New Books in My House – What’s New in Yours?

The past two weekends I’ve made it to two Friends of the Library book sales, one in Branford and the other in Guilford, CT. Both were very well organized by categories & genre and staffed by friendly volunteers who kept the tables full and the books browsable. Truly two of the best library book sales I’ve attended.

Book sale #1
The James Blackstone Memorial Library Friends of the Library Sale. Last weekend in Branford. The sale was held under this huge white tent on the Branford green, just down the road from the library.

It was perfect weather for an outdoor book sale.

I arrived early and tried to wait for my friends on a bench outside the entrance but that didn’t last long.

Inside the tend all was orderly and well-tended.

They say a good library has something in it to offend everyone. I was a bit judgmental upon coming across this title, but its actually a social and linguist analysis of the N-word and the black experience in America. First published in 1967.
After purchasing our new treasures my friends and I met up at a local cafe for some refreshment and book show-n-tell.
For me, the thrill of this sale was finding an EDGE novel. I LOVED this series and think I read it in my first years of high school. To this day I’ve only met one other person who read/knew about the series (Ken, a former coworker at Borders). The older me will probably be offended by the gratuitous violence and he-man fantasy gender roles and sex, but I’m looking forward to reading this one. I hesitate to call it re-reading, even though I did read the whole series back in the day. Is it re-reading if you don’t remember reading it?

I limited myself to spending $20 and had to make some tough choices. These are the books that came home with me: //

  1. The Life and Times of Chaucer by John Gardner. Who doesn’t love Chaucer? I had a required undergraduate seminar where we read The Canterbury Tales in Middle English and often had to read aloud to the class. Intimidating stuff, at first, but I fell in love with Chaucer and the language and went on the study Old English, too. Had plans to become a medievalist but got hooked on pre-twentieth century American writers in grad school.
  2. The Complete Works of O’Henry, 2 volumes, with foreword by Harry Hansen. Have never read O’Henry. Will I like him? Who knows, but how could I pass up a 1953 hardcover set complete with dust jacket marketed as “The Definitive Collection of America’s Master Of the Short Story”?
  3. The Kaiser and His Court: The Diaries, Note Books and Letters of Admiral Georg Alexander von Müller, Chief of the Naval Cabinet 1914-1948, edited by Walter Görlitz. First published in in Germany 1959, translated into English in 1961, and this appears to be the first American edition from 1964.
  4. The Flowering of New England by Van Wyck Brooks. 1936. Winner of both the National Book Award for nonfiction and the Pulitzer Prize for history. A book and author I’ve read more about than have actually read. Until now.
  5. Edge #44: The Blind Side by George G. Gilman (see picture above)
  6. Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie. Have never read anything by Crombie but am hearing her praises sung from various quarters of late.
  7. The Unkindness of Ravens by Ruth Rendell. Same as above.
  8. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Do I really want to read this? I’ve heard its brilliant, but also depressing as hell.
  9. Bullet Park by John Cheever. Have not read a thing by Cheever or any other mid-century modern male writer. I think that’s a true statement.
  10. Thyme of Death by Susan Whitting Albert. Like the idea of an herb shop.
  11. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. Have been waiting to see the movie until I read the book. Foolish?
  12. A Mind to Murder by P.D. James. How can I consider myself a well-rounded mystery reader if I haven’t read anything by the Queen of Crime?
  13. Original Sin by P.D. James. Ditto above.
  14. Bitter Medicine by Sara Paretsky. For when I’m homesick for Chicago.
  15. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Have only read The Handmaid’s Tale by Atwood.

Not bad for 20 bucks, right?

    Book sale #2
    The Guilford Free Library Friends of the Library Book and Bake Sale was this weekend. I went Friday afternoon with a friend. It was another gorgeous fall day in New England. The baked goods weren’t set out yet, so it was all about the books.

    I didn’t do a great job taking pictures at this sale because I was busy browsing and had a time limit.

    There were two large tents at the front of the library and a large tent in the back parking lot.

    Mass market mysteries and thrillers graced a garden wall leading into the library.

    For this sale my limit was $7 dollars. It was all the cash I had after our firewood was delivered earlier in the day.

    I am not complaining, however, and look forward to cozying up on the couch this winter in front of a roaring fire and dipping into this stash!

    1. Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence. This novel was up for a both an Edgar and Agatha Awards for best novel when it came out. Historical mystery set in post-Revolutionary Maine.
    2. Lost Soldiers by James Webb. This was the exciting find of this sale. One of my favorite novels is Webb’s A Sense of Honor. His Fields of Fire is on the Marine Corps Professional Reading List. I’ve never come across a Webb novel at used sale and was happy to snap this one up.
    3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I’m slowly acquiring a taste for Christie. So far I’ve read Murder on the Orient Express and The Body in the Library. This one is on my Classics Club list (which I really need to get on or revise or let go).
    4. Whiteout by Ken Follett. Loved his Eye of the Needle and Pillars of the Earth. Love snow.
    5. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Tried to read it in the 80s and couldn’t get into it. Have owned several editions since. Currently own a hardcover edition, but am fantasizing about dragging around the mass market edition in my purse this winter.
    6. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. A writer I’ve been wanting to read.
    7. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Have heard so many wonderful things about this book.
    8. The Private Patient by P.D. James. See #12 in the first list.

    The Wesleyan Library Friends of the Library had their sale this Saturday and I would have loved to have gone, but was at home waiting for an electrician who didn’t show. So it goes. It was probably for the best as I would have had to raid my piggy bank for quarters.

    Have there been many fall book sales in your area? 
    If so, have your found any exciting treasures?
    Please leave a comment about it/them!


    1. I work at a library and try to ignore all the books that we get donated. Luckily, at least for now, we're on a moratorium because we have so many. That said, it looks like you found some really good ones there. I've never heard of the Edge series but might have to seek them out and have a brother-in-law who might be interested. He likes crime noir too, I have a feeling this would be up his alley.

    2. The dark side of working in a library (or bookstore)…all the free books that follow you home and take over your living space…and your life. 🙂 It sounds nice in theory, right? I'll be interested to hear what you BIL thinks of EDGE. I haven't come across the series in used stores, so if you/he can't find any I'll be happy to send this copy on to you when I'm finished with it.

    3. After years of working in bookstores and libraries I've come to find I need some external restraint when it comes to book shopping be it new, used, or free. I want all the books but I also want to be able to walk around my house! Setting a price limit also makes it sort of a game for me and makes me think more about what I really want to read. Off to check out your Sunday Salon!

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