Can’t Find it, or Can’t Afford it

There are books that are so extremely rare that it becomes impossible to find. If you find it then likely it cost more than you’d even imagine a book costing…I have a running list of books I hope to come across one of these days. I check Project Gutenberg, amazon, bookfinder and the like.

[FOUND —but so far hard to get a copy through libraries and too expensive to buy -after a few attempts my local library was able to get a copy for $15, as stated in another posting]Crook Frightfulness by “a victim”.…true first person account of man being chased from London to New Zealand by evil ventriloquist (YIKES). But the guys schizo and no one is really chasing him. I’d love to read this book, just to see the narrative style. I read a tiny comment on it once that said it was nearly incomprehensible….that still intrigues me. Several years of occassionally searching and other sites yielded no results. Most recently I found a hardback copy on amazon for $328. I think I’ll have to continue dreaming of reading this book. On the bright side, somehow NOT being able to read this book inspires my writing. They say to write the book you wish you could find…or the book you would want to read. Of course the saying isn’t meant literally …I’m not going to write the story of a schizo running from meanies all the way from london to new zealand…but somehow the imaginings of variation on the theme and how madness sounds inspires me. A part of me is afraid that if I ever do read this book, I’ll be disappointed and uninspired. But then again…..

[FOUND –published in an anthology called Tough Guys] Tarantula Bait — I came across a reference to this book in a book about mystery novels. I have never found another reference to it. Nothing comes up in searches. Google searches only come up with actual tarantula bait (gross…ickkkk….can’t stand to look). I’m not sure if the original reference I came across mentioned the authors name but I have no record of it. Can’t find out who wrote it. Once I can’t find it I get a little addicted to the book, which usually turns out to suck. I spent a few months looking for We All Killed Grandma, eventually outbidding my own self on ebay for $20. Read the first few pages and felt bored. It sits unread. Partially because I’m afraid of messing up the old pulp pages. I still think it might be a good read.

The Shunned Vicar of the Gilliflowers by Frederick William Van Her — Don’t remember why I want it. Don’t remember what it is about. Can’t find anything on the author or the book. It honestly pains me when books disappear.

[FOUND – can download for free at] The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins (1751), or more specifically: The life and adventures of Peter Wilkins, a Cornish man: Taken from his own mouth, in his passage to England, from off Cape Horn in America, in the Hector by Robert Paltock — today I searched and there were quite a few copies of this book around. The newest printing is 1925 (around $40) and then later additions go as far back as 1785 ($355). It may be in 2 volumes but I’m unclear. This is an early fantasy novel about a guy who shipwrecks (Hector is his ship) at the south pole (umm…let’s hope it’s at the shores of antartica and from there he GOES the 300 miles or whatever it is to the south pole)….Those who know me will know why I want this novel.

[FOUND using] The Ethics of Medical Homicide and Mutilation (1922) by Austin O’malley — the title really says it all. Anything with Mutilation in the title is bound to be good, right? And the year of publication makes it all the more intriguing. I mean, what kind of medical mutilation are we talking about here? My imagination runs wild with the possibilities.

The City of Lost Women by “Griff” –I seem to remember this is a true account of insanity (noticing the pattern in my taste yet?)….can’t find anything else at all about it and can’t find a copy.

Oh the Gallows (1937) by Violet Vander Elst –zilch on this one.

Modern Vampirism: It’s dangers and how to avoid them (1904) by A. Osborne Eaves —Finally found an edition of this book but it’s a very poor copy by They copy and print very rare, out of copyright books but their copies have “defects” which they explain as being part of the old condition of the book. However, my copy of this book has strange blank squares and stripes on pages that render them completely illegible. Seems more of a copying problem on their part than a defect of the book they’re copying from. I was disappointed. But…when you can’t lay your hands on ANY other copy of a book, you take what you can get.


One thought on “Can’t Find it, or Can’t Afford it

  1. Hey mel – You did not mention Worldcat in your list of places you check. –

    They have a nifty toolbar you can stick at the top of your browser page and check which libraries have the book you are searching for.

    I ran Crook Frightfulness and saw quite a few copies (11) are around and I THINK there is a way you can check them out IF you belong to the right group of people.

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