For weeks I intended to go to Half Price Books, the only used bookstore in town, one of a 120-store Texas-based chain. I wanted to try to sell my Folio Society five-book Dickens set (1985).
The problem was my husband wanted to divvy the Dickens up in our panniers and bike there. I wasn’t enthusiastic about biking with ten or more pounds of hardbacks. And so weeks went by, but I finally persuaded him it was worth a trip in the car (we seldom take the car). We weren’t even sure we would sell the Dickens, because they used to pay a laughable 25 cents per paperback. I had in my mind a lowball price beneath which I would not go.
Many people sell their books at Half Price Books. Stacks and stacks of romances and vampire books were piled on the counter. People wheeled them in on dollies. More kept coming in.
They offered me $10. I declined.
Well, I didn’t expect much, but I did expect more than $2 per book. It’s a set, in excellent condition. At a garage sale I might sell it for $20. On Abebooks the lowest price is $79. I’d rather give it to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale than Half Price Books.
Heavens, I see why people sell them online!
Does anybody sell books online? Do you have good experiences?
1. The Literary Hub recently published the article, “Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump: What Do They Read?” Who has good taste? Who does not? Clinton recommends The Brothers Karamazov and The Clan of the Cave Bear, while Trump doesn’t have much time to read, except his own book. (Obama is a more literary reader.)
2. The classicist Mary Beard recently wrote about Max Beerbohm’s novel, Zuleika Dobson, at A Don’s Life, her blog at the TLS. (Statues of Roman emperors play a part.) I must admit Zuleika Dobson is one of the more misogynist novels I’ve read, but her lively essay makes me want to reread it. Here is an excerpt.
The story is a simple one. It tells of the young, exotically named, and stunningly good looking Zuleika who arrives among the dreaming spires to stay with her grandfather, who is the head of the semi-fictional Judas College. Not only does Zuleika herself fall in love for the first time; but all the male undergraduates fall in love with her. Literally all of them: and so badly in love that they end up killing themselves for her, every single one. At the end of the novel the unworldly dons seem hardly to have noticed that the students are all dead (even though the dining hall is strangely empty); meanwhile on the very last page, Zuleika is found making inquiries about how best to get to Cambridge . . . and it’s not too hard to guess what will happen there. It’s a satire not only on the dangers of women, but also on the madness of this masculine university world.
The Belgian writer Madeleine Bourdouxhe’s exquisite first novel, La Femme de Gilles, published in 1937 and translated by Faith Evans in 1992, explores the pain of adultery. It is told mainly from the point of view of Elisa, the faithful wife who is in love with her handsome husband Gilles, a factory worker.
We don’t think of working-class marriages in fiction as erotic. In most working-class novels, marriages are exhausting and unhappy: in D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, Paul’s refined mother despises her coal miner husband; in Hariettte Simpson Arnow’s The Dollmaker, Gertie’s factory worker husband squanders her savings; and in Tillie Olsen’s Yonnondio, Jim works in a slaughterhouse and beats his wife and children.