Friday, May 05, 2006

My mother raised me well: I get more excited about a library booksale than almost anything else in the world. Despite getting to bed later than planned last night, I bounced up this morning ready to dig through other people's trash and find my own treasures. There's something so intoxicating about a room full of cheap, random, disorganized books--I feel a little crazed sometimes, trying to see everything at once before anyone else beats me to it.

Odious and I arrived at the library this morning 15 minutes before it opened. To my surprise we were the first ones there, but then I remembered that most people are not like Johnnies, willing to stand in line for an hour or more just to be the first one to caress and pore over those precious tomes. Most people are also not like my mother, who signed us all up to volunteer when she discovered that assisting the librarians with set-up meant first crack at the books (not to mention a 50% discount--I remember driving home, sated, with a carful of boxes that cost us somewhere around $40).

I think if I went through and counted, I'd find that at least half of our substantial personal library consists of 50-cent rejects. While a number of books gleaned from these sales have been re-donated (paperback mysteries, disappointing sci-fi, accidental duplicates), we've gained quite a few prizes. None, perhaps, as exciting as Steve's signed first edition rarity (it was not a book I'd ever heard of, but apparently quite valuable), but I think the James Branch Cabell set I nabbed for Odious our freshman year may be one of the reasons he married me. And who wouldn't be pleased to count among their possessions lovely old hardback classics, dedicated with swooping Victorian penmanship, to "dearest Ida" or "Augustus on his twelfth birthday, with love"? And of course there are the completely random finds, like the collection of satirical mini-biographies of famous authors, illustrated by Edward Gorey, that fell into my hands at the last sale.

What did I find today, you ask? Well, sadly, nothing much. We had only a scant half-hour to buzz through the room, but even so I saw a lot of books from the last sale(this library has highfalutin ideas about booksale pricing). So, aside from a couple nice gifts for people who read this blog (hi!), I picked up Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel The Italian, the basic writings of Freud (well, he's interesting!), a Katherine Anne Porter novel, several collections of short stories (D.H. Lawrence and Willa Cather), and possibly something else that I'm forgetting. Odious's finds included a computer book about 3 inches thick and a new-to-us Arturo Perez-Reverte.
He's happy, but I'll be going back on Sunday...

1 comment:

Voracious Reader said...

I adore the hunt for treasures.