Syndactyl Salutations

Thoughts on writing, knitting, and the world around me.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Book ReSort

Although it sounds like where books go on vacation, the title, in fact, refers to an organization formed to process book donations for the two huge book sales Lancaster County Library holds every year. They recently changed locations, and today I went to an open house at their new warehouse space. There were books for sale, of which I bought three for $2.65, and examples of the sorting process. I signed the visitor list and checked that I would be interested in volunteering.

I had volunteered at the local Literacy Council, but after a few months of my student not showing up or having too much help with the homework he said he wanted, I felt that I wasn't being effective as a tutor and threw in the towel. I've been thinking of finding something else to do, and this would be right up my alley.

I love books, not just reading them or attempting to write them, but everything about them. The smell of the paper, the heft in my hand, the cover art, the notations people make in them, even the creases in dog-eared pages and the spots from various mishaps. I could easily and happily spend a couple of hours a week sorting boxes and bags of books into categories. I could see myself working a shift at the book sale, putting new material out or rearranging the long lines of paperbacks on the tables. I find myself rearranging things when I go as a customer as it is.

I love the book sale, it outgrew the library several years ago and is now held in a roller rink. They sell tens-of-, if not hundreds-of-thousands of books in three days, twice a year. Collectors come from neighboring states and line up before the doors open at 7 am the first day.

The book sale is where I buy most of my books. I let myself indulge my guilty habit of collecting teen novels written between the '30s and the '60s when I go. It's the only conscious collection I have, and it grows every time I get to one of the sales.

Usually I am good for at least an hour at least two out of three days of the sale and I almost always run into someone I know. In April I stayed for less than an hour and only went one time, but it was too close to the big hurt for me to be able to tolerate the crowds. I did come away with two dozen teen novels and a couple of beloved childhood favorites.

Today I stuck with more grownup books (I had a teen novel in my hand, but made myself put it down and walk away. I'll save that fun for the real sale.). Not that I needed them, I have a reading list a mile long as it is, but who can completely pass up one-dollar or fifty-cent paperbacks?

Not I.


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