Tag Archives: flea market

What Is It About Books?

      Hi everyone.  I’m in rural southwestern Maine this week, where access is intermittant, so forgive me if I don’t respond.  But I’ve been thinking about books.  No surprise there.   Who doesn’t?  But this time it’s because I’ve been cleaning out my office and I have a pile of books five deep and thigh high sitting on my hearth and those were just the ones stacked on my floor.  I’m nowhere near ready to empty the four bookshelves in the room.  And that doesn’t count the side table full of books in the living room that I intend to read — sometime. Or the back bedroom — the alleged guest room — that is jammed floor to ceiling with — you guessed it — books.

          Who needs a bed?  We never have guests anyway.

          So what it is about books?   I know I absolutely need all those research books, and the essential mountainous to-be-read pile, and there are the books I know I’ll get to — soon;  nor can I give up my beloved keepers because I’m going to read them again — when I have time; and there are my childhood favorites I love to reread (Nancy Drew anyone?); and the books my English teacher husband read in college and can’t bear to give up.

          All the freebies at conferences that cost more to send home than they would to buy them?  I don’t care.  I have to have them.  A friend of mine said we’re all lemmings – we’d dive off a cliff for a box of books.

          What is it about books?

          And you remember my penchant for buying obscure books? We found a used bookstore in that lovely seacoast town in Maine — you didn’t think I walked out with nothing, did you? (It was Kathleen Norris, perfectly understandable).

          And at the flea market at the fairgrounds — what did I buy? 


          Who could resist “The Rajah’s Fortress?” Wouldn’t you snap that right up?  Honestly, who wouldn’t?

          I’m even the Recording Secretary my town’s Friends of the Library because we get first dibs at the book sales.

          It’s not that I don’t get rid of books either.  I’ve sold books, donated books to the Friends’ Library sale (three boxes full just the other day), given books to friends, left books outside and invited people to take them — yet somehow the piles in the house never grow smaller.

          I’m the one who used to tote a suitcase full of books on vacation in case I ran out of things to read and the supermarket/bookstore/pharmacy was closed and I couldn’t  buy a new book because I’d finished all the others. 

          So you’d think e-readers would be my salvation and my heaven.  Hundreds — no, thousands — of books in the palm of my hand at the instant!  Whenever I might want.  Anytime anywhere,  No more suitcase.  No more I’ll-die-if-I-don’t-have-something-to-read frenzy.  

Maybe it’s generational.

However, full disclosure, I did get my husband an e-reader for Christmas and I’m really enjoying watching HIM use it.  (He downloaded War & Peace, which I think takes care of his leisure reading for the next ten years — and the need to download more.) 

          And I AM making an effort too.  In order to cut down the paper chaos and declutter my life,  I decided that if I can check the book I need out of the library, I don’t have to have it in the house. 

          Sane, right?  Sensible.  Grown-up.   

          And if I need that piece of research at ten at night — or two in the morning? … or if I MUST read that book NOW … well, that’s why search engines were invented.  That’s the magic of being able to download any book I want any time I want.  That’s why I should fully love and embrace my husband’s e-reader as fully as I love and embrace him.

          My own last four books are in eBook for heaven’s sake.  You’d think I’d want to buy out the store.

          I  actually think the tipping point might have come today.  As I was standing in line at the post office (did you ever notice how much happens in my local post office?), I watched as a woman ahead of me slipped her e-reader from her purse and began unobtrusively reading, and I felt a sudden pang of jealousy.  I wanted a book to read.  Right then, right there.  And I wanted the unlimited choice, right then, right there.  All of it, magically, in the palm of my hand. 

          And there it was, right before my eyes. 

          But would you believe?  I’m still not quite yet sold …

How about you?  Are you and your Kindle inseparable, or do you love your books like I do?  Are your books spilling on the floor and piled in the closet, or are they neatly contained on a device … I’m still ambivalent …

Thea Devine is the best-selling author of twenty-five steamy historical and contemporary romances.  She is working on the sequel to the Darkest Heart, Beyond the Night, to be released April 2013 from Pocket Star.

Everything You Never Thought You Needed

Greetings, Scribe friends, Suze here.  Did everyone get their taxes finished and out the door, either electronically or via the good ole Postal Service of the U.S. of A.? Here’s hoping you got a big refund. And when it arrives, or if it’s burning a hole in your pocket already, I’ve got a suggestion how you can spend some of it.

Come back after the flea market closes, and you can have dinner and see a couple of movies!

I’m talking about the flea market. Do you have one nearby? There are a couple not too far from my home, and Mr. Suze and our son visited one last weekend. This one has the advantage of being on the grounds of one of the only drive-in movie theaters left in New England.  (Check out Mansfield Drive-In here.)  So here are my top reasons for loving flea markets:

1.    You can find everything you never thought you needed. Where else can you find a banjo (Son wanted this, but at $350 decided against it), depression glass, knockoff designer purses (I was tempted on some of these), or this stunning planter:


Wouldn't this look great on the antique plant stand in the foyer?


2. You’re supporting small enterprise. Some vendors actually buy up other people’s unwanted stuff, clean it (sometimes!), pack and transport it, then set it up in a jumble on on their tables or on tarps on the ground, all for your viewing and purchasing pleasure.

3. You’re assisting someone else with her fung shui. Clearing clutter is good for increasing your energy and creativity. That person who is getting rid of unwanted items may now go on to achieve her dreams, all because you bought her barely used George Foreman grill for $5.00 (haggled down from $8.00).

4.  You can observe people for hours, getting necessary fodder to store away in your idea silo. This is one of my favorite things about the flea market. See that woman in the sunglasses and floppy-brimmed hat? Is she the careful, cautious type who wears her sunscreen without fail, exercises and eats right, calls her mother every Saturday morning, and is about to meet the man who will change her life forever? Or is she a spy-gone-rogue, on the run from a secret government organization, and the only thing that can save her is the long-lost information hidden in that dusty trout mounted on a varnished wooden board?

Now, you do have to be careful at places like this. It’s very easy to go overboard and come home with a lot of stuff that will actually make your life worse (see #3, above). Over the years I’ve developed some rules about what I can buy. If it’s just one more thing to store or dust, no. If it is a piece of my discontinued wedding china pattern (Mikasa Imperial Rose — anybody got some cheap?), yes.  I really have to keep my love of a bargain in check, and I have a weakness for antique dishes, vintage costume jewelry, and of course books, books, books.

That's a big TBR pile!

On this latest trip to the flea market, nothing fit my criteria. So I bought nothing. Mr. Suze bought a fold-up fishing chair and a reel for an 8mm film projector (the old projector, we already have). Teenage son bought a hot dog.

How about you? Love flea markets or tag sales (in other parts of the country you might call them yard or garage sales)? What items can’t you resist? What’s the most unusual item you’ve seen at one?