Library Used Book Sales FTW

We all know how thrilling a library's used book sale can be. Paperbacks at super-cheap, raising money for libraries at the same time, sometimes finding rare or OOP books that you have been lusting over for years.. It's generally a good time, and worth the getting up early on the weekend. My local library has its semi-annual used book sale this weekend, and I stopped by this morning with some friends, list in hand. It was my first time at such a huge event - it was much bigger than I anticipated in my small little town!

I started by wandering down into the basement, where the sale was held. I spotted one friend right away, lounging in the Health section. She seemed content, so I beelined for the Romance section. And the angels sang. It was an amusing experience from a human behavior observation standpoint as well. There were two women who were on the hunt. They had a list and already two boxes full of books. They were helping each other find things, even bartering the books they had discovered in the stacks to get the exact books they needed.

My list was much shorter. I created my list from a sadly outdated TBR list that I share with my mother, and realized that I wasn't sure how many of those I was still interested in reading. So I trudged over (as much as one can online) to Dear Author to check out their Top 100 Romances list and decided to focus for the day on Judith Ivory, Patricia Gaffney, Laura Kinsale, and Jo Goodman. Out of these, I have only read Ivory, and even then only Black Silk. Considering these women are often praised in the Romance community, I felt I needed an education (us younger generations, ya know..). So I stuck primarily today to what I didn't know.

Here, in no particular order, is my haul for the day, and the reason I chose it from the literally hundreds of books available:

Laura Kinsale, The Dream Hunter - in the top five on DearAuthor's list.

Laura Kinsale, For My Lady's Heart - in the top 100 list on DearAuthor

Sherry Thomas, Delicious - I do not own this book, and enjoyed it immensely when I read it. It's been on my "keeper" list for a long while.

Beverly Jenkins, Something Like Love - I have heard marvelous things about Jenkins. Secondarily, there has been a lot of discussion on race in literature lately in the blogosphere, and I feel I can't actively participate in a discussion without having read more literature by people of color.

Pam Rosenthal, Almost a Gentleman - I adored Rosenthal's The Slightest Provocation. Almost a Gentleman has been on my TBR for at least a year. I feel incredibly lucky to have scored this novel.

Jo Goodman, Wild Sweet Ecstasy - There were several Jo Goodman novels in the stacks - in fact, I may go back tomorrow afternoon and scout out some more once I check with some of the folks I frequently bother for recommendations. This was the only one in the stacks that was on DearAuthor's top 100 list, so it made the cut.

Judith Ivory, Black Silk - Yes, I have read it. Keeping it is kind of an option. However, it is in PERFECT condition, and I know someone who has a copy that is falling apart a little bit... and if not, I'm glad to keep it and lend it out.

There was another book, hope for the flowers by Trina Paulus that is kind of a children's book, but with some darker, adult themes. It spoke to me. I think this is one of those books that I really need at this point in my growth (as an actor and as a human being) and it fell into my hands.

My total cost for this trip: $4.00

I am very pleased with my purchases. I think some of these I nabbed because they are trade paperbacks, and I don't think everyone was looking quite as closely at the trades/hardcovers. I was a bit surprised that there wasn't any Gaffney in the stacks, and only the one Ivory - but then, I did get there at almost 11am and I know there were people there when the doors opened at 8am. I could have missed some good stuff. But I did mostly get books by new authors, and managed to resist (OH it was difficult) a TON of Lisa Kleypas, whose Bow Street Runners trilogy is one of my favorites. All the Julia Quinn that was there I own, as well as the Eloisa James - there wasn't a lot, however, and I think those might have been picked over before I arrived. If there is a check waiting for me in my mailbox today, I will most likely swing by again tomorrow and scout out the Kleypas and others. There were a lot of contemporary categories, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'm glad to take another list with me - categories are only 10 cents a pop!

We also decided, the three of us who undertook this adventure, to start a book club with the three of us at its center. We have a list of ladies to invite (we decided on ladies because we don't get to hang out with each other often enough) and we are planning to read one book a month and meet monthly to discuss it over brunch. It began by all three of us recommending several books to each other - we figured we'll never be able to remember all these, and it will help us move out of our comfort zone a bit.

We are calling it the "Fight Evil - Read Books" Book Club. Why? Because one of our ladies is a school librarian and she is raising money for her library - their budget was recently cut. Her fund-raising effort centers around a series of lunch packs, totes, etc, with a logo that says "Fight Evil - Read Books". We found this extremely amusing, so we're adopting it as our logo as well. I am going to post information about this fund-raiser on this blog once I get the information from her because I have a strong fondness for school libraries - my middle school library was my haven and my introduction to romance novels.

It was a rewarding morning/early afternoon out, and I am really excited to have reconnected with friends that are as passionate about reading as I am.

I swear, I'm alive!

I was taken over by the monster known as GRAD SCHOOL! Yes, this beast has kept me from many of my favorite pastimes. I have so much reading to do for school that reading for pleasure has become rare, and when I do, I usually am prevented from writing a review by the looming reality of homework. And while I am a master (mistress?) of procrastination, somehow reviews and blogging seemed too obvious a procrastinatory technique.

This is my Spring Break, and the last few days I have been cooking and baking up a storm. The downside to this is that I've lost my camera cable, and the pretty pictures I took of the cupcakes I made from Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Cake Bible (Sour Cream Butter Cake, for those who own the book - only I didn't have sour cream, so I used Yogurt). I made a tasty pomegranate liquor buttercream using her Neoclassical Buttercream recipe. The buttercream did not turn out as planned. I fail at simple syrup frostings, apparently. Next cake I make, I am going to try her Dark Chocolate Ganache, and use the same liquor. Pomegranate + Dark Chocolate = Love.

For those of you who like to put your alcohol in your food, let me assure you that pomegranate liquor is ideal for frostings. In an American buttercream, however, it is insanely sweet. Some of us have a major sweet tooth and don't mind this, and it crusts excellently. But if you use any of Rose's recipes, you'll notice she has a caveat for adding liquor into your frosting. Any baker who puts this in the default recipe (even listing it as "optional") gets major props from me.

And if you bake and don't own The Cake Bible.... why not?! Get thee to a bookstore!

My other loves have also fallen by the wayside. Despite being in a production where the rehearsal process allowed for mucho knitting time, I was doing to much actual work on the show (unheard of!) to get anything really accomplished. I'm hoping I can remedy this in the second half of the semester, because I really want to learn how to knit socks before it turns into flip-flop weather.

My beloved books have suffered too. I've managed to finish the first two Tessa Dare novels, Goddess of the Hunt and Surrender of a Siren, and while I did not have time to write reviews for them both, I can recommend them heartily! I started the third, A Lady of Persuasion, but then life took me by the horns again.

It must also be pointed out that the only reason I got that much reading done was because I took some time away from school to go to the funeral of my Grandfather. He was the greatest man in my life, my hero and my inspiration. I miss him each day.

I'm hoping to get a new camera before I go to London (SQUEE!!) in May so I can post pictures of the wonderful sights I am seeing. We will see how my continuing adventures in graduate school.. er... continue.