Book lovers take time to dig for tomes - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Book lovers take time to dig for tomes

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Posted: Monday, August 15, 2011 12:30 pm

Leonard Mandel embraces technology to an extent, but says he still appreciates flipping the pages of books chronicling the nation’s involvement in foreign wars, American politics and the comedic stylings of Groucho Marx.

Kindles and Nooks don’t suit Mandel, who has such a vast collection of books at his Goodyear home that he often finds himself reading a chapter or two of various books each day to whet his appetite.

“There’s a lot to learn,” he said.

Mandel was one of hundreds who attended this weekend’s Friends of the R.H. Johnson Library’s book sale in Sun City West, offering book lovers a chance to browse through thousands of gently used books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, puzzles, and other literature and media at bargain prices.

The event took place Saturday in the Social Hall of the R.H. Johnson Recreation Center and also featured a special category called “old books,” which included books printed before 1930, with many first editions and books signed by the author.

Mandel, who brought two large shopping bags Saturday morning to collect books for himself and his girlfriend, arrived at 8 a.m. and was still whittling down his literature choices an hour later. He was amazed at the sheer size of the event.

After finding genealogy books for his better half, Mandel talked about great finds, including a novel about the Flyboys and Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation,” which chronicles the former NBC Nightly News anchor’s journey to interview World War II veterans who gave their accounts of D-day.

R.H. Johnson Library volunteer Bob Kellig said the opportunity to bring book lovers together from across the Northwest Valley is a special treat each year. Kellig said the majority of the fiction and non-fiction offerings, around 95 percent, are donated by residents, with the remaining books coming from the R.H. Johnson Library.

“This is a big deal here, and our residents love it,” he said.

Kellig said a line totaling more than 30 people formed prior to 7:30 a.m. before the doors officially opened at 8 a.m.

Longtime Sun City West residents Sally and Bill Eyler have never missed the community’s bi-annual book sale.

“It’s just wonderful when you look at the prices of books at the chain bookstores,” said Sally Eyler, noting she and Bill typically meet new friends each year, as was the case Saturday.

The Eylers said they would purchase about 10 books, mostly mysteries by Sally’s favorite authors Michael Connelly, Faye Kellerman and Robert Parker, since she’s “mostly read everything by” John Grisham and James Patterson. Bill Eyler, meanwhile, will keep busy with puzzles purchased at Saturday’s book sale.

Sun City resident Kathy York made out with a bag full of books, including Westerns, cookbooks and classics by Mark Twain, her favorite author.

“There’s always a nice variety of just about everything,” York said of the selections. “The event is always fun and gives us another opportunity to find more books we will come to love. Plus, it’s always nice meeting new people.”

The Friends of the R.H. Johnson Library have plans for another book sale on Dec. 3 at the R.H. Johnson Recreation Center.

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or

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