I absolutely love book sales.
They are like pandora boxes scattering magic dust for the few days they exist, usually in warehouse halls large and tall and cold.
It’s almost like a dance; circling around the temporary book carts in a slow movement towards the end of the hall, around people clustered in their own forays and through the temporary aisles. Dancing to the music in your mind, happily absorbed in your own thoughts, eyes running hungrily across book spines.
It’s lovely too to see so many other people as hungry as you, even settling down at corners forgetting time when they find a book that demands their immediate attention. All sorts of people: young children both adorable and bookish and boisterous and hyperactive, quiet teenagers, adults, the old with a healthy amount of white hair. And there are seldom any bad feelings because the fundamental happy pursuit of books somehow leaves everyone to be polite and kind although they (myself included) become self-absorbed in their own worlds. Kind of like fallen leaves floating on water, guided by currents and the multiple movement underwater, bumping often into each other often, but in such a light-hearted and unexpected way that it just seems natural: each in each’s world, each one’s place in the world.
You always leave happy. The joy of finding good books is unparalleled, no matter whether the books are new or second-hand. Second-hand books, tattered and smelly, makes me happy anyway because the stories should transcend their physical state; if I wrote a book, nothing will make me happier than seeing it dog-eared, passed from hand to hand, shared between friends and strangers and generations.
And when you leave without purchasing any books – you feel so satisfied at being lucky enough not to have fallen under the spell of any more books so that you can concentrate on finishing up the collecting pile at home!