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July 24, 2010

The extended lives of books

As I’ve previously complained, the worst part of being a fan of Barbara Pym is that her books are hard to come by. Most new bookstores don’t stock a big selection, and the used bookstores don’t either because Barbara Pym is not disposable and people who own her books usually have to die (or be put into a home) in order to be parted with them. Such a parting precisely the way I managed to add six of her novels my library this morning.

No, I didn’t have to murder any little old ladies, and the one in question is still alive, but she’s reached her “put into a home” years. The contents of her home for sale around the corner from my house, and her books! In alphabetical order! All the novelists that I like best (and then some). I picked up two more Elizabeth Bowen books too, Silent Spring (which I’ve read and loved), What Maisie Knew to reread and The Wings of the Dove for the very first time. And Night and Day by Virginia Woolf. All paperbacks, and therefore fifty cents each.

I’m currently reading The Yellow Lighted Bookshop and just finished the bit about the long, long lives of books, and how they’re recycled like almost no other object. I think that Mary Hackney would be pleased to know that her books (and the various scraps of paper she left within them) are going to another good home where they’re sure to be alphabetized.

I picked up The Complete Works of Shakespeare further down the street. It was sitting on the roof of a car. I know the etiquette for books in boxes on the sidewalk (though you do have to watch it– someone might be moving) but not for books sitting on the roofs of cars. So I made up my own rule, and it was “Yoink”. Which might be another case of bibliokleptomania.

Oh well.

3 thoughts on “The extended lives of books”

  1. I completed my Pym collection with a lucky find at the Trinity sale last October: I’d’ve loved your sale by the sounds of it!

  2. melanie says:

    Well, if you are silly enough to leave a book on top of a car… fair game, right?

  3. Kristin says:

    You are a lucky duck! I’ve been relying on the library for my Barbara Pym fix. I’m feeling sad because I think I may have read them all now…there might be one left.

    I’ll be interested to know what you think of The Sweet Dove Died. I disliked it quite a bit, I’m sad to say. However, I just finished a Quartet in Autumn, and that was wonderful.

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