Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bibliophile's Dream Come True

I'm just back from my first visit to the annual fall Friends of Seattle Public Library book sale. For many years I've wanted to check this event out, having heard wonderful things about the selection and low prices. Today was my chance and I've come away enchanted, impressed, and laden down with two bags of books. Most titles sold for a dollar. Fiction, biography, books on the craft of writing, and some old classics found a place in my stash. After two hours and aching arms from carrying an ever heavier load of books, I decided to wrap up and drag my loot to the car. My only misstep?  I forgot to bring a camera. The photos would have been fabulous.

I arrived just after 9 AM and there was already a long line stretching all the way around the building. Once the doors opened things moved quickly. The enormous interior of the building was a book lover's paradise. Nothing fancy but aisle after aisle of books divided by category, laid out in cardboard boxes on tables, and people everywhere looking for their personal treasure. The sight of so many book lovers (and books) under one roof was glorious if not a bit frenetic.
from the Seattle Times
Ten, of many, observations about the Book Fair:

1. I love hearing people talk to each other about books they've found; like unearthed gifts. "Have you read this?" "I've heard this one is fantastic."

2. People bring more than bags or boxes to carry their books; I saw people with rolling suitcases, heavy-duty opaque trash bags, and small shopping carts. Hard core shoppers, these.

3. There are some book titles that appear and re-appear endlessly. I saw dozens of copies of Pigs in Heaven (Kinsolver), Stones From the River (Hegi), The Mermaid Chair (Kidd), The Lovely Bones (Sebold) and Atonement (McEwan) mixed in randomly, popping up everywhere.

4. I was amazed pouring over the paperback fiction books how many titles I had read and in many cases own. It felt good to be reminded that I read. A lot.

5. Wow! There were hardbacks looking as good as new that I've either read or own that were published in the past year; all for a buck!

6. People weren't pushy. Polite and nice. Seattleites.

7. Despite the mass of people, things were organized. I love organized. Even paying and parking were organized.

8. If you are looking for a specific title, finding it may be a challenge.

9. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the presence of 200,000 books for sale but it's heaven nonetheless.

10. There's some kind of magic holding a book in your hands; the anticipation of the read, the wonder, the hope that this one will "blow me away".

from Friends of  SPL website


  1. This exceeds anything I've ever seen in the way of a used book sale. Wow! It sounds like it was worth the effort.

  2. You had the same first thought as I did when I attend these happenings. How wonderful it is to hear so many people talking randomly with one another with a sense of familiarity with the books and their contents. We are so used to folks talking about sports like this. It is heaven to hear enthusiastic, wonder-filled talk about books.

  3. The SF Library sale is this weekend as well here - we went a few years ago and had a ball!


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