On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

I love books. There weren’t a lot of them around the house when I was little, but I loved the ones I had. Dr. Dan the Bandage Man, The Little Red Hen, and The Little Engine That Could were my favorites. We had a set of Book of Knowledge Encyclopedias, and while I wasn’t interested in the boring factual stuff, I discovered there were fables and fairy tales scattered among the pages. I spent many afternoons searching for them and reading them over and over. During the summer, I went to the library as often as Mom would take me. I checked out stacks of books, continuing to read long after my Summer Book Club requirements were completed.

I was in the fifth grade the first time I bought a book of my own. Once a week we each received a publication called “The Weekly Reader,” and once a month it included a list of books we could order. My first purchase was The Red Pony by John Steinbeck for $.50. I enjoyed the story, but I knew there was more to it than I understood. For the next several years I read more Steinbeck, Faulkner, Michener, some of them voluntarily and some of them assigned, but my taste still ran toward the recreational rather than the intellectual. When I discovered Agatha Christie, I was hooked. I love books, but I really love a good mystery.

As an adult I went through a book club phase: buy 7 books for $1, buy 3 more at regular price, cancel membership, repeat. That worked for a while, but as times got leaner, I discovered used bookstores and garage sales. Whatever the method, I kept my bookshelves stuffed with books rather than objets d’art, and any move involved the donation of several boxes full of the latest collection of books.

David loves to read, too. It’s one of the major things we have in common. When we moved back to Texas, I worried about a source of reading material. In Florida, we had access to a fantastic library system. The Land O Lakes Library was well-stocked, but if I couldn’t find what I wanted on their shelves, I could go on-line and peruse the shelves of any library in the Pasco County system. When I found a book I wanted, I placed an order, requested that it be sent to the Land O Lakes Branch, and wait for an e-mail notice.

When we went on the road, I made use of special “vacation check-outs” and made sure our due dates were far enough out to avoid late fees. I also discovered most of the campgrounds had a book exchange where I could take one and leave one. The shelves usually had a large supply of romance and western novels, but there were also a fair number of mysteries. I sometimes found books by our favorite authors and sometimes found new favorites. Between the two sources, I was able to keep us reading, but if you’re trying to read a particular series in order, the book exchange isn’t the best option. I’ve found several good on-line sources for used books, and that works out pretty well, but sometimes the shipping cost makes a big dent in the savings.

One of the first things I checked out when we got to Emory was the library. It’s a nice library, but Emory is a small town, and it has a small library. They have an exchange program with some of the neighboring libraries, but there’s a $5 fee per book, so it’s not a very appealing option. The Senior Center has a book exchange once or twice a month, but like the campground bookshelves, it’s heavy on romance and westerns.

I think I’ve found a new source, though: the Good Samaritan Thrift Store. It’s open during the week to distribute food, clothing, and various household items to those in need, but on Saturday mornings, it’s open to the public. The money raised on Saturdays is used to restock the food pantry and to pay the organization’s expenses. Best of all, it has an extensive book section.

The first time I went, I came away with only 5 books. I saw a lot more that interested me, but I didn’t have my list. Several years ago I started a list of books we had read along with a comprehensive list of the works of “our” authors so I wouldn’t order duplicates or miss any treasures by our favorites. So far, the list is 37 pages long, but it’s double spaced, so that’s not too bad. After our visit to the thrift store, I used my master list to develop a shopping list of missing books. Last Saturday I went back to the thrift store, list in hand and on a mission.

I looked at the new releases which are priced at $1, but before I made any decisions I checked out the $.25 paperbacks. Pay dirt! I found an entire section of James Patterson and David Baldacci. I walked out with 20 books for a grand total of $4.33.

I know as a writer I need to support my fellow authors, and I buy new books from time to time. But until I get that call from my agent, I have to watch the budget. I’m a book junkie, and until that big contract arrives in my mailbox, I’ll have to continue to feed my addiction at used bookstores, used book websites, and the thrift store.

Comments on: "Confessions of a Book Junkie | by Linda Brendle" (8)

  1. As a die hard bookseller all I can say good on you. Used bookstores and thrift stores are wonderful and there is no reason to feel guilty where you get them. They deserve your business and we certainly want them to stay afloat in these hard times.

  2. Searching for books can be a fun and entertaining pastime. I love all the creative ways you’ve fed your habit!

  3. Ohhh, I see… You’re one of those people who actually uses the lists after the list has been created. You people make me…gawk! And probably jealous too, perhaps. Sort of. I mean, I do lists too.

    I have lists. Of lists. Of listed items. And I find them everywhere all over my life except when I’m actually where I’m doing whatever it was I created the list for in the first place.

    I create lists often, obsessively so sometimes. And I have explored the depths of my creativities trying to facilitate the experience where I actually use them to accomplish the goal intended when they were conceived. I’ve put them in a variety of novel locations; experimented with color, methodology, technology, astronomy, and salami too — but no, I don’t actually get to use them very often.

    So, WOW! I mean, 37 pages?!? For real?!?

    Double-spacing is the only thing that saved you, child. Single-spaced and I’d be calling the Rehab-Nab-Cab at the Seriously-Listaholic-Anomalies (SLA) right this very moment!

    (You may have confessed to one addiction, but I believe you may have disclosed one still lurking in the closet. But your secret’s safe with me. I won’t say a thing.)


    Everyone is an addict and addicted to something. And we all have our substance(s) of choice. I think your choice is smart, exciting, frugal, sustainable, green-minded, non-fumigative — and fun! That makes you One Smart Cookie! As well as: organized; disciplined; efficient; enviable; and environmentally-cool.

    Most addictions are, unfortunately, absent the majority of those desirable descriptors that are present in yours. So yeah…I might be just a tad bit jealous. In a good way.


    P.S. — Aside from you musing the inspiration for my little bit above, and allowing me the opportunity to peer inside the eternally-significant real parts of a real-person (you) — I found this inspirational as well…

    “…the Good Samaritan Thrift Store. It’s open during the week to distribute food, clothing, and various household items to those in need, but on Saturday mornings, it’s open to the public. The money raised on Saturdays is used to restock the food pantry and to pay the organization’s expenses…”

    What an incredible example of a substantive business-model for the coming Age. A ‘Global Greater-Good Business’ (G3B) biz-mod. Say, buh-bye, BBB!

    [ ‘G3B’ Trademark, Copyright, and Patent-pending litigation, bribery, and other current business-model processes and practices that contribute to separateness, exclusivity, and occasionally obscene profitability. Also pending developer’s procrastination and excusitations.]

    “And what, pray tell, ‘coming Age’ would you be referring to, oh Greater-Good Oraclator?”, asked a suspicious-one derisively…

    The coming Age of Homoluminous!

    [*Hint: No…it is not an Age of gay-queens dressed up in flashionable Christmas lights…but it could eventually become so once RuPaul hears about it. Just saying…]

    Find out more about the ‘G3B’ business-model and ‘Homoluminous’ on my exciting new website: ‘Under Construction!”, coming soon to Internets in Galaxies everywhere! Beware If you dare.

    [Okay, Linda. I owe you another blog-space rental payment…sorry!]

  4. Thanks for sharing your addiction with us. As a former book store owner, I’ll just prod you to buy more from the independent stores. But as a bookaholic who now runs estate sales for a living, I’ll also encourage you to shop at estate sales more. I have more than a thousand books in my house right now, and more come in every week. I have some still from when I owned my store (closed 12 years ago), but most have come since that time. I buy them from regular bookstores, used bookstores, library sales, thrift stores, estate sales, everywhere they might be found. To make matters worse, my guy is worse than me! I will get rid of books I’ve read if they don’t hold special meaning to me; he keeps all of his. At least he has good taste in books, so that we look downright intelligent when people look at our shelves. We (meaning he) keep mine hidden in my office so that people won’t think we are crazy because my tastes are so eclectic and sometimes completely nuts (I like good literature, but tend towards mysteries, non-fiction, paranormal, travel). Anyway, I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. Keep up the good work.

    • You’re quite welcome. After writing a memoir and a blog, I’ve become very adept at spilling my innermost secrets. And thanks for the suggestion of estate sales. I’ll have to check it out (although there aren’t too many “estates” in our little town of 1,200 people). Thanks for stopping by. Come back any time.
      Blessings and Merry Christmas,

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