Book sale haul, 5.11.13

May 11, 2013

This is the weekend of my favorite book sale. It’s  held by a small library upstate, very few books are over a dollar, and if you buy a $10 tote bag, you can take home as many books as will fit in it. And that, of course, is what I did.


It's hard to tell in the picture, but this is a really big tote bag.

I usually limit myself to as many books as I can carry in my hands, so when my arms started to hurt, I went to check out. But once I’d gotten my books into my bag, the woman at the counter said, “you know, there are more books in the other building.” That was my downfall.

Anyway, here are the things I got, in reverse order as I unpack.


I didn’t buy all the Nero Wolfe books — just the cuter, older paperbacks and In the Best Families because it’s In the Best Families. Apparently my cat likes Nero Wolfe too.


Not the Felix Salten one with the deer, but the Marjorie Benton Cooke one with the people. The woman who helped me check out said she heard it was pretty racy, which seems unlikely, but I told her I would be pleased if that turned out to be the case.


I keep meaning to try Mary Stewart. And at this point I had well over $10 worth of books, so these were basically free.


Some miscellaneous paperbacks–One Hundred  and One Dalmatians  because my copy is missing pages, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold because I can’t find my mom’s copy, and a romance by Meredith Duran for no reason at all.


This is the Mary Roberts Rinehart portion of the haul. All of these books are more battered than all of the other books, but who cares? I own a copy of K


This is the Ethel M. Dell portion of the haul. I…own a copy of The Way of an Eagle now. So, uh, that’s a thing.


The last few miscellaneous things: Rose in Bloom, my favorite Alcott book I’ve never owned; Trustee from the Toolroom, which I buy whenever I find it so I can give it as a gift; and Brat Farrar, which I own a couple of times over, because this copy is super cute. I assume the girl in the sheet on the cover is Eleanor, but I don’t understand why.


  1. K!

    • I know!

  2. This is why I avoid used-book stores and sales…I wouldn’t be able to resist overloading! But I am going to scout out a couple of used-book stores one of these days to look for a couple books by my favorite obscure authors. I just won’t let myself buy anything that isn’t on my list. Seriously. I mean it…

    I’ve only read two Mary Stewart books so far (Nine Coaches Waiting and The Moonspinners), but I adored both of them and am eager to read more.

    • I feel like I get away with it because this is the primary way I buy books — I rarely buy new stuff. If you’re looking for specific stuff, though, used book stores and book sales aren’t really the way to go — the magic of them is that you never find the specific thing you want, but you often find things you would not even have dared to hope for. For specific things, ABE books is probably better.

      I’ve started The Moonspinners and I’m really enjoying it. Apparently it was made into a Disney movie with Hayley Mills, too, so I’m going to see if I can track that down.

  3. What fun! Would love to curl up on a rainy night with
    any of those.

    • Yeah, a rainy night — or even a reading vacation — is called for, but it’s going to have to wait until the Stanley Cup playoffs are over, probably.

  4. What fun! I do envy you having all those Mary Stewart books ahead of you. And Brat Farrar is one of my all-time favourite books. Have you read Josephine Tey’s other books? They’re wonderful too!

    I can’t resist a used book sale either.

    • I’m reading The Moonspinners now, and can easily imagine tearing my way through all her books in the near future. Are the Arthurian ones worthwhile, too, or just the modern ones?

      I’m a huge fan of Josephine Tey, with the caveat that her racial/biological determinism makes me super uncomfortable. And Brat Farrar is probably my favorite, followed by The Franchise Affair.

  5. I don’t recall “Bambi” being particularly racy. It’s also, alas, not as good as “Cinderella Jane”.

    • You know, Marjorie Benton Cooke sounded really familiar to me, but I didn’t remember that it was because she wrote Cinderella Jane. I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it more or less now. And yeah, I’m pretty sure she was mistaking it for another book.

  6. Those are really good finds! I love The Moonstone by Mary Stewart.

    • Yeah, having now read one of her books, I think I’m going to really like Mary Stewart.

  7. Some great finds! I’m not too familiar with Mary Stewart, but I read “My Brother Michael” years ago, so I suspect that I’ll enjoy “Moonspinners” and “Nine Coaches Waiting”. And of course I love Jacqueline Tey, while “Trustee From The Toolroom” is a long time favourite of mine…

    That’s what I really enjoy about your blog – seeing what we enjoy in common, and based upon your recommendations discovering new books and new authors. Thanks!

    • Thank you! I’m pretty happy just to have a place to talk about books, but knowing that people find awesome new things through me makes it even better.

      I actually haven’t encountered many people who have read Trustee from the Toolroom. The only person I know who has read it and wasn’t introduced to it by me was the person who originally recommended it. How did you find it? Have you read other stuff by Nevil Shute?

      • Hi! I’m not sure how I found TFTT – I seem to remember that it was when I was still in high school, 20+ years ago… that was in Ireland, and of course Shute was far better known there, being British, than he would have been here in the US.

        I probably discovered him due to a BBC mini-series of “A Town Like Alice” that was very popular at that time – incidentally I don’t believe I actually saw it, but it did lead me to read the book.

        Others of his that I read include “Pastoral”, “The Pied Piper”, and “The Chequer Board”, but I suspect that I would enjoy his aeronautical novels more… I’m not sure what I loved about Trustee, but I think it’s Shute’s delicate portrayal of the quiet dependability of Keith, and the understated humanity that shines through the novel. Your post has prompted me to revisit him…

        “Trustee” reminds me vaguely of some of the novels of Hammond Innes, a contemporary of Shute’s, whose novels typically feature a troubled protagonist dealing with some conflict or pursuing some goal, in a rugged physical setting… His most famous might be “The Wreck Of The Mary Deare”, made into a movie with Gary Cooper, but my favorites are probably “The Land God Gave To Cain” and “The Blue Ice”.

        Somewhat in the same vein as Innes is another contemporary, Desmond Bagley, who wrote predominantly action adventures, but some often feature a natural disaster, and an interesting backstory, e.g. “The Snow Tiger”.

        These are a far cry from the Williamsons, but if you come across them in a sale you might enjoy them!

        And by the way, “The Car of Destiny” isn’t too bad. It’s not as much fun as “The Lightning Conductor”, etc. but it does feature the nasty old gold-digging mother and the obligatory slimy antagonist. Of course, “Cynthia’s Chauffeur”, which I believe you’ve recently read, is far better, but TCOD is adequate.

        • Thanks — I’ll keep an eye out for Innes and Bagley.

          I’m sort of wary of Shute’s other books, because one of the things I love so much about Trustee from the Toolroom is its fairytale quality and its underlying belief in a world full of well-intentioned people. I’m afraid that any of his books that fall short of that will just depress me.

          Anyway, action adventure is fun. I don’t only read authors like the Williamsons, by any means.

          • A town like Alice, the Chequerboard, the Far Country – like you I buy Shute every time I find him but I’ve got multiple copies of these (and Trustee) for your reason.

            You might try Chequerboard first – although I love A town like Alice and reread it regularly (the bbc miniseries was close but not quite right in its handling I thought)

            And every now and again I read On the Beach just to marvel at the difference in tone.

            For Mary Stewart, I’d leave Touch not the Cat to the last. The gothics she wrote before the Crystal Cave I thought were stronger. The Arthurian ones I liked them and thought they were a fairly interesting take BUT Stewart’s Merlin influenced a lot of people and if you’ve read any Arthurian stuff since the mid 1980s it might not seem as fresh to you. (There’s at least one book by another woman where I thought homage came darn close to plagiarism) But if you like the Crystal Cave, the next two are good.

            I’m having a wonderful time reading your blog.

            • Thanks! — both for enjoying the blog and for your recommendations. Now that I have specific Shute things to look out for, I might actually manage to read one of his other books.

              I actually haven’t read anything Arthurian published since the 80s — I can’t think of anything Arthurian that I’ve read at all other than The Once and Future King. I guess it’s not really my thing, but I’ll probably have a look at Stewart’s take if any of those books happen to cross my path.

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