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February 15, 2020: The Incredible Lightness of Being

This title, by Milan Kundera, is one of my favorites. We can be light if we choose to be, meaning we can light as in sunshine or light on our feet. Me, I’m feeling a little less light this evening because the day’s activities did tire me out.

A summation of the day – there was a steady stream of people checking out the books on sale. I talked to quite a few – they were avid book readers; most spent considerable time shopping in a very focused manner and loaded up their bags to the brim with books.

I watched the books go that I’d handled, either in sorting or categorizing. Seeing a few I thought – why didn’t I grab that one

Bill sorting
Bill sorting

because its suddenly having value meant it had value to me. And why, I wondered, was that paperback selling for a mere 25 cents and the hardback for 50 cents?

The hardcore book lovers knew what they were getting – real bargains – I suspect that if I were in their shoes, I too would have loaded up a bag or two full of books. A bag was an even better deal since you could fit far more than eight books, at 25 cents a book, being $2.00 and a bagful costing $2.00.

I was actually quite proud of the garden section – it had a lot of really expensive, hardly used books. A local gardener asked me if she could have what remained at the sale’s end, the books being for her gardening buddies. I think the look on my face said it all – this sale was not just about keeping books out of the waste stream but also about the local recycling center’s making money for operating costs.

It’s a tough call. These days few, if any, hesitate to pay 50 cents for baked goods, but balk at paying any more than this for a book. What gives? This is just the reality of the situation.

I have since the end of the day’s sale been attempting to think like a businessperson. I think that the books in the bookstore should be showcase books, the best of the best – and they should sell for more than the books in the sorting area. We’ll see – it’s a tough call.

Once again, Bill, Pete and I, today’s sorters, found some real gems in the heap. When I find them, I think, wow – this book could have been shredded. Indeed, two shredders were hard at it for most of the day.

It’s almost a vicious circle – just trying to stay ahead of them. If there were fewer of them, or the ones working worked less, then the rest of us would not have to work so hard – this being because if we don’t sort, they have at the good books and shred them.

Yes, I’d say the sale was success. The question is, what now? I’m not sure. I left the bookstore and sorting area looking really good – everything was in order. And because of my hard work and the hard work of others, many, many salvaged books are in the hands of appreciative readers.

Next: 47. 2/16/20: Moving to Keep Things Whole

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