Book Fair Bargains
There was a local book fair on and through the good grace of a friend I got the heads up and made it along to peruse the huge exhibition hall full of paper with words on it.
There are many lessons to be learnt from entering such a house of literate debauchery. The two main ones I still ruminate on are; people have no concept or personal space, nor do they understand the concept of personal hygiene. It’s a shame that the two aspects of their lives affect each other so much. In short, I’m saying a lot of people stink. I mean stink enough to warn you of their presence before you even see them. I do not understand how they do it. But they were out in force, leaning over people to get to cherished titles, dropping armpits on shoulders and breathing down necks. It probably did not help that I spent a good portion of my day entrenched in the science fiction section.
The entire hall was trestle tables and sections, very well delineated sections. The general fiction was crap, overpriced and ordinary selection, though fun to see how many Dan Brown books they can stack before a table decides to collapse. The crime section was the disappointment of the day, so much so that I left after only a few minutes, there were no old school bargains to be found there. Then I hit Sci-Fi. It was unreal. My first hunt is always for Philip K Dick, for a prolific writer he is always so hard to track down in secondhand book stores. I must have found close on ten books of his in the four table long, four row of books deep, pile to be filtered through. The shame was I alreay had most of them. I hate seeing his name and then finding the title is one I already own. It’s like looking up a pair of hot legs and finding out it’s a girl you’ve already dumped before, or it’s just a mate with shaved legs out for a ‘dress up’ party. It sucks and stops you for a moment as you run through so many emotions. But, after picking up three of his books, which I was pleased with for a day’s work, I continued the hunt.
I found Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter Man Of Mars, and thought it would be the first in the John Carter series, which I am keen on reading. Had a great cover and even better price, but I was wrong. It’s the eleventh in the series, no point starting there. They did not have the first one.
I waded through the glut of Asimov, Heinlein and a few other names that kept popping up, but they were not authors I needed to start delving into. Not that they aren’t great, I just know I can’t yet start reading all of their stuff, there are others in line first. I managed to find a few rare gems, again at rock solid bargain prices, and I shuffled away happy.
I moved to horror, which was the standard, heaps of King (which I already own all of), a few Barkers (ditto), some Straub and then crap. I did manage to get Roald Dahl’s Kiss Kiss and Someone Like You at great prices, and matching covers, so that was worth the stopover.
I love roaming old books and just looking slowly through the titles. True, I left with a sore neck from looking down and angled for three hours, but it was worth it. There was so much crazy stuff there, again, mostly in the sci-fi area. It’s just a great way to spend a day. And it always renews my enthusiasm for reading more, and then writing even more. Secondhand book stores, or book fairs, are like Ra’s Al Ghul Lazarus Pits for me. Yes, I am that nerdy to make that reference.
I checked the rest of the hall but didn’t find anything that was going to make me fill my $20 budget, which was all I took. It’s a great idea to only take one note, makes you really assess each purchase. I returned to sci-fi, because as the books are taken little book monkeys run off and get more to fill the tables. It like shopping in a bookstore where the shelves are constantly revolving and releasing new insanity upon the world. I managed to find a few more bargains and then a box of posters. 50c each. I opened the first one, it was a print of an old Frank Frazetta piece. I nearly trembled and shook, these were so hard to find and these particular ones were in pristine condition. I looked through them all and found nothing but Frazetta frescoes (or at least I wish he would paint something on my roof). I grabbed a stack of Conan, and otherworldly, goodness and finally made my way to the check out.
$21. Lucky I brought a friend and he manned up with two 50c pieces for me.
But, possibly my favourite bargain of the day would be this little ditty.
A Spider-Man novel from ’79. I didn’t know Marvel put these out back in the day. The thing that troubles me is, this was number 8 in the series. I must have the first seven, and I know it goes up to ten, with another Spidey entry from the same author, Paul Kupperberg.
Just look at that cover and tell me it’s not worth three hours of hunting and gathering.
Posted on March 22nd, 2009 by ryan
Filed under: Uncategorized