Saturday, July 30, 2016

Books, books, books

Today was the kick off of a major neighborhood event: the used book sale at the high school. Over 100,000 books overflow the cafeteria. 

We're very enthusiastic about this. It's a delight to see all the people who come with red wagons and rolling duffel bags. My favorite "sight seen" was a pre-teen who plopped herself in the middle of the floor and fingered the books in the complete set of Harry Potter books with awe. 

I filled my canvas tote with:

•  Two books in the Library Lovers Mystery Series. It always makes me happy to discover a new series.

•  Barbara Stanwyck by Al DiOrio. The moderator of my movie group is a massive Stanwyck fan and has told us how he feels her hardscrabble youth informed her art. I'm hoping this bio will give me insights.

•  Sisters: The Story of Olivia deHavilland and Joan Fontaine. This year, Miss Melly turned 100 and the ensuing press coverage revisited her legendary feud with younger sister Joan.

•  Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets. Peter Lawford has been a bit player in so many biographies I've read. After all, he was a Rat Packer, a Kennedy and a contract player in MGM's heyday. Let's see if he holds my interest when he's in the spotlight.

•  A Common Struggle by Patrick Kennedy. The son of Ted and Joan tells the story of how addiction devastated his family. Reading about the Kennedys as I do, I'm not expecting any new revelations. Instead I hope for context and humanity. My mother's parents were both alcoholics and I felt the impact, two generations down the line. My mom was so conflict averse that I grew up feeling exposed and vulnerable. I mean, if my own mother wouldn't defend me, I really was alone, wasn't I? So Patrick is right, it is "a common struggle."

 The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert. Author Richard Betts uses the format of an oversized, interactive children's book to explain to adults why "wine is grocery, not a luxury." I picked it up as a gift for my niece. She's a budding connoisseur, going through a rough patch, and I hope receiving a surprise package with this book in it will make her smile.

ALL THIS FOR $10! If I have time, I may take another spin through the sale tomorrow.

There's one every year -- the book my neighbors bought in big numbers and then decided, seemingly at all once, to discard. As I drift around the massive tables, there's always a title that turns up again, and again, and again.

In 2006, it was The Corrections.
In 2007, The Nanny Diaries.
In 2008, The Da Vinci Code.
In 2009, My Life by Bill Clinton.
In 2010, Scarlett, the Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with The Wind.
In 2011, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
In 2012, Sixkill by Robert B. Parker (a Spenser mystery) 
In 2013, The Da Vinci Code all over again.
In 2014, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
In 2015, "The Girl" again, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
In 2016, it's The Help

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