Finance, Memoir, Reading

Books are full of treasures

A dollar bill bookmark I found in a library book
I found this hundred dollar bill bookmark in a library book last night.

I love it when people leave surprises in library books. Last night, I opened a recently checked-out library book and found this cute little hundred dollar bill bookmark that someone had left in its middle. Did someone leave it there on accident, or was it a gift? I wonder how many treasures I have accidentally left in my library books when I’ve returned them?

Once in a while, I will purposely leave a real dollar bill in a book before I return it. Imagine the look on the next reader’s face when she finds money in her library book! I think that moment of excitement you feel when you find money, even if it’s only a dollar, is worth so much more than the dollar itself. I don’t mind investing in someone else’s moment of happiness once in a while. Continue reading “Books are full of treasures”


These are the libraries of my life

We always had a full set of World Book Encyclopedias in my childhood home. | Encyclopedias (Photo credit: Rishabh Mishra (possible248))

One of the greatest tragedies of my childhood was not having access to a public library. I grew up in a rural area in south-central Illinois. The closest town, which boasted a population of around 350 people, didn’t have a library. The closest public library was about a twenty to twenty-five minute drive. Since we didn’t live in town, we weren’t entitled to a free library card. My parents didn’t think the library membership was worth the $50 a year considering how little we would get to made the trip.

My parents always made sure we had books to read. We had a full set of encyclopedias. I’ve been told my father used to read to me from the encyclopedia when I was a baby. As I grew older, whenever I would ask my dad a question about the world, he would say, “Let’s look it up.” He would make me figure out for myself which book would have the answer I was looking for, and then he would make me find the correct entry so I would learn how to find answers on my own. Then we would read it together and talk about it. My dad taught me to look for answers and think for myself. Continue reading “These are the libraries of my life”

Book Reviews, Reading

This is why I don’t buy books

Portrait of a Byzantine empress, possibly Theo...
Portrait of a Byzantine empress, possibly Theodora. 6th century a.D. In the Museum of Ancient Art in the Castello sforzesco in Milan, Italy. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, january 6 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love books as much as the next writer. But I’m poor, so I typically opt to borrow them from the library rather than purchasing them. The book I bought at Barnes & Noble the other day reminded me why I shouldn’t bother purchasing books at all.

I picked up a historical novel about the Byzantine empress, Theodora that looked like it might be a good read. I do think it could have been an intriguing story, but the writing was terrible. (I’m not going to tell you the name of the novel because I don’t really believe in writing bad reviews. I’d like to be a published author someday and know I’d rather do without internet trolls raving on about how horrible my work is.)

Although the author is a historian who seems to know her facts, her novel is an excellent example of how poor writing can take a true story and render it completely unbelievable. Her attempt to create language that is authentic to the time is feeble at best. The constant use of clichés and modern colloquialisms kept dragging me out of the story as I had to continually remind myself what time period I was reading about.   Continue reading “This is why I don’t buy books”