David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

Booked for Fun at Planned Parenthood Sale

Love Letters, Agony Aunts, and Sage Advice Await

POP-UP BOOKSTORE: The gang prepping for Planned Parenthood (PP) California Central Coast’s annual book sale on September 15-24 has come up with its regular kooky list of wacky titles on the tables:

Don’t Squat with Your Spurs On
Better Off Wed? Fling or Ring: How to Know Which Finger to Give Him
Sleeping with Your Gynecologist
When You Look Like Your Passport, It’s Time to Go Home
Hairstyles of the Damned
Carrots, as We All Know, Do Not Cast Shadows
Is Your Volkswagen a Sex Symbol?
Be Happy, Damn It!
New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers: Tales of Parasites and People
The Art of Faking Exhibition Poultry: An Examination of the Faker’s Methods and Processes with Some
Observations on Their Detection
Unpleasant Ways to Die
Bats Sing, Mice Giggle
My Cat’s Not Fat, He’s Just Big Boned
Bare Feet and Good Things to Eat
Let’s Get a Divorce and Other Plays

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: At the Earl Warren Showgrounds, the Mary Jane McCord Book Sale kicks off with a September 14 preview night (5-9pm, admission: $25; all other sale days are free). Early birds rummage around for the
good stuff and feast on sweets. The late Mary Jane McCord was a longtime sale organizer.

But there’s always plenty left after local booksellers and book scouts scan handheld computers in search of rare gems.

Regular sale hours begin at 10 a.m. Visit for info.

WHAT THEY LEAVE BEHIND: It’s surprising what people leave in donated books for PP volunteers to find and pass on to me, from tender thoughts to confessions:

“1976 was definitely the worst year of my life, and now as a new year will start in about an hour I am looking forward to finding some sort of peace of mind …”

Then there was the clever sketch of a man at a college commencement, wearing a horned Viking helmet and announcing: “In light of last year’s tragedy, we ask that you NOT throw your hats in the air at the close of today’s ceremony.”

And there were warm testaments to love: “To the most remarkable man: On this Valentine’s Day, I wanted you to know how very much you mean to me. Words fail to do justice. You are the man who makes all my dreams come true.”

The joy of parenthood was celebrated in a letter announcing the birth of a “sweet, cuddly baby and already we wonder what we ever did without him.” On the other hand, someone wrote a note admitting that “I wasn’t clear about how you feel; and I want to be respectful of your boundaries. I would rather know than not. This may be a cry for help.”

The headline on a yellowed clipping warned that “Evidence points to Armageddon, pastor says.” That, incidentally, was in 1980.

A postcard passed on the news that “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain.” The sender scrawled in red ink: “Thank you for helping us rebuild our rainbow. Know it is not much but figured we should start somewhere.”

But no rainbow arched from this postcard from Paris: “Do you still give a damn? I haven’t heard from you in a while. I might have said, ‘I should have known it wouldn’t last.’ Give me a call if you feel like it.”

“I feel terrible,” a niece wrote to her aunt. “I found this card in a drawer I was cleaning out today. I thought I had sent it a year and a half ago. We reiterate our thanks!” It was in appreciation of money used for a California trip.

Finally, there’s a long, literate birthday greeting overflowing with praise for someone’s sister. “I know life seems heavy with sadness for you like a young tree over-fruitful. But you have a zip and a pizazz.

“My admiration doesn’t come easily, nor does my respect. Understand, too, sister, you have both. And like faith, my love.”

SUE AND Z: All hail ABC mystery queen Sue Grafton, who this month publishes the next-to-last in her Kinsey Millhone series: Y Is for Yesterday. At this rate, look for “Z” in about two years.

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