Book report

I've been looking forward to the Friends of the Durham Library summer book sale for months. I guess when you pump something up like that, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

It was by no means the hottest day of the summer, but it was a warm, muggy day, and the bulk of the sale was in the un-air conditioned library garage, and the aisles were so narrow that you couldn't navigate anywhere without rubbing up against sweaty, smelly people.

I'm guessing that a lot of those people schlepping books by the boxful were dealers planning to resell their finds either online or at used bookstores. I don't begrudge dealers the pick of the library sale (I'd be one of them if I had a slightly better eye for resale value), I'm just cranky about crowds in general, especially sweaty, smelly ones. And I hazard that dealers were more likely than your average bibliophile to be lugging multiple boxes through narrow aisles, making them even more crowded, and thus making me even more annoyed.

I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that this kind of shopping experience would be discombobulating to a hard-core bibliophile; we like to lose ourselves in the world of ideas, and dislike being reminded of the limitations of embodiment. In a crowded library sale, you're constantly aware of your own body and where it is in relation to other bodies, because you're always trying to get past people or them past you. (It's a situation in which it is an asset to be a relatively small body.) We'd much rather browse in peace in a comfortably air-conditioned bookstore with wide aisles.

But those of us who love not only good books but also a good deal on books are willing to brave the discomfort of the library sale in search of the pearl of great price. At the spring sale I found two volumes that I had long been lusting after for a mere dollar each. It made my week. This time around I spent $5.50 on seven books, each a welcome addition to my library, but none of them the sort that makes my heart skip a beat. Ah, well. Hope springs eternal.


Interesting Stuff

Books! Books! Books!

  • Bookfinder
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  • Bookcrossing
  • Book Sale Finder
  • Library Thing
  • Good Reads
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