Sunday, February 14, 2016

Secret finds

Many book lovers like to talk about their experiences in haunting bookstores, especially used ones, since you can find some treasures there.

I like to be different.

Anyone can ransack the shelves in a used book store, but I like to look for books in more off the beaten path places, such as antique stores and flea markets. For example, you'd be surprised how often a flea market or antique store might have a small pile of books on a shelf some place.

They were probably picked up by the proprietor who bought up an estate sale. They often don't know much about or care much about the books, so there may be some treasures there you can get for a buck or two.

In once rummaged through a junk shop and bought a 1981 copy of Terry Carr's "Treasury of Modern Fantasy" for two bucks.

In furniture stores - both new, used, and antique - they leave books around for looks, and pay no attention to what they are, so long as they look nice. You see many volumes of Readers' Digest Condensed Books.

But one time I found a copy of the 1946 copy of "Adventures in Time and Space" sitting on an antique dresser once, and gave the shop owner 75 cents for it.

By far, the best of these secret finds was when I saw, atop a piece of antique furniture in a shop in Gladewater, Texas, a thick red book, which turned out to be a special 1926 Literary Digest Edition of The Complete Works of O. Henry published by Doubleday.

I didn't even know there was a one-volume compilation of O. Henry's short stories. It's 1,400 pages long, printed in small type on onion-skin like paper. But, wow! All that great fiction in one book. I think I gave the lady watching the shop two bucks.

That's the book I'm holding in the photo.

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