Friday, May 20, 2016

This Ever Happen to You? | Used Book Struggles

NOTE: Because of some technical issues around the image folder, I lost all the "proof" and "evidence" spoken about in this post.  And, since I returned the book, I have no way of getting it back on track.  Sorry!

Had me a good cup of coffee.  Caught up on all my TV shows (can we talk Empire and Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D?).  And was ready to take down the last 125 pages of Nevada Barr’s Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon #6).  I was getting into the reading when I reminded myself how I didn’t have the following book, Liberty Falling, in my possession.  As of late, I haven't been into reading anything but Barr's park ranger sleuthing adventures.  My momentum was going just too damn good to break; I needed to exhaust myself of Barr's shit-stirring and pessimistic Anna Pigeon character.  Besides, Barr had an overarching sub-narrative of Anna's story begging for resolution.  It's a "Damn!  What's gonna happen?  I need the next book!" situation.
Y'all know how it is! 
So what to do other than dash through upcoming rain to the used bookstore to find a copy?  Partially tattered or not, I needed Anna's next adventure.  And with an easy $5 bill tucked in my struggling wallet, I was ready to rectify my situation.
I saw this moderately decent and only available copy of Liberty Falling.  And as always in used bookstores, I flipped through it a couple of times.  I do this mostly to feel a book's handling–particularly with mass markets.  I think we all know some people can get out of control with mass markets.  Bending and breaking spines.  Dog-eared pages.  A little too much yellowing for an individual's taste.  Torn pages.  Burnt pages.  The occasion buried bookmark.  Sometimes strands of hair and food residue.  Or mysterious residue.
None.  With the exception of its age and a temperately blitzed spine, all seemed acceptable.  Workable.  Manageable, if you will.  I would grabbing a matching colored marker to "paint" over the spine's creases later.  You know, bookshelf whip appeal.  
We have a deal.  My Saturday and Sunday was set.  
$3.85 broken out of $5.
I got home to sanitize the book.  Yes, I use sanitizing wipes on used books.  Followed by a sage smudging.  And yes, I believe in spirit attachments.  I have this niggling superstition that for every used book I buy, some dead person’s relative brought his or her stack in to unload a house going up for sale.  I'm from the South.  Blame parts of my folkloric upbringing.
Anyway, I took an anxious, closer look before putting the book on my shelf as my next reading.  This is what halted me…!  And no, for whatever blind and desperately-seeking-Anna reason, I didn't notice this before buying it.

Okay.  Okay.  I was a little miffed, but thought whatever I'm a trooper.  Obviously said scribbler didn't scribble out all the bad words, including the racial slurs.  Hell, the racial slurs (we're focusing on the narrative), were present enough to fire me into the scene upon discovery.  Which, naturally, made me want to settle with the book to get to the juicy confrontation to find out how Anna would handle it.  However, I continued to flip and saw the scribbler was on their scribble game.  And was neat about it, regardless of frequency.  I kept running into black clouds covering text the more I dug into the book.  I had to wonder what I was putting myself up to, and was it worth it?
But the scribbling just wasn't cute, and I'm out of PC Powders to suffer through the weekend looking at them. 
I tried to read over and under the ink clouds, before shaking my head laughing.  It was impossible.  Or, let's be real, intolerable to a reader.  I felt like somebody–some prude who probably had no business reading crime fiction in the first place–was censoring my experience.  Unfairly!  Other than that, I despise writings in books.  Especially ink.  Pencil I can diligently handle.
I slipped the receipt into a page showcasing the evidence, and placed the book next to my car keys.  I should probably return it during opening hours tomorrow.  Given it’s a used book, I’d rather go ahead and spend the extra money and shipping time waiting on a fresh copy to come in the mail.
So I just can’t see this happening.  That roundabout sense of feeling book violated and all.  Maybe some adult thought it was a good enough read for a teen, and, therefore, took a pen to it.  Anyway, I'm toying with the idea of bargaining this purchase down to a $1, and suffering through just to move forward with Anna's next adventure.  In the meantime, I'll just have to sleep on it.
(This post's draft finished.  I looked at the book one more time and shook my head.  I had to hold the book up to the light to be sure but, on page 199, the scribbler took to "Jesus."  Like, what?)
So what are you used book struggles?  Ever came across this issue?  Or is it even an issue with you?  What's one thing you keep a look out when buying used books?


We cut a deal.  An even exchange for Anna Pigeon #8, Deep South

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