Go on; guess.
Okay, fine. I’ll just tell you. You’re not very good at this game, you know?
A nurse at work (whom I did not mind before but now love) brought several boxes of books she was looking to get rid of (her aunt, who had owned the books had just recently died), saying that anyone could grab any of them that they wanted and that the rest would be heading to Half Priced Books that evening.
Naturally, being the book-hog that I am, I spent the better part of my lunch digging through the dusty and sometimes musty boxes looking for something I might like.
I trust you won’t be too surprised if I told you I found a few to take home with me. :)
But that’s not the really neat part. One of the books I found was a copy of Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, only it isn’t that splashy version you can get at any bookstore.
*pauses* I’m so excited that I am actually having a difficult time typing this up in any sort of sensible English. I beg pardon for any strange phraseology.
This is the Kodansha English Library First Edition Translated by Alfred Birnbaum (whose name you will no doubt recognize if you have had occasion to use any of Kodansha’s English Library).
Are you reading me? First edition, published and printed in Japan in 1989, only two years after Murakami’s original Japanese copyright (selling price then: 700 yen).
The only down side was that the book was published in two volumes and I could only find one. I asked N----- about this but she didn’t think that her aunt had had any other books that she had not boxed up and brought.
Then, because I felt a little guilty about running off with something that was, in reality, quite valuable for free, I attempted to explain to N----- what was so special about this tiny red book. I did my very best, showing her the copyright dates and the fact that it was a first edition, trying to explain to her that, while I did want this book (very, very, very much), I could not just take it and would she be willing to sell it to me for market price.
She took the book from my hands and flipping though it roughly a couple of times (Come now, everyone together: Ah, ah, ah, ah, mmmmmnnnnnnnn!) tossed it back to me with a shrug, saying, “Ah, who cares. You found it, you keep it. I would have just sold it to Half Priced Books for fifty cents anyway.”
Honestly folks: I nearly cried.
As is, I can’t stop looking at it. :) I’d love to get my hands on a copy of book two but a short jaunt into some of my favorite on-line used and out-of-print book stops has me believing that this search will be neither short, nor cheep. Just to get a Kodansha English Library copy of Norwegian Wood will run you $150+ and the earliest edition I could find listed was 12th. Naturally, I want a second first edition (arrogant, no?).
But still, to be half way there with out even trying…
That makes up for all the library books I’ve been borrowing lately. :)