On a whim I stopped by the local thrift store on the way home tonight. Occasionally they'll have bags of Lego bricks (I've found a few bags of miscellaneous pieces; my son found an entire 10" tall Bionicle warrior once...and most recently an Imperial TIE Defender...missing only one piece and the pilot) or perfectly serviceable Nerf dart guns. I rarely look at the book section because it's dominated with either Stephen King titles that I already have or Harlequin romances.
Tonight? No Lego bricks, although there was a large bag of fake MegaBlok knock-offs that I passed over. Decided to wander through the books and videos, hoping to find a copy of Labyrinth somewhere. No luck on that, but the minuscule Sci-Fi/Fantasy section had a bit of a treasure.
Now, I've had the Mageworld Saga for years, and found copies of the first two Books of the Sword a couple years ago at a Convention. My Mageworld copies are pretty ragged, even with as careful as I am with books, they've been read and re-read—They're quite well-loved, actually. And my Saberhagens saw much better days years before I picked them up. They're pretty ragged; I only picked them up because I'd been looking for them for a couple years.
I wanted secondary copies of these, of course. But even better—aside from the price—was the fact that these 6 books are pristine. They don't look like they've ever been opened; admittedly, The First Book of Swords has a bit of a spine-crease and the front cover of The Second Book of Swords has some ink transfer on it. Apparently, a National Geographic Society membership card from 1990 (which was stuck to the cover) will adhere to—and the ink transfer to—a book cover if left pressed against it long enough.
If you've never read the Mageworld Saga, I'd highly recommend it. A ripping good space opera series, with a good bit of action and a nice helping of magic added in...good stuff. The Saberhagen also comes highly recommended; I enjoyed the first book and the others have been working their way to the top of my "To Read" pile.
I've always wanted to read Asprin's "Myth" books and was pleasantly surprised to find a 2-in-1 copy. The Face of a Stranger is a great Victorian mystery (an English detective wakes up in the hospital with a bad case of amnesia, and must discover his own identity while solving an important case involving the nobility). And a neat-looking little mystery from Isaac Asimov that I'm looking forward to reading.
All told, I'm pleased with my finds this past week; it's been a long time since I've been quite so lucky with great books for my library.
And just so I don't run afoul of the Joesky tax, here's a quick little random d20 table of books (and things stuck inside them) that you might find in that mage's dusty old library—hooks and idea germs for encounters, adventures, or campaigns:
|The Everyday Application of Novel Divination|
|The Axe: A Tutorial|
|Heretics Opposing the Fire God|
|The Storm God's Invocations|
|The Minor Powers of the Great Traveling Gods|
|The Wonderful Stories of the Mysterious Plant God|
|An Expose of the Theocratic Earldom's Early Pirates|
|Sleeping Patterns of the Bugbear|
|The Trident: A Tutorial to Maintenance|
|The Subtle Truths of the Sky God|
|A Treatise of Thaumaturgy|
|Virtues of the Revenge Gods|
|Hunting Habits of the Basilisk|
|A Magus' Text on Remedial Summoning|
|An Examination of the Kingdom's Cultural Annals|
|A Study of Basic Magical Arts|
|Classic Evocations of the Journeyman|
|Theological Crimes in the Empire|
Roll d4 times on the following table to find out "What's Inside."
|Dog-eared pages marking pages with underlined passages|
|A shopping list written in code|
|Several love letters stuck haphazardly into the book|
|Hand-written notes in the margins totally unrelated to the subject of the book|
|Personal notes in the margins of several concurrent pages warning of a coming doomsday|
|A hand-written dedication in the front of the book|
|Bookmarks (d6) marking pages with errors|
|Triangular scraps of paper with notes in a foreign language|
|A document with a list of dates in the back of the book|
|A list of foreign locations in an archaic language|
|Three scraps of parchment in some kind of code that seem to have no connection|
|A list of birthdays in an archaic tongue secreted in the binding|
|A map of a local castle or keep, including secret doors and passageways|
|A map of a lost city tucked inside the binding|