That time I got an entire carton of romance novels for $5

Last year I went to a charity used book sale. Books had been donated from local bookstores, as well as people clearing out their libraries. On the last day of the sale, they were eager to clear out inventory, since anything left would be the charity’s responsibility to pack up and store, sell elsewhere, or give away.

Pro tip: The last day of any charity sale event usually means stunning deals, like the time I got two wine glasses, a candelabra, four neckties, a brand new pair of jeweled pumps, linen napkins, and a faux alligator clutch for $5 because I made it all fit in one grocery sack in the final twenty minutes of a Catholic church’s annual community rummage sale.

I’m too lazy to find and snap the actual bag, but this is a pretty close approximation of what it looked like. It had never been used.

At the book sale, we were offered copy paper cartons at the entrance and told that we could buy individual books at regular prices or fill the copy paper box with as many books as we could fit for $5. Having recently acquired enormous bookshelves with nothing to fill them, I took the deal. My friend Louis and I grabbed our empty cartons and parted ways, him to the nonfiction and poetry sections and me to the murder mysteries and romance novels.

Unsurprisingly, the offerings did not include a single LGBTQ romance paperback.

That didn’t stop me, though, from filling my box with dog-eared glossy Harlequin Silhouettes and Avons with women in Regency gowns and flowing hair on the cover. Truthfully, I don’t enjoy reading heterosexual romance for a lot of reasons. I only like reading LGBTQ romance, but I will watch het rom coms on Netflix and Hallmark. (I say “will watch” as if “I will if I have to,” instead of the real truth, which is “my television is permanently stuck on the Hallmark channel, and I have a running list of every movie my favorite Hallmark actors have appeared in.”)

Without checking Wikipedia or IMDB, I can name four movies I’ve seen her in. Is that impressive or sad?

Even though I don’t usually read hetero romance, I figured the books could serve as research material and shelf filler. And here’s the best part: I flipped through one of them, which was about a duke (of course it was), and it was full of cat hair.

The darling who had donated this book had clearly read it – many times, judging by how creased the cover and spine were – and had spent time reading it with their cat nearby.

New idea for a romance novel: cats in love!

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