Caught stealing

Nope, not a post about the Kansas City Royals, or baseball at all for that matter, though I do hope to get there at some point.

Rather, it’s about getting away with thievery at the local library yesterday. I did. Twenty-five, count ’em, 25 cents each for the two books pictured below. Now, I have no idea how many person-hours went into these, nor any idea how to go about estimating same, but I do know that each is over 800 pages and jam-packed with mucho useful information that could remind me of the 99.9% of the French I’ve forgotten, or get me across the outback some day, should I consult them. And that each required a great deal of work to obtain, organize and print the information contained in them. And that if they sold them for 25 cents new, all the contributing writers would’ve long ago died of starvation. Hell, I’d gladly pay a quarter just for that Australian hotel picture. I win.
Can you beat that with a stick? Tell me about your best book bargains from used book stores, yard sales, dumpsters, your Aunt Maybelle’s attic corner, whatever.

Bring it book thieves. Bring it or I’ll inflict a baseball post or two on you, I’m warning you now.


33 thoughts on “Caught stealing

  1. I got a copy of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English lexicon (the intermediate version known by aficionados as “Middle Liddell”, as opposed to “Little Liddell” and “Great Scott”) for 10p (16c) from a car boot sale. The seller looked amazed that anybody would pay anything at all for it. Still in use, though now by my son.

  2. I do a little buying and selling antiquarian books in my spare time. Best buy was a small, anonymous 19th century volume which contained a long, narrative poem. Cost me £1.95. A bit of research and I realised I had a copy of the second book produced by that infamous magician Aleister Crowley, and that it was ultra rare. Later that year I sold it through a London book auction house for about £650…. And 48 hours later it was for sale online for £1000.

    That book paid for some new fitted carpet in the house I’d just moved into 🙂

  3. Can’t beat any of these deals for low price, but I did find a first edition copy of Sir Albert Howard’s The Soil and Health. (1947) I had to give about $5 for it at the time (mid 80s).

    Have not priced it recently… and not inclined to, its not for sale. The backstory – I’d been loaned a copy by a friend and just soaked it up. Upon returning it I felt like I was somehow losing something I really didn’t want to give up.

    • Not one of the USDA yearbook series – though I do have quite a few of those (which I was able to pick up for free… a relative’s downsizing). There was a period (60s and 70s?) when the USDA yearbooks were very nice tomes indeed.

      But Sir Albert Howard was a Brit who spent a good deal of his career in India. He wrote several monographs – and others may argue the point but for me ‘The Soil and Health’ is the finest.

    • Thanks Clem, I’d never even heard of it, though not being a soils guy is I guess some degree of excuse. I love those old USDA yearbooks. There was one titled “Climate and Man”–I want to look at that one again.

  4. Funny you should post this, as I went to the book sale at my local library just this afternoon. Nothing much in this year’s bag — most interesting is “Faithful”, a book about the 2004 Red Sox, co-written by Steven King. The cover picture is priceless! But I had to shell out $1.00 for it.

    I haven’t anything to compete with jeffollerton. Best pickup was a near-complete set of the short-lived American Chess Quarterly (1961-64) and a replacement copy of Bobby Fischer’s “My 60 Memorable Games”. [I still don’t know what happened to the original.] Hard to say what the cost was — the deal was to fill a flat cardboard box (as for strawberries) with books, at a cost of $10 (I think) for the whole batch. Pro rata cost under $1 for sure.

    • Book cost by total airspace volume, that’s the way to do it!!

      And shouldn’t King have more appropriately been the co-author on a book about the ’86 or ’78 Sox?

      Sorry Harold, couldn’t resist, I’m just bitter about the Tigers.

  5. When the technical library where I work was being liquidated for disposal (because, like, millenials don’t need no steenking books!), I salvaged a copy of The Compleat Strategyst. It isn’t worth much (but I still win the cost/benefit ratio derby because it was FREE!), but it introduced me to the brave new world of strategy logic, the story of John von Neumann, the Rand institute, tit-for-tat, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, etc. Someday maybe I will try again to decipher the matrix math beyond the two person games!

    • You are way out in front in the “amount learned per unit monetary investment” category Matt, no question about it. Me? Well so far I’ve learned that they like to drink beer in W. Australia, E. Australia, N. Australia, S. Australia and a good chunk of central Australia. 🙂

  6. Well, you’re right about ’78 and ’86 having horrific endings. Or even 2011. On the other hand, who’d buy such a book? It was pain enough to live through that once.

    Sympathy with you about the Tigers. As I grew up saying, maybe next year.

    • Dave Roberts’ steal of second against the Yankees in ’04 may well go down as the most important–and one of the most audacious–stolen bases of all time. I still can’t believe he did that.

    • Dave Roberts says about the steal, “It seems like the more I watch it, the closer and closer it gets.” But it seemed a good gamble at the time vs. Rivera. What’s forgotten is that the Red Sox came pretty close to winning that game in the 9th vs. Rivera, getting a runner to 3rd with 1 out. But no heroics for Ortiz that inning, he saved it for later.

    • P.S. Just for fun, I went to youtube to see that 9th inning again, and found the complete 5th game of that 2004 ALCS. 5 hours even with the commercials edited out! I watched from the last of the 8th to the end. I had forgotten so much of the high drama of that game — how well Rivera pitched (despite being charged with a blown save), the stomach-churning of the passed balls when Wakefield was pitching, all the “almost” and “I can’t look” moments. I don’t know how I survived; the blood pressure must have set records.

    • Awesome! I’m going to watch that.

      I can relate somewhat, from the two Tigers-Yankees divisional series in recent years, especially the one in 2011. Those games, especially those in NY, were just unbelievably tense; I could not watch. Expected the Tiger pen to blow it at any second. But they came through both times. Barely.

      It’s going to be interesting to see how the Giants respond to KC’s running game. If they can’t stop it, I think they’re toast.

    • “It’s going to be interesting to see how the Giants respond to KC’s running game. If they can’t stop it, I think they’re toast.”
      I agree. I don’t think the strategy of positioning the first baseman away from the base, moving back for a pickoff throw, is sound. Seems like there’s a greater chance of a hit through the right side of the infield. [Or a missed catch on a pickoff attempt.]

      I hope the WS continues the trend of well-played games. This season has provided a lot of very entertaining playoff games. Go Royals!

  7. When the Royals traded Wil Myers for two years of James Shields, I though it was the worst trade since the Mariners swapped Adam Jones for Erik Bedard. So of course the opposite happens and Shields carries the Royals to the WS while Myers was a total bust. So now I figure I should analyze baseball until I think I undestand what will happen, and then just assume the opposite will happen. The Giants have the best middle-of-the-lineup hitting of any of the playoff teams in Posey-Sandoval-Pence, and Bumgarner is the best pitcher left. They know what to do and have been here before. I’m going Royals in four.

    • Wow – now that’s a prediction with a well reasoned setup. Not sure I even want to try and top that. But as much as KC ‘could’ win in four, I have to imagine the Giants will show a little better. So without much ado I’ll pick KC in six.

      So when this is all over does anyone suppose there will be a book written about it that someday will be in the bargain bin for a quarter and eventually some wag will brag about buying it for that? Just wanted to get back on point. 🙂

    • Hmmm, since you and Matt are puttin’ your reps on the line with predictions, I guess I better also. I really hate to to do this, and I don’t want to see it, but I’m going Giants in 6. Yost blows one and Bochy steals one that should’ve gone the other way. Bumgarner is money and Peavey and Hudson have both been there before.

      But man do I want the Royals to win this.

      Oh and Harold is forced to watch Yankee re-runs all winter for failing to provide his pertinent prognostication. Actually he still has about 90 minutes…

    • LOL!

      To me, Bumgarner is key, especially with those lefty KC bats. Plus, the dude can hit like a position player. This could be a really really fun series.

    • “Harold is forced to watch Yankee re-runs all winter…”
      No!!! Wait, the 2004 ALCS qualifies as Yankees games…yes, that’s the loophole. *

      I didn’t realize that a prediction was required. And obviously I’ve missed the deadline. But I’ll be perverse (because I’d like to see the Royals win) and go with Giants in 5. That figures to be the 2nd start for Bumgarner. Plus it’s always nicer for a team to close out the Series at home.

      *Additional loopholes…I wouldn’t mind watching some mid-to-late-50s Yankees games. By the time I got to see Mantle at Fenway Park, he was already relegated to first base. It would be fun to see him in his prime. Or any Yankees-Dodgers game (even if the Yankees win) with Vin Scully broadcasting. I could listen to him all day. My ideal for the World Series broadcasts would be to replace Buck, Reynolds & co. with Vin Scully alone.

    • Harold the Committee on Reader Requests here at the blog has considered your request at length (approx. 8 seconds) and has unanimously agreed to it, on the simple condition that you wear a headband that says “Long Live Bucky Dent” (note bold letters) and chant “Reg-gie, Reg-gie” for ten minutes every viewing hour. We, which is to say I, felt this was a reasonable compromise. Note also that you are permitted a 2-3 hour viewing break on Bruins game days, but you must yell “God I love the Rangers and Red Wings” at >= 90 decibels three times in succession, once per such hour.

      As for the broadcasts, try ESPN radio. Dan Schulman and Aaron Boone are calling the series this year. I find Boone to be particularly insightful, and an antidote to Schulman’s excitability, but that could just be me.

      Note that Bochy has not ruled out starting Bumgarner on 3 days rest so he can get 3 starts AFAIK. If he does it, the Royals are I believe, toast. It appears to me that tonight is already a must win game for KC.

    • Jim, around these parts there is no such person as Bucky Dent. There is, however, a Bucky bleeping Dent. Perhaps you meant to refer to that Dent?

      I like that Bochy’s keeping an open mind about 3 days’ rest for Bumgarner. Come game 4, if KC’s ahead 2-1, that would undoubtedly be the right move. If the Giants are ahead, he probably won’t chance it. [I probably would, but then again I grew up in the 4-man-rotation era.] Makes me wonder why Bochy didn’t experiment with it (3 days rest) in September, just to see how MB would respond.

      And I’ll try your recommendation about ESPN radio rather than the TV guys. I don’t find Harold Reynolds informative at all. Couldn’t they have gotten someone like Jim Kaat, or Jim Palmer? [P.S. Aaron Boone? Do you have to keep bringing up the 2003 ALCS? 😉 ]

    • The Committee is perplexed by the unusual and heretofore unknown middle name of Mr. Dent but has agreed to allow its use on the headband. Just this once. The chanting provision remains unchanged however.

      Yeah Harold Reynolds, don’t care for him either. ESPN analysts are just way ahead of everyone else’s in my book. Each good in their own way IMO.

    • P.S. About the hockey…I missed some key moments last night, flipping back and forth between the Bruins game and the WS. Normally I would have blown off a regular-season game, but it was the Sharks. It ended well for the Bruins, but they had to survive a 4-minute penalty with 4 minutes remaining and a one-goal lead. Could only watch the WS during timeouts.

      And it’s only the Canadiens that I dislike in the NHL. No animus toward the Rangers or Red Wings.

    • That makes sense. You must have been more or less in agony after the Canadiens series last year then. Which was a great one as I recall, in terms of intensity.

  8. Looks like the home team (Jim) won the guess-the-WS derby with his Giants-in-six prediction. Meanwhile, I shrewdly covered the bases with my own predictions, and so now can take credit for “the Giants have the best middle-of-the-lineup hitting of any of the playoff teams in Posey-Sandoval-Pence, and Bumgarner is the best pitcher left.” Jim also scored a direct hit with “to me, Bumgarner is key, especially with those lefty KC bats.”

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