Friends, on Saturday, I went to ABC Books with gift cards in hand. I received a $50 card for Christmas, and I have $34 remaining on a Visa gift card, so I tucked three remaining $20 “You need a gift now?” gift cards (the “You need a gift now?” gifts previously had been bubble wands, inexpensive art kits, or Legos for the times when a child would announce he was invited to a birthday party the morning of the birthday party and produce a wrinkled invitation from somewhere in his school pack, but they’ve gotten too old for that–they might have outgrown getting invited to birthdays as well, as it has been years) into my pocket. That gave me roughly $150 in not real money to spend, and I knew I had a couple of more expensive books that I’d had my eyes on for the occasion when I was feeling flush, and although we are not flush right now with real money, I was ballin’ with gift cards.
So we got there, and I could not find anything.
The curse of the gift card. I can walk into ABC Books and find $100 worth of books when it’s my own money (and when an author is signing his or her books), but when I go there with a gift card, I cannot find anything to buy. I’ve had this problem at Barnes and Noble, Vintage Stock, you name it.
I mean, the nice copy of Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell that I’ve been hankering for since I listened to The World of George Orwell before the COVID lockdowns is $199.95, and the Folio Society and Eaton editions are not 25% of currently (they often are). There’s a nice set of the complete works of James Whitcomb Riley–I enjoyed his Little Orphant Annie and Other Poems Dover collection in 2018–but, come on, am I going to read those 10 volumes? I’m certainly a little at a loss for room for a nice set of 10 in the Nogglestead library.
The martial arts section remains empty. I looked at the artist monographs down the aisle, and I spotted a couple of collections of photography that I could use to satisfy the 2023 Winter Reading Challenge‘s Pictorial category–a collection of photos of Big Sur, California, a collection of the Grand Canyon, or photos from Marilyn Monroe’s last session, but these collections were fifty dollars or more, and that’s a lot for an hour’s worth of browsing to tick off a category in the reading challenge.
So I almost came out empty handed.
But not quite.
- The Book of Irish Limericks by Myler MacGrath, a 40 page collection of limericks that would have been good to browse during football games, but football season has ended for Nogglestead.
- Those Who Love: Love Poems by Sara Teasdale by, well, Sara Teasdale, a 61 page collection by the early 20th century poet. Either of these books would fulfill the Under 200 Pages category of the Winter Reading Challenge.
- Ridge-Runner: From the Big Piney to the Battle of the Bulge by Norten Dablemont as told to Larry Dablemont. As you know, I enjoy Larry Dablemont’s columns which appear in several of my adopted hometown papers.
- The Complete Poesm of Marianne Moore. This is a nice book club edition with a copyright date of 1956. I have a copy of Goblin Market and Other Poems around here somewhere–perhaps unfinished as I do not see it in the record from the last 20 years. Oh, well. It’s only one volume, and it was only $7.95.
So it was $25.73 total, and I paid with a regular credit card. Because I want to save the gift cards for something special.
And I still have the “You need a gift now?” cards in case we need a gift suddenly. Which is nice.