Last week I made two trips to the big, annual book sale to benefit the Library System of Lancaster County. I first attended on Monday, soon after the sale opened, because I love a good book sale. I was fortunate to find a parking spot with ease, but when I was leaving, drivers were jockeying and negotiating to secure spaces. I was giving Little Thistle a quick change when a carload of eager book-buyers entered into a bargain for my spot. I assured them we would be leaving in a moment, and they happily decided to camp out and wait while we buckled up to depart.
During the time I spent at the book sale on Monday, I was amused by the antics of the customers. Some were grabbing books hand over fist, cramming them into their wagons as fast as possible. Others were slow and deliberate in their quests, while still others were sprawled on the floor against the walls, surrounded by stacks of possibilities. The scene on Wednesday, half-price day, was much more chill.
I am always open to any book that calls to me. I typically do not have a specific agenda in mind, because I find it equal parts fun and frustration. Looking for a specific title can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, so I try to remain open-minded. Mostly, I am just looking for “old” books, no matter the subject.I only browsed for a few minutes during each visit, but here’s what I found!
First, a four-volume set of Audel’s Carpenters and Builders Guide, first copyrighted in the early 1920s. This edition dates to 1948 … I love it! The hand-drawn illustrations are fascinating, and the entire set captures the essence of the craft. You just don’t see people using tools like this anymore, and I appreciate this snapshot of a disappearing skill-set.
Here we have an 1886 printing of Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish. Admittedly, the cover condition of this book is not great, but the innards are in excellent shape, and it has a cool stamp inside, marking it as the former property of the Board of Public Education of the 1st School District of Pennsylvania. The book was published by The Riverside Press of Cambridge, and it contains H.W. Longfellow’s explanatory notes. It is Number 2 in a series of 36 works of literature, which made up The Riverside Literature Series. Each volume originally cost 15 cents! Interestingly, since I bought this on half-price day, I didn’t pay too much more than that!
Next up, a nice copy of As You Like It by Shakespeare. This copy dates to 1905 and is in great condition. The olive-colored leather cover is soft and buttery, and a signature inside indicates that Jane M. Mears received the book as a Christmas gift on 12-25-10. (1910, of course!) This book originally sold for 56 cents, and contains beautiful engravings, as well as notes by a period scholar.
I also browsed the children’s books, because I love to collect beautiful books for children. I found a 1981 printing of The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown. It’s not rare or unusual, but it is a nice story in good condition. I was happy to add it to our library.
I picked up a paperback copy of Wait Till the Moon is Full, also by Margaret Wise Brown. This is a cute story, but I was most attracted to the beautiful drawings by Garth Williams. I’m a sucker for books that he illustrated. We will enjoy reading this one!
Finally, I selected a copy of The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow. She is one of my favorite authors of children’s books, and I was not familiar with this book. I snapped it up without even opening it. The book is in great shape, and I am certain we will read it all year, and not just at Easter.
So, those are this year’s finds! I didn’t go all-in like I have some years, but I am appreciative of the books I found. I would have liked to scoop up more old volumes (obsessed) but from a tidiness perspective, this was probably a good thing. We already have thousands upon thousands of books throughout our house. What can I say? We are book people! We have a room that is dedicated to housing a great many of them. It’s where I write and work, so I feel very cozy and happy there, surrounded by the wit and wisdom of many.
I love the idea of books that have been pre-loved, especially for many years. Do you enjoy secondhand books?