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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Sale Time!

Ah the annual Charleston Library Book Sale was yesterday.

I can’t resist a mass gathering of other bookies who sift like dung beetles through books that other people are willing to just give away. The Galliard Auditorium was packed Sunday afternoon and I was there walking along with all that Charleston Society has to offer.

Started off in Political Nonfiction since those tend to be outdated and if you want anything current you need to get there early before the intellectual types get out of bed. Unfortunately, I was out of bed late as well and the only thing I could find of interest were a couple of Al Franken books I’d already read and some Rush Limbaugh trash that I didn’t need since I stocked up on toilet paper earlier in the week. I did see a copy of ‘Foreign Policy Decisions Today’ which is a collection of essays and articles from a bunch of smart guys and policy makers. A quick flip through was entertaining since all of the articles were published in the Spring of 2001. Wow! You mean we used to be interested in AIDS in Africa and Trade Policy with China? What? South America and the oil crisis is something we should be considering?
The PNF section was filled with other twenty-somethings and a couple of those creepy old guys that talk to themselves that all the twenty-somethings will have to avoid becoming if they keep reading Political Nonfiction.

Moved on to Biographies because you never know what to expect there and if there is anybody worth reading about, you had better look hard. This section was full of lonely women looking for an edition of Dianna that they hadn’t read yet and old women looking for that Eleanor Roosevelt they used to hear about on the talking box. There were a few older men there too looking for Patton or Washington Carver but defiantly an older crowd that was easy to navigate around as I changed tracks on my iPod. I did see a Benjamin Franklyn there, but couldn’t remember if I had already read it or one on Jefferson by the same author so I passed.

Travel was next. Very disappointing this year. Come on people; let’s throw away better books on travel this year. Really nothing more than a photographical journey through Greece and a couple of travel guides for Australia and England. I did stop long enough to flip through ‘A Bed and Breakfast Guide to Scotland.’ It was kind of cool and will have to make my ‘If I win the lottery’ list of things to do. Good mix of people here, but there was one crazy guy who felt the need to dig though and unfold every map that was there to make sure that the inside matched the description on the outside. No problem really, but if you’re going to be “that guy” make sure you’re a guy that knows how to fold maps back to their original condition. He looked like a Dad in the front seat of a minivan lost on family vacation. Oh and yes he was wearing a sweater vest. And why do you need to check the accuracy of ‘1800’s Europe’ anyway? Going back in time Sir?

Ok, the warm up was over. Time to move on to Fiction. Now let me say that Fiction is the Great Wall of China of book sales. And, if you’re like me, it is where you have to be willing to spend some time if you’re going to find anything good. Also, you have to be willing to read the name Danielle Steel 8,000 times. I play a little game every year where I count how many of her novels I see. Unfortunately, I lost count around 23 this year. A lot of good stuff in this section and I did manage to pick up a few books that I’ll get around to eventually. Mainly you have to remember to stop every now and then to look around at the people near you. Soccer mom, old lady, fat sweaty guy who breaths really hard, college girl in her pajamas, college girl who is way too dressed up for a book sale, middle aged guy in a suit obviously just out of church, mom with kid in tow, the list just goes on.
Fiction is the cross section of society. But, there is always somebody in the line of people behind you that is in way too big of a hurry and leaning too close and the person in front of you that is moving way too slow taking every single book jacket in. One trip down the tables can go without incident and the next can be hell on earth with strollers and the smell of moth balls.
I also like Fiction because if you’re going to pick up a woman at a book sale, this is the second most likely place to do it. Arts, Theater and Poetry are number one; that section is dominated by women of all ages. I only saw one real prospect this year but she ruined it by placing a copy of ‘Her Own Rules’ by Barbra Taylor Bradford in her bag. Hahaha. I think not Honey. Sure, she sells books, but tears, broken hearts and a pint of ice cream are not my idea of a good time. I digress.

With Fiction out of the way I moved on to Foreign Language to see if there were any Russian texts or anything of note. Lots of French and Spanish but I did find a Russian workbook (minus the tape) that seemed like it might help for some brush-up work. Mostly the odd crowd in that small corner of the auditorium, so I moved on.

Assuming that anyone who is anyone would be there by this point I moved on to the previously mentioned Arts, Theater and Poetry. There were a few prospects in the crowd, but none that felt worth the effort of striking up a conversation on John Keats; and Sylvia Plath is just too depressing for that ‘hey what are you doing later?’ type conversation. There were surprisingly a few cougars in the mix but I’m bad a sorting the married ones from the unmarried ones when they have books in their hands and you can’t see the ring finger.
After I had seen everything I needed to see book wise, I tried to camp out and check the people out. I had picked up two books from this section for my roommate since he’s into the theater stuff, so I wasn’t there just to ‘look’. But, while I was sitting there trying to look interested in the selection in front of me, this lady who looked a lot like my 11th grade English teacher kept trying to move me along by leaning all up in my space and checking out what was in my hand. (I had ‘A Collection of Irish Prose’) Now, to me there is only one way to move someone around you short of saying something rude, just start reading to yourself quietly and look really into whatever is in your hand. I hate Irish Prose. The old lady moved on. I did too after making my point.

With all of my serious book shopping out of the way, I figured I would cruse over to Science Fiction and Spy Novels to see if there was anything worth reading over there. There wasn’t, but the crowd in that section is always worth a look. Wow! My Barbra Bradford girl was there too; confirming my previous assumption as I saw her bag a few more selections from this section as well.

My mom and I always end up at this sale at the same time and had just agreed to meet at the Local Authors section when we finished. I was amazed when she was there as I made my way up. Usually I’m standing around waiting on her for at least twenty minutes. Anyway, we checked out then went to lunch by the water before she went home and I went off to watch football for the rest of the afternoon. All together a good Sunday and I should have a couple of good books to get me through the next few months. So, if you missed it, or you don’t live in Charleston, be sure to look for your local library’s book sale in the near future. They’re a great place to pick up some cheap books and cheaper laughs.