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Nickel-and-Dime Sale

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I almost forgot the $1 book sale at the donation center of Friends of the San Francisco Public Library today. The monthly sale attracts book lovers and merchants. Lots of books for a bargain. I’m mostly interested in the ARCs, Advanced Reader’s Copies, that publishers sent to the library and somehow seeped through the hands of staff. You will be surprised the titles you’ll find here, big-name authors and bestseller titles. Not that I’m a fan of Dan Brown, but I picked up an ARC of The Inferno. Beautiful Ruins is now available in trade paperback so I wasn’t surprised to find the proof. Also available in proof is the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner, The Orphan Master’s Son. Ian McEwan is hit-or-miss in my book. But I picked up the proof of Sweet Tooth without a second thought. So if you want new books for a bargain, try the book sale or step sale at your local library. You’ll be surprised.

Library Steps Sale: Pictures

The bimonthly steps sale is just a tip of the iceberg compared to Friends of the Library’s annual book sale in September. Books at the steps sale are not organized in categories or genres. You have to go through all the tables on which three rows of books are shelved with spines facing up. Most of the fiction titles today I have either read or have no interest. Multiple copies of Cold Mountain, Atlas Shrugged, and Da Vinci Code are sighted. I do find a hardbound copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson in excellent condition. It looks like it’s never been read.

The Sunday Salon: SF Main Library

The Sunday Salon.com
I had a very laid-back, relaxing Labor Day long weekend, which signifies the end of summer but in San Francisco, September is the beginning of Indian summer. I’m looking forward to enjoying a stretch of blue sky and mild temperature—perfect for sitting outside and reading under a tree. On Saturday, I spent the day finishing Sense and Sensibility and writing the journal entry. The Sunday Salon finds me at the Periodical Room on the fifth floor of the San Francisco Main Library. I always sit here because this is the highest floor you can go and it captures the sunlight filtering down through the spiral-shaped sky window in the atrium.

When Her Majesty strays into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, she feels obliged to borrow a book although she hardly has time to read. A young man named Norman Seakins from the royal kitchens happens to be browsing the truck abets in her newfound obsession of reading. He then receives a promotion from Her Majesty to become her personal assistant to receive books at the mobile library. This little book, at 120 pages, The Uncommon Reader is irresistibly funny that I cannot help laughing out loud:

‘She’s not a popular author ma’am.’
‘Why, I wonder? I made her a dame.’
Mr Hutings refrained from saying that this wasn’t necessarily the road to the public’s heart. [6]

Her new passion for reading soon takes over her daily routine to an unexpected degree:

The next morning she had a little sniffle and, having no engagements, stayed in bed saying she felt she might be getting flu. This was uncharacteristic and also not true; it was actually so that she could get on with her book. [14]

The title is a play on the phrase “common reader”. This can mean a person who reads for pleasure, as opposed to a critic or scholar. The Uncommon Reader is concerned with the joys of a sentimental education. At first the Queen reads to no particular system. Then her growing self-awareness and sensitivity ultimately lead her toward writing. I cannot wait to continue reading it.

Drowned

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It’s lazy Sunday. If there is any day of the year that I sleep in, this is it, since we are changing to daylight saving time. I sit at the cafe abosorbing the first rays of sun that caresses the back of my neck. A stroll down to the Main Library reveals the newly refurbished fiction section that is now moved to the 1st floor. Shelves are brand new, neatly marked, and books are no longer crammed into the meager space. Browsing the aisles of books has never been so pleasant. I’m drowning myself in the engrossing The Journal of Dora Damage by Berlinda Starling, which I hope to finish before leaving for Beijing. How can I resist the story of a woman, who out of desperation, takes up her husband’s bookbinding business that is bordering in ruin, but finds herself tempted to illegally bind volumes of pornographies commissioned by aristocrats? As befit to the Asian excursion, I’m equipping myself with Peony in Love by Lisa See and The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz. I’m still reflecting on the most recent selection for the Russian Reading Challenge, A Dead Man’s Memoir (A Theatrical Novel) by Mikhail Bulgakov. Review will be up soon. This is just a quick blogging break, I have to get back to Dora!