I’m not the only book lover in my house. (Emma requests that you ignore how massive she appears to be in this picture. I didn’t dare change angles for fear that she would evacuate her book fort.)
Last week my friend Lauren sent me an email, reminding me that one of the local libraries would be holding its annual book sale over the weekend. She intended to drive down there on her lunch break Friday, and I thought I should do the same.
I completely forgot about it until I was driving to her house on Saturday night. I briefly mourned my forgetfulness, then dismissed the thought. Surely all the best stuff would be gone by Sunday, I thought.
I could not have been more wrong.
I spent Sunday afternoon with another friend, Elisa, and when I arrived at her apartment she quickly told me about all the wonderful books she bought the day before. At some point we would take a break from our day’s project, we decided, and she would take me to the library sale.
Oh my word.
The sale was divided into two levels, and we started (and in fact, ended) in the basement. There were tons of people, lots of hustle and bustle, and I’ve never talked so much (or so enthusiastically! and loudly!) in a library. I started selecting books carefully, browsing the shelves and critically thinking about how much money I would spend.
Then we realized that a brown grocery sack of books cost only $7.
Elisa grabbed a bag and I dumped my armload of books inside. And we began grabbing every must-have book we could find. If I spotted a favorite that I already owned, it went in the bag for her. She must have selected at least seven or eight books for me. By the sale’s end, the bag was brimming over, filled with plays, classics, food books, novels… and days and days of reading to come.
We left the library on a book high. I was so excited that I literally turned cartwheels. (She followed suit.) Even hours later, I literally jumped up and down while telling friends about how many books I’d acquired.
I can’t wait to get home and stare at the beautiful pile of pages on my bedroom floor.
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Of course I already own it. I just couldn’t abandon it there on that shelf, and I figured I could find someone who doesn’t already have a copy!)
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (I’ve never read any Dickens!)
- Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Childs
- Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock (I read this one last night. It’s beautiful, and now I need the rest of them.)
- The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton (One of many books Elisa tossed into the bag for me. I returned the favor!)
- Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
- Macbeth by Shakespeare
- She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb (One of the first books I picked up upon arrival. This was before we realized that a bag of books was so cheap. My sister’s former roommate recommended this to me; it’s been on my list for months.)
- Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
- The Chicago Manual of Style (Did I mention I’m kind of a dork?)
- Love’s Labour Lost by William Shakespeare (This is a beautiful edition—so pretty, in fact, that I was tempted to cram the entire set into my bag. But they wouldn’t have fit, and all of my favorite plays were already gone.)
- 1984 by George Orwell (I love Animal Farm.)
- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (When I was a substitute teacher several years ago, I was showing this movie to the AP English class. They were so precious—the kids stayed in my class during lunch so they could finish watching the movie. “We want to see how it compares to the play,” they explained. I figured if they were that curious, surely I should read it as well!)
- The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare (PS, 10 Things I Hate About You is still my favorite teen movie.)
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (This is one of several books on this list that I pretended to read in high school. Please don’t tell Mrs. Robertson.)
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (I actually read and loved this one in ninth grade. I had fun discussing it with my pastors’ sons at church last night!)
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles (I think I actually read this one, too!)
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (I was lectured at work on Friday because I had never read this one. I’m very excited about it.)
- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (I started reading this when I lived in Tuscaloosa, but had to return it to the library before I was done.)
- Plainsong by Kent Haruf
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty (Welty is one of my coworker’s very favorite authors. I probably should have snagged everything I saw with her name on it.)
- A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (I just watched a movie based on a Peter Mayle book this weekend, so this was very exciting.)
- French Lessons by Peter Mayle (Oh, and have I mentioned that I like to think I ought to be French?)
- The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden (I am super excited about this one after listening to Elisa talk about it.)
- In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (I’ve never read Bryson, but I’ve been meaning to for years.)
(And yes, I realize I estimated 32 books. But Elisa also got eight, so really my estimate was over, not under.)