Jul 25, 2013
10:20 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Pequot Library's Great Book Sale in Southport (Think Signed Sartre) Starts Friday

Pequot Library's Great Book Sale in Southport (Think Signed Sartre) Starts Friday

“If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company.

That’s just one of the almost literally countless quotes about the state of modern existence from the French philosopher and author Jean-Paul Sartre. Among his other bon mots of wisdom: 'All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books.”

Taken together, the two thoughts—in elliptical, if not existential, fashion—point to the extreme appeal of 53rd Annual Pequot Library Book Sale. It’s an absolute must-attend gem for anyone who truly loves books, and it’s held at a gem of a library in a gem of a village, Southport.

A la Sartre on a fool’s loneliness, the sure cure—even for those out of practice—is a good book.

And this signature book sale, which starts tomorrow, July 26, has lots of good books. Make that more than lots, as the sale, called the best in not just Connecticut but all of New England, offers more than over 140,000 books, CDs, DVDs, records and videos.

Notable within that flood of good fortune for the culture-minded is a little trove of rare books, known as “specials,” something that sets this sale apart. And included in that trove this year are two rare signed books, inscribed by none other than Jean-Paul Sartre himself.

From tomorrow through Tuesday, July 30, guests at the sale that is free and open to all will have an opportunity to purchase a wide range of collector’s items and first editions.

That range includes a very rare early reprint (1862) of the Bay Psalms, the first book printed in North America, in 1640. “There were only 50 copies printed for subscribers (and) 12 of these copies are currently within institutions, leaving 38 possibly remaining in private hands,” the library explains in a release. “The original copies are considered to be among the most valuable books in the world.”

Other specials offerings, the library said, include a number of rare signed books by Maurice Sendak, John Knowles, former U.S. Presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter, baseball star Hank Aaron, and World War I flying ace and American aviator Eddie Rickenbacker.

Two (of many) interesting first editions, meanwhile, are by John Steinbeck, Sweet Thursday, and Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes

Two scarce books on poetry include The Newark Anniversary Poems (1917). This was done nearly 100 years ago in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Newark (NJ), the library said. Apart from its local interest, this is notable for the inclusion of one poem by Ezra Pound. The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922), includes poems from many notable Black poets of the early 20th century.

Other valuable unsigned books for sale will include a first printing/collector's reprint edition (1966) of Tolkien's The Hobbit; a 1924 collection of 50 loose plates (Interieurs) featuring architectural drawings of interiors by seven French Art Deco designers/firms, and an 1892 edition of History of New Haven County.

The hours and pricing for the sale are as follows:

Friday, July 26: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; books are double the marked price

Saturday, July 27: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; books are priced as marked

Sunday, July 28: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; books are priced as marked

Monday, July 29: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; books are half the marked price

Tuesday, July 30: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; it’s $5 per bag day

Cash, check, and all major credit cards accepted, and all sales benefit the library

Visit www.pequotlibrary.org to learn more about the library, whose classes and programs are open to everyone. For information: (203) 259-0346, ext. 15.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, Trinity Church volunteers will direct cars to available parking in the church’s parking lot, in exchange for canned food or donations, the library said. All proceeds go to St. Luke’s Bridgeport Food Pantry.

Judy Proctor, co-chair with Stephen Stout, of Trinity’s Outreach Committee says, “We’ve been doing this for over three years and the results have greatly exceeded expectations. Donations to food pantries are especially needed at this time, when so many people are in need of food for their daily living.”

Volunteers will help and guide people in and out of parking spaces in Trinity’s lot. The church will also be selling “Bebe’s Special Lemonade,” a spit-fire brew of real lemonade made from real lemons. All proceeds benefit St. Luke’s Bridgeport Food Pantry.

Another great thing about the sale held by this big-hearted library is chronicled in another release, printed below in full:

A little-known fact about Pequot Library’s Summer Book Sale is a program linking library book sales with classrooms in need. The Renée B. Fisher Foundation’s, The Books for Teachers program, started with a simple idea: provide an abundance of books of all types and subjects to children whose access to books may be limited. What better place to find a rich resource of books at affordable prices than a library book sale? What better way to get the books into student hands than through their teachers? The Renée B. Fisher Foundation is a nonprofit, philanthropic organization located in Greens Farms, CT. Pequot Library’s program was the flagship program, serving Bridgeport and New Haven’s under-served school communities. The Books for Teachers program has now grown to nationwide proportions.

Special Ed Teacher, Mary H. Scruggs, Dunbar School, Bridgeport, CT, says, “Thank you for the $100 voucher. I looked for books that I already had and bought multiple copies of them so I could do more small group instruction with my students.”

Nicholas Grasso, Fourth Grade Teacher at Amistad Academy Elementary School in New Haven obtained nearly 50 books for his classroom. “I have an incoming class of very mixed ability. I was able to get a broad range of books that my students will be able to read, I now have material I need to reach my goal. I was amazed at what a great resource these books will be. Thank you for making this all possible!”

One of the trustees of The Renée B. Fisher Foundation, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, grew up in Westport, CT and worked as a Book Sale volunteer at Pequot Library. “I believe in the value of physical books,” says Fishkin. As an academic, Dr. Fishkin recognized what she was exposed to at Pequot Library’s Summer Book Sale. “It was an eye-opening experience. Sometimes 1st editions of Mark Twain would surface and I noticed the quality of the illustrations.” Shelley Fisher Fishkin is now the Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities, Professor of English, and Director of American Studies at Stanford University. Dr. Fishkin is the author, editor or co-editor of over forty books and has published over eighty articles, essays and reviews. Her work has been translated into Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Georgian, and Italian, and has been published in English-language journals in Turkey, Japan, and Korea

Oxford Press invited her to write a book in the early 1990’s, and she has subsequently published: Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices (selected as an "Outstanding Academic Book" by Choice) (Oxford, 1993); Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture (Oxford, 1997). She is the editor of the 29-volume Oxford Mark Twain (Oxford, 1996; Paperback reprint edition, 2009), The Oxford Historical Guide to Mark Twain (Oxford, 2002), "Is He Dead?" A New Comedy by Mark Twain (University of California, 2003), Mark Twain's Book of Animals (University of California Press, 2009), and The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on his Life and Works (Library of America, 2010). It all started as a volunteer at Pequot Library’s Summer Book Sale.

However it was Dr. Fishkin’s son, Bobby Fishkin who had the initial Books for Teachers idea. He would come to Pequot Library in high school to write papers. He then thought of a way to support Pequot Library and various after school programs. He realized the potential of excess capacity, and putting different communities together for mutual benefit. He is now a social entrepreneur in San Francisco.

The Pequot Library Books for Teachers Program was conceived of by Bobby Fishkin, designed by him and Lori Hashizume, funded by The Renée B. Fisher Foundation and developed and implemented by Lori Hashizume over its first three years.

First Grade Teacher, Maureen D. Lacossiere, at Bridgeport Academy Elementary says, “As a math teacher I purchased math related books. I’m trying to infuse as much literacy in math as possible. Thank you so much for this grant; it helps me create a more robust selection for the students.”

Jonnie Garcia, teacher at Ross Woodward Classical Studies Magnet School, Bridgeport, CT, replaced books that were worn and bought books for her new grade level. She says, “The selection is the best and the prices still allow me to get many selections.”

In its first year, The Books for Teachers program, provided vouchers to 13 public school teachers from the largest city in the state of Connecticut. Teachers were invited to attend the Pequot Library Summer Book Sale.  They each received vouchers worth $200 to buy books at the book sale.

The teachers left the sale with books on everything from history to folklore, pets and animals, atlases and dictionaries, not to mention a few chapter books and classics, and math and science books, too. Their one complaint: it was a challenge to spend the entire $200, even over four days of the book sale.  With books priced from 50 cents to three or four dollars each, teachers purchased many more books than they might have been able to buy at a book store.

The teachers couldn’t wait to get back to their classrooms in the Fall to share their new-found wealth with their students. In subsequent interviews, teachers reported that they used the books purchased at the book sale to supplement their classroom libraries. Books were used as incentives for students – to encourage reading, research, and discovery. Some of the teachers reported wrapping the books and presenting them to students at the end of the school year.

Now in 2013, 256 teachers from 50 schools, will again, thanks to the generous grant from The Renée B. Fisher Foundation’s, benefit from this enriching program. Pequot Library brings culture to life.

Jackie Townes, New Haven Teacher notes, “I found beautiful, large, travel and history books with lots of gorgeous photographs. These ‘coffee table’ books are very expensive and not something I can usually afford for my classroom. These will be a wonderful addition and will help me bring to life places around the world and historical events which we will be studying. Thank you again for your generosity.”

The Books for Teachers program has been such a success. Dr. Fishkin says, “It’s meant so much for so many teachers.” The Books for Teachers program has spread the joy of reading to other communities in need.

Known as “The Best Book Sale in New England” Pequot Library’s 53rd Annual Book Sale, runs July 26 – 30, 2013. Over 140,000 high-quality books at reasonable prices plus CDs, DVDs, records, and more. Admission is free and all Sale proceeds benefit Pequot Library. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express Accepted. Great food and drinks too.


Pequot Library's Great Book Sale in Southport (Think Signed Sartre) Starts Friday

Reader Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed