Monday, February 19, 2007

Shopping Frenzy in Mad City

My husband and I went to Madison, WI this past weekend to spend his birthday with a close friend (I'll call him Ox) from college. We had an awesome time seeing Ox's new house that he just bought with his girlfriend, playing board games, and catching up.

Perhaps the highlight of our trip, at least for confirmed bibliophiles like my husband and me, was our trip to Madison Central Library's book sale. As soon as we walked in to the special reading room crammed with cheap books ($1 for hard cover, $0.50 for soft cover), we begin making obsessive piles. We were hoarding books like pros, carefully hiding them from the random homeless and otherwise smelly people also there.

About twenty minutes into our browsing, the clerk announced that we had to buy our books now, in order to make way for the bag sale. Not really understanding what the clerk meant by bag sale, we purchased a full grocery bag of books for $10. Not bad. But then, the clerk mentioned that if there was more we'd like to buy, we should come back in five minutes, because we could then fill up a grocery bag with anything for $3. Grrr. Like the suckers we are, we filled up another bag of books. All in all, we cleaned up. 26 books for $13.

After we were done with our two bags, I had to literally pull myself away from the book tables, as did my husband. I think we freaked out Ox and his girlfriend a bit. And she's a librarian.

I'm so excited for my new collection that I put it on a separate book shelf in our home. Here are the highlights of my finds...

-- Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior (I somehow missed this in college, besides living in the Womyn's Center and taking Women's Lit classes in college.)

-- Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook (Highly recommended to me by every professor in grad school)

-- An out of print book of Kenneth Rexroth's poetry (A friend of the Beats is a friend of mine)

-- Derek Walcott's book of essays What the Twilight Says

-- Camille Paglia's Sex, Art and American Culture (Includes her famous essay on Madonna)

-- Natalie Goldberg's Thunder and Lightning

There's more, including some very cool anthologies and travel books. I don't know when I'll find the time to read them, but like a true obsessive, just having them makes me happy.


Anonymous said...

For more Rexroth works, see

Jessica said...

I am probably breaking serious copyright law here, but here is my favorite Rexroth poem so far from the book. Apparently, this is a translation of a poem by the Roman poet Martial, btw.

The Advantages of Learning

I am a man with no ambitions
And few friends, wholly incapable
Of making a living, growing no
Younger, fugitive from some just doom.
Lonely, ill clothed, what does it matter?
At midnight I make myself a jug
of hot white wine and cardamom seeds.
In a torn grey robe and old beret,
I sit in the cold writing poems,
Drawing nudes on the crooked margins,
Copulating with sixteen year old
Nymphomaniacs of my imagination.

Poet with a Day Job said...

That is so rad. We have a book sale like that out here too...It's just so dangerous. We're already living with our books in a one-bedroom apartment. Pretty soon, we'll have to move out and leave it for the books.

Cool on the Lessing's "Notebooks:" Beth Ann Fennelly has a poem in Open House which is inspired by, maybe based on The Golden Notebooks. It's by far my favorite of her poems. It's long and basically is full of everything. Love those.