I love used books!

I buy a lot of used books. Used bookstores are my kryptonite; I can’t go into one without buying at least five new books. Sometimes people try to tell me that buying brand new books is better than getting someone’s run-down, beat up, second-hand book, but I disagree and I’m going to tell you why.

Can you guess which ones were purchased as brand-new versus used?

        Can you guess which ones were purchased as brand-new versus used?

  • Used books hold more stories than the ones written on their pages. Think about it: who was its pervious owner? Where was it read? Has it been to more countries than you? If that book could talk, it would probably have an exciting memoir to recite.
  • Coffee stains on white pages got you down? Well, stop being so particular! If someone has stained their book it only means that they couldn’t take a five minute break from reading to eat, which has to be a good sign. If someone else couldn’t put that book down, you probably won’t either.
  • Used books are cheaper than new books! Sure, you could argue that e-books are (sometimes) even less money, and using a library card is always free, but sometimes you just need to own a particular book.
  • I might be pretty unique in liking worn out books — I make a point to destroy book spines — and many of my friends shudder when they hear me say I’d rather have tattered pages than perfect, straight ones. While most used books are old and loved, not all of them look it. A lot of used books do look brand new!
  • Sure, that new-book smell is awesome, but musty old books smell great too.
  • Getting lost in used bookstores is almost as fun as reading. They are usually organized in some way, but more often than not the shelves are stacked with more books than you could image. What’s wrong with wandering amongst shelves for an hour or so trying to find that next awesome literary adventure? Nothing.
  • If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon some super old books it feels like finding an artifact from the literary world. A lot of old books have hand-sewn spines, beautifully illustrated covers, and hold so much history! These, friends, are the real treasures of the book world.
  • Sometimes used books have notes scribbled in the margins. This is awesome, as it gives you the opportunity to see what previous readers were thinking. Did they interpret that character the same way you did? Did they pick up on some foreshadowing that you missed? These notes will get you thinking about books in ways you might never have thought of!
  • Used bookstores are usually independently owned, and need your support! Plus, owners/staff are always super knowledgeable and friendly.
  • Buying used books is also environmentally friendly. Need I say more?

I love libraries!

National Library Week ends today, but I think that every week should be National Library Week; libraries are totally awesome and should always be celebrated!

Libraries are full of shelves and stacks and little nooks and crannies of books that you are allowed to borrow and read FOR FREE! This is especially awesome for a bookworm like myself, because there’s no way I could afford to buy all the books I want to read. So really, what is better than an entire building filled with books just waiting to be read, that also actively encourages you to come hang out and feed your mind with adventures and imagination and general amazingness? Nothing.

I could go on forever about how much I love libraries. I’ve been frequenting them for as long as I can remember. My local library growing up, which was a converted old railway station, hosted story-time for young children, summer reading programs for tweens and teens, and is still pretty awesome to this day. Back in the ‘90s, it also had computers that you could use to access the internet! Way cool.

In university, I practically lived in my school’s library. Since I double majored in History and English Literature, I pretty much read all day until my eyes started bleeding; it was fantastic.

Now, being a young, hip twenty-something, I still hang out at my city’s local library. It was recently renovated, and is now full of beautiful artwork, high ceilings, tech-labs, performance rooms, and of course, more than enough books to fill my tiny apartment with. It also has a wicked coffee shop inside, which is great for fuelling my brain during those afternoons when I just need to finish the last 100 pages of a totally awesome story.

But I often feel like libraries don’t get enough love. How many of you hang out at them regularly? Or, if you do, how many of your friends or family go with you?

I understand that not everyone loves to read, and most people associate libraries with a love of reading. However, that’s not necessarily true. Take a look at this year’s theme for National Library Week: Libraries Transform.

What does that mean? Well, I like to think that it means libraries, and their programs, transform those traditional ideas and notions of their very own institutions.

Traditionally, libraries have been a place where the general public can go to educate themselves (typically for free) through written text. Now, though, we’ve started to gravitate away from only learning from books, which is a great thing.

You can now go to libraries and access the internet (which might still be a big thing for some people), you can take courses, watch performances, join clubs, meet up with friends, or even learn how to 3D print something. 3D printing in libraries! Who would have ever thought?

Libraries are spaces for thinking, creating, collaborating, and sharing ideas. They now transcend physical books, and offer so much more. You can access digital archives, see special collections, and learn more fun facts than you ever thought even existed. Libraries are bursting with free knowledge.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your library card.

December Reading Roundup

Yes, I realize that it is actually January, but I’ve been so busy for the past month working and drinking egg nog that I haven’t been able to write about all my literary romps! So, fellow book nerds, feel free to check out these short reviews about some of the books I read in the past few weeks!

Room, by Emma Donoghue

This book starts off like an episode of Criminal Minds, but better. Why? Because 1) it’s a book (duh) and 2) it gets into the minds of the victims: a young mother and her five year old son who are being held in a single room. Jack was born and raised in the room, has never left, and is content with his life; he has no idea what is outside the four walls he knows so well. His mother, on the other hand, remembers everything about her former life and wants nothing more to escape. I wasn’t sure about whether or not I would enjoy Room, but I did. It was a beautiful, powerful story about survival and love, and it’s told from Jack’s point-of-view, which is both heartwarming and frustrating. I’d recommend Room to almost anyone. 

The Girl With All The Gifts, by M.R. Carey

Have you ever heard of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis? It’s this weird fungal disease that more or less turns ants into zombies. The fungus attacks the ant’s brain, and begins to manipulate its behaviour. Once the ant dies, it releases a disgusting looking spore from its head, which then later infects more ants. What makes this disease even more interesting is that it only infects certain hosts.

What does this have to do with a book? Well, imagine if this disease evolved into a form that was able to infect humans, because that’s the setting of The Girl With All The Gifts.

In this post-apocalyptic tale, humans that have become infected with the new strain of ophiocordyceps are referred to as “hungries,” and they attack and eat other people. Those that have gone unaffected live in heavily protected areas. A few military personnel, however, live at a base and conduct experiments on children who have been infected but do not display typical “hungry” behaviour.

What sets these children apart? Why are they able to (sometimes) resist the desire to attack and eat humans? Do they hold the cure to this infectious disease? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

I’m going to be honest and admit that I am not familiar with any of Amy Poehler’s work (other than her role as “the cool mom” in Mean Girls). I saw her book on a lot of “You Need To Read These Books” lists and decided to give it a go.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Amy Poehler is a queen. Her book is filled with solid advice that will also make you a queen. She spills a lot of tough truths while simultaneously making you laugh. Read this book. Just do it. 

PS — if you want to see everything I’ve been reading, check out my Goodreads account.