Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bargain books

I have got to stop buying books! Last year I donated about 40 of them to the local Good Will store, the same store that I just came home from and where I purchased a 20 lb copy of The Readers Digest Great Encyclopedia Dictionary for $1.99, in hard cover of course, and published in 1966.

All inclusive for $1.99 is Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary from A-Z, The Story of Writing, The History of English, Word Origins, Better Usage, Spelling, Punctuation, Capitalization, Grammar, Correspondence, Manuscript Preparation, and Pronunciation. Also inside are the Dictionary of Space, a Medical Dictionary, a Dictionary of Slang, Quotations from Reader’s Digest, First Names, Signs and Symbols, How to Find Information and Foreign Language Dictionaries in German, French and Spanish. How could I resist all that?

I wonder who this book belonged too prior to my coming along and finding it. Has it been sitting on a shelf in someone’s house for the past 40 years? How did it come to find its way to the Good Will store? Maybe in the same way that the Merriam Webster one that I donated to the same store last year got there, there was no more room on the bookshelf and it had to go. Or maybe something much more exotic happened…I might have to let my imagination run away with me at some future date while gazing at it on my book shelf.

In essence I have now replaced my old dictionary, with an even older one. I also have a new dictionary/thesaurus that I use too. It’s a desk version and does not weigh 20 lbs. When I’m not rushed for time I prefer to actually look up in the real book the word I need, as opposed to using the online dictionary. Tactile is so much more…. me.

Ever since my Costco membership lapsed I’ve been able to stop buying new books. Now I buy the old ones. I’ve substituted one addiction for another. I did however refrain from buying a copy of the Gulag Archipelago. I first tried reading that when I was 15. After leafing through it tonight I decided I probably wouldn’t like it any better almost 35 years later. But…….it was only $1.99. Bargain books, so very hard for me to resist.

I’m staying out of the Good Will store. After donating 40 books last year, I’m back up by more than half that. That said this really is a very cool dictionary.

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