TNB Night Owl – The Book Of Counted Sorrows

Bookshelf books, photo by Alien Motives

You know you’re a successful author when people want to read what you’ve written. You know you’ve got a serious fan base when people want to read what you haven’t written.

This is what happened to Dean Koontz. Many authors use quotes from other works to open their books. Stephen King uses rock and roll lyrics, others use Shakespeare or Dickens. Dozens have used the Bible. Dean Koontz used The Book of Counted Sorrows.

It was a book of poetry, and from it Koontz culled snippets which, even if they didn’t quite match the book topically, worked perfectly within the tone of the story he was writing. It seemed that no matter what the subject of the story, he could find an appropriate quote or two for it from The Book of Counted Sorrows.

Naturally curiosity grew among his fans, and they started hunting for the rare and elusive title. In the days before the internet, librarians were consulted and rare book shops had standing orders for the title, should it be found.

Koontz found out about this when he started receiving letters asking him for leads on where to find a copy. A handful at first, they grew until he was averaging more than a thousand inquiries a year. He provided them all with variations on the same answer: There was no book. He’d made it up.

Rather than spend the time hunting for appropriate quotes, he just indulged his love for poetry and crafted some lines that fit the book he was writing.

That, reasonably, could have been the end of it. It wasn’t. Many of his fans really wanted the nonexistent book, and Koontz is very appreciative of his fans. In 2001, Koontz gathered all of the poetry he’d attributed to the title, combined it with dozens of pages of new material, and released The Book of Counted Sorrows on e-book for Barnes and Noble.

It was then published in a signed, limited hardcover edition in 2003 by Charnel House, and five years afterward in another edition from “Dogged Press”… aka Dean Koontz.

Astute readers have caught that he’s quoted another book in some of his recent novels… The Book of Counted Joys. Strangely enough, that book seems to be just as rare as Counted Sorrows used to be; nobody can track down an original volume. Yet.

Question of the night: What is one of your joys?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.