One of my favourite pastimes is to go on a hunt. Not for the usual suspects like caribou, deer and moose (I’ll leave that to my brother and nephew), but the hunt for odd, rare and unusual books that may have missed my path in a conventional book store.
Today I did go thrifting with the intention of finding a colander (success!) but I also found a treasure trove of books at the St. Vincent De Paul (SSVP) in Cambridge, Ontario. What I love about this thrift store in particular is the attention to detail in their displays (colour co-ordinated), the cleanliness of the store (no musty smell here!) and the treasures I find there. The book department that is pictured has much to choose from. I often gravitate to the children’s section as my boys love to read and be read to. Because the price of books can be out of reach for many parents’ budget, I look to the thrift store and the local library to fill their desire to read.
Today I found a book of poetry by Emily Dickinson but written for children. I studied Dickinson in university but also with my students and her poems can be complicated and dark at times. It was refreshing to find this slim volume on the shelves to introduce some poetry to the boys. I also found a copy of Cue for Treason which I was so tempted to buy but refrained as I don’t think my oldest would be ready for it. As I further explored the very full shelves, I found some good books for my little one who is just starting to read and write. Books about fire trucks, colours, and a moose who takes a bath will keep his interest.
A fan favourite in our house at the moment is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. Although my son has read most of them, if not all, I came across a new-to-me copy of the first book. I couldn’t resist. I can leave it in the car, bring it to the trailer or even to Grandma’s house for when he gets bored or needs to have a laugh. Although I walked away with about seven books for the boys I was unsuccessful finding something for me. I was not disappointed as this is part of the fun trying to find a new author on the shelf or a well-known one. All in all I paid $22 for my books and other treasures at this gem of a store.
Aside from visiting this thrift store, I also like to visit my local Hamilton Neighbour to Neighbour Book Store when I can. I discovered more of Ian Rankin here, Canadian fiction on their shelves and many copies of the Geronimo Stilton series. A few titles for me and a few for the kids. Again it is the hunt that excites me. I also enjoy talking to the staff who are made up of volunteers about the different books and they may entice me to try an author I may have passed over. Lastly as a bonus, the cost of the books is a fraction of what I would pay in a book store.
One of the benefits from thrifting for books is to donate the books when I am through with them (unless I loved it!). I am sorry to be missing the Church of the Resurrection’s Annual Book Sale the second Saturday in May this year. Many of my favourites and not so favourite books have made their way to the sale. I love to see the patrons leaving with their huge bag of books knowing the books have a new home and they only spent $4. Cheap entertainment indeed.
So I will keep on the hunt thrifting and sifting for gold among the well-loved books of people’s past. Who knows, maybe the next author I discover will be you!