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May 08, 2005



I once found a first edition of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek at a Goodwill thrift store. Also a Charles Williams (back when he was still out of print), and an original Time magazine from the '80s when Wyeth's Helga paintings first emerged. It's the best type of treasure hunting!


This is lovely. I just spent $.95 at the library and got a copy of Ishi, Last of the Yahis, as well as a novel by a Spanish author I haven't heard of that deals with the Spanish Civil war and its aftermath. (Meditation, Juan Benet)

Ishi is a classic in California but since I didn't grow up here, I never read it. It's quite haunting. Written by Ursula LeGuin's mother, based on research done by, I believe, her grandfather.

Also got a paperback copy of The Rise of Silas Lapham for a dime. The volume itself is of no value, and may disintegrate in another 5 years or so, but I've never read this book. I'm interested in Trollope and Dickens, and thought it might be fun to read an American novelist working similar veins in the 19th century.


That's how I discovered Joy Williams's novel, State of Grace, about ten years ago when I was just out of college. The black mark on the pages and writing inside the front cover revealed that the book had been remaindered, then sold and resold a couple of times, before it eventually ended up in a PLEASE TAKE ME pile on a sidewalk in New York City. It was a bit of serendipity that I found her, as I went on to be floored by her short stories, esp. the collection Breaking and Entering.


I'm always heading to thrift stores and library book sales. I found a great older collection of Balzac last week for a dollar at our local library. Both my mother and mother-in-law indulge us with various yard sale finds as well.

Kent Morgan

While I used to haunt thrift stores such as Value Vollage, Goodwill, Sally Anne, etc. looking for books, I have found that it's much more difficult in the past couple of years to find much I want to my collection. The best book I found in the past year was a paperback original of Jim Thompson's Texas By The Tail. It appeared to be unread (and still is) for 25 cents.

My favorite place to find books is the annual Children's Hospital Book Market held in Winnipeg in April. This major event, which has been held for 31 years, attracts dealers and collectors from across Canada and the US. At one time, it ran for two weeks in a large indoor shopping mall. It later ran for ten days and this year it was cut back to eight days. It's run by a volunteer group for the hospital.

There are large enclosed booths for hardcover fiction, children's, Canadiana, biographies, reference, textbooks, mass market and trade PB fiction and rare books. Some of the booths have sections for cookbooks, sports, hobbies, art, mystery fiction, entertainment, travel and magazines.

The joy of the hunt is what makes the book market so interesting and fun. I always am in line about an hour before the opening at the booth that contains my major areas of interest, sports and modern fiction. There is no point in going near the Canadiana section the first morning because that's where the majority of dealers are waiting in the hope of finding that great collectible. Every year they complain about prices going up and the number of worthwhile books dropping in quantity, but they all haul out cartloads of boxes. I paid $5.00 (that's Canadian) for one novel this year, but the balance of the 60 or so books I purchased cost from forty cents for older PBs to $3.00 for some hardcovers. Last year in the entertainment section there was a wonderful collection of books in near fine condition with mylar covers that had been purchased at the Hollywood Book Store by some collector. The prices $1-4.


I vary a lot but I'll go through periods where I go through the libraries but usually only in winter since so many are closed on weekends in the Summer, it makes it harder to check out and return books (return bins are often too full during closed weekends.)

There are two independent bookstores in the Boston area I like supporting (Harvard Book Store & Brookline Booksmith) which also carry a lot of used books. And HBS often has some nice frequent buyer discounts and appreciation day discounts.

After that my next biggest place is Powells which I love that whole lots of used books with new books on special and $50 or more free shipping.

My other quirky choice for getting books is Library of America. I have to admit I look forward to getting a nice book in the mail that I don't know what it is until it arrives. It makes for a pleasant surprise.

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