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Finding happiness and bargain reads at a used book sale

Shelf Life: Rachael Mason

If you knew exactly how many books I have at my house, you'd probably think it was a very bad idea for me to go to a used book sale. Even though I know I don't have shelf space for what I already own, I still couldn't resist the sale that took place Friday and Saturday at the Georgia Archives in Morrow.

A few weeks ago, my coworkers Arielle Kass and Camie Young told me about the sale. They went last year, but for some reason, I missed it.

I wasn't going to let that happen this year. Originally, I meant to do a quick survey of the merchandise and be out of there in about 15 minutes, with only a few books. An hour later, I was standing at the checkout with a box so full of books I could hardly bear to hold it any longer. I only spent $20, though.

My best find was "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing The Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg. I've wanted my own copy of this book since I first picked it up at my friend Lauren's house a few years ago. A new edition of this book would cost $12.95. I got it for 50 cents.

At the sale, I also picked up William Zinsser's "On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction." This writing guide was also 50 cents.

I invested a little more to learn about the life and work of Celestine Sibley. A copy of "Celestine Sibley: Reporter," edited by Richard L. Eldredge, cost $4. I'm more familiar with Sibley's columns, so I thought it might be interesting to read some of her early newspaper stories as well.

I think good journalism is timeless, so I also got a collection of Pulitzer prize-winning work from 1987. I also bought "Thinking Out Loud: On the Personal, the Political and the Private," Anna Quindlen's 1993 collection of columns.

I'm looking forward to reading "The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People" by Susan Orlean. This book is a collection of profiles. The subjects include a New York City real estate agent, a show dog named Biff and a high school basketball player.

Though I did buy a lot of nonfiction, I was also intrigued by a few novels. "She Went All the Way" is a romance novel by Meg Cabot (who is listed as Meggin on the cover), the author of "The Princess Diaries" series.

I bought "A Certain Chemistry: Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About" by Mil Millington because I really liked the subtitle. I liked the cover of "Love and Hydrogen," a short story collection by Jim Shepard, so I got that one, too. I got Barry Gifford's "The Wild Life of Sailor and Lula" because I have often wondered about what happened to the characters from "Wild at Heart."

So, I have a lot of reading to do. I really don't know where to start. Perhaps with a short writing exercise, followed by a column or two from Quindlen, then one of Orlean's profiles?

If you're worried about my book habit, perhaps you'll find this reassuring. On the same day I got a box of books at the Georgia Archives sale, I also dropped off two boxes and two bags of them at Goodwill. If you don't believe me, I have a receipt. I know I could count the donation as a tax deduction, but honestly, I'd just rather have more books.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.