Sharpen Your Elbows

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:

I learned to write by giving talks…I read one book – On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  When I feel like I should read another book to fine-tune my writing, I read Zinsser again.  

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!


11 thoughts on “Sharpen Your Elbows

  1. Hi Carol, I always enjoy your site.  Can sure identify with your frustration at wanting to look at books while someone else wants to talk.  The Lord has used just such a situation to remind me that people actually are more important than books. ha!  Even if I don’t win the books I’m glad to know about them and add them to my TBR list.  Blessings, Hope in Brazil

  2. Oh me!! Pick me!!  *big grin*Boy, you sure hit the ground running….just home two days and out at a book sale.  I’m impressed.   Arent you tired?BTW  I ordered the Spurgeon book you mentioned…. cant wait for it to arrive đŸ™‚

  3. carol, now i have to reply—- i’m the one that must read Zinsser again – I have On Writing Well and enjoyed every sentence of it – i have used it extensively in post graduate studies two years ago… hmm i do not own the other Zinnser book have a lovely day… it’s Saturday here in sunny or rather autumny South Africa – dear husband took youngsters to a sport competition – mom stays at home for the following chores: gardening, planting herbs, rescuing lettuces in veg patch, ironing, fruit, veg & cheese shopping, canning, preparing next weeks’ classes…. not in this order (will leave ironing for very very last)…sonja    

  4. Luke has a friend who worked for awhile for a company that sells computer software for bookbuyers.  They can search by ISBN and see what any book’s sales potential is on eBay.  His friend would go to a book sale, store, or estate sale and enter ISBNs into a handheld computer which would then show him the sales ranking for that ISBN on eBay and the last price paid for the book.  Then, he would know what he could afford to pay for the book.  I wonder if the guy on the Blackberry was using a similar program?My santification would have been tested, too.  Mine is tested during baseball season when I’m listening to a game and my family wants to talk to me. (Imagine!)  I remind myself often of my true priorities.  (Baseball only warrants top place during the playoffs. Ha!)Blessings,Sandy

  5. I’m finally catching up on my blog readings (my rss feeder had 127 entries).  Anyway, I don’t normally join in these because the books are rarely to my liking, but these are an exception.  Please add my name to the hat too!

  6. A chance to win books warrants a post from me.  :o)  And since I’m here…thank you for sharing your trip through your blog.  You really are a gifted writer and photographer.  I learned so much and experienced a place I’ll probably never go.  It was wonderful.

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