books, what I brought home

Second-hand Finds

Okay, is it weird that I can often do my best book shopping in Value Village, totally not a bookstore, totally ignorant about the classification of literature? If this keeps up, I’m going to end up wanting to go every week or so! While of course I want to support publisher, author, bookshop, industry, I can’t help but get a thrill when second-hand book shopping.

The hardest part about this kind of shopping is finding books you love but already have. Then I know it’s a compulsion, an addiction I’m fighting. I don’t need several copies of favourite books just because I might now have found the pristine hardcover, but I will buy a different edition if it’s special in some way.

Look at what I found today:

After buying the Bean Trees, I'd decided only this weekend I wanted to try this book again. And here it was today. Score!
I'm a sucker for children's books, especially classics. This edition's jacket is rather brittle and a bit torn but the copyright is 1962, after all, and the hardcover is in fine condition otherwise. Illustrated by Mary Shepard. I loved this story growing up!
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I've been attracted to this book for a while and then it was reviewed during KIRBC's Keep Toronto Reading Series and that doubled my desire. What luck!
Another I've eyed up for some time because I love a good medieval mystery. A lovely Penguin.
Winner of the 1999 Booker. I read Coetzee's Foe in university and I've been forever meaning to read this. South Africa has always intrigued me and Coetzee's writing is excellent.
I'm not lying when I tell you I've never read The Great Gatsby. It's my brother-in-law's favourite book and he's not a huge reader. That's saying something. Plus, I figure it's time.
Pulitzer Prize winner. I've saved my most exciting purchase for last. I'm in love with Annie Dillard. Her books are among my very favourite, especially this one and Holy the Firm (but not the Maytrees, really). And this edition is totally gorgeous. It was published in 1974, appears to be a 1st ed. It's a lovely large hardcover, with beautifully designed jacket, endpapers, and layout. It smells just as it should, and sends a thrill up my spine to hold it. I cannot wait to read this book again. It is perfect.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek endpapers; these photos don't do the book justice.

I can’t tell you what a great day it is when I buy second-hand books. O the stuff you can find, the places you’ll go!

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10 Comments

  1. JK

    Second-hand book shopping is such a thrill! You just never know what you’ll find, and the chase becomes almost as much fun as the book itself! And Value Village is a great place for books. I think second-hand buying doesn’t affect my support of the industry much because usually I buy older titles I wouldn’t have bought in a store. Plus there’s no other way to satisfy the addiction without going bankrupt (or developing a serious shoplifting problem!)

    Glad the KIRBC pick tipped the scales on Stargirl :)

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  2. Jen, wouldn’t it be fun to second-hand book shop together? We could map out a route, with tea and goodies along the way…

    On the other hand, considering what similar tastes we have, we’d likely be smiling politely at each other but competitively broiling inside! I tend to scowl when other people come into the rows when I’m secondhand shopping. I’m afraid they’ll spot something I really want first! I’m not proud of that.

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  3. JK

    That sounds so delightful, but you may be right about the competitiveness. When I secondhand shop with people with similar tastes, I can’t help but inwardly sulk when they score something I want!

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    1. Me too!! At least when you shop new there are multiple copies. But second-hand stuff is treasure hunting and it’s cutthroat, I’ll tell ya!

      Oddly, I didn’t get that same urgency in England at the charity shops. When my sister noticed how frantic I was, she was like, relax! There will be other copies another time in another shop…she goes treasure hunting almost daily, though, and there are a million charity shops there and so many more books, it seems, in circulation. England, at least North Yorkshire, is all about charity shopping and second-hand books.

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    1. Yeah, it really is lovely. You have to see it in person. Hmmm. We probably shouldn’t go second-hand book shopping together, either. Though I was going to buy you Joanne Harris’s Five Quarters of the Orange, the pristine hardcover copy, but thought you already had it. And there were so many more you would have walked out with, with my recommendation! I left so many behind.

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    1. I know. I’m kind of hanging my head. But we read Sinclair’s Babbit instead. Which although I no longer have I can’t seem to forget. I should read it again.

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  4. Steph

    Thanks, Boof!

    And yes, shame on you! I’ll be willing to bet you can find them (there’s more than one Mary Poppins book) in charity shops where you are! :)

    I love that poppies image too. I adore poppies and can’t wait to add some to our gardens, the soft pinkish ones that look like crepe paper. But I was actually trolling just now for an image that’s more related to the site…

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