Saturday, April 25, 2009

Charity book sales are the best

I hit two charity book sales this week. The first was at my kids school (it can raise a few thousand if you plan it correctly.) This one was given mostly to children's books, but I managed to find a few novels I wanted as well as a history of the Sicilian mob. More exciting was the Spring Friends of Multnomah County Library Sale.

This one is always busy, but this one felt like a mob scene. The space was tighter than usual, but I wonder if the depressed economy made cheap books (base rate was $1.50) all the more enticing. The new age book scouts, who use scanners to quickly identify the books that can make a quick buck, were working the room and rapidly depleting the sale of its choicer volumes. I initially despaired of finding anything I wanted, but I left with five books, so I think I did OK.

The first find was David Weber's By Schism Rent Asunder. This was a bit of risk, as I have, but have not read, the preceding volume, in this sequence. Weber writes military, some might say militaristic, scifi and is among the best at it, so I feel confident.

I then found a Pico Iyer book that looked good. I have been meaning to read him for some time. Next up was the Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I gave this one to someone and wanted another copy. I may read this one again, as it is the sort of book that would grow with re-reading. There was a beat-up copy of Redmond O'Hanlon's Into the Heart of Borneo, which I couldn't resist.

I was most excited by my final find, Jan Morris's Venetian Empire a Sea Voyage. The Venetian Empire is one of the less discussed of the world's empires. It was small, to be sure, focused only on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, but it fascinating that a single city could have such an impact. Add to it that it was written by the excellent Jan Morris and I was all over it.

I had no idea this last book existed and this is among the reasons that the Internet will never replace bookstores for me. Finding little treasures like this one seems to happen more in person, probably because excellent recommedation engines online are still based primarily on books in print.

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