You wake up to the alarm, hit the snooze button and drift back into lala-land.
As you rise to the surface of consciousness your heart twitters: today is “High Holy Day”! It is the first day of the annual Book Fair at the local university, the only opportunity for thrift books in your region. You close your eyes and smile, picturing the long tables covered with books. You review the best snatches from previous years, and rejoice at the precious ones.
Your son lets you borrow his car because yours is getting repaired. You assure your husband that this year you will be reasonable. Selective. Discriminating. You stop before you say Self-Controlled.
You go to work at the pharmacy where you are training for a new job because your life is in transition from home school mom to working woman. But they know the significance of this day and you have leave to go to lunch at 10:45.
You arrive at the gymnasium where the sale opens, at a $5 premium, for the first hour. To your dismay, you see Pastor Steele smack at the front of the line. Pastor Steele has a doctorate, loves history, is a Calvinist–any good book you’d hope to snag will be grabbed by him first. You also believe in providence, and wonder which books are predestined to go home with you. You recall with relief the conversation where he insisted he didn’t read fiction.
All chitchat ceases when the door opens. Your $5 bill is ready, your Office Depot paper box is in hand and you scope, zoom, do a little skip-trot-jog step while trying to maintain an outward picture of dispassionate serenity. You promise yourself you won’t stalk Pastor Steele trying to see what his box holds.
The first table is passed up by all ten of the book sharks. An opportunity! You plant yourself, tilt your head to read titles, throwing “worthy” books in your box as quickly as you can. There’s always time to weed later, but if you don’t get it in your box, one of those sharks will snap it up. You sneak a sidewards glance at the bookstore owner who is starting to fill his second box. That’s okay: he has a family to feed.
You start the second combing, letting your fingers flutter over the spines. You are rewarded with a few titles which previously escaped you.
For twenty minutes you work quickly and intently. Then you straighten, rub your back, take a breath and start working the room methodically. Satisfied with your catch, you pony up to the checkout table and pay your bill.
You return to work, mentally writing a blog entry whenever the internet hesitates. You authorized a $9,055.00 payment to a vendor whose invoice is $90.55. After canceling your overpayment, you go home to take an inventory and let your friends, folks fascinated by the banal detritus of your life, see the results.
Of Men and Mountains, William O. Douglas
Facing the Congo, A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness, Jeffrey Tayler
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, Eric Newby (preface by Evelyn Waugh)
Skeletons On the Zahara, A True Story of Survival, Dean King
In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson
A Passage to India, E. M. Forster
1.000 Places to See Before You Die, Patricia Schultz (x 2!)
Art and Music
A World of Art, Henry M. Sayre
Stomping the Blues, Albert Murray
Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis
Galileo’s Daughter, Dava Sobel (hardback, gift condition)
Tank versus Tank, Kenneth Macksey
Band of Brothers, Stephen E. Ambrose
German Boy, A Child in War, Wolfgang Samuel, Forw Stephen Ambrose
The Gathering of Zion, The Story of the Mormon Trail, W. Stegner
Desert Diary, Louise Van Dyke
How the Other Half Lives, Jacob A. Riis (a 1929 hardback)
Home, Witold Rybczynski
Rats, Robert Sullivan
Library, An Unquiet History, Matthew Battles
New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant
Olives, The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit, Mort Rosenblum
Quilts are Forever, A Patchwork of Insp. Stories, Kathy Lamancusa
Spirit of the Kitchen, Jane Alexander
Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much, Anne Wilson Schaef
I Married You, Walter Trobisch
The Oxford History of Western Philosophy, ed. Anthony Kenny
The Courage to Teach, Parker J. Palmer
A Critic’s Notebook, Irving Howe
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Man in the Iron Mask, Alexandre Dumas
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
3 By Flannery O’Connor
The Old Order, Stories of the South, Katherine Anne Porter
The Moviegoer, Walker Percy
The Bean Tree, Barbara Kingsolver
The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy
Rascal, Sterling North
Redwall, Brian Jacques
Mossflower, Brian Jacques
Winterdance, The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, G. Paulsen
Heidi, Johanna Spyri, illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith!!
The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Multiplication Book, Jerry Pallotta
Book, George Ella Lyon, Peter Catalanotto
I Spy Gold Challenger, A Book of Picture Riddles
Holes, Louis Sachar
A Year Down Yonder, Richard Peck
You take a deep breath and smile. You stop gloating and start looking for a place to shelve the books.