Finished reading Strange Wine by Harlan Ellison.
The book has a history. One of the few things I remember from the spring semester of 1995 is buying this book. I had taken a walk, this was before I had moved permenently to Lincoln, to find a bookstore on F Street. None of the other bookstore had anything I wanted. It seemed like such a long walk then, to F Street. I would have never thought that I would live in that neighborhood 3 years later and walked the distance at least once nearly everyday.
The bookstore was small, one of those places that specialized in books on mysticism and spirituality. That sold crystals and incense and soothing tapes of music. And they had a small used section of genre books. And there on the shelf, lo and behold was a book by Harlan Ellison. A rare find indeed. I slipped it off the shelf and opened the cover. The book was a first edition for $70. That was a lot of money back then. I was working in the dishroom, living on financial aid. And really, it’s still a lot of money for a book. But… I didn’t flinch when I had to buy chemistry books for more. Books that I would hate, books that would cause me grief, books that I would sell back the moment I didn’t need them anymore. What was $70 for something I would keep and cherish?
The publication date on the book was 1979. I decided I wouldn’t read it until 1999 when the book was 20 years old. An odd thought, buying an expensive book and then not rushing home to read it. So the book sat on my self and traveled with me. To Omaha and back to Lincoln, to the house on Q Street, to my Lincoln Mall apartment, to my F Street apartment so near to where I bought it, and then to Arizona. And in late 1999, I began reading it. Halfway through, I put it down. Short stories are hard to read. They’re short and I wanted more. I wasn’t quite in the mood to read it, even though I had promised myself I would. But yesterday, looking through the stacks in the back room I picked up again. And just finished it today. And it is, by every means, worth the $70 I paid.