I was wandering around the local library the other day following signs for a book sale. When I finally found it, the woman at the table was apologetic: it was the last day and pretty picked over. She seemed worried I wouldn't be able to find anything I'd like. But I knew better. There's always something strange hiding away just for me.
Books were $5 per giant box. Over the course of an hour, I managed to fill up my box with all kinds of wonderful things and a few questionable ones, too. There was a mint condition Calvin and Hobbes book. Was this some kind of mistake? Who passes up a perfectly good Calvin and Hobbes book? There was a hardback copy of Robinson Crusoe with only a little water damage to the back end. I've started reading it to the kids before bed. The 11YO, who's already read it along with every other book in the library, interrupted to tell his brother the beginning is super-boring, but it's about to get awesome, just wait.
For me, there was a hardcover copy of Feasts for All Seasons by De Groot, a collection of fantastical menus with seasonal recipes like roast venison with chocolate sauce. If I ever get around to making this dish, I know just the deer for the job (more updates on him later). I found a gardening book I sorely need, an untouched copy of The Best Food Writing 2011, and A Little Treasury of American Poetry published in 1948. I snapped up Barbara Kingsolver's debut novel The Bean Trees, which I'm enjoying. And then there were all the old, unphotogenic cookbooks, including The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking, which has not one, not two, but three recipes for Shoo-Fly Pie (recipes contain no actual flies, but do involve copious amounts of molasses and lard and therefore will be occupying my oven immediately).
There were books I judged purely on their cover, like The Hills at Home. I have no idea if I'm going to like this book or even read it, but I can stare at the cover art for hours.
I kept running across this one really old book with a blue fabric embossed cover and broken binding that I just wanted to hold. I couldn't even read the title it was so faded, and I couldn't find a title page, either. I put it back three times, but it kept jumping out at me so I finally just put it in my box. I didn't take a closer look until I got home and realized it's called Arthurian Romances by Chretien de Troyes. Great. Just what I need. Romance.
There were a bunch of other books, too. Only time will tell if they're worth keeping. Like the book of duets for saxophone and piano. Each kid plays one of those instruments, and even I've been known to tickle the ivories once in a while, if by tickle you mean pound them unmerciful when they don't do my bidding. I can tell you already, it's going to be one hell of a Christmas concert this year. Brace yourselves, grandparents!
But I'm so excited to keep exploring my box of books! I'm already marking my calendar for next year's library sale. I'll just have to make sure I go on the last day again so everybody goes through and gets rid of all the crap I don't want!