16 February 2007

Book Stash

Back when we lived in Ohio we started reading all of the Little House books. We checked them out of the public library. It was a really excellent library, one of the top 10 in the U.S. for towns that size. It had not only the standard Little House books, but all of the tangential series about Martha, Charlotte, Caroline and Rose. The head of the children's section told me they went back and forth about whether to keep all the books together as a series, or shelve them according to author; at the time, they were all neatly lined up in timeline sequence.

And, at the time, we were just concentrating on Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. But Kid1 always wanted to read all of the books. And, of course, she wanted to read them in order.

So, one day here in Missouri she happened to notice the first Martha book on the library shelf, and asked if we could read it. We did. We decided to read all of the books, all the way through the series, in order.

Then we made a terrible discovery. The way the books had been cataloged in our local library branch, in a word, sucked. The first book of the series was fully cataloged, and on the shelf. The rest of the books were casually hurled in with other paperbacks, and only given a spartan cataloging that allowed them to be checked out but not searched. In other words, there was no way to tell where the heck the books were, or even if they existed in the library (unless the books were checked out, at which time a hold could be placed on them). Eew!

We soldiered through this mess for most of Martha, but I Could. Not. Find. the final Martha book on the shelves. Aargh! I decided to show the library a thing or 2, and bought all 4 Martha books. Hah! Take that, public library! See if I need your stinkin' poorly cataloged books now! As a matter of fact, as soon as we finished the final Martha book, I bought all 4 Charlotte books. (Can't you just hear the libary employees sobbing over that?)

By the way, there was some discussion at our house about waiting until Melissa Wiley wrote more Martha books before we actually read the Charlotte books. Because, you know, we need to read them perfectly in order. And I started reading her blog to see when, indeed, she was going to give us our next fix (by this time we were pretty addicted to the books, you know).

And that's when I started to hear rumblings. Ominous rumblings. I started catching on that there might not be more Martha and Charlotte books by Melissa Wiley. I discovered that the covers of the Little House books were going to change (which I don't really care about that much, but those among us who like to read thing in perfect order also would like all of the covers to match, thank you). It occurred to me that it might be wise to start getting ALL of the books.

I started asking for them for birthdays and Christmas. I started scouting the internet for copies of the titles already out-of-print. And I completed our stash

just before Melissa Wiley posted confirmation that Martha, Charlotte, Caroline and Rose are all going to be abridged. Abridged! As in "dumbed-down". Because, you know, this stuff is too complex for the average child to comprehend (never mind that the same child may well be slogging through every Harry Potter book).

Frankly, I think the publisher is making a whopping huge mistake. The charm of the Martha and Charlotte books lies in the writing (I can't say much about Caroliine and Rose, as I haven't read that many of them).

But, hey, I've got MY stash. We're set. I am now grateful for the crappy cataloging in the local library, since it got me started on collecting the books for myself.

And, yes, they aren't all in the bookcase in the picture because they don't fit.

1 comment:

Pensguys said...

Good for you! I just LOVE "showing" the libary! LOL