Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, June 17, 2011

On Book Hauls

I'm not terribly "with it", generally speaking, and so I was unaware of the YouTube genre of "Book Haul" which Donald references in his post today. Like the woman in the parable who calls in all her neighbors to celebrate the finding of her lost coin, the bibliophile cannot rejoice alone in a good haul. Perhaps one of the reasons such joys must be shared is that there is a glorious commonality to the experiences of all book hoarders. Don writes:
You could do a lot with a dollar when you were a kid in the sixties. Comic books cost 12 cents, cokes were a dime, candy could be purchased for a nickel to a dime. However, I spent a fair part of my money at the local Goodwill. Paris did not have a bookstore, but the Goodwill had a bookcase with used paperbacks and hardbacks. The paperbacks were a nickel and the hardbacks were a dime. New used books came in fairly frequently. Most Saturday mornings I would go into the Goodwill and search through the books. It was there I first made the acquaintance of Plato, Aristotle and Aristophanes. On one memorable day, the divine Dante came my way for the first time with a paperback copy of Purgatorio, and a “new life” began for me. History books were plentiful, especially on the Civil War and World War II and I gobbled them up. Thus I began my personal library, and I have some of those books to this day. And so my shameful addiction devotion to purchasing mass quantities of books as cheaply as I can began.
The times and places were different, but certainly by age ten I had caught the book bug, and talked about "my library", which I consciously built -- acquiring copies even of books my parents already owned so that years hence, when I was on my own, my library wouldn't have gaps in it. (Ah, the idealism of youth. I did not realize how inevitable it is that every library have gaps in it.)

And from the comments, what clearer sign of a bibliophile can one find than this from Joe Green:
Unfortunately, over the years my book shelves got so crowded I was forced to donate many to local libraries and charities, and sometimes would find them recycled at area flea markets, where, succumbing to a sentimental streak, I would often buy them back.


Anonymous said...

About five years ago, I donated close to 700 books from my personal "library" to organizations such as Goodwill, Rose of Sharon, and a variety of literacy programs. It hardly made a dent in my collection. However, over the past five years, I have to admit, I have "re-acquired" at least 100 of them. No, I didn't go back and steal them from the places they went to. I ended up buying updated versions or just plain brand spanking new versions. I try to keep this on the downlow as my family members would kill me if they were to find out!

All Saints Academy said...

I just went to the library book sale $10 bag day. I found such awesome books as a contemporary translation of "The Epic of Gilgamesh" as well as the 3 volumes hardbound of Dante. That bag was so full it took 2 of us to carry it and it broke right as we lifted it into the van. I feel so rich!

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

A few months ago, the Half Price central store near us acquired hundreds of Penguin classics from one seller--so many that they just put them all on a large carrel at the same rock-bottom price and waited for the locusts to pick over them. A few days later, anything that wasn't taken was marked down to a quarter each. Some of them were common--lots of Dickens, for instance--but most of them were harder to find, and many of them hadn't been in print for a decade or more.

We had just acquired a new bookshelf, and all of a sudden it was full. I'm still working my way through.

Emily J. said...

Ahh, this makes me nostalgic for $1/bag days at the library sales! At some point the price went up to $5/bag, but last summer we hit a church rummage sale in its last hour and it was $5 for a garbage bag of loot. I picked up Rumer Godden's An Episode of Sparrows, Mrs. Minniver, a hardcover of A Light in August, a Robt Penn Warren book I haven't gotten to, Theodore Rex by E. Morris, a children's biography of Dante by some Jesuit, an autobiography of Anita Lobel, and a few others I can't remember... and then my mom topped off the bag with clothes.

Hmmm, it's telling that my sister comments on the wedge sandals in the shopping post, but this one catches my interest...

Enbrethiliel said...


Have you heard of "In My Mailbox"? It's a linky party just for book hauls. Over 200 people sign up each week to show off the books they bought, received in the mail, borrowed at the library, or got as gifts.

There's also "Bargain Book Bonanza", which is just for books that you didn't have to pay full price for. I don't know what's more of a culture shock to me: those amazing $1 a bag deals or the people who walk away from those with more than one bag in their arms. I remember a time when I only bought (or borrowed) what I could read: it's a golden age part of me desperately wants to return to . . . but then I see another new book that I know I will get to someday and should buy now, and well . . .

There is something of the woman sweeping the house for the lost coin in the joy of every haul, but I confess that my own "library" (Ha!)--which feels less and less "mine" the more books there are in it which I haven't read yet--makes me feel more like the rich young man who went away sad after speaking to Jesus.