Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Crowd at the Book Sale

Maybe it was the nasty head cold I've been nursing for the last couple of days but I had this very strange experience at the used book sale yesterday. As I poked through boxes and scanned shelves for titles and authors, I felt like there was a whole group of people looking over my shoulder.

Several Long Arm Westerns had David Cranmer whispering in my ear, "Are they written by James Reasoner?"

"Shhh, David, I'm looking for Luke Short today. And no, I don't think they're James' books."

There were six or seven thin hardback volumes of John Gardner's version of James, James Bond that had Gerald So looking over my shoulder, but I resisted, remembering that I wasn't a James Bond fan. Bill Crider poked me in the ribs when I picked up a 1978 issue of Galaxy magazine. That one I brought home along with a 1990 issue of Analog.

The Rare Birds from Rara-Avis were shouting, "This one. No, this one." Going to a book sale with them? You could go broke. But I did pick up some Michael Connelly's. "Black Light" by Stephen Hunter. "Shutter's Island" by Lehane. And a book by William X Kienzle, "Masquerade" which I'm pretty sure was mentioned there. Of course, they all groaned when I grabbed a Mrs. Polifax novel by Dorothy Gilman. Hey, a girl can't read all that dark stuff without coming up for a breath of fresh air.

Sadly, I left behind a stack of Earle Stanley Gardner's and an entire collection of Dortmunder's by Westlake.

I did find one anthology of horror shorts that I couldn't resist called "Cutting Edge" which looks superb. One book that I tossed in my bag, because Ed Gorman said Charlotte Armstrong was an excellent writer, was "The Balloon Man". He's right! I'm only on page 50 and wishing the whole world would disappear so I could just sit and read this book without interruption.

Driving home, I found myself grinning stupidly about the crowd I toured the sale with, realizing that I know these people more by what they read and write than by who they actually are. The joys of the Internet - bringing us closer, one book at a time.


Cormac Brown said...

Because the local economy has been in the tubes for a few years, I always buy the used book that I believe won't be there on the next visit. So as an example, I'll pass up an Ian Rankin or the Hard Case title that they had five copies of, in lieu of the Gil Brewer or Ross MacDonald.

sandra seamans said...

Yeah, I do pretty much the same thing, Cormac. This book sale is once a month, spring through fall, and sponsored by the historical society. The books are donated and many people buy books this month then donate them back the next after they've read them. Makes the chances of finding a book the second time around pretty fair, especially the paperbacks.

We don't have any kind of book stores locally, so this is a good chance to find out of print books and new authors.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This happens to me every time I walk into a used bookstore. I see old magazines and wonder who might want them. Books by writers I have vaguely heard mentioned. I need to keep a notebook. I never see a Gil Brewer though.

Conda Douglas said...

Our library has a bi-annual book sale, oooh it's dangerous. I wonder if I could sue if all the books I have catch fire and burn down my house?

sandra seamans said...

It amazes me how many books are out there that I've never heard of, Patti! But it's so much fun to look.

They are a fire hazard, Conda, but what would we do without them?

Corey Wilde said...

Left. Without. ES Gardners. And. Dortmunders.

Agh! Can you be human?????

sandra seamans said...

When you have several thousand books staring you in the face, you have to draw the line somewhere. I'm hoping the Gardners will still be there in October, since they weren't unpacked from their boxes yet. And there's never a shortage of Westlakes in the mix. Must be lots of fans in the area.