#Bryn #Mawr #Wellesley #book #sale #JEFF #EDELSTEIN #COLUMN #-
I’ve always been a book guy. Love books. Have been reading books as long as I can remember.
In first grade — Mrs. Buzinsky’s class — I distinctly remember her scolding other children, saying, “Jeff is not a dictionary” when they would come to me with questions about this word or that word in their Clifford the Big Red Dog books.
That’s right, I’m bragging about first grade reading prowess. I stick my tongue out at thee.
But for real: Always had my nose in a book. Not that I was a total bookworm; I was also out in the mean streets of Parsippany riding my bike and playing backyard baseball and all that, but whenever there was a quiet moment, I’d be with a book.
It was almost always sports books, which brings me to another memory: Once a year or so, my parents would take me to Barnes and Noble. Now, of course, today, that sentence reads as sad, as in, “you loved books and they’d only take you to Barnes and Noble once a year?” But this was a different time, there wasn’t a Barnes and Noble in every town.
There was one. In New York. And we’d go. And I’d be in heaven. It made the mall Waldenbooks look like a toy. Heck, it made my local library look like a toy. It was huge.
And it was there that my career came into focus. My mother said, “Hey, how about something other than sports books?” and so I wandered over to the humor section, picked up a copy of “Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits” — and the only reason I picked it up was because it was bright red and jumped out at me — and that was that. Barry was a newspaper columnist at the Miami Herald, and reading through his 600-800 word columns contained in the book, I saw my future. Granted, it wasn’t like I had grand aspirations to be a world-class journalist; nope, it was more like, “Holy crap, you can get paid for this?!?!”
And here I am today, dopey columnist and still the guy with four different books going at once.
I say all this as a windup to what my New Year’s Day (well, New Year’s four-day) is, and that’s the annual Bryn Mawr Wellesley book sale, going on right now through Sunday at the Stuart Country Day School in Princeton.
It is one of the nation’s largest book sales. You want books? They’ve got books. In fact, they have as many books as a typical … one guess … Barnes and Noble.
Every year, I write about the book sale, encouraging people to go check it out. Seriously: If you’re half the bookworm I am, you’ll love it.
And truth be told, you’re not going to find me walking out of there with bags of books. I usually only end up buying two or three, and they’re usually different editions of books I already have. (I’m a bit of a collector as well, particularly Elmore Leonard stuff.)
But it’s just the simple act of being around so many books, of smelling that used book smell, of running my finger down the spines … sheesh, that got kind of weird for a second, eh?
Anyway, I love books, I love this book sale, and I can’t gush anymore about it without exploding. I’ll see you in the mystery section, I’m sure.
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