Second time unlucky

It seems that my landing upon Agatha; or, A Narrative Of Recent Events for my first round of Reading Roulette was something in the nature of letting a rookie gambler win a few early hands, a lure to sucker me in so that I could get taken to the cleaners later on. In other words – the second time around, the reading gods have been a little less kind.

I was worried immediately after my recourse to the random number generator. I hit a high number, which meant I was straying from my comfort zone. The book in question I had never heard of: Eve’s Daughters by Arthur G. Learned, from 1905. When I began to hunt for a copy, I learned that it had a subtitle: compiled by a mere man. Hmm, I thought, that doesn’t sound promising. My next discovery was that the book was, A collection of aphorisms about women. No, thank you. In any event, it wasn’t a novel, and that gave me and my OCD an out:

And then it was back to the random number generator, and…another high number. Not really the time period I wanted, but I can hardly object on the grounds of insufficient obscurity:

Philip And Philippa: A Genealogical Romance Of Today (1901) – John Osborne Austin.

Austin was, as his subtitle suggests, a genealogist, one best known for his studies The Genealogical Dictionary Of Rhode Island and One Hundred And Sixty Allied Families. At first I had some faint hope that “A Genealogical Romance Of Today” was simply his facetious way of describing another family history, but no – Austin did just once turn his hand to novel writing, publishing this single work privately through the Rhode Island Press. This helps to account for the book’s comparative rarity: what seems to be the only secondhand copy still in existence is currently winging its way to me from Poultney, VT.

This is turning out to be an expensive hobby. Thank heavens the dollar reached parity.

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5 Comments to “Second time unlucky”

  1. If I were doing this, I’d regard it as “fair” to cull from the list anything other than what I’d just rolled as the next title. (So I might lose the non-Virago, non-Persephone books from 1901-1930, for example.) You surely have different criteria for allowed manipulation, of course…

  2. Well, my excuse here was that if I’d known what it was beforehand, it wouldn’t have been on The List in the first place. (There are a few weird non-fiction works scattered along the way, but they’re there knowingly.) So I didn’t feel bad about culling it. My main hesitation was over whether to just take the next book in the list, which would have been “the” book if that one hadn’t been there, or to spin the wheel again.

  3. Oh great — the once Almighty Dollar has now sunk to the level of the currency I once heard dubbed by a native user as the “Pacific Peso”.

  4. That was back when we were a Banana Republic. Ah, the good old days! – when online shopping meant a multiplication factor of 2.

  5. Goodness, when I first travelled to Australia it was A$2 to the GBP. It was three last time I looked, and now it’s back to 1.6. Maybe I shouldn’t have closed my Australian bank account..

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