Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You never know what you'll find

From experience I know that second-hand stores are hit-and-miss with great book finds. You could go through the store's book collection once a week for a month or two and find absolutely nothing of value. It's all cookbooks, out-of-date home renovation guides, romance novels, coffee table books, and children's stories. But then, after several months of diligent searching, there is that one book you've been looking for, or, even, that one book you haven't been looking for, that makes your heart jump when you find it.

Last weekend I went to my local second-hand store to find a pair of pants for work. While there I decided to peruse the book section, and found a title I couldn't pass up.

It's a 2001 (now out-of-print) edition of The Oxford English Reference Dictionary. The lower-left corner is slightly bent, but it is otherwise in perfect condition. For me, this is great find because I love words and, therefore, dictionaries.
A particularly interesting feature of the book is the "illustrated factfinder". It includes illustrations of the human body, musical notation, the solar system; playing surfaces of various sports, basic architecture, church architecture; and a glossy 16-page, colour atlas. There are also flow charts that show the structure of the English political system, the US government, the UN, and the history of English Kings and Queens. There is even a "chronology of world events" and many other helpful charts of weights and measures, Prime Ministers and Presidents, planets and astrology, and the periodic table of the elements. I love the "Terms for Groups of Animals, etc." Who knew that a group of larks was called an exaltation? I think my favourite is "a kindle of kittens".
It's also a great find because of what I paid for it --- a mere $4.99. Indigo lists the newer edition at $54.95 new and $30.93 used. But Amazon lists it at (US)$119 new! So, even though it is out of print (and, admittedly, has some out-of-date facts) It's a wonderful find for me. I'm sure I'll be leafing through it frequently.

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