The Planned Parenthood Book Sale & A Giveaway of John Thorndike’s Anna Delaney’s Child

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The Planned Parenthood Book Sale is a perk of Midwestern living.   I have found Viragos, an almost complete set of Oxford paperback Trollopes, and books by obscure Midwestern writers.   It is held every six months in the 4-H Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.  If you’re in the area this weekend, it is worth a trip.  The sale started today and goes through Monday the 11th.

As usual, we came home with a couple of boxes of books.

Thorndike Anna Delaney's childJohn Thorndike’s out-of-print classic, Anna Delaney’s Child, is one of my favorite books. It’s hard to find, so I’m giving away this hardcover (which I bought for $1).   This stunning 1986 novel delineates the despair and gradual healing of a group of characters in Fell River, Ohio, who have suffered enormous losses. Anna Delaney, a farmer, has lost her eight-year-old son, Kevin, in a car accident; her father’s beloved wife, Anna’s mother, has died of cancer; Susan, now a paraplegic after a recent climbing accident, longs for the sports that kept her centered; and Anna’s ex-husband, Paul, has moved to Fell River with his unresolved drug problems.  But of course it is Thorndike’s lyrical writing that makes this novel a small masterpiece.  If you would like the book, leave a comment.  The giveaway is open only to Americans and Canadians (because I can’t afford postage to the UK and Europe!).  I highly recommend this.  Everybody loves this book and gasps and wonders why it’s not in print.

imageI was thrilled to find a paperback omnibus edition of three of Shirley Jackson’s novels, The Road Through the Wall, Hangsman, and The Bird’s Nest.  And even better is this book club edition  of Margaret Kennedy’s The Feast (75 cents), which was the main Literary Guild selection in April 1950. The book club’s illustrated review brochure, Wings, is glued on the endpage.  It devotes eight pages to The Feast and features a short interview with Kennedy.  Wouldn’t you love to have a job writing a fun book club magazine?  They weren’t like that in my day!

IMG_3589 Don’t the Wing illustrations remind you of the Dick and Jane books?

imageConrad Richter won the National Book Award in 1961 for his brilliant novel,  The Waters of Kronos, which I wrote about  here).  I look forward to  reading The Sea of Grass (1935).  It was probably my best find.  Cornelia Otis Skinner’s The Ape  in Me. is a collection of humor essays.  Skinner is very witty and is  best known for Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, a hilarious book co-written with Emily Landau about their trip to Europe after college.

imageI know many of you swear by Margery Sharp.  Her books are very light, but I enjoyed Martha in Paris and In Pious Memory (I wrote about them here).  My favorite of her books is the Rescuers series. I love Miss Bianca.

imageH. E. Bates is one of my favorite English writers.  In fact, I just reread Love for Lydia,  and will post about it soon.

imageWe couldn’t resist this boxed set of Penguin Originals, Arnold Bennett’s Anna of the Five Towns, Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm, and Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock.

imagel couldn’t pass up a book with the title Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?  (I’ll have to see what the author John Sutherland says, but I do not think she could be happy.)  I plan to reread Marge Piercy’s excellent SF novel, Woman on the Edge of Time.

imageAnother by Vasily Grossman.  I keep finding cheap copies of his books.

imageMax Shulman seemed very funny when I was young, but it may be dated humor. The Daphne du Maurier collection includes two of her most famous stories, “Don’t Look Now” and “The Birds.”

imageSomebody in an online book group recommended Kathleen Norris, a middlebrow American writer.  I tried one of her office romances some years ago and gave up.  Maybe the “best of” Norris is what I need.  I can’t wait to read John Galsworthy’s short stories, though the cover of this battered paperback will probably fall off halfway through the book, and I’ll have to find an e-book edition (surely free).

imageThis is one of my husband’s.  I have no idea what this is.  (Nor does he!)

imageThis is a Heritage edition of Thackeray’s The History of Henry Osmond, with illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.  I’ve read Henry Osmond, but I couldn’t resist it for $2.50.  I may donate it back to the sale, because I discovered we already have two paperback copies, and let’s face it, paperbacks re easier to read than the oversized books.

You never find exactly what you’re looking for at a sale, but there’s always something!  Overall, I would say this was a “cozy” year.  Some years are a little more “edgy.”

13 thoughts on “The Planned Parenthood Book Sale & A Giveaway of John Thorndike’s Anna Delaney’s Child

  1. What fabulous finds, Kat – I’m always very jealous when I read about this kind of big sale! That edition of The Feast is wonderful – it’s the only Kennedy I’ve read, but I did love it. Well done!


    • I have written about this sale so many times! Well, I’m glad I found some good books. And who would have thought Kennedy’s The Feast would have been so popular in 1950 in the U.S.? I look forward to reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love book sales and my heart yearns when I see the picture of yours. I have read some of the books you bought and strongly recommend the Margery Sharp and Arnold Bennett, as well as anything by Shirley Jackson or Vasily Grossman. I would be happy to receive the give-away book. I grew up in Ohio.


  3. I’m with Silver Season and Kaggsybookishramblings. I used to love going to a Northern Virginia Library book sale that occurs here twice a year with Jim. We’d come home with a couple of boxes of books too. Yours though seem to be remarkable in that they are fine treasures, and ought to be collectors’ treasures (probably not to a collector who accumulates books that fetch money). I am allured by the old pictures and bindings; they are redolent of an older world I had some happiness in when I was reading. I love H.E. Bates too – he’s a fine writer; has a 3 volume autobiography I have in my house and have read. I’ve read Love for Lydia; one of his stories was made into a moving film by Miramax in the 1980s — Vanessa Redgrave was in it, so touching, a marvelous male actor whose name escapes me. Margaret Kennedy is a wonderful novelist. Yes I would like Anne Delaney’s Child. Contact me and I’ll tell you my address.

    These blogs of yours brighten my days.


    • Ellen, it is a good sale, some years better than others. There was a nice Oxford hardback set of the Pallisers, and naturally I already have my own paperback set. Really nice hardback Oxford versions of Dickens, too. If we were starting out as readers, we would find so much!

      I love Bates’ short stories. Bloomsbury has released several of them as very inexpensive e-books. I used to have a big collection, maybe the Complete, but it’s gone. Probably lost in a move long ago.

      I’ll put your name in the Anna Delaney hat. So far only two of you are interested!


  4. After a month of Marh that has been full of various problems, I am back to blogging and reading blogs. Yours is one of the first: I missed it dearly and I missed your voice.
    I agree with Ellen, Kaggsy and Silver Season: you found treasures. There is nothing like these sales where I live and would they exist, there would be nothing in English… I know some of the authors but others are unkown to me. What luck and oy to rummage through stacks of books and come back with full boxes! I share it from afar.


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