Well, I missed the Big Book Sale in San Francisco for the first time in 5 years or so, but I had a good excuse. Each year around the last weekend in September, the San Fran Public Library holds a book sale at Fort Mason, and even though it’s a 7 hour drive, I try to be there. What other library book sale can say they have over 200,000 books for sale? Yes, you read that right—it has to be the biggest library book sale in the country. And on Sunday, everything is $1 or less. So for an avid reader such as moi, this is an event (especially considering the dearth of quality book stores in Del Norte county--it ends up being roughly a year's worth of book browsing for me, unfortunately).
A few years ago, I went down with about $60 in hostel petty cash, with plans to start a book exchange (I believe the slick venture kids call that “seed money”). And I came back with about 50 great books. Or at least ones that I think are great. I don’t know if it says something about my tastes that many of them are still here, three years later. Right next to our Laundry area is the sign for “Need a Book, Take a Book; Have a Book, Leave a Book." And right below the sign are the books.
Sure, I came home from that trip with some of the stuff the popular kids are reading—Grisham and Harry Potter and so forth. And they disappeared pretty quick. But each time I pass by the book swap, I see those books that I know are great—The Contortionist’s Handbook and The Tetherballs of Bougainville and others. Ones that I had read and loved and couldn’t pass up for a mere $1 and bought figuring sure, maybe no one has heard of the authors, but if they at least open to the first page and start reading, then they’d be hooked. They would “take a book.” And they do take a book. But it’ the latest Sue Grafton, Y is for Why are these other strange books here?
Oh—my excuse for missing this year? My wife and I were in the middle of giving birth. But hey—there’s always next year.