Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Monday, September 7, 2009


I've decided to do a periodic post entitled Great Finds.  These posts will consist of terrific book discoveries (in my opinion) that I have made at used book sales, the Goodwill or other thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, dollar stores and anywhere else a "Great Find" might not be expected.  So...on with my first batch of recent "Great Finds"!

I found some wonderful books from two of my favorite genres:  historical and horror.

My first find was THE MASTER OF HESTVIKEN by Sigrid Undset (published 1925-27).  I found it at Goodwill for $1.00!

Could not find a good synopsis online so here are some blurbs from the front and back covers:

The four-novel masterwork of a Nobel Prize-winning Novelist--Powerful, intense, and memorable...a triumph! ~The New York Times

What the Nobel Prize-winning (1928) author has succeeded in doing is to transport the reader directly into the medieval world of 13th-century Norway--a world of harsh violence and haunting beauty, swift, brutal action and soaring spiritual questing.  Against a magnificently evoked background of unspoiled nature and a society ruled by blood fealties and God-fearing Christianity, we follow the drama of a proud, powerful, impetuous man, the beautiful, vulnerable woman whom he loves despite her betrayal of him, the son they raise, and the awesome destiny they attain.  THE MASTER OF HESTVIKEN constitutes both a journey to a distant time and place, and a confrontation with the eternal conflicts of the human heart and soul.

The four parts of the novel are THE AXE, THE SNAKE PIT, IN THE WILDERNESS and THE SON AVENGER.

About the author: 

Sigrid Undset (1882-1949) was from Kalundborg, Denmark.  She was an office clerk in her early career and began publishing stories in 1907.  Her first novel was Jenny (1912).  She gained notoriety with her three volume 14th century historical novel KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER (The Bridal Wreath, The Mistress of Husaby, The Cross).  She followed this major work with THE MASTER OF HESTVIKEN and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928.

My second find was THE KING'S PLEASURE: A BIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL OF KATHERINE OF ARAGON by Norah Lofts.  Found at Goodwill for $1.35!


This international bestseller powerfully tells of the life of Katharine of Aragon, from her childhood in Spain to her reign and downfall in England as the first wife of Henry VII. A princess by birth and a queen by marriage, Katharine always held the highest aspirations for her life, never doubting a vision both she and her mother, Isabella of Spain, had of her becoming one of the great rulers of Europe.

After a short-lived and childless marriage to sickly prince Arthur of England, Katharine finds herself handed down to his brother, the future king Henry VII, a handsome, passionate man with whom she forms a strong bond of mutual admiration and love. Their relationship seems ideal -- equals in status, ambition, and respect for each other.
As the years go by, King Henry becomes consumed by greed, paranoia, and arrogance, with a roving eye that has settled on the young Anne Boleyn. It is this obsession that will lead to his destruction and the humiliation of Katharine, the woman he once would have done anything to protect, forever changing the face of English history and religion. (From Fantastic Fiction)

About the author: 

Norah Lofts, best-selling author on both sides of the Atlantic, was born in Norfolk. She taught English and History at a girls' school before turning to writing full time. She also wrote under the pen name of Peter Curtis. A passion for old houses and their history inspired her classic 'House' trilogy, The Town House, The House at Old Vine and The House at Sunset. This meticulously researched trilogy of historical romances spans more than five centuries of Suffolk history, starting with Martin Reed, a fourteenth century serf and concluding with Frances Benyon in the mid 1950s. Lofts wrote more than 50 books, including historical non-fiction and short stories. (From Fantastic Fiction)

My third find was AVALON by Anya Seton.  Found at Goodwill for $1.35!


This saga of yearning and mystery travels across oceans and continents to Iceland, Greenland, and North America during the time in history when Anglo-Saxons battled Vikings and the Norsemen discovered America. The marked contrasts between powerful royalty, landless peasants, Viking warriors and noble knights are expertly brought to life in this gripping tale of the French prince named Rumon. Shipwrecked off the Cornish coast on his quest to find King Arthur's legendary Avalon, Rumon meets a lonely girl named Merewyn and their lives soon become intertwined. Rumon brings Merewyn to England, but once there he is so dazzled by Queen Alrida's beauty that it makes him a virtual prisoner to her will. In this riveting romance, Anya Seton once again proves her mastery of historical detail and ability to craft a compelling tale that includes real and colorful personalities such as St. Dunstan and Eric the Red. (from Amazon)

About the author:

Anya Seton was the pen name of the American author of historical romances, Ann Seton.

Ann Seton was born in New York, New York, and died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She is interred at Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich. Her historical novels were noted for how well she researched the historical facts, and some of them were best-sellers, including Dragonwyck (1941) and Foxfire (1950) both made into Hollywood films. She was the daughter of English-born naturalist and pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton. (From Fantastic Fiction)

My fourth and final find this time around was THE BEAST WITHIN by Edward Levy.  Found at a used book sale for $2.00!


A lonely wife cheats. A brutal husband gets revenge. A not-so-innocent stranger hears a cellar door scrape shut—and begins twenty years of indescribable horror, chained in total darkness, feeding on live rats and human flesh, becoming himself the nightmare creature that lurks within us all… (from Amazon)

About the author:

Edward Levy is the author of the novel CAME A SPIDER, also published by Arbor House.  THE BEAST WITHIN incorporates years of research in lycanthropy, parapsychology, animal telepathy and folklore of the Ozark mountains.  He lives in Ontario, California. (from the flap of back cover)

I greatly enjoy browsing for books anywhere I can because of great finds like these.  Maybe there is something for you here and I hope that you come across some "Great Finds" of your own as you forage for books out in the world!

Happy reading =)



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  1. These look interesting. Which one will you conquer first, I wonder?

  2. These look wonderful - you are inspiring me to dig deeper when I go to sales....

  3. I'm impressed, maybe I need to visit Goodwill more often!

  4. Shall I call myself the book bloodhound? Sniffing out great finds and the best prices in books! LOL...

    Seriously thought, I had to share! I get so excited!

  5. Great bargains! I've never had much luck at the Goodwill finding things I like but the prices can't be beat.

  6. Rebecca,

    Probably the Sigrid Undset book or the one called Avalon. May have to wait until first of the year though. I've got my reading pretty lined up through!


  7. Okay, you all are getting me into the shopping mood. I am going to have to start hitting the used book store again. I am going to have to check the hours and go look for some great finds. You and Ryan both have been doing a wonderful job at these finds, and well... I think I am getting jealous.

    Looks like amazing books for a great price!

  8. I love finding great books at great prices. Most of mine come from Amazon and B&N bargain sections.
    I love the picture of all the books!
    Enjoy your reads!

  9. Looks like you have some great books there! Cool new idea I like it and I might have to steal it LOL! Just kidding...LOL! Awesome finds!

  10. Those are some seriously awesome finds!

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