We moved to a new house last weekend and unpacking is going pretty slowly. The other day I unpacked a box of my books that I haven’t seen since we moved from Arkansas 8 months ago and realized how thrifty I am. My book collection looks like a bad paperback sale. Which is exactly where I bought most of them, I believe. It’s almost embarrassing, not just because of the condition of some of them (what do you expect for 10 cents?) but because of the quality of books (I swear I haven’t read some!). Let’s take a closer look.
Beaches II? Mommie Dearest? VC Andrews? The sequel to Love Story (I’ve also got that)? I’ve actually read all those too. I can’t resist a book for a quarter. It’s my weakness. The only problem with not being very picky and being VERY cheap is that you end up with collections like this.
This shelf is a little better. It’s at least got some better titles. Look that the book on the far left. It’s my battered copy of The World According to Garp. Yeah, it looked like that when I got it. The best quarter I ever spent. In another box somewhere is a gross copy of The Cider House Rules. Also a fantastic find. Oh, see the red book near the middle of the shelf? One of my favorite books ever. Awful awful topic though. It’s Small Sacrifices, the story of Diane Downs. I also have (probably with Cider House Rules) The Stranger Beside Me, another favorite of mine. I’m not even a huge fan of true crime, besides In Cold Blood, but I highly recommend these two. especially if you find them at a library book sale. Well, I guess I’m lying a little. For a while I was a little hooked on serial killers, namely Ted Bundy. But that phase passed when I read Helter Skelter and couldn’t finish it. Too gruesome even for me.
Where was I? Oh, my love of a cheap book. I guess I’m in it for the story and not for looks. Plus, why let a perfectly good book get thrown away? Not on my watch.
Old books make me wonder about who used to own them. Why did someone buy Beaches II? Were they just a big Bette Midler fan or did they like the original book? Why did someone get rid of their copy of Garp? Was it too ugly? Did they replace it? Why would you get rid of Cujo (so much better than the movie, by the way, but oh my goodness Stephen King was on something when he wrote it)? Who knows but I’m glad they did. Book sales have introduced me to lots of authors I’d never read before. I’m forever thankful that I saw Naked at a bookstore for 3.50 because I now love David Sedaris more than I can express. Cider House Rules introduced me to John Irving and he’s taught me lots about wrestling and New England boarding schools. Patty Duke taught me all about manic depression in Call Me Anna. That last one wasn’t a book sale though, it was just swiped from my mom a long long time ago.
Embarrassing collection or not, I’ve learned to love my nasty paperbacks. You can bet I’ll pass them along if I ever feel the need to declutter.