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.

Temple Public Library Book Sale

Jerry Stratton, March 2, 2022

Temple Library Sale September 2021

My latest haul is also relatively small; it’s quality, not quantity, alright, man?

Today is the first day of the Temple Public Library Book Sale in Temple, Texas. As I write this, however, I have just returned from their September 1, 2021, sale. It’s held twice a year, and it’s a very nice drive from Round Rock to Temple, perhaps stopping off at Country Donuts on the way up and Johnny’s Steaks and BBQ on the way down1 or one of the many nice restaurants in Temple.

On my first visit, I picked up several books I already owned, or used to. I read Tarzan long ago, and have several of the sequels in my to-read shelf. But I’ve someone managed to lose my copy the first book. I’m pretty sure I didn’t just throw it out, as I distinctly remember reading it several times. Now I get to read it yet again. I also bought replacement copies of three cookbooks I already owned: hardcover editions of the amazingly eccentric Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes, Beatrice Trum Hunter’s wonderful Whole Grain Baking Sampler, and a boxed set of the Middle Eastern Cooking volume of Time-Life’s Foods of the World series. I don’t use Bull Cook very often, but I thoroughly enjoy browsing through it. Herter’s eccentric rants prove more true, sadly, as the future unfolds.

Country Donuts and Kolaches

Country Donuts is only open until they sell out, so stop by before the book sale, not afterward!

Hunter’s book, on the other hand, is one of my favorites, and the main reason I keep whole grains on hand. She wrote her book before whole grains were meant as an end in themselves and when the point was making nutritious food that tastes better. She includes simple advice such as to measure oils first and then syrups, because that way the syrup doesn’t stick, and to use honey instead of sugar because it keeps breads fresh longer.

On my second trip here, in August 2018, I completed my set of books in the Southern Living Cookbook Library, when I found The Southern Living Soups and Stews Cookbook. It has one of my favorite soup recipes in it, and one of by far the easiest to make: just blend fresh tomatoes, yogurt, celery, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a blender.

Tomato Yogurt Soup

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-½ cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1-¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Steps

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Chill if desired.

On that same trip I also picked up Kip Thorne’s amazing Black Holes and Time Warps. It’s one of those rare books that I can’t imagine not having read now that I’ve read it. From how to detect gravity waves to how singularity research ties together general relativity and quantum mechanics; from how the observable world has expanded beyond the optical to how deeply the equivalence of matter and energy goes, this is a phenomenal book for anyone interested in astrophysics.

Temple Public Library sale haul 2018

My 2018 Temple book haul included a great Ray Bradbury book and Annie Proulx’s universally-acclaimed—for good reason—Shipping News. The Simak collection came from nearby McWha Books.

In 2019 I picked up one of those amazing Ace flip books, a double-feature of John Brunner’s Meeting at Infinity and Kenneth Bulmer’s Beyond the Silver Sky. The latter is a gonzo tale of underwater warriors, wielding tridents and guns and riding sharks into battle. The cover painting alone is irresistible.

While I’ve known of H. Rider Haggard for almost as long as I can remember, I haven’t actually read any of his works until recently. I picked up Ayesha and Benita in a combined edition while traveling through Nova Scotia in the Autumn of 2018, very much enjoyed both of them, and then in the Spring of 2018 while wandering about Los Angeles I picked up a fascinating book about the correspondence between Rudyard Kipling and Haggard, The Record of a Friendship.

On my most recent trip to Temple, I picked up The Works of Haggard, which collects Cleopatra, She, King Solomon’s Mines, and Allan Quatermain. Besides being a collection of great stories, this is a beautiful volume, leather-bound and delightfully heavy with quality paper that feels good as you read. And the writing! Haggard is brilliant at inhabiting the minds of vastly different narrators. His priest, Hamarchi, is a Shakespearean figure of tragic proportions; his lost worlds are wild, and his magic both awesome and subtle. If the only thing you know about Haggard’s characters are how they’ve been translated into modern media, I recommend going back to the source.

The goose on the wing laughs at crocodiles, so goes their saying down in Alexandria; but when the goose is asleep on the water, it is the crocodiles who laugh. — H. Rider Haggard (Cleopatra)

Another brilliant book is James Tiptree’s Brightness Falls from the Air, a science fiction mystery-thriller where everything we need to know is presented up front but nothing is as it seems. This is among Tiptree’s best work, a parlor-room mystery on a far planet, a monument to human depravity and shame.

Also on this most recent trip, and I’m reading it as I write this, I picked up Clyde Tombaugh’s history of the discovery of extra-Saturnian planets, especially his own discovery of Pluto. It’s a wide-ranging memoir-slash-history of a fascinating period in astronomical research. Individual astronomers were competing to discover planetary bodies in the solar system, especially ones that would explain Uranus’s orbit. Tombaugh himself recognized that Pluto’s status as a planetary body large enough to significantly affect Uranus’s orbit was doubtful.

Bicentennial coconut orange pie

Bicentennial pie!

I also picked up two more cookbooks, relatively local ones. One, Cook ’em Horns is a tome of recipes from University of Texas alumni to commemorate the University’s centennial in 1984. The other is a spiral-bound book from Garvin County, Oklahoma celebrating the nation’s bicentennial. The bicentennial appears to have been an inspiration for a lot of great community cookbooks. My own community growing up had a great one, and I recently discovered another from Fruitport, Michigan. I combined a crust from Garvin and a filling from Fruitport for a fluffy orange coconut pie.

This is not a huge book sale; the main room is relatively small. But the tables are packed above and below, and you may have to move a couple of boxes to see what’s in the box beneath. The cookbook section is especially nice; it’s off in an annex and, if you include the health food books (which I really don’t) occupies nearly an entire wall.

You might also combine it with any of the bookstores along I-35 from Waco down, and make a day of it. I tend not to do that. I have a tendency, once I buy a bunch of books, of suddenly wanting to curtail my trip and get down to reading them.

Temple Public Library book sale
100 W. Adams Avenue
Temple, Texas

March 2, 2022

Tower of Glass Robert Silverberg $1.00 trade paperback
Recipes on Parade: Desserts $1.00 spiral paperback
The Case for Trump Victor Davis Hanson $2.00 hardcover
Friday Robert A. Heinlein $2.00 hardcover

Sept. 1, 2021

Words That Made American History: Colonial Times to the 1870’s John A. Garraty, Richard N. Current $1.00 small trade paperback
Garvin County Extension Home-Makers Bicentennial Recipe Book 1976 $1.00 spiral paperback
The Works of Haggard Sir H. Rider Haggard $2.00 hardcover
Brightness Falls from the Air James Tiptree, Jr. $2.00 hardcover
Out of the Darkness Clyde W. Tombaugh, Patrick Moore $2.00 hardcover
Cook ’em Horns Gladys Howard, Margaret Berry $2.00 large hardcover

Feb. 27, 2019

Beyond the Silver Sky Kenneth Bulmer $1.00 mass market paperback
Meeting at Infinity John Brunner $1.00 mass market paperback
Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein $1.00 mass market paperback
Bodyguard and Four Other Short Novels from Galaxy H. L. Gold $2.00 hardcover
The Best American Short Stories of the Eighties Shannon Ravenelk $2.00 trade paperback
Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2007 $2.00 hardcover

Aug. 29, 2018

The Shipping News Annie Proulx $1.00 trade paperback
A Medicine for Melancholy Ray Bradbury $1.00 mass market paperback
The New American Revolution Tammy Bruce $2.00 hardcover
Black Holes and Time Warps Kip S. Thorne $2.00 hardcover
The Southern Living Soups and Stews Cookbook $2.00 hardcover

Feb. 28, 2018

Tarzan of the Apes Edgar Rice Burroughs $1.00 mass market paperback
Daybreak—2250 A.D. Andre Norton $1.00 mass market paperback
King, Queen, Knave Vladimir Nabokov $2.00 hardcover
Foods of the World: Middle Eastern Cooking Harry G. Nickles $2.00 boxed set
Whole-Grain Baking Sampler Beatrice Trum Hunter $2.00 hardcover
Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices 11th Edition Berthe E. Herter, George Leonard Herter $2.00 hardcover

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. Wednesday’s special is mesquite-grilled ribeye, very worth the visit. This assumes, of course, that the sale not start on Ash Wednesday, which it does this year and did in 2020. I skipped the sale in 2020 because of that, to my regret when sales were canceled throughout Texas and the United States a few weeks later.

  1. <- Thrifty Peanut