My Favorite Thing: Finding Great Books

I've been quiet the past couple weeks because I was busy organizing the annual used book sale at the Norfolk Academy Field Day. In two weeks, we went from empty shelves and boxes full of books to a pop up bookstore, with shelved books, displays, and gift baskets to raffle off:

Before & After pics of our used book sale
We did really well, making over $2900, which is impressive considering the prices averaged $2 a book. As usual, the most popular event was the end-of-the-day bag sale, where people stuffed as many books as they could into a reusable bag that we sold for $10.

I love doing this each year because it indulges my inner bookseller and bookworm. As I wrote last year, opening each box of used books is a treat. Another benefit is getting first dibs on buying some awesome books. Each year, I donate bags full of books and then I go home with almost as many.

Here are some of my new finds. Some beautiful picture books:

Some interesting nonfiction:

And two of my favorite finds, a book of World War I posters:

A few posters from this book

And an old book, Commercial Engraving and Printing: A Manual of Practical Instruction and Reference Covering Commercial Illustrating and Printing by all Processes, by Charles W. Hackleman (1924):

I love it because when I was in college, my residential college had an old fashioned letterpress printer, where we made engraved invitations, stationery, and posters. As Master Printer at the college, I spent hours putting together the metal type and making short run prints.

This book covers all aspects of a bygone era, such as artists's tools (I'd like a pantograph):

color separation:

and letterpress printing, to name a few:

As you can see from these finds, this book sale gets great book donations each year. In addition to the usual airport thrillers and best seller book club books, we routinely get the latest "big idea" books (Malcolm Gladwell type books), military history (we're in Virginia), and in depth treatments of all subjects ranging from sociology to education to political history.

What are some of your favorite used book finds?

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