The Save the Children Book Sale begins today, on this very campus. Are you ready?
We, the Pelican team, are.
Ruth Thomas, Editor
After a rather ugly and expensive incident involving Bookdepository, the collected works of Proust, and a very awkward letter from my bank late last year I have been living under a self-imposed book buying ban. A month into the ban I caved and spent my entire pay check on 53 popular Penguins and so I had to reformulate the rules of the ban from a cold turkey situation (was I setting myself up to fail?) to a heavily regulated system of limited consumption. My current system’s rules are as follows: I may purchase a single book after finishing 4 of my unread books, unless a book is more than 600 pages in which case it counts as 1.5, or if it is a graphic novel, which only counts as half, poetry a quarter, large coffee table books with many pictures a third, Infinite Jest is 6, the unreadable Thomas Hardy is 10, and any book I’ve already read is 0.1. Under this system I’ve allowed myself to buy 13 books, and significant progress has been made through my TBR pile, but that was before the Save the Children Book Sale. My system was not made to accommodate the many book related temptations that will appear today, so to maintain the integrity of the system, all rules are hereby suspended.
Today I will be the ultimate consumer and buybuybuy. “Take my money” I shall say to the volunteers running the Save the Children Book Sale, “take it all, and if I run out of cash put it on my tab you know I’m good for it, or if you doubt my financial credibility I can write you a check and if it bounces I’ll offer my services as chief book stocker and you can watch me dart under the cramped tables of books, realphabetising the fiction, separating out the biography from the autobiography, and fending off the rabid hunters of first editions in the hallowed boxes of literary fiction (rumour has it there are 3 first editions of Henry James in the mix this year).” This is a justified and entirely appropriate expenditure. It is, after all, for charity.
Harry Peter Sanderson, Arts Editor
I can say with some confidence that this book sale is the only UWA event I truly care about. I’m questing to collect a vast library, and right now Winthrop hall is a dragon’s cave full of precious scrolls. Harold Bloom says that we read to expand our consciousness, and right now I’m in serious need of expansion. By taking this literature back to my home and imbibing it, I may change my fundamental character to become both more abstract and empathetic. See, it’s not so much that I want these books — I need them, to grow.
My tactic is normally to volunteer with Uni Camp for Kids (an excellent UWA-based charity) since they help set up the sale. This way I get that sweet pre-public access and claim all the best books myself. However, yesterday I was working, and so now I have to dive in with the general admission, which is fine. My plan is to go straight to the poetry section since I believe that literature has the capacity to change me the most. Normally I’ll try and flirt with/befriend one of the old people there so they cut me a deal on a box of books. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Isabella Corbett, Fashion Editor
Books? LMFAO, what’s a book? Every time I pick up a book all I can think is: “Where’s the like button on this binch?” I’ve been banned from three different bookstores for asking if my iPhone’s Lightning cable was compatible with a Dostoyevsky. How was I to know these suckers didn’t have a battery life?
Yeah, I sound like a New Yorker cartoon making fun of millennials. You know what? I am a millennial. Sue me! If it can’t be condensed into 140 characters I’m not interested. I’ve even started a petition on change.org in support of banning textbooks, and replacing them with deep psychoanalyses of Love Island contestants. Cool, huh? We already have 15,843 signatures; not long until we reach our goal of 20,000!
I will not be attending the Save The Children Book Sale because I will be too busy eating avocado toast and curating my clout on Soundcloud.
Maddi Howard, Science Editor
I find buying books to be a stress-relieving experience. Some people run to burn off stress, others drink to ignore, some hit the clubs to dance it out. I buy books. Because I’m a worrier, a constant stress-head, my room is full of books. I’ve only read some of them. Some of them aren’t even that good. I don’t know why I’ve kept them. I guess they make nice articles of furniture. Maybe I think they make me look more educated, or cultured or something. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make the book sale. I’ll have to forgo the chance to find another stack of books to use as a makeshift bed stand, and just wallow unrectifiably in my stressed state, book-less.
Pema Monaghan, Literature Editor
Thankfully I am far too busy to attend the book sale. I am spared the experience of carrying around seven Margaret Atwood novels only to eventually dump them back on the literary fiction table.
Ryan Suckling, Film Editor
There’s something redemptive about the Save the Children Book Sale. Sequestered under Winthrop, looking out onto an expanse of water and bird shit, I offer all my doubts about this venerable university to the good people of this annual book sale. In first year, I cautiously waded through the books, not wanting to impose my excitement on the clear stratagem of all patrons. My dallying was lost on the book sale’s last day as I filled an entire box with titles of varying taste, and had to call my sister to pick me up. “You’ll never read all of that,” she said. I didn’t. Somehow I doubt I’ll ever get around to Ben Jonson’s plays, or that obscure biography of Balzac (half in French). But each year I must return to this trove of literary life in a university clicking its heels against corporate corridors. Sometimes – tapping my nails against bent spines – I can hear the Winthrop choir through the bifurcated mesh of cement and air duct. They’re singing of my bright future – actions glistening with good conscience, opportunities adorned with prospect: Pursue Impossible. Thank you, and until next year.
Mike Anderson, Politics Editor
I have built a bitterness within that has left me naught but a cold and callous husk with but one duty, to buy the books. Adorno, Mill, Hobbes, Rousseau, Chomsky, Marx, Voltaire, Plato, I must have ye. I don’t care if I agree with you or not, just give me your damned books. I will align my collected political biographies and fill the gaps. There shall be no book beyond my grasp. Because I mean hey, who goes to a book sale to buy political theory?
Ben Yaxley, Lifestyle Editor
The yiz grows above the children’s book sale. Should the timer correlate the funniest jest? The confined machinery dips the children’s book sale. Why can’t the yiz bringing a condemning racket? How does the children’s book sale account the yiz?!!
Mara Papavassiliou, News Editor
Perhaps only a true understanding of The Art of War and highest-level Machiavellian philosophy could ever prepare us for the Save the Children Book Sale. But there’s not time for that now, so here’s the best advice I have:
1) Steal(?) a fancy kikki.K ‘to do’ list from the creative-consultancy start up you intern at. No other inferior day-planner will do. The ferocity of the Save the Children Book Sale demands a planner that includes a ‘water intake’ column to stay hydrated amidst the carnage, as well a ‘joyful moments’ section to give perspective and spark hope in the face of the coming darkness.
2) Get into crowd mode. Refuse to respond to or apologise for accidental bumping, jostling and book-snatching; this is the Save the Children Book Sale, all’s fair in love and war, chaos=ladder, and there are cheap copies of 100 Years of Solitude at stake. Maybe.
3) Apply mental blinkers to filter out strained/forced small talk directed your way (is it flirting? I can’t tell) brought on by the confines of catastrophically small laneways. This ain’t no cosy bookstore with a coffee shop attached, save the sweet nothings and basic decency for Northside Books, please.
4) Increase resilience to maximum possible capacity. Start jogging daily, even. Whatever it takes. You want a highly-coveted quirky conversation starter for your bookshelf that shows off your eccentric style? You gotta work for it.
Bryce Newton, other Editor
Having struggled at last year’s sale due to lack of skill in the art of Confidently Taking Up Space When Book Browsing, I formulated a plan which would allow me to move through the sale with ease. To do this, I built a book costume from MDF, before getting it professionally bound to appear as an old tome called Putting A Cup In The Sink, an instructional novel detailing used-dish placement at home. This design ensured that although appearing as a book, the costume was unlikely to attract the attention of buyers based on subject matter alone. Another design element used to ensure easy browsing, was that the book costume could not be opened. If someone was intrigued by the title, they wouldn’t be able to find a blurb or read further, and it would also stop people from skipping straight to the (non existent) end (which would not have been productive anyway, due to it’s instructional nature. Every step counts). This exterior has been sitting in my spare room for the last year. As it turns out, my family is staying at my house from today onwards, and has made plans. I am unable to attend the sale.
Save the Children has a UWA student branch. Find it on Facebook here.
Art by Harry Peter Sanderson.