Pequot Library book sale 'beats' the winter blues
There were books -- and a beat -- setting the literary vibe Saturday for the opening of the Pequot Library's annual Mid-Winter Book Sale.
Toes tapped and heads bobbed at the sale -- which ended Tuesday -- as Mark Naftalin and Friends entertained the browsers in the landmark Southport library's auditorium.
His library performance was broadcast live on radio station WPKN-FM, and while the nationally known blues pianist used his fingers to make the piano sing, booklovers let their fingers sort through hundreds of texts on tables as well as LP records, which, fittingly, lined the stage.
Dan Snydacker, the Pequot Library's executive director, called it "real browsing ... It's better than a Google search."
Despite the electronic technology that has introduced the Nook and Kindle to the literary world, Snydacker said the appreciation of books in print has not subsided. He said there was a long line of people waiting in the cold outside the library Saturday morning for the sale to open. Among them were book dealers, book collectors, readers looking for an armful of bargains, and those hoping for a serendipitous moment when they found an item of value at a substantially discounted price or a magical book they couldn't wait to read.
One such moment was observed by Jerry Litton of Fairfield, who saw one man come across the famous Beatles butcher album cover -- the cover of "Yesterday and Today," picturing the foursome dressed in white butcher coats and holding dismembered baby dolls and cuts of real meat. Litton said the man who purchased it was probably more interested in the cover than the LP inside. "It was probably worth $500 or $1,000. He just paid $4," Litton said.
"That's part of the fun of the sale," Snydacker said.
Another special moment involved Bret Markey, 9, of Fairfield, who stumbled upon "Masters of the Universe: The Sword of Skeltor," prompting him to stop his search for other books, unable to pry his eyes from the pages. "I could read this book the whole day," Bret said. "Dad, can we read this book together?" he asked his father John Markey, who agreed to do so as soon as they got home.
"We try to get him to read a couple of times a day. Reading is very important," the senior Markey said. Bret added that he enjoys reading books "because they always have an interesting part in them," a concept often lost on many members of the younger generation, who generally prefer computer screens and television screens to pulp pages. But Snydacker said books are a great form of entertainment, and they can often hone critical thinking and communication skills and lead to a turning point in life.
Nicole Mengesdorf, an au pair from Germany now living in Bridgeport, said she loves books and the Pequot book sale gave her a chance to buy several in various genres because "They're not expensive." She left with an armful of paperbacks.
In addition to the paperbacks and LPs, the Pequot Library's Mid-Winter Book Sale also features hardcover books, prints, videos, children's books, and books on tape. The fiction books were separated into mysteries, science fiction, spies/thrillers, trade paperbacks and other categories.
Linda Crowley of Fairfield said she has come to the Mid-Winter Book Sale every year since it started about 15 years ago. "I like to collect David Balducci mystery books in hardcover," she said. Crowley said she often purchases new paperbacks of the author's works, reads them, donates them to the Pequot Library for the sale, and then comes to the sale to buy the hardcover versions. "It's a win-win situation. I add to my collection and the library generates funds to continue its programs," Crowley said.
Roberta Gagne, one of about 320 book sale volunteers, said several people thought they might have bought back a book that they had donated to the cause. One man told her, "I can always read it again and donated it again." Snydacker called the book donors the library's "silent supporters."
Throughout Naftalin's performance, some of the attendees looked on, while others continued their book search while bouncing in place or bobbing their head in time with the music.
For more information call the Pequot Library at 203-259-0346 or visit www.pequotlibrary.org.