Monday, March 19, 2007

Books, Books, and More Books

This past weekend was the Friends of the Jefferson Parish Library’s book sale. Steve, Dani, and I have been looking forward to this event the way some people look forward to Saks’s after Christmas sale. Fortunately, the sale started on Thursday morning, right before my mal a l’estomac. Steve and I were there when the doors opened at 10:00 and Dani came as soon as she finished her midterms (nice, how the book sale always seems to fall in her exam week).

Steve and I buy books all year ’round, but this event gives us the opportunity to buy books we wouldn’t normally buy, books that are out of print, discarded library books that would be nice to have as references, the hardcovers of books we’ve bought and loved in paperback, books we’ve never heard of, etc. Amongst my treasures this year: A Cultural Atlas of India (I have this book idea…), English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century (that’s a no brainer), Mouthful of Rocks (modern adventures in the French Foreign Legion), The Second Oldest Profession (about spies), a 1949 copy of Let’s Go to Colombia (I have this book idea…), Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea (I was a Classics major, remember), Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings (I’ve always loved the Middle Ages). In all, we brought home four boxes of books. Danielle leans to nice hardcover editions of the classics (Dickens, Twain, Austin, Erasmus). Steve buys stuff like the Army Survival Manual, and “Dulles”, and hardcovers of authors he’s decided to collect.

The problem with buying all these books, of course, is finding a place to put them. In preparation for the sale, I combed through my shelves and managed to cull three Whole Foods bags full of books that I hauled over to the Friends of the Library collection point, and another two bags that I took up to the lake house (we need to put more bookcases up there). My fellow bookaholics, however, did not do this. Thus, my two boxes of books are all neatly put away (yes, I admit it: I was the most unrestrained), while their boxes of books are still sitting in the entry. See my halo?


liz fenwick said...

Sounds like a wonderful morning and well done for putting them away. I always loved these type of sales but now I am suffering guilt. Not for the old out of print ones but any other second hand book i have picked up over the years. So much discussion has been taking place recently about authors dwindling incomes and the effect of Amazon's second hand book selling and so on. How do feel about people buying your books second hand? What about book crossing?

Charles Gramlich said...

I spent less this year than most years but it was partly a problem of not having much time to browse. Plus, in past years I've bought so many that I had copies of many of the ones from this year that I might otherwise have bought.

cs harris said...

If there's a book we know we want, we buy it, often from our local independent bookstore. We spend thousands every year on books (we know because we add it up at the end of the year to deduct it from our taxes). So the books we pick up at sales are books we wouldn't otherwise buy--authors I want to look at but know I will probably put down after less than 75 pages (I probably put down 9 out of 10 books; it's a form of market research and if I were more organized I'd go to the library), hardcovers of authors we've bought in paperback and want "keepers", classics, etc. I think used booksales are a good way for readers to meet a new author. The book on the French Foreign Legion, for instance, I would never have bought otherwise. What drives me nuts are the online used book sites that attract buyers who are looking for a specific book and would otherwise buy it new.

Farrah Rochon said...

When I held a full time job, I would actually take a vacation day so I could get to this book sale the morning it opens. It's one of my favorites! This year, I didn't get there until Sunday afternoon. :( I was crushed, but still managed to come out with a few finds.

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