The preparations were fierce for my expedition. I wore comfortable shoes. Downed two-and-a-half cups of coffee. Black. I brought a reusable shopping bag. Just in case – I stashed two other plastic ones in my pocket. Then, I set out, across the frozen tundra (okay, 32 degrees, barely) in search of the most precious resource – Books.
Okay, so Bargain hunting and thrift shopping give me an adrenaline rush – but it’s nothing compared to the full on surge of energy and territoriality I feel at a Book Swap.
As far as I can tell, it’s not just me. People start lining up early to get at what’s there – “the best”. They hoard half-wanted novels in the bags they brought in order to keep the enemy from possessing Bel Canto, or Middlesex or The Secret Life of Bees.
There’s the smirking going on – Someone brought that trashy novel?! And the curiousity – Who else in Salem is also interested in Paul Tillich’s Systematic Theology? And the sheer triumph when you find exactly what you’ve been looking for – Firetruck Books!
I volunteered with Salem Recycles this morning at their biannual FREE Book Swap held at the Salem Community Center on Broad Street. Let’s be honest – the perks of volunteering at this kind of event are many.
1. Free Coffee. (Yes, in addition to the other 2 cups I drank this morning.)
2. Free Books.
(Does one need anything else?)
As a volunteer I got to wear a super-stylish apron with Salem Recycles emblazoned accross the front – and take a sneak peek at the books dropped off the night before between 6pm and 7pm, while I sipped coffee and made tasteful arrangements on each table. I also got to discuss favorite books with other book lovers – “Oh, you love Barbara Kingsolver too!”
But, as soon as the doors were opened, I, along with my fellow volunteers got to see our thoughtful layouts quickly become scrabbled messes of books three and four deep.
Over in the children’s section I was drowning in early readers, board books, and Clifford the Big Red Dog – but, that’s where the adrenaline (and those cups of coffee) really helped out. Sorting out chaos, and seeing satisfied readers pick out Star Wars books, Dr. Seuss, and plenty of other favorites was a thrill. I love to read – and I am so happy seeing others who love to read too.These are the books our family got – minus the board books my son was already reading and wouldn’t let me take away to photograph. Sad you missed the swap? Join us for the next one! Follow Salem Recycles on Facebook for news and updates about upcoming events. – Beth Melillo