library book sale


Tue, 2010-04-20 00:01

Last Friday was another fine Seattle Friends of the Library book sale at Magnuson Park.

Jenni and I and two other friends spent an hour and a half or so, and found some choice items, then had delicious ice cream at Molly Moon: they had "salt licorice" which was terrific.

Here's what I got:

  • Pedagogical Sketchbook by Paul Klee
  • A thin paperback filled with thoughts of various graphical natures.

  • Directions in Kinetic Sculpture, by Peter Selz
  • A short illustrated volume of a number of kinetic sculpture artists active in the mid 1960s.

  • Foucalt for Beginners, by Lydia Alix Fillingham
  • I'm finding these "X for Beginners" books to be excellent bathroom reading, and I don't know much about Mr. Foucalt.

  • The Starving Artist's Way, by Nava Lubelski
  • A collection of things to be made on the cheap. I like the cut of its jib.

  • Passages in Modern Sculpture, by Rosalind E. Krauss
  • A nice, densely-illustrated book on the subject.

  • Fun with Pens, by Christopher Jarman
  • A silly little book about calligraphy.

  • Photographics: Line and Contrast Methods, by Par Lundqvist
  • A technical book on photographic methods to achieve certain kinds of visual effects. Perhaps ideas for digital filters?

  • ...I never saw another butterfly...: Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp 1942-1944
  • A very very sad book.

  • How to Draw Trees, by Gregory Brown
  • An adorable little book from 1943 on methods of drawing trees.

  • Self-Exposures: A Workbook in Photographic Self-Portraiture, by Naomi Weissman and Debra Heimerdinger
  • An interesting set of self-portrait related exercises.

  • Blackstock's Collections, by Gregoriy L. Blackstock
  • Delightful artwork by Mr. Blackstock.

  • Practical Portrait Photography for Home and Studio, by Edwin A. Falk and Charles Abel
  • A very old-fashioned book on portaiture, with amusing chapter titles like "Women Over Thirty" and "Budding Manhood".

    A good haul again.

Friends of the Seattle Public Library Autumn Sale

Sat, 2009-09-26 20:53

Last night was preview night at the Friends of the Seattle Public Library book sale at Magnuson Park. These sales are held twice a year, and Jenni and I always attend: it's a favorite thing of ours. After the sale, we go out for ice cream.

This is the haul I brought in last night:

  • Introducing Wittgenstein, by John Heaton and Judy Groves
  • I like Wittgenstein's writing, and, from many mentions in Bertrand Russell's autobiography, he seems like a very interesting character. This is a kind of comic biography/introduction to his work, suitable for casual reading.

  • The Graphs of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • I read Of Mice and Men the other day, and though it was great, and felt I owed Steinbeck another read.

  • Proposed Roads to Freedom, by Bertrand Russell
  • Another Russell book I've not read.

  • This is not a Pipe, by Michel Foucalt
  • A short book about Magritte's famous painting.

  • Adventures of Ideas: A Brilliant History of Mankind's Great Thoughts, by Alfred North Whitehead
  • I felt like reading something by Mr. Whitehead.

  • Marx's Kapital for Beginners, by David Smith and Phil Evans
  • Another comic book introduction, this time to a book I really don't want to read.

  • Mondrian: 80 Colour Plates, by Alberto Busignani
  • A little book with lots of Mondrian paintings.

  • Graphic Idea Notebook, by Jan V. White
  • A very nice looking book, with lots of graphic ideas (e.g. layout, typography, etc.)

  • Modern Prints and Drawings, by Paul J. Sachs
  • A nice collection of prints and drawings.

  • Charm in Motion: A Collection of Mobiles, by Takumi Shinagawa
  • I'm interested in kinetic sculpture, and mobiles are the classic.

  • Complete Drawing Course, by The Diagram Group
  • A nicely laid out, dense instruction book on many aspects of drawing. It's notably different from other drawing books I have.

  • Drawing Peopls: How to portray the clothed figure
  • Not my favorite type of drawing book, but it has many examples of clothing problems encountered in drawing.

  • Transcendental & Algebraic Numbers, by A. O. Gelfond
  • A classic.

  • The Applications of Elliptic Functions, by Alfred George Greenhill
  • Picked up on a whim.

  • The Four Color Problem: Assaults and Conquest, by Thomas Saaty and Paul Kainen
  • A nice book to have on hand when students ask the common question, "What research can you do in mathematics?".

Some good stuff there, I think.

Afterwards, we went to Molly Moon, and I had a cone of delicious salted caramel, as always.

Friends of the Library Books Sale, April 2009!

Sat, 2009-04-18 17:18

Well, this weekend is the Friends of the Seattle Public Library's twice annual book sale at Magnuson Park. Jenni and I love this event, and always go on Preview Night, when you have to be a member to buy anything. It's a great experience: an airplane hangar filled with books of all sorts, all (or at least the ones I look at) very inexpensive, mostly $1 or less. With our membership we can buy up to 25 books, and we always manage to do that. Last night I got 13 books. They were:

  • Dali by Dali, by Salvador Dali
  • A curious book of full page prints of many of Dali's works with short bits of commentary. Slip cover and binding in poor shape.

  • Story of the Eye, by Georges Bataille, orig. 1928
  • This is a rarity from the library sale: a bit of antique pornographic writing. I'd never heard of it before, but the book (a 1987 edition by City Light books) has a nice cover illustration which made me pick it up and, after reading the back description, I thought it sounded interesting.

  • A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, by Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace, 1814
  • Philosophical questions of probability interest me.

  • T'ai Chi Ch'uan and I Ching, by Da Liu
  • For years, I practiced T'ai Chi, but I've stopped, for now. I don't have a good reference to use for the form that I know, and this book appears as though it may be useful in this way.

  • The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, The Final Years: 1944-1968
  • I read the first volume of Russell's three volume autobiography, and now, I think, I have all three volumes.

  • Marriage and Morals, by Bertrand Russell, orig. 1929
  • I like Bertrand Russell's writing generally, and this I have not yet read.

  • God's Man: a novel in woodcuts, by Lynd Ward, orig. 1929
  • A beautiful small book of woodcuts, by an artist with whom I was not previously familiar.

  • Typerformance, by Roger Ferriter, 1983
  • A very nice looking book of "analogies, drawings and patterns with letterforms, from a collection of student work."

  • Sketching Basics, by Alois Fabry, orig. 1958
  • I've been sort of collecting books on drawing and sketching technique. This is a very thin one.

  • Drawing in Pencil, by Harry Borgman, orig. 1981
  • A nicely thorough "guide to drawing techniques in a variety of pencil media".

  • Drawing Figures
  • This is one of those thin, large format authorless art technique books churned out by Barron's. Might be useful.

  • Hands: A Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth-Century Sources, by Jim Harter
  • Lots of illustrations of hands.

  • 1001 Spot Illustrations of the Lively Twenties, by Carol Belanger Grafton
  • Another book of illustrations.

An interesting haul, and the experience at the sale was especially nice this year.

Afterwards, Jenni and I and our friend Valerie all went to ice cream at Molly Moon (where I had Salted Black Licorice ice cream). This seems to be the new complete tradition.

another library book sale

Sat, 2008-09-27 16:58

Jenni and I capped our first week back teaching at UW with another Friends of the Library Book Sale at Magnuson Park, a pleasant half hour walk from our house. This year, it was not so crowded, and we had a good time. There are always many people there on the Friday preview night (that's the only time we ever go) with scanners. They are apparently engaged in trying to make money reselling the books, and they have quite a different mode of operation than the other folks there: they don't look inside the book, they just pick them up, scan the barcode, and (usually) just put the book down again. They're all in quite a hurry, and their attitude used to bother me until I realized that most of them are (as far I can tell) poor. Many bring their families, and there are small children running around with scanners, seemingly trying to eek out a living in this way. They never seem very happy about what they're doing, and it's kind of depressing to see. Often, it seems the majority of people at the sale are these scanner folk.

Anyway, this year's haul was small, but I'm happy with it. Here's what I got:

  • Living Material: A Sculptor's Handbook, by Oliver Andrews
  • A nice, general reference on materials for sculpture.

  • Innovation/Imagination: 50 Years of Polaroid Photography
  • Nice pictures.

  • Introducing Existentialism by R. Appignanesi and O. Zarate
  • An amusing, comic-book like presentation.

  • Differential Geometry, by Luther Eisenhart
  • Differential geometry is a subject I've never studied, but I think I should. This is one of those books I can find via Alibris selling for 60-90 dollars, but the scanner people never notice it: published in 1909, it has no barcode.

  • Drawing People for Fun, by Roger Vernam
  • I guess I kind of collect books on drawing. Eventually, the sheer weight of them will magically inspire me to draw. I like the tone and style of this book.

  • The Book of a Hundred Hands, by George B. Bridgman
  • A rather exhaustive book on drawing the hand.

  • Living More with Less, by Doris Janzen Longacre
  • From the cover: "a pattern for living with less and a wealth of practical suggestions from the worldwide experiences of Mennonites". I really like the intention of the book, and the typography and layout appeals to me.

  • The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, by Bertrand Russell
  • I recently finished the irst volume of Russell's autobiography (through 1914), and this is the second volume: 1914-1944. Things will get interesting.

  • The Function of Reason, by Alfred North Whitehead
  • A short book on an interesting topic.

  • A Mathematical Theory of Spirit, by H. S. Redgrove
  • A short book on a somewhat whacky subject, with chapters like "On Nature Regarded as the Embodiment of Number". This is another book overlooked by scanner folk: first edition, published 1912.


Sat, 2008-04-12 22:11

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library twice-annual booksale was Friday. Well, actually is is today and tomorrow, but Friday is the "members" preview night, and Jenni and I always go to that. The sale is enormous: it takes place in an old airplane hangar at Magnuson Park, just a short walk from our house! We really enjoy the experience, in the spring and autumn, of walking to the sale, and crowding in with all the other bookish types. There are always a lot of people there trying to eek out a living selling books on Ebay, or elsewhere, and they can be seen rather blindly scanning books with hand-held scanners. I'm not really sure of their process: I often see them scan the book, and then, apparently, not wait for any kind of response from their scanner. I figure they are either just doing triage of some kind, of they've set the device to beep in a certain way if the book is sufficiently valuable.

Anyway, this sale was particularly pleasant for some reason. The sale starts at 6:30, but we got there Friday around 7, so we avoided the silly initial rush. Also, there seemed to be more space, and just an overall nicer feel to the sale. Jenni and I split up, and each sought books for an hour. At the preview night, one is limited to 25 books per household, which is a good thing.

This time, I found the following books:

  • Introduction to Mathematical Probability by J. V. Uspensky

    I've been thinking a bit more about probability questions, and I lack at-home reference books, and this looked technical enough for the purpose.

  • Kinetic Art: Theory and Practice, edited by Frank J. Malina

    This is an out-of-print Dover compilation of articles from the journal Leonardo. Lots of interesting art stuff, including amusingly old computer generated art (copyright 1974).

  • How to Make Mobiles, by John Lynch

    A short treatise on mobiles. With all the welding I've been doing, I need more ideas of things to make. Mobiles don't necessarily require any welding, but they certainly can involve other kinds of metal work.

  • Direct Metal Sculpture by Dona Meilach and Don Seiden

    This has lots of example of metal artwork. From the jacket: "...many twentieth-century sculptors now work directly with a variety of metals by soldering, brazing, and welding, in contrast to the use of more conventional casting techniques". Probably the best find of this sale.

  • Manuel Alvarez Bravo, photographs

    A little book in a series by Phaidon. Alvarez Bravo was a very influential Mexican photographer, who had some interactions with Breton and other famous Surrealists (about whom I've developed a recent particular interest).

  • Jacques-Henri Lartigue, photographs

    Another little book of photographs. Quite a lot from the period 1905-1920, which must have been an interesting time to live. Airplane development at that time, one of Lartigues subjects, would have been endlessly intriguing and exciting.

  • Birthday, by Dorothea Tanning

    Speaking of Surrealists. I've only seen a few of her works, but I like them a lot, and I'm interested in her life and her associations with other Surrealists (specifically Max Ernst).

  • Notes In Hand, by Claes Oldenburg

    I probably shouldn't have bought this: it's quite water-(or some other liquid...)damaged. But it's very cool: a little collection of interesting artwork that includes lots of "markup": dimensions are listed, incomprehensible notes are included, etc.

  • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, by R. Buckminster Fuller

    I've probably read this before, but I like Fuller enough I wouldn't mind reading this little book again.

  • The Medium is the Massage, by Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, and Jerome Agel

    I know I already had copies of this book. But this is a larger format one in good shape, unlike the pocket-sized, worn-binding copies I have. I love this book.

  • The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, by Bertrand Russell

    I like Bertrand Russell, and I like his writing. The first sentence of the introduction:

    Three passions, simple by overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

  • On Revolution, by Hannah Arendt

    One of my students mentioned that she was quite interested in the writing of Hannah Arendt, and I had to admit I'd not heard of her. Her work sounds quite interesting, and when I saw this at the sale, I grabbed it. It doesn't actually sound like the most interesting of her works, though.

Not at all a bad haul.

books! books! books!

Fri, 2007-09-28 22:33

Today was the Friends of the Seatle Public Library book sale at Magnuson Park: twice a year, they fill a giant airplane hangar with tables covered with books, and hordes of rabid book buyers descend on it. It's great. Today was actually the preview night, where you pay for a card that allows you to buy up to 25 books. Here's what I got:

  • Socialism for Beginners, by Anna Pacuska

    A bit more light-hearted than most of the socialist stuff I get at these sales. Nicely illustrated by Sophie Grillet

  • Does it Matter? Essays on Man's Relation to Materialism, by Alan Watts

    Alan Watts is pretty awesome.

  • A Grammar of Dreams, by David Foulkes

    I'm interested in dreams. This book looks quite interesting, with diagrams, and "a scoring system for latent structure" which sounds cool.

  • A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
  • Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens
  • The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens

    I've set myself the goal of reading every Dickens novel, so I picked up some at the sale.

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquex

    People seem to like this book.

  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

    I've never gotten around to reading this. Maybe now that I have a copy...

  • Anarcho-Syndicalism, by Rudolf Rocker

    Apparently a classic of anarchist writing.

  • The Courage to Be, by Paul Tillich

    "This book is concerned with anxiety and its conquest."

  • Tertium Organum, by P. D. Ouspensky

    Some philosophical writings.

  • A Guide for the Perplexed, by E. F. Schumacher

    I love this book's title.

  • Data Book for Civil Engineers, Volume One: Design

    This book's awesome. From 1947, it is filled with tables, diagrams, and specifications, almost entirely written with hand lettering and hand drawn figures. Just beautiful. (Listed at various online seller anywhere from $50 to $1600 !)

  • Manual of Mechanical Movements, by Henry T. Brown

    This little book is filled with small diagrams showing "mechanical movements", i.e., mechanical arrangements of gears, belts, pulleys, etc. for all kinds of purposes. It accompanied a travelling exhibition called "Mechanical Wonderland", which was a "collection of over 200 moving models: Electrically drive, in slow motion, showing all the movments used in the art and science of mechanics". Fantastic.

So there you have it. Not a bad catch.