I spent the weekend in three different places: New York, Springfield, and Boston. Only one of these (Springfield) involved actual physical space. I went to New York thanks to Suzanne Collins “Gregor the Overlander” series, where a young boy does battle for good and evil under the Big Apple. I managed a side trip to Boston with Tess Gerritsen, as her lead character investigated a murder from the 1800’s. This may also qualify as time travel, but let’s not split hairs.
Reading has always provided an escape for me. I inherited my mother’s love of books, and it has brought me endless joy. I am the kid who reached for a book, not the TV remote. I continue to be that kid. My pop culture knowledge is extremely limited, as any of my friends will tell you. They have long since stopped trying to explain jokes to me that involve the latest episode of The Office or a long ago viewing of The Goonies (which I finally saw my freshman year).
I am embarrassed to say that I have watched more TV in these past 5 months than I probably have in my entire life. And I don’t even have a TV! Hulu, abc.com and espn3 are highly regarded in my one bedroom apartment, and bookmarked on my mac. It’s disgusting. After being on the computer all day at work, opening my laptop is very low on my priority list.
Luckily, our local public library recently had a sale. As all good thrifters know, Sunday is always the day to go. Why? Bag sale. Fill a bag with as many books as you can stuff in it for $5. I came home with 16. That was two weeks ago and I’ve already read 3. There are also 2 used bookstores within 10 miles of me which will take your used books, and offer you credit for copies from their inventory. If I just so happen to finish a book en route to a destination, I will likely leave it behind for another reader. Paperback where your safety card is supposed to be on the airplane? From me, with love!
Two websites to plug here: 1) Bookmooch, and 2) Goodreads.
Bookmooch is a place where you can list an inventory of books, wishlist ones you’d like to read, and swap with other people. For instance, I recently inventoried Slammerkin and The Enchantress of Florence. Both were requested within a day. So then what? Then it’s off to the post office, sending two books across the US for a mere $2 each. Each posting, sending and receiving earns you points. I send one book, I earn one point. Receiving books costs nothing, and sending books via media mail rarely exceeds $3 for a paperback, even if it goes from PA to CA.
Goodreads is keeping track of everything I’m reading. It also helps me keep track of books I’d like to read, and review books I have read. I’ve read 392 books since I opened my account, and have another 100+ on my To-Read shelf. There are discussion boards, although I don’t use them. There are also First Reads which are giveaways by authors. Authors themselves can keep profiles on Goodreads, and interact with their readers. I’m really just using it as a listing mechanism, but I love it.
So where else am I escaping to? Here are some other titles I’ve read in 2012:
- Dead Time – Stephen White
- The Enchantress of Florence – Salman Rushdie
- Balzac & the Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
- The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein *
- Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins # $
- Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain *
- Eight Keys – Suzanne LaFleur $
- Tears of the Giraffe – Alexander McCall Smith #
- Gregor & the Overlander (4 of 5 books) – Suzanne Collins # $
- The Bone Garden – Tess Gerritsen
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
- Tales from Nowhere – Lonely Planet *
* = recommend
# = series
$ = children’s / YA literature