The American Association of University Women Book Sale, Buffalo, New York
I’ve been to a few book sales in Glasgow, ( even one in my school days, bought Anna Karenina to impress all, never got beyond page 20!) especially ones for charity, but this was astonishingly huge in scale in every way. The number of books, two halls, and number of donations, the volunteers and the incredible choice in every genre blew me away. Before you think, hyperbolic statement, I need to add that I went on the penultimate day, when things must be winding down, sure! Not a chance! You were greeted at the door by kind people who stamped your hand in case you want to browse, buy some, and then come back again and again on the same day! It was open 9-8 pm that Saturday. And the books were reduced that day even more, 25 cents, 50 cents for paperbacks and a dollar for hardbacks and between 2 -5 dollars for recently published new or nearly new books.
Well, to begin with, I’m on holiday here in Buffalo. How much can I carry? With the 23 kg luggage allowance for the cattle class, I can’t squeeze many into the suitcase. So I looked in awe at all I could have bought and walked away. I bought a few copies that I could try and read in the next few weeks, and then perhaps my daughter can give it away to friends or to charity. My daughter went the next day and got a bag of leather bound books on American history (her kind of reading) for $3.People were given a grocery bag and they can choose their books and fill the bag up for $3!
The highlight for me was finding a copy of my cousin’s book there. A prizewinning writer of YA books and has a doctorate in Oceanography; Padma Venkataraman who lives in Maine has made the extended family rather proud of her work.
The American Association of University Women, which organised this sale, (their 66th this year) was founded in 1890 and is one of the largest AAUW branches in New York State with over 200 members. Their members represent women leaders from the arts, business, education, government, law, medicine, science, and technology.
As a writer should I go to book sales? Why not? I am a reader too. I know not a single penny from this sale goes to the authors but this was for a worthy cause, so I didn’t feel guilty at all.
Now, I do think I need to go pick up some of those books and read!
Leela, 1 June, 2015.
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