Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some pictures of Book Nirvana, aka Avol's in Madison

The only thing I knew I wanted to do while at this work conference in Madison, Wisconsin, was to return to Avol's Books. We had a meeting in Madison in maybe 2007, and I was blown away by this store. I spent about 45 minutes there tonight after dinner, until it closed at 9pm, and I could have browsed at least another half hour. I also have to say, I was very good: I only bought one book, and it's one that had been on my wishlist/watch list for over a year. It's called Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World. Plus, it was only $6.50, and it's in great shape! Yay!!!

Without further ado, a few shots from inside Avol's. The blue paper you see in the fourth picture has a "map" of the store, where the different rooms are and what topics are included in each section. Yes, there are that many rooms. :-D

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hastings book sales I couldn't resist

I can't believe I haven't posted in two weeks. Time goes by too damn quickly! And, time is at a premium this week, as I'm off to Madison, Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon for two days of work conferences. I'll start packing after I finish this post ... and after the furnace guy is done here at my house. ;-)

I've failed miserably in my attempt to buy fewer books this year. This must be at least exhibit 19:

And here come the excuses:
I got an e-mail from Hastings several weeks ago with an offer of 30% off the price of used books, online only. Now, the bricks-and-mortar Hastings here in Topeka does have clearance racks and periodic sales on used and value (discount/remainder) books, and I've gotten good deals many times. But for the used books in the regular shelves, unless they've been kicking around there a while, unsold, even the used price is often more than I can justify paying unless there's a special sale or coupon that week.

I'd never really looked at the prices and selection online, figuring most of the prices would be comparable to what's in the store. But I'm here to tell you now, some of the prices are incredibly low, like in the $2.00 to $4.00 range. I searched a few titles and authors, and on the last day of the 30% off sale, I went a little nuts. I got five of the six books in the picture through that sale, total of $15.95 including shipping, and the most I paid for a single book, after the 30%discount was applied, was only $2.04. I WIN!

So, my first excuse is the amazing prices plus the additional discount. My second excuse is, three of those five books were already on my "wishlist" and had been for a year or two, specifically: The Zen of Eating: Ancient Answers to Modern Weight Problems by Ronna Kabatznick, Misgivings: My Mother, My Father, Myself, a memoir by the poet C. K. Williams, and Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me, a poetry collection by Stanley Plumly. The other two were by authors I'd previously read and enjoyed -- and I've mentioned both on this blog -- Eavan Boland and Christine Schutt. One of the coolest things, for me, was that the five books were shipped from different places, so I got a book in the mail every day for a week, skipping only the Sunday and Labor Day holiday when there was no mail. I thought, "I could totally get used to this!!!" Did I mention that all five books only cost $15.95? Oh, I did. ;-) Also, they are all in very good condition, and a few of them don't even have remainder marks on them. Happy happy, book joy!

The sixth book in the pile is The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan, which I bought at my Hastings store the weekend before last. They had a tent set up in the packing lot with many used clearance books, and also some movies, music, and games. The books were "Buy one at the clearance price of $2.99, get a second book for one cent." ONE CENT!!! I ended up with four books: the Egan novel for me, two books for my kids, and one -- I hope you're sitting down! -- for Jeff. The last is called Why My Wife Thinks I'm an Idiot: the Life and Times of a Sportscaster Dad by Mike Greenberg, of ESPN's Mike and Mike. Jeff's been reading it on his lunch breaks at work, and it's right up his alley. ("See?" I said. "Reading is great, you just need to have the right books!") Let's recap that day's purchases: four books, but only one of them was actually for me. ;-)

The furnace guy is almost done, so I will close and start some packing soon. Later this week, I'll squeeze in a trip to the fantabulous Avol's Books in Madison, and then Friday is Friends Night at the annual Friends of TSCPL Book Sale. Book heaven, here I come!