Yesterday was my favorite quarterly event: the Book Sale at my local public library. I adore this sale! And as usual, my haul amounted to under ten bucks. Here is just the stuff I got for myself:
I’m not sure how much, if anything, of today’s haul represents a find that I can hawk on eBay. I was able to sell two of the volumes I picked up at the last book sale for more than twice what I paid for that entire haul, which was nice. We’ll see. Those O. Henry collections may go nicely, as may that TPB edition of Antartica (which turns out to be a British printing). I don’t know if I’ll sell that Tolkien volume; I already have both of those tales in another volume, but that paperback is in outstanding condition, save for the original owner’s signature inside the front cover. We’ll see.
What’s always kind of bittersweet at these kinds of sales is reading the cover copy on the books themselves, with blurbs along the lines of “Another breathtaking classic from one of our very finest authors!” or “Certain to be read for many years to come!” These kinds of notices adorn books that no one much remembers at all today. How many stories have come and gone, almost completely vanishing, their only hopes at revival being on the shelves of a library sale where the paperbacks go at the rate of five for a buck? When I see so many volumes whose contents will almost certainly be gone forever in just a few more decades, I wonder how true it is that the cream rises to the top. Far more likely, it seems to me, that authors who rival the finest still read — the Jane Austens, the Henry Jameses, the Eudora Weltys — have come and gone without ever being realized. No, the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. Sometimes it just gets washed away, right down the sluice drain.
OK, that got a little depressing, didn’t it? Anyway, if you like to read, there’s really no reason to not frequent your local library’s book sale. They need the money, and the books need to be read.