Wednesday, September 8, 2010

X is for Xanth

The Xanth (pronounced "Zanth") series by Piers Anthony was my first foray into 'Adult' fiction. It's a lighthearted fantasy series which takes great joy in turning common sayings and cliches on their heads. For example: placing a dime on the floor in front of a person causes them to freeze upon stepping on it ("stop on a dime"); if a person comes upon a golden idol in the shape of a cat's derriere, touching said item causes catastrophic bad luck ("catastrophe" ... cat-ass-trophy); while you might have night mares visit you with terrifying dreams at night, day mares bring pleasant day dreams to those who slumber in sunlight.

I was introduced to the series while in middle-school—even used two of them for book reports—and have been collecting them ever since. I say collecting, because the series is still being written. Once a year, or so, a new book is released in hardcover, followed eventually by its re-release in mass-market paperback (guess which I collect).

There are currently 36 novels in the series. I own 29. I've only read 6.

I have a few different series that are the same way. I own 17 Dragonriders of Pern novels, and have only read 6. There are other (shorter) series of which I have only read the first book. And yet I still buy more...


Put simply, I am a collector.

While some collectors prefer action figures, baseball cards, or movie memorabilia, I collect books. If I like a series, I want to own all of it. If I own the first book, or the first two, I've got to complete the collection. Preferably with the same format and style of covers.

To that end, it really grinds my gears when publishing companies change cover styles partway through a series. Artemis Fowl, Mercy Thompson, and even Xanth have all gone through these "transitions": After book 5 or 6, they decide they have a new marketing strategy so they change the new book, then re-release all the previous ones to match. Meanwhile, OCD collectors such as myself are now faced with the conundrum of shelling out more cash for the newer copies (trading in never meets the original price) or having mismatched collections.

And then the collections sit prettily there on the shelf...collecting dust. I swear, I fully intend to read all of the books I've bought. It's just so hard to ignore all the shiny new releases! And between finding great deals at the store, or getting lucky at the's getting harder and harder to say no.

In the meantime, I do scan my collection almost daily. They are not forgotten...just regularly passed up. Poor, poor books.

So, where are my fellow collectors? What's your poison? Got any OCD tendencies of your own?

The Xanth Books I've Read:

A Group That Happens to Have an X in Their Name:

The X Font: