Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, November 07, 2008

Getting more than you bargained for with bargain book buys

With the economy being in semi-dire straits these days,a determined book lover has to seek the pleasures of a new read by smartly shopping at places other than a book store.

Sure,the cheapest method is to go to your local library(which is a great thing to do and not discouraging anyone from going that route)but what a die hard book junkie truly craves is the buying experience,along side the joy of having a book that you don't have to give back.

Thrift stores,yard sales and church rummage sales have always done a brisk business in good times and bad,and as many watchers of the Antique Roadshow know,can be a great way to find some surprisingly valuable items of interest. The church across the street from my home holds a rummage sale every spring and fall,and while I haven't found any goodies that would fetch me a fortune elsewhere,they do set aside a table for books of all kinds for sale.

I got a sweet deal this time around,three hardcovers for a dollar. One of the books appealed to me simply because I didn't know this writer had ever published a book. Hedda Hopper was a huge power player in the Hollywood of the 1940s and 50s,with her gossip column that could make or break a big star with a few slyly worded rumors.

Hedda,and her arch rival Louella Parsons,were the template for the likes of TMZ and Perez Hilton today,using the media to make herself as famous as the celebrities she wrote about. The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth is a follow-up to her 1952 autobiography,Under My Hat(hats were Hedda's fashion forward look). The copy I picked up doesn't have a dust jacket but it does have a nifty photo section. Not many folks can say they hung out with Ernest Hemingway and Elvis,plus have the pictures to prove it!

The second book in my bunch was also jacketless yet the title was what caught my eye. Eustace and Hilda: A Trilogy sounded somewhat familiar to me and for good reason. These interconnected novels by L.B. Hartley(best known for The Go-Between,which was the basis for a 1971 Julie Christie movie adapted by Harold Pinter) have been reprinted in paperback form a couple of years ago.

Anita Brookner did the intro for the NYRB edition while my copy has Lord David Cecil describing these novels about a brother and sister whose devotion to one another doesn't prevent them from causing each other serious emotional pain and turmoil over the years. It sounds like one of those stories of quiet despair that the British do so well but I might hold off on reading it just yet. I'm sure that Eustace and Hilda is a great read in the making but a bit somber to stew in right now.

The last book I bought did finally have a jacket,and quite a lovely one,too. Geraldine Brooks is an author that I'm always trying to get into but just haven't been able to for one reason or another.

I wanted to read March,especially since I adore Little Women. Perhaps it's because I like Little Women so much that I couldn't bring myself to seeing her take on Father March and why I ultimately gave my copy away. I still have an ARC of Year Of Wonders,her first foray into fiction(she's written a memoir and a book about the lives of Muslim women)and may try to tackle it again after People of the Book.

People Of The Book traces the history and travels of a rare illustrated manuscript known as the Sarajevo Haggadah. The story starts with Hanna,a young Australian book restorer who is sent for to analyze and perverse the book which was rescued from bombing during the Bosnian war by a Muslim librarian. As she discovers various odd items that have made their way into the book's binding(an insect wing,a white hair,wine stains),the story behind each one of them reveals not only the origins of the Haggadah but the lives of those who carried it to safety through out time.

That one I started and am really enjoying at the moment. It might be briefly put aside due to the new Wally Lamb arriving in my mailbox this week(some books just have to be gotten to at once)but will definitely return to it once I'm finished with the Lamb. Just goes to show that you can find an amazing book to explore anywhere.

If you can't fight the urge to snap up a shiny new book at your local bookstore, go easy with your bargaining at the checkout counter. Clerks can only do so much to make a sale go smoothly and odd requests only make you become a fun new tale of retail madness for others to share:


Ladytink_534 said...

My library system is having a few book sales here lately. They're also having a mini craft fair at the next one. Oh cool finds! Hopper and Parsons were such interesting people, I'd probably like this book. Have you ever seen her on What's My Line? It's one of my favorite episodes.

lady t said...

Library sales are awesome-you're so lucky! Afraid I haven't seen Hedda on What's My Line-it's one of those shows that I've always heard about but never got a chance to watch.

Jen said...

Well done on adding that Little Britain sketch at the end of your post!

Ladytink_534 said...

Here's the one with Hedda Hopper and here's another one with Walt Disney.

lady t said...

Thanks for the links,Lady Tink! Those were fun-I finally got to see The Women over the weekend and Hedda Hopper was in that movie,surprise,surprise! She played a bit part as a gossip columnist who helped to save the day:)

Glad you liked the Little Britain skit,Jen. That's another show I need to catch up on!

Ladytink_534 said...

Oh wow I didn't know that! I watched The Women last month for the first time.