Friends! Phoenicians! Bookworms! Lend me your ears! Or, your eyeballs! Your scroll fingers? Or…well, this is getting kind of macabre, I don’t want a pile of body parts, just pay attention mmmkay?
This Saturday, February 11, is the annual and legendary VNSA Used Book Sale in downtown Phoenix. The basics: half a million books–HALF A MILLION!–organized by genre then alphabetical by author (mostly), lined up on HUNDREDS tables and stacked in open boxes underneath, hardbacks are usually $2-3, paperbacks $1-2, and fancy coffee table or art books are $5-10, depending on the title/size/etc. All books are half price on Sunday. They’ve got classics, a huge kid’s section, history, biography, cook books and hobby books, sciencey books, rows and rows of fiction. Books are collected via donations throughout the greater Phoenix metro area all year long, and volunteers organize and run the book sale. All proceeds go towards literacy in Arizona. Friends, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
So. I’m the nerd who sleeps in the parking lot on Friday night to ensure an excellent place in line, and because it’s the kind of nerdy thing that makes me happy. If you show up at 8:00 am when the doors open, you’ll probably wait 60-90 minutes in line…maybe? I honestly don’t know, the latest I’ve ever arrived was 4:30, we waited 30 minutes after the doors opened, but it wasn’t worth trying to wake up at 3:45, I’d rather stay tucked into my parking lot sleeping bag (with ear plugs and eye mask) until 7:00, thank you very much.
Anyway, I feel liked I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it, this is my Black Friday, the day I buy the most things, but they are all on a SUPER deal, and proceeds help ESL programs and 1st grade reading groups and Title 1 students get up to grade level. Yep, this is my Thing.
In their Rare Books inventory for this year they have a limited, numbered edition of My Mortal Enemy signed by the author, Willa Cather!! WILLA CATHER! A few years ago they had a first edition Huck Finn for auction. Ya’ll, if only.
I don’t shop the rare books room, I rub elbows with the other bookish plebeians amongst the stacks (and stacks and STACKS!). You are welcome to join me, this year, next year, whenever. I think this is my 9th year attending the Book Sale, it’s not going to be something I give up. Read about my other tips for Book Sale attendance here.