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annual book sale squee

The fall Friends of the UW-Madison Library book sale is my primary annual splurge.  Well, lately I've branched out to spending money on fabric, and a frenzied rush of outfit-composing in the weeks before Teslacon.  But even there it all comes back to the books.

For example, my favorite purchase at the book sale this year was "The Mason Bees" by Jean-Henri Fabre (1925 edition, in English).  I was looking for something by Fabre, because his clone is an instrument of evil in the Read or Die OVA.  Although one of the Fabre clone's weapons is a mason jar full of trained bees, I don't think they're actually "mason bees".  Anyway, I'm a fan of RoD - which is more than a little steampunk - and sometimes I carry a small cage of books with me at the con.  So it was only natural to search for books authored by people who show up in RoD.  Bonus:  "The Mason Bees" is a pretty good read.

I stayed within my two-bags-per-booksale limit, but just barely, coming away with 9 hardcovers and 26 paperbacks.  Some are for the communal bookshelf at Z's vacation house in Baraboo.  Some are for Mom.  Many are primarily for me.

Books coveted but not purchased:  annual volumes of the Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, and a large atlas of China, in Chinese.  It was one of those fine classic atlases with the maps of terrain, rainfall, types of fish harvested along the coast, etc.

The one irritation was the people who came to the sale just to scavenge for books they could buy cheap and re-sell at a profit.  Nothing to be done for it, and I can understand why they do it, but it just doesn't seem to be in the spirit of things.  Instead of lovingly perusing the books, they scan ISBNs and pluck everything with obvious value. 

The book sale is also a good excuse to meet up with head-injury D for dinner.  And a good excuse to leave work "early" (5pm).

A Complete Epitome of Practical Navigation, and Nautical Astronomy, Containing All Necessary Instructions for Keeping a Ship's Reckoning at Sea. J. W. Saul (1917).

The Rich Man and the Diseased Poor in Early Victorian Literature.  A. Susan Williams (1987).  Uses the literature of the time to explore the link between social standing and health issues.

The Victorian City (two volumes, paperback).  Edited by H. J. Dyos and Michael Wolff (1977).

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman.  One of the nice things about this book sale is that I let myself be pretty free about what I pick up.  I've heard about the book, I was curious about the book, so I picked up the book.  This doesn't mean I agree with the book before I've even read it - that would be silly.  But neither will I avoid touching a book because of what others tell me about it - that would put me in the same camp as the people who won't read Harry Potter because they've heard it's satanic.

With Speed and Violence by Fred Pearce.

Salt:  Grain of Life by Pierre Laszlo.  I ought to have at least one salt book.  There are many.

The California Indians:  a Source Book.  Reference material for the story I'm not working on right now (as oppossed to the story I'm working on but haven't carved off the time for lately).

U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76.  This, but from 1986.  You can't cram all the survival knowledge of the world into an inch of book, but it's still an interesting read.

National Security Agency, Selected Mathematical Papers, Autumn 1964.  Reminds me of all the math knowledge that is now just vague fond memories. 

Classic Feynman:  All the Adventures of a Curious Character.  Comes with a CD.

The John McPhee Reader.  A book for the communal shelf at Z's vacation home.
Discovering Enzymes.  A surprisingly colorful and photo-laden book.  Also for the communal shelf.
Nuts and Bolts of the Past.  Just for Z., because it has a chapter on the history of the sewing machine.

John Muir's Travels in Alaska.  I'm tempted to send this to brother-formerly-living-under-an-overpass, who also traveled in Alaska, loves nature, and speaks frequently of salmon habitats.

No Full Stops in India
Modern Russian Poetry.  In Russian on the left-hand side and in English on the right-hand side
The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Speeches.
A bunch of "Best American" books:  Best American Short Stories, 2004; Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2001, 2003, 2006; Best American Science Writing, 2000; Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2006.  I need to make a list of what I have and carry it with me, as I'm starting to run the risk of purchasing duplicates.

Hidden in Plain View:  A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad.  This story sounded implausible, and the reviews tend to support that view.  But it's an interesting idea.  I picked it up mainly for Mom.  Might browse it first.
The Far Traveler:  Voyages of a Viking Woman.  I'm reading this one now.  Reads more like an archaeological dig than an "adventure story", but for me that doesn't make it less interesting.
Desert Flower:  The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad.  Another for Mom, but I'll try to read it first.
Things I've Been Silent About.  I also picked up Reading Lolita in Tehran, which Mom has already read (I read half while I was visiting once).
The Red Tent.  Another one for Mom, not that I'm trying to just get her "women's books".  She reads a lot and sometimes runs out of books, but much of what I read just wouldn't appeal, so I'm trying to find some middle ground; otherwise I'm just grabbing stuff totally at random.  Which is fine too, but if I do that I should just go to $4-a-sack day.
Up Front.  We had a Bill Mauldin book when I was a kid, so this is nostalgia.  Mom might not want it, but I'll be happy to keep it.

And three chess books for eldest brother.  Which is a case of scavenging for profit:  for his profit, as he sells them at chess tourneys.  I'll think of it as an olive branch.  Or barter for story critique.  Whatever.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 10th, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)

One year I volunteered at the library book sale. The volunteers only get to buy 6 books before the opening. ONLY 6!!!
Nov. 10th, 2012 05:31 am (UTC)
That would be a tough choice. Still, it's a nice perk. I should look more closely at that "friends of the library" brochure.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.

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