WILKES-BARRE — Twenty bucks might buy you a book or two at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com, but it will get you one heck of a shopping spree today under a huge tent next to a library.
Friends of the Osterhout Free Library are wrapping up their annual six-day book sale today, and you don’t even need $20 to bring home a treasure trove of tomes — from the classics to contemporary, cookbooks to comic books, humor to history. Even LPs and VHS tapes are plentiful on the cheap.
On Bag Day, when “everything must go,” you can buy an empty box about the size of a large toaster oven for $7 and fill it with as many books, records and VHS tapes as it can hold. You can do the same with “a Wegman’s-size shopping bag” for $4 or a small bag that will hold four or five hardcovers for $1, said Veronica Buzinkai, president of Friends of the Osterhout.
Buzinkai suspects that hot, humid weather kept folks indoors earlier this week, which hurt the fundraiser. Sales totaled only about $15,000 between Monday and Friday, when they normally total closer to $20,000 by the fifth day of the sale.
Buzinkai said one previous Bag Day sale netted about $6,000, but last year’s brought in only $3,000. She’s hoping pleasant weather will bring out some readers who can buy dozens of books for a relative pittance.
Even though today is the sale’s biggest bargain day, we were curious Friday to see just what $20 would buy at the sale, when fiction books were selling for 50 cents per paperback and $1 per hard cover, and non-fiction items were $1 per paperback and $2 per hardcover. VHS movies and LPs for going for 50 cents each or three for $1.
Here’s what we found:
• Inspirational: The classic “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and several others from the “Chicken Soup” series, such as “Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul” and “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul” were grouped together. We picked a copy of “Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul” with stories by Jimmy Stewart, Barbara Bush, Gilda Radner and many more. $1 paperback.
• Also in Inspirational: “Celebrating Mother — A Book of Appreciation,” edited by Glorya Hale and Carol Kelly Gangi, with quotes and bits of advice from dozens of mothers — some famous, some not so much. A nice Mothers Day gift, perhaps? $2 hardcover.
• Mystery: “The Bone Vault,” a novel by New York Times best-selling author Linda Fairstein, about a detective investigating the disappearance of a 12th Dynasty mummified princess from her sarcophagus at a museum and, in her place, the body of a young woman, presumably murdered. $1 hardcover.
• History: “A Man Named John — The Life of Pope John XXIII” is Alden Hatch’s examination of the man who had the shortest reign of any Roman Catholic pontiff. $2 hardcover. And Peter Singer delivers a crushing critique of America’s 43rd president in “The President of Good & Evil — The Ethics of George W. Bush.” $2 hardcover.
• Classics: “Works of Charles Dickens” including “A Christmas Carol,” “Tale of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations.” $2 hardcover. Also, three books by Shakespeare — “The Tempest,” “Hamlet” and “King Lear.” $1 paperbacks.
• Fiction: “The Firm” by John Grisham and “Patriot Games” by Tom Clancy, both of which were made into blockbuster movies starring Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford, respectively. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” 50-cent paperbacks. Also, Robin Cook’s “Outbreak” and Stephen Coonts’ “The Intruders.” $1 hardcovers.
• Miscellaneous: In a box full of books about Lady Diana, we found “The Diana Years — Celebrating the Unique Magic of the Princess of Wales,” a commemorative edition of People Weekly. $2 hardcover.
• LP records: An LP of a German orchestra’s recordings of several classics including “Serenade” by Franz Schubert, “Evening Star” from Richard Wagner’s “Tannhauser Suite” and Johannes Brahms’ “Cradle Song.” 50 cents.
• VHS movies: “Forest Gump” starring Tom Hanks, Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers” starring Jimmy Smits, and “Miss Congeniality” starring Sandra Bullock. Three for $1.
Grand total: $20 on the dot.
And what did we get? 15 books, three movies and an LP. And sore arms from carrying it all.