The Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library held their annual Book Sale November 14 to 16 at Westdale Mall and it was FABULOUS. If you missed it, my heart goes out to you; if you made it to the sale I hope you found as many treasurers as I did.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of attending the annual book sale, let me explain. The sale is a fundraiser for an organization called Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library. The Friends collect books of all kinds throughout the year and hold an annual sale. At the sale, thousands of books are divided into broad categories, laid out on long tables and sold for less than $2. People line up well in advance of the start time with boxes in hand to load up on reading materials for the year (or the month depending on how much you read).
I would disclose how many books I took home after two trips to the sale, but that would be admitting I have a problem and I am not ready to do so. I will however tell you about a few of my new found treasures (I apologize to all of our male readers because the following books may be more appealing to the opposite sex):
“Open House” is about a woman named Samantha whose obnoxious husband leaves her with a son to take care of and a mortgage to pay. In order to make ends meet, she rents out rooms in her house. While admittedly the story line is familiar and the ending is totally predictable, Berg conveys Samantha’s struggles with such honesty that the book was impossible to put down. This is a must read.
Here is a story set in the 1920s about Lillian Leyb, an immigrant from Russia who flees her homeland in the midst of violence. At the time she flees, she is convinced her young daughter is dead. After coming to America, Lillian learns her daughter is alive and begins her quest to find her daughter. Bloom is open and honest about the sacrifices Lillian makes to survive (even though some of them truly made me cringe). Another great read.
Nikki Eaton is a 31-year old single woman in the midst of an affair with a married man who finds her mother murdered. “Missing Mom” is Nikki’s story of change and growth after her mother’s death. While, in my opinion, Nikki’s character is not as compelling or likable as Samantha in “Open House,” Oates still does a remarkable job conveying the struggles Nikki goes through.
Next on my list: “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas and “A Changed Man” by Francine Prose.