Last weekend or so ago the Wimberley Village Library held its Annual Book Sale. This is a big deal, almost as exciting to the locals as the Monthly Market Day is to tourists. For the second year, this momentous day was coupled with Annual Entrepreneurs Day, for elementary and middle school aged kids to practice the fine art of being business owners.
It was a pleasantly cool, late spring morning when I met my sister there with my niece and her young children. Kids and their parents were parked under scattered tree canopies and pop-up shade tents, selling their homemade wares. Some children had put in tremendous effort. Others, not so much.
The library staff had transformed the interior into an organized jumble of old and used books. They were displayed in the usual walking aisles on collapsible tables in crowded rows. People were inching their way around at various awkward angles in search of a find. Prices ranged from fifty cents to five dollars a book.
As usual, I found myself browsing the cooking section. I’ve read and seen enough fiction to last a lifetime, or so I thought. Before long I amassed a private pile of book booty, including a pristine paperback copy of The Silver Palate Cookbook, A Primer on Cheese by a famous foodie and a first edition hardcover copy of Larousse’s Gatronomique, in absolutely excellent condition (with uncreased book jacket and all).
What a haul! They set me back $4.00, including a Williams-Sonoma special edition on tea breads. However, after going back outside to socialize and drink child-made lemonade, I came back inside and made a final pass through the increasingly depleted and discombobulated aisles. That’s when my eyes came to rest on a thick, tabletop-size book, The Dictionary Of Imaginary Places. What?
It’s just in these unexpected moments in ordinary life when our true passions jump out at us. We’re ambushed. Here it was, a single, rapturously magical illustrated tome documenting some of the greatest fiction writers of the last 500 years distilled into a compendium of geographic landscapes. I could hardly contain my excitement. The Economist review describes the work this way: “A book no self-respecting dreamer should be without.” And so it is.
To be continued tomorrow or later today.
FYI: I split this story in two because it works it’s way into a complex personal tale that may benefit from further developmental tweaking before I publish and because it’s well known that online posts are best kept to 500 words or less. See you soon😊