I got 41 books for $8 over the weekend.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s how it happened.
My library had it’s spring book sale on Friday and Saturday. It’s always super cheap. 50 cents for a paperback, $1 for a hardback, or $7 for however many books you can fit into a plastic grocery bag. If you buy more than one bag, you get a dollar off for every bag you buy, down the lowest price of $4 a bag. They also have super rare and old books, but they are sold separately for $3 a book, and are not included in the bag price.
My sister and I went to this sale. Together we got 3 bags; one for me, two for her. That meant each bag only cost $5 instead of $7. I fit 18 books into my bag. And I thought that was the end of it.
But then on the second day of the sale, I noticed that during the final hour of the sale, everything was listed as half off, including the old, rarer books. With spare change included, I had $6 of pocket money left. So I went back to the book sale to get myself 4 old books to add to my collection.
Turns out, the ladies running the book sale had dropped the price even lower than what they originally said. It was now only $1 a bag, and the old books were now included in the bag price instead of being sold separately! So that’s when 4 more books turned into 1 more bag.
Then, as I was browsing, one of the ladies came up to me, super excited to see a younger person interested in books, and began to help me put books into my bag. When that one filled up, she got me another one, and then one more. And that’s when 1 more bag turned into 3 more bags. 3 bags that I only paid $3 for.
So both days combined, I only spent $8 for 4 bags of books. And in those 4 bags, I managed to fit 41 books.
Shall I go through what they all are, or would that be too long and boring for you?
You know what, I’m so excited that I’m going to do it anyways, just in case you can’t read all the spine labels. So let’s go top to bottom in the pictures. Please forgive me.
To start with, my wonderful, super heavy dictionary set from 1927. These puppies hold the real english language in it if you ask me. There are so many old words that don’t make it into today’s dictionarys, and there’s no twerking or selfie nonsense to be had. These dictionarys have style, from back when the English language had class. And as a bonus, there’s a built in Thesaurus, a proper name dictionary for looking up famous people of history and myth, and a cities and countries dictionary in the back of the second volume.
“The Beacon Lights of History” set. I have volumes 1, 3, 8, 10, and 14. I don’t how many there are all together or where I could ever find the others, but these are still gems. Inside of one of them was a newspaper clipping from 1899. Can you believe it? I got to read how the stocks and weather were that day in November over a century ago! How cool is that?
Then there’s “Twelve Way to Build a Better Vocabulary”. “Cathcart’s Literary Reader” and “History of English Literature” are for studying all the famous written works without having to actually read them. “Great Adventures and Explorations” are about the old explorers. The last book in that picture is, “The Art of Clear Thinking”.
“The Elegant Auctioneers”, I’m not even sure what’s it’s about. But it’s stamped on the inside, saying it came from a New York hospital library. “Paradise Lost and Other Poems“, “A Tale of Two Cities“, and “Bleak House”. I’m pretty sure “Pearls From Many Seas” is a work of fiction, but the first few pages are so dry that they’re cracking, so I haven’t looked further.
“Stories to Remember”, “Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible”, “The Possessed” ( translated from Russian; should be fun to read ), “Life’s Extras” ( something uplifting and inspiring ), and “Silver Wings”, which is a collection of addresses to children, about life, I’m assuming.
I also have a copy of The Constitution ( and apparently California’s, too ),“The Unheavenly City”, about the future of our urban areas, Red Cross guides to home nursing and first aid, “Ex Libris”, a book about books that is one of my all time favorite books, “The Day is Dancing”, an old elementary school book of poems, “The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes”, and “The Pearl / The Red Pony” all wrapped up in one.
“Essays Literary and Critical by Matthew Arnold”, “The Old Yellow Book”, Le Morte D’arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory Volume 2″, “The Life of Horatio Lord Nelson by Robert Southly”, and “Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush”. I’m going to be honest. I have no idea what those ones are about beyond what their titles say. And then there’s my first little Bible. It’s illustrated, too, and super cute!
That one with the face on it is called “Evangeline”, and I don’t know what it is. “Don’t” is a manners book written by an American in 1880, then re-published in England in from 1986-1998. “Sunshine and Smiles” is a collection of sermons and biographical stories.
“Austen Country” is all about, you guessed it! Jane Austen and the region she lived in. That book on top of it is an old school book from one of the county school’s from the early 1900’s. It’s falling to pieces, and it makes me so sad to see it. I want to restore it one day, if it’s possible.
So there’s all of them! Some where signed, one had a sticker from a book store in Canada, and one had a whole list of previous owners starting back in the year 1895! That’s what I love most about these old books, and what makes me sad about them. The last imprint of people’s lives are left in some of these books, and then these books are just left to crumble and be ruined. So many stories lost, not just in the pages, but of the people who once held them. I wish there was a way to get all those stories back.
For now all I can do is seek out and hold dear as many of these books as I can find. I hope that there are many, many people who feel the same way about them as I do, so that more of them can be saved.
You see to me a book isn’t just a book. When some really cares about writing, they put their soul down onto those pages. It becomes a piece of them. Long after you die, what you write might just be in the hands of a reader somewhere, and that person will hear your thoughts, will be reading a little piece of your soul, so that while those pages are still being turned, it’s almost as if you never truly died at all.
That little piece of you will live on, and as long as it exists, so do you. If you destroy a book, you are, in a way, killing the person who wrote it. Because as soon as all their works are gone, so too is their last memory. Nothing can last forever, but I will work to keep these stories, and these people, alive for as long as possible.
I think all writers are a bit afraid of being lost to the sands of time. The thought that as soon as they are gone, so too are all their thoughts and memories. I believe that is at the heart of why we write. A book, in my opinion, is the closest thing humans can get to immortality, at least for a while.
It’s comforting to me, at least, to think that one day after I’m gone, someone might still be reading my books, knowing that there was once a time when I existed.