Reader’s choice


Bookworms sitting, standing, paging through musty old tomes and yellowed, disintegrating paperbacks: it's not Powell's Books; today it's Regenstein Library’s annual book sale. Every spring the Library combs its stacks for duplicate and dispensable books to sell over the course of a week. On Monday hardcovers are $20, paperbacks $10; Tuesday prices are cut in half; and by Saturday all unsold books are free.

Students and faculty line up outside the Reg before the sale. Few items are too recondite or in poor condition: a couple minutes of second-day browsing yield attractive works by Philip Roth, Derek Walcott, and Henry James, as well as out-of-print gems like William Hazlitt's essays or Frank Budgen's James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses.

"It's an ingenious waiting game," says fourth-year undergraduate Ian
Kizu-Blair, pondering a new-looking hardcover of Frederic Jameson's Postmodernism: Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. "Do I buy this today for $10 or wait to get it for $5 tomorrow and risk losing it to someone else today? What do you think?"

Paralyzed with indecision, he distracts himself by laughing at old paperback cover designs of a few great novels—a trashy illustration for Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March and a kitchy cover for Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Joseph Liss, ‘04

May 5, 2004