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photo by Sheri Dixon

Friday, June 22, 2012

Indy Secondhand Bookstore Find- "Ride a Rhino"

Alec and I were on a date day to Gladewater- little town that thinks of itself as the "antiques capital of Texas". It ain't bad. The entire square and for a block off of it is lined with little shops from fancy to shabby, immaculate to filthy- each one claiming to be "The Best of Gladewater".

We pass on the fancy immaculate ones, preferring the shabby filthy ones- places you have to actually study each and every square foot to see what's there.

Rusted ceiling tin draped with lace gloves and fishing nets and a stuffed bobcat gazing with marbled eyes at a set of bone china carefully arranged on an overturned kayak- that sort of place.

So we poked our way through most of the most cluttered ones, and then walked around outside the square- looking at the historic old houses. And there it was.

The used book store.

Just as dusty and cluttered as the most delicious antique store- how could we resist?

Back in the back of the store, in the corner around a corner was a metal rolling cart filled with sort of matching little books. The dust covers were all the same design and the books were all the same size- only the color of the design differed between them.

They're "Companion Book Club" books from Britain- circa 50's and 60's. From what I can gather, it was a "book of the month club" subscription deal. On the back covers are tantalizing snippets from upcoming releases.

So I decided to get one.

I looked them all over- there were a few mysteries, a lot about English gardens, and this one- "Ride a Rhino" by Michaela Denis. I'd never heard of Michaela Denis.

On the off-chance that you haven't, either- here ya go, followed by my review of the book.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michaela_Denis



"Ride a Rhino" is a series of short stories all having to do with Michaela's beloved Africa. Though some of the information about the various species is, of course, dated and some of the attitudes towards the indigenous people simplistic (but liberal for the times), it's nevertheless an enjoyable peek into the life of a woman who loved animals of all sorts- she and her husband were members of some of the first conservation efforts in Africa- undertaken admittedly (and refreshingly) because the black market made (and makes) the income from poaching for sale abroad profitable for a people who are literally starving.

There are also a fair amount of photos tucked in among the stories, helping them to come alive across half a century.

Against trophy hunting and champions of preserving native traditions, some chapters are heartbreaking, some hilarious (spoiler alert- Scorpions. Can it get any funnier?), but all are a Very Good Read.


I took my book to the counter tentatively- there was no price on it and with it being almost as old as I am but in better condition I braced myself for the price.

$2.50

I handed the man $5 and told him to keep the change. He asked me, "Are you sure?" and I told him yes.

I would've spent $5 at Barnes and Noble for a book from the bargain bin. And $5 meant way more to him than any of the checkers at B&N.

Support and encourage your local businesses.


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