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After work today, I sweet-talked my boyfriend into driving me through the cities to attend a Super Huge Book Sale (advertised as 150,000 books) that I've never been able to go to before because my dad is not inclined to drive that way or that far anymore, and not even low-priced book treasure is enough incentive for me to brave 4+ lane freeways in the heart of urbania in unfamiliar territory.

And my god, it was worth it. I am immediately declaring this a Required Annual Pilgrimage Event. It was almost as big as the Half Price Books Clearance Sale at the State Fairgrounds, but way better because a) all the fiction was actually organized by author in addition to age group/genre, something no other sale has ever had the manpower to do, and b) instead of being all mostly-new books, there was a splendid mix of all decades from the 50s to today, at least in the juvenile/teen section where I spent the most time.


They even had a special "vintage" section for books pre-1950, but even those "special" prices were only like $6 for a typical novel. Books on the regular sale floor were $2 apiece, with smaller paperbacks being $1 and picture books being half that price. And everyone was so FRIENDLY! We were met by the most genial fellow as we entered who asked if we had been there before, explained the layout, and then made sure to hand us each two paper grocery sacks for our shopping convenience.

It's such a big sale that it literally goes on every day for two weeks straight, and they continue to accept donations and put out new inventory throughout the first week. Hosted by the Bloomington Crime Prevention Association, and to quote their website, "The Book'Em used book sale has been held annually since 1992.  The purpose of the sale is to generate funds that are awarded as grants to Bloomington organizations for crime prevention activities.   The sale has increased in size each year and is now one of the largest of its kind in the Upper Midwest."

I actually only spent about 90 minutes there, out of consideration for boyfriend's energy levels (he has to work until 6:30 Thursday evening and start again at 7:30 am on Fridays), but that was plenty of time to look. I could have bought 3x as much as I did if I just wanted fun things to read, but I made myself put some things back and try to limit it to things I only want to keep, because I have a pretty bad habit of not wanting to let go of books I bought "just to read." If I didn't hate the story, which I rarely do, I tend to go, "But...they're already here. What if I end up remembering them for a year and later decide I want to own them?" (case in point, Girl Next Door)

Behold: the pile of bounty you see before you resembles what it looks like when I've gone hog-wild on ILL and requested a bunch of beautiful old books from around the state. Except they're mine! And I get to keep them forever and ever! And I only spent $14 on the pile, which is less than I thought it was going to be.

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Cover photos at the bottom.

1. Wanderlove - Kristen Hubbard. A 5-star YA novel with gorgeous illustrations, best travel book ever.

2. The Best Little Girl in the World - Steven Levenkron. The cover boasts there being half a million copies in print, but in the 14 years since I first read this, I have not run across a secondhand copy. It represents a nostalgic time for me when found comfort in pro-ana blogs, and as dated as it is and as awkwardly "cautionary tale" as it is, I still use passages as an appetite suppressant for perfectly healthy diet.

3. Vicki and the Black Horse - Sam Savitt. It's a falling apart Scholastic paperback held together with tape and I definitely shouldn't have bought it, but man, I love Sam Savitt and I really wanted to read this/look at the illustrations.

4. The Summer Riders - Patricia Leitch. The sequel to a novel I own, neither of which I have read.

5. Gray Dawn - Albert Payson Terhune. A standard common edition, but still, pretty! Another Terhune collie book found. With surprisingly good binding and a mostly intact, very good cover.

6. Rain Cloud the Wild Mustang - Margaret Kraenzall. This was the very first book I saw upon entering my section of the sale, at which point I knew I was in a special place. I know nothing about this book but I'm excited.

7. Little Vic - Doris Gates. A rather famous and common story, but I still haven't read it. And now I have a super nice ex-library edition!

8. Leon - Helen Griffiths. WOOHOO! Another book I haven't read by a fantastic dog-book author.

9. Cloverleaf - Caleb Pirtle III. Newer than the rest, published 1986, but it is is in amazing condition. Except for the dated self-published style cover, it looks as fresh and clean as if I'd just bought it in the store. There's also a typewritten letter from the publisher tucked inside, dated 12/30/86, requesting its submission to the Caldecott Awards program.

10. Wyoming Summer-  Mary O'Hara. An amazing book by the author of My Friend Flicka that I didn't know existed -- a "documentary novel based on the journal" of the 10 years she and her huband lived on the ranch from which she drew the inspiration for that story. (This is another thing I didn't know about her.) I tripped across it by accident as I was speed-scanning the regular fiction section, and it had such a pretty watercolor cover that I decided this

11. The Polar Bear Twins - Jane Tompkins. A juvenile novel filled with immeasurably adorable and realistic pencil drawings, featuring two cubs named FLUFFY AND TUFFY.

12. Chalou - Natalie Savage Carlson. LOOK AT THIS WONDERUL 60S BOOK ABOUT A LOST DOG. Also full of nice pencil illustrations.

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13. Listography
And last but not least, as you can see, I got myself a semi-blank book full of list prompts. One of the exact same ones I drool over EVERY TIME I go to Target. I don't actually know if I want to fill it out or get paid to create one for others to fill out, but I'm really excited to have gotten something on the cheap that Target is still selling in store.

And now, I go finish work and prepare to be out the door at 8:30 sharp tomorrow, immersing myself in the 2nd-largest garage sale event my town has.

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