Book Report

I've been looking forward all week to my BookAdventure! Ventura today, a shopping spree organized around the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library book sale. Alas, although I spent most of the day in the hunt, I only came home one book richer (six, if you count the books from the local library, but I have to give them back).

Ah, well. The hunt's the thing, after all. Besides, I still get to look forward to BookAdventure! Ojai, BookAdventure! Camarillo/Thousand Oaks, and of course BookAdventure! Oxnard: The Ongoing Saga.

I got nuthin' at the library sale. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and imagine that they actually had a few decent books, but they were snapped up in the first 15 minutes of the sale, which I missed for having misplaced my keys and my directions and the book I needed to return to the library. Absent-mindedness, says my father, is my chief strategy for injecting physical exercise into my life. I had to walk back and forth between bedroom and study at least five times before gathering up everything. (Two of three missing items were in fact in the kitchen, halfway between bedroom and study.)

Anyway. The library sale was in a smallish room that was crowded but not to the point of immobility by the time I got there. As is my custom, I scoped out the religion section first, and found that it consisted of one box. Not much there. I made the circuit, turned up my nose at a few prices, contemplated one or two sale items, then gave up and left.

Next stop: the usual suspects on Main St. Ventura -- three thrift stores within a block of each other that have been a fundamental part of any visit to this county for as long as I can remember. It was at one of these that I purchased my one book of the outing.

I also checked out a couple of real bookstores in the vicinity -- Bank of Books, just a block or so down from the library, and the Abednego Book Shoppe, a few blocks further down the same street. Turns out they're both owned by the same guy, although you wouldn't have necessarily known that from the looks of the places. The owner cheerfully informed me as I browsed the second shoppe that this was just the tip of the iceberg of their inventory -- they have two warehouses full. Why then, I wondered, do you choose to display THESE? I'm not saying that there weren't some worthy finds in the Abednego store, but it seemed to have an unhealthy percentage of shelf space filled with books similar in type, vintage, and condition to those that we recently purged from my late grandmother's library. I can't imagine those are moving quickly enough to cover the rent, even at 50% off.

I was amused by the distribution of religion books. They were hard to find at Bank of Books, tucked back in the corner of the basement, although there was a fair bit of "inspirational" material in the main gallery. Abednego was virtually, if not officially, a Christian bookstore. I'd estimate that over 70% of the stock was some variety of religious reading matter. Catholic books were not integrated with the other stock, but shelved immediately under the section on cults, which makes me wonder about the theological predilections of the management.

So I guess I'm a certifiable bookstore snob -- not likely to be satisfied with anything anywhere, because I like top quality merchandise and selection at rock bottom prices. Mr. Rudd's stores were interesting enough to browse through, but I don't think I'll be making either of them a regular stop. I might just give the Friends of the Library another chance, though.

Small World Post Script: Turns out, Mr. Rudd the bookstore owner went to school and church with my mom. His mother ran the local Christian bookstore back before there were such chains as Family Christian Stores or Evangel. I'll have to introduce myself the next time I see him.


Sarah said...

Another note about Mr. Rudd. You are related to him by two marriages because his daughter married my cousin. Maybe you already know that, but I wanted to mention it in case you didn't. And I just spent a day with his beautiful grandchildren, ages 4, 2, and 2.


Charlie said...

Hi Rachel, I'm rather late in keeping up with your blogging efforts so I don't know if you will see this or not.

Paul Rudd, if that is the owner of the bookstore you referred to, not only went to school with your mom, but his family were members of your grandfather's church in Ventura and he was in the same Youth Group as your dad and I at that church -- Bible Fellowship Church.

"It's a small world, after all . . . ." (Now try to get that tune out of your head!)

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