how to increase your dragon hoard (of books)

It is an undeniable fact that bookwyrms love acquiring books. In fact, one might say that we're a bit obsessed, especially upon witnessing the magnetic pull that bookshops seem to have on us. But where are the best places to pick up a stack of reading material? Here are my favorites:

1. Local library Since I lack both money and space, I try to avoid accumulating too much stuff--including books. Besides, the library is a bookwyrm's dream: There are shelves and shelves of books to get lost in, and you can walk out the door with a stack as tall as your torso without spending a cent (assuming, of course, that you return things on time . . .).

If your library system doesn't have a book you want, you can always request that they buy it. Mine is pretty good about purchasing recommended books, and the person who recommends them gets first dibs on reading them.

2. Library sales Many libraries host an annual (or even more frequent!) book sale. This is a great place to get cheap books, and the money you spend there supports a good cause! (Which is, of course, keeping you and the rest of the community supplied with free books.) Some libraries even have a bag sale on the last day, meaning you can take home as many books as you can stuff into a grocery bag for five bucks.

3. Independent bookshops I love exploring all the nooks of a small bookshop--there are few places more magical and comforting. It's like going on an adventure and curling up next to a cozy fireplace all at once. And it's even more fun when you find that book you've been wanting for so long, or maybe that one you never knew you wanted (but you certainly do now!).

4. Powell's City of Books Imagine, if you will, a book store the size of an entire city block. This is what I walked into seven years ago during my first visit to Portand, Oregon, and it is every bit as incredible as it sounds. Powell's is technically an independent bookstore, but it really needs a category all its own. The City of Books contains thousands of used and new books, and even a rare book room.

I have made several serendipitous finds here, including the book that introduced me to Christian fantasy. I also once spent four hours scanning the endless shelves--the only reason I left was for lunch (only to discover later that they have a small cafe inside . . .). If you are unable to make the pilgrimage to the City of Books, Powell's does have an online store as well.

5. Better World Books This is by far my favorite place to buy books online. For every book purchased, Better World Books donates one to global literacy programs. They have a pretty good selection of used--and new--books, and a fabulous "Bargain Bin," where you can get used books for less than four bucks each. Hint: This is a great website for Christmas shopping.


Where is your favorite place to acquire books? Do you wish you lived in a castle that is half library?


question from a wren

A little brown wren perches
on the stone wall
to ask me a question.

She cocks her head and
stares at me intently,
small dark eyes pleading.
"Chip, chip, chip,"
she spouts urgently,
but I cannot know the answer
if I don't understand the question

and flustered, she alights
and is gone
leaving me to ponder
the curious language of birds
and what a little brown wren
could possibly want from me.

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untitled {a poem}

For every poem I write
there are ten that never touch paper
and they
are the most beautiful of all.