The doors open at ten, and volunteers arrive fifteen minutes early to orientate and tidy up. Some years, there’s not much to do, but this year, the art books were a mess, so I spent fifteen minutes creating bookends out of boxes packed with big books and crawling under the tables to fetch the fallen volumes. By the time the doors opened, I had a neat system arranged where a quick shove of the box settled all of the books back into line. It was satisfying. I then went to work on science fiction.
People trickle, rather than surge, in on Saturday morning. There are fewer lost, frantic, and hungry small children to have melt-downs. There are older people, shuffling slowly down the tables, eyes on the titles rather than the floor. Everyone is hunting for a good read. Strangers recommend books to one another and encourage each other to try it—it’s only a dollar! People literally bump into old friends, stop to chat, block the aisle for five minutes, but no one really cares. It is Saturday morning, not Friday night. No one has a cell phone; no one is checking prices on line or shouting at a distant friend about picking up a title for them. No one is juggling a coffee cup while poking through a pile of books. An occasional dealer hampsters through the books under the table, leaving a messy pile on the floor, but, for the most part, they cruised through last night. A volunteer announces “Boxes cannot be left in front of the fire exit!” and gently shoves the pile to one side, knowing that the owner will be back soon. No need to reshelve yet. The building hums with activity.
Then, there is a moment, around 10:45, when the place grows silent. The sunlight sifts down through the years of dust, illuminating a grey head bent over a volume. Two small girls decide to share the ballerina book and tuck into a corner with a snack. Someone stands in the middle of the room, lost in a novel. And, for just a few moments, the old cinder-block building becomes a real library, where the entire room full is lost in the magic of the printed page. Time stops.
And then, the Farmer’s Market shoppers begin to pour in, clutching their winter greens and squash, and the Book Sale hums once more.
Spaghetti Elliana: aka pasta with nuts and cheese From Still Life with Menu
¾ cup of almonds, chopped
¾ cup of walnuts, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
.5 t salt
1 cup of raisins
2-3 T of anchovies, chopped
Papers and fresh parsely
Sauté nuts and garlic in olive oil until golden. Add raisins, anchovies, paper and parsley and mix together.
Cook pasta. Drain, and mix the nut/raisin mixture in. Sprinkle cheese over all. Eat with salad or steamed brocilli.