My father and I plan visits to book sales like some people plan out vacations. Shortly after Christmas we start stalking the websites of past library sales. We of course check to see if Book Sale Finder has any updates. We look to our usual haunts for this year’s schedule. Our first book sale of the year is typically the Five Colleges Book sale, in Lebanon NH, mid April. It’s a jaunt from Eastern Maine to the New Hampshire/Vermont border, but it is a used book nirvana, and one of the highlights of our year. This year however, we were pleasantly surprised by a Facebook post, from a relatively local library.
It has been a relatively mild winter up here in the North East. We built a skating rink out back, it melted, we built it again. We purchased a pass to the local indoor pool. So cabin fever hasn’t really set in yet. But if that’s the excuse for an early book sale, well then call me Paul Sheldon.
Shockingly none of my children chose to come to this particular book sale with mum and granddad. It’s a hard sell putting pants on these days. Two were home baking cakes with dad, and the other was singing his heart out as Prince Eric in a rehearsal for his school’s production of The Little Mermaid. It’s much easier to browse effectively with fewer children, and is usually less costly. This leaves more cash money for my dad and me to spend. Ahem.
A mere 45-minute drive the day after an ice storm, and we arrived at our destination, dollar bills in hand, ready for books and baked goods. This was a really well organized sale. Sorted by theme, and then alphabetically, there were two huge rooms of books in the basement of the library. Upstairs there was a bake sale, and a room of discount books for a dollar a bag. There were plenty of first editions, and an exceptional selection of children’s books. It was a relief not to have the kids with us, as we would have been there for hours and come back with a truck load of books. Especially at the rates they were charging. This was a proper old school book sale. A dollar for a hardback, 50 cents for a paperback, and kids book only ten cents a pop. A sale designed to encourage the young reader, be still my beating heart.
There were plenty of mystery novels, some complete sets for less than three dollars in their entirety. There was an excellent selection of old time Science Fiction, and even the kids books were sorted by theme, with a nice stack of Sesame Street books next to the Winnie the Pooh offerings. I was tempted by a first edition Daphne DuMaurier but resisted, I’m more likely to read the paperback.
Logistically this was also a well executed book sale, different crews manned sales and on hold books, while others wandered around tidying up and chatting. There was a team outside giving popcorn to little kids, and they gave everyone going downstairs a ticket, to ensure that they never exceeded fire code down there. I have never seen that before, but really appreciated the elbow room.
While I didn’t find anything for myself. I was happy with the books I found for the kids, and utterly delighted to kick off another year of hunting for good book sales, and good books.
Some of the titles from this trip’s haul:
- Cub Scout Grand Prix – A Pinewood Derby Guidebook. Published 1992
- Would You Like to Play Hide and Seek in This Book with Lovable Furry Old Grover. Published 1993
- Sir Toby Jingle’s Beastly Journey, story and pictures by Wallace Tripp. Published 1976
- It’s a Magical World, A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson. Published 1996.
All of these things are something we are always on the hunt for. My husband is our local Cubmaster, and so we are always interested in old time scouting books. His pack hits their fiftieth anniversary this year, and so the history of it is especially important to him right now. Anything featuring lovable furry old Grover is always a must in a stack of Sesame Street Books. Sir Toby is an odd book, I have never heard of it before, but I always buy books featuring the name of one of my kids. Surprisingly I found this online for anywhere between $20 and $65, which is bizarre. And lastly, both my ten and eight year old boys are having a love affair with Calvin and Hobbes right now, so we are always looking for collections they don’t have. My husband went through the same phase at ten, funnily enough, he now relates more to Calvin’s dad, and he’s not sure what to make of that.
One book sale down, so many more glorious book sales to go.