Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sorcery & Cecelia: or, The Now-Quotidian Long Tail

Back in the mid-to late 1990s, I was on a quest. I wanted to find a copy of a book by Patricia Wrede and Carolyn Stevermer called Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. It came out in 1988, and I missed it, but I had loved Patricia Wrede's fantasy Lyra books, and I knew enough to know that S&C was a regency romance. In epistollary style. With magic. And I had to have it. I lived in a smallish city in Oregon (Corvallis) and it was not to be found there. So I went on the quest: As we travelled, my spouse and I would always look for second-hand book stores and check them out, for S&C and general second-hand bookstore finds. 

I never found it, but not for lack of trying. And at some point in the early 2000s I discovered Bookfinder and was finally able to purchase it (but not immediately! The first time I looked, it only listed one copy for $75!). 

So when I saw this tweet today, it took me down memory land a bit - the book that I spent over six years trying to find as an analog item could now be purchased with the press of a one-click button: 
Every so often you have to step back and think about what a weird world this is. As NYT writer Nick Bilton wrote, I Live in the Future

Today, of course, I'm especially aware that the shiny side of the future comes along with a dark side - with horrible things like weaponry that can shoot an airliner out of the sky. I'm also remembering how I felt when I finally held Sorcery & Cecelia in my hands: on one  hand, so glad to finally have it (and I totally loved it when I read it!), but on the other hand, a tiny bit sorry that my quest - that had led us to so many second hand bookstores in every town we visited - was over. I still go to second-hand bookstores, of course (but so much less over the past four years since I got an ereader) but it was never quite the same...

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