alqualondë.net  ||  joe's home
21 February 2010
  J.R.R. Tokens
Minneapolis, unlike Laredo, has bookstores, and near my house is one I'd been meaning to visit ever since I moved. Book Trader, at 5344 34th Ave S (google street view).

I'm so glad to have finally made it there. It's an incense-scented, treasure-flush D&D dungeon of a library with an MPR soundtrack. Like any used bookstore of esteem, its shelves have overflowed into the narrow aisles that twist from room to room. The shop's new sign accurately adds "and Curiosity Shop" to its name: a miscellany of strange antiques that mostly fall under the category of "toys and household items" lies sprinkled among the books. Unfortunately, a revolting collection of taxidermy does too. This is largely made up for by the fact that a big Millenium Falcon, a 70-year-old infant rectal syringe, and an original copy of a U.S. Congress bill from the 1930s can all be picked up in a single shopping trip.

When I visit used bookstores, I tend to peruse the Tolkien section in search of unusual goodies. This was the first time it really paid off though! I left with a knapsack's worth of relics.

The first item is a four-volume set of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, living in an ooh-shiny gold foil case decorated with heraldic devices from The Silmarillion. It is the Ballantine Books "Silver Jubilee Edition," published in 1981 upon the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Return of the King's first U.S. edition.

The second item is "A Tolkien Bestiary" by David Day (1979). It's been criticized for having details deviating from Tolkien's works, but it's hard to complain about something with such lovely illustrations.

But the Nauglamír of my haul is a set of three of the earliest Tolkien calendars, from 1976-1978. These were the three years that the calendars featured the illustrations of the Brothers Hildebrandt. They're quite well done, though a bit Disneyish. All of them are in pristine condition, and the 1977 and 1978 ones still have their original cardboard mailers. Actually, 1976 was hiding in the back of 1977's mailer, unbeknownst to the shopkeeper (I did point it out and pay for it). 1978's mailer also contains order forms for Star Trek and Tarzan books.

Finally, the other day at Dreamhaven I picked up a small poster. It advertises a 1987 exhibition of drawings from The Hobbit at Oxford, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the book's publication. It may or may not be an original, since prints are still being made and sold online, but either way, I love it.


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