Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Favorite Book Sale

All year I look forward to the first Friday in August. The Blueberry Festival in Montrose, PA runs that Friday and Saturday as a benefit for the county library system and historical society. The blueberries aren't the big draw for me although I love them. We have plenty of berries on our own bushes, especially in a rainy summer like this one has been. We do always buy raffle tickets for the quilt made by local ladies; this year's is the prettiest ever I think. Haven't won in 14 years but you never know. That isn't really the big attraction for me either.

No, the attraction that pulls me to the town green early that Friday morning is the giant book sale. I learned shortly after we moved here that this area is populated by mystery lovers. I fit right in. That means many residents do the same thing I do - stock up on mysteries at the book sale and then donate them right back the next summer. We have quite a recycling program going. There are also boxes of books by other popular writers, but the majority of boxes are full of favorite mystery writers such as Robert L. Parker, Martha Grimes, Sue Grafton, P.D. James, Marcia Muller, and others.

Each year I try a few new authors. If I don't like the books, it's no great loss for me and I've made a donation to a cause I care about. The problem is that I also buy some nonfiction books that I keep, adding to the overflow in my own library. I'll bring home something like four large tote bags full, and donate three.

In November I go to the Putnam Publishing Co. annual warehouse sale in the Binghamton area and come home with a box or two of new books. Some of those will get donated to the Blueberry Festival, but many of those as well stay on my shelves.

Years ago my husband built a library for me in a spare bedroom. It has floor to ceiling shelves on two walls. I remember him saying at the time that I'd never fill those shelves. I just grinned. Sure enough, he had hardly finished building them when they were full. Still, I have stacks of books around, and more bookcases downstairs filled.

At least I'm not alone in this situation. Every time I go to a book sale I'll overhear people talking about the overflow of books in their house and how they absolutely must do something about it. Our library will soon break ground on a new building near the high school so the historical society can take over the old building on the green. Both are in dire need of more room. In Susquehanna County people do read. Not all of us can afford to buy new books, but we certainly make good use of what books are available to us. I think that speaks very well of the people of northeastern Pennsylvania.

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