Monday, June 12, 2017

the Arnold Schwarzenegger of bibliophiles

Every year a very special library in my neck of the woods has an EPIC book sale.  I start training for it days in advance.  I work out my elbows so that they're extra pointy and can politely yet firmly push others away from books that could potentially change my life.

Weeks prior to the sale whenever I carry books at the library I add an extra dozen or so to my stack so I can build up my strength to lug every book my heart desires, and then some.

Hours before the sale I only eat foods that give me titanic amounts of energy.  And I usually take the day off so I can clear my mind of everything and have the zen focus necessary to spot only exemplary titles.

It's the Wimbledon of book sales and I always treat it as such.  

This year my weeks of grueling training paid off.  I found a lot of memoirs, mostly women kicking heiny and people saying f&#$ it and heading out to the country.  

As I started pawing through the children's books I was a little disappointed.  I saw only one box of paperbacks (which are cheap and perfect for my little free library).  Only one box?!?  I was devastated.  I had high hopes to stock up on several months worth of children's books for my little free library.

I made my way through the table and moved on to the next.  And that's when I saw it.  Just ahead was an entire table devoted to paperbacks.  Boxes and boxes to flip through.  I checked my elbows - pointy and ready. Check.  I unloaded my latest haul on Robert, who was standing patiently by.  Empty hands check.

I dove into those boxes with the the ferocity of a thousand bibliophiles (I was pretty much the Arnold Schwarzenegger of bibliophiles).

As I happily sorted through the boxes two volunteers took interest in my search and asked if they could help.  I told them I had three criteria - popularity, perfection, and stickers.  They nodded knowingly and pulled out more boxes from beneath the table.

After awhile they began asking questions about my criteria, and that's when I explained that I had a little free library that couldn't keep up with the demand of its young demographic.  I also explained that I wanted kids to have books that felt new, and if they wanted to put their name on a book it would be the first name the book saw.  The volunteers nodded knowingly again, and after an hour of digging we were like old friends.  I walked away with my best haul of children's books to date, enough to fill my little free library for months.  And so many stickers.  

Today, I barely made it home from tennis before I sat down and carefully went through every book again, relishing stories that have lifted my heart for years and new stories that the volunteers urged me to read.

Whether your buddy is Clifford, Fancy Nancy, Skippyjon Jones or Thomas, there's always a place to find them, a place where you can come and go as you please.  A place you can share with others. A place to call your own. 

And if you're like me, and you have many pals, you can jump between these worlds and take whoever you like with you.  What would Fancy Nancy say if she saw the boa constrictor eating the wash?  Can the Giving Tree be visited by The Magic School Bus? Would Eeyore have a change of attitude if he tagged along with Skippyjon Jones for a few adventures?

I think about these different worlds as I organize my constantly-changing collection of books and sprinkle the little free libraries in my neighborhood with stories.

And I know that all my grueling  training is worth it whenever I see someone tearing down the street with a little-free-library book in their hands. 

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