The concept of Lost Books was conceived and hatched over lunch with Orson Scott Card and Teri Nolan at Bennigan’s Restaurant in Newark, Delaware in the January of 1998. Card had made his second trip to Newark to Speak at a University of Delaware function. We had been seated and Card, generous as always, had ordered several appetizers. This was before Card was cursed by an old Gypsy* who brushed his fingers across Card’s cheek and whispered, “Thinner.” During the lunch time conversation I mentioned that my hobby of collecting award winning and classic Speculative Fiction novels had led me to some wonderful books that I believed were unknown to the majority of readers. I pitched the possibility of a column on hatrack.com called, “Out of Print, Out of Mind.” Card said, “No, let’s call it Lost Books” and the rest is history. Lost Books was begun that year and in the fall of 2000 spun off of hatrack.com to become a stand alone web magazine, although the umbilical cord will never be severed.
Lost Books? Until now you probably thought Lost Books were those books that never made it from your college dorm room to your first apartment. Or those books that your significant other sold at a yard sale when you were on a business trip. Perhaps it was a book you read and treasured in your youth but can’t remember the title. The most grievous Lost Books are those you lent to your x-friends and were never returned. I say “x-friends” because any true book aficionado has had to delete a name or two from their address file due to books that were first loaned and then became ‘lost’. It is so sad to have this deep and binding conversation with a friend about loved books, only to discover they do not treasure books as you do. I once let a woman I was dating borrow my leather bound, gold lettered, 1897, first edition of Dracula by Bram Stoker. She sat on it and broke the spine so badly pages began to fall out.