. Right now I have 20 on the reserved list and most are current fiction such as James Lee Burke, Peter Bowen, William Tapply, Jonathon King and C.J. Box, who I no longer collect in hardcover, or new authors such as Harry Hunsicker, Lee Irby and Megan Abbott, who I want to try.

I clearly suffer from biblioholism and the problem of too many books, not enough shelves. I'm being forced to clear out plenty of hardcover fiction so if you are looking for something in hardcover that is not overly collectible let me know offline and if I have it in my personal library "discard" category I would be happy to send it to you for the cost of packaging/mailing. William Denton got this deal on an extra copy of Kent Harrington's Dark Ride.

Kent Morgan


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