Sale beck­ons book buffs

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Ba­nana boxes bulging with books are stacked to the ceil­ing in ranks at Palmer­ston North’s Red Cross.

Three-thou­sand car­tons con­tain­ing more than 60,000 vol­umes, along with puz­zles, mag­a­zines, board games, DVDs, CDs and vinyl LPs are ready for ship­ping to the Bar­ber Hall on Walde­grave St next week for New Zealand’s big­gest sec­ond-hand book sale.

The ea­gerly awaited four-day sale over Queen’s Birth­day Week- end at­tracts book buffs from all over the coun­try, and while most of the do­nated items sell for $3, there are higher prices on rare and sought-af­ter books.

Roger Foster, who man­ages the full­time Red Cross se­cond­hand book­shop REaD Books on Main St, has been in­volved with the book sale for at least 22 years.

‘‘I was walk­ing through the Red Cross Christ­mas Fair in The Square one year, got talk­ing to Don Essle­mont who was the Red Cross pres­i­dent at the time, and thought it wouldn’t be a bad or­gan­i­sa­tion to be part of.

‘‘It’s a re­ally good cause. I went to a meet­ing, and have been on the com­mit­tee ever since.’’

For months now, vol­un­teers have been busy pre-sort­ing the do­nated books un­der four ba­sic head­ings - chil­dren, non-fic­tion, fic­tion and New Zealand, be­fore re­fin­ing those into more than 100 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories.

‘‘There are 14 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories just for the chil­dren’s books.’’

Vol­un­teers have also made sure that puz­zles and board games don’t have any bits miss­ing.

Foster said New Zealand books at­tract par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion and there are plenty of good­ies for bar­gain hunters to seek out.

‘‘Any­thing by Barry Crump. His Wild Pork and Wa­ter­cress was the ba­sis for Hunt For the Wilder­peo­ple.’’

There are also copies of that other Crump favourite, A Good Keen Man.

‘‘We’ve got some beau­ti­ful stuff in the old and col­lectible books sec­tion.’’

Among them are books deal­ing with World War I - The New Zealand Ex­pe­di­tionary Force Roll of Hon­our 1914 - 18 pub­lished in 1924, and the 1926 pub­li­ca­tion, The Maoris in the Great War.

Any­one will­ing to help move the boxes of books into the hall, or to work dur­ing the sale is wel­come to en­quire at Red Cross.

‘‘Turn up - we still need vol­un­teers. There’s plenty of stuff to do,’’ Foster said.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/ FAIRFAX NZ

Roger Foster, Red Cross book sale con­venor with one of 3000 laden ba­nana boxes await­ing ea­ger read­ers next week.

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