So there I was, silently bemoaning the fact that invites for after-work drinks and the like were flying around my inbox, it was a slow Friday afternoon and I was destined not to join the party (you know, small child and all that). I had almost forgotten my invite to the Co-op Bookshop’s sale ‘launch’ that was being held this afternoon. They’d invited a whole heap of staff, as far as I could tell. They offered refreshments, good deals and asked for an RSVP. I thought it was all a bit strange, being the Co-op and all, but I duly sent my acceptance and thought I’d go and have a peek.
I almost didn’t make it. I was so tired and just wanting to pick up the boy and go home but I changed my mind, books involved, no real surprise. There was a large sign saying RSVP ONLY at the door and it all looked rather swish. Well, as swish as a uni bookshop on a grimy Friday afternoon can look. My name was ticked off by the doorbitch and then I was offered my choice of wine or beer and invited to help myself to the nibbles. They pointed out the baskets in case the load got too heavy and then I was left to peruse the tables of books at my leisure.
So, I spent an hour, drinking a beer, looking at books and getting bargains. Yes, that’s right, a cold beer on a Friday, books and bargains. Oh, and a complimentary stubbyholder with the ‘Outside of a dog’ Groucho Marx quote on it:
Is that class or wot?
Oh yeah, I bought some books too. Not many though. I swear, really, not many.
“I can’t give a book up, if it’s a book that meant something to me…I always imagine I’ll go back to it one day. I rarely do, but the intention is there, and I get a warm feeling among my books.”
In a trend Mindy noted had become almost a meme, a few of us have been blogging our book purchases at recent dirt-cheap sales. Ampersand Duck and Zoe also supplied photos to add to the vicarious experience of bagging a bargain. It has been interesting to see the choices of others (sometimes with jealousy, sometimes with WTF? and a raised eyebrow).
LibraryThing allows for even more of this book-perving. (Leave the URL of your collection in the comments if you want to open it up for a good inspection from the 3 readers of Stack. Hi Mum!)
It’s not a new idea that our books can tell others a lot about us and it is this theme that Jay Parini writes about in the Chronicle this week.
A personal library is an X-ray of the owner’s soul. It offers keys to a particular temperament, an intellectual disposition, a way of being in the world. Even how the books are arranged on the shelves deserves notice, even reflection. There is probably no such thing as complete chaos in such arrangements.
If you swoon over books as much as some of us, go and read it.
I will be forever thankful for my third class teacher, Mr Seymour, thinking we would enjoy hearing Charlie and Chocolate Factory read aloud to us. I did.
I went back.
I couldn’t help it.
It was only 10 bucks a box.
I am now officially on a book diet.
(AND I carried the bastards across campus, with a backpack full of laptop, camera and iPod and associated leads and bits and bobs. I need seeing to.)
UPDATE: For those who wish to torture themselves a little more, I have put the list of books in the two boxes over the fold.
I consoled myself after the tree incident by attending one the highlights of the booklover’s year, the Sydney Uni Chancellor’s Committee booksale. My mother came down from ‘the country’ to attend also. Luckily we were interested in similar sections so we formed a two-pronged attack, getting in the door just after it opened.
(Just to gloat) I bought:
Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads W.S. Gilbert
Poems St John of the Cross
Ariel Sylvia Plath
Winter Trees Sylvia Plath
Remains of Elmet Ted Hughes and Fay Godwin
The Vernacular Republic Les Murray
The Long Game and other poems Bruce Beaver
What I came to say Raymond Williams
Literary Sydney: A walking guide Jill Dimond and Peter Kirkpatrick
Reading Australian Poetry Andrew Taylor
The Historical Novel Georg Lukacs
A Primer of English Versification James McAuley
Gone Bush Roger McDonald ed.
A Mother’s Disgrace Robert Dessaix
Correction Thomas Bernhard
The Simple Gift Steven Herrick
North of the Moonlight Sonata Kerryn Goldsworthy
One-Eyed Cat Paula Fox
The Glade Within the Grove David Foster
Religious Commitment and Secular Reason Robert Audi
John shines through Augustine A.P. Carleton
Sporting Fever Michael Parkinson
and 12 kids picture books.
And I paid $39.
Yes, I am feeling very pleased with myself.
Dean at Happy Antipodean has also blogged his purchases.