Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Further Adventures of Material Girl

Today is Day 3 of the Annual Friends of the SF Library Book Sale. I am always one of the first 10 people inside the door on the first day. This requires waiting in line for over an hour, chatting with other lunatics. But it also ensures that I will find a parking space. And there is the walking-on-new-snow aspect that is not lost on me -- a building the size of an airplane hangar with over 200, 000 books. Cheap books.

On Sunday, everything is $1.00 or less. On the other three days, I buy items that I seriously cannot do without. I hide others. I hide them among books of other subjects on the theory that people who like science fiction won't have any interest in say, poetry. And if they're neatly arranged as if they belonged there, the volunteers who police the sale, constantly restoring order to the many tables, may not notice them. I usually get about 2/3 of my hidden ones. It's a gamble, but since I've stopped playing the Lottery (I got tired of never winning,) I need some excitement in my life.

I have a Master List of about 40 typed pages of books I own in most categories so I won't duplicate them. It's impossible to remember whether I have owned a book before and donated it, borrowed it from the library, or actually own it now. I could not function without my list.

My husband reminds me that we have no more shelf space, but that has never stopped me before. We bought more bookcases last year right before the sale; they're stuffed now. And our apartment has no more room for bookcases. We should move. I think on some level my addiction is an attempt to make myself whole. My first husband made me keep my books in the garage.

"It isn't nice to have them in the living room," he said. They all rotted. But at least when I moved out, I didn't have that much to carry.

When Flip and I left our house in Tennessee, I donated about 2,000 books to the local library. Even my large collection of Japanese novels, (in translation) was sacrificed for the U-Haul gods. We gave away large bookcases. It was like cutting off limbs.

I clearly had my work ahead of me. And I must say, I've done well. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.


Lisa Joo said...

Japanese novels?!!! *perks* Do you read Haruki Murakami?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Hi Lisa,

I know you from d~'s blog, but haven't had the pleasure before. Welcome.

I read Mishima, Kawabata and Tanizaki, among others.

I haven't read anything by Murakami yet, but he sounds like a fascinating writer and I will. Heading to the book sale now... maybe I'll get lucky today.

djn said...

No space? Space schpace... That's what I say. There's always room for one more book (or 10). I love how books smell. :) I'm happy for you -- there's never any "buyers remorse" when it comes to books.

Lex said...

Now that sounds like heaven.

Your first husband should have lived in the garage and rotted. I'm sure it wasn't nice to have him in the living room.

There's always space for books. I agree!! You're creative. You'll find some room.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You're so right about buyer's remorse. I can always justify buying books, even when I can't afford clothes.

I always smell them if they're used to make sure they weren't owned by a smoker, which is a deal breaker for me.


Lived in the garage and rotted? Only that? I'm SURE we could think of better punishments if we tried.

Sometimes the only consolation we get is knowing that the ogres in our lives are punished simply by being who they are. It lacks drama (and blood,) but we have to take what we can get. :)

Lex said...

And add to their punishment living without the benefits of the Great and Wonderful Lex and Heart.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Tee hee. We know that's right. :<)

~Macarena~ said...

I was going to say something like Lex said, only based on the fact that ex was already rotten. I can live w/ some people not being obsessed with books, but to abuse them is to cast suspicion on your asses, fuckers!

I own a lot of crap, and dread the thought of moving, but maybe I can get myself to get rid of it by pretending it means I can make more room for books.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It was a long time ago. I'm over it. But I love your fighting spirit. Thanks!

An explosive said...

I think... book sales.. shameful are in par with shoe and pocket book sales...

So crazy... no wonder why my book case looks like one big exploding mess. ~M

heartinsanfrancisco said...

My heart,

Yup. I feel sinful already. And I'm not even there yet.

To paraphrase Rod Stewart, "Today's the day!"


Wow, you are very organized. I am always buying books and then realizing I have already read them. I need a master list!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm a bornagain organized person. It wasn't always so. After buying the same books repeatedly, I had to do something. Pretty dorky, huh?

katrice said...

*chorus of angels singing*

I too am a book junkie! Books are valuable. They are never to be destroyed. And there is always room for them.

My dream is to have my own library in my home someday. Someday...

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yes, a library with a sliding ladder (mahogany) because the built-in bookcases go all the way to the ceiling, and a cushy chair with perfect light, maybe sound-proofing all over. A good lock on the door (inside.)

From your lips to God's ear. And please put in a good word for me, too. :<)