I got a request from a reader to re-blog this–so enjoy! It’s from 2010 but still holds true.
Dear Diary: Second Hand Books
Posted on February 6, 2010 by Miriam Sagan
A friend and I were recently in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. We went into the Black Cat Bookstore and discovered a local author with an interesting book. We each bought one, and complimented her. She immediately told us everything wrong with the book.
“Just say thank you,” I told her. Bossy advice, I know, but still good advice. And advice I was given many years ago.
My first book of poetry had come out. My sister-in-law Suzi was dancing in dinner theater in Connecticut. A fellow dancer said she liked my book. I was so stunned I basically told her that wasn’t possible.
Suzi took me aside. “Say thank you,” she instructed me. I have been ever since.
We stopped in Albuquerque on the way home. My friend, a well-known writer, asked the bookstore owner if the store had any books of hers. The owner recognized her and was pleased when she signed books. “Do you have any books by Miriam Sagan?” my friend asked. “Sometimes,” the owner replied and I was duly introduced.
Who has sold my books back? It is disconcerting. I see a letterpress limited edition inscribed something like “To Becky and Paul, thanks for the wonderful day at the ranch and the great lunch. Love, Miriam.” Who are these people? Ranch? Lunch? If it was so great, why can’t I place them and why didn’t they keep my book?
I once got a note from Australia. Someone had bought a book of mine in a second hand store. He liked the book, but wanted to know about the affectionate inscription. Who was it inscribed to? Why had she sold it?
Maybe I am just too gushy. I feel bad if I don’t find my books on the shelf and bad if I do. Next time I give you a book, just say thank you.