Chapter 242 Anything Really Can Be Anywhere

I had a house-call today, an appointment where I visit a person’s house to (I hope) buy books. I haven’t had much luck with housecalls lately. I usually find reading copies of old bestsellers and little else. Additionally, I have a bit of a cold and I had no babysitter for Tom and Huck. Though I repeated the mantra of Larry McMurtry’s collector/dealer character Cadillac Jack, “Anything can be anywhere,” I was pretty sure there would be nothing here.

Coughing and sniffling, packing my two whining young “assistants” in the back seat of the book mobile, we headed to the home of a deceased woman whose house must be emptied by her nephew and his wife. We drove through cold, dreary San Francisco Bay summer fog. I was the antithesis of optimistic. I did not have the usual excited, anticipatory feeling I get when I hunt for books. I looked forward to returning home to dinner and the summer Olympics.

“You boys better be on your best behavior,” I reminded Tom and Huck, sternly. “And no asking me when we’ll be finished. That’s rude when I am trying to work with someone.” The boys looked at each other and then rolled their eyes at me.

When I arrived at the house, the woman who was there told me that there were books in every room. I’ve had this experience before. Generally, the person fills her shelves with every copy of Danielle Steele she ever read and I go home empty-handed. Worse, I have to tell the person who’s responsible for the books that I won’t be buying anything. I hate it when that happens.

I entered the first room. There were bookcases everywhere. And more in all of the other bedrooms. And guess what?

Not one copy of Danielle Steele.

The woman who’d lived here had interesting books in many subjects, particularly art books, books about printing and typography, books about stamps, and even a complete set of type. I left with about five boxes worth of books and may go back to buy a few more this weekend, after I’ve done some research on what’s left. Tom and Huck were good boys, and helped pack the boxes and move them out to the car.

All in all it was a good housecall. Tonight (this morning, actually — it’s 12:20 a.m.), I sit on my living room floor surrounded by books. I can’t wait to go through each one. I barely notice my scratchy throat, and I’m not tired anymore. I’ve learned a good lesson.

I promise to write “Anything can be anywhere” 100 times.

See you in the stacks!

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Chapter 242 Anything Really Can Be Anywhere

  1. If I am ever stuck for a book to read and there is a choice between Danielle steele and Nora Roberts – I’ll take the Nora Roberts anytime. LOL

    Congratulations on hitting the motherlode of books. And I am glad that the boys behaved themselves. I also wish I were you, so I can go through all those rooms of interesting books and grab whatever books I would love to read.

  2. lanasrambling

    Be sure to grab the type if it is an interesting face and a usable size. If anything, it will give you an excuse to meet the local letterpress printers. Also, the books + type usually = press. At least a little Kelsey or such. Update us with anything else you find.

  3. lanasrambling

    Above comment actually Exile Bibliophile, but feel free to visit my wife’s blog!

  4. WM

    Reminds me of a suburban estate sale I was at a few years ago. It was a “ticket” job, owing to the high interest (lots of antique furniture) and small house (the house was small.) They only let in 25 at a time, and I got there in time to get ticket 40.

    All of the other regular book people were in the first 25.

    They went in.

    They came back out. Empty-handed, every one.

    “Nothing,” one of them warned me. “Garbage.”

    Which was true enough… IF you were looking for books in English.

    But the library was full of books in Norwegian, Danish, and German.

    Damn good ones.

    Many damn rare ones.

    And the basement, too.

    Those shelves of “nothing/garbage” have paid plenty of bills for me over the past few years, and well proven the adage that “Anything can be anywhere”. And there are still books from that sale lurking in my “to be processed” boxes, to surprise me a SECOND time.

  5. Now that, WM, is a great story. One of the few things finer than finding rare books where one expects none is finding said books when your colleagues have overlooked them!

  6. How fun! I would have loved to have been there with you (behind you, of course ;~)
    I’m surrounded by boxes of books that I just picked up from a collector-the type who worked in a bookstore, would buy the first edition, cover it in mylar and had as many signed as he could. Then, he often read the work in paperback. The books were translated from their original language into English. Most are Latin American authors, some Japanese, some Russian, and others I haven’t unearthed yet. It’s like a treasure box!
    J*

  7. Sounds like fun, Jeanne. It is like a treasure box! Nice to have found books in such wonderful condition, too. Good for you!

  8. Pingback: Chapter 293 More About Yesterday’s House Call « Book Hunter’s Holiday

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