14 October 2011

Book Sale

I just got back from the annual library book sale. Spent $39 (which is not too bad) on: Julia Child's cookbook and autobiography, a Snoopy book, "Eat, Pray, Love", xeriscape gardening, Cezanne, an illustrated biography of the Bront√ęs, Diana Wynne Jones, Pratchett, Brian Jacques, some classics, Sister Wendy's "Nativity", "The Happiness Project", "Twinkie, Deconstructed", a book on British food, one on Kokoschka, and a couple of YA fantasies. Eclectic tastes - who, me? Naaah...

I spent a couple of bucks on a great big cookbook, a four-pounder, on wine and food: "A Matter of Taste" by Lucy Waverman and James Chatto. I've had this very same copy checked out of the library when I was still working there; the flyleaf has our local branch code and "Jan. '10" scribbled on it in my handwriting (no, I wasn't vandalising it; it was part of my job to mark when the book came into the branch). I remember shelving it, more than once, and putting it out on display so that others would take it out, too. And eventually I must have sent it back to Headquarters for reallocating to another branch, or even for weeding out of the system. And then it ended up in the book sale for the likes of me to take home for good. It's the kind of book that would easily cost $50 new. Library discard sales are the bargain of the year.

Of course now you're wondering if I'm actually going to read all those books I bought. And the simple answer is: you-gotta-be-kidding! Well, the novels, I bought them because either I've read them and liked them and want them for my collection (e.g. "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents", a vintage-Pratchett spoof on the Pied Piper of Hamelin), or because they looked like they might be amusing. So those, yes, I'll read. Probably. Eventually. But the non-fiction, like the gardening or art books, I never read those. What I do with them is I look at the pictures ("[For] what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation?").

Even the cookbooks, I rarely actually cook out of them. I just use them for inspiration. I look at the luscious photo of Red-cooked Chicken in Mandarin Pancakes, drool over the idea of Aragula and Gorgonzola Spread (what is Aragula, anyway? Is it any relation of Aragog, Hagrid's giant arachnid pet?), sigh at the thought of Chocolate Passion with Mango Lime Sauce - and then go and serve up yesterday's leftovers (albeit with the gleam of inspiration in my eye). I really don't need to cook my way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and then write a blog about it; Julie Powell did an excellent job of that already.

Now, the real difficulty still lies ahead: where am I going to put my new acquisitions? I must build me bigger bookshelves... Library book sales are dangerous.

Life, the Universe, and library book sales. Live dangerously today.


  1. Did you notice an unusual lack of gardening books while you were there? That's because I was there Thursday morning and got them all. ;-) Oh, okay...I didn't really get them all but I did get a good number. When Scott went on Thursday after work he said he heard someone say that there were no more garden books to put out. We were wondering if there just weren't as many books this year. Did you notice that?

    Each year I always get books that I recently had out of the library and loved. I am always so surprised to see such good books sitting on tables for $1. Tempted to go back again today and I might if I end up going to the garden to do more composting. Plus I've only spent $12 so far so really I should go "support" the library some more. Right?

  2. Well, the one gardening one I got ("Dry-land Gardening") was from the "premium" section. I find they now put most of the really nice illustrated books there, and charge the outrageous sums of $2-5 for them. I didn't notice the lack of gardening books as much as the lack of art/craft books (pottery, soap making, painting etc).

    And, yeah, you only spent $12? What're you still doing at home? Get thee back to the sale!