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Scenes of Terror!

November 1, 2010

If you missed the book sale Saturday, I apologize. We advertised it copiously with posters in the library, but in the end I neglected to spread posters around town or mention it in the newspaper.

It was an especially crowded sale—crowded with books. Not only did we have the usual donated books, but we did an extensive “weeding” of the annex this summer.

Those deleted books went into the sale, too, and many of them into the free room. Certain kinds of ex-library books don’t sell well. When they haven’t been used for many years at the library, there’s usually a reason.

We put a lot of past political commentary in the free room. If there’s one thing that’s changeable and forgettable, it’s opinion.

Gems are always found in a book sale of this size. I saw several things go out that I would have kept for the library if I’d noticed them earlier. We try to look over all the donations for keepers, but some slip by.

More surprising to me is what gets left at the end of the day. Somehow, a first edition of Thomas Hornsby Ferril’s collection of poems, “Trial by time,” remained unclaimed. It will go into the library collection.

Ferril was Colorado’s poet laureate for many years, and he is championed now by our current poet laureate, David Mason. When David talked and read at the library earlier this year, he began with some poems by Ferril.

Ferril wrote the preface to this book from his mountain cabin, once a stage station on the road to Leadville, and said, “The worst places for poets are the library, the study, the English Department of the university …”

Roaming the shelves at the end of the sale, sometimes the beauty of a book will catch my eye, sometimes a title. “Log homes made easy” apparently didn’t fool anyone.

I was surprised to see the 1975 book “How to grow marijuana indoors under lights” left over. Maybe potential buyers knew the technology was old. I was also surprised to see that someone had signed his name inside.

Even though it covers old technology, I really thought the “Time-Life library of photography” would find a taker. It’s a classic.

While “Glenn’s urologic surgery” and “The unofficial guide to dieting safely” remained unsold, many of the classics went, including a set of Harvard Classics.

Among biographies, nice copies remained of “The diary of H.L. Mencken,” “Under fire” by Oliver North, “Monica’s story,” and “Going rogue” by Sarah Palin.

We had a box of 8-track cassettes but no takers. Let me know soon if you know of a good home for them.

Many cookbooks were sold, of course, but some good ones were left. It’s probably no surprise, though, that “Fat free holiday recipes” was left on the shelf.

I found a Penguin Classic: “Italian food” by Elizabeth David, foreword by Julia Child. No pictures but many recipes, instructions, and advice. Here’s risoverdi:

“Upon a foundation of spinach arrange a layer of boiled rice moistened with butter. Cover it with a thick cream of green peas and powdered pistachio nuts.”

Good heavens! That’s better than a picture.

Then there was what looked like a cutesy, forgettable little Christmas book—but something was off enough to give one pause.

It’s called “Scared of Santa: scenes of terror in Toyland.” The Chicago Tribune had solicited such photos and received hundreds of pictures of innocent children in some state of dismay about Santa.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but it’s now in my favorite books category.

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