09 November 2010

Booksale: A Literary Adventure

I missed a HUGE charity booksale this past weekend. Over 60,000 books in a huge sports venue . . . and I didn't show! It was mostly cause I didn't know. I hadn't kept up with all the local events, and I missed it.

I knew about Sculpture on the Shore and I plan to go to that still because it's on for another week. Then there were the garden tours and the rose festival; all good events.

The book sale is a 24 hour flash, noon Saturday to noon Sunday, open all night long. Well, I'm sure for those working it flash is not the right word. It's probably grueling work, unloading all those books, arranging them according to subject and price range, keeping them tidy on tables, spine up so people can read the titles and authors' names.

Your Reaction Faced with a huge room laced with tables full of books, what happens in your heart? In your mind?

  • Are you overwhelmed, think "What's the use? Too many to read?" and turn away?
  • Do you chomp at the bit, torn between looking at fiction or non-fiction first?
  • Does the chaos of it disturb you, as other literates fossick for favourites, disturbing the order and flow?
  • Are you thrilled by the potential held within the pages of each volume, whether a novel or academic treatise on an obscure topic?
  • Do you set yourself a limit, whether a dollar amount or a number of titles, maybe saying, "Only one box today."?
I have a professor friend who sets himself a yearly limit, having already strengthened the foundations of his house to cope with the weight of his collection. By this time of year he's usually crept over his limit of a few hundred books. I'll bet he was at the sale. Next year I'll get him to text me. Wonder what time he went; soon after opening or during the quiet of the night?

Late Night Literates Think about that one for a minute. Who would go in the middle of the night? Who would you guess? And how might those passing conversations be different from the early birds or Sunday morning latecomers?

I've gone late on a Saturday night, but not so late as the middle-of-the-night crowd. In fact, this particular Saturday night I think I was in bed by 10PM, sore from cleaning out the garage. Wonder if I'd have gone had I known?

The late-night bookworms were an eclectic bunch. Some looked scholarly, others were arty. I saw people looking for a bargain and others looking for treasure. Some could have afforded the books as new hardbacks. Others were stocking their shelves economically for the year. Many buyers donate the books the next year after they've read them. Some looked like parents who could get out at night while their kids slept. I've been during the day too, when the kids had stayed too long already and were letting us all know!

One More Question Uhm, I hesitate to ask this because by the very asking of the question I'll give myself away. What good is our relationship if I can't trust you to know me and still read the blog? Okay, I'll ask.

Do you ever tidy the books as you go? Or maybe for you it's not books but clothing at an op shop or Goodwill store? Maybe stuff at a flea market or jumble sale? Do you try to bring order where there is none, even if it's not at home or in your own space?

Sometimes I look around at the other people grazing on titles and I think, "If we all just straightened the rows as we went or replaced the books so the titles showed, then it wouldn't be a big deal for anyone and we'd all benefit." I've been tempted to call impromptu meetings, but resisted the temptation.

So, instead, I was tidying my garage, sweeping, consolidating and then sorting into bags and boxes the donations, rubbish, recyclables, etc. The catalyst was that we were having wires run through the garage and the man needed access. With a good friend over and a sunny afternoon, I just went with it.

But really, you do tidy in public too, right?

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