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BEST REASON TO GET UP AT 4 A.M. ON A SATURDAY Phoenix 2006 - VNSA Book Sale at the Arizona State Fair and Exposition

Picture a bunch of shivering folks willingly waiting in line during the middle of the night, exchanging friendly banter and warm coffee. Now, strip away the consumer-obsessed IKEA feel and the Cabela's "real American" quality and you've got the bookworm diehards awaiting the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association (VNSA) book sale, held annually during the second weekend of February. The largest book sale west of the Mississippi features a 50,000-square-foot nerd oasis filled with more than 600,000 books, including $2 hardcovers and $1 paperbacks, as well as videos, CDs, audio tapes, records, maps, and puzzles. The warehouse is broken up into sections ranging from classics and cookbooks to history/war/politics and foreign language reads. The rare and unusual section ? where we've found a first printing of Tolstoy's War and Peace for $10, an out-of-print history of ASU from 1960, and bizarre literature such as 1920s white supremacy propaganda ? is definitely our favorite. Shopping carts are provided, but they go fast (usually in about 10 minutes), so it's a good idea to bring your own bags. If you don't want to brave the Saturday chaos, come back on Sunday, when most books are half-price. There is a fairground-parking fee, but admission to the sale is free, with proceeds benefiting local nonprofit human service agencies.
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