Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Books, cheap like borscht

One of the highlights of my year (OK, I live a sheltered life) is the Children’s Hospital Book Market in Winnipeg.

Two of the highlights, actually.

Twice a year at the St. Vital Centre, a large shopping mall, book lovers can wade through thousands of used volumes and discover our new best friends.

Since 1961 Winnipeggers have donated books year round, and volunteers have sorted, displayed and sold them. Proceeds go to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.

This year’s fall sale, featuring paperbacks, runs from Sept. 23 to 25.

At the sale last spring, leafing through a $1 copy of The Detective, a 1966 novel by Roderick Thorp, I spotted a U. S. $1 bill.

Good deal, eh? Get my money back right away. And, like a true Western Canadian, I had bought my tickets to spend spring break in the States.

Another peek revealed the corner of a U.S. $50. I slammed the book shut and tucked it under my arm with a couple of other cheap goodies.

The gent who took my loonies did not leaf through the book; why would he?

In my car I opened The Detective and found $62 U.S. Someone else’s holiday stash? Who knows? No name in the book.

So I spent it all at The Poisoned Pen, a mystery bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Reuse and recycle, I say.