So, I have to admit – I have a fondness for other people’s junk.
Since I was young lad, I have loved pouring over garage sales, thrift stores, and especially second-hand bookstores. Granted there is a lot of useless trash mixed in with the treasures, but that just makes finding the good stuff even sweeter.
As a case in point, I found this D&D Rules Cyclopedia from 1991 a few weeks ago, and I had to buy it. It was only four dollars and it had great nerd nostalgia value. When it was announced that they were putting all the old modules up online, I got curious and wondered how much the book was worth. I love it when that happens. And no, I’m not going to sell it.
It’s not about profit with me. Everything has a story to tell, if you can only figure out how to listen. Take as an example this shirt which caught my eye. It was only a couple of bucks so I bought it on a whim, even though I probably wouldn’t wear it out side of a con. I was wondering what it was so I did an image search which led me to some YouTube videos.
Now I was brought up on Transformers and Smurfs, and was not prepared for the awesomeness that is real anime. The stuff that filters through to ‘Merica is pretty tame compared to what is actually going on in the medium. It’s like saying all graphic novels are basically like Archie comics. Indeed, animation in the Western Hemisphere hasn’t been the same since they neutered Bugs Bunny.
Anyway, used book stores are one of my favorite places to find new authors. For a dollar or two you can get a paperback novel and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the author before, there is so little at risk. That was how I found J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks and Robert J. Sawyer to name a few. Yes, you can probably get just as many from the library for free, but I like to keep a stack of unread books by my bedside, for rainy Sunday afternoons and blustery winter nights when I can’t sleep.
So for me, going into a thrift store is like a time traveling adventure and a treasure hunt all rapped up in one. It’s like Bilbo says,
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, stepping out your front door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you’ll be swept off to.”
Also, I hope one day I write a book that winds up in the discount bin. Then maybe some young boy or girl will find it and think, “Hmm, this looks interesting.”
- Salvation Army is a donation station not a dump site for trash (kens5.com)
- A Transparent Trash Bag For Garbage That Isn’t Ready To Be Thrown Away (fastcoexist.com)
- Trash or treasure? (debbiemcdowell.wordpress.com)
I haven’t gotten rid of any of my geeky possessions, and I’m hard pressed not to add to them. Especially in used book stores. That’s how I obtained my Klingon dictionary, a must have right?