Friday, 22 March 2019 15:23

COLUMN: Book-buying bonanza

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A couple of weekends ago, my wife asked me if I wanted to go to one of those big book sales the local library puts on when they realize they have too many books that no one checks out anymore. 

We usually go every six months when they have one and I figured this would be no different. I always thought it was odd that we would go and pay for books the library is getting rid of because no one wanted to read them for free. Either we are all morons, or the library knows something we don't. Of course, I told my wife I would go.

We really don't need anymore books. Before you say it, yes, I am aware that some folks, including myself, have uttered the phrase “there are never too many books.”

Well, there are. 

When you have gotten so many that you cannot possibly catch up and read all the ones you have gotten, but go out and get more, there are too many books. 

We have bookshelves in most every room of the house. Each of the shelves is packed with books two or three deep. There are hardcover and paperback. There are coffee-table books. There are books about coffee tables. There are books about coffee and there are books about tables. 

Some of them, I don't even remember buying, but we have a lot of books. Some of them we have had for 20 years. A few I have had since I was a teenager. I don't want to get rid of any because I always think I may read one again and some are quite hard to locate these days. 

I have four copies of James Michener's “Chesapeake.” I have one in my car, two paperbacks at home (one to take when I travel) and a hardcover first edition. I've read it about 11 times and could probably recite it word for word. It makes a good book for travel because it's extremely long and there is no way you could possibly finish it in a weekend. I read it once in six days, but I had nothing else to do. 

On the last day of the big book sale, you can get a big paper bag full of books for $5. You can bring your own bag or use one of the ones they provide. It's quite a deal financially, until you realize it's all a big trick and you wind up just trying to fill the bag in some demented game of literary Tetris. This is how they get rid of the books they don't want. They know you want to get the best bang for your buck by packing your bag until it bursts. 

My wife never asks what books I have put in my bag until we get home. She gets books for the kids and grandkids. I get the strangest things I can find. This is why my wife gets “The Cricket In Times Square” and I have gotten “Equine Gynecology For Dummies.” I'm not a horseman nor a veterinarian, but I know a darn sight more than I did a couple of weeks ago. 

They have other things besides books, but I don't have a CD player to play the discs they were selling. I have a record player, but I could only find “The Ethel Merman Disco Album” and I don't need another copy. There may be no business like show business, no business I know, but I don't need duplicates in my record collection. There were a few DVDs and VHS tapes, but my wife said no when I started pursuing them. We have enough movies, she said. That's another column altogether, I assure you. 

It has been said that folks don't read like they used to. Judging from the crowd at the book sale, I would certainly refute that statement. I won't say it was a tough crowd, but I had to give a woman a stern look when she tried to grab “Toledo on Three Dollars A Day” from my hand. My wife asked when I was going to Toledo. I replied that I wasn't entirely sure, but I knew I was going on a budget.  


Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.