Monday, July 12, 2010

Salvation...or Downfall?

I don't go into thrift stores very often.  They depress me, with their musty odor smelling slightly of desperation, the racks of polyester pantsuits and old prom dresses, displays of gas station juice glasses and cheap flatware, furniture that was obscenely hideous when it was new in the eighties, even before it had absorbed twenty years of spilled drinks and cigarette smoke.  Some people are really good at shopping the thrift store, and find amazing gems: sixty year old Fiestaware in long-retired colors, clothing that is retro rather than old and tired, leather club chairs for ten bucks a pop.  But not me.  

Very occasionally, however, I go in to check out the books.  Usually I find the selection to consist mostly of over-priced former bestsellers; today I hit the jackpot.  I dragged Pete into the Salvation Army Thrift Store--hey, it's right there in the same strip mall as Sprouts, our destination--only to discover that the books were fifteen for five dollars.  Well, even among the John Grishams and Janet Evanoviches I should be able to find fifteen books at that price.

I did.

The very first book I laid my hands on was one by Joyce Carol Oates, a longtime favorite of mine who's been so prolific for so long that I accept it as a foregone conclusion that I will every so often find a title of hers I've never heard of.  Today's previously unknown-to-me title was Unholy Loves.  What made this book a find, however, was the bookplate I discovered when I opened the book:

This Edition of My Book
Is Copy Number 63
of No More Than
100 Copies
Which I Have Authorized
for Distribution by
Signed Editions Limited

And signed, in black ink, Joyce Carol Oates.

I checked it out on Amazon when we got home, and there is one copy of this title with the same's listed for $250.00.  Gulp.  I want to own this book and I want to sell it for lots and lots of money.  Have your cake and eat it too, anyone?

We found two others for which there might be some interest in the marketplace (remember, I do try to be responsible even while in the throes of my mania).  The first, The Hammer, is a hockey memoir (Pete found this one). It's the autobiography of Dave Schultz who was, apparently, the Enforcer (does one capitalize it? italicize it?) on the scary Philadelphia Flyers team of the seventies; a timely find, because lately ESPN is endlessly running a documentary on the subject.  And the other--light years away, you might say--Dragonfly is about NASA and the crisis aboard the space station Mir in the late nineties.  What can I say?  I love the space program, and have done fairly well with books about it.

Everything else was for my own enjoyment, and to restock the stacks that were diminished when we added so many shelves a couple of months ago.  Several of the titles I found were respectable mainstream literary fiction.

Most were juicy mysteries and thrillers.

At the register, when I commented on how amazing the sale was, the nice lady told me that it had been going on for several months...yup, I think the Salvation Army might just be my downfall.


EnriqueFreeque said...

Probably downfall, definitely.

What a find! Don't tell anyone, but I'm in those establishments just about every weekend, sifting through the mud. There is gold in them thar thrift stores, that you struck it rich your first time out in forever is truly amazing.

I've no idea of the values: but I found a 1st (& 1st printing) of The Shining at one such locale, as well as an ARC of The Silence of the Lambs.

If you really want to get obsessive about it, find out when the store restocks the books, and then show up shortly thereafter....

Hahahaha ... you're a lost cause ...

Rebecca Glenn said...

I am TOTALLY a lost cause. I didn't see any King (drat), although I did get a nice Peter Straub.

Tomorrow I'll have to head over to the giant Goodwill near us...

EnriqueFreeque said...

A second thrift store? And during the week? Why don't you just drink before noon!