Four Best-Kept Secrets Book Lovers Need To Know

Four Secrets Book Lovers Need To Know

My life-long love affair with books has taken some wonderful new turns in the last year: so many more books, and for little to zero cost at all. 

“Did you say Free Books?”

Why yes, you have my attention!

So, here are four things that have spiced up my reading life in the last year, and if you’re a book lover – perhaps they’ll spice yours up too 🙂

1) Taking out e-books from the library

Now, I am a lover of paper books. They smell like books should smell, and I confess I do dearly like to judge a book by its cover. However, my Mom got me on to Kindle reading, and it has become a wonderful addition to my life (especially when traveling! Now I can take TWENTY books! in my handbag!)

Even better, though, is discovering that our local public library has a respectable (and growing) collection of ebooks which I can borrow on my Kindle. Our library, along with thousands of others in the US, uses Overdrive, and with a simple online sign-up, I can visit our local library and check out up to six books and download them to my e-reader. Folks with Tablets can easily download a Kindle App which would allow you to read these books on any tablet or smartphone, too.

Titles are available for three weeks, and are automatically returned at the end of the period if they are not renewed (yay! No late fees!) And… best of all, this means I can go to the library on a Sunday afternoon. Or at 10pm. In my pajamas! 

The online library also has a “request hold” function, and I have a couple of titles I’ve been wanting to read on there. When they are available, I’ll get an email and the title will magically appear on the Kindle on my nightstand.

It’s like having your own librarian fairy godmother, folks. 

Ask your library if this service is available. Ours had it for years before I discovered it was there!

2) Taking Audiobooks Out from the Library

Books-on-CD have been a thing for a long time, but we only discovered them last summer on our epic road trip. (We listened to Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Peter and the Starcatcher series, narrated by Jim Daly-of-Harry-Potter-reading-fame: a breathtaking family adventure!)

We took that series out on CD from the library, but we have since discovered that with the online library membership, we can not only take out ebooks, but also Audiobooks! This is brilliant for driving/running errands/doing yard work/making dinner etc. With a simple online signup at the library, I can check an audiobook out for three weeks and listen to it on my smartphone. I tried Audible once and thought it very expensive for my audiobook tastes – so finding a free library option was awesome.

Genius, friends. It’s like having a fairy godmother read you a story. While you cook. For free.

3) Grab a Bag of Books

Our book club recently discovered another gem at our local library: they have a room with “Bags of Books” specifically for book clubs. They have a list of about 60 titles, and each has a bag with 10 copies of a book in the bag, which can be borrowed for about 6 weeks. Not all the titles are to my taste, but a good deal of them are (Peter and the Starcatchers was one of them, and I just read Elizabeth Stroud’s Olive Kitteridge, which I thought was excellent)

This has been an awesome find for our book club – instead of us all trying to scramble to find the same edition of a book, there are ten in a bag, which we all get on the night of book club. Ask your library if they have something like this.

4) Meet the Book Whisperer and Finder of Kindle Deals

Anne Bogel is my book whisperer: her blog Modern Mrs Darcy is full of book recommendations. I scour her annual Summer Reading Guide for suggestions, and regularly listen to her new What Should I Read Next? podcast. But best of all the things Anne does, I think, is compile a current list of Great Kindle Deals: Fabulous books at on-sale prices. You can check out the site directly from time to time, or sign up for Kindle deal notifications.

Let me warn you ahead of time, friends: I never visit Anne’s Kindle Deal page without finding something I’m dying to read and saying “oh, it’s just 99c…. click

I think that in the past year I have had more excellent reading material at my fingertips than at any other point in my life… and it has been SUCH fun. If you love to read… here’s hoping this helps connect you with more wonderful things in the world of literature, too!




Paying my dues

It is no small thing to take three small kids to the library.

But our books were overdue, fines were accruing, and the kids were antsy for new literary fodder. So we played hunt-the-library-book, got all our gear together and made the trip across town. The kids took turn to return the books into the book deposit slots and raced inside. The eldest two made their choices, carefully laying their fortnights worth of treasures into the bag, while I tried to restrain my destructo-baby from pulling armfuls of books into the aisles. I attempted to do this all quietly.


After 30 minutes, Mommy was Done. I gathered up the books, the bags, the destructo-baby and corralled the eldest two. As we stepped up to the electronic check out, I realized with horror that I. did. not. have. our. library. card.


I sighed as I turned around and headed for the tired yet kindly librarian behind the counter. “I forgot my library card,” I confessed. “Can you help me?”

“Only if you’re paying me money,” she replied, and pointed to the “accounts” sign above her head.

“I had a fine to pay anyway,” I said, and offered her my ID so she could look me up. “I never mind paying library fines,” I said, making conversation while she typed. “I feel badly that the books are late and I’m sorry for the infraction, but I don’t actually mind giving money to the library.”

She laughed. “You could consider it your dues,” she said, and told me how much I owed.

I stifled a gasp with a smile. “Wow. I didn’t think a little fine here and there could add up to such a big debt.” I said. I handed over a crisp note, a transaction in green to erase my debts.

“No,” she said, “People are often surprised at what they owe.”

I looked down at the bag of books and asked, “do you think we could take these out? If I need my card, don’t worry – I’ll come back another day”

“Sure,” she replied, and then added a qualification, “now that I know who you are. I mean, people don’t pay other people’s debts, now do they?”

I hesitated, and then mumbled, “not unless you’re Jesus.”

Her head snapped up, eyes widened to see if she had heard me correctly.

I said it again, clearer and with grateful remembrance: “You’re right. People don’t pay other people’s debts. Unless you’re Jesus.” A transaction in red to erase my debts.

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