Good Book Hunting: August 11, 2007

We bought so many books yesterday, I should have a hangover. I almost do, but we’ll come to that bye and bye.

We decided, as it was a cool (only 90 degrees at 8:00am) morning, to walk to a couple nearby yard sales with the boy in the stoller. So we loaded up on all our spare cash and a couple vessels of water, and we headed southwest to the outlying small home subdivisions of Old Trees, Missouri.

We found a yard sale selling cassettes for a quarter, specializing in 80s music, so we loaded up on Barry Manilow and some country and western (Heather being the operative part of we here) and a couple of CDs (Billy Ocean’s Love Zone and Roxette’s Joyride) for fifty cents each. Then we passed through a couple small but well organized (Heather said) sales featuring kids stuff (how disorganized can you be with very little, I asked). Then we hit a nearby estate sale, and the gluttony occured.

Friends, the people handling the affairs of this gentleman had his books and cassettes priced at twenty-five cents each, at which point “Because we’re walking and you’ll have to carry them” doesn’t hold up as an excuse not to buy. I mean, we did have a cart/dolly since the boy could walk now. About time he starts learning how to walk for distance.

I mean, look at this haul:

August Estate Sale Purchases
Click for full size

The gentleman’s collection of music focused on Big Band and jazz, so while Heather helped herself to some Benny Goodman (or Benny Youngman–whichever was the musician and not the comedian), I got some Sarah Vaughn, John Pizarrelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, and Diana Schuur. The books included some serious literature, a pile of art books and some very nice and old art museum supporter giveaways, and a few conservative tomes. Of which, I acquired:

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov. You know, that book mentioned in the Police song.
  • Five volumes by Ogden Nash.
  • Ariel by Sylvia Plath; I apologized to Jimmy Ray in advance for reading these at him.
  • Flowers of Evil by Baudelaire; I mean, if you have to have flowers.
  • Sonnets of Blood, a collection of poems written originally in Slovak and somehow made to fit an English rhyme scheme. That takes more than mere translation.
  • Dynamics of Faith by Paul Tillich; it will go along side the copy of Morality and Beyond and will probably remain so on my to-read shelves until the middle 2010s.
  • Poems of Flowers; we probably won’t be so lucky that these, too, are evil flowers, but they’ll break up the Dickinsonotony.
  • Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving, which talks about that famous building in Spain.
  • Down with Love, a movie tie-in; I can only assume that Mr. Paul owned it because of its tie to the song.
  • Gentleman: The William Powell Story by Charles Francisco; I don’t normally buy celebrity bios, but I just watched the documentary about him that came with the Thin Man DVD box set, so I was primed for this particular book.
  • The Confidential Clerk by T.S. Eliot; this is the first American edition of his verse play. For a quarter!
  • The Seduction of Hillary Rodham by that one guy who was a good guy and is now a bad guy or who was a bad guy and is now a good guy or however the mythology goes.
  • A boxed two-volume set from 1948 called The American Constitution.
  • Detectionary, a reference guide for early detectives in fiction; a special printing by the Hammermill paper company.
  • Couples by John Updike; a first edition for a quarter!
  • A Collectors’ Club edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s select tales and poems. I should put this on my read shelves, since I’ve already read everything from Poe in a complete edition, including the Narrative of A. Gordon Pym.
  • A single volume that collects Carl Sandburg’s Smoke and Steel, Slabs of the Sunburnt West, and Good Morning, America from the 1920s. I said so.
  • A play entitled Tiger at the Gates translated from the French.
  • The Meaning of the Creative Act, an early 20th century musing on creativity, translated from the German or from the Russian.
  • Resistance, Rebellion, and Death by Albert Camus; I’ll read this when I need a good pep talk.
  • Hardluck Ironclad, the story of a sunken Civil War vessel.
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney; a first edition! W00t!
  • A St. Louis County Geneology study of last names in the county in 1989-1990. Because I could.
  • Literary America, a study of American writers and photographs of the things/places about which they wrote.
  • Political Bestiary, a collection of political humor of some sort, I guess.
  • Collecting Nostalgia, a guide to things from the 1930s and 1940s to collect. Heather no doubt hopes I don’t get into collecting stuff from that era since I’m packing away enough clutter already with my narrow bands of material I seek.
  • Light of August, a William Faulkner book that got too close to my stack. Seriously. It was nearby, so Heather thought it fell from my stack and added it.

You can see Heather’s two books standing upright; if I had seen Varieties of Unbelief, I probably would have nabbed it for myself.

That’s 32 books for me, 2 for Mrs. Noggle, and a collection of audiocassettes for Heather to rip into digital format, ensuring that she’s not bored well into 2009.

So I better stop reading long classical works and take time to clear some of the shorter reads off of my shelves or I will face a space crunch. I mean, a greater space crunch than I have now.

And I carried the collection, some 45 pounds of it, the half mile or so home. You know, it used to be automatic that I could do that, but perhaps it’s because I’m aging or because I think I’m aging that I mentally pause before doing it (without actually pausing, you see, because that’s unmanly). As a result, my shoulders are a little tight today, but that only means they’ll look better tomorrow. Lots of books and ripped shoulders: this is possibly the best book sale ever.

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