All These Books for $22.50?!


The AAUW holds a Used Book Sale in our town every summer, and every summer I miss it. Until this one.

I refused to go the very first day, when the entry fee was $6.00 just to walk in the door, but I made sure my butt was there yesterday. First thing.

I barely made it out of the collector’s room where I started. There were old, old, old books; the kind that crumble when you open them, and it takes a real expert to know their value. But, there were also these:

The Cabin by Dale Mulfinger and Susan E. Davis: “The cabin presents 37 inspirational cabins from all over the country, showing how people are building, reclaiming, and transforming this unique American dwelling for a chance to enjoy the best that cabin living has to offer. Based on design, shape, age and material, the cabins are divided into four distinct styles: rustic, traditional, modern and transformed. Whatever the style, each is a classic American getaway.” (I’m going to build, and live, in a cabin one day. Just see if I don’t.)

The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg: “Some of Minna Shaw’s neighbors don’t trust her clever broom. “It’s dangerous,” they say. “It’s a wicked, wicked thing.” Minna disagrees. She appreciates the broom’s help around the house. She enjoys its quiet company. It seems perfectly innocent and hard-working to her. But one day two children get a well-deserved thrashing from the broom. For her neighbors, this is proof of the broom’s evil spirit. Minna is obliged to give up her dear companion.”  (This, in anticipation of Carl‘s RIP IV Challenge.)

Accordion Crimes by E. Annie Proulx: “Accordion Crimes opens in 1890 in Sicily as an accordion maker completes his finest instrument-nineteen polished bone buttons, sleek lacquer-and dreams of owning a music store in America…Within a year, the accordion maker is murdered by an anti-Italian lynching mob, but his instrument carries Proulx’s story into another community of immigrants the German Americans, founding a town in Iowa…The music of the accordion is their last link with the past-voice for their fantasies, sorrows and exuberance-but it, too, is forced to change.” (It’s a first edition!)

Realm of The Dead by Uchida Hyakken: “Realm of the Dead is set in a dark and mysterious world where logic and reality are subject to constant chance and where ideas about identity and self and continually questioned.” (You guessed it, for the Japanese Literature Challenge 3, and quite possibly one of the prizes.)

Baudolino by Umberto Eco: “It is April 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors and proceeds to tell his own magical story.” (I have to know more about my Italian heritage, even if it’s fiction, and all I’ve read of Eco so far is The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna.)

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: “This wildly inventive comic masterpiece exploded on the literary scene like a time bomb in 1980. The rest is publishing history. Critics and readers adored A Confederacy of Dunces, and the book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize…In the center of it all is one Ignatius J. Reilly, an obese genius from New Orleans, a flatulent frustrated scholar deeply learned in Medieval philosophy and American junk food, a brainy mammoth misfit imprisoned in a trashy world of Greyhound Scenicruisers and Doris Day movies. Minding his own business on Canal Street one day, Reilly gets hauled off by a cop for no worse offense than looking suspicious. The experience is so traumatic that Reilly and his long-suffering mother repair to the Night of Joy bar, drink themselves to the fringes of oblivion, and promptly plow their old Plymouth into a building…” (For the ongoing Pulitzer Prize Challenge, plus, I’m thinking of Chris at Stuff as Dreams Are Made On here with the setting.)

The Day My Mother Left: by James Prosek: “When Jeremy is ten years old his mother walks out o him, his father and his sister and never looks back. Jeremy discovers that his mother took his Book of Birds, a collection of his painstaking drawings of the wildlife surrounding his home, with her when she left. As Jeremy struggles with the anger, hurt, and loss he feels at his mother’s abandonment, he throws himself into re-creating his Book of Birds. While he does so, he discovers more about himself than he ever knew.” (I have a long going interest in parental abandonment, unfortunately from  experience, and I’m always hoping to grasp something new about it.)

Being Perfect by Anna Quindlen: “Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and its good opinion…What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” (Again, I have long term experience with this topic which I still haven’t quite achieved. 😉

My mother, and one of my closest friends, sent me a clipping last summer from the Chicago Tribune. It showed a couple on their patio each engrossed in a book. The author wrote about how this couple read All Summer Long.  I hold that image in my mind, not only because it gives me a connection, but also because it gives me an excuse.

Happy Reading!

15 thoughts on “All These Books for $22.50?!”

  1. Wow, Bellezza, that is some haul! I loved A Confederacy of Dunces–hope you will too. Well done! Happy reading–and happy weekend!


  2. ds, I'm up for something funny, which it is acclaimed to be, and I hope to complete all the Pulitzer prize winners…one day. Happy reading weekend to you, too!Terri, you second ds on A Confederacy of Dunces; I definitely need to get to that in August. Here's the worst part: my son and I went back this afternoon and I bought about 15 more paperbacks! We're definitely running out of shelves here at Chez Bellezza. 😉


  3. […] one day two children get a well-deserved thrashing from the broom. For her neighbors, this is proof of the broom’s evil spirit. Minna is obliged to give up her dear companion.” (This, in anticipation of Carl’s RIP IV Challenge.) Accordion Crimes by E. Annie Proulx: “Accordion Crimes opens in 1890 in Sicily as an accordion maker completes his finest instrument-nineteen polished bone buttons, sleek lacquer-and dreams of owning a music store in America… … […]


  4. "(I’m going to build, and live, in a cabin one day. Just see if I don’t.)"I'll join you! Or we can be neighbors, living in cabins side-by-side along the shores of a quiet lake. Just us, the loons and our canoes. Oh, and maybe our husbands and dogs. Can't forget them, now can we? ;)I never could get interested in A Confederacy of Dunces. Tried but gave up. I did not like the main character one bit!I gave my dear stepdaughter a copy of Being Perfect when she graduated from college four years ago last month. Of course, I had to read it before I wrapped it. 🙂


  5. Wait–that entire box(es) for $22.50? I'm drooling! Our library sale is July 30th and I've been waiting for it…since last July. 🙂 I picked up Accordian Games last summer at the sale but haven't gotten to it yet. Enjoy!!!


  6. Congratulations to you! That is certainly an example of getting your money's worth and then some. All kinds of new adventures! Yes, bookshelves would definitely help! Ha!


  7. Love a great book haul! I hope you'll really enjoy Confederacy of Dunces… Ignatius is such a memorable character. Ha, I'm just laughing as I remember some of the stuff he did. Enjoy your finds!


  8. Book sales give me a reason to buy books… in the end you can't even tell whether or not its a good deal, because you've spent a small fortune already so you keep buying and buying… well, you get the point =P


  9. Carl, when I went the last day I came home grumpy because I didn't get there before they were closing. My husband said, "You're the only person I know who's mad because she only got to the book fair three times in one weekend." Obviously, he's not a reader.Iliana, I'm intrigued by A Confederacy of Dunces after everyone's comments. It's definitely got to be read by the end of summer.Sharry, thanks for visiting me. It's true that one's mind starts to boggle over what's a good deal or not, but I figure each book would have cost at least 10 bucks at Borders. So, I feel I made out like a bandit!


  10. I loved Baudolino, I hope you enjoy! I just recently came away with a good lot of books from the library sale, too. By the way, I'm so glad I found your blog because I've been waiting for the Japanese lit challenge, and I lost your blogger website from before! Whew.


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