HITTING THE STACKS
Public libraries are one of the biggest cultural bargains around. Not only do they offer books, magazines, CDs, videos, and internet access, but they have lectures, exhibits, classes, and special events for kids. Also, they have terrific book sales where the prices are low, low, low. Plus, I’ve never met a librarian who wasn’t willing – even eager – to help with my stupid questions.
I take advantage of the library system right in my home office. Let’s say I read a review of a novel that sounds interesting: this is usually a psychological mystery written by a woman that takes place in a gloomy English village. I just reserve it online, and my local branch contacts me when the book is available. Easy as pie. (An expression I’ve never really understood: what’s so easy about pie? I think pie is difficult.)
BOOKS ON THE WEB
I just heard about a book site that functions like Netflix. It’s called BookSwim. You sign up for a certain number of books per month, keep them as long as you want, and postage is free. Another popular site is PaperBack Swap. You post books that you are offering. When someone responds, you mail it to them and then your can choose any book on the site and it will be sent to you with free shipping. They also list hardbacks and audiobooks.
THE USUAL SOURCES
I get most of my books where I get most of my everything-else: yard sales, thrift shops, and rummage sales. I also borrow from friends.
Many of my friends belong to book clubs. This is a great and inexpensive way to combine intellectual stimulation with snacks. It’s not for me, though, because some of the choices are non-fiction, and I have very little interest in the real world.
One day I’m going to organize a Shakespeare book club. I’ve read and seen many of the plays, but always feel that I’m missing a lot of it – especially the jokes: there are too many puns based on unfamiliar words. I need help.