Judging books by their covers

One of my favorite stores of all times is Half-Price Books. Sometimes I actually can walk out of the store with more money than I had when I entered, but that’s rare. (HPB will buy back your used books, but it’s all a ploy I believe. How can you not turn around and spend the money then and there?) The HPB near my house just moved across the street into a much bigger, nicer storefront. I went with some friends Friday night to browse. I only picked up four books to take home – a copy of “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett (per a friend’s suggestion and my love of the movie), a Dora the Explorer book with a hand puppet (for my niece), a trashy French pulp novel (I always look for chances to practice and improve my poor French) and a copy of Vickie Howell’s “New Knits on the Block” (because it has a pattern for a knitted robot AND a knitted guitar).

Half-Price Books can be hit or miss. They typically do well on popular titles, but specialty books are slim pickings. The knitting section here is larger than the HPB I used to frequent, but the selection isn’t better. Books that end up at HPB are often ones that wouldn’t sell elsewhere – or ones that people liked so little they turned the volumes in for pocket change.

I thought the Vickie Howell book was a real find. Amazon’s selling  it for $11; but HPB’s original price was $6, then marked down to $3. I was less pleased with the other knitting books, however. There were a few I would consider (plus one Debbie Bliss book I already had), but most of the choices were obviously remainders that have no business in anyone’s library unless it’s a historical archive collection. Sometimes you CAN tell a book by it’s cover. So for your amusement, I give you the following:

“Rainbow Knits for Kids”: The poor, poor children.  There should be a legal age limit on variegated ribbon yarns for children’s garments.

“Design and Knit the Sweater of Your Dreams”:  Based on the cover photo, the author’s dream is for all of her clothing to be double her size. Yikes!

“Knitting With Novelty Yarns”: I’m not 100% against novelty yarn; it has its place. This cover explains why so many people do hate it, though.

“Chic Knits”:  There’s nothing chic about this! A furry sweater with a furry scarf? That’s why there’s an unwritten rule that you should only wear one handknit item at a time. You can get away with sets, but don’t overdo it on the yarn.

I saved this one for last, because there may be some controversy. I have to qualify this in that I love some of Kaffe Fassett’s designs, and he certainly has a unique style. This book, however, is certainly showing its age.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kimberly
    Jul 30, 2008 @ 05:40:39

    We consider going to HPB part of any trip we take across the border to TX. In fact, we try to hit as many as we can. I live in a house of up-and-coming book collectors, so it’s a must see for us.

    Now if only they sold HPBookshelves!


  2. Carol
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 19:12:19

    Our local West Des Moines HPB is one of our favorite stores! I’m only afraid that I’ll buy back the books I’ve sold to them! Haven’t found any good knitting books yet.


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