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happy happy used book sale...

In a town with so many fine local bookstores, my favorite place to buy books is still the Friends of the UW-Madison Library book sale.
It's held twice a year, although I tend to get there only in fall...and really, once a year is enough:  I could easily spend a year poring over my purchases.  Prices decrease daily; Friday's prices were $2 per hardcover and $1 per paperback.  Sheet music was 25 cents; I picked up a couple for housemate that were classic movie-themed (for example, one from Gold Diggers of 1937, with a photo of Joan Blondell on the front).   Today is $3-a-bag day, and anything left at the end is free. It's probably best that I'm not generally in town on weekends.

Highlights of this year's purchases:
  • Kosmos:  Handweiser für Naturfreunde.  Two issues, one from 1912 and one from 1913.  Roughly, "manual of knowledge for nature-lovers".  My knowledge of German is ragged and mostly Google-based, but...there's an article on prairie dogs followed by a chapter on daguerreotype.    Vacuum tubes, cacti, "new stars"...considering the years, I don't know if there's any disturbing political or philosophical bent to the books, but I'm going to have fun finding out.  Oh, cool, info and translations:  http://www.freewebs.com/ktdykes/kosmosbackground.htm.  "A Ode to the Hamster"...unfortunately, that article is from Issue 1, and I appear to have issue 2.
  • Assorted volumes of The Analyst, ranging from 1877 to 1889.  "A monthly journal for the information of those interested in the purity of food and drugs, and in general analytical and microscopical research".  The latest volume includes advertisements for nutritious cocoa, and caught my eye because of the article on "abnormal butters".  Bonus:  the 1877 issue contains a hand-written note to...the buyer I assume...regretting that they cannot supply volume 2.  It's dated 4/1/93...I don't know which '93 that is...the handwriting is quite old-fashioned.
  • The World as it Was, 1865 - 1921:  A Photographic Portrait.  Great photos, mostly from the Museum of Photography at UCR (where I went to grad school).  Foreword by Paul Theroux.
American Communities,  WIlliam Alfred Hinds, Ph. B.  1902.  Actually, a book on communist communities in America.

Hitting Home:  the Great Depression in Town and Country.  A collection of articles edited by Bernard Sternsher.

Voice of the Plains:  Selected Radio Commentaries,  John Cogswell. 

Land and Life:  A Selection from the Writings of Carl Ortwin Sauer

An Urchin in the Storm:  Essays About Books and Ideas, Stephen Jay Gould.

Strange Matters:  Undiscovered Ideas at the Frontiers of Space and Time, Tom Siegfried.  (can they really be undiscovered ideas if they're in a book?)

Human Ecology in Space Flight:  Proceedings of the First International Interdisciplinary Conference.  The confererence was held in 1963 - at the dawn of manned spaceflight - and the book contains discussions of cabin pressure, oxygen mixes, acceleration, radiation in space.

The Russian Century:  A History of the Past Hundred Years, Brian Moynahan. 

History of Myddle, Richard Gough.  In Old English.

China:  Past and Present, Pearl S. Buck. 

Postville:  A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, Stephen G. Bloom.  This is a town that I often drive through on my way to Mom's; it sticks out in Iowa because a large number of the residents are Hasidic Jews, and another large number are Mexican-American.  I used to think of it as an example of how people can share a community, but the more I read about its history, the more I know I was just inventing the sort of town I wanted to see.  The book pre-dates the immigration raid.  That raid is a prime example of my dim view of the whole "homeland security" idea:  I approve of exposing and eliminating the exploitation of workers - and there was plenty there that needed exposing - but I do not approve of things like the "fast track" hearings that processed and sentenced people in bulk, without verifying that those arrested even knew what was going on or how to respond.  There must have been a better way to handle this - it devastated that community.

The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction.  Even though I still doggedly attempt to write longer fiction, I am mostly a collector and reader of short fiction (plus any and all non-fiction).  I think it's a side-effect of work:  it's handy to be able to start and finish a story in one sitting, since many days I don't know when I'll next find the time to return to the book.  Reading took the place of sleeping when I was younger, but that's less of an option now.

And, a couple of chess books for eldest brother, and a couple of novels for Mom (I'll read the Postville book first, and hand it off to her when I'm done.)

Thirty books (two very full bags), thirteen of them from before 1920, plus a handful of 1950s-or-earlier sheet music, for $50.  Happy camper, me.

Friend head-injury D. bought dinner at Dotty Dumpling's Dowry, to celebrate his baseball team (well, the one he is a "highly paid consultant" for) winning their strat-o-matic world series.  He did good - he usually does.

And I got a nagging need to drink out of my system...difficult and fraught going-away gathering for a coworker last Friday, but I had neither the time to nor the interest in getting completely under the table with everyone else; once I saw how the night was going to go, I finished my beer, paid my respects, and got out.  So last night I had one shot, in honor of D's win, but also to privately raise a glass to the good people and good workers driven to their limits for no good reason.  *sigh*

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