I guess there is more competition for good books than I thought. The sign pictured at left is what greeted people in the parking lot for the 34th Annual Planned Parenthood Book Sale held at the Earl Warren Showground in Santa Barbara. I was a little fearful as I approached the hall full of books but a quick scan of the room convinced me that the bibliophiles filling up boxes of books were neither armed nor dangerous. Further research led me to conclude that the sign was for the attendees of the other event held at Earl Warren over the weekend, the Fall Classic of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association. Apparently the quarter horse crowd is pretty lively and perhaps overly competitive.
Anyway, back to the book sale. I've purchase some gems at the sale over the past four years and we've also donated many books to support Planned Parenthood. Last year Paul's goal was to weed his personal collection and he managed to eliminate the double rows of books in all of his bookcases. I'm hoping that all those books have found happy homes in the double rows of other people's shelves.
I've also donated lots of books but I am a re-reader so I tend to keep books that I might like to revisit at a later date. I have certain books that I read again every summer--the Irish sagas of Maeve Binchy and the English village stories of Joanna Trollope. They're my vacation "beach reads"--my guilty pleasures--even though I'm rarely reading them at the beach. I find something comforting about reading when a safe outcome for cherished characters is assured, and it's relaxing to be immersed in the familiar rhythms of favorite storytellers.
This year I purchased a few children's books as well as some adult fiction. The discovery of a never-opened hardback book with a stiff spine is a special treat. I don't mind paying $7.00 for a "used" book that's really brand new. That seems like a bargain to me. Sometimes I'm on the prowl for specific titles. My mission this year was to find a paperback of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I wanted to re-read it after I saw a preview of the movie, and Nora has my copy in Oakland. I spotted one copy left on the trade fiction table and $3.00 later it was mine. I love it when things work out that way. Now I can read it again and enjoy the original story and beautiful writing before I see the movie. Movies of books that I love are almost always a disappointment (imagine how the authors must feel) but I have to remind myself that a movie is just a different way of telling the story. My hope is that afterward some moviegoers will be intrigued enough to want to read the book. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one.