07 March 2011


Bargain Book Bonanza
(A new linky party hosted by the lovely ladies of Mrs. Baja Greenawalt's Cozy Book Nook)

BBB is a linky party to showcase all the great books
that we book lovers score on sale.
Each Monday, all book lovers are invited
to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!
New and used books welcome!

One thing I love about used books is that they enter your life trailing their own stories. Brand new books are like tabulae rasae: never anyone else's but yours when you buy them. But used books have their own history and destiny that is not totally dependent on you . . . and there's something at once intimidating and charming about that. Because unless the books were woefully mistreated by their last owners, they're going to demand that you live up to their expectations as much as they have to live up to yours.

Here are the "pre-loved" books I introduced myself to last week. I've promised them all a good life and am glad that they trusted me with their keeping.

Not to be confused with
D is for Dahl, compiled by Wendy Cooling!

I found this small "feast of fabulous facts" on a bargain books table right inside the entrance of a local children's hospital, where my mother and I were taking my brothers for their checkups. What a delight to see, right beside the usual gift shops selling flowers, balloons and toys, three whole tables of picture books, intermediate reads, and Young Adult novels!

While the ideal situation would be for the hospital to have its own library (and a friendly nurse pushing a book cart from room to room), I'm sure that just isn't in the budget. Partnering with a used books retailer and giving them a prime location right inside the entrance is the next best thing. Children love books--and if a child needs to spend the night in a boring hospital room, a few good books at affordable prices can be just as diverting as a brand new toy.

I bought this short "Alphabet Book"--with whipple-scrumptious entries from A (Allsorts, Licorice) to Z (Zzzz . . .)--because it seemed like a good way to pass the time while we waited for my brothers' test results to come back. (On the ride back home, it also turned out to be a good way to annoy to reminisce with the boys, as it let us relive last year's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory read-aloud experience.)

Now, if all this feels like deja vu to you, that might be because you remember my article Reaching Out and Reading Aloud about a doctor who is as passionate about early literacy as he is about paediatric care. Here's a PDF copy of Fully Booked Zine's August-September 2009 issue. You can find my piece on Page 12 . . . and the name of my brothers' hospital in the third column! (Just helping my stalkers out . . . LOL!)

Handbooks for Young Writers, Thinkers and Learners!

Later that night, I visited my favourite used bookstore and found these two technical and creative handbooks for "Young Writers". I snapped them up as soon as I figured out the unprinted sub-subtitle: Resources for Young-at-Heart Teachers. What a find!

The best part was that, when I was looking through them and weighing whether to get them, Write Track fell open to the section on "Writing Alphabet Books"--one prime example of which I had just been reading!!! How cool is that??? I think an Alphabet Book (or any sort of "Alphabet Assignment", really) would be a really great English project. Don't you agree?

The two books are actually pretty similar; so if you already have one and are not an English teacher, you probably wouldn't need to get the other. The main difference is that Write on Track is for grade school and middle school students; Writers Express, for older kids, among whom I number college students. If I could just find the tutees, I could help start a Language Arts revolution. (Hello, parents! I'm here! E-mail me!)

I hope to write about more about these two handbooks in future posts--preferably new volumes of "Tutor Tales".

Image Source: a) Roald Dahl's Incredible Chocolate Box by Roald Dahl, b) Write on Track, c) Writers Express


Lesa said...

Thank you so much for linking up!

Love the serendipitous way these books came into your life. That is an advantage of real life shopping as opposed to online shopping. (but I like all the shopping) ;o)

I agree about the history and charm of used books-- there is something almost magical about them to me. I like being part of a bookish timeline.

the covers on your books are so cute and colorful! They look brand new!! What a BBB!

Enbrethiliel said...


I "cheated" a bit by using stock images from the Internet rather than the covers of my own books. But they're in relatively good condition nonetheless--only a little worn around the edges. Nothing rough handling by younger brothers and students wouldn't have produced in its own time! ;-)

There's also a huge difference between used books shopping and "new books" shopping: one really has to be in the right place at the right time. Which reflects my own belief about reading the right book at the right time.

But I wouldn't kick "new books" shopping out of the game any more than you would! ;-)

Kristi said...

Great finds! I love Roald Dahl. I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my kids a couple of years ago. Dahl's books make for great bedtime stories.

I love your idea for the hospital. Wouldn't that be wonderful if that could be implemented.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi! Wow, I love your blog.

What a great post. I like what you said about the history that each used book brings with itself. I'll keep my eyes open for the young writer books, especially. You have given me great ideas for next weeks BBB too. I really appreciate you stopping by and enjoyed your comments very much.

I am a now a new follower. Take care, and have wonderful week!


Enbrethiliel said...


Kristi -- It would be great if hospitals could be more holistic in that way, but we take what we can get, you know? =)

Thanks for visiting!

Kathy -- Thank you very much! I definitely recommend Write Track and Write Express to anyone who has school-aged children. It turns out that there are more books like them, all with titles that play on the word "Write," so you probably don't need to find these specific ones.

I can't wait for next week's BBB! =) If Lesa doesn't mind, I'd like to feature the bargains that I've had for a while (and not just those I've bought in the past week), so they get their time in the spotlight as well.

Lesa said...

I don't mind: BBB book(s) do not have to be current purchases. If a past book bargain did not get the bravo it deserved from your real life friends/family, claim your bragging rights now!

DeLynne said...

How lucky your brothers are to have a caring, reading family! Hope their test results were good news. My teen Izzy recently spent a day in hospital and her books and Kindle were much more comfort to her than her i phone.

Enbrethiliel said...


Lesa -- That's good to know. Thanks!

DeLynne -- Thanks for your good wishes. Yes, the test results were all right. I used to stay overnight in hospitals a lot as a teen, so I know how Izzy feels about her books. One person who was a regular visitor during that time was a big John Grisham reader. So I got to read most of his novels from the 90s, just because she'd bring them over for me to borrow.