Showing posts with label Bookworm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bookworm. Show all posts

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Magical Land of the Used Bookstore

This week, my husband and I went out on a date. And because I have the best husband in the world, part of that date involved a bookstore. But not just any bookstore. While I'm quite fond of Barnes & Noble (and would love it if the closest location was less than 90 miles from my house), my heart belongs to the independent bookstore.

And then there's that even more magical place...the used bookstore.


Richard Van Nice Books occupies a weathered little house that sits on one of the busier streets in our town. One in a short row of random houses-turned-businesses, it's easy to ignore--or simply miss--as you drive by. I often wonder how many people don't even know this little gem exists.

Inside smells of paperbacks and pipe tobacco. The books are stacked precariously, more heaped than orderly lined. Although the mystery section is *mostly* alphabetized.


To most, it looks like a mess. To a bibliophile like me, it's a treasure hunt. I mean, where else are you going to find things like this:

The Bible in a Southern accent. In which Mary (Jesus's mama) is made pregnant by
the Holy Spirit before she and Joseph (a.k.a. Joe Davidson) have relations.
I don't think we'll be seeing this one on YouVersion anytime soon. 

And this:

From How to Live With Cats. This one came home with me.

But I think my favorite thing about Richard Van Nice Books is Mr. Van Nice himself. He's pretty much exactly who you would expect to find behind the piles of books that surround the tiny counter.


A disabled Vietnam vet, his hands are gnarled, his fingers permanently clenched, yet he somehow handles each book with ease. His passion for books is obvious--he's not just a collector, he's a connoisseur. Despite the seeming chaos, if he has the book you're looking for, he knows exactly where it is. He found me a copy of Watership Down in about 30 seconds flat. And his disappointment was evident when I told him I hadn't found any Laurie King books in the mystery section. I have no doubt it pains him not to have every book ever written.

Browsing also has an added bonus. Like his books, Mr. Van Nice has some tales to tell. They go something like this:

     "My greatest goal in life is to win one of the major lotteries. Then I'll go to the Strand Bookstore in New York City. There are 2.5 million books in the Strand. I'll walk up to the counter and when the clerk asks, 'Can I help you with anything?' I'll say, 'Yes. One of each, please.'"

And then he continues...

     "I used to have a dream of being kidnapped by a group of women starting a book commune. They'd carry me off and make me their book God. I've given them 30 years and they haven't come for me. I don't think they're going to do it. It's too bad. I could just see myself sitting comfortably on my throne, looking down into their adoring faces, and saying, 'Now fetch me some light fiction.'" 

I handed him my three books. He charged me three dollars.

I would have happily paid a whole lot more.


Friday, January 17, 2014

An Apology to My Bookshelf



Here's what my current to-read list looks like (in no particular order). And these are just the ones that currently live on my bookshelf. After reading this Buzzfeed post on 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters I think my list just got longer. Unfortunately it seems like my reading list is a lot longer than my reading time. I've been working on the same novel for about 5 weeks now...pretty sure my Bookworm card is going to get revoked now that I admitted that. *Hangs head in shame* It's a fantastic book, but I've had such a hard time allowing myself the down time to read. Right now I have six graphic design jobs going (good for the bank account, questionable for my sanity), and children and a husband who expect to be fed, and a state who expects me to educate my children, not to mention the laundry and house cleaning, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera... Every spare second I have left over is being focused on writing and editing, which I've somehow been managing to squeeze in daily (even if it's just 30 minutes) and that's a great thing--especially since I eventually want it to turn into a full time career. So of course what gets sacrificed? Reading. Which I know is horribly backwards, I mean, you can't write great books if you don't read great books. I've been seriously considering making myself a daily schedule and penciling in reading time. Yes, the situation has become that dire.

To all the books (and authors) I've been neglecting: It's not you, it's me. I'm sorry. I love you. I promise I'll be back

What about you? Do you read when you have a spare moment, or are you more intentional about picking up whatever book you're currently reading? What's on your 2014 to-read list? (I'll probably regret asking that last question.)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Literary Gifts for Book Lovers

The turkey has been carved and the pumpkin pie vanquished. Now comes the fun of checking off that Christmas shopping list. Maybe this is the year to get the writer/and or bookworm in your life something besides notebooks and bookstore gift cards. Here are some of my favorite suggestions for doing just that...


1. Modcloth.com
Modcloth is one of my favorite online stores. Not only do they have a ton of adorable, vintage inspired clothing, they also have an amazing selection of giftable items. Just search "books" and you'll be treated to a plethora of choices...unique and hilarious coffee table books, notecard sets, literary themed apparel and accessories...seriously, my wishlist is ridiculous.
Pictured: Live Up to the Type Necklace and Mermaid for Each Other Bookends.

2. Vintage Books
Chances are, your literary inclined friend or family member has a favorite classic book, whether it be a current favorite or one from their childhood. Get a list of their most treasured titles and then hit eBay, or your local antique shop, secondhand or thrift store. You'll be surprised at how affordable they can be (unless of course you have your heart set on a signed first edition). I have my own collection of antique and vintage books and I've paid anywhere from about $8-$40 per title. This is a great way to make this Christmas an extra special one.

3. Outofprintclothing.com
Out of Print celebrates the world's great stories through fashion, with products featuring iconic and often out of print book covers. They have everything from phone cases, to tote bags, to t-shirts (for every member of the family). And to make it even better, for each product sold, Out of Print donates one book to the organization Books for Africa.
Pictured: Nancy Drew: The Sign of the Twisted Candles Women's Tee and The Great Gatsby iPhone 5/5S Case

4. Give Back
Speaking of donations, making a charitable contribution in your book lover's name can be a wonderful gift with a lasting impact. Especially if your giftee is already involved with a particular organization--for example, those crazy friends of yours who participate in NaNoWriMo each November. There are lots of great literary charities out there, like First Book, which provides books to kids from low-income families, or United Through Reading, which allows deployed military parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children to help ease the stress of separation. 

Do you have any favorite gifts you love to give to the readers/writers in your life? Or do you have your own literary wishlist? Share in the comments!