Ex Libris

There is a wonderful store in Austin called Half Price Books. You can not only buy books at greatly reduced prices, as the name would suggest, but also sell your used books for cash. This is pretty cool, I must say. I love walking up and down the aisles there because I have found so many titles that I need to finish out collections, books that I have always just wanted to read, or just plain odd stuff. Like the novel that Scooter Libby wrote (no shit). Anyway, it’s just plain fun to go there. And I have had many occasions to bring books to sell so that others may enjoy them. Well, I actually don’t care if others enjoy them or not. They are taking up valuable space in my life and I want to get rid of them. The fact that I can get some money for them at the same time pushes lots of happy buttons for me.

When does a book outlive its usefulness to you? Some books I have permanent relationships with. If my spouse were to come home and see me reading Her Majesty’s Wizard, by Christopher Stasheff, he would know I have had a rough day and need some comfort. If he saw me reading any of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, he would know that my day had been surreal and I needed a release. If he saw me reading Patriot Games by Tom Clancy, he would run as fast as he could in the other direction because some really bad shit had gone down and I Should Not Be Disturbed.

But just as one would not be BFF’s with all people, it is the same with books. Some you only have a situational relationship with, like pregnancy books. Others are like a cheap one night stand and you are embarassed that they are still there in the morning. And others are like the co-workers you have lunch with. Nice, but not your buddy. So, in order to stem the chaos, you must purge. For me this usually happens every 6-8 months or so. How do you decide who stays and who goes?

Here are the books that I took to HPB recently. They fell into neat little categories.

I am trying to be a better parent, so I will read.
The Educated Child, William J Bennett
Standardized Minds, Peter Sacks
How to Behave so Your Child Will, Too, Sal Severe

BTW, I never got through these books. So much for being a better parent.

I read important, award winning books and authors, so I will buy these books and I will enjoy them.
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemmingway
Oblivion, David Foster Wallace
Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Michael Chabon

None of these books did anything for me. One that I didn’t finish was the Clarke. That surprised me since I usually love that genre and she had won the Hugo for it. I don’t usually give up on a book, but this one just never hooked me. And I had forgotten how much I hate Hemmingway when I got that for my book club, or else I would have just borrowed it from someone instead of buying a copy. And yes, I tried to buy a used copy, but there must have been a rush on them from students because the only copies left were totally decrepit.

I am reading these books because it was the Stepford Wives turn to pick the book at book club.
Skinny Dipping, Claire Maturo
Fatal Voyage, Kathy Reichs
24 Hours, Greg Iles

These would be the One Night Stand books. They were enjoyable, but they can’t stay for breakfast.

It was on the Costco table and jumped into my cart.
Labyrinth, Kate Mosse
Children of Hurin, Tolkien
4 Phase Man, Richard Steinberg

Where the hell this did come from? Did I borrow it? I have no clue!
The Schwarzbein Principle, Diana Schwarzbein, Phd.

So now I have some space on my shelves and nightstand again. I did manage to walk out of the store without buying anything this time, which is good. And how much did I make? A whopping $12.75.

It’s time to go out and make some new literary friends. Maybe some will be my BFF. Others I will use for all they are worth and them cast them away. Who knows. But the joy is in the discovery. And what better way to discover something than in the pages of a book.


5 responses to “Ex Libris

  1. Oh, you are making me so nostalgic for Austin! I spent many a Friday night wandering around Half Price Books, either full of milkshakes and veggie burgers from EZ’s or buzzed on Mexican Martinis from Trudy’s… Sigh. Good times! πŸ™‚

  2. HPB is practically nationwide these days. Headquarters here in Houston and stores in multiple states.

    I’m a big fan of HPB. πŸ™‚

    But Hemingway…hate Hemingway? Oy. And the friendship was off to such a promising start. πŸ˜‰

    (P.S. Loved the description of books as a one night stand. So often those are my “women’s fiction” books LMAO!)

    Using My Words

  3. LOL…I just finished a John Grisham (The Broker) that was a TOTAL one-night-stand book. It was really good, though. He hasn’t lost his knack.

    I’m with the first julie (me being the second julie) when it comes to Hem. He’s extremely close to the very tiptop of my list of most beloved authors. Still…I won’t hold it against you. πŸ™‚

    Absolutely the WORST book I’ve ever read was Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck. Ohhh, I was so irritated by how badly written it was that I think I tossed it away when I was done. Maybe it made the Goodwill box. Ugh.

  4. I don’t think we have that chain up here in Canada. Wish we did, I have a few books that I could get rid of. I barely have time to read these days, so I pick up most of my reading at the library, which is a bit, UGH, but with the price of books these days, it’s all I can really justify. I get through about 5 pages a night before I have to close my eyes.

    I just brought home the Historian. Give me strength!

  5. “One night stand books.” I love it. I always called those “popcorn novels,” since you can gobble them up like popcorn on a dreary day and then dispose of the evidence before anyone spots it.

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