Good Book Hunting: September 29, 2007

Another week, another set of yard sales. At the first one we visited, I carried the boy instead of putting him in the stroller, so I didn’t browse too closely the inexpensive books or videocassettes. At the second one, we deployed the stroller, but I was being very selective–as in not looking too closely at all–until I saw the price: 50 cents for hardbacks, 25 cents for paperbacks. Then I went bonkers, because who knows when I might need several books covering Triumph automobiles?

Here’s what we got:

Old Trees Garage Sale books
Click for full size

  • The Confessions of St. Augustine, because, um, it’s learned to have it.
  • A Set of Six by Joseph Conrad, some novels and novellas that do not include Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer.
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen because I wasn’t sure if I owned it or not.
  • Castles and Keeps of Scotland, a Barnes and Noble edition so the book must be pretty famous and out of copyright protection.
  • Missouri Trivia. It’s questions and answers, but I’ll learn something to astonish my friends and family.
  • The Global War on Guns, written by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. Has anyone told him how French his name sounds? Seriously, Wayne is probably his Americanized way of spelling Jacques. The book probably condenses the last year’s worth of America’s First Freedom, but it was only fifty cents.
  • It’s Pat: My Life Exposed. A book based on an unfunny Saturday Night Live series of skits. At least I haven’t seen the movie. That is to my credit, I believe. This was a quarter, though, with no additional royalties encouraging the participants.
  • The Illustrated Triumph Buyer’s Guide. I told you so.
  • TR for Triumph. I meant more than one.
  • Sunset Best Home Plans. Back when I was eBaying, I found home plan books went surprising well. Now that I am not eBaying, I like to look at them and kind of dream. Plus, I think I will accidentally find myself collecting old Sunset books one of these days.
  • Disco Dancing. A book showing you how to disco. I shall use it to train my son.
  • Disco. I think this is some sort of coffee table book. I picked it up because I’d already picked up the disco book above, and when you get the chance to get more than one book on a topic in a week, you take it. See also “Triumph” in this blog entry.
  • New York at Night, a collection of photographs. Probably better than Detroit, but probably there isn’t much that is not.
  • Ulysses by James Joyce. If there’s ever a reason I want to punish myself, this is the method I will choose.
  • Momisms, a little greeting card sort of book. It was cheap, and I was in a frenzy; don’t you know what that means yet?
  • Panati’s Parade of Frauds, Follies, and Manias [sic]. As you should know by now, gentle reader, I like to grab these compendia to get ideas for essays. Sometimes, it pays off (watch this space!).
  • The Triumph TRs. I meant I got a bunch of books on Triumph cars. Just in case. I better start collecting them to make this book purchase meaningful.
  • Opening Nights by Janet Burroway. Some 15 years ago, my college fiction workshop used a textbook written by this author. This is the first I’ve seen one of her books in the wild. Let’s see if she knows what she’s talking about. Of course, in the 15 years since I took that class, I’ve forgotten anything I might have learned.
  • A Celebration of Poets. Another collection of poetry to read aloud, although I’ve sort of fallen out of the habit of doing that to with the boy.
  • Training African Grey Parrots. Once upon a time, I was going to get one. Well, I thought about it. Now I have a book that will teach me how to train one.
  • The Dead Zone by Stephen King. This will replace a book club edition already on my to-read shelf. And by “will replace,” I mean will sit on my to-read shelf until I inadvertently read both of them.
  • Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook by Scott Adams. Now that I am not actively managing any more, this book won’t do me as much good as it would have, but it will prove amusing nevertheless.
  • Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. Also a replacement. Also subject to doubling.

Additionally I picked up a VHS copy of Computer Warriors, a Mattel “cartoon” circa 1990 that was supposed to support a line of toys. Remember them? Me, either. Which is why this video will prove an even greater curiosity.

Heather bought her regular collection of books, cassettes, and records pictured, as usual, to the right.

So I bought 23 books when I started out uninterested in buying any. The worst part is that, although I bought 3 books about Triumph automobiles, I passed up 2 books on historic Mobile, Alabama. Given my recent drive to read this sort of historical material in my own neighborhood, I do regret, lightly, passing over them.

All told, the feast you see before you cost less than $40. I gloat a bit, but I also mourn that this much knowledge is worth so little in the contemporary marketplace.

UPDATE: Frequent commenter gimlet suggests I start my new collection with this.

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