Monday, September 26, 2011

Hard to Find Titles and some New Acquisitions.

During the course of this project, there have been a number of titles I have had a hard time getting my hands on. You would think, that since these are classics, that bookstores would regularly carry them. But, I have found that bookstores regularly don't have the titles I am looking for.

It was only after Penguin released their hardcover classics that I managed to get a copy of The Woman in White. I also had to order a set of Sherlock Holmes titles (My big leather-bound collection was too big to carry around and read comfortably). My library also did not carry single volume editions of any of those novels, which really surprised me-they only had The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I also had to search pretty hard to find a couple Gaskell titles, as well as some of the plays. I have been constantly surprised by what I have needed to search for. I also have to commend Barnes and Noble for their collection of classics. I have found quite a few titles through them that are a little more difficult to find otherwise. They also offer them at pretty amazing prices, so you really can't complain.

However, there are still titles that I have to order. I don't necessarily like to shop online. I prefer to order through the store or search for titles I need in used sections. But, sometimes you have to go online to find things that are only published by one publisher, or not in high demand (and saying that classics are not in high demand kind of kills me).

Anyway, at this point I own all but the "hard to find" titles off my list. And I don't know if they are hard to find simply because my stores don't stock them, or if they really are that obscure. In any case, I made one last little shopping trip online before my book buying ban went into place.

Here is what arrived:

From left to right...
  • The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
  • The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman
  • Winter in the Blood by James Welch
All three of these are titles I haven't heard of before. I also couldn't find them on Project Gutenberg for download. My library didn't have them either, so ordering them was the perfect way to get a copy.

But this is where I struggle with my list. I created it based off the AP reading list, as well as a couple "Best of" lists I found online. And I am pretty sure that these came from that AP list. If I had such a hard time finding them, how many people have actually read these off the list? It can't be many.

Of the three, The Little Foxes was by far the hardest to find. I ended up ordering a slightly used copy (it looks brand new)-it is a copy that would usually be used by actors for play rehearsals.

As for the other two, I have searched for them since before I started this process and haven't seen either in any bookstore I have entered (I have a lost of books "to buy" in my purse at all times). But I am glad I finally have them, and they all look quite excellent.

What have you gone through to find a copy of a book? Any tips on finding old gems?


  1. My copy of The Woman in White is a Barnes & Noble Classic.. maybe they just didn't have it in stock at your store? You can also usually ask them to order you a copy from another store and pick it up in store rather than order online. There are other sites besides Gutenberg to download free classics - another good site is Although, I could not find the three books you ordered on that site either. Could come in handy in the future, though? They have a lot of Gaskell titles listed.

  2. I would never have thought there would be too many hard to find titles among the classics -- as you mentioned. I'm glad you were able to secure them!

  3. Most Canadian students have to read The Stone Angel at some point in high school. But I think Margaret Laurence is a bigger deal in Canada than in the US, which is a shame because she's a brilliant writer. I would also recommend The Diviners. It's fiction but could also be considered an autobiography.

  4. Oh, wow I wouldn't think The Woman in White would be so hard to find.

  5. The books I had to really hunt for were Margaret Mitchell's novella, The Lost Laysen, and a few of the biographical works on her, such as A Dynamo Going to Waste and her letters after the publication of Gone With the Wind. I found used copies online through Borders, so I can't actually say it was difficult to find them. (I was super-excited when they arrived!!)

  6. Stone angel has never been hard to find in my neck of the woods, unless there was a certain edition you want. But I know the feeling of having classics not available in a book store or any book store within a 50 KM radius. Sigh!

    I hope you enjoy the Stone Angel, it was a great ook.

  7. I haven't heard of those three, either!

  8. I haven't heard of those, either! I was looking through the AP lists recently and was surprised at how many books they listed that I haven't read--it made me wonder how I managed to write the essays on the test!

    My copy of The Woman in White is a hardcover from the early 1900's that I chanced upon in a used bookstore. I've also seen classic hardcovers in antique stores. They are often pretty cheap, too, as they are usually not exactly in high demand. (I think the high-demand books get sold, um elsewhere, than the antique stores I've been in!) Selection varies, and often includes mostly books I've not heard of, but I imaging a little searching can yield gems. I've not used it, but I want to say that includes listings from many independent booksellers, so that may be a place to look also.

    I often look at the library, although I'm fortunate to have a pretty good system. Which reminds me--several of the local colleges/university branches around me allow the public to sign up to borrow books (some charge a small yearly fee, some don't). I don't know if you have anything like that around you that you might be able to borrow from? I found a more obscure title that way just a couple weeks ago.

  9. After reading this, I checked my shelves, and I realized that a lot of my classics come from used book shops in antiquey type towns! I have this bad habit of buying a ridiculous number of books from those shops.

  10. I haven't heard of these books either!

    I always buy used books online, unless i"m at a library sale (or something) and happen upon a book I really would like. I rarely buy books new from a bookstore. I find it's so much cheaper to buy it used online and pay shipping. I've only had a few bad experiences, i.e., book in bad shape, worse than I expected. And then I can complain and get a refund.