The plan was simple. One year, no book buying (save for a three book exception, meant to stave off the seductive appeal of the forbidden). After filling my backseat with purchases from one book sale, I thought I needed a break from book buying. Otherwise I may never get caught up on my book reading.
That worked well for a time. I bought my first book at Square Books in Oxford, Miss., a place that begged for just such an exception. The Paris Review Interviews Vol. 1 is the perfect souvenir for this literary town. Weeks later, exception two came into play: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, on sale at Seattle’s Elliot Bay Books.
Then there was last night. Yes, last night brought book three. And four. And five. All the way up to 12. And I don’t feel a bit bad about it.
Technically, I fell off this particular wagon months back. I spotted three hardback copies of John Green’s Looking for Alaska on a sale table, and I couldn’t leave them lying there. I purchased all three, confident that I could find them homes. (I already owned two copies of the book, myself.)
But that didn’t count, not really. The books weren’t for me, after all. Neither was the hardback copy of Corduroy, purchased for a friend’s daughter’s birthday last month. By those rules, one of the books I bought last night doesn’t count either. When I saw a $3 hardback copy of a Charles Schulz biography, I knew my 16-year-old brother had to have it.
So then I’m only at 11 books for the year. Is that better?
This is what happened: It’s been a busy summer, one full of change. I haven’t been reading much as a result (a very strange circumstance, indeed). When a friend emailed yesterday, asking if I wanted to go to another library book sale, I said yes. I was ready for a little rule-breaking. (The fact that this counts as rebellion in my world is likely indicative of how big a nerd I am.)
We met at her house for a glass and a half of wine then headed out, hoping for a couple of good buys. Though I exhibited a fair amount of discretion, I still took home 10 books totaling $15. I broke the rules, and my only regret is not knowing which book to read first.
- Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman (The only Klosterman I didn’t own.)
- The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank (Often referenced as the original chick lit, and known for its author’s huge advance. I’m curious.)
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
- My Losing Season by Pat Conroy
- Proof by David Auburn
- The Little, Brown Handbook (Buying a 1986 handbook from a publisher I admire surely marks me as a full-fledged word nerd. Even more so if I read it. But it seems like a handy reference, doesn’t it?)
- That’s What I Like (About the South) Edited by George Garrett and Paul Ruffin
- Schulz and Peanuts by David Michalies
- Southern Living 1981 Annual Recipes (My mother bought me a copy of this book in 1981, the year I was born. I lost my original copy in the midst of too many moves and have been hunting another since. The discovery was made even better when I realized the book was only $1!)