Book Sale Extravaganza Weekend

This weekend was the St. Francis Episcopal Church Book Sale, the First Friends Book Sale, AND the re-opening of our Ed McKay used bookstore.  So, I'm a bit blissed out from a very book-intense weekend.

The St. Francis sale is my favorite of the local book sales. (That and the Durham Library sale, which I unfortunately missed this year, are highlighted on my yearly calendar). Like most sales, St. Francis has a slew of titles by the prolifer-azzi (James Patterson, the Kellermans, Danielle Steel...). Thankfully, the very helpful volunteers group those authors together so you can just walk right past them. 

More importantly (for me), they have gently used copies of more collectible authors, sometimes signed.  This year, I opted to wait out the crowds and attend the 2d day of the sale, and while I found a few good titles, most of the books were pretty well picked over. Lesson learned. Next year, I'll wade back in with the other collectors and booksellers jockeying for elbow room on opening day. 

While I may not have had great luck at the St. Francis sale, I did manage a few finds at the Ed McKay (which was closed for a few days to embiggen & rearrange the store).  I was hoping they'd reopen with a bit more organization (similar to the shelves at Half Price Books) but no. Books are still stacked two rows deep and while they do chunk books alphabetically by author, it's a total free-for-all within each categorized letter. Which just means that you work a little harder for your treasures.

Still, I managed to find an early Hilary Mantel (her fifth book, but the first to be published in the U.S. market), A Place of Greater Safety (Atheneum, New York, 1993). I would say the book is probably in Very Good condition with minor shelf wear and a small tear in the dust jacket. Listings on Abebooks and Amazon value the book between $118 - $140 (not bad).

Mantel recounts the events between the fall of the ancien regime and the peak of the Terror as seen through the eyes of the three protagonists--Robespierre, Danton and Desmoulins--and a huge cast of supporting characters (including brief appearances by the scrofulous Marat). The three revolutionaries, longtime acquaintances, spend their days scheming and fighting for a corruption-free French Republic, but their definitions of "corrupt" are as different as the men themselves. [Publishers Weekly]
Mantel's novels:

I found a signed, 4th printing of an Orson Scott Card title that I don't have. Since he's a local author, I started picking up signed copies of his books at pretty much every book sale or used bookstore I've visited.  Of course, with Card, the brass ring would be to find a first (signed) edition of Ender's Game. (It could  happen. it's doubtful, but you never know).

Bestselling author Orson Scott Card uses his fertile imagination, and uncanny insight into human nature, to tell the story of a unique woman--one who is beautiful, tough, smart, and resourceful in an era when women had little power, and are scarce in the historical record. Sarah, child of the desert, wife of Abraham, takes on vivid reality as a woman desirable to kings, a devoted wife, and a faithful follower of the God of Abraham, chosen to experience an incomparable miracle. [Book Description]

Another local author I've had luck with is John Hart. This weekend I found a signed first edition of Iron House (valued between $35 - $65). Last year I found a signed first edition of his The Last Child at the St. Francis sale (valued between $60 - $145).

There was nothing but time at the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, time for two orphans to learn that life is neither painless nor won without a fight. Julian survives only because his older brother, Michael, is both feared and fiercely protective. When an older boy is brutally killed, Michael makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect his brother: He flees the orphanage and takes the blame with him. [Book Description]

Iron House garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.

Hart's novels:

Surprisingly, I also found a reading copy of Wool by Hugh Howey, so now I don't have to feel guilty about sitting in the Barnes & Noble Cafe reading chapters (being careful not to break the spine) while I await my hardback copy. (What? I said I felt guilty.) 

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