Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jewels from the Used Book Sale

I know you all are anxiously awaiting the results of the visit to the Summer Book Sale yesterday.  I got there within forty-five minutes of its opening and it was already crowded, but manageable. I only had an hour or so before I had to leave and my searches kept being interrupted by chats with people I used to work with, in the 1990s, at a large independent bookstore. Imagine that. Former booksellers buying books. Wonders will never cease!

Yes, everyone is in a good mood at a book sale.

Anyway, I donated twenty books and came home with ten. I did feel a bit rushed and am fighting the urge to go back today!

Here is my haul. 

First the paperbacks:

Beau Geste by P.C.Wren
A nice clean paperback edition of this tale of the French Foreign Legion first published in 1924. I read this some years ago and found it full of adventure and great language. I look forward to again accompanying M. Geste on his adventures. Such a colorful and exciting cover!

Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
Ah, one of the Mitford Sisters. I have long wanted to read this and I couldn't resist the oh-so-elegant photo of the author on this edition. 

Snobs by Julian Fellowes
I don't remember where I heard about this book by Mr. Fellowes, he of Downton Abbey fame, but as will happen at a used book sale, a woman I had been chatting with over the mystery table tracked me down later to recommend it. I am so glad she did!

And now for the hardcover editions:

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
The Portable Thomas Wolfe edited by Maxwell Geismar
Having just visited Thomas Wolfe's home in Asheville, North Carolina and unable to find any used editions of his books in the entire city, I was thrilled when not three miles from my home I found two. The Modern Library edition of LHW is very sturdy which will prove to be important when reading its 626 pages. It doesn't have a copyright date, but a handwritten inscription from a woman to her godson is dated Christmas, 1954.
The Viking Portable Reader contains excerpts from all four of Mr. Wolfe's novels and a selection of short stories. Its copyright date is 1950. It is dedicated to TW's editor, Maxwell Perkins.

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
A sweet, small edition and my one and only book by Mr. Trollope. This was first published in 1857. I am not sure of the publication date of this volume. The inscription on the inside cover tells the 'giftee' that this tale was 'the great escape book in England during the war.' I wonder which war she was referring to?

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
One cannot go wrong with Mr. Waugh. The novel was first published in England in 1934. This is a 1944 American edition.

Edith Wharton Abroad edited by Sarah Bird Wright
Always happy to find a travel book based on personal experiences. This one covers Ms. Wharton's journeys in Morocco, Italy, and France. It includes photos and illustrations. The cover watercolor is Venetian Canal by John Singer Sargent. Lovely.

A Reader's Guide to Writers' Britain by Sally Varlow
I don't even need to tell you why I snatched this book off the table. It is a wonderful treasure published and printed in Great Britain full of maps, photos, and lively information. Oh, my. Wordsworth, Dickens, Milne, Potter, Stevenson....

A Little Tour in France by Henry James
This poor little volume has seen better days. The cover, which is some sort of leather, crumbles to my touch. I will have to create a protective jacket in order to read it. The inside pages, though, are in fine condition. It is a book of travel episodes published in 1884, with excellent illustrations by Joseph Pennell.  If you remember, Henry James and Edith Wharton were close friends and it seems fitting that I now own a travel book by each of them. This edition contains a preface written by H.J. dated 
August 9, 1900. 


  1. What a lovely group of books you got! I'm happy to see a few old friends in the stack. Happy reading!

  2. Nice haul, Belle. You have several books I'd have snatched up myself (especially A Reader's Guide to Writer's Britain, Edith Wharton's travel writings and Love in a Cold Climate). My library should be about due for a book sale--it seems like forever since they had one. The selection is never as good as your sale, unfortunately, but I always seem to find something.

    1. Kathy, I was quite thrilled to find the Reader's Guide. I can't wait to study it. I should have taken photos of the inside pages. They are glorious. I was glad that most of my finds are by authors that I have not read before. Looking forward to a long, cold winter of reading. Hope your excursion to your library's sale nets you some jewels as well.

  3. Nice ones Belle! Especially the Wolfe books!

    1. Ah, Tullik. The Portable Wolfe was the first of my finds. I was excited to see that it contained his short stories as you had recommended that I read. Then I came upon LHA and couldn't resist that one either. Now I am truly "Wolfe'd Up!"

  4. What a lot of fun books! Good for you. I'm especially curious about the Edith Wharton Abroad and the Henry James book as they are two of my favorite authors. I wish it was as easy to clear time in a busy schedule for more reading as it is to clear room on a shelf for more books. :) Happy Reading!

    1. Lark, you are so right. It certainly is easier creating room for books than it is finding time to read them. I have only read two of Wharton's books (The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome) and look forward to her travel writings. As to Mr. James I don't believe I have read anything by him. So much to discover!

  5. I was, indeed, hoping you would share whatever made it in your tote, Belle, and am delighted to see what you brought home. A wonderful lot - and a reminder that "Love in a Cold Climate" is still lingering on a book pile.

    1. Penny, Love in a Cold Climate has long been on my TBR list and now that I actually own a copy of it perhaps it will get read. I am sure, though, that you will agree that ownership of a book is not always a guarantee of its reading. Hence our burgeoning shelves!

  6. What a haul! I'll have to look for Edith Wharton Abroad. And Nancy Mitford is great!

    Our own sale is coming up in October.

    1. Yes, Kat, I was quite pleased with my finds. Now if I will just make time to read them and not get distracted by other books.

      Speaking of October, are you going to the Iowa City book festival?

  7. Barchester Towers is one of a series of 6 Barchester Novels by AT - the first is The Warden. I heartily recommend reading them in order. Then find the Barchester novels of Angela Thirkell wherein the descendants of Trollope's characters appear - and deal with the interwar/WWII changes in the small world...

    1. Hello, GS. Thanks for the information on the Barchester novels. I will start with 'The Warden' and move on to this next one. I have read five of Ms. Thirkell's delightful books - in order - and I have so enjoyed them. Next up is The Brandons.

      Thank you for stopping by and setting me on the correct Trollope path. I won't start BT until I have tackled the first book.

      I see that there is a BBC adaptation of the first two novels that was filmed in 1982. Have you seen it? It is available on DVD and my public library has a copy. Oh, joy.