Yesterday I broke down the numbers on my recent library book sale adventure. The number I couldn’t possibly give is the one for how many books I passed up. The more you get to know writers and works, the more you know what you’re seeing…the less you’re picking a book by it’s title or cover or blurb. This can be good in one way (you know when you’ve struck gold), bad in the way that you’re less likely to discover new works and the only way to know more of the works you’re seeing is by trying new things. Sure, you can whip out the cell phone and research questionable books but usually I feel that I’m trying to go through the books as quickly as possible. I try to resist only grabbing familiar desired “to reads” and go out on a limb with odd choices with a few books. The books are so cheap, this is the perfect time to experiment!
Where I’m a real fish out of water is when I head to the non-fiction. It is there that I am forced to focus on the work’s subject and possibilities more than knowing the writer. ONE book I really regret passing up was a hardcover of Black Rednecks and White Liberals. I should have looked at its amazon rating right then and there (almost 5 stars out of 216 reviews) but I didn’t….I held it a minute of so and tossed it back into the pile thinking it would probably just be a lot of jargon and statistics. And it’s not like it’s rare. Amazon does have 76 used hardcover copies. I could get one for around 8 bucks if you include shipping charges. But wow. Eight whole bucks after holding it in my hand for less than a dollar! Ugh. Sigh.
I also passed on a ton of hardcovers by Joyce Carol Oates. I think you could easily build a library of her entire oeuvre. Her books are always really easy to find. I passed on a few Civil War books because I have enough of those for now…probably for a lifetime. I passed on all the YA, the Sci Fi, the children’s books, and the mystery section (usually a favorite but I wasn’t in the mood to add any…sort of regret that now, but when you’re tired -like when you’re full-you start prioritizing).