Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gun Show? Or Book Sale? You Decide!

Why did my iPhone fail me? No reminder alarm went off Thursday, to let me know that the Houston Public Library Annual Book Sale was this weekend.

I completely forgot until my husband showed me an article in the paper about it yesterday. My schedule allowed me to either go for an hour on Saturday or a half hour on Sunday. I decided to zip up to George R. Brown Convention Center yesterday for a whole hour of the book sale.

Here's what struck me:  You know those enormous electronic billboards they have installed on the freeways to alert us when hurricanes are in the Gulf or when there are kidnapped children or bad guys on the lam? Well, guess what all three electronic billboards said yesterday as I passed them: "Gun Show at George R. Brown. Take 59 North and exit on Gray."

The Gun Show? At the George R. Brown, too? Same weekend as my book sale?

So, why the three huge electronic billboards about the gun show? And no mention of the book sale in the adjacent exhibit hall? Are we running free ads for a gun show over a library book sale now? At taxpayer expense?

Before I get any further enraged, let me tell you how surreal it was to traverse the length of George R. Brown, searching for the entrance to the book sale, while streams of (mostly) scary looking men exit the convention center, toting rifles and handguns and other sorts of weaponry. One small young Asian American woman sighed in relief when she saw me, saying, "Oh, you're going to the book sale, aren't you?" Obviously. No bazookas on me.

Long story short: I made mad dashes to the travel books, children's books, and literature and managed to find a small box of children's board books for a basket in the entrance to the school for parents waiting to drop off pre-Kers and a handful of France-related books. My favorite finds were Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook and a book of photographs and short essays called Tour de Provence. I also came away with a half dozen copies of books from 1001 Children's Books You Must Read that I plan to bookcross for my 1001KidsLibrary.

So, please vote now:


What I Read This Week:


  1. As a Brit I find it a bit mad you can just walk into something like that and come out with a gun. When I saw Bowling For Columbine I thought it was a joke when Michael Moore went into a bank to get an account that came with a free gun.

    Mind you, where I live has one of the worst stats for knife crimes in Europe so who am I to comment?

  2. The title for this post made me laugh... then I realized you were serious!! I can only compare this to when the craft show and motorcycle meet are held during the same weekend at our state fairgrounds. It's pretty easy to figure out who is going to which event!

  3. Yikes! Definitely the book sale. :)

  4. Oh. My. I might have been too shocked and intimidated by tables full of guns to go searching for the book sale. Bravo to you for finding the book sale!

  5. Like you, my husband and I decided 17 years ago that relying on newspaper information wasn't enough to satisfy our love for book sales. So we began (and still maintain) Book Sale Finder - the Online Guide to Used Book Sales. Our website publishes dates & details on over 7,000 book sales held each year across the US & Canada. All the information is free.
    Information about how Book Sale Finder began is at
    Happy book sale shopping!
    Helen Oram

  6. Yikes! Do you tax payers pay for those ads? I would be absolutely irate over this.

    I'm glad you found your way through that creepy, gun toting crowd. I probably would have had to leave, between being terrified and pissed off that such shows exist. Oh, and I really want to read Logicomix. Have a good week!

  7. Gun shows draw quite a different crowd don't they? It's a tad sad that such a big deal is made over a Gun event when the library could certainly use the funds in these trying times.

  8. I've always wanted to set up a poll and now I've done one. :-)

    So far, in this oh-so-scientific poll, book sale go-ers are beating gun show go-ers eleven to one.

  9. I think I would have given up and turned around for home! You were determined to get to that sale!!

  10. that book sale sounds delightful! who wants guns these days? sheesh.


  11. Reminds me of the episode of King of the Hill when Peggy had a combo book/gun store. I love the absurdity. The only odd one I've encountered was in Dallas-- a magic convention and lowrider convention at the same time.

  12. Great post Debbie. I too am astounded by the gun show method of selling guns. I don't think that would be legal here at all. I'm glad you persevered and found the book sale- and then you made off with a great haul. Well done. Interesting reading selection from you this week too. I've not heard of any of them.

  13. I just realized how odd my reading was this week! Two of the children's books are from the 1001 list; they both have a French author.

  14. Living here in the UK a gun sale is never going to be an option but given the choice it would be a book sale for me everytime.

    I like the idea of those electronic notice boards as well, again not a thing we have in the UK though we do have a similar, scaled down version.

  15. Wow, this is actually pretty scary AND sad. I would definitely opt for the book sale!

  16. I agree with Kathleen that this is sad and scary. Guns shouldn't be so easily available. I definitely would rather go to a book sale any day than a gun show.


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