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Careful, I might get all the good books first

WHAT’S SO FUNNY

The Friends of the Library Bookstore used to close every day at 3

p.m., but for several months now it has stayed open until 6 p.m. or

later on Wednesdays. You may not find this news electrifying, and

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granted, it’s not true crime. But for book people like me, it’s a

riveting quality-of-life story.

I’ve been reading books since I was old enough to stop chewing on

them. I don’t understand people who say, “I’d love to read but I just

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don’t have the time.” What, you’re never at a stoplight? This is why

people think Californians are illiterate.

Reading incessantly is a weakness too -- or so I’ve been told. But

every book has its own message, it’s own personality -- a book is, in

essence, a person doing his best -- and a good personality is worth

meeting.

In recent years the Downtown Laguna book trade has taken a hit

from the superstores. We’ve lost several small individual shops,

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including Upchurch-Brown and Different Drummer. Two Farenheit 451s

have shrunk into one Latitude 33. The second-hand bookstore that was

across from Main Beach when I moved here in 1986 has been gone for

years.

But the Friends of the Library Bookstore remains down the stairs

from the library, offering used books at laughable prices. I’m not

kidding. It’s like “Come on down to Crazy Eddie’s.”

I got Garson Kanin’s “Tracy & Hepburn,” hardback, for a dollar.

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Olivier’s “Confessions of an Actor,” hardback, for $1.50. Paperback

novels for a quarter. I mean, these volunteer staffers have lost

their minds, they are standing on their heads to get you together

with a mystery, a biography, books on art, photography, diet,

cooking, travel. Some books are priced higher, but all are steals.

Now some of these books show signs of having been read previously.

But as a condition-sensitive booklover I can testify that some of

them are like new. The Olivier, for instance, must have stayed on the

owner’s shelf as decor until it was donated.

So, if you’re interested in words on the page in handy containers,

come on down to where they’re open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday

through Saturday, except on Wednesday when NOW they’re own until 6

p.m. ... 7 p.m. if busy.

And hurry if you want to beat me. One of the reasons I’ve gotten

so many bargains is that I work there one Wednesday a month from 3

p.m. till closing. It’s supposed to be a good deed. What it is, is

scavenging.

* SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Friend of the Library.


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