Saturday, September 07, 2013

It Was Like The Running Of The Brides--For Books

I did my literary thing today by attending the Welles Turner Memorial Library's Fall Book Sale.

Holy Moses.

I've gone to this thing other years, but clearly not within twenty minutes of the start of the sale, as I did today. I was able to find parking fairly easily, but realized immediately that I was woefully unprepared for this shopping experience. I was seeing people arrive and leave with their own shopping bags. I carry reusable shopping bags in my car, but I only had one today because, to be honest, I'm not good about unloading nonperishables and most of my bags are on the floor of my pantry filled with canned goods.

So I was starting the day at a disadvantage because everyone else there had planned for serious hunting and gathering. There were people there with every kind of canvas bag, duffel bags, boxes, and those little pull behind you shopping carts you see elderly people using. It was incredible.

The books were organized on tables according to genre. Getting to the tables was a problem. People were mannerly and pleasant, but it was shoulder-to-shoulder there. I was there to buy paperbacks for one of our elders, and the salespeople didn't have a table specifically marked "Elderly Lady Books." For whatever reason, the Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel paperbacks were mixed in with the mysteries. I'm trying to keep a list of the books our elder has read, by author, on my iPhone, so I was there in that crowd with my purse and my rapidly filling shopping bag, trying to cross check titles.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only person there doing that. I met a Nora Roberts fan, and when I asked her if she has trouble keeping track of what she's read without a list, she whipped one out.

I also saw a young man buy a duffel bag full of older books on the world's religions and older classics like Candide. It was like watching a character from a movie, that young student who buys his books used. There was also someone who appeared to be buying up books and stacking them on the sidewalk near the street, as if getting them ready to be loaded into a passing vehicle. A dealer, perhaps?

It was an exciting event, and I hope I have enough  books to keep our family member until Thanksgiving, at least. She was delighted to go through the bag when I saw her later, picking out a couple of titles to keep right away.

I noticed that at the smaller book sale I attend at my own town's library, I have better luck at stumbling upon mainstream fiction for myself, things that jump off the table and say, "Take me home, Gail." Not so much of that, today, though I did pick up a very nice hardback copy of Canada by Richard Ford (for a dollar!) and what looks to be an obscure Ruth Rendell, which will be staying with me.

Now I must rest.


Allison @ The Book Wheel said...

Library sales are the best! I was woefully unprepared for my first one but have since learned from the error of my ways. I now know to bring a box (that I can refill if I want to do multiple trips) AND to bring my husband to carry it. He's not a reader but appreciates MY love of reading and so loves to find ways to buy cheap books because he knows that the alternatives can be fairly expensive :)

Gail Gauthier said...

Oh, yeah. I could be keeping our elder family member in books for years. The expense would be huge without these book sales. And I sometimes find things for myself and other relatives, too.