Starting the Weekend with Shakespeare

IMG_0263On Friday night, Clif and I went to the annual Friends of Bailey Library book sale. This was a special preview night—tickets cost $10 per person—and the actual sale was on Saturday. Clif and I are what might be called “frugal weirdos”—to borrow a term from the blog Frugalwoods, but we considered the $20 money well spent.

First and foremost, the money went to a very good cause. The Friends do so much to help the library. Thanks to the Friends, the children’s section of our library is a magical place filled with soaring wooden planes and giant stuffed animals. And this is just one example of the many things this group does for the library.

Second, and nearly as important, it was much less hectic to look at books on the preview night. In Maine, book sales are usually mobbed, and as I am claustrophobic, these sales are not always a pleasant experience. It is hard for me to look for books when I am hemmed in by people.

The preview sale was pleasantly full. There were people, many of whom I knew (this was another plus), but not so many that it was impossible to look at books.

Because we are frugal weirdos, Clif and I view book sales as an ideal place to shop for Christmas and birthday presents. We do have strict guidelines. Unless the book is rare or special in some way, it must be in mint condition. This brings us to another advantage of going to the preview sale—the books had not yet been picked over, and there were lots of good finds. We bought presents for five people, and even with the price of the tickets, we spent only $28.

Naturally, along with looking for presents for those we love, I did a teensy bit of looking for myself, and I am happy to report I hit pay dirt. I found A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro.

Along with being a frugal weirdo, I am also a fool for Shakespeare and have been since seventh grade, when my English teacher had us read The Merchant of Venice. I can still remember how dazzled I was by the language. I couldn’t believe anyone could write so beautifully, and while there was much I didn’t understand, I understood enough to know I would be hooked on Shakespeare for life.

Accordingly, I have a collection of books about Shakespeare, and I am always glad to find another one to add to the shelf, especially when I get that book—a hard cover—for $1.  A Year in the Life is in very good condition, and the cover price is $27.95.

In the library’s new conference room, iced tea, lemonade, brownies, and cookies were served. As I drank iced tea and ate a brownie, I spread my books on one of the long conference tables so that I could decided which books to buy and which books to leave for someone else. People I knew came in to have refreshments, and naturally we chatted. Some people I didn’t know came in, and being a friendly introvert—yes, it is possible to be both—I chatted with some of them, too.

All in all, a terrific night. Next year, Clif and I will definitely be going to the book sale on preview night.

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2 thoughts on “Starting the Weekend with Shakespeare”

  1. I love bookstores, especially used bookstores. Glad you are supporting your local library, it is such an important community institution. I have read Shakespeare but the magic always eludes. me.

    1. Jason, I loved used bookstores, too. You never know what gem you will find. As for Shakespeare…he is hard work, no two ways about it. And I suspect for most people, even for a Shakespeare geek like me, it is better to see and hear the plays rather than read them. Only, of course, if the actors are very good.

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