Adventures In Book Sorting

I’ve been sorting through my book collection and trying to get rid of things I don’t need.  I can hear you laughing — Marissa getting rid of books. But it’s true; I actually let about four large bags leave. Most were either duplicates, or in bad shape, or ones that I’d read and hadn’t liked but hung onto anyway. There were quite a few that were really nice copies, but I just didn’t need them on my shelves.

Unfortunately, I didn’t plan out the way these books are leaving my house very well. Some went to a trading book store, which was fine, but I took others to Half Price Books yesterday and only got $4.00 for three bags of books. They don’t pay much as a general rule, but that seemed really low so I asked and she said, “Well, most weren’t in good shape and we have trouble selling ex-library books.” I’d had a stressful day already so I just signed the paper and left, but in hindsight I wish I’d refused to sell them. Only one of the bags was ex-library and I had some really nice classics and academic anthologies in the other bags that I know they’ll be trying to sell for at least $12 each. *sigh* I really need to work on being more comfortable with standing up for myself rather than avoiding minor conflicts.

Setting those bookish trials aside, in keeping with my new responsible book keeper persona I’m also starting to read all those books on my shelf that I picked up to read “someday.” I started with Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe. I’d picked it up because pirates and time travel has to be fun, right? (Spoiler warning: it was.) I really enjoyed that one, and the last paragraph made me rethink the whole story (in a good way). I’ll definitely be reading more by that author.

Which brings me to the first time I almost fell off the wagon. Though committed to reading books I already owned, I was so very close to checking Wolfe’s book Peace out of the library. And then I found out that a three-book series I loved and thought I just finished is actually six books long (it’s the Study series by Maria V. Snyder). I was online ordering book four into the library before I caught myself and canceled the hold. With a heavy sigh, I redirected myself to checking a book out of the library on my own shelves.

I stopped reading the next book from my shelf after one chapter. I feel bad about it since The Last Light Of The Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay has such high ratings on Goodreads, but nothing in chapter one made me want to keep going. Mostly because of the sex scene. I’m not such a discerningly prudish reader (or writer) that I think sex should be left out of a book, but dubiously consensual scenes that are more graphic than the plot calls for turn me off. I also didn’t love the writing style, so why put up with that for the next 500 pages?

Now I’m reading Slave of the Huns by Géza Gárdonyi. And I’m thinking I might abandon that one, too, which is sad since I was really looking forward to reading a Hungarian classic. With this one, my problem is that I think the main character is an idiot. The plot is being moved forward by the incredibly stupid decisions Zeta makes to spend time with a hot Hunnish girl. He even admits he’s obsessed with her body and not her mind since they’ve never actually had a conversation.

As if that wasn’t enough (spoiler warning) Zeta becomes the titular “slave of the Huns” by choice. A free Greek, he poses as a slave and forges a letter from his master giving himself to the girl’s father. He means to only do this for the last 6 months of his fictional slave contract, but then the Romans plot to kill Attila and Zeta’s stuck in the repercussions of that (Attila decrees Roman and Greek slaves can no longer be freed or ransomed). Like I said, he’s an idiot.

But then again, we’re all idiots sometimes. Like when I gave away books (some of which I originally spent $15+ each on) to Half Price Books at $4 for three bags. So maybe I’ll keep reading and give Zeta a chance to grow and change. After all, I wouldn’t want someone to give up on me because of a stupid thing I did in my late teens/early 20s to impress an attractive member of the opposite sex.

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Clearing Out Books

Clearning Out Books marissabaker.wordpress.com

one of my bookshelves, complete with a dusty dinosaur

Our local library system has a book sale once a month, where they sell books, CDs, and other items pulled from the library collection or donated to the Friends of the Library. When I was there last Thursday, the room normally filled with VHS tapes and a couple DVDs had been taken over by history books. Not only that, but the shelves regularly allotted to history books were full, as was a shelf near the front of the building for new 900s books. It was as if they had gutted their history collection.

I managed to restrain myself and only brought home a few Medieval books that will be useful for research, but even through they are sitting on the floor for lack of shelf space I don’t feel good about that decision. I wish I could have given more of them a home. I’m not a bibliophile who refuses to destroy an old moldy paperback because it deserves respect as a book, but I don’t like to see perfectly good history books sitting unwanted on the shelves.

At least our library can sell them. Other libraries are chucking books in the trash when they pull them off the shelves. Not just the old moldy books either, these include new hardcovers. It makes me sad, and I want to bring them home and give them a nice comfortable spot on my shelves. The irony is, to make room for all these books I want to “rescue,” I’ll have to get rid of some books currently in my home library. Maybe I’ll donate them to the library book sale.

Buying More Books

marissabaker.wordpress.comBefore I get into the subject of today’s post, I won NaNoWriMo! I hit the 50,000 word mark last Wednesday night. I think that puts me about 2/3 of the way through my plot outline, so I didn’t technically write a novel in a month. Still, 50,000 words is pretty impressive, if I may say so myself.

I have a fairly large library. Just over 1,100 books in total, according to the list I keep on my computer (I’ve been told this is “too many books” but I’m not convinced there’s any such thing). Even so, I’m constantly buying new books. The problem is, I have a limited book budget. That doesn’t mean I have to stop getting new books though. Here are some of my sources for finding more books without spending too much money.

Paper Back Swap

This is an amazing website: PaperBackSwap.com.  You post books you want to get rid of (yes, that sometimes happens), and when other members claim them you get a credit that can be used to request posted books. The only cost is shipping out books to other members. Unfortunately, many of the books I want have wait lists, but even so I’ve received enough books that the website estimates I’ve saved $84.17. Not too shabby. And I have 16 credits for whenever my wishlist books become available.

Trading Book Stores

"Buying More Books," tips for economically growing your library. marissabaker.wordpress.comThere is a wonderful trading bookstore not half an hour’s drive from here that sells new and used books. My favorite way to approach this store is to turn in books my aunt no longer wants on her shelves, and then bring home books for me 🙂 That’s how I found books like my hardcover edition of Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, several fairy tale volumes, and where I bought my first Reader’s Digest World’s Best Reading edition (not to be confused with those Reader’s Digest condensed book collections).

Library Book Sales

My local library has a book sale once a month. For a small fee, I’m a Friend of the Library and can get into the member pre-sale. Books sell for between $.025 and $1.00. Some months I buy nothing, sometimes I can hardly carry them all back to the car. If you don’t know when your local book sales are, try checking BookSaleFinder.com.

For Specific Books

For general book shopping, the three resources above are great. But if I’m looking for a specific title or edition. Amazon and Half.com are my go-to sites. If I want the book store experience, there’s three Half Price Books within about an hour’s drive.

Is there anywhere else you’d recommend looking for books to economically increase the size of your library? I’d love to hear your ideas. Also, if you have any ideas about finding more room for books, I’m starting to run out of space on my bookshelves …