Book Sales are my Friend

I love going to book sales; rummaging through stacks of books is literally therapeutic for me. I think, I have an addiction. After all, even if I could read with reckless abandon every day for 5-6 hours a day, I’m pretty sure it would still take me somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 5 years to read all the books that I own — and that’s probably a conservative estimate. Yes, strike the I think it’s an addiction, and change that to a I know it’s an addiction. But, it’s an addiction that I can rationalize. First, these are library books sales I’m talking about, so if 2-4 times a year, I drop in the neighborhood of $20 on a book sale, that doesn’t seem too crazy. I doubt those who appreciate the written word would look askance at me if I said I write out a $100 check each year to support my local library. And, this way, even if I only read 50% of the books I buy, I’m still getting a return out of my donation. Second, this is entertainment. Figure this — I spent $25 dollars to go see a show at the local theater the other day; I was entertained for about two hours. I spent $13 dollars at the library book sale the other day; I was entertained for over an hour just by sifting through all those tempting piles of books, and that one hour doesn’t include all the time I’ll spend reading the books. Again, even if I don’t get to all of the books, it would seem these expenditures are working out to pretty cheap entertainment.

So, what did I find at the book sale this time around? I’m dying to tell.

The Heritage of Lancaster –  I live in one of the oldest inland cities in the United States; it was even the meeting place of the Continental Congress in 1777, and yet, I know very little about the city. I’ve often thought that I should do some research, and then I found this book. I’ve already discovered just from a glance that the random statue I drive around downtown was erected in 1874 and that it marks the spot of the old courthouse where the Continental Congress met. Plus, I love that this book contains not one but two book inscriptions. The first says, “To my honey who appreciates his heritage” and the other “For Don Good, ole buddy!” I like it when a book’s history seems to come included in the package.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – I’m an English teacher; Annie Dillard is anthologized in more Composition and Literature readers than I can imagine. I don’t own one single Annie Dillard book that I’m aware of. When I put those facts in opposition, it seemed like a crime was occurring. So, I swooped up Pilgrim at Tinker Creek when I had the chance. This seems like the perfect drink hot cocoa, wrap up in a throw blanket on a snow day kind of read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – I listened to this book in audio version, and it’s brilliant. I categorize novels in three ways when I read them. I donate them back to the library, keep them with little intent to read them but every intent to let others borrow them, or keep them with intent to read them again — with the last category being the most elite category. After all, there are so many books in the world, it seems like a sacrifice of new adventure to circle back to the pages of a book already discovered. However, this book made it into the elite read again category. The story is told from the perspective of an autistic boy, and this unusual narrative perspective was fascinating from page one all the way to the end.

Along the Shore – A collection of short stories by L.M. Montgomery could not be passed by. The Anne of Green Gables series is on the non-negotiable bedtime reading list for my future children; I wouldn’t even need children to justify reading the series again. Sometimes I contemplate going to Prince Edward Island to see where Anne “lived,” but I’m terrified to go as well. I’m afraid the magical aura about it would dissipate in real life, and my heart would break. I might want to just let it live on as the place of magic and simplicity that it has become in my imagination. I can’t wait to see how Montgomery explore a cast of characters united by a love of the sea.

Tuesdays with Morrie – Ok, this find might be cliche. But, I want to read it nonetheless. Plus, The Five People that you Meet in Heaven, while definitely far adrift as proper theology goes, was still a fascinating read.

You Remind Me of MeThis purchase was actually inspired by The Five People that You Meet in Heaven since the back book jacket promises, “With penetrating insights and a deep devotion to his characters, Dan Choan explores the secret connections that irrevocably link them. In the process he examines questions of identity, fate, and circumstance…” It seems like  this book takes all the plot elements that I liked about The Five People and puts them on steroids; we’ll see if the book delivers what is expected.

The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo – This is a the story of a book club and the stories of war and hope that the literature evokes from its participants. I glanced at the book; I’m not sure the diary set-up is going to pull me in, but I’m willing to give it a shot. At any rate, I’ll certainly discover a way of life with which I’m wholly unfamiliar.

Then, I got an assortment of mysteries since they are my guilty pleasure reading. I got five of the The Cat Who… books written by Lilian Jackson Braun. My grandma’s recently taken up this series, so reading these might bring up some interesting conversational fodder, and my grandma is my book hero, so it makes me happy to share in what she is reading. I also found a few Amanda Pepper mysteries; this author will be a new adventure for me, but for $2.00, I thought I would take a risk. If I don’t like the first one, they can all go to the donate pile without much being lost, and if I like them, I can have a new name to look for at book sales and devour the first four books of the series while I search for others. And, finally, I got Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery. Apparently, the author Larry Millet had taken up the banner of Arthur Conan Doyle by recreating the characters of Holmes and Watson as Millet imagines they would be if they had some American adventures. This is the second Millet book sale find, and I haven’t read either one yet. And, I’m skeptical. After all, literary spin-offs tend to go over like Disney sequels. However, as I had a brief love affair with Sherlock Holmes this past year, I can’t help but give into the desire to see what another author will do with him.

And, there is the long account of my book sale adventure. I’ve try to be sure to post about the actual reading adventures that stem from it. By the way, did I tell you that Lancaster was once considered the umbrella capital?


2 thoughts on “Book Sales are my Friend

  1. Our library’s book sale is one of the few public events that I actually write into my calendar. It’s also one of the days when I feel smart, because going home with a box of books for $17.50 is a genius move, even if (as you said) I never read most of them.

    By the way, I live in Prince Edward Island. It’s a long drive from Lancaster, but we’ve done it many times, most recently from Philadelphia in March. Come in the summer, when you’re not teaching. It’s as beautiful as you probably imagine.

    This is another wonderful post.


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