Sunday, March 20, 2011

Surprise package

As the cliche goes, sometimes you can't tell a book by its cover. You have to open the darn thing and look at the first page inside.

Here's why:

A while back, I was in "Big Lots." This is one of those closeout stores, medium size, which sells discount merchandise. It has everything from sofas to Diet Coke. There are a few items that I purchase there, such as blank compact disks.

On this day, I checked out the supply of closeout books, which usually isn't fertile but is worth a look just in case. Buried in the romance novels was a book called "Garden of Dreams." It's a book designed to pay tribute to the 125th anniversary of Madison Square Garden, published in 2004.

The book is mostly driven by the work of George Kalinsky, who is the official photographer of the Garden. He has shots of all sorts of events, everything from basketball to the dog show. The pictures also are enhanced by essays from a variety of people. Woody Allen writes about the Knicks, while Mary Tyler Moore prefers dogs.

Now, I wouldn't pay $35 for this book, which checks in at about 200 pages. But the price listed on this particular copy was much better - $3. I'll read a lot of sports books for $3, especially a handsome coffee table book. As I grabbed one on top in the pile on the shelf, I noticed that the top copy had a sticker with the words "autographed copy." Hmmm. It was a sticker that Barnes & Noble uses for such pronouncements, so at least I knew where it came from.

When I opened up the book, I saw that it was indeed signed by Kalinsky on the inside front cover. However, there was another signature underneath it.

Joe Frazier!

I have several autographed books at home, and one signed by Smokin' Joe was definitely worth $3. Sold.

The next time someone tells me about how great the Kindle is, I'm going to tell them about Joe Frazier and his signed book.

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