I’ve been haunting a couple of the local thrift stores lately, looking for baskets for my houseplants. I did find some baskets (plus vases, toys, puzzles, candle holders, etc.), but the real discovery was books. Who knew? Thrift stores seem to be absolutely groaning under the weight of cast-off books, old and new, ridiculous and wonderful. I bought stacks and stacks of books, dozens for the kids, some for Brian and me, loads of coffee table books, and even a few for some friends and neighbors that just caught my eye. Total cost? $19, and when I left, I had more books than I could even carry, most of them hardback. I’ll definitely be spending more time in the book sections of my favorite thrift stores! As a homeschool resource, it can’t be beat. While I think you’d be disappointed if you were looking for something specific (say, “lizards”), if you have an open mind and look for things that might be useful in the future, you’re bound to find some great stuff.
OK, so there’s one drawback: I’m not contributing anything to the authors and publishers who create the wonderful books that I enjoy so much. Especially as an aspiring writer, that really stings. My family reads huge numbers of books, the majority of which come from the library, the used market, and now the thrift store. Somehow, it bothers me much more than buying used clothing and housewares, maybe because I know that nobody’s heart and soul went into the “pre-owned” jeans that Carter is wearing or the basket my remotes are resting in, while Don DeLillo might have sweat blood writing Underworld, a hardback copy of which is sitting in front of me and for which I paid a whopping $1.99 (none of which will go to Mr. DeLillo or Scribner). Nope, I don’t love that part. Since Brian and I both tend to read a fair amount of stuff that’s off the beaten path and that gets published for love instead of money, I look forward to the day when (if) we have more disposable income and we can buy books new for the sake of being part of the continuing publication of great literature. Not that I have anything against bestsellers; we read some of those, too. The world would be a bleaker place, though, if that was all that got published!
And I’ll save my rant about words-on-paper versus words-on-screen for another day! I bet you can guess my opinion on that one, though!