Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Old Books = New Treasures


Somewhere along the way I went from being a reader to being a collector. Oh, I still read rather a lot, but much of my pleasure reading is from electronic sources— online articles and news, posts on internet forums, even eBooks downloaded to my aging Palm Tungsten E. But, I still enjoy books, and I especially love prowling used books at some of the vendors in my area. A couple of weeks ago, I took some books that didn't win a spot on my keeper shelf to The Bookstand of Northeast Georgia, which is located at Banks Crossing. This store is bright and looks more like a "new book" retailer; there are no musty smells or books which look like they came from great-grandma's attic. The shelves are well stocked and the merchandising is similar to a chain bookstore, with sections for the Oprah bookclub, and most big name authors have their own section. Indeed, there are plenty of new and very recent items there, including my own books, which are part of the local authors display. I used part of my trade-in credit on books by my current favorite authors, including paperbacks by Christine Feehan and Merline Lovelace. Both of those ladies turn out suspenseful yarns.

On Saturday, while my son was at a martial arts lesson, hubby and I spent an hour perusing titles at The Corner Bookstore in Winder. Located in an historic building on a side street, this large bookstore has a vast inventory. In some ways, it is diametrically opposed to The Bookstand; it is old and while it is fairly neat, the books are jammed together due to excess inventory. There is an isle over 20 feet long devoted to "classics." Organization is far more broad at the Corner Bookstore, with science fiction and fantasy shelved together, and new books will be displayed beside books which are decades old. I found some current titles which I just bought for general reading, but I also scored some wonderful collector items: a hard cover copy of Heinlein's Friday, a paperback Modesty Blaise title, and a copy of the long out of print Shakespeare Alive. For those who are not teachers, that last title is the best book I have seen for teaching about how Shakespeare's England figures into his work, and it is a keeper for any English teacher.

To say that one person's junk is another person's treasure is a cliché, but in a used bookstore, that is certainly true. For less than the price of a really good dinner, I came home with both current reading and some book collector treasure.

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