An early copy of Paradise Lost could be paradise found for a John Milton enthusiast as the annual Calgary book sale has unearthed a rare copy of this epic poem. The early edition, from the 1700s, is expected to fetch several hundred dollars when it goes up for sale in a couple of weeks.
How the copy has travelled through the centuries to arrive at the Calgary Book Drive and Sale is a mystery, said rare books co-ordinator Inese Clark. "In a lot of ways, it's always interesting. We wonder where these early books come from," she said. This time, it simply showed up in a box along with other books donated to the fund-raising sale. The copy of Paradise Lost will be part of the special books section when the sale opens June 11.
Also on the shelves will be a first edition of The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain by Charles Dickens. Clark said the Victorian-era writer produced five Christmas stories -- including his most famous, A Christmas Carol, and the Haunted Man. The small folio book with red leather binding and gold imprints was published in 1848.
Regular customers come back to the special books section every year, said Clark. But others drop by just to see what treasures can be found. "Our books range from $5 to as high as $2,500 in the past. It's not an area that is only for really expensive books," she said.
The deadline to donate books at city fire stations -- except No. 13 by the airport and No. 25 on 76th Avenue S.E. -- is Thursday.The book sale will start on June 11 at the Crossroads Market, at the junction of Blackfoot Trial and Ogden Road S.E. Doors are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sale runs from June 11 to 13 and 18 to 20. Admission is still $2, although the price of books has gone up slightly to cover costs associated with the sale.
Children's books are now 50 cents for softcovers, $1 for hardcovers; general softcovers are $2 each or 10 for $15; general hard covers $3 or four for $10. Harlequins and Silhouette books are 10 for $1. Money raised from the Herald-supported event are shared by local agencies working in child and family literacy -- under the umbrella of Canwest's Raise-a-Reader initiative -- and Calgary's Servants Anonymous Society, which helps women victimized by sexual exploitation.
Source: Gwendolyn Richards, Calgary Herald.