Archives For Winter’s Bone

The New Fairfield Public Library Book Sale  took place on a lovely fall day; a crisp and cool Connecticut beauty of a day. Unfortunately, the sale also took place in the same locale where the local highway department was painting the parking lot lines at the front of the building,  and where the soccer club practice with team coordinators were handing out team jerseys at the back of the building. The actual book sale was held in a meeting room and a small entry hallway. At 10:00 AM, shopping at the sale was challenging between finding a spot to park outside and negotiating cramped quarters inside.

There were, however, some bargains to be had. Browsing was a shared experience with several other buyers; I would remove a box piled with books to one section, while another person would replace that box with another. Crawling along the front hallway floor which held boxes of trade paperbacks, I was able to locate copies of Codetalkers by Joseph Bruchac and A Yellow Raft in Blue Water-Michael Dorris for the Contemporary Native American unit that is being taught this month in Grade 11. I was also able to add to our curriculum collection:

The Giver- Lois Lowery
Night-Elie Wiesel
The Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lord of the Flies-William Golding
Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
The Road-Cormac McCarthy
The Handmaid’s Tale- Margaret Atwood

An independent choice book for Grade 11.

The “score” of the morning was a new copy of Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell.  This is the fourth copy I have found this summer, and the book will be placed in the “Coming of Age” unit in Grade 11 as an independent choice novel. The School Library Journal reviewed this book for high school students saying, “In the poverty-stricken hills of the Ozarks, Rees Dolly, 17, struggles daily to care for her two brothers and an ill mother. When she learns that her absent father, a meth addict, has put up the family home as bond, she embarks on a dangerous search to find him and bring him home for an upcoming court date. Her relatives, many of whom are in the business of cooking crank, thwart her at every turn, but her fight to save the family finally succeeds. Rees is by turns tough and tender. She teaches her brothers how to shoot a shotgun, and even box, the way her father had taught her. Her hope is that these boys would not be dead to wonder by age twelve, dulled to life, empty of kindness, boiling with mean.”  When I read the novel, images of the witches from Macbeth came to mind!

For the independent reading shelves, I also located a copy of Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Book Two The Ruins of Gorlan in The Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan , After by Francine Prose, and Ape House by Sara Gruen (surprising since this is a recent release).

New Fairfield’s sale offered far more hardcover fiction texts than trade paperbacks, and the children’s picture books were overflowing the small table to which they had been assigned. This could be an indication of a shift in population to more elementary aged choices….the New Fairfield babies are growing up!

Once I brought my two baskets to the counter, the volunteers at the checkout were gracious and accommodating. They were prepared with bags for purchases, and at my request  one quickly designed a receipt for me. (“Last year, I had a pile of receipts, but no one need them, wouldn’t you know?”)

Hardcovers were $2.00, trade paperbacks were $1.00, and small paperbacks were $.50. Sunday was “Bag day”-all books in a bag for $10.00.  I purchased only trade and small paperback on this trip and spent $26.00 for 32 books. These will be added to the school’s “book flood“.

The volunteers picked a perfect weekend for people looking for book bargains. Perhaps next year there will be better coordination of traffic outside the library and inside the sale so the efforts of the Friends of the New Fairfield Public Library are fully supported.

 

Book Sale flier 2011

New Milford Public Library  in New Milford, CT, stages its annual sale run by the Friends of the New Milford Library in the cafeteria of the New Milford High School, usually the middle of July. This library has a very dedicated set of volunteers who make this sale a very easy sale to attend. 

There is an “early bird” charge of $5.00 for buyers before 10:00 am, but the crowds were still very manageable even after there was no admission charge to enter. This summer, there were a  fair number of used book dealers, but everyone had plenty of room to negotiate through the aisles-even those buyers carrying large, overflowing bags or boxes. Book genres were clearly marked with signs on the tables: non-fiction mixed with paperbacks and hardcovers; fiction divided onto mass-market, trade and hardcover tables. There was a much needed holding area based on the honor system. Several cashiers tables allowed volunteers to check out large and express orders easily.

Last year, I found many biographies and books about animals on the non-fiction tables. Cultural anthropologists could have decided in 2010 that New Milford was a town concerned about the lives of people and their interactions with animals. This year, however, the table labelled Parent/Child Books was overflowing, which could lead one to determine that there must have been a recent baby boom and that animals are of little current interest.

The trade fiction book section was divided into boxes set on low platforms. The made the books easy to see, but required constant bending to pick out a text. The books were not organized by author or title, which slows me down as I try to quickly scan for familiar covers. Standing next to a used book dealer plopping books quickly into a box only heightens my anxiety. “Was that a copy of The Road he just put in his case?” I’ll wonder. “Well, there goes a copy of Girl, Interrupted!” I’ll sigh and move away to the next box. Such pressure resulted in my almost overlooking three copies of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye on my first pass!

Found six nearly new copies!

The section of mass market fiction; romance, mystery, and science fiction, was more organized with author names clearly marked on boxes. There were also tables of hardcover which also were generally alphabetized-or grouped. Again, I wonder who buys all these James Patterson books?

This year, the section for older children (YA), which was also on low floor pallets,  yielded six new or gently used copies of Dean Hughes’s Soldier Boys which is $6.99 at Amazon  that can be added to my War Units in Grades 10 or 11. The book follows two young soldiers an American and a German at the Battle of the Bulge. The reading level is grade 8, but there are always some low-level readers who like this book. To complement these, I found three copies of Sebastian Junger’s Fire, $8.15 at Amazon  on the non-fiction table; Fire is the more grade 11 appropriate text.Found two copies-this is an "untested" book

Other “finds” included two copies of Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell at Amazon for $10.95 for the Coming of Age Unit. This harrowing adventure follows 16 year-old Ree Dolly through the Ozark Mountain territory of meth-labs and family land disputes. The book was recently made into a successful indie film centering on a very powerful female character. I have not “tested” this book with student groups, and I am interested in seeing how they like the book.

Will use in People in Conflict Unit for Grade 10

I also was happy to find three copies of The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad at Amazon for $13.97 for my People in Conflict Unit in Grade 10, and three copies of Julia Alverez How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents at Amazon for $8.93  for an Immigration Unit we are planning for next year.

Total cost of all the 17 copies books mentioned? $157.03 retail at Amazon or $14.00 used.

All told, I spent $193.00 for seven very full bags of books.

I am familiar with the many of book titles taught at area high schools and New Milford is a neighboring school. I was happy to pick up replacements for some of the same texts that we teach(Frankenstein, Animal Farm, etc). The woman who checked out my order was an English teacher who has taken time off for a family. She was excited about the selection and the number of titles I was able to get, “These are so interesting, and so much better than some classics in high school,” she claimed, “I would love to see how they [students] like them!” I am hoping the students will share her enthusiasm, but I do recognize that we English teachers get very excited about all books! A kindred soul.