Sunday, April 13, 2014

Books, Books, and More Books!


The Friends of the Jefferson Parish Library had their Giant Spring Book Sale this past weekend. This is a Big Event around our house. We prepare for it in advance by combing through our shelves and making lists of what we already have (in an effort to reduce duplicates) and what we want to look for. When the first day of the sale dawns, we gather boxes and bags and a trolly, and set forth on the Great Book Hunt.
I don't need any more books. I already have more books than I could ever read before I die (it seriously saddens me to realize this). But I can't resist these book sales. What do I look for? Leather bound copies of classics, so that I can throw out my ratty old paperbacks.
I also look for hardcover editions of favorite novels--the ones I once read from the library or bought in paperback before I realized they were keepers. This year I was thrilled to find hardcover editions of both my favorite Mary Stewart romantic suspense from when I was a teenager and the Kathleen Woodiwiss that first made me fall in love with sexy historical romances. And I also snagged a Wynwood Press  first bookclub edition of Grisham's A Time To Kill. If it were a regular first edition, it would be worth $5,000, but the bookclub edition is still worth $3-400. Not that I have any intention of selling it, of course. It's all part of the fun.

What else did I get? A book of eighteenth century English poetry. Virginia Woolf's diary. A collection of Dorothy Sayers short stories. A hardcover of James Lee Burke's A Stained White Radiance. A lovely leather bound edition of The Education of Henry Adams (I'll probably start with this one, since I loved his Mont Saint Michel and Chartres; this is his autobiography). Two big boxes full, in all (counting Steve's additions). Now I need to comb through my shelves in an effort to make room for them, because new bookcases are out of the question: we have run out of walls.

There really is such a thing as too many books.

23 comments:

lmhess(Lynne) said...

Does the word "incorrigible" mean anything to you? I love the fact that you've realized the books cannot all be read before you die? I came to that conclusion a couple of years ago - and there's still so many books and authors I want to try. And my friends are always loaning me something or recommending a title. Sigh...hope the book sale was great fun!!

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Oh, how I love book sales. In the Fall I head to the AAUW book sale here with my list of shakespeare plays in hand ... I'm crazy for as many editions of the plays as I can get ... the introductions are always so interesting. It's a treat, too, to find that odd book or two that just isn't 'mainstream'. I missed the book sale in Charlottesville, VA this year, and I'm sorta bummed, but what can you do? As an aside, I can double the storage space on my shelves when I use baskets ... Just a thought. Oh, and I know it is a Herculean task to even think of reading them all!

Helena said...

This sounds such good fun! But I do have to wonder why the library is selling such good books?

Suzanne said...

Our libraries in Australia have been suffering badly from government funding cuts for the past 20 years or so. Sadly they have been selling off loads of books that I would have considered must reads for younger generations. I don't know if this is the case in the US as well. I did manage to grab some old childhood friends during one of my local library's sale but I would much rather have had them left on the shelves.

cs harris said...

Lynne, you're right, incorrigible it is!

Barbara, a couple of years ago I snagged a lovely old set of little blue-bound Shakespeare plays (it was missing one, but I was able to find a matching volume on eBay.) They're one of my favorite finds since they're the perfect size to read.

Helena, many of the newer books are purges from their shelves (a lot of them look as if they were never read), while the older ones are donated for the sale, many of them I suspect from people cleaning out their parents' or grandparents' house. We always donate the books we purge from our shelves to them.

Suzanne, libraries here have a "two year" rule; if no one reads a book in two years, they get rid of it. It scandalizes me since I've always seen libraries as repositories (especially for nonfiction) rather than a dynamic place with a revolving door. But so much is published today that I can see why they need to keep changing out their fiction. And our funding is always being cut, too, which is why the Friends of the Library holds these sales, to raise money for new acquisitions--it's one of the reasons I like to support them by going.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've read a number of Mary STewart books and enjoyed them, but not this one. Wolf and the dove is actually a good historical novel, I thought.

paz said...

What strikes me is that you live in a city of book lovers, for even in a book sale that happens every year you can still find treasures like the leather bound copy of "Education..."

Anonymous said...

Ok, so my very favorite Woodiwiss is the Wolf and the Dove. It was one of the first "romance" novels I ever read as a freshman in high school, and I read it once a year. I have a later cover version, as my original was given to a friend and never returned. I would love to have it with the original cover (which I think actually has a white background). I actually found it at the goodwill in hardback (which I have as well). I have a ton of Mary Stewart as well. My favorite of hers is Nine Coaches Waiting. I wish I had more bookshelves in my house.... That library sale looks fantastic. I could spend all day there doing much what you did. On a totally different note, just started reading the Golem and the Jenni. Have you read that? I normally don't like fantasy, but it is set (at least so far) in a historical period and has grabbed me from the start. Not many books do that anymore. Sabena

cs harris said...

Charles, I remember when you read it and liked it!

Paz, I know what you mean; I'm always amazed at the lovely books I find. Of course, I always go to the "literature" table first. And I'm in line when the door opens. I take my book sales very seriously!

Sabena, I think you're right, the original version was white--or at least it was in England, which is where I was when I first bought it. I'll have to check out The Golem and the Jenni;it is really, really rare for a book to sweep me away these days. I miss that.

Anonymous said...

i love book sales. i don't have them much by me. and i would need another bookcase too. we have a used book store in town but you never find very old stuff. i have been lucky at an estate sale once and some antique type stores. sometimes you can get find great things at garage sales too. looks like you got very lucky with your haul. enjoy. best ali

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Susan J. said...

My recent book find is 'The Last Recollections of Captain Gronow, 1810-1860'. It gives a fascinating view of the life of a soldier, dandy and man about town. Some very funny stories and lots of scandels are included in it. He had a very low opinion of the Prince Regent.
I'm reading 'When Maidens Mourn' at the moment and I'm interested in the use of Lincolnshire in it. I live in Lincolnshire, on the edge of the Wolds, not all that far from Somersby. My village is called Willoughby, near the town of Alford. Strangly, both places have links with America. Willoughby is the birthplace of Captain John Smith and Thomas Paine was a customs officer at Alford. The house he lived in is still there and is a hotel. I think it may have been an inn when he lived there actually.

cs harris said...

Ali, I'm always amazed at the books I find at these sales. They really are incredible.

Susan, that book sounds fascinating--I love reading that sort of thing. And I just Googled Willoughby; I envy you! The older I get, the more I yearn for a pretty little village.

Susan J. said...

I do love Lincolnshire. The people here are so down to earth, with a slight Northern accent and they are so friendly. I am originally from the South but I've lived in Lincolnshire for over thirty years and think of it as home. People smile at you in the street and say hello, even if you don't know them. It's a shame more Americans don't explore the England that exists beyond London, they would find a different place. I think some do visit Lincoln Cathedral on tours or they used to, before the terrible 9/11 tragedy. My father used to be a guide there and he often showed Americans arround. I love going to Alford on Market day, the lady on the vegetable stall knows us now and people in the shops speak to us as if we we're old friends. We live about seven miles from the sea and it's nice to walk along the promenade and see the North sea waves crashing and imagine Holland and Belgium to be on the other side.
I lived for most of the thirty years I've been in Lincolnshire near Stamford, in the village of Uffington, in a 300 year old cottage. I loved that house but in retirement, our little bungalow here is more suitable but I miss the old house.
'What Darkness Brings' just arrived in the post, I can't wait to read it! I'll be stuck until the next Sebastian novel comes out in paperback!

cs harris said...

Susan, I remember going to Lincoln when I was living in Winchester, but I'd need to sit down with a map to figure out where else I went in the area. I had a bus-rail pass and my budget was 4 pounds a day. That was a LONG time ago!

Susan J. said...

Gosh, Lincoln was a long way to travel from Winchester! Did you look around the cathedral? My Dad actually showed the Emperor of Japan's son around it once, he took him up to the roof to look down into the main body of the cathedral and the British ex-policeman bodyguard he had with him got vertigo!

cs harris said...

Susan, yes, I went there mainly for the cathedral, but also the castle and the lovely old buildings. i took two main extended trips around Britain when I was in Winchester, by bus and rail; it was much easier when I went back on visits and we rented a car. And I suspect these days I'd get vertigo, too!

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