Yesterday was the opening of the annual book fair held at our local university.
There is a premium – five dollars – to shop the first two hours. A group of twenty book hounds, bookstore owners, Ebay buyers and folks who just love book bargains gather in the hallway waiting for the door to open. In the hallway it is all geniality, camaraderie, amiability, and laughter. We all know each other by sight; we have a annual appointment together.
Once the threshold was crossed, the laughter abruptly fell silent and it was all business. Fierce. Intense. Serious. To our dismay, we found the books haphazardly piled on tables. One bookstore owner impressed me by organizing the table before him, lining up the books on their end so the others could easily read the titles. (I made a mental note to more frequently patronize his store.) This year quite a few “early birds” had cell phones and were calling ISBNs home to check book prices, I suppose. One guy was working his Blackberry.
An old acquaintance worked on my sanctification, wanting to chat – chat! – and catch up on years of living while out of the corner of my eye I saw books snatched up right and left. Should old acquaintance be forgot?
Frankly, the sale was a disappointment. Most of the books were culled from the university library’s sociology and psychology section. The new group organizing the sale did precious little publicity; thus there were only a few privately donated books. In the past I have found books by Lloyd-Jones, Nancy Wilson, and Jonathan Edwards; they were not culled from the university library. No such luck, uh, providence, yesterday.
A good portion of my purchases are books I already own but can’t resist buying for others. Two such books are written by William Zinsser: On Writing Well and Writing to Learn. I read On Writing Well in March, and highly recommend it. If you write, you need this book. If you’ve read it, you need to re-read it. Rick Steves, the travel guide, wrote:
So I’m going to give this lovely pair of books away to one of you. Two free books! Leave a comment and I’ll pick a name out of a hat. I’m happy to send them overseas, so don’t be shy Sonja in South Africa or Alfonso in Spain *or Hope in Brazil* (wink). I’ll pick a winner next Friday, May 2.
Yay! I love to give books away!