I love second hand books. I tend to take more risks with second hand books and buy books that I mightn’t if I had to part with $30 for them. I also like the way that church fetes and school fairs are self limiting; it’s not like walking into a bookshop and only seeing a fraction of the titles available because the shop is too big and you’re in too much of a rush.
Second hand book buying involves browsing, taking the time to go through each and every box of books, seeing every title on offer and selecting anything that you might have ever thought of reading because it will only cost you one or two dollars. I bought Kate Morton’s The Shifting Fog at the school fair a couple of weeks ago simply because I’d just read an article about her and the release of her third book in the newspaper. I was sick in bed last week and took out The Shifting Fog because it was a decent length and didn’t look like it was heavy going – perfect for a sick bed.
It’s an absolute cracker of a story – and it’s a story I would never have discovered if I hadn’t been to the school fair. So now I intend to go to the book shop and buy her second and third books to see if they measure up to the first.
I know some people can’t bear anything other than new books. Some are inveterate library borrowers. Others will never part with books they have bought. I must confess to regularly pruning my shelves of disappointments and dispatching such books to new owners via a garage sale every couple of years.
So what else did I find on my book buying binge? Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, some Virginia Woolf, Chris Wormersley’s brand new release Bereft; a dozen books for $40. Now I just need time to read them all …