Abarat, etc

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Apr 19 17:50:05 EDT 2003


In <7D4ABF401C4ED711A1170002A544560DC65676 at icex5.cc.ic.ac.uk>, Rowland,
Jennifer A B wrote:

>A Much, Much Better Book, which I have just finished and which has
>Drastically Affected my Prose Style, Such as it Is, is Land of Green Ginger
>by Noel Langley (1937)

You share this taste with DWJ, who talked about it a lot at a science
fiction convention once.  Apparently the fact that an edition came out
at one point with a whole lot chopped from it made her very angry
because, it having been out of print for ages, she rushed excitedly out
and bought copies as presents for people she felt ought to have a chance
to read it, and only found out afterwards that it wasn't the whole thing
as she had remembered it.

Don't you hate it when they do that and don't warn you? Some rats once
brought out what purported to be Masefield's *The Midnight Folk*, and
among other even longer cuts condensed the whole paragraph about how
awful it was when Sir Theopompus came over and there was a lovely dinner
but no contentment therewith, to the bald sentence "Kay did not like his
guardian." Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  I think that was the only book my mother
ever actually threw away, rather than giving it to someone else when she
no longer wanted it.  Bad enough when the author does that sort of
thing, as C.S. Lewis did to *That Hideous Strength*, or T.H. White did
to almost everything he ever wrote especially *The Witch in the Wood*
aka *The Queen of Air and Darkness*, but how does a publisher or an
editor feel entitled to "improve" a book without the author's knowledge
or consent?

>I found it in Quinto- the secondhand book shop at the corner of Charing
>Cross Road and Great Newport St- which I would advise any London-ish list
>members to go to next weekend, because they have a whole bay of Puffins in
>the basement at the moment. It made me absurdly happy browsing through them,
>there are so many wonderful books I remember from my childhood. They're
>?2.50 each, but when I asked myself which I would rather have, ?2.50 or
>Comet In Moominland, the answer was obvious. I also got My Friend  Mr Leaky,
>The Four-Story Mistake and Carbonel. 

They still had copies of many Moomins and another Carbonel, until about
four this afternoon.  :-) If they'd had another Mr Leaky they wouldn't
have any longer.  I have it, but I know plenty of people who don't and
should.

Dear Jennifer, you are a Hazard to Shipping, and that shop is an
expensive destination.  Two pounds fifty doesn't sound a lot, but it
depends how many books they have that happen to fill gaps in the
shelves!  Not to mention that there are a whole lot of other bookshops
all round there with tempting and expensive goodies one may have been
looking for over many years.  Even though I exercised restraint so hard 
I nearly broke a blood-vessel, my bank is going to be in shock on about
Wednesday!

(Yes, you guessed, I'm a friend of Roger's -- he pointed me at this
list.  He bought more than I did because I have a family who keep all
our books forever and then three days, so I have fewer gaps in my
collection than he does.)

Minnow
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