Saturday, April 17, 2010

So long at the fair.

The boys' elementary school had its annual fair today. Secundus comes out of the book sale and thrusts a 2005 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records into my hand. (Clearly, I am the designated porter for the family. I walked home at the end of the day carrying a cake.)

"But you already have a later version of this," I protest.

"Yeah, but I don't have that one," he explains.

Third grade logic. Maybe I can find a buyer for last year's telephone directories?
* * * * *

Later, the organizers announce a desperate deal over the PA system -- grab a bagful of unsold books for $1. I have enough unread blocks of paper around the house, but to the bibliophile in me, this is the muezzin's call to prayer. I grab a five-minute respite from running the frog-flipping stand. The book room seems to be the place where lightly used copies of What to Expect When You're Expecting go to die. But there, on the hardback fiction table, still unsold despite the price -- a tattered, ex-library, ex-Salvation Army thrift store copy of my own An Embarrassment of Corpses. I buy it to give it a decent burial, but in the end give it to my friend and fellow mother Robin, who was handling the frogs in my absence.

(I wonder if another friend and fellow mother and fellow author, Annabel, has these problems?  She co-wrote a book called Click: The Girl's Guide to Knowing What You Want and Making it Happen, which was very popular around these parts. I have a feeling that her teenage readers aren't giving up that particular bible to school fairs anytime soon.)


  1. I always check used-book bins and rummage sales for copies of my books. I would love to find some for free (or a quarter), but alas, I suspect they've all been consigned to the dump. 10 years is a long time to hang on to a paperback.

  2. I still have my copies of your sextet. You can't have them back.

  3. Please say that you at least added "To Robin" and your autograph.

  4. I don't think the book could have withstood the extra weight of the ink. And anyway, she didn't ask, having known about my publishing career for all of fifteen seconds. But I did tell her about the blog, so if you're reading this, Robin, do you want me to sign that book?