Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Going on a book hunt

So I went to the MPH warehouse sale. I just have to go today because it's the first day. I was hoping I will get the first dip on some good selections they might offer.

Since the first time I went to MPH warehouse sale it has always suck. Why they even bother to call it a 'warehouse' sale is beyond my understanding. Only half of the space were taken up by books while the rest were pens, calculators, cds and toys. The books mostly go for 30% discount only, while the more obscure titles were given a mere 40%. I thought the idea of a 'warehouse' sale is to clear their warehouse i.e. storage space. But all I see were the regular paperbacks that are currently sold at any bookstores in the world.

The appeal of a warehouse sale is usually the 'value buy' bins where they put all those single copies/old/damaged books that cannot be sold at their retail stores anymore. There were not that many bins and the selections were lousy. I just briefly browsed through them but mostly I saw obsolete editions of a programming language or a guide to a certain software, books on chemistry, business and craft. But a last minute look discovered an interesting book, Atlas of the New Age: The origins and development of the world's spiritual and mystical traditions. What the hell, it's a HC with very nice pictures and illustrations. I've always been interested in shamans, mythologies, divination etc. It was just RM15 anyway.

Apart from this book I also bought:

  • The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
  • The Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  • Classic Victorian & Edwardian Ghost Stories
  • The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan
  • The Good Earth - Pearl S Buck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
All at 30% discount. Not that great but I still bought them because I knew I will never get a better offer for these titles at other bookstores.

MPH warehouse sale is one that I'm not so excited about. The first one I've been too was lousy, It was in a smaller building with similar offers than this year's sale. I walked out with nothing but a useless MPH membership. The second one was not bad. I got my hands on McPherson's Close to Home for RM5, Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox for RM10 and Ryhme Stew for RM5; and Dick King Smith's The Sheep Pig for RM5.

Times warehouse sale was much better. More books at warehouse price rather than putting the current paperbacks and just give discounts. They do put some recent bestsellers but they were priced at RM20. That would be about RM12 to RM14 off the retail price. Still not bad.

But the best warehouse sale would still be the Penguin sale. I got my hands on so many classics like
  • Diary of Anne Frank
  • Poe's Comedies and Satires
  • M.R. James' The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Stories
  • Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde
  • Dante's Purgatorio and Paradiso
at RM10 per book. And they were those nice editions with notes and bibliographies that usually go up to RM40 at normal price. In addition I got a free Times membership and RM5 voucher for buying more than RM100.

But the best book sale of all time that I've been to is the one held by L------- Public Library back in '97 when I was in US. They were clearing out old books. And there were a lot of bestselling authors and classics. The paperbacks were going at US0.50 and HC US1. I completed my Jane Austen collection here. I also got hold of The Complete Sherlock Holmes in HC with all the original illustrations at about US2, if I'm not mistaken. But I remembered it was damn cheap and it was in very good condition. Come to think of it I don't know where they get the books. I don't think it was from the library because they were no envelopes where they put the date cards or any chop anywhere on any of the books. Most probably the books were donated to raise funds for the library.

The town I was in also has a lot of bookstores selling used books. I will never fail to walk in if I happen to come across one of these stores. You'll just never know what treasures you will find on the rows and rows of shelves even if the store was small.

Back in Malaysia, I was excited to find PayLess books. This is the place where I got the illustrated HC edition of The Emerald City of Oz, The Lost Princess of Oz, The Wind in the Willows, and Little Women. Now, if only I can get the rest of the Oz series in HC....

Since I have the means of buying things with my own money, my book collection has been growing. That's one weird thing about me. I would think twice in buying a RM40 blouse, but I could spend RM60 for books in the blink of an eye.

The sad story is all my books are stuck in boxes because there's just no space for them in my parent's house. So now I can't even make any analysis or recall anything particular about a certain book since I can't remember them all. If they were all arranged according to genre and author, all lined up nice and neat on a proper bookshelf, I could have instantly drawn on a certain event or a certain character of a certain book just by looking at the spine. So now if someone asked "What is your favourite book cover" or "What is your favorite literary couple" (like what Eyeris did), I couldn't say anything because I can't recall everything that I've read.

It's so frustrating not to join in any book discussions because the books are not on-hand. I couldn't even give a proper link to any of the books that I've mentioned here. Even ISBN nos. would be good enough so that ppl could know which edition I'm ranting about. But alas, they're all nicely tucked away in boxes. I don't know which box they're in and it's too late to go for a book hunt in my own room. So hopefully, one fine day, when I do manage to fit a bookshelf in my room I will come back and update this post. Hopefully.

No comments: