Treasures galore


Friends of the Library book sales full of fun and fascinating finds

A number of weeks ago, an op-ed piece of mine proclaimed, "Music lasts forever."

Well, so do books. And as you may have noticed in the accompanying bio, in addition to playing music, I coordinate the McMinnville Friends of the Library book sales, the next of which is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Saturday of March 13.

In my perhaps somewhat biased viewpoint:

Books are fun

The sale is fun

So come to the sale

on March 13

In pre-COVID times, we staged sales on the second Saturday of every odd-numbered month. We haven't been able to hold to that of late, but stage our sales outdoors on the library plaza and promise to take all possible precautions.

In a typical sale, we sell 1,600 to 2,000 books — with some CDs and DVDs thrown in — mostly for the bargain-basement price of $1. And  99% of the books are donated by members of the general public, who can drop them off at 12:30 every Tuesday in the Carnegie Room.

This means we redistribute to the community between 10,000 and 12,000 books in a non-pandemic year. As one of the minions charged with unpacking the donations and setting up the sales, I prefer to think of it as redistributing 4 1/2 tons of books!

One of the joys of coordinating the sale is getting a sneak peek at the books being donated.

Yes, there are a large number of Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy and Lillian Brown books. But we also get rare treasures. By that, I mean a book I would buy myself if it remained unsold at the end of the action.

Past treasures include:

Talk Dirty in German

This is a German language textbook that would have captured my interest back when I was taking high school German. I never found a use for “Wo ist der post?” — Where is the Post Office? — but would love to have learned how to say, “Bug off, idiot!” And it reached number 618,064 on Amazon's best-seller list!

Glacial Lake Missoula and its Humongous Floods

A little further down on the Amazon list — OK, a lot further down at 4,883,878 — comes this book on how the post-ice age floods formed the geography of Idaho and Eastern Washington.

USGS 1952 Survey of the Prairie Dog Population of the Northern Plains States

This tome's 352 pages of tables, statistics and maps on Northern Plains prairie dogs appealed to my love of numbers. But I am, it must be noted, a recovering actuary.

Oregon Burial Guide

We have sold this 1,216-page book three times, netting $10 each time. It provides the location, size and more interesting residents of Oregon cemeteries. People buy it to help them in their genealogical research, then gift it back to the sale.

Where to *** in Portland; A guide to the Funky and Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland

This is adifferent type of travel guide — very different. The title tells it all.

Fortunately for you, the prospective buyer, the upcoming sale features a trove of new treasures, mostly priced at $1. You can check them out at the checkout table.

The roster includes:

Bush Songs from the Australian Outback

This is a CD featuring such songs as “Have a Beer with Duncan” and “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport?” How could you possibly pass it up?

Are Men Necessary?

The allure here is a collection of essays by Pulitzer Prize winner Maureen Dowd on the real differences between men and women, as opposed to the stereotypes. As an added bonus, it features a dust jacket of 40’s detective noir.

That Book of Perfectively Useless Information.

An actuary’s delight, this treasure is filled with information that is true, interesting and absolutely useless.

Plants vs Zombies

This is a graphic novel is based, loosely, on an iPhone game my grandson is constantly playing. If I sent this to him, it would would embarrass both him and his parents, making for a perfect grandfather gift.

The Battleship Warspite

Looking for 120 pages of deck plans for Britain's HMS Warspite, launched in 1913 for service in World War I? It would run you $56 on Amazon, but only a buck here.

Of Muppets and Men

A coffee table tome, this $5 special covers the making of The Muppet Show, a hit on children's television. However, it doesn’t give enough attention to Zoot, the tenor sax player in Dr. Teeth’s band, “The Electric Mayhem.”

Finally, I offer two new arrivals whose titles tell you all you need to know: Marriage and Love, a serious-minded advice book from 1894, and How to Split Wood, Shuck an Oyster and Master Other Simple Pleasures, a do-it-yourself page-turner.

If your tastes run more toward the more traditional, please rest assured that we have tons — yes, literally tons — of less esoteric books, CDs and DVDs available for your reading, listening and viewing pleasure. And the proceeds all go to a good cause.

The library uses the take from our sales to build its collection, add e-books and audio books, and support the local Battle of the Books youth program. In addition, the money finances an array of special teen, tween and kids’ programs and events.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the sale, come March 13.




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