We live in a town that has an active friends of the public library and once a year in late January they hold a huge sale of used books and give all the proceeds to our public library to supplement their allotted funds. The whole family looks forward to it every year, and through book sales like this and regular trips to the thrift store we’ve managed to turn one room in our house into our own private library, with six tall bookshelves stacked to the brim and overflowing with books. It’s probably my favorite room in the house.
This year I was trying to avoid the yearly sale since we are so broke and technically, I probably don’t need any more books. I was doing pretty well, too, because I had avoided all mentioning of it I thought it had come and gone. My Mother, though, ever looking out for my interests, called and reminded me it was being held over the next two days. I set ten dollars aside, made some strict promises to myself about how many books I’d get, and I immediately texted my friend Laurel, avid reader who also definitely does not need more books, and we agreed to meet up there the next day.
There are always some wonderfully odd books to be found, thrift store gore, if you will, in any used book sale, and this one did not disappoint. As soon as I saw the book with the viking longship carved out of watermelon, I texted a photo of it to my friend Stef, as we always have joint birthday parties together and have so far endured a lack of viking watermelon appetizers, and to Anthony, who didn’t go but I knew would enjoy it. I must have enjoyed it even more because I couldn’t leave the sale without this $.50 gem.
Cookbooks are one of my downfalls every year at the book sale, especially anything with hand-drawn illustrations from the natural foods movement of the 1970s. It took a lot of restraint on my part, but after flipping through its pages I realized it didn’t offer anything new for my home library, so I left it there.
Another wonderful thing about the yearly sale is that they always deliver on vintage fantasy and sci-fi. Always. We’ve found a majority of our Fritz Leiber collection there as well as assorted other favorites. This year our friend John beat me to the punch and bought a slew of Tarzan books which I certainly would have picked up for Anthony. I did find a really old paperback copy of the Hobbit in pristine condition, so not all was lost.
I did find this book which I sent a photo to Anthony saying we needed to get this scene airbrushed onto the trunk of my car with our faces superimposed on the cover. He refused unless I agreed to helicopters and police cars chasing us down in the background to make it more realistic.
This Magic Windows book was a disappointment because it wasn’t at all about home computers.
I’m personally not familiar with MFK Fisher but I’m curious now and might look her up. Her essay “How to Cook a Wolf” caught my eye because I was currently feeling Hungry Like the Wolf. I regret not getting this.
Isobel is always great when we go thrifting to to sales like this. She stays very close and looks at things but generally asks before touching. She was complaining a lot this time, however, which is unusual for her, and so we just stopped right there, in the middle of the sale and looked through a stack of books I’d found for her. We read through a few of them and after her need for attention was sated she was much happier to browse the tables with me.
Probably the weirdest find happened with I came across a book called If I Found A Wistful Unicorn in the kids’ section. Hoping it actually was about unicorns (it wasn’t) I opened it up to find this horrifying inscription: “I will always pet your unicorn.”
We did end up with a small, but respectable, haul and I’m proud to say we only spent around ten dollars – a first for us at this sale. I’ve gotten so many wonderful treasures here. We got some great stuff and I’ll share photos of our scores with you soon.