Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Treasures from the Book Raid

The Great Northfield Book Raid is the big annual fund raiser for the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary, and a Northfield tradition. Dave and I went on Friday evening after work. He was eager to see what might turn up at a used book sale in such a bookish town, and we were both happy with what we found. He found some history and Russian literature he was very pleased with; I spent most of my time at the Nature table and came away with half a box of nice paperbacks, mostly, for about $13 (it was half-price night). Here are some of the ones I'm particularly pleased to add to my shelves:
  • The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher, Lewis Thomas -- I read several of Thomas's books when I was in college (my boyfriend at the time, who is now a physician, professor and medical researcher at U.Penn., introduced me to him), and I'm delighted to own (or own again? I feel I must have had it at one time) this familiar, slim volume of humane essays about science.

  • Botany -- A little (about 4"x6") Golden Press field guide to botany that could come in handy as I think and blog about plants. It's not a guide to identification as much as a guide to the different classes of plants and their anatomy, habits and environments.

  • Dancing on the Shore: A Celebration of Life at Annapolis Basin, Harold Horwood -- a chronicle of life at a haven for wildlife in Novia Scotia. I've not heard of the author before, but the blurb on the inside cover says that this book puts him squarely in the ranks of Farley Mowat and Barry Lopez as "one of North America's most eloquent writers about the natural world." I've read some Lopez, and have at least seen the film about Mowat's study of wolves (Never Cry Wolf). For what that's worth.

  • Speak to the Earth: Pages from a farmwife's journal, Rachel Peden -- A nicely designed little hardcover "book of rural virtues and a naturalist's philosophy" by an Indiana farmwife and newspaper columnist, with a nice sepia drawing of a possum, a blue jay (I think -- it's a little hard to tell in sepia) and a farm field on the cover.

  • Blooming: A Small-town Girlhood, Susan Allen Toth -- Mary Schier introduced me to Toth a number of years back and I've read several of her books about traveling in England. This chronicle of growing up in Ames, Iowa, in the 1950s sounds like something I'll enjoy.
I was also happy to pick up a new copy of Bridget Jones's Diary to replace the one that my elder daughter seems to have adopted for her own, as well as some slightly battered mysteries by Dick Francis, Amanda Cross and Sue Grafton (I discovered I'd never read O is for Outlaw! That will never do...), and some nice clean copies of respectable novels by Annie Proulx, Anne Tyler and Kaye Gibbons. If we get another snowstorm, I'm set. No need to leave the house for weeks!


Rob Hardy said...

I scored a pair of Barbara Pym paperbacks, a Daphne Du Maurier hardcover (The House on the Strand) that was recommended to me, a Kate O'Brien Virago Modern Classic (The Land of Spices), and a reprint of a Victorian children's book called The Runaway. I guess we were hunting for different things!

Mary Schier said...

"Blooming" is great! One of my favorite growing up books, along with Russell Baker's "Growing Up." You might also like "Ivy Days," which continues Toth's story as she goes to Smith College. Looks like this weekend will be so cold and rainy, you'll have a chance to do some reading.

Penelope said...

Rob - Lucky you on the Pyms. I do look out for them, as there are a few I don't yet have.

Mary - I'm pretty sure I have read Ivy Days, but I don't remember having read Blooming before. I'll look forward to it even more now.

Penelope said...

Mary - One of my favorite growing up books is Annie Dillard's An American Childhood. The childhood one wishes one had had...