Books you never fail to see in charity shops.

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i have tested this theory in the last few weeks and have seen it in EVERY SINGLE CHARITY SHOP I HAVE BEEN IN WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 20:30 (fifteen years ago) link

Are charity shops like thrift stores?

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 21:24 (fifteen years ago) link

And what about jumble sales?

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 21:26 (fifteen years ago) link

all those things, yes.

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 21:53 (fifteen years ago) link

Similarly, The Russia House.

Hurting (Hurting), Thursday, 5 May 2005 02:46 (fifteen years ago) link

"the swimming pool library" by alan hollingshurst: is this any good?
jonathan coe. margaret atwood.

tom west (thomp), Thursday, 5 May 2005 03:10 (fifteen years ago) link

When I was growing up, in the '80s, the books I remember seeing all the time in second-hand shops were:

Papillion by Henri Charriere (sp?)
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Dirty Dozen by Nathan someone-or-other
Anything by Robert Ludlum

Nowadays, the books I always see are:
Anything by Tom Clancy
Anything by Michael Connelly
Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Adrian, Thursday, 5 May 2005 08:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

estela (estela), Thursday, 5 May 2005 10:41 (fifteen years ago) link

That Pat Barker book that won the Booker Prize.

jed_ (jed), Thursday, 5 May 2005 12:16 (fifteen years ago) link

Where do I start? Yes to Bridget Jones. Also Angela's Ashes (doesn't help that one of the newspapers here gave it away for free), anything by Patricia Cornwell, anything by Penny Vicenzi, the middle books from the Wheel of Time. We still see plenty of Papillon and Arthur Hailey and Alistair Maclean as well. You can't give those things away. Jesus, you wouldn't believe the stuff we chuck in the bin.

Er, I mean, send to live on happy book farms with all the other books no-one wants to buy.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Thursday, 5 May 2005 13:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Hey, you could give them away at pub quizzes - every entry gets a dip in the book bin...

Ray (Ray), Thursday, 5 May 2005 19:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Those annoying Ya Ya Sisterhood books.

Ethan, Thursday, 5 May 2005 20:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Gail Sheehy, Passages
Bill Cosby, Fatherhood
Lee Iacocca, An Autobiography
John Naisbitt, Megatrends
What Color Is Your Parachute?

assorted titles by Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry, Leo Buscaglia

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 5 May 2005 23:16 (fifteen years ago) link

Hey, you could give them away at pub quizzes - every entry gets a dip in the book bin...

I'm already doing that with the CD singles that radio stations and record companies dump on us.


In Irish charity shops you get a lot of religious books as well. Priests be dyin', no new priests be comin' along.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Friday, 6 May 2005 05:52 (fifteen years ago) link

Leon Uris

Gear! (can Jung shill it, Mu?) (Gear!), Friday, 6 May 2005 06:03 (fifteen years ago) link

When I was growing up, in the '80s, the books I remember seeing all the time in second-hand shops were:
Papillion by Henri Charriere (sp?)
The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Ha! In my mind I keep seeing The Stranger by Albert Camus in a paperback with a photo on the cover of some actors in black and white and red makeup and I Sing The Body Electric by Ray Bradbury with a mummy on the cover, but I don't really know if that was a second-hand sale or just the paperback rack at the library. Maybe that's a different thread.

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 6 May 2005 11:18 (fifteen years ago) link

(aside) A couple of weeks ago, I caught the Oxfam in Carlisle was selling Penguin 60s for... 59p! A 1p reduction! Barjin!

Madchen (Madchen), Friday, 6 May 2005 11:45 (fifteen years ago) link


Madchen (Madchen), Friday, 6 May 2005 11:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Baby Names

Make Your Baby Fall Asleep


PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Friday, 6 May 2005 12:07 (fifteen years ago) link

I just dumped off some stuff at a flea market, and I can say this much: "Parenthood" stood tall and proud amongst the books. Don't think I found anything else mentioned here though.

It did remind me of another definite addition to this thread though: Coelho's Alchemist.
I'm tempted to add Gibran's The Prophet as well, though I didn't see that there. For some reason I've seen a "gift edition" of it everywhere as of late.

Øystein (Øystein), Friday, 6 May 2005 12:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Ah, back from the flea market.
Of the ones mentioned here, the ones I found were "Parenthood", various Arthur Hailey novels and Papillon.

The books I saw most copies of:
Amalie Skram - Hellemyrsfolket (three copies)
Frederick Forsyth - Day of the jackal (five copies, mostly Norwegian translations)

Øystein (Øystein), Friday, 6 May 2005 15:14 (fifteen years ago) link

I *love* to see Gibran and Coelho books come through the door. They always sell.

I fear that The Da Vinci Code may finally have reached saturation point. I've had a copy in the window for two days and no-one's bought it. If no-one buys it this weekend, I'll know I can stop asking people I see reading it to donate it when they've finished.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Friday, 6 May 2005 16:31 (fifteen years ago) link

I've actually READ Papillion! It's good! I can't believe it sold so many copies that there were that many that wound up in second hand shops all over the world for so many decades.

Philip Roth's Goodbye Columbus, Our Gang, and Portnoy's Complaint are always big thrift store staples. Same with Shogun.

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 6 May 2005 18:42 (fifteen years ago) link

What about Alive by Piers Paul Read- maybe there's an Andean mountain in silhouette on the cover- how does that figure in?

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 6 May 2005 19:12 (fifteen years ago) link

Cookbooks from the early 80s about "microwave cooking".

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 6 May 2005 19:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, anyone?

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 6 May 2005 19:56 (fifteen years ago) link

In days of old I used to get Portnoy's Complaint confused with The Peter Principle. Not without reason, I might add.

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 6 May 2005 20:01 (fifteen years ago) link

Another image is coming to me from the past. It's getting closer. Yes, I can see it now. It's a copy of I'm OK, You're OK with those words on the cover, set in the same typeface as the words on the covers of the other two books I just mentioned, which typeface was also used by Robert Indiana in his Love sculpture.

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 6 May 2005 20:27 (fifteen years ago) link

(I lied. They don't all have the same typeface)

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 6 May 2005 20:29 (fifteen years ago) link

And what's the market for a second-hand copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull these days?

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 6 May 2005 20:38 (fifteen years ago) link

i was unable to sell my (hardback) copy for months at six different used bookstores last fall. it wound up at at the goodwill.

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 6 May 2005 20:49 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, JLS is pure Goodwill or churchy thrift store scene.

Has anyone here ever (a) noticed that a book was constantly in the charity shops and (b) then decided to buy it just to see what it was all about (knowing full well how difficult it would be to see off afterwards)?

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 7 May 2005 18:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Graham Greene - Our Man in Havana. Have seen it umpteen times in charity shops. Also books by Sidney Sheldon. Molly Keane's 'Good Behaviour' (a pity, as it's excellent), Danielle Stelle books and always, always something by Iris Murdoch, but then she wrote about a million books...

Sinead, Sunday, 8 May 2005 15:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Not forgetting:

It's weird about 'Good Behaviour'. I really like this book but never would have known what to expect from it in advance - has it been really badly marketed over the years or something?

Archel (Archel), Monday, 9 May 2005 15:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Loads of JP Donleavy. He must have been a megastar at some point in the past and now he sadly seems to be all but forgotten. A bit like Adam Ant.

holojames (holojames), Monday, 9 May 2005 17:04 (fifteen years ago) link

I've never seen that Ambition book -- I assume it's a UK thing -- but I'm ok about this.

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 9 May 2005 18:17 (fifteen years ago) link

It's hilarious Pr0n by Julie Burchill! Dude!

Umm, The God of Small Things. Or anything else with stickers about winning prestigious literary prizes that people buy to put on their coffee table and make them look smart.

Liz :x (Liz :x), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 08:15 (fifteen years ago) link

Penny Vincenzi to thread. Also, CRAPPY SCI-FI.

Markelby (Mark C), Saturday, 14 May 2005 11:32 (fifteen years ago) link

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Jazz by Toni Morrison
Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote - the small green edition that came free with some womens magazine
something by AE Vogt or Heinlein

books clogging up shelfspace in the near future :
lord of the rings
atkins diet
da vinci code

zappi (joni), Saturday, 14 May 2005 13:56 (fifteen years ago) link

gorky park

dja, Saturday, 14 May 2005 15:04 (fifteen years ago) link

I think Kathy Lette must have some obscure clause in her publisher's contract whereby she has to deposit a copy of each of her 'hilarious' books not only in the British Library and the Bodleian, but also every charity shop in the UK.

I guess most of the books in s/h shops have orig. been given as gifts, a la "Hey, this character reminds a bit me of X, I'll give it to them for their birthday", hence all the Br. Jones, Nick Hornby & their imitators. 20 or so years ago, these type of shops were full of Kingsley Amis etc for much the same reason I imagine.

bham, Monday, 23 May 2005 08:58 (fifteen years ago) link

went to a friend's garage sale and was reminded of another: Passages. I have no idea what this big-colorful-blocky-letter titled book is but I have a vague feeling it is some 70's EST related self-help thing. But 35 years on it seems to be still unavoidable.

kyle (akmonday), Monday, 23 May 2005 21:56 (fifteen years ago) link

I wish I reminded myself of a Kingsley Amis character, much more fun!

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 07:58 (fifteen years ago) link

four weeks pass...
every thrift store that i go into has a copy of

Suzy Creemcheese (SuzyCreemcheese), Tuesday, 21 June 2005 19:47 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
The omnipresent SHOGUN

Beth Parker, Monday, 15 August 2005 19:42 (fourteen years ago) link

It's amazing how well SHOGUN still sells, though. I think it's the only one of those big late seventies/early eighties blockbusters I'm ever pleased to see.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Monday, 15 August 2005 20:37 (fourteen years ago) link

Kathy Lette OTM.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 15 August 2005 21:39 (fourteen years ago) link

da vinci code

His other ones even more so, I think because they're worse so people just want to get rid of them out of their houses. Plus we had three copies in one week of a book that's being described in its blurb as the thinking person's DVC. One man brought it into the shop, put it on the counter and said "you can have this, it's RUBBISH!"

And good god, you could drown in Robert Jordans.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Tuesday, 16 August 2005 06:46 (fourteen years ago) link

Harold Robbins! You can probably get his full bibliography through a single visit to just about any decent used books store.

Øystein (Øystein), Tuesday, 16 August 2005 07:29 (fourteen years ago) link
816 Used & new from £0.01

Ismael Klata, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 19:41 (eleven years ago) link

"Less so nowadays, but hardbacks of The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade used to haunt every second-hand shop I'd go into, especially the 25p random table. Also, The Romany Rye and/or Lavengro by George Borrow.
In poetry sections, creaky editions of Sir Walter Scott's poems."

Ingoldsby Legends!

Henry Frog (Frogman Henry), Wednesday, 13 May 2009 21:46 (eleven years ago) link

Agatha Christie's entire collection, always.

Also old Penguin versions of A Passage to India and Pride and Prejudice.

franny glass, Thursday, 14 May 2009 02:29 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

the shipping news

plax (ico), Monday, 7 March 2011 01:30 (nine years ago) link

saw that displayed prominently in a gallery bookshop yesterday for some reason

joe smooth's 'promised blend' instant coffee (haitch), Monday, 7 March 2011 01:39 (nine years ago) link

Karel Čapek - War With the Newts (There's a Norwegian bookclub edition from the 70s that's /everywhere/. Ditto their edition of One Day in the Life Of Ivan Mumblevich)

Øystein, Monday, 7 March 2011 13:16 (nine years ago) link

alexander mccall smith is eeeeverywhere, in great volume.

Antoine Bugleboy (Merdeyeux), Tuesday, 8 March 2011 23:30 (nine years ago) link

i had at least two copies of that by accident

thomp, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:12 (nine years ago) link

why are there so many copies of it floating around? was it massively popular amongst penguin-reading autodidacts?

thomp, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:13 (nine years ago) link

I guess? I suppose it was a bestseller in the day - mass culture dissolving working class tradition was a popular angst theme I imagine; plus it was probably on a lot of humanities and social science introductory reading lists. But i dunno, its multi-copy presence in every second hand shop in Britain is impressive. Maybe I should read it (it looks dull tho)

portrait of velleity (woof), Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:21 (nine years ago) link

i remember it being p smart and honest; a lot of it is more in the way of a disguised memoir. but i never finished the second half, the mass culture half, or even got more than a few pages into it.

thomp, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 11:55 (nine years ago) link

its one of the foundational texts of 20th century brit cultural studies along w/ culture and society by raymond williams, and i think it was also read widely outside academia, back in the day

its a pretty common bk - esp that edition - but i don't see it in that many charity shops in glasgow (when compared to hornby, potter etc etc)

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 12:16 (nine years ago) link

Kate Morton, The House At Riverton - has the same spine as another book I'd been looking for, every charity shop has piles of the things and none of whatever it was I was after

Ismael Klata, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 13:55 (nine years ago) link

That Hoggart's still in print, it seems:

the most cuddlesome bug that ever was borned (James Morrison), Wednesday, 9 March 2011 23:06 (nine years ago) link

four months pass...

was at a p large tent book sale today where i saw a volunteer file in an entire box full of 'me talk pretty one day', prob 20 copies plus there were already a bunch around that section & im sure elsewhere

johnny crunch, Saturday, 16 July 2011 22:22 (nine years ago) link

When I used to volunteer in a charity shop we once received a massive hardback copy of the Karma Sutra, we used to sit it facing with the cover forward (as opposed to just the spine, like a normal bookshelf) and laugh at people trying not to pick it up/skim it/acknowledge it.

We also used to get Mills & Boon constantly and they would sell so fast, which I just don't understand - there seems to be about three different plots between the entire series.

ha ha ha ha jack my swag (boxedjoy), Saturday, 16 July 2011 23:24 (nine years ago) link

Ah, I've bored people with how I was in an apartment in Berlin with just 25 Mills and Boon books and War and Peace. I got through about 12 of the M&B before finally succumbing. They were all pretty much bored suburban housewife with either unpleasant/dead/no husband meets in what all things considered must be really quite unlikely circumstances an uncontrollably rich arab stud farmer/american pilot entrepreneur/russian oligarch/unbuttoned English toff/sensitive Italian playboy. This man will be generally unusually liberal, loving, wealthy, sexually accomplished, and see things in the woman others haven't and in certain cases won't mind that the woman has children in fact be surprisingly good with them. In return the woman will educate them a little in aspects of life that their rude, uncontrollably masculine/wealthy upbringing hasn't educated them in, idk like buying a can of beans from the supermarket or getting the right settings on the washing machine. They will feel enlightened by this. There will be a couple of hiccups of some sort, one where the woman can't believe that this man is interested in them, and another where it looks like it's not going to work out, but incredibly and against the odds he is and it does.

I believe that chick lit has posed quite a few problems for the traditional Mills & Boon template, which is known to be exacting. Some female readers, it turns out, like to be seen to be more emancipated that the traditional Mills & Boon story had allowed them to be, and maybe even show glimpses of feisty humour and cynical indifference towards males. This was quite difficult to embrace for M&B, and I think what happened was that they started producing a different series, for the more emancipated urban style of woman. I haven't read any of these, so I don't how they work, but I imagine that although the flavour and expressions might be slightly different, the plot probably isn't. Maybe the male is a bit more flawed, maybe the woman has more agency in it all, but i can't believe it doesn't end with an unusually desirable man being netted. Or maybe it does, idk. There's probably no more literary merit, although to be fair to M&B, there's clearly not a word out of place, which while it means the reader knows what they are getting, also means there are no flights of fancy. Reading 10 in a row is rather gruelling is all I'm saying.

To change tack slightly, just going past Oxfam this morning, wtf is London Dialogues by 'Tiresias'. I keep getting Cyril Connolly in my head, but that could just be 'London' + 'myth ref'.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Sunday, 17 July 2011 07:10 (nine years ago) link

The Light in the Piazza- I see it at flea markets, church thrift stores, library book sales, garage sales, on shelves at estate sales, Savers, Goodwill, Salvation Army and it has been at every library I have ever worked in, of course. Book has been haunting me for 22 years.

*tera, Sunday, 17 July 2011 07:35 (nine years ago) link

Checked that London Dialogues book. self, published, Some boring-ass '80s Hampstead types talking about the state of the country. Nothing to see here.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Sunday, 17 July 2011 12:15 (nine years ago) link

Things I didn't know until I started working in a library: Mills & Boon used to put out introductory science books for schools in the 60s and 70s.

Never seen one in a charity shop, though.

the ascent of nyan (a passing spacecadet), Sunday, 17 July 2011 14:33 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

Reccently every bookshop I've been in has a copy (often more than one) of this.
It's actually a rather nice book.

Ned Trifle X, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 07:38 (eight years ago) link

two years pass...

the satanic verses

lag∞n, Tuesday, 24 December 2013 21:06 (six years ago) link


zanarkand bozo (abanana), Wednesday, 25 December 2013 03:34 (six years ago) link

three years pass...

seeing tons of updike esp the rabbit series @ book sales this season, prob means ppl who owned them have recently died :(

johnny crunch, Monday, 24 July 2017 02:40 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Just walked by neighborhood streetseller and they had a more interesting selection than usual, such as The Sound and The Fury, then I, the Jury then a copy of Sanctuary and Requiem for a Nun with a SEXY PHOTOE of Lee Remick on the cover.

Recnac and my 📛 is Yrral (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 November 2018 21:04 (one year ago) link

Sanctuary with Requiem for a Nun

Recnac and my 📛 is Yrral (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 November 2018 21:20 (one year ago) link

Also The Portable Oscar Wilde, Three by Flannery O’Connor, The Threepenny Opera

Recnac and my 📛 is Yrral (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 November 2018 21:21 (one year ago) link

Little Fauss and Big Halsy, Bonjour Tristesse, Elmer Gantry, The Hound of the Baskervilles, DO U SEE?

Recnac and my 📛 is Yrral (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 November 2018 21:23 (one year ago) link

Cloud Atlas has been fairly common in the charity shops recently.

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Saturday, 17 November 2018 22:33 (one year ago) link

Cloud Atlas mittelbraus its way thru every charity shop in the world

Danton Lok (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 17 November 2018 22:48 (one year ago) link

Still no sign of Morrissey's Autobiography. I was sure it would be a straight-to-charity release.

fetter, Tuesday, 27 November 2018 13:18 (one year ago) link

I see it quite a lot, up here (Glasgow). Never see his novel, though (probably because it never sold any copies to begin with).

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 27 November 2018 13:53 (one year ago) link

the 50 shades of grey and twilight series are ubiquitous ime

sign up for my waterless urinals webinar (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 27 November 2018 13:53 (one year ago) link

The version of Running Dog with the awesome/trashy thriller cover

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 29 November 2018 16:35 (one year ago) link

And "Offshore" (although obvs it is vv good)

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 29 November 2018 16:36 (one year ago) link

That Delillo cover is like the canine answer version to Alan Coren's Golfing For Cats,204,203,200_.jpg

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 29 November 2018 16:45 (one year ago) link

Yikes! My thoughts went "Awww, a cat playing golf... cool sweater... er, swastika"

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 29 November 2018 17:02 (one year ago) link

it's a collection of coren's never very funny columns in punch magazine, so named bcz he -- amusingly! -- noted that the topselling books of the time were abt either cats or golf or hitler, so proposed a title that somehow combined them all

mark s, Thursday, 29 November 2018 17:08 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

This being Oregon, I never fail to see multiple copies of Krakauer's Into the Wild. Sometimes there will be a round dozen of them shelved side-by-side. They are more prevalent even than Wild, Cheryl Strayed, which rarely shows up in herds greater than five at once.

I still see some of the Bridget Jones series of novels, but they are fading away to obscurity after a period of ubiquity. Tom Clancy is finally sinking into the sunset, too.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 26 February 2019 02:54 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

Just dropped off a bunch of books (and some CDs) at Housing Works. Wondering whether I am going to that freeing feeling or an emotional hangover/backlash or both and in what order or in what intensity.

The Fearless Thread Killers (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 2 September 2019 16:29 (eleven months ago) link

The past four or five years I've noticed that Nicholas Sparks' novels occupy at least two feet of shelf space in all the charity bookshops I frequent.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 2 September 2019 17:06 (eleven months ago) link

Entire shelves for James Patterson

brimstead, Monday, 2 September 2019 17:19 (eleven months ago) link

entire warehouses filled with gently used Elegance of the Hedgehog trade paperbacks

hoostanbank de reason lyrics mp4 hd video download (unregistered), Monday, 2 September 2019 17:35 (eleven months ago) link

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