Browsing the bargain racks at the Kindle store

is fun, easy, and addictive.  Fortunately it can also be quite inexpensive.  When I bought my Kindle in March, I was expecting to be tempted by easy access to new releases.  Instead I find myself hunting down favorites from long ago, some only hazily remembered, some read so often the details linger in my mind.

This morning I downloaded The Best Known Novels of Rafael Sabatini.  Sabatini wrote in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so his work is long out of print, and much of it has been digitized.  I found my favorites, Captain Blood, Scaramouche, and The Sea Hawk in this collection, for a dollar.  Who could resist that?   I remember Captain Blood clearly, perhaps because I’ve seen the movie several times.  I remember loving the other two, but not the details.  Now I can revisit them, without having to search for tattered paper copies.

Other old favorites, alas, are lost in that span between out of copyright and recent interest.  Samuel Shellabarger, who wrote great historical novels (well, that’s how I remember them) in the 1940s and 50s is nowhere to be found today.  I loved Captain from Castile and Prince of Foxes; I have hazier memories of Lord Vanity and The King’s Cavalier.  Or Edison Marshall: hugely popular from the 30s until his death in the late 60s, largely forgotten and completely out of print today.  I loved The Lost Colony (Roanoke) and Cortez and Marina (Mexico).

Yesterday, sitting over a chicken salad sandwich at Arby’s and reading Writing the Paranormal Novel, I ran across a reference to Pinochio, not the cleaned-up Disney version, but the original novel by Carlos Collodi.  I owned a copy as a child, haven’t read or even thought about it in (mumble mumble) years.  So I hopped into the Kindle store and found several versions, ranging from free to $3 in price, but I can’t figure out which ones have the original illustrations.  (The reviews on Amazon are often lumped together, regardless of version.)  I may have to download a sample or two to figure that out.

It is often said that the sense of smell is a great trigger for long-forgotten memories.  I find that the uncountable books I have read over the years do much the same for me.

Postscript regarding Amazon:  this morning I was charged sales tax on two Steve Berry short stories I downloaded, but not on the Sabatini collection, nor on the book and DVD order I placed a few days ago.  I know Amazon is struggling with the sales tax issue, but I’m completely puzzled as to the distinction between the two purchases this morning.

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