What is it about book sales that is so alluring? God knows I already have too many books. I haven’t read about a third of those sitting on my shelves.
Yet there I was, a few minutes before 9 am on Friday, on a small street off Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, one of the first in line for the annual sale of the University of California Press. The books they publish usually sell in the $35-40 range, but were drastically reduced: $10 for hardbacks and $5 for paperbacks.
I was not the only eager beaver. Dozens of others came out in the fog to grope, review and buy.
I headed straight for the history table and immediately spotted a winner: Richard Orsi’s new book on the Southern Pacific Railroad, which usually sells for $35. Orsi, a professor emeritus at California State University of the East Bay, spent 35 years researching Sunset Limited. The book debunks the widely-held notion that the railroad was only motivated by greed. I’ve been waiting for my reserve copy from the library for months. Now I can read it at my leisure.
The day’s cost? A mere $35.
I’m not the only one affected by this bug. Scott Esposito recently returned from the Friends of the Library sale, a benefit for the San Francisco public libraries. Look what he bought.