This has been preceded by weeks of sales, with prices gradually dropping. When we went a few days ago, the prices on hardbacks and collectibles were:
$100.00 or more-Your Price $10.00
$50.00-$99.99-Your Price $6.00
$15.00-$49.99-Your Price $3.00
$14.99 or less Your Price $1.00
So we came home laden with 53 novels and I'm not sure how many works of nonfiction. Some of those novels are hardback replacements for disintegrating paperbacks, so it isn't as bad as it sounds (wouldn't you trade up to a hardback for $1?); but the fact remains that the last thing we need is more books stuffed into our house. We're out of shelf space as it is. When we moved into this house six years ago, we came laden with 158 boxes of books. I shudder to think how many boxes-worth we have now.
Most of the books are nice, clean copies, but a few have the scribbles of former owners on the first page. Inside a copy of A Maggot, John Fowles' most peculiar novel, is the following inscription:
I'm not sure what this means. Either Mr. Wright had a tragically short life and extraordinarily precocious reading habits, or he was an excessively slow reader. Or began the book on New Year's Eve. Or perhaps he purchased the book on the installment plan? In any case, it would be interesting to know how the book made its way from (LONDON) to Anaheim, California, the home of Disneyland. (And, no, Mr. Wright didn't visit LONDON from Anaheim and bring the book back with him. Mr. Wright is clearly from the UK. The US may be the Land of the Free, but we still have our laws, and one of them is that no one is ever named 'Nigel.')
Another fine inscription is on Anthony Burgess' famous 'eschatological spy novel' Tremor of Intent:
Pearl Steele July 8-71
Read Oct 31-71
Dull Very for spy story
Sorry, Anthony--everybody's a critic. Now, I think it's a bit odd to write brief reviews inside of a book, but I think it's even odder to read a novel on Halloween. You'd think someone with a a Hollywood name like "Pearl Steele" would have a costume party to attend.
I'm afraid I'm going to have to go back to The Baron again this weekend. During the closing two days of the sale, prices are:
ALL BOOKS $1.00 each
ALL Mass Market Paperbacks-$.10 each
Though I resent the suggestion that mass-market paperbacks aren't "books", those prices are hard to pass up. This time I'm giving preference to the ones with odd inscriptions.