Last weekend, I did something that felt quite unnatural to me. I exhibited considerable restraint during a book sale.
I’ve written about the Friends of Emmet O’Neal Book Sale each year since my first visit. The first year I was so overwhelmed by the number of books I bought, I told everyone about it. The second year, I bought even more books and became a Friend myself.
As shelving began for this year’s book sale, I prepared to move from my one bedroom garage apartment to a three bedroom house. I borrowed the library’s method for moving books. On the final day of the sale, patrons can fill a paper grocery sack with books for $10. It’s a perfect moving method, I found, because you can’t fill the bags so heavy that you can’t lift them. If you do, they rip. So I bagged my books and shuttled them between homes, sorting them into categories and, later, unpacking those categories into their own rooms.
The kitchen cabinets of my new house are now home to fiction and YA/children’s literature. Cookbooks decorate the top of my food cabinet. There’s a collection of religion books stacked artfully under an end table in my living room (topped, inexplicably, by a Beatles book). Art books keep magazines company atop the coffee table. I quickly filled the guest room bookcase with nonfiction. My bedroom, of course, is host to my favorite books: Alabama authors, writing books, my own journals and, on their own shelf, a collection of my favorite books and brand new (to me) books.
My roommate has been very patient as my books have taken over the house.
But I can recognize a problem when I see it, and I knew I didn’t need to go crazy (again) at this year’s book sale. I’ve barely made a dent in reading books from the previous two years! So I browsed the shelves more thoughtfully, selecting only books I couldn’t pass on, plus a few for friends and family. And I’ve already finished two of my purchases.
Maybe next year I’ll unleash the book buying beast again. In the meantime, on with the reading.
2010 Friends of Emmet O’Neal Library Book Sale purchases
- Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund
- An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke
- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
- Essays of E.B. White
- Best of the Oxford American
- Evangeline and Selected Tales and Poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- 1901 Alabama Constitution with Introductory Commentary