Doing that book meme made me think about some of the books I used to love but don't have access to thanks to bad book borrowers or just plain bad luck.
First on the list is a little number called Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach. I did a course during my studies called 'Utopias and Dystopias' which absolutely rocked, firing up my reading for a number of years, spinning off into a personal exploration of women's sci fi and speculative fiction writing. The premise of Ecotopia is that two US states (Washington and the other little one next to it north of California) break away from the rest of the USA to form an environmentally sustainable society and manage to survive the economic and military attacks that ensue from the rest of the oiks. Can't remember if it all ends in tears or not but I do remember really enjoying it, lending it to someone and of course never getting it back. Have ordered a new copy through Abebooks which cheers me immensely, as it is quite hard to find in Australia. When I have re-read it I will let you know what happens.
I also thought about J.P. Martin's Uncle series which I read at primary school. No one I know except my ex-husband has read these books, and even that wasn't enough to hold the marriage together. Illustrated by Quentin Blake, they are very odd and very funny books about an elephant who lives in a surreally enormous castle called Homeward with his friends The Old Monkey and The One-Armed Badger. He tries to have a good, kind life looking after all the strange people who inhabit his home, constantly finding new areas he's never been to, but is forced to defend himself against the Badfort Crowd, led by Beaver Hateman with such characters as Hitmouse, Flabskin and Hootman. It's a bit of a parody of the Gormenghast trilogy, but I didn't work this out until I discovered one of the books a few years ago at a local charity stall (Uncle and His Detective). The nice ladies said I could have the book for 20c, but I was so chuffed at finding it that I gave them $1 for it. Then I went home, all inspired, and checked the internet to see if I could find any more in the series. It turned out that there had only ever been one edition published, and the next most affordable copy was US$200! Holy shit. I still check out every charity stall, second-hand shop and garage sale for the distinctive covers, but no luck so far. I mean, my primary school library had them all, as did the ACT Library system, but all got sold off through the years to allow them to buy fancier children's books. Sigh.
Having mentioned Patrick Susskind's Perfume in the meme, I don't think I actually own a copy at the moment. I keep buying it whenever I see it, and lend it to the next person who wants something good to read, but then never seem to have one in the house. I guess I'd better buy another one if I'm ever thinking about flying over the South Pacific, just in case...
Finished my Sherri S. Tepper book, The Visitor. It picked up pace about 3/4 through, and I found by the end I was loath to put it down, grunting at Best Beloved whenever he tried to get me off the bed to go out for dinner (only seem to be able to read on the bed these days, otherwise there is always seems to be something more urgent in a room to do). So it all ended well, but it isn't a patch on Beauty, which I highly recommend to anyone who like fairy tales and/or sci fi. A dystopian take on Sleeping Beauty, it involves time travel between fairytale past and speculative future.
And I must buy another copy of Angela Carter's edited collection Wayward Girls and Wicked Women, speaking of someone who liked a fairytale or two. I lent it to a friend to take travelling (years ago) and she committed the sin of swapping it on her travels for something else to read, and not buying me a replacement copy later. Last time I lent anything in print to her, I tell you. Mmm. Glad I remembered that. Time to go back to Abebooks.