It is sometimes both strange and serindipitous how book collecting works. It has been longer than two years in which I have been collecting the NCL and never have I come across The Stone Angel in Series One. It was quite frustrating since the title is one of the more common books in the library in the other five series.
My frustration motivated me to write a post on it titled The Stone Angel and Street of Riches, Series One No-Shows, in order to see if readers have experienced the same aggravation.
The responses that followed indicated that I was mostly alone in my mild misery. Once I learned that others had a book that I could not find it led me to feelings of envy and jealousy. Didn’t the book collecting gods know that I had an important website, a website that was more important than amazon, you tube, and ebay, that is at least for the six Canadians that collect the NCL?
It was raining outside yet I decided that an outing to my local thrift shops was past due since they had not had the pleasure of my company for over a week.
The shelves at these cheap outlets had been lacking in NCL books the past few weeks. I was not confident that this trip would be fruitful. In order to continue adding books to the website I was forced to visit a few used book stores in the recent past and pay a premium for the books I found.
I pushed open the door to the first thrift store I visited. I went over to the shelves and began browsing. It was not looking good. After scanning over half the bookcases, ignoring the three Series Two copies of The Stone Angel, a Series Two and Series Four copy of As For Me and My House, and a Series Three copy of The Tin Flute, I had found absolutely nothing that wasn’t in my collection already.
Then, like some flashing light out of the darkness, I saw it. It was faded, it could not be deemed in pristine shape, it was lying next to a group of inconsequential forgotten copies of pop culture books from the 1970s and 1980s, but it was there, it existed. Resting uncomfortably alongside a copy of The Six Million Dollar Man and How to Solve the Rubik’s Cube, as if her companions were mere commoners and she the Queen of England, was a Series One copy of Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel.
I widened my elbows, took and aggressive stance, occupied a larger amount of space, no one was going to rush past me to grab the treasure I had been searching for for the last twenty-five months. I reached out and captured it. It was mine. I went to the counter and paid my twenty-five cents, and left the store with a childish grin on my face.
With The Stone Angel and The Lamp at Noon and Other Stories (which I found at a used book store the day before), I now had two more titles missing from my collection of Series One books. It had been a few months since I had found a Series One book and in two days I brought the count of missing Series One books from twelve down to ten. It also seemed to open a floodgate. After visiting other thrift shops and then a book fair on the weekend, I found twenty-one more missing titles from every series except six.
The image of what I found is shown at the top of this post.