Concerning Life as It Is Supposed to Be

My Precious-es

In the late 80s I borrowed from a friend the first volume of a biography of Winston Churchill by William Manchester entitled The Last Lion. When I had devoured that, I rushed off to the library to borrow and read the next volume. But this volume, which I presumed to be the final volume, ended in 1939. A third volume, I heard, was in the works.

Last LionAnd so I waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually, I wrote a letter to Mr. Manchester through his publisher Little, Brown, and Company to ask when I could expect the third volume to be published. After a time, I received a personal, hand written reply (rare, even in those pre-email days) from Mr. Manchester’s personal assistant. Mr. Manchester, he regretted to inform me, had had a stroke, and would be unable to complete his work on the third volume. I was saddened by the news both of his disability and of the loss of the capstone to this tremendously written life.

Recently, however, I learned that the third volume had been published, completed by Mr. Manchester’s personal friend, journalist Paul Reid. Whether it measures up to Manchester’s original hardly matters. It completes that which was left undone, and for that I am glad.

The first two volumes were books I read but never owned. Books that mean something to me I like to own and to see and to hold. But to buy them new now would cost over $60 (from Amazon) and over $30 used.

But today. Today I walked into Brightlight Books, Orlando’s gem of a used bookstore to see if, on a lark, they had the books. Remarkably, they did. Top shelf, dusty, and labeled as having been there over a year, which means in Brightlight’s pricing policy, steep discounts. Both volumes are first edition, first printing, with dust covers and only minor wear. And I bought both for $8.00.

I’m giddy over my new “precious-es”, which I must now re-read. Can’t wait.


All the Least of These


Don’t Blame Autism


  1. ae

    Could you please ask Brightlights to open a branch in Bradenton? Sounds like a place for me. Do they have a website/mailorder service?
    Pssst! Don’t let hubby know I asked; he’s trying to downsize….

  2. Dear ae – you will see that Brightlight Books above is underlined, indicating a hyperlink to their web site. As for downsizing, here is how it works. Gather up the books you no longer want, take them to Brightlight. They give you store credit for them, and you can then use that credit to buy stuff. My two Churchill volumes are mine with no $$ changing hands. So, gather the books you no longer want, drive to Oviedo, spend the night with us, and we’ll take you to Brightlight. It’s that simple…

  3. I’m impressed with the far reaching abilities of this series! Someone in our house owns the first two and may or may not be receiving the third from Santa.

    And about Brightlight- the former owners of our house sweetly left us their store credit when they found that we were readers! So sweet.

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