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Posts Tagged ‘annual library book sale’

There are just periods when one cannot find the time – or brain – to post. Really, I’m kind of still in one of those, but I guess I had to share my love of books – and this amazing haul – with you book lovers out there. Today was day #1 of the annual Hunterdon County Library Book Sale. And below is what I brought home, limited¬†only by the fact that I literally could not carry any more. (Though the library folks said they’d be happy to help me get more to my car. ūüôā

This year, I went with a list – some MG/YA (since I continue to write children’s books, I always want to read the good stuff out there): a goodly bunch of fiction titles; and a selection from a list my friend had recently sent me from Buzzfeed entitled¬†37 Books with Plot Twists that Will Blow Your Mind. Hey, that sounded promising, so I perused the list, eliminated those I’d already read, and added those of interest to my library sale list. Now I was ready to go!

Amazingly, I actually found 6 from my list – The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin and Savvy – Ingrid Law (both MG/YA);¬†The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield; Fingersmith – Sarah Waters; and The Queen of the Night – Alexander Chee from the “plot twist” list. While I couldn’t find others from the Buzzfeed group, I did find alternative books by a couple of the authors, so picked upThe City of Falling Angels – John Berendt, in place of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and The Infinite Plan – Isabel Allende, in place of The House of the Spirits – a chance to check out new authors.

And then there were these that I just happened upon – The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry because The Giver and Gathering Blue were excellent; Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver because she’s one of my favorite authors; I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak because The Book Thief is one of my favorite all-time books and I promised myself I’d read something else of his and try not to compare; Forever – Pete Hamill because I love the premise and he’s an excellent writer; Morality for Beautiful Girls – Alexander McCall Smith as I love his #1 Ladies Detective Agency series; The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (MG) – just wanted to read it; ¬†same for¬†Evermore – Alyson Noel (YA) and Ape House by Sara Gruen.

And then, The Art of Racing in the Rain – ¬†Garth Stein, recommended highly to me years ago by my dearest friend, since passed over; Pushing the Bear – A Novel of the Trail of Tears – Diane Glancy, because I know this will touch me deeply; and Louise Penny’s Still Life in excellent condition, a wee gift to my own town’s small local library for their shelves (I had to borrow the copy I’d read from the county library). And there you have it.

The two big questions: where will I put them all? and what will I read first after I finish the wonderful book I’m already reading? The first is a minor problem but solvable; the second – just a delicious conundrum. I wish you all happy reading – it is truly one of the riches in our lives.

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This past weekend was the wonderful, huge, annual library sale that I go to every year, and below you see my haul.

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What? You don’t see any books? That’s because I never got there. Being under the weather for a few days,¬†plus¬†it was raining non-stop, I knew my best bet was to stay home and feel better. I missed the excitement of just being around the thousands of books, and certainly the traditional follow-up lunch with my friend in which we go over our multitude of finds, but in the end, I am hardly bookless.

I still have books from last year’s venture; friends share books all the time; I have bookshelves stuffed with selections I’ve yet to read or would happily read again; and ‚Ķ the local library is in a decent walking distance from my home. I am living in a very book-rich¬†world.

AllTheLight-ADoerr2Not to mention, I am still living in the world of Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize winning author of ¬†All the Light We Cannot See. Yesterday, before I closed-up shop for the day on my work, I read a bit online about him and his other books, and watched a video of how he came to write this phenomenal book. I also looked at photographs of Saint Malo, the walled city on the coast¬†of Brittany, bombed practically beyond recognition at the end of World War II, and an important location for much of the story. Doerr wanted to write a different tale¬†about the war, and much like the outstanding¬†author of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, he certainly has done that. I am at times brought to tears at the beauty of Doerr’s use of words, and am moved by the story he tells.

As I approach the end of the book, I am deeply saddened¬†by what has happened to one of the characters, but¬†am holding out hope for the others. Soon I will be returning this novel to my local library, never knowing if my next book will be in the stacks, sitting in the $1.00 shelves at the front desk, or waiting for me here at home. I don’t own a kindle, and don’t read online. I thoroughly enjoy the weight of a book in my hands, the smell of paper and ink, the turning of the pages, and the placing of a bookmark where I’ll begin again as soon as I’m able.

We who love to read are a lucky lot, are we not?

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This may be for the reader¬†or the writer in¬†you, but if you’re in driving distance of either of these events, I suspect you may be interested in both!

BooksToBeRead-2First, what’s happening the weekend of May¬†2nd¬†and 3rd? The event that I have no business going to but will be heading to anyway – the Hunterdon County Library’s Annual Book Sale! It will be held again at the South County Park Fairgrounds in Lambertville, just off Rt. 179, (for you locals), and as always, Saturday features hardbound books at $2, paperback, $1 and Sunday, they’re half that.¬†Something new – Monday, May 4th from 9 to 12, they’re having a $5 bag sale! Last year I believe they had something like 60,000 books, so collect your totes and mark your calendars. For complete information, go to the Library Sale website.

BoyReadingIf you’re a children’s book writer and/or illustrator, published or aspiring, think about attending the New Jersey SCBWI big June Conference Saturday and Sunday, June 13th and 14th, in Princeton, NJ. The conference is¬†two days packed with workshops taught by great names in the children’s book field, critiques from editors, agents, authors, illustrators or your peers, special intensives, socializing with agents and editors over meals, great camaraderie among all those who love children’s books, and more. This, however, requires registration and a conference fee, plus there’s a deadline to register – early bird by April 19th, otherwise by May 15th. You also receive a discount as an SCBWI member. Find more details here, and click on the link to register for more in-depth information. (You are not automatically committed to registering by going to the registration site.) You’ll enjoy wonderful food all weekend long, (I’m looking forward to it already), and you can stay overnight at the Crowne Plaza/Holiday Inn Express Conference Center.

I’ll be going to both events – hope to see you there – I’ll be the one with that book-ish glow!

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Armed with nothing more than a mere paper list and 2 canvas bags, I prepared to do battle in the County Fairgrounds Grange Building, to find hidden treasure at the Annual Library Book Sale.

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And find treasure I did!!

On my list were several broad categories ‚Ķ first I was looking for a particular chapter book series for my friend’s son, then books on model trains for another friend and particular cookbooks for another friend and myself. But then … I had a¬†list of MG and YA novels and adult fiction strictly for my own reading pleasure. Some of these were Newbery winners or honor books that I’d been trying to find for awhile, others were books gathered from the 100 book bucket lists from an earlier post, some recommended by friends. What would I find?

Book Sale Books3 hours and a terribly aching neck later, I did quite well. Let’s take a closer look.

At left¬†we have the known writers up top and¬†books on my list below. The top 3 are among my favorite authors – Patricia Briggs, fabulous writer of urban fantasy and the Mercy Thompson series with Raven’s Strike, Alice Hoffman with ¬†Incantation which in theme seems to be along the line of recently enjoyed The Dovekeepers, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams which I’ve been wanting to read for some time, and found quite unexpectedly.

Another Jerry Spinelli MG classic, Milkweed, and Almost Home another MG by Joan Bauer of Hope Was Here, plus a healthy kitchen book by another fave of mine, Dr. Andrew Weil, and the only book of Nicholas Evans, of The Horse Whisperer fame, that I haven’t read, The Divide. Below them, books I’ve had on a list for awhile – ¬†YA Schooled by Anisha Lakmani, and MG¬†The Underneath by Kathi Appelt and Crispin, the Cross of Lead by Avi.

I also found the next book after The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ Half Broke Horses about her grandmother Smith whom we met in her memoir. I am so impressed by Walls’ writing that I was hoping to find this book and The Silver Star¬†but am real happy about at least getting one of them. The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr is another much-praised memoir, and Water for Elephants also has gotten rave reviews if I can get through what I hear is a fair amount of brutality¬†to the elephants. They could lose me there; we shall see.

BookSale2014-Stack1-2And on to the lucky finds ‚Ķ I was looking for The Giver by Lois Lowry, but found instead Gathering Blue, perhaps dark, but intriguing, as may be the collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman, Smoke and Mirrors. The Te of Piglet is a companion to the Tao of Pooh which I already own and love – a can’t miss for me. ¬†Shanghai Girls¬†by Lisa See seems to have the flavor of Memoir of A Geisha which was outstanding, and The Red Leather Diary¬†is a book I remember reading about being excellent some time ago. A surprise¬†and hopefully another treasure.

I was first introduced to The Whale Rider as a movie about the New Zealand Maori tribe, specifically Kahu, a girl who should receive this sacred honor by lineage but which is only bestowed upon boys and men. It was excellent and I was thrilled to stumble upon the book by Witi Ihimaera. I am trying a sci-fi book by C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet. I am not generally a sci-fi fan, but this sounded great. I also found The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss, The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle and Horses and the Mystical Path by three McCormicks, because what would my (reading) life be if not inclusive of animals? (And yes, 2 cookbooks are in that pile, too!)

Today¬†I feel rich, very rich. I didn’t find a bunch of the books¬†on my list, but am more than happy with what will keep me engrossed for quite some time. The ones I couldn’t find? They’re on a new list under a magnet on my fridge, and whenever I am¬†so inspired, I can toddle on over and pick them up from my local library, where I’ll also sit and soak up picture books to feed the¬†writer and illustrator within.

Oh, and not to mention I am waiting for my inter-library loan of Deborah Harkness’ second book The Shadow of Night. Sometimes it seems crazy that something¬†so simple can bring such happiness, but such a good crazy!

 

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Aside from¬†the general appeal of a great list or two, who doesn’t love a good list for books?

BooksToBeRead-2Here’s one for all you book lovers – Amazon’s 100 book bucket list, chosen by their own book editors as the 100 books everyone should read in their lifetime. Although mostly adult books, they aren’t all for grown-ups, but a bunch for children and the child in all of us. Among their choices are Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, and yes ‚Ķ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. ¬†The list is packed with classics and more recently published books.

thebookthiefAnd here’s the variation on a theme – Goodreads readers have¬†chosen their own top 100 books they feel everyone should read. There is a great deal of overlap in the two lists, but I loved seeing some wonderful books here and on Amazon that are so worthwhile. I was very happy to see the highly deserving The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak as well as The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, ¬†Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Watership Down by Richard Adams, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine Engle, and¬†many, many more.

I was also quietly happy to see how many of these books I have already read, those in the past thanks to a good education along the way, and how many I have already read or have right here waiting to be read. But best of all, I see some new titles that I look forward to getting and reading. And the good news about that? Next month is the Friends of the Hunterdon County Library’s huge annual book sale!! Woo hoo! That’s April 26th and 27th, details here.

KiteRunner-KHosseiniIf you are in driving distance of southern Hunterdon County, make the trip, fellow readers. This year it’s at the South¬†County Park Fairgrounds on Rte. 179 in Lambertville, and on Saturday it’s¬†hardcover $2, softcover $1, and in Sunday it’s all half that! I have books on my list for friends, some for the silent auction of the equine rescue I work with, and some just for me. I seem to be the only person left on the planet who has not read To Kill a Mockingbird, so that’s on my list as well as some others on these top 100 lists that intrigue me.

Feel like curling up with a good book? These lists may point you in the right direction. Me? Watching my list go off the paper. It’s easy to go overboard at this sale, but I’ll only bring 2 canvas bags, promise. Okay, mayyyybe 3.

 

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AnnualLibrarySale-TobysPicks2Sometimes you just get lucky. And in this instance, it certainly was me. I was unable to go to the big annual library sale held by my county library in April, the one where over 100,000 books are on sale for dirt cheap. This has become a yearly tradition with a friend and her book-loving daughter, but circumstances prevented me from attending. So how is this lucky, you ask?

Because I had an unexpected benefactor who is also a regular book sale attendee, an avid reader and someone sympathetic to my situation, and … who hand-picked a bunch of books for me … my girlfriend’s husband. He was the one who somehow managed to divine that I would be a big Mercy Thompson fan – a book series I would never have picked up on my own. So without really knowing what I might like, he made a selection of books that included one by Ursula LeGuin, (an author I have enjoyed in the past), Alice Hoffman, one of my truly favorite authors, and others unfamiliar to me in the areas of fantasy, sci-fi, dark and edgy, and a couple for mindless entertainment. On the latter, he promised “no brain cells will be harmed.”

ClaudeMeowing2My girlfriend boxed them up and shipped them out, and here they are … most outside my usual realm of selection, but as he had personally read and recommended them, I’ m excited to try something new. The last 6-8 weeks have not had me reading very much … too many distractions and not much concentration, but the reader in me is back! And thanks to caring, book-loving friends, I’m one lucky reader to boot.

As you can see, Claude was quite bored by this whole discussion. His only interest in books is when I finally settle down in one place and have one in my hands. (So I guess that makes him lucky, too.)

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