12 October 2012

HIR (Highly Incorrigible Reader)

So, I told myself sternly. NO books you don't need this year! Don't buy anything at the library book sale that you don't need.

But I needed these books. Honest.

Yes, totally incorrigible when left in the company of books. Especially inexpensive books. I only spent $32 on two reusable grocery bags of books I almost couldn't carry to the car.

This year I was determined to get there when the doors opened and I made it. (Never mind the guys had shown up to cut the grass when I told them to come next Thursday. Whatever.) To discover a line! Really, there were folks lined up to get into the doors, most of them senior citizens to whom dollars are precious. I do understand.

(We were all keeping a weather eye—pun intended—on the sky. The prediction was for only 20 percent chance of rain, but as I parked the car near the equestrian arena (these events are held in Jim Miller Park, where they have the county fair every year and rodeos several times a year), there was an ominous grey-shading-to-black cloud on the horizon, and by the time the line started to move the dark cloud was covering one third of the sky, with two funny ripples in it, like it was folded. I should have taken a photo. I fully expected it to rain while I was inside, but there was no precipitation.)

I usually make a beeline for the Christmas books first. After two times of having them down near the computer books, this year they were back up front. And I found more of those "Christmas in [name of country]" World Book-published volumes. Having not looked at the ones I bought in the spring—well, since spring, since I'm waiting until closer till the holidays to read them—I may have bought some duplicates, but if I did, each duplicate has a good home elsewhere. (I just checked—I bought two duplicates, but one was intentional. Volumes are Christmas in New England, ...Australia, ...Ukraine, ...France, ...Ireland, ...Denmark) Plus another for someone who'll like it, and a book of Christmas plays. Also looked through humor, travel, nature, with no results except for Mouse Tales (a behind-the-scenes look at the Disney parks) and then realized I couldn't put off going through the offensive stroller crowd longer and went into the next building where the children's books were.

I didn't find any miracles, like any Lois Lenski regionals or history books, or a hardback copy of The Singing Tree, or any more "All-of-a-Kind Family" books. Did find three "Dear America" books that looked promising (Alamo, suffragettes, Native American captive), a Christmas book I believe I have but someone else should enjoy, a copy of the first Happy Hollisters with no dustjacket, an ARC of a mystery book that takes place in Boston (I saw several ARCs there; you're not supposed to give away or sell advance reader's copies, at least according to Amazon Vine, but are supposed to destroy them after six months if you don't want them), and an old Scholastic copy of El Blanco: Legend of the White Stallion, which was one of my favorite Disney shorts in the 1960s.

I also found a real curiosity: Yourself and Your House Wonderful, which has a copyright date of 1940, but two earlier ones of 1902 and 1932, and is a health book for grade-school kids (definitely older kids because it talks about not believing in Santa Claus at one point). I opened it up to a page where it urges you not to bite your fingernails because the bits going into your stomach can possibly kill you! Will be interested in the other old-fashioned advice it imparts!

I also came home with a stack of Trixie Beldens. If you don't know anything about the series—girl sleuth living with two older brothers and one younger one who befriends wealthy girl who moves in next door and they have adventures—it was a series of sixteen books written from the 1940s to the 1960s. There was a gap of seven years, then 22 more were written between 1977 and 1986. In the first sixteen books, the juvenile characters were allowed to grow older and have birthdays; after that the series basically froze them in time. Trixie and best friend Honey were eternally fourteen, Trixie's big brothers stuck at fifteen and seventeen, and little Bobby forever five. I lost interest when this happened and didn't buy any more, but there they were, just ripe for the buying... I found 17-31, missing #20, a goodly amount.

I actually never did get a good look at the history or biography sections, as when I got back there my arms were about to fall off [grin]. After wandering about a little, however, I did get a copy of an illustrated volume about Edith Holden, who wrote Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, which became phenomenally popular in the 1970s when they were showing Upstairs, Downstairs. It's mostly her artwork, which is why I bought it.

I also bought a real find: Margery Fisher's Who's Who in Children's Books, which is a list of famous characters from juvenile fiction, mostly American and British—the Pevensie children, Charlotte the spider, Winnie-the-Pooh, the Moffats, the Swallows and Amazons, the March sisters, the "Railway children, Danny Dunn, Christina Parsons can all be found here—but Strewweltpeter and Pippi Longstocking and the Moomins also appear. I saw this in some bookstore back in the 70s, couldn't afford it (originally $22 back then), and have coveted it ever since. Not only is it a neat reference book, but it is full of lovely illustrations from most of the books mentioned, so you have artwork by Ardizzone, Verney, Pyle, Shepard, Sendak, Ransome, Potter, Baynes, etc. Really chuffed about that one!

[Later: Looks like the last two and a half chapters are missing from the House Wonderful book, including the rest of the chapter about reproduction. This came from a religious publishing house, however, so I'm sure most of the mechanics have been left out.]

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