Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Dozen Eggs & A Pound of Books Please...


I went to a local boutique used bookstore yesterday.  I was kinda taken with a nice tome on a pet subject: opera, but I didn't take it home with me; they were asking 8 dollars for it. I know that better deals are out there and I just happen to know a few of those local 'there's.'  
I hopped in the Red Rover and checked out the selection in one of my favourite haunts in Georgetown. This place is unreal, to speak, as Professor Marvel did in the Wizard of Oz, "in the vernacular of the peasantry."  They stock everything including the kitchen sink; cast-offs, archaic electronics, constructions ends, sports equipment and more. Junk conceals treasure if you're a passionate but patient bargain stalker. 

To get to the book section I picked my way past recycling bins of musty paper and scrap metal, towering shelves of small appliances, lamps, fixtures, vinyl music collections, camera equipment; the list is longer - than a really long list. I made a pit stop in the sports aisle where I steeled myself against involuntary shudder and nostril flutters as I sidled by old hockey equipment.  I didn't see the baseball gloves I wanted to pick up but admit that I didn't manually sift through a lot of the rubble; my tolerance for mustiness and age being much greater for books than for than the discarded trappings of latter-day gladiators.

The lighting throughout is, at best, inadequate; in the book section though, it's down-right cave-like.  The shelves stand about seven feet high; they obstruct the light in all kinds of challenging ways, casting shadows, obscuring titles and making dark hiding places.  I scanned quickly, looking for quality bindings, early editions, vintage cookbooks and favourite authors.  My heartbeat quickened like a junkie getting close to his 'fix' and I noticed, but peripherally, two or three others in the same state - and hoped that we all had different reading tastes. A couple of books of photograph collections seduced me for a time - ahhhh photography; my could'a-should'a-would'a-career...

I walked deeper into the Black Forest of book shelves where the fiction titles were kept; instinct nudging me along.  Then among the musty fruit on the battered metal shelves, I found a row of truffles - dictionaries and word books.  Like the maid and the undertaker looking over Ebeneezer Scrooge's boudoir appointments, I instantly sized up the entire row and chose six books on words or writing.  What incredible bargains; very good condition, both soft and hard covers; The Readers Digest Illustrated Reverse Dictionary, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Shoot the Puppy, How to Build a Better Vocabulary, The First Five Pages, An Introduction to Fiction and my single fiction title, The Shipping News.  What a fix!  I picked a path back through the maze of miscellania and dropped my finds on the check-out table and here's the hilarious part; unless of course, you're still laughing about my love for dictionaries; the books are priced by the pound; the sales person loaded the lot onto a scale and told me the cost was $6.50!!
Six dollars and fifty cents - I couldn't believe that and I didn't have to do the math to know that I saved at least $200.00!