In Books on August 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm


Books have always been my best friends. Even before I could read, I loved to look at the bright, colorful pictures and strange configuration of typeset (when you are three, and not yet a reader, English looks exactly like SPAM from Thailand) I would beg anyone taller than me to read me the stories, and when that didn’t work I’d make up my own story, basing it on the illustrations.

‘Girl plays with kitten Aww!! Now she run! ( Turn page.. gasp! Look! She came back!) Heady stuff. I’m told I had an imaginary friend, Annie, until I was about four. I used her to blame stuff on, and as an audience to my stories. So it wouldn’t be unusual to walk into a room and see me with a book in my lap, animatedly talking to no one, my arm draped over the non-existent shoulder of my invisible best friend, discussing the latest release in the Golden Press line. (I adored their hologram covers and puppet photographs! Or should I say “we” adored them…)

This just might be my favorite book ever...

This just might be my favorite book ever…

Learning to read was like mastering time travel: with the turn of a page, off I would go to other lands, and other lives, other generations, other universes! Backwards, forwards, upside down- books could go anywhere and do anything! I could live a million different lives if I could read as many books! To this day I don’t understand how anyone gets through life without reading all of the books they can get their hands on (and then some!) but I’m so grateful to be one of the lucky ones who’s hooked on books. Yeah- I could swoon about books for hours, but I’d like to talk about the best places to get them, and how I manage to get the most mileage-and bang for my buck- out of reading.




This is obvious- keep the book stores alive! This is how I do bookstores on a budget: When an author I really like is coming out with a new one, I make an effort to buy it from a bricks and mortar bookstore. It’s sporadic, but I purchase what I can, and I happily add these books to my permanent collection, on route to filling yet another bookshelf. Not only do I get a nice hardcover, but I also support my the wonderful existence of bookstores.


The library is essentially a FREE BOOK STORE! Think about it: if Barnes & Noble announced they were having a 100% off sale this weekend (‘We’re Giving It All Away!”) would you be there? Would you maybe sleep in the parking lot overnight to be among the first in the store when it opened in the morning? Of course you would! And this is why I can’t believe there are people out there who DO NOT use the library! You can get free DVD’s as well- and the selection is surprisingly good. You can use their computers, you can buy hardcover books for $2.00 or less! you can read the latest magazines for free-and even check out and bring home the back issues. The Library is Utopia.

The path to great places...

The path to great places…

The library website is a treasure trove as well. You can put books on hold (My hold list is never empty. I also currently have seven books checked out. At my local library, you have SIX whole days to pick up your holds. (Again, this would be like calling the book store, ordering a book, and picking it up for free! Amazing!) On the library’s website you can also access many resources, like Consumer Reports (free!) a plethora of Art and various niche magazines-even  Chilton’s Auto Repair manuals. You can even order free downloads of books, movies and music, which they will zap right over to your Smart- phone, Kindle or laptop. (Though why anyone wouldn’t actually prefer to walk into a giant building filled with books is beyond me! Every time I pull into a parking space at my library I think: ‘This  spot shouldn’t even be available. This place should be so full of people, I should have to park around the block!’) I adore my Library!




LibraryThing is a book website that I would recommend to any avid reader. Here, you can list all of the books you’ve read, are reading, or want to read- and you can even create a virtual library using the covers of said books. You can read and write reviews, and if you want you can interact with other readers. But the really great thing about LibraryThing is that they have an ‘Early Reviewers’ Program, which allows you to select soon to be published books, and win them in exchange for a review (you only need write a sentence or two, not the on-and-on I usually do) In five years, I have won 60 Early Reviewer books (!) with one on the way as we speak! The Early Reviewer program runs once a month, and you choose which books appeal to you. You then have a chance to be picked to receive a free copy.  I’ve gotten autographed books, as well as book bags and other ‘book swag’ from Early Reviewer books! In addition, there are also author giveaways (more freebies), book recommendations based on your likes, and a whole host of other book-related information and activities. LibraryThing is free for you to list up to 200 books, and after that they have a sliding scale of prices per year- from $3.00 and up- you can literally pick your own price. It’s beyond worth it if you are a serious reader. I LOVE LibrayThing! To see my book list, read my Early Reviews or just say hi- I’m listed as ‘Litgirl7′ (that stands for literature, not keg stands…although…I’ve been in the vicinity of a few keg stands…just sayin’)



Thrift Stores are an excellent place to find cheap and interesting books. If you have young kids, you can buy used copies of their favorite books (sometimes 4 for $1.00!) and let them go to town with their messy hands, drooling, crinkling and tearing.  It’s a great way to not have to hover over a $15.00 kids book that you’d like to keep in their collection sans teeth marks. Many of these books are in great shape- if not new!

Also, If you have a fondness for vintage books from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the thrift store is the place for you. Not only can you find some childhood favorites, but in many cases you’ll be amazed at the absurd book titles, advice, and trends from the past- and all for a song! How else would I have found ‘The Drinker’s Cookbook’ from 1961, chock full of boozy recipes and comics about the hilarity of driving drunk? Or Cookbooks for Dads who Barbecue, with advice such as ‘pick the steak with the most fat’ and ‘keep the wife away from the grill?’ Or ‘Naughty Cakes’ with the step-by-step directions for ‘booty cake?’

Fabulous Bloody Mary recipe....

Fabulous Bloody Mary recipe….

If you’re crafty, you can buy cheap books and use the pictures or text for all kinds of projects (though it pains me to destroy a book, and I’ll always try and scan it first, then print out what I want to use, but sometimes a book is too busted for repair) You can make personalized cards for friends, wrapping paper, use pictures on your blog- the list is endless. You can also buy ‘gag’ gift-books for the the holidays. Say, a 1965 ‘I am a Beautician’ for a hairdresser friend’s birthday, or “Jerry Springer’s Wildest Shows Ever!” for your T.V. snob friend, or “Your Youth: Getting The Best Out Of It” circa 1971 for a 40th birthday. You might even stumble upon first editions of old favorites, like ‘Blacky The Crow’ or ‘The Lonely Doll’ series. Sometimes, you’ll even find notes or old  photographs tucked away inside! (This, to me, is nirvana!) Though it’s hit or miss, it’s a rare trip to a thrift where I don’t find something! 

In conclusion, books are everywhere, and they can take you everywhere as well. When I hear people say they are bored I think to myself: That will never happen to me. As long as the world has books!

I hear deer urine works...

I hear deer urine works…

  1. Great post! I love the imagery as well (now you’ve made me want to run out and look for the Dark Shadows cookbook). I must admit I used to love the library as a younger person; the smells, the sound of the machine they used to mark the card with the imprint of my library card, all of it. Then I got old enough to own books and I stopped going. I have become a book hoarder–hate to give them back! 😀


    • I am a book hoarder as well! Someday I’d love to scan all of the off-the-wall books I’ve found (that would take a LOT of time!) I remember being so excited for the Book Fair to come around in elementary school. All of those shiny covers and new-smelling pages! I’d rub my hands over the books like I was reading braille, and open and close them just to hear the crinkle. I made a poster for the fair in third grade, for the poster contest. A picture of a giant light bulb,brightly lit with wavy, psychedelic-style letters spelling out: “Turn On!” At The American Book Fair” I won a 3rd place ribbon.(I was quite groovy)

      Thanks so much for the re-blog! And remember: you can never have too many books!


  2. Reblogged this on One Starving Activist and commented:
    Ahhh, books…


  3. I’m not much of a book lover like you but if it’s a cookbook or books about arts I love it. Whenever I go to libraries those are the books I look for and if it’s already sold out in bookstores I would xerox every page of the book just so I can get a copy 🙂


  4. Excellent post Lisa… I first fell in love with the library when I was in high school. It took me away to a whole new world. I couldn’t get enough V.C Andrews and john Irving books. Thanks for this post, just a reminder that I need to get back to that place.


    • Was that Flowers In The Attic? I read them all….(I can still remember the house and attic that I pictured!) My town has four beautiful libraries. I go to the website, look at the ‘new books’ section and check off the holds like they’re going out of style. Then I drop off and pick up a big stack! It’s awesome!


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