Books you've lost and could not replace, a memorial thread


Books


I recently lost two books to separate tragedies.

The first was a paperback I read over twenty years ago, which I kept on a shelf in the basement. I was down stairs this past weekend and was looking at the shelf and didn’t see the book where it was supposed to be. (The book, is the first in the Battletech trilogy about the Grey Death Legion, it is called “Decision at Thunder Rift”). I looked and looked for it, but could not find it. So I went online today to see if I could get a new copy and the stupid thing is selling for 45 dollars on amazon, USED!

The second, hurts more I suppose. I keep a lot of old game products in large clear plastic tubs with locking lids in the garage on some shelves, and on Tuesday night the dogs (I have two Australian Shepherds) must have gotten into a mouse chasing frenzy because they knocked down one of the shelves, and one tub broke open. This tub had some Car Wars products, a set of 3.5e DND books and some soft cover supplements from various games of the 1980’s. While I did lose the 3.5e MM to the dogs regular attitude of “Hey this is on the floor so we get to chew it up,” I was not as heart broken by that as I was that the only other thing they decided to destroy was my one copy of “Tollenkar’s Lair,” which I can now only find on ebay for $70.

Man these losses are hard to take, and even though I probably could shell out the money to replace them, it just isn’t the right time to do so.

So, does anyone else have a story about lost books that were a heartbreak, maybe couldn’t ever be replaced, or were replaced for more than you wanted to spend?


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When I got married to my ex- I gave up my whole (2nd) gaming collection and all of my books and comic books. They went to Goodwill.

My first gaming collection got left over at a friend's house a month before I went out of town (moved). I never got it back. I had the old white D & D boxed set with some of the older books, as well as a Deities and Demigods that had all the stuff that was removed in later editions.

My current wife would never make me get rid of my books, but she does get (very) tired of them being all over the house.

Scarab Sages

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I had a journal - just a boring standard-issue black-and-white school journal - that I'd had since 7th grade. I kept it and kept writing in it for over 12 years, filling it with all sorts of cool pictures, cartoons, and ideas. In 2009, I went to Europe with my family, and I accidentally left it in a hotel in Italy. We tried calling the hotel not long after leaving (but after we'd already gotten on the train to our next destination and couldn't go back), but they never got back to us (some French workers on another train explained to us that Berlusconi's Italy was notorious for not giving a s%~~).

That book was one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable - a true priceless treasure. It's probably been incinerated.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

I had a journal - just a boring standard-issue black-and-white school journal - that I'd had since 7th grade. I kept it and kept writing in it for over 12 years, filling it with all sorts of cool pictures, cartoons, and ideas. In 2009, I went to Europe with my family, and I accidentally left it in a hotel in Italy. We tried calling the hotel not long after leaving (but after we'd already gotten on the train to our next destination and couldn't go back), but they never got back to us (some French workers on another train explained to us that Berlusconi's Italy was notorious for not giving a s@*&).

That book was one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable - a true priceless treasure. It's probably been incinerated.

Ouch!!! That does hurt.


I have a fun book that I just found again, called 'Return of the Wolfman' that picks up right where the old universal movies left off... Right down to Abbott and Costello's characters rowing away in the distance. I decided to look it up (it's not in the best shape) and saw that the cheapest version is $65... I'm still a bit shocked by this.

Gotta make sure I DON'T lose this!


I kept a gaming notepad which I used for all my jottings, interesting NPC concepts, fragments of adventures, maps and such. I had it all the way up to university (Uni of East London in Dagenham) where I met several other players including a budding artist named Barry Childers who illustrated some of the NPCs from my notes (and most of our character portraits).

When I left university I had all my stuff shipped back to Malaysia but the notebook never made it back. I lost other RPG books as well with the missing crate, but those were replacable. I wish I had that notebook still - feels like a small piece of my life was lost with it.


Terquem wrote:

I recently lost two books to separate tragedies.

The first was a paperback I read over twenty years ago, which I kept on a shelf in the basement. I was down stairs this past weekend and was looking at the shelf and didn’t see the book where it was supposed to be. (The book, is the first in the Battletech trilogy about the Grey Death Legion, it is called “Decision at Thunder Rift”). I looked and looked for it, but could not find it. So I went online today to see if I could get a new copy and the stupid thing is selling for 45 dollars on amazon, USED!

The second, hurts more I suppose. I keep a lot of old game products in large clear plastic tubs with locking lids in the garage on some shelves, and on Tuesday night the dogs (I have two Australian Shepherds) must have gotten into a mouse chasing frenzy because they knocked down one of the shelves, and one tub broke open. This tub had some Car Wars products, a set of 3.5e DND books and some soft cover supplements from various games of the 1980’s. While I did lose the 3.5e MM to the dogs regular attitude of “Hey this is on the floor so we get to chew it up,” I was not as heart broken by that as I was that the only other thing they decided to destroy was my one copy of “Tollenkar’s Lair,” which I can now only find on ebay for $70.

Man these losses are hard to take, and even though I probably could shell out the money to replace them, it just isn’t the right time to do so.

So, does anyone else have a story about lost books that were a heartbreak, maybe couldn’t ever be replaced, or were replaced for more than you wanted to spend?

Same book, same situation, fortunately the german version was $5. So my collection is still complete.


I don't know if this qualifies for the thread, but after reading "I'm Hiding In Your Closet" and "limsk" tell of losing their own work, I feel compelled to tell my own story.

In my youth, I tried many times to write a novel or a comic book series, only to give up after a few years and throw out my work in disgust and embarrassment. The last time I managed to finish a novel was in the 1990s, when I wrote a science fiction book called Chronoverse about a future time - called "the Temporal Age" - in which time travel and intertemporal communication were commonplace (but history can never be changed, as a person traveling through time is part of history). As usual, I felt that my book was pretty awful, but it had a few passages that worked well. Early in the book, one character got a visit from her own future who came to give her past self some advice, implying to the reader that such events happen to many people in the Temporal Age. Later in the book, another character thought of a clever solution to a certain difficult problem.

But even my "good" scenes weren't as brilliant as I thought at the time. Yet another character related her older self trying to talk to her younger self, who refused to listen. She related the story from both points of view. ("I couldn't believe my future would have the nerve to try to talk to me, when she knew I wouldn't listen!" Then later "Of course, my past didn't listen to me, the little snot!") It seemed to me like an original idea when I wrote it. Imagine how I felt years later, when I read "By His Bootstraps" and discovered that Robert Heinlein had written the same thing in 1941. Ouch.

Like I said, I wrote this novel in the 1990s, so I backed up my work onto a 3.5 inch disk. After I gave up the project as a lost cause, I happened to want to take a big software package home, and my internet connection at home at the time was ridiculously slow, so I put the information onto 3.5 inch disks. I cleared a bunch of disks to do it, including wiping out Chronoverse. Well, good riddance, I thought. And it was all for nothing; the software package didn't work at home anyway.

Today, I tell my son a lot of stories. He can never get enough, and I've long since run out of great stories to tell him, so I kept digging into the recesses of my memory for more. One day, he asked me to tell him Chronoverse. Even though it had been well over a decade, I was surprised by how much of the book I had forgotten. I mean, I had WRITTEN the darn thing! In particular, I couldn't quite remember the main character's clever solution to that difficult problem I mentioned. What a pity! It seemed so neat and pat at the time. I mean, I remember the general principle, in a vague sort of way, but I can't reconstruct the particulars. In fact, the suspense was killing me.

So I dug up the 3.5 inch disk (because I happen to have an old PC with such a drive) and looked in it, only to find that I had thrown away the book, just to make room for some silly software, which I could now easily download from the internet! Darn!

If only I could go back in time...


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Two years ago, my wife left our house unlocked one fall day. She had left for work after me, and simply forgotten to lock up, little did I know, this minor oversight was about to go nuke level bad.

When I returned home after work that day, I went to my book shelf where I kept all my gaming books. (I owned most of 1st ed. D&D, and ALL of the material from 2nd ed and 3.5.)

Stood in front of the shelf for a moment, speechless. Someone had entered our house, and stolen nearly every gaming book I owned. They had even stolen my Paizo stuff, including AP's and even my friggin character sheets and GM notes. But, it gets worse, I go up stairs to my office (where I keep my collection of every TSR/WotC novel ever written, along with my large collection of combat ready swords, daggers, maces, axes, longbows, etc.)

Every one of my daggers (my favorite weapon) is also gone.

One mistake by my wife cost me some of the most dear and beloved things I owned. It took me 25 years to put that collection together, and in a few hours, it was all gone. Claimed via homeowners insurance, got about 1/20 of the value of the books and weapons back, barely enough to replace anything. I nearly quite gaming that day, and whats worse, someone did this to hurt me personally who KNEW me, because we had much more valuable things they could have stolen, but they went for what mattered most to me.


A long, long time ago, I had dreams of being a weiter. I was going to start with my own comic, based off of a real diamond in the rough comic called Macross Missions Destroid that I liked. I re-imagined the entire Robotech universe as something else, with the scientist who got exposed to protoculture being killed and his daughter having to be the one to make sense of his notes. I came up with alternative characters, mecha, everything. I kept it all in a notebook that went everywhere with me, including work.

At that time, I was a tutor working for a small business. One day, an unwell woman came into the place and took all the backpacks including my own. I lost over 400 dollars worth of college textbooks..and my comic. I was crushed.

I tried to rewrite stuff and save it on computer while it was fresh in my head, but it is a thin imitation of what I wrote out longhand. Maybe I'll return to it one day.

Maybe.


Video game instruction manuals! It used to bother me when my parents and I would babysit my cousin when I was in elementary school and she would scamper over on all fours and rend my video game instruction manuals. For the kind of person that, to this day, still has a mint-condition, black-disc copy of PS1's Medievil game after having played it for probably 50 or 60 hours back in the old days, that was some sad stuff.

Scarab Sages

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GM_Beernorg wrote:
Two years ago, my wife left our house unlocked one fall day. She had left for work after me, and simply forgotten to lock up, little did I know, this minor oversight was about to go nuke level bad....

That's absolutely terrible - but if you're sure it was someone who knew you, couldn't you at least try finding out who it was? This sounds like a good thing to hire a detective for.


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Did a bit of sleuthing myself, there are really only two people I know of that could have been at fault, though one disappeared right after the incident, and the other denies all involvement (though was seen at a pawn shop a week after the incident, by me, and then ran when he noticed I was there)

Wish I had enough money to hire a PI, though the trail is likely cold now. I suspect it has to be someone I know, as anyone that knows me even reasonably well in person will have heard me talk about my love of daggers and gaming. Thus, as those items were specifically gone, a known individual with a vendetta seems likely.

On the bright side, the house always gets locked now.

Scarab Sages

I bet you could find some pretty lucrative sympathy on one of those crowdsourcing websites if you wanted to try doing something about it that way.


GM_Beernorg wrote:

Two years ago, my wife left our house unlocked one fall day. She had left for work after me, and simply forgotten to lock up, little did I know, this minor oversight was about to go nuke level bad.

When I returned home after work that day, I went to my book shelf where I kept all my gaming books. (I owned most of 1st ed. D&D, and ALL of the material from 2nd ed and 3.5.)

Stood in front of the shelf for a moment, speechless. Someone had entered our house, and stolen nearly every gaming book I owned. They had even stolen my Paizo stuff, including AP's and even my friggin character sheets and GM notes. But, it gets worse, I go up stairs to my office (where I keep my collection of every TSR/WotC novel ever written, along with my large collection of combat ready swords, daggers, maces, axes, longbows, etc.)

Every one of my daggers (my favorite weapon) is also gone.

One mistake by my wife cost me some of the most dear and beloved things I owned. It took me 25 years to put that collection together, and in a few hours, it was all gone. Claimed via homeowners insurance, got about 1/20 of the value of the books and weapons back, barely enough to replace anything. I nearly quite gaming that day, and whats worse, someone did this to hurt me personally who KNEW me, because we had much more valuable things they could have stolen, but they went for what mattered most to me.

Jesus. I don't think I would ever recover from the betrayal of someone I know stealing all my stuff.


GM_Beernorg wrote:
Did a bit of sleuthing myself, there are really only two people I know of that Thus, as those items were specifically gone, a known individual with a vendetta seems likely.

I would have broken some legs myself. But that's just me.


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I had this copy of Aristotle's Second Poetics that got chewed up by a crazed monk. God I miss that book. And the monk too, come to think of it...


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Oh, believe me Freehold, I have a very special hand carved driftwood club set aside for the day I find out who committed the deed.


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Revenge fantasies always make me feel better, too, but a prison sentence would hurt a lot more than losing books and daggers.


When I shared a house, I had a very small room and a pretty large quantity of books, so the excess books got stored in the cellar. It was a poorly maintained Victorian jerry-built house, so it leaked, so the books in the cellar got very damp and ended up covered in disgusting smelling black fungus. The only one I really missed was a book about the Northwest Frontier Regiment, but a lot of other stuff had to be chucked out as a result.

My old D&D stuff went elsewhere when I moved away to college, but that was a long time ago. Still wish I had the red & blue boxes, though...


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My first experience with 'gamer loss' was my brand new, first print run, first edition Unearthed Arcana.

We had a mongrel of a canine we'd taken in -- well, more like my 11 year old brother had 'rescued' him. As a puppy, this thing was a menace. I came home to find my bedroom festooned with the remnants of the book, along with the signs that the dog had tried to *eat* the book and it did not react well with him.

My second experience with loss was my return from the Navy in mid-1993. While I'd left money to have my remaining Battletech and D&D items sent that I didn't have the space or weight allowance to carry with me, I never saw any of them.

Probably for the best, though. Paranoia was so cursed out of that lot.

Third experience, much like someone mentioned above, I was using a buddy's basement for storage, mold and mildew took out most of my renewed D&D collection.

Went into a bit of a book-buying drought in the 1996-2003 timeframe due to WoD Larping.

Think I still have the red box and the blue book floating around here somewhere...


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I FOUND IT!!!

Earlier in this thread, I told you about writing a pretty horrible book. Many years later, I told the story of that book to my son, and I felt curious about some of the particulars that I had forgotten. I looked for the files that constituted that book, and concluded that it was lost.

Today, I found the files. I backed them up. What's more, I probably won't be able to resist the temptation to tell my son about those files this very day, even though there's a danger he might read some of that book, making me die of embarrassment.

Dark Archive

I've 'lost' many copies of some of my favorite books, to the point where I've gotten into the habit of picking up cheap copies at used book stores, and have two to four copies of some of my favorites. (Magician, Creatures of Light and Darkness, Lord of Light, etc.)

But the only irreplaceable loss was a box of comics from the late '70s and early '80s that had to be pitched after the cat decided it was a comfortable place to curl up and give birth to a litter of kittens... Yikes. So much for all my Secret Society of Super-Villains comics!

Dark Archive

I actually have that Battletech book the owner of this thread has lost.


Oddly, I have more depressing cases of having books than losing them. Like the set of Star Wars RPG books I borrowed from a friend, and have been unable to return since they've been essentially forbidden from being in contact with me. Or the very large set of Dragon Magazines I picked up at a thrift store, that I can't help but suspect were probably reluctantly parted with at the behest of a parent or significant other.

The only book I lost and haven't been able to replace that I really miss is a history book that my dad borrowed, took to work with him, and apparently misplaced somewhere there. He had been trying to find it for me, and was never able to. I've tried contacting his workplace to ask that it be returned if found, but... well, I can't say I expected much.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I loaned my copy of the original three Dune books to a friend in 1981. I haven't seen them since.

Also, my mom pitched my run of Claremont X-Men comics when I joined the Navy. I was only gone for four years, Mom! :-)


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I lent a copy of Gilles Perrault's The Red Orchestra, the story of Leopold Trepper and the Soviet espionage ring in Nazi-occupied Europe, to this fat comrade that I didn't like.

Later, he got married, moved to Baltimore, dropped out of the organization I am in, joined the Democratic Socialists of America, and popped back up on Facebook, criticizing his ex-comrades.

I waited for it to get hot and heavy and then just jumped in the thread--

"Hey, Ryan! Longtime no see! Do you still have my book? I would like it back, if possible."

He went through the motions of saying he'd send it back, but that was two weeks ago and I still haven't gotten it in the mail.

I'm going to keep it up until he blocks me.

(I could probably replace it for pennies on Amazon or something, but I won't. There's a principle involved, damnit!)


Oh, there are so many, but the one I miss most was a high school literature book I found in an abandoned house. The student had written his name in it and the year he took the class (1910). It had, among other literary gems, Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", which was the first time I'd ever heard of it. I miss that book to this day.


My copy of the Star Trek Technical Manual. My father ripped the first half of the pages after the person I read for bought it for me on our first trip to the original World Trade Center.

Suffice it to say, we had.... issues.


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When I was a kid, I had a copy of The Big Story Book and read most of the stories repeatedly. Now that Baby Gersen is two, I wish I still had it to read to her.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

My copy of the Star Trek Technical Manual. My father ripped the first half of the pages after the person I read for bought it for me on our first trip to the original World Trade Center.

Suffice it to say, we had.... issues.

what? That's insane!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I had a large collection of RPG books from the late '70s & '80s. 1e and 2e AD&D hardcovers including the 1st printing of the original Deities & Demigods, the Tom Moldvay D&D Basic Set and D&D Expert Set, Judges Guild supplements, dozens of modules, Star Frontiers, Traveler, the West End Games Star Wars RPG, and a bunch of Champions 1st & 2nd edition books. And a ton of notes for dungeon maps and adventures I'd written in high school and college, including maps and detailed room descriptions for an enormous castle (like the size of Castle Ravenloft).

I moved into a tiny apartment with my girlfriend (now wife) after I graduated college in '92, so I boxed up all the game books and materials except for my GURPS stuff, which was the game I was playing at the time, and left it in my old bedroom at my mom's.

My mom remodeled the house and moved the boxes to the basement of her house... which completely flooded in '96. The whole collection was destroyed. As was my LP collection.


OMG I'd be devastated. I have a 1st printing of the Deities and Demigods as well, in perfect condition, that I would be heartbroken if I lost. Plus I have over 600 LPs in my collection. Holy cow I'd be upset about losing all that stuff.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Over the years, I've re-acquired some of the books lost in the flood, including a "Good" condition 1st printing Deities & Demigods (found at a used book sale at a church for $5 back in 2005!), the AD&D 1e PHB, DMG, and MM, with the original covers. I've also picked up a small fraction of the TSR modules I lost. But some of those titles are WAY EXPENSIVE on the aftermarket now. And nothing can really replace all the campaign world design notes, the character sheets of favorite PCs from high school and college (including the namesake of my Paizo avatar), or my fully-detailed Castle Nostromo maps.

Also lost in the flood along with my collection of about 150 LPs was my Garrad DD75 direct-drive turntable and a Pioneer SX-680 receiver that had been my older cousin's.

I have a funny story about my Deities & Demigods copies...

The one on my bookshelf now is actually the third copy of that book I ever owned. I found a copy in terrible shape at a yard sale back in the late '90s... frayed binding, corners dinged down to the cardboard, and a few stained pages where someone had spilled Coke on them. And many of the B&W illustrations had been colored with colored pencil. Including every drawing of a topless goddess. Inside the front cover, in very juvenile handwriting, was written, "Steve <REDACTED>" and his phone number (without area code).

Of course I bought it. (I think the lady wanted like $2 or something.)

I was running a D&D game at my house about 15 years ago, and one of my players was a friend-of-a-friend that I didn't know very well. He was looking over the gaming books in my collection, and saw the poor-condiiton Deities & Demigods book on my shelf. He pulled it out, flipped through it, looked at me, and said, "Dude! You need better porn!"


LOL! I have a copy that someone colored in, too.

The Exchange

The 1900 Christmas issue of Munsey's Magazine that I found in a workroom at school. I had to eventually get rid of it because it developed mold. There were color plates for the front and back covers! And they certainly don't do etched plates for magazine illustrations nowadays, do they? No, they just photoshop stock images! [sheds a tear]


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Got my book back last night. Huzzah!

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