Wednesday, December 05, 2012


recent thrift shop finds

Yesterday I was out doing some errands and a bit of local gift-shopping, and on my way home I stopped at Goodwill to check out the books.  I go in (for clothes and books) from time to time and always come away with something, for not much money.  I even got the Goodwill discount card so I receive ten percent off at the checkout.  So, yesterday, I looked over several thousand completely dreadful books, I mean books that I would never in a million years ever have had on the shelves in my shop, and still wouldn't now, at any price.  But amidst the dross I found ten lovely books to bring home with me.  After my discount, and with sales tax, I paid $15.98 for them  Such a deal.  Here they are:

The English Flower Garden by William Robinson.  A 1984 hardcover reprint, in jacket, of this classic gardening book.  For resale in my book booth. Original retail price was $35.

The Rothschild Gardens: A Family Tribute to Nature by Miriam Rothschild et al.  Abbeville, 2004, softcover reprint.  Sumptuous color photographs throughout, of gardens from Rothschild estates worldwide.  This is a read-then-sell book, for me.  Original price $29.95.

Memoirs of the Life of John Constable edited by C.R. Leslie.  Cornell softcover reprint in fine shape.  I already own this but now I have a spare copy to pass along to a deserving landscape-painter friend.   Old price sticker on the back cover, for $14.95.

The Complete Poems 1927-1979, Elizabeth Bishop.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux (their books are so wonderful) softcover reprint.  Love her poems, already have a copy, so this is for my book booth.  Where I may already have another copy, but who am I to not buy Elizabeth Bishop at Goodwill when I see her there.  Besides, it was half-price day for red stickers, and she had a red sticker.  Price on back cover of $15.00.

The Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubron.  Harper 1994, fine hardcover first U.S. edition in jacket.  I just got rid of half of the travel narratives in my own collection, and here I am adding something.  (For the record, I did not get rid of my other Colin Thubron books, however.)  Central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Mongolia and all the -stans.  Wavered, Do I really need this, I mean it was priced at almost three whole dollars, then I just gave in and bought it.  Originally priced at $23.00.

The Life and Times of Cody's Books, a Berkeley bookstore, 1956-1977 by Pat and Fred Cody.  Chronicle softcover.  Always wanted to read this, did not own a copy, until now.  "...there are still people who are so badly adjusted to reality that they insist on either writing books or selling them..." - Fred Cody.  A keeper, to add to my shelves of bookshop memoirs.  Cover price $11.95.

What's Cooking at Moody's Diner by Nancy Moody Genthner.  Dancing Bear Books softcover edition of this classic cookbook from a famous Maine diner, which is still open and thriving.  For my book booth.  I have sold many copies of this over the years.  New price was $8.95.  I paid less than a dollar for it, and will probably price it at $6.

The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea: The Art & Pleasures of Taking Tea by Helen Simpson.  Arbor House hardcover reprint in jacket.  I may sell this in my booth, or more likely save it to give to my friend Vicky who also sells books, at her shop Front Porch Books, as well as fair trade tea, pottery teapots, handmade tea cosies, and other books about tea.  She might like a little gift.  Jacket flap price $10.00.

Then, the two final books, and my personal favorites of the bunch (sorry, Colin).  First, Fine Preserving: M.F.K. Fisher's Annotated Edition of Catherine Plagemann's Cookbook.  Aris Books softcover, 1986.  M.F.K. Fisher's introduction says that she was having dinner with a group of friends one night and the talk around the table was about "forgotten little masterpieces."  When Fisher's turn came to speak, she immediately mentioned Plagemann's preserving book.  A publisher was one of the guests at the dinner table, and later, when he couldn't find a copy himself, Fisher lent him her own, with her margin notes.  He printed it all in this edition.  I started reading it last night and it is wonderful.  My husband Ryan makes jam, and we already do some other kinds of canning from time to time, so there are many recipes here we could try.  The book itself is fine, then Fisher's annotations are printed in the margins in red, and once in a while her own family versions of some of the recipes are included, with variations or suggestions, as well as criticism and praise.  Such a lovely book, I had never seen it before and am so happy to have it.  Original price was $9.95.  I paid less than a dollar. A keeper.

Lastly, my other favorite find, another cookery book, Little Dinners by Susan Branch.  Diminutive hardcover from Cedco, published in 2000.  Totally charming, I mean off the charts.  32 tiny pages of delight, with simple recipes meant to feed one or two, and illustrations throughout by the author.  Whose addictive blog I have been reading for quite some time.  I see via Google that this book was once part of a gift box set, and thus came in a matching decorated box with a fridge magnet.  I don't know what the set originally cost, probably not much, but because of the massive popularity of her blog, this turns out to be the only book I found on my Goodwill visit that has any significant resale value.  Too bad, since I am going to keep it for myself!  I paid less than a dollar, so I can afford to.  This copy will live on a special shelf in the book room where I keep books both written and illustrated by their authors.  I have several more Susan Branch books there, sitting companionably alongside books by the often-aforementioned Vivian Swift, and Sara Midda, Maira Kalman, and a few others.  Points to Susan Branch for quoting Helen Nearing on the back cover of Little Dinners:  "If a recipe cannot be written on the face of a 3 x 5 card, off with its head."  And inside, Julia Child:  "Remember, you're all alone in the kitchen and no one can see you."

Now, I know the rest of these books are available for pennies, used, on Amazon.  And I know, because I have seen them in situ, that many people with ISBN scanners or resale apps regularly troll this particular Goodwill looking for deals.  I also know that Goodwill itself does the same, before the books ever hit the sales floor.  And yet I still keep checking in, hoping for something good.  This time, yes.  Book hunting isn't as good as it was in the good old days, but you know, it's still pretty damn good.   

I am incredibly pleased that you are posting frequently once again! Thank you, Sarah. Let's hope for a bookish winter...
What a lovely comment, thanks! I don't know about you, but I certainly have no shortage of reading material on hand. I hope to be sharing more of it here over the coming months.
I am determined to (finally) read all of Dickens in the order the books were published. That should keep me busy enough!
Your blog brings happiness.
All of Dickens, wow, such a noble goal! I heartily approve. Do let me know how you progress.
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