Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

Friends of the New Braunfels Public Library Annual Book Sale

Jerry Stratton, February 26, 2020

Like most library sales, it could be better organized. But also like most of these sales, it’s a bit of a free-for-all with people crowding around open tables. Even an organized table will become unorganized after an hour or so of book fiends pawing through it.

There wasn’t a whole lot of older science fiction/fantasy here, but there was a decent range of other books, as you can see from the list of what I picked up—far more than I planned to buy.

There are two sections: the main floor, where books are priced according to format—$2.00 for hardcovers, $1.25 for softcovers, etc.—and the stage, where somewhat more collectable books are priced individually. The most expensive and the least expensive books I acquired here came from the stage. In the cookbook section on the stage, there was a basket of free pamphlets, and I found The Gourmet Foods Cookbook there. It’s a 1955 cookbook with amazing retro artwork. Potentially some good recipes, too—Luscious Pistachio Cake, for example—but I mainly picked it up for the cover and interior art.

Next to it I found Ruth Berolzheimer’s The United States Regional Cook Book. My aunt from St. Louis has gotten me interested in Gooey Butter Cake recently, so I browsed through it looking for an early version of that. However, since its first copyright is 1939, that’s probably a bit early for it to have filtered through to national cookbooks and in fact I find nothing under either Gooey Butter Cake or Chess Cake (as Wikipedia somewhat apocryphally claims it is also sometimes called). So I put it down. But with a Michigan Dutch cookery section and a Southwest cookery section, I couldn’t resist picking it up again. Anybody for some San Diego Date Crumbles?

My haul was also a bit Mark Steyn-themed. Besides the book by him, I also found a very large collection of Jack London stories. I’ve recently become interested in reading some London after Steyn used some of London’s short stories for his Tales for Our Time audio book series. Coupled with a recent trip to Alaska, Jack London had moved to the top of my want list, and now I probably have more Jack London than I really needed. It’s a thick book.

I hadn’t really planned on picking up the recent volumes of Food & Wine’s annuals, but their recent decision to stop publishing them post-2017 caused my collector mentality to kick in. And they are, so far, great collections.

New Braunfels Library Annual Book Sale
New Braunfels, Texas

Oct. 11, 2019

The Gourmet Foods Cookbook $0.00 cookbook
Waltzing the Cat Pam Houston $1.25 trade paperback
The Best American Short Stories 2000 E.L. Doctorow, Katrina Kenison $1.25 trade paperback
How the Irish Saved Civilization Thomas Cahill $1.25 trade paperback
The Unabridged Jack London Jack London $2.00 hardcover
The Undocumented Mark Steyn Mark Steyn $2.00 hardcover
Foods of the World: The Cooking of Italy Waverly Root $2.00 cookbook
Better Homes and Gardens Quick Breads Cook Book $2.00 cookbook
Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2006 $2.00 cookbook
Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2008 $2.00 cookbook
The United States Regional Cook Book Ruth Berolzheimer $5.00 cookbook

It was also fun visiting New Braunfels for the first time. If you’re a barbecue fan I strongly recommend Schwab’s. It’s a real mom-and-pop organization, probably a grandmom organization. I followed my usual habit of ordering the brisket and ribs the first time I go to a barbecue place, but given their German heritage I shall have to try their sausage the next time I’m there. Sausage is, after all, in their name. Also in their favor is that they serve real potato salad, not the scoop/mashed potato salad that seems to be popular around here. That may just be my regional chauvinism showing.

Kraus’s Biergarten mimosa

Nothing like starting a day of book-browsing with a cranberry mimosa (at Kraus’s Biergarten).

Schwab’s brisket and ribs

Nor ending the day with brisket and ribs, and real potato salad.

The Gourmet Foods Cookbook cover

The cover alone is worth the price. Especially since the price was free.

In response to The bookstores less traveled: These aren’t the bookstores people travel across the country to visit. But if you’re already traveling across the country, you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit them.

  1. <- Beckham’s Bookshop