Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Books in strange places

On my way home, I took the old highway for a change and saw a huge banner across one of the furniture showroom buildings: "Going Out of Business Sale." Locals in the High Point area don't usually buy from the showrooms because of the tourist prices, but a sale is a sale, and I need bookshelves for my future book store. I decided to go in and look around.

The sales people were very eager to assist me. When a young man named John said he could knock $1,000 off the price of this sofa or chair, I knew I wasn't going to find the kind of bargain I was looking for. But I decided to browse around the store, just in case. Lots of elegant stuff, fun to look at. What was that? I backtracked and found a couple of old books they had used for decor. And a couple more over here. I looked through them: mostly single volumes of encyclopediae and Reader's Digest books. They were scattered all over the store.

I made a circuit back to the entrance and decided to check out a few more books on a table before I made my getaway past the antsy staff. These weren't encyclopediae. But they weren't in English, either.  John saw me pause and bounced over. Each book had a plastic-coated price just like the furniture. I held one up and asked him what he would take for it. The answer was very reasonable.

"We've got some more old books in the back, if you're interested," he said. I followed him to an office area, where they had stacks of readable decor on a table and a shelf. He let me look through them and I walked out with an armful.

I don't know the difference between Norwegian, Swedish or Icelandic, but the language was something in that area. I picked up an Ayn Rand and a few others that just looked interesting, including an 1899 text about horses and hooves. I also weighed my arms down with a London tome listing all of the ships in the world in 1964 — before computers kept up with that sort of thing.

Does this only happen to me? Anybody else walk into other types of stores and walk out with old books?

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