Sunday, October 2, 2005

SFPL book sale

This morning, I went to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library annual book sale. Some 8000 boxes of books (nearly 200,000 titles) are put on tables in a big exhibition hall, where they are loosely arranged by subject. Today, the last day of the sale, everything is one dollar or less . . . . I picked up a bunch of swell books, including a vintage copy of Vagabond Dreams Come True by crooner Rudy Vallee - I like his singing; a first edition of Love, Laughter and Tears by Adela Rogers St. Johns - this memoir has lots of early Hollywood stuff including a rather nifty pic of Colleen Moore (be still by beating heart); a nice copy of Kid, a 1981 novel about Charlie Chaplin by John Baxter; the film script of Grand Illusion, with Erich von Stroheim on the cover - haven't seen that before; three books on Will Rogers; and three pictorial booklets from Hearst Castle; a biography of Fred Astaire; the autobiography of Edward G. Robinson; and a book on Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. In actuality, I spent $51.00 - which means I came home with 51 books. Where will I put them ? At least 45 of them were film related.

I also found a mass market paperback of The Other Side of Ethel Mertz: The Life Story of Vivian Vance. I can't believe I have never looked at this title before, as Vance (famous for her role in I Love Lucy) and Louise Brooks knew each other as kids in Kansas. Barry Paris covers their friendship in his biography, and the authors of this book devote three paragraphs to the "local girl whose warm smile and expressive eyes exuded that special something."

I also found a few titles for my friend Amanda, who I know enjoys film books. For Amanda, I found The Talmadge Girls by Anita Loos, a biography of Marion Davies by Fred Laurence Guiles (that's the book I am reading now), and The Paramount Pretties, by James Robert Parish (profiles of various stars associated with the studio). Each are uncommon, worthwhile titles. Each orphaned, I knew they needed a home.

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