08 May 2008

Successful Searches

I took some time at lunch today to do some book searching on Amazon Marketplace and was pleasantly pleased. I had a list of three books I was looking for and found them all for less than $20 (that's with postage). One was Gladys Taber's Harvest of Yesterdays: My Life Before Stillmeadow, which will fill in the gaps between Especially Father and Harvest at Stillmeadow, the first Stillmeadow book. Another was the Christmas book I found at the library last fall, Jack Newcombe's New Christmas Treasury. The copy I found was only 27¢! The third book I was looking for, Christmas From the Heart of the Home by Susan Branch, I actually found on Barnes & Noble's equivalent to Amazon Marketplace.

Despite having a 30 percent off coupon to Borders, I took the opportunity to order America 1908 from Amazon Marketplace as well. I found it for a price that would basically be equivalent to having a 30 percent off coupon when the paperback comes out next fall.

While I was searching I thought about other books I had not been able to find and went searching for Mary Ann Madden's Son of Giant Sea Tortoise. The title needs explaining, I'm sure. :-)

Many, many years ago, when I was in high school, I was in the Woolworths at Garden City Shopping Center and, in a rack of remainder books, found a book called Thank You for the Giant Sea Tortoise, edited by Mary Ann Madden. Apparently New York magazine (not The New Yorker) used to—or maybe they still do—would host these clever little contests in each issue. Sometimes it was asking for clever anagrams, or creative casts and/or titles for movies (Henry Fonda in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? or Michael York and Burt Lancaster in The War of the Roses, for example), or appropriate names for products ("Kiddy Foil" and "Ova Kill" for contraceptives), but as I read through the book (of course I bought it; it was only a quarter) my favorites became the contests in which they asked people to write something.

Some of these were (1) a composition written about a pet by a celebrity at age eight, (2) epitaphs for the famous, (3) various prose items in the style of a famous writer (for instance, a weather report by A.A. Milne or Shakespeare or a letter of resignation by Dr. Seuss, in rhyme, of course), (4) typical final dialog from two different movie genres, etc. These entries were always by far the funniest and also showed brilliant cleverness on the part of the person who entered.

Thank You for the Giant Sea Tortoise, incidentally, came from the contest "unseemly greeting cards for unlikely occasions." Over ten years later I found another book in the series, Maybe He's Dead, so today I searched about and found out there was a third book (actually the second of the three), called Son of Giant Sea Tortoise. How could I resist?


Shelley said...

Gladys Taber is wonderful...so glad you found another of her books. I hope you'll stop by my site, Stillmeadow Friends. http://groups.msn.com/StillmeadowFriends


Anonymous said...

For a complete list of all of Gladys' books and much more on her life in Cape Cod, New England and Wisconsin, check out: