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50th Big Book Sale


Benefiting the San Francisco Public Library with its proceeds, the Big Book Sale turns 50 this year (Sep 23-28). The Fort Mason pier will turn into a book emporium with miles of books set on tables. As a proud member of the Friends of SF Public Library, I’ll help out set up the tables next week and get to preview the 500,000 books. Everything is $3 or less, with a 3-2-1 scale: $3-hard cover books; $2-paperback books; $1-DVDs, CDs, books on tape, vinyl and other forms of media. All items remaining on Sunday are $1.

It’s fun to shop, to pick and choose. I never have a list because everything is so random. Books are categorized by genres but within each genre they are in no particular order. I always browse to see if the blurb interests me. This giant book sale is almost a test to your book and author knowledge. That book recommended to you by your coworker. That book you read about in New York Times Book Review but never got around reading it. All the titles that have bombarded your head—they must all be there buried in the tables. It’s a literary déjà vu awaiting.

Spring Library Book Sale

Spring Library Book Sale

Literally miles of books in different categories on tables spanning the entire pavilion the size of a pier at the Fort Mason in San Francisco. It took me almost three hours to look through the six rows of fiction. Stacks and piles of Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth Gilbert, and chick lits. I will go back this weekend as books will be marked down toward the end of the sale. All books are $1 each on Sunday.

Library Sale

The last day of the Friends of San Francisco Public Library book sale had a surprise for book lovers—Everything is $1 each. I wasn’t going ballistic, just keeping an eye on target authors, ones you recommend and ones with whom I fall in love.

Raise the Red Lantern Su Tong
The Painter of Shanghai Jennifer Cody Epstein
Latecomers Anita Brookner
A Shooting Star Wallace Stegner
Two Lives William Trevor
Force of Gravity R.S. Jones
Echo House Ward Just
Death in Summer William Trevor
A Mercy Toni Morrison

Books with the most copies seen: Da Vinci Code (several boxes), The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Plainsong, Tales of the City, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Also abundant in supply but all of which are in poor condition is The Fountainhead, a book I actually want to read. I saw a couple copies of Crossing to Safety, but had no luck with The Spectator Bird. For a quick two-hour scour, I thought I did well with finding books popping up in my radar.