A while ago the U of A book store had a crazy sale on used books, and because I’m a used book sale addict I went to check it out. Found myself a bunch of the Chronicle of Narnia books for $1.00 each. They are nice paperback copies with delightful drawings on some of the pages, like this one from the Magician’s Nephew:
Because I’ve been meaning to read them and haven’t been able to find the box set I know I got for Christmas a number of years ago (how do books go missing like this?), I decided to hunt through box after box of assorted books to find the whole set. I was successful… Mostly. I found every single book in this seven book series except for one: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which happens to be #2 in the series. I went back several times to search through the boxes of books for #2, but it just wasn’t there.
So I kept an eye out for a copy of it that matched the ones I already had, checking the children’s section whenever I found myself in a used book store. Things started to get dire, though, after I finally got around to reading The Magician’s Nephew, #1 in the series. I wanted to read more, but didn’t want to skip over the second one to do so. So I began to search in earnest, going out of my way to get to used book stores whenever I had a free moment. Do you want to know what I found whenever I searched? Every single other book in the series, in the version I was looking for, except for the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Seriously?!
My search has been going on for almost four months. Always the other books, and the occasional (rather rare, actually) copy of book #2 that doesn’t match my set, but never what I’m looking for. I began to form a picture in my mind, of some crazed, faceless individual hoarding millions of copies of this book in a large warehouse somewhere, like the people on T.V. who hoard food.
I think to myself, “Why are there so many copies of the other books wherever I go, and never the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?” I also think things like, “Seriously, who buys just #2 of the series and leaves the rest?” Then I realized… I was looking to buy only #2 of the series. Could my long search lead me to perpetuate this vicious cycle of used book series with significant gaps? Could I, myself, end up contributing to the strange phenomenon that has so perplexed me for the past four months? When and where did this bizarre used book cycle begin, and what has happened to the lost copies of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
Whatever the answer, I cannot wait for the perfect copy of Narnia #2 forever, so I settled for a non-matchy copy. Now my Chronicles of Narnia set looks like this:
At least I can now finish the series, but I shall forever be on the lookout for the copy that matches the rest of my set. Perhaps, some day, I will find it.