Monday, September 30, 2013

Books, Glorious Books!

By Sheila Webster Boneham

Twice a year, the Friends of the New Hanover Public Library here in Wilmington, NC, hold their humongous book sales. They take over half the large entry foyer, the large event room, part of the sidewalk, and more. I couldn't begin to guess how many books they put out, and just thinking about the organizing makes me want to take a two aspirin and a lie-down! Many of us bibliophiles look forward to THE BOOK SALE for months. Then we descend on the place like college athletes at an all-you-can-eat buffet. 

Books! Glorious books!


My husband and and I spent some time there yesterday. Who knows how much time? Who cares? Roger is much more controlled than I am. He came away with a movie CD (that cerebral Steve Martin classic The Man with Two Brains). He uses the library a lot, but in the conventional cost-free way. 

I bought books, but only as many as I could carry in my fully-extended arm. I was good, but don't think I wasn't tempted to grab a box (ok, several boxes) like so many of the book-sale patrons. I saw one woman at the check out with two BIG boxes full of paperbacks. I was a little envious, although I would have spread my selections across a few more genres than just the one she chose. 

I'm a pretty eccen.., er, eclectic reader. Among my choices this time....Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt, which I read many years ago and had been thinking about recently - fortune smiled. Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende, one of my favorite authors. Somehow I never read this this one. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan. Several mysteries and thrillers. 

What is it about book sales? We have a wonderful new-and-used bookstore downtown -- Old Books on Front -- where we can find plenty of lovely books every day. We have Pomegranate Books, another Indie bookstore that has mostly new books, but a selection of used books that has served me well. (I also work with owner Kathleen Jewel to offer individually autographed copies of my books.) Maybe it's the ticking clock, or the crowd of buyers and lookers, or just the tables and tables and tables of books, glorious books. 

One of my best pleasures at these sales is encountering old friends. Oh, sure, there are the two-legged kind. I always see people I know prowling the aisles. But I mean the paper, glue, and ink kind of old friends. Books I read ten or twenty - or forty - years ago. I smiled at the 1984 spine of Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. I remembered long-ago all-night reads with Sidney Sheldon's The Other Side of Midnight and Stephen King's Thinner and Dean Koontz's Tick Tock, and delicious hours with Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Gretel Erlich's The Solace of Open Spaces. Some of those are still on my own shelves at home; others are like friends we meet every few years at reunions.

Speaking of those shelves at home.... I clean them out every so often and donate books I've enjoyed but know I won't reread any time soon. I think it's a good thing to do. It lightens my material load (something I've been working on for several years). It gives other people the chance to buy bargain-priced tickets to worlds I've enjoyed. And because the sales provide funds for the library, whatever few dollars our books bring in go to a better cause than that latte I don't need. 

And now I'm going to curl up with my new pile of used books. Because really, they never get old. 

Poster from Sheila's recent reading and talk about
animals in fiction at the New Hanover Public Library. 
Sheila Boneham currently lives, reads, writes, walks, paints, and plays with animals on the coast of North Carolina. You can learn more about her writing, including her Animals in Focus mysteries, and follow her blog at or find her on Facebook


Mystic_Mom said...

I love book sales like that - even though they are overwhelming and I want to crawl under a table and read! I do find treasures though. Wish we had more of them here. I should send you my wish list! Ha ha!

Beth Groundwater said...

I love those fundraiser book sales, too, Sheila! I volunteer twice a year at my local library's fundraiser book sales, and I can't help but come away with a few books, even though my shelves are full and I've usually donated a few books to the sale already.

Unknown said...

Mystic - I can just picture you snuggled up under a table with a stack of books! Beth, I know, right? I was really proud of myself for holding to the limit. :-)