Saturday, June 03, 2006


A book sale AND an author sighting

At eight o'clock this morning I was asleep with a pillow over my head, and Ryan, who'd been up for an hour already, stood beside me and asked repeatedly, "Are you awake?" until I finally replied, "No, I'm sleeping." He said, "Book sale. Book sale! BOOK SALE!" until I said, "Oh, all RIGHT, I'm awake, I'm up, I'm UP..."

It was pouring buckets of rain, or, as I seem to recall Pa saying in Little House on the Prairie (the book of course, not the tv series), "It was raining axe-heads and hammer-handles." The sale was forty-five minutes away in a small coastal town, and I didn't want to go. I wanted to sleep in, go out to breakfast at Nicky's Diner, my favorite local greasy spoon, and open up the shop early (mercenary used bookshop owners such as myself dearly love rainy Saturdays). So in the car I was a wee bit - what - well, let's be kind and say recalcitrant. We got to the sale forty minutes early, sat in the car watching the rain ease up, and spent the last five minutes waiting under the drip of the overhang by the library back entrance. When the sale opened we headed in and I immediately found a few Virginia Woolf hardcovers, including a first edition of A Writer's Diary, which I've always wanted to read. Then I found a pile of A.L. Rowse hardcovers. Then, when I was kneeling by the poetry and music sections, I looked over and saw a guy in very nice hipster-doofus glasses browsing next to me. He was in profile, but looked very familiar, and I did a double-take and realized it was Jonathan Lethem. So I kept looking at the books in front of me, but I had to say something, so I leaned over and said quietly, "I don't want to bother you while you're shopping, but I just have to tell you how much I love your writing." He smiled and said thanks, and then I stupidly blurted out just what I did to Augusten Burroughs last month, "I have a used bookshop. If you're ever in Bangor, stop in..." as my face flushed red. Doh. We exchanged a few sentences about bookshops, and I said "Nice to meet you." I took my stack of books over to the corner where Ryan and I were creating a small second bookshop, apparently, and discreetly pointed him out to Ryan. Then I said, "Thanks for waking me up this morning. YOU WERE RIGHT."

I've been bookhunting with Ryan for around twelve years now, and yet I still forget that he has a sixth sense about when we should go to a sale or visit a certain bookshop. When I take his advice, something amazing always turns up, or happens. This time, it was finding some lovely books, and meeting one of my literary heroes. All in one morning, when I could have stayed in bed. We bought four large cartons of books for $140. And I ended up opening the shop only an hour late. The moral of the story: Get up, get up, slugabeds! There's a whole world out there! Anything can happen today!

Pretty cool,spotting Lethem like that! Maybe he'll come by your store(stranger things have happened),if he does,you have to let us know right away!
He lives on the Maine coast for part of the year, near where the library sale was. I knew that he worked at used bookstores off and on before he began to support himself by writing, so it was neat to see him perusing the shelves at the book sale. Of course I'd love it if he stopped in at the shop...
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