Book Nerd Mecca
June 10, 2011 7 Comments
I am not allowed to buy books.
It came to my attention a couple of years ago that I was obtaining books faster than I was reading them – to the point that I owned 32 unread books. So I put a moratorium on book purchasing. For myself, anyway. I left the loophole of receiving books as gifts wide open.
The other exception to the rule is the annual Servants Anonymous Society of Calgary Book Sale, which runs Friday through Sunday for two weekends in June.
The annual book sale is like a holiday I look forward to. I took the day off work, made a mental list of books I’d like to look for, and made my way down for the sale opening this morning at 10:00. I was greeted by a lengthy queue.
After paying my $2.00 entry and getting my hand stamp…
Servants Anonymous has been doing the book sale for nine years now, and to their credit, it’s a pretty smooth operation. The line-ups may seem long – to both enter and pay – but they do move quickly. And it’s worth the wait. All soft covers are $2.00 each (or ten for $15), hardcovers are $3.00 (or four for $10). Children’s books and harlequin romances run even cheaper.
And if tonnes of books for crazy cheap isn’t good enough for you, all funds go to a good cause, supporting Servants Anonymous Society of Calgary and Postmedia Raise-a-Reader program.
And there are as many boxes of books as you can imagine.
On the tables. Under the tables. Come prepared to search.
And in addition to the main book sale melee, there is also an enclosed section for “special” books. This section includes really old books, first editions, and signed copies.
And this section is the reason I squirrel away some spending money specifically for the book sale every year. Last year there was a beautiful, ornate latin Bible dated sometime in the 1700s. The Religious Studies and Philosophy nerd in me was in love. It was going for $500 so I left without it, but vowed never to let that happen again.
This year there was no must-have (to me) priced in the hundreds, and while I toyed with taking home the very pretty One Touch of Nature (seen above) for $50, its real significance was lost on me, so I left it for someone else to appreciate.
But I did happily come home with all the ones you see above. Left pile from the general pool; the right stack from the “special” section.
The dog training selection was pretty limited, though they did seem to have well over a hundred copies of Marley & Me (also spotted in abundance: The Da Vinci Code; Eat, Pray, Love; The English Patient). But I was able to pick up two Monks of New Skete books that – regardless of what you may think of them in particular – I’ve always wanted to read.
I’m also happy to have found A Fine Balance, which I looked for last year but didn’t find. I’m told it will make me cry for days – challenge accepted. And a 1935 copy of The Republic of Plato – who could turn that down? Or a First Canadian Edition 1947 of Mrs. Mike, which I’d never heard of but was suggested to me by someone else sorting through books next to me, so I took the recommendation.
The most expensive book I brought home was this one, for $40:
Random, I know. But also super cool and it smells fantastic. And I’m looking forward to reading it.
And even though that one was the most expensive, this one I got for $10 is my favourite:
And this in particular is why it’s my favourite:
And so the ban on buying books remains… until next year.