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January 12, 2016

Paperback Romance

No one reads books anymore. They still consume literature, but they read on their phones, their tablets, or their electronic readers, or they listen to audio books or podcasts. But the printed word is not dead, because physical books are still very important in two places: the bathtub, and the beach.

For those of you who are good at not dropping your Kindle in the tub, and to everyone who says that as long as you’re careful, your iPhone will stay clear of sunscreen and sand, I’m so proud of you…and you’re not me. I’ve had to replace other people’s books more than once after dropping them in the tub, or realizing that the pages were greasy from sunscreen and boiled peanut juice after I read them on the beach. And books are relatively inexpensive to replace. But I really can’t keep buying new phones.


Stack of books, perched perilously on the edge of the tub

I love to take a stack of paperbacks on vacation, because I can read as much as I want without worrying about juicing them up with spilled drinks, a little rain, or my aprés beach moisturizing oil. And I can share, passing out books like a little free library, because paperbacks are meant for sharing.

Sometimes you bring a stack of books on a trip, but end up going through them faster than you thought you would, which is absolute heaven. You are not alone. An awful lot of rental houses have stacks of paperbacks, often with a little note letting you know that you’re more than welcome to leave a few and take a few. So if you run out of books? Leave yours behind and a grab a new one. If you don’t finish your borrowed thriller before you go home, just take it with you (as long as the owner left that little note indicating that you could!).

And what about all those sweet little free libraries? If a book catches your eye while you’re walking the dog, you should take it. That’s why they’re there, but you need to replace it with something. Keep a basket (or box or pile) of paperback books in the house, just for this purpose.

But books cost money! Of course they do, so next time you’re at Goodwill, don’t miss the book section. You can pick up a few for pennies on the dollar, and you’ll always have something to read on the beach, in the bath tub, or anywhere messy, and you’ll always have enough to share.

Other books I keep an eye out for on the Goodwill shelf:

  • Children’s books: You can never have too many, and kids will tear them up. So get some to spare.
  • Test prep books: Check the dates, because you don’t want to study for an outdated SAT, but these books are expensive and extra practice tests never hurt anyone.
  • Old coffee table books: They can be funny, they can be interesting, or they can be full of images perfect for your next collage or decoupage project.
  • Vintage crafting books: Some people like to learn on YouTube, but if you’re a book person, you can learn to macrame, knit, crochet, weave baskets, or, yes, decoupage.

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