Monday, March 23, 2015

John Carter of Mars

A week or two ago I was in B&N looking to buy a replacement for a library book Patch barfed on.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We call this poor unfortunate library book the “Barf Book.”  They didn’t have a new version of this old book, so I had to place an order for it.  Fortunately, I had a coupon from one of their Kids Club emails we get, so the Barf Book only set me back a buck or two.

Anyway, heading out I spotted a bunch of those B&N custom-made compendiums on one of the tables  near the front door.  You know, one of those three- or four-hundred page books with the faux-antique cover which might hold all the collected works of Jane Austin or Edgar Allan Poe, Abraham Lincoln or H.P. Lovecraft.  My eyes instantly alit upon a thick volume of Edgar Rice Burroughs pulpy “John Carter of Mars” series.  I picked it up and examined it as a jeweler inspects a rare, unexpected gem.

The Burroughs Omnibus (as I immediately and pompously decided to refer to it) contained five novels:

A Princess of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars

The price tag was $20.  Hmm.  A little too pricey for my taste.  I shuffled out the door, hopped into the Pilot, drove onto the highway to head home.

But – but – but – … I knew I had to have it.

Five books!  That’s four bucks a book.  Plus, I have my 10% member iscount.  And – wait! – I have a coupon on my desk at home for an additional 20% off!  I get them a couple times a year from B&N. 

The justifications began.  $20, less 30%, is $14.  Divide that by five, and you get $2.80 a novel.  Not bad.  What I usually score for a used paperback, and this is brand spanking new. 

Now, I’m not the hugest Edgar Rice Burroughs fan.  In fact, as an adult, I only read one: A Princess of Mars, and I read that sometime in the early 90s.  I remember not being too impressed with it, but that may be because I was in a one of life’s particularly rough patches (girlfriend breakup, full-time school as well as full-time work, shortage of band buds to hang with).  But as a kid, I devoured them.  Don’t remember names or plots or anything else, but I remember reading them a lot and enjoying them a lot.  Under the bleachers at the football games my dad would coach.  In fourth grade when we were supposed to be doing classwork.  In the backseat of the Pinto wagon as my family drove here and there.  In our semi-finished basement.  So there could very well possibly be a huge nostalgia payout, one I may have overlooked during that initial re-read more than two decades ago.

Saturday I went to B&N with my coupon and picked it up.  Along with the Barf Book.

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