The little library sales table

My family and I visit our neighborhood library every few weeks. Near the indoor book return, there’s a folding table with books for sale for quarters. I haven’t looked at it often over the last few years, assuming that I wouldn’t find much of interest within such a small selection.

A couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to find a few books that I really wanted to read. Last Tuesday, then, I took another look. I found even more books I wanted to read. Sadly, I didn’t have any change, so I left the books and crossed my fingers they’d be there when I next returned.

Since I’d missed returning some DVDs on Tuesday, my family and I walked to the library on Thursday. Not only were “my” books still there, but there were a couple of new ones that piqued my interest.

My husband found a book for himself, and a 70s music CD full of songs we both remembered fondly.

The books I’ve picked up include:

  • Wait Till Helen Comes — I read this kids’ ghost story yesterday and dug it. It’s full of creepiness and love, which makes it a perfect read for me.
  • The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking — I’m about two-thirds of the way through this, and it’s exactly what I needed to read right now. Honestly, I’ve had lots of conversations over the years where folks have said things like, “All the bummer things you experienced really make me sad and I’d rather talk about happy things.” They’ve seemed confused that someone could experience trauma, be open about it, and be, well, happy. This book crisply clears up confusion about the how of that, and reminds me that mine (now that I’ve stopped reading only horrifically depressing books) is a pretty healthy way to be.
  • Those Who Save Us — This novel about a woman’s journey to discover her mom’s experiences in World War II Germany–and a family history different than she’s understood–deals in magnificent shades of gray. I’m about one-quarter through and mean to soak it up slowly.
  • The Future of Life — I haven’t started this, but its focus is on the importance of biodiversity. It’s apparently lovely, and I’m looking forward to diving in.
  • The Beauty Myth — I haven’t started reading this, either, but it addresses the social control implicit in emphasizing women’s beauty. I’m keen to read it.

Not only am I picking up bunches of great books, I’m picking them up for a fraction of list price! If I’m lucky enough, I’ll just keep finding all the books I want to read at the library, thus saving myself a ton of money.

So far, prospects looks good!

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Deeper than the weather

A few weeks ago, a meticulously coiffed older woman rang up my newest order of books. “You always buy the most eclectic books!” she exclaimed, beaming.

Yesterday, I looked at the cover of one of my  newer-still books while the same woman rang up others. “Oh, that’s the image from a podcast I just subscribed to!” I exclaimed at the peculiar image.

The woman glanced at the cover, smiled, and said, “I wouldn’t expect anything ordinary from you!” She quickly added, “I mean that in a good way.”

“That’s how I took it,” I said, returning her smile.

Before I’d even reached the register yesterday, I’d already had a couple of delightful conversations with bookstore folk. One older man was especially, fabulously delighted I’d bought a book called The Rainbow Goblins when my first child was a baby.

Last night, I got the chance to recommend two books to a woman at a Long Beach Progressive Revolution meeting. It was such a joy talking politics, books, and hope!

This morning, I stood in a coffee shop line (for a decaf; none more caf for me, ever) and pulled out of my purse one of yesterday’s books. Another woman in line saw its cover and asked me if I’d mind describing it. She was intrigued by the title and the image of a lone horse galloping through waves.

I told her I’d never usually read this kind of stuff, making a face when I said “this kind.” I said that I’d picked up The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself because it came recommended by someone I admire, and that I was glad I’d bought it. Just reading one page in line, I explained, had eased my heart immensely. It left me feeling better prepared for the day.

She thanked me for sharing and said she needed something just like to ease her heart.

Then, walking into my office building a few minutes later, I shifted my book and coffee to hold a door open for someone just behind me. “You’re my superhero!” he exclaimed. “Always reading so many things while you walk.”

I laughed and said my current book is rejuvenating compared to the depressing material I usually read. He smiled and wished me a good day.

Not too many hours later, I spotted my manager walking back from lunch with a book in his hands. I grinned, delighted to see someone else too caught up in reading to stop reading one second too early.

Once again, I assert that reading isn’t always a lonely thing. Sometimes, in the right time and place, it can be an invitation to connect at a level deeper than the weather.