火曜日, 12月 16, 2003

Duel of the Fates

(Meant to post this two weeks ago.)

There's nothing so irritating as a faceless adversary:

For the past month, I been immersed in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. I skipped Master and Commander (half-read during the summer) and went straight into Post Captain--"Jane Austen on steroids" is an apt description.

These novels are as addictive as crack. Though I still can't tell one jib from another, I've always had a soft spot for nineteenth century prose, and the Aubrey/Maturin friendship is one of the most heart-warming relationships I've ever read. Fortunately for this impoverished college student, the library has most of the twenty-book series. I took care to borrow Books 3 (H.M.S. Surprise) through 7 (The Surgeon's Mate before Thanksgiving and headed to the library today for the rest.

Some insidious fiend had pillaged the shelves and carried off books 8 through 10. To make matters worse, he/she/it brazenly requested the books I'd hoarded (presumably because he'd skipped the first few volumes.) For one petty moment, I considered keeping them with me till the mandated deadline, if only to deprive that Sith Lord of his O'Brian fix. But the Light Side triumphed, and I handed them over with only the briefest whimper.

Now on O'Brian withdrawal, I considered just ordering the series on Amazon.com. Still, bankruptcy, though a charming trait in dashing Royal Navy captains and erudite spies, loses much of its romance as a MasterCard bill. Fortunately, I remembered that the used bookstore across the street had most of the books at half-price. "Lose not a minute," cried I in the best naval tradition, and off I went.

The bookstore was swept clean, lost to either the fiend or his second cousin.

I'm tempted now to leave notes the volumes 11 through 20 in the library to demand satisfaction. Pistols at dawn should do the job.