The 2015 Book Sale in Sweden: The best sellers and what I bought!

Today was the first day of the yearly booksale and as a fervent book lover, I just could not get myself to stay away from the big bookshop in town. Eventhough I had made sure that I got all the books I really, really wanted, beforehand, by ordering them from one of the internet shops. They have this good thing going for them, they do have a wider selection than what the physical shops have, even if most of the books are the same in all shops around the country, with slight variations and price differences.

The yearly book sale opens its doors at the major bookshops, at 07:00. The days are gone when they opened at midnight! Pity! It was fun to stand in the long queue at midnight, with all excited shoppers, in an otherwise dark, cold and empty town. The bookshops started loosing money though, with fewer and fewer people showing up at that time. They can’t keep the same prices as internet and some people have moved over to reading all their books on reading tablets. But, they do open at 07:00 and up till 10:00, they let you buy 4 books for the price of 3, which is great. All people make sure they have the even numbers and put back books if they go over…

imageI managed to get “Gubby” to pre-school already at 08:00, so that I could make it in time to get my 4 for the price of 3 deal. What was already sold out when I arrived at 08:30? Christopher Hibbert’s “Borgia…”. I strongly suspect that the book might have sold so well, because there has been a TV-series with Jeremy Irons in it, portraying this ghastly family. Talk about corrupt and evil. I was actually tempted to order it on the internet because D. accused me of only reading WWII books and what kind of a historian am I then? I wanted to prove him wrong. But then I remembered sitting and watching one episode of the TV-series and I can’t say that I enjoyed it one bit. I did nothing to remember when subsequent episodes were being broadcast and I do not feel like I have missed out on anything important or something interesting. Some historical figures are interesting and exciting to read about, but I felt that reading about the Borgias would not be a good use of the free time I can steal for myself. But others in town really thought it would be an exciting read, that is for sure, since I heard disappointed customers finding out that it had been sold out right away.

Otherwise most of the books seemed to still be there when I arrived. But there were some, where there were only a few copies left: Like the books on Magda Goebbels, Hermann Göring  and Wittgenstein. I had decided against Magda Goebbels since she was animage atrocious woman, killing all her children but one, because SHE did not want to live in a world without Hitler. But they might have been alright with it? Actually, they probably would have been just fine! I was told about the book, by a music teacher, who is also a member of our church. She knows the author of the book, who decided to write about Magda, because they both had the same amount of children. She is not an author by profession so I have no idea what this book will be like. Nor how well researched it will be. But when I saw that there were just a couple of copies left of it, I decided that it was now or never.

Hermann Göring was not an option. I have already read a book on him and his narcotic abuse. One book was bad enough, I don’t need to read all that information again. If anything, I would have liked to read the American psychologist Gilbert’s diaries, since he got to talk to Göring every day in prison, while Göring awaited trial. That would have been an interestig book!

To get my 4 for 3, I had to have one final book and I stood and looked at all sorts of books, till I walked over to the biography section and came upon the Wittgenstein book, which there were only two books left of. Reading about the Jews and Vienna, about a month ago, and watching seminars on TV, his name came cropping up all over. Philosophers are usually people I stay clear of since their theories tend to give me a headache. But this book also being written by a Swede and being about Wittgenstein the person, could actually be a good read. Just the fact that he was one of Europe’s richest men and gave everything away, makes him interesting. Add to that, all the different occupations he tried out, fighting in WWI and claiming that “If you can’t talk about it, you must be quiet”. My choice stood between “Ulysses” or 708 pages of Wittgenstein and you see what I chose.

A third biography was a very much planned purchase. The little book by Chil Rajchman, called “I am the last Jew: Treblinka (1942-1943), translated from Yiddish. Only 57 people from Treblinka survived and I suspect that they survived because they managed to escape. 900 000 were killed at that extermination camp, so his testimony is extra important.

I think it was last year that I decided to stay away from novels at the book sale. After all, why waste the money when you can borrow them at the library? I usually only read a novel once, unless it is Jane Austen. So, why fill your bookcase with books you will never look in again? That is why, I only ordered one of the novels E. wanted from the internet: “Insurgent”, since she has read “Divergent”. But I will send her to the library for “The Maze Runner” and the third book of “The Circle”. After all, she hasn’t bothered reading the first two parts of this Swedish series, now going up in the cinemas. Books I have bought for her, previous imageyears. But I decided to be nice and buy my husband a book at the sale, him slaving away at work all day, not even getting close to a booksale. He loved the book about the 100-year-old who stepped out of a window… So today, I did buy him the author’s second book, about the illiterate who could count. I also decided to indulge “Kitty’s” and D.’s interest in the Titanic, which is actually a beautiful book full of glossy colour pages, most of them with the newspaper clippings from back when the ship went down. D. of course is doing his military service at the moment, so he can not tell me what he thinks about it, until he comes home on leave, but “Kitty” was excited and thought it a really, really nice book.

What was selling the quickest according to the personnel? A book that I thought was new, but since the author passed away in 1947, it is hardly new is it. Last year, the big seller was his “Alone in Berlin”, about resistance in Hitler Germany. And this year itimage is his book about the breakage point between Weimar Germany and the Nazi era. In English “Little Man – What Now? “. I stood with the book in my hand, but gazing in it a little bit here and there and reminding myself that I can borrow it at the library, I went against the current, and did not put it in my basket. Nor did I do like everybody else and put the book about Winston imageChurchill, in my basket. This will also be a big seller since it is the first book ever written about him in Swedish, by a high school teacher. But do not think that I have gone insane. I did order it on the internet since I did not want to fight for a copy. Like I do not have enough books on this man! I have actually started to contemplate emptying a shelf in one of my many bookcases and create a Winston Churchill shelf. He is my big hero and I doubt that the Swedish author has done him any kind of justice, nor do I think he will add anything which has not already been said, but I think it would be interesting to see how a Swede will treat the subject of this brilliant man, who really was a glow-worm among worms. It really has not got that great reviews compared to this other book, also written by a Swede, but sometimes I just like to form my own opinion on books.

The other two books, I ended up coming home with, was a book I have looked at on and off for a while. According to a imagepsychological test I took in the US, MANY years ago, when at the University there, I am an introverted introvert, having the same personality as Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi. I must add here that I would never ever dare to pose for the press in my knickers, so I must be way more introverted than Gandhi! Anyway, they had Susan Cain’s “Quiet : The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”, at the sale and I decided together with two other women, that maybe this was a good book to read for us introverts, who might need a boost to our ego.

Another book I suddenly put in my shopping basket was “le Petit Prince”, because when our French teacher forced us to read it in a French class, or parts of it I should say, in Gymnasium, I did not understand anything and thought it was thoroughly weird. Then when I went to France, for a three-week stay with a native, while my friend actually attended French lessons, Madame made us listen to the entire story on a record player. I don’t know if my friend understood a thing, but I sure did not, apart from a word here and there. Today I felt inspired to give the story a final chance. It is a translated version so who knows, I might actually like it? Here’s hoping! The world having loved it since 1946!

imageI don’t usually walk over to the religious bookshop, for its sale, but I heard some students talk of it, so I decided that since I was in town anyway, and no children in tow, I might as well take a peek. And I really found some really nice books at “the Ark”. I mean, how about the Veggie Tale Bible. One of my dear penfriends will know this book for sure, since she told me about the very funny films, years ago. I was quite impressed that Sweden has actually brought this book in and translated it in to Swedish. In it, there are some of our favourite stories like “King George and the Rubber Ducky”, “Mrs. Blueberry” and “Joshua and the Great Wall”, but lots of others as well. I am quite excited over this find, vegetables telling the Bible stories in a fun and exciting way, for both children and the adults reading the stories to them. The second book is about the animals telling the biblical stories, like the snake telling the story about Adam and Eve, the Whale the one about Jonah, the Lamb the one about the birth of Christ and so on. The third one is a book with 365 mini lessons to be taught each day to children. Every day has a fitting Bible verse as well and my thought was that it would be nice to read a page, every day, before the boys head off to school. Getting a good and calm start, on the day. The hug message for example, was the lesson for today, the 25 February and looked like this:

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Sorry it is a little bit blurry but the ceiling light doesn’t work, eventhough T. just changed the two bulbs, and “Gubby” tried his best to hold the book still, while I took the photo. It says: “Nellie loves her big furry dog. She gives him a big hug. Do you think she hugs her family too? Who do you like to hug? You get warm inside when you hug others. And then they know you love them. To give someone a hug is like saying ‘I love you’ without words. How many people do you think you can hug today?”. Really nice and T. was mighty impressed when he got home!

The few books I ordered from Adlibris also arrived today. Books not available at the regular book sale in the physical shops: A book about Nazism in Sweden, 1924-1945, a dark past we don’t like to talk about and which the ordinary person knows nothing about.

image image imageAnd then this adorable little travel work book, for children to make their trip more interesting or alive. I bought one each for “Boo”, “Kitty” and “Cookie”, in case we actually get to go somewhere this summer. I took some photos earlier today, to show how there is plenty of room for them to record their days and then fun pages that you fill in, like the ones below where you are supposed to say how one says hello, in the language of the country you are visiting. Drawing the flag of the country and many more pages like that are found in the book. One can add photos and postcards, whatever one likes really, to make it a fun memory book. I loved the idea, since when you are a child, it is difficult to remember, in the years to come, what one saw and experienced, when travelling with one’s family. And I can see my children doing everything to find things to add to their books. “Cookie” will take lots of photos that I will hate to develop for her… (Money makes the world go around, the world go around…)

Well, this was my little report on my day at the booksale. I am sure that other people found completely different books to tempt them and that is the great thing with the sale, there is something for everybody. And for all people who did not go there today, I am sure that there will be plenty of fun things to purchase in the next couple of days. Just remember. A book on history is so much more fun to have in your bookcase, to return to over and over again, to refresh your memory, than a novel which will only stand there and collect dust till you one day want to try to get your money back for it on eBay or Tradera, and noone wants to buy it! Most novels end up at the charity shops! Buy wisely!

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