Our favourite book sale has once again come and gone. Sometimes I’m sad that it’s only a once a year event, but then I look at our bookshelves quivering on the edge of failure, and I remember why it’s probably for the best.
A local newspaper here has been running this event for the last twenty years, and it’s always a nice reminder that there’s still a love of books out there. Saturday and Sunday the sale is open to everyone, with books ranging between $1 and $3. On Monday, it’s open to schools and non-profit organizations to take what they want for free. Any remaining books are then sold to a company in California. In the last twenty years, the sale has brought in 4.7 million dollars, which all goes to local literacy programs.
So while this book haul could be seen as rampant consumerism gone amok, considering I already have shelves full of unread books, I like to think of it as a charitable act.
- Poems by Robert Frost: A Boy’s Will; North of Boston by Robert Frost
- The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark
- Conversations by César Aira
- The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
- Bullfighting by Roddy Doyle
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- A Good Year by Peter Mayle
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
- The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
- Shopgirl by Steve Martin
- Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
- The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Baudolino by Umberto Eco
- The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
- I’m definitely taking chances on a few of these, but if there’s ever a time to take a chance on a book, it’s this event.
- I don’t care about baseball, but I’ll hopefully still enjoy The Art of Fielding. I was in the mood for some campus fiction.
- Shopgirl possibly falls under the category of ‘chick lit’, but it’s written by Steve Martin, so I thought I’d give it a try.
- The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency possibly falls under the category of ‘middle-aged women lit’, but not knowing anything about it, I could easily be wrong about that.
- I was planning to pick up more classic fiction, but I was apparently in a contemporary literary fiction mood yesterday.
- I love science fiction and fantasy, but I almost never leave this sale with any. I think it’s because that section is alphabetized, where as the rest of the sale is mainly just a hodgepodge of books. When they’re all mixed up like that, I enjoy digging through and discovering gems, but when I see them in order I tend to drift towards authors I know and barely glance at the rest.
- I don’t go in with a list, as that just never works for me, but I did have the goal of picking up any Muriel Spark novels I could find. Sadly I only came across one tiny novella.
- I picked up a lot of Man Booker Prize winners and nominees this year.
- I discovered after getting home that Bullfighting is actually a short story collection, which tend to not really be my thing, but we’ll see.
- Most of the authors are not from America or the UK.
I’ve already read Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), but I loved it and wanted a nice physical copy. I have a feeling I’ll be re-reading it in the next couple of years. This one was great – good condition overall, nice wrap-around cover art, thick opaque pages, and multiple introductions, including a couple from the author. It’s a Time Reading Program Special Edition, which I was unfamiliar with, but when I got home I realized I also had a copy of The Martian Chronicles in that edition. I will have to watch for more.
It as a fun day, and as per tradition, we went for an unhealthy afternoon breakfast after the sale. I meant to take a photo, but my hunger overwhelmed me.