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Book Review: Turnabout

A surprise posting today for all of you. Another “tuesday” book review. 

This week we have another young adult book. Turnabout

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Simon & Schuster, 2000


“April 21, 2085

My sixteenth birthday. Sad, sad day. What I mind most-what I’ve dreaded most-is losing my license. I could still pass for being older for at least another year or two, but the agency won’t let me.  Against the rules , they say. We know best, they say. How can they be so sure  when this is all new territory?”

What if you were given the chance to be younger and live another life? What if you didn’t remember agreeing to do this? What happens when you keep getting younger?

In this novel we get to experience the hidden issues in de-aging and how things constantly change.  Haddix has created a world where two friends will be friends until the end, which may be another beginning to them and the strange way they exist in the world.


Would you want to read this?  Let me know.

Happy Reading.



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First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesdays: Dragon’s Bait

Once again it is time for First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book Reviews  As per the instructions , the following is my entry for a good “new” read. 

Dragon’s Bait

Vivian Vande Velde

Magic Carpet Books, 1992

“The day Alys was accused of being a witch started out like any other. She woke to the gray light of dawn and to the sound of her father coughing. Did he sound any better than he had the morning before? Yes, she told herself–just a little bit, but definitely better. And though she thought that every morning since late winter when he’d been so sick she’d been afraid he’d die, and though here it was with the wheat already harvested and the leaves beginning to turn, and he still too frail to run the tin shop by himself- that did nothing to lessen her conviction, He definitely sounded better. “

This young adult books is a nice spin on the whole “witch fed to a dragon” motif.  Our hero is not perfect by any means. She is angry at how the village turned on her, and even those who passive-aggressively tried to help her (by not tightening the ropes too much) did not stand up for her, so when given the chance to cower & die, or run & die, she taunts the dragon instead.

This is an amazing story that is both simply entertaining and well written, along with being thought provoking and complicated.

Would you read it? Tell me why or why not!

Happy Reading.


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First Chapter Tuesdays: “Don’t Bet on the Prince”

It’s Tuesday! It’s time to share your excerpts and teasers from books we are currently reading, have read or are planning to read. So, feel free to join us by sharing the first paragraph or (a few) of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.


Don’t Bet on the Prince

Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England

 Jack Zipes

Routledge, NY  1987


“A long time ago in a kingdom by the sea there lived a Princess tall and bright as a sunflower. Whatever the royal tutors taught her, she mastered with ease. She could tally the royal treasure on her gold and silver abacus, and charm even the Wizard with her enchantments. In short, she had every gift but love, for in all the kingdom there was no suitable match for her. So she played the zither and designed great tapestries and trained her finches to eat from her hand, for she had a way with animals.”

” I really didn’t notice that he had a funny nose.

And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.

He’s not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.

So I think I’ll just pretend tat this glass slipper feels too tight.”

“For centuries now theologians, educators, literary critics, psychologist, and librarians have debated the pros and cons of reading fairy tales to children.” But why?  Why shouldn’t children see the violence, cruelty and superstition of made up worlds? Why shield the children from morality tales, that entertain while you think? Why should a child not understand that Cinderella might get a happy ending, but also that the stepmother gets her punishment?  This is the point of fairy tales: to see the world and it’s actions in a way that makes one think.  In this book Jack Zipes brings together 16 fairy tales rewritten by modern authors, like Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen, Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, to fit the true heroine story.  A restructuring of the traditional framework of the subordination of women into a voice for silent oppressed groups. Here we see the princess who is just too tall and outspoken falling for a prince with issues,who discovers the real meaning of love after sacrificing everything she has. Or how the story of Snow White was really about feeling contentment and friendship.

This is an amazing read full of enjoyable stories, perfect for those who feel like they have outgrown the fairy tales they loved as a child.

You can find a copy of this book on our biblio store page

Happy Reading.

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Book Review: The Yellow Wallpaper


Hello and welcome to another book review. Today’s pick is The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.


The Yellow Wall-Paper — Feminist Press


Charlotte Perkins Gilman, also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, her first married name, was a prominent American humanist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. First published in 1892, The Yellow Wallpaper  is a written secret journal of a new mother who was failing to relish the joys of domestic life, and was sent to a secluded country home to cure her “nervous condition,” or Postpartum depression. Isolated from people, & forbidden to read or write due to how it “aggravates her”  her doctor & husband insist on complete passivity. Locked in her bedroom she creates a reality of a hidden figure moving underneath the yellow wall paper and goes about freeing her.

Rediscovered in the 1960s, this book became a rallying cry for the importance of self empowerment  and legal freedom for women.

This book is a psychological & dramatic read and is great for anyone wanting to understand how women can be treated physically well, but also be mentally & emotionally neglected.

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Book Review: The Great Good Thing.

Hardcover The Great Good Thing Book

A few years back I came across this book.  As a lover of fairy tales and folk lore I found the cover art to be intriguing, but I wondered if the interior would match up. It did.  This is the story about a story book princess, who knows she is in a story, because all of the characters are acting everything out. The Princess is bored with repeating the story and wishes for more. But years without a reader is causing issues.  One day the characters make a mistake in the plot and the Princess’ dream of having a real unscripted adventure begins.

That alone would have kept my interest. Self aware characters breaking the mold to grow.  But there is more to this book.  In reality this book is about the working of memory, the history of storytelling and the adaptable and collective nature of imagination.

Intended for readers ages 8 to 10, this is a well written book for all ages.



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First Chapter Tuesday: “Past Lives, Future Lives”

It’s Tuesday! It’s time to share your excerpts and teasers from books we are currently reading, have read or are planning to read. So, feel free to join us by sharing the first paragraph or (a few) of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Past Lives, Future Lives

by Dr. Bruce Goldberg

Ballentine Books 1982

 Isbn: 034535575X


 Chapter 1:

“On a cold and overcast Wednesday afternoon in March of 1980, Harry Martin began his journey into the past. From the moment he arrived at my office, Harry made it clear that he was very skeptical about hypnosis and even more skeptical about past-life regressions. Yet i could tell that this twenty-eight year old TV talk show co-host was a highly intelligent man with great powers of concentration- which made him, potentially at least, an excellent candidate for hypnosis. (Being skeptical about regressions has very little to o with one’s ability to be regressed. The suggestibility of the patient and the doctor-patient rapport determines success or failure in regression therapy.)”



Your past problems can affect your future, so be careful about what you wish for in this life.  Follow along with a prominent Baltimore hypnotherapist on dramatic voyages of self discovery through the past centuries and the ones to come.


An interesting scientific approach to the subject. A bit preachy at times, and sometimes very unsettling.  If you want to learn more about this subject, this is a good place to start. If you want something a bit more light hearted  I suggest you watch the movie On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.  In this  1970 American musical comedy-drama fantasy film starring Barbra Streisand, Daisy Gamble decides she’ll give hypnosis a try to help her stop smoking, at the request of her fiancé. While hypnotized, she discloses to her psychiatrist (Yves Montand) that she’s the reincarnation of a 19th-century seductress named Lady Melinda Winifred Waine Tentrees.

Does this sound interesting to read? Let me know.  What are you interested in?

Happy Reading

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It is an unspoken fact that in order for people to remember your business, you not only need good product and excellent customer service, you need a brand.  In order to promote that brand you need merchandise. So what type of merchandise do you need?

That depends on your industry, but for bookstores it is fairly simple and short list.

  • Bookmarks. These are the standard item for a book business. Doubling as a business card, with the store information on either one side or incorporated in the design, these little items can be as cheaply made (off a printer & laminated) or as detailed as you like (carved out of wood). Some people even collect bookmarks. But most people will only pay for  the fancier ones, so if you are  intending to give them away don’t blow the budget on them.
  • Bags.  There are many types, but since every customer needs something to hold all of the purchases, bags are a no brainer. The two most common types are Plastic and Canvas.

                                   Plastic:  Okay no one really wants to use these any more. In fact a growing trend is to ban the use of them. But if you do want to get them, you can have your store name                                      printed on them in bulk.  Now there are some more environmental friendly plastic bags out there, but they tend to be very expensive.

                                    Canvas: These can be made with different cloths, but tend to be durable and are reusable.  Multiple designs can be made on them, all tailored to showcase a different                                         aspect of your brand.  Best of all, they are washable.

                                      Style/Size: The style of bag  is important as well. A square bottom bag is better to hold items securely, but the handles are the most important.  Books are heavy, and                                            if  the handles break the books are damaged.  It is good to offer a selection of sizes as well. Smaller bags (holding a few paperbacks) can be a substitute for gift-                                                       wrapping if the design is good. Larger bags (like paper delivery bags) are great to re-purpose as laundry bags, but fill them with books and you’ll need to start selling                                               pain medicine.

  • Writing Materials.  What goes with reading better than writing materials? Decorative notebooks are a brilliant thing to do, but the market is getting quite cluttered with them.  So unless you have a hook that will make you stand out ( hand-carved wooden notebooks, glitter covered pages and so on) , don’t over do it. Pens and pencils are still a good idea and there are many companies out there that can make this an affordable option.
  • Household items.  This is mainly coffee mugs, and tea cups. Which can be connected to books and reading quite easily.  But some stores make decorative hot plates, coasters and I have even seen utensils.  Once again, the object is to get people to advertise for you, so unless the customer is a professional chef, slapping your store information on a set of kitchen knives is not going to do much for you. And that would also be expensive to make.
  • Apparel. T-shirts, hoodies, scarves, hats and umbrellas are the items I see most often. All of them imprinted with the store’s information and a logo.  Unless it rains a lot near your store, skip the umbrellas. They are expressive to make and sell, and very few people look at the top of one to see the logo.  Like business cards and book marks clothing is the place to go crazy (with in reason). Good quality and a good or unusual design will make them a good add on item, which will then be a constant reminder of your store and brand for months to come.
  • Store Specific.  Some stores already have a brand  item from the start. There is a bookshop that sells teddy bears with the books as a reading device for beginner readers.  So they started to put small t-shirts on the bears with the store name on them. Another store  had a cat mascot, and started selling plushies. Find what is special about your store and see if it is easily transferable . If not don’t sweat it.

So those are the ones that are industry specific.  Brand awareness and the merchandise it  creates can be helpful and harmful to the business depending on how much time and income is spent on it. Remember this is an add on.  If it becomes your business, then that is a whole other situation.


Happy Reading.

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Signatures, decorations, autographs and your old books.

Hello again.

Let’s set the scene. You get a message stating that you have inherited a collection from a distant relative and it is sent to you in a box.  Or you buy an old house and find a box in the attic.  When you open the box a slightly musty, earthy smell hits your senses.  Inside are a  stack of heavy books that seem like relics from another age. No dust covers, but the spines and boards are covered in  bumps and faded sepia colors.  When you pick one up you can see the page edges are dulled with golden flecks

It looks something like this: 

and if you peer closely you notice what looks like  drawings in the dusty gold. Something like this: 84 Best Edge Decoration images | Painting edges, Book binding ... or perhaps a drawing.

Wait wait.  you are thinking.  Everyone knows about decorative boards on old books and even decorative end pages.RESERVED Listing - Buyer Waiting Antique Book 1880s Poetical Works ...Endpaper - Wikipedia But drawings on the page ends? 

Well yes. This has been a trend in books since it started back in the 10th century. You can get it done today, if you want. It is called fore-edge paining. Hidden Edge Painted Books | Painted books, Antique books This is a very intricate skill, and most of the time until the pages are splayed, or opened, as you are reading,  the image will just look like little dots of color on the edges.  Let’s face it. When owning a book or ten meant you were rich and having a library meant you were Robber Baron rich, a good book would cost more than a year’s salary for your servant. You would want to be able to show your wealth without being crass about it. Thus the exotic leather coverings, the gilted decorative covers, the creamiest of vellum pages,  the marbled end pages, the copper pressed illuminated illustrations and the fore-edge paintings.  The more you had on it, the richer you were. But of course it all had to be tastefully done.

Decorative Book Cover Journal Pages printable. Vintage book ...Gilt | Glossary | Daniel Crouch Rare Books(Sometimes less is more. )

So where were we?   Oh yes. The open box.

When taking the books out, you carefully open one to see what the book is called.

You notice the patterned end pages that remind you of  a 1960’s pattern-if it was done in gray, red, or dark blue greens. You notice a nice illustration on the page before the title page (complete with a tissue guard) and the face that the words seem up raised under your fingers. You check the date and it is older than any of your living relatives. Then you notice the handwritten name  scripted in ink across the title page.

Don’t despair!

This might be a signed book!

So now what?

First you must see if you can read it.

Does it match the author name or the subject of the book (if it is a biography)?  Or is it a familiar name?  Is there a date?

All of these are important.

So if signature looks like the author name and is dated, then this is a good thing.  This is a signed book.

If the name is familiar, but not the author’s name, then this is a owner signature or  a dedication signature.  This could also be a good thing. Why?  You ask? Well some people like to collect the collections of other people or places.

People collect themes. Books from Rockerfeller’s personal library, books from Ash Tree Publishers,  books signed by the author,books by a particular author and books signed by a particular author.

Wait what? That last part didn’t sound correct. 

Ah but it is.  Some authors signed books that they had nothing to do with. In fact Asimov would sign anything. I’ve seen science textbooks (and yes, he did write some of them) and history text books that he signed for his young fans who, at the time, didn’t have anything else to have him sign.

Some authors signed books for other authors. Like for example if you find a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars signed and dedicated to his interesting friend H.P.  and H.P. has his signature on a bookplate as well as the date. That Would BE EPIC! 

Why? well first off I’m into sure these two men would have known each other and then having TWO authors signing the same book that is NOT a collaboration of some sort is very rare. Very very rare.

I mean it would be almost like having an signed version of Stonewall Jackson’s Autobiography.

Or a pink, singing unicorn.

For if you do have a copy of Stonewall Jackson’s signed autobiography it is either not a real signature per se, or you have the unbound manuscript with the carved copper signature stamp.  And if you have that you will become very popular.

If you don’t know Jackson was sick when he was writing it and signed his name to be made into a copper plate stamp to be pressed into the copies of his book. He died before the first copy was printed.

The world of publishing is very intricate and complex. If you want to delve deeper into collecting there are myriad of rabbit holes to go down.  There are so many ways to forge a book, and most of the general readers  would have no clue as to when they are being taken for a ride.  The Vinland Map is a great example of this.  Check out  the link below for more details.

Another great example would be what kept happening in China.

What happened there? 

Honestly, it would take another blog post to cover the topic, but let’s just say that when the Dynasties changed hands, most of the time all of the books were burned and the names of places were changed.  But more on that another time.

So how do you know if you have a real, authentic signed book?  Well you have to get it appraised.

First off, go to a computer and look up when the book was published. If the book came out after the author died, it might be a fake.  If the signature is inserted on a small slip into the book (attached to the binding)  it might be a publisher’s addition.

If the dates line up, then it might be real. Next who wrote it? How many copies are out there? Is it still in print?

These are important t know.  For example I once found a “college romance” book that was a signed copy  by a member of the Peerage, who became Prime Minister before WWI.  Oddly enough it is still in print.

After doing your research, take pictures of the item. Be sure to have one of the Closed book (and book art), the title page, the publishers page , where the signature is,  what the color of the ink used is  and any other unusual thing you think might be important.

This video gives some good examples of what people are looking for:

Then put the books in a safe place where they cannot be easily damaged by – well- everything and anything.  Depending on what you feel you have found, you might want to rent a safe deposit box at a bank.

Keep your research handy, then look up a specialist. These are called Antiquities Appraisers, but this is a broad field of specialists, so you need to request one that deals with signatures and rare book appraisals.  Next do what they tell you to do.

Sometimes they will charge a fee, other times they will do it for free.  The value of a signed book will change slightly by the appraiser depending on their market.

Just remember that an appraiser and a rare book dealer might have a similar skill set, but they have different jobs. The appraiser can tell you if it is a valid signature and what the going rate for it is. The rare book dealer will tell you if it is valid and then what they will pay you for it.  Remember that buyers need to be paid as well, so the price you get might be a third of what it is sold for.  Sometimes you can negotiate , but they are not trying to cheat you.

And that’s it really.

If you want to  keep the book, you can either get an archival box, or just keep it on a shelf.  But if you do keep it ad it is apprised with the correct signature, then keep the appraisal information in a file on the shelf. This way, you, or your descendants, don’t have to go and have it done again.

Happy reading book friends.














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Old Books and What to do With Them

People love to read and when the books have been read so much they start to fall apart, people replace them. This is not something that I, as a secondhand dealer, object to. In fact this is very good for the environment as books have been mass produced for over 50 years now, so some out of print copies are almost “Like New.” In fact this is how some places, like Ikea, can fill their new shelf displays with identical copies of a few titles across all of the stores in a country to showcase how their shelving works. The same thing is done with fully furnished model homes. Why? Well everyone knows what a book looks like and it helps the minds-eye to see how your stuff could fit as a comparison. But I digress.

Buying used books can help the environment by not becoming waste and help the economy by making it easier, or more affordable,- for the most part -to buy items. If you want something to read, and only have $20 you can get either one new book, or, depending on your stores, up to 18 books that you might not have even heard about. Sounds good right? New to you books and a chance to replace a falling apart best read.

But what do you do with that broken, falling apart copy of a book?

If you are like most people, you toss it into the bin. Hopefully the recycle bin. Most of a book is recyclable. The hardcovers, due to that plastic sheen seen on kids books, is not. Some of the Dust Jackets (DJs, also known as Dust Covers or DCs) are not. Some are plastic based, some have waxed coatings and others are just sealed with archival tape. Good luck with that, archival tape, by nature, can survive a heck of a lot.

Other people burn books, which if they are too damaged, BUT NOT MOLDY, is a good way to compost them. The ash from the pages can be very helpful to maintain the temperature in compost piles. Do NOT burn moldy books. Just don’t. Do I really have to explain why? Let’s just say those pretty colors that come off of them are not good for your health. Moldy books are also not able to be recycled. So, those you can just toss.

Another group of people, we will call them Crafty Folk, like to upcycle them. Upcycling, for those who don’t know, is the art of taking something and re-purposing it for another use. Crafty Folk have used well read, trashed books to make sculptures, planters, decoupage items, safes, art displays and homemade stationary.

But no matter what you do and have done with older, cannot be repaired books, you must do this one thing in the future.

Find out who did the cover art.

Find out who did the cover art.


You might have noticed that every time a book gets reprinted the art work changes. Or that when it is printed for a different audience or in another language nothing matches? There may be some similarities,but most of the time it isn’t subtle. The photo below shows a good example of this:

In the 1970s, 80s & 90s a lot of fantasy & science fiction books had artwork by Boris Vallejo. His distinct style is instantly recognizable. For many years his fantasy art could only be found on the glossy covers of the mass market books.

What most people don’t realize is that some artists can start out drawing Dust Jackets and become famous later on. Other artists were already famous and offered their services to publishers or writers of their favorite books. Ingahild Grathmer, for example, did the illustrations for an 1977 edition of Lord of the Rings. Her style is quite distinct, but you might be more familiar with her other job, namely being the current Queen of Denmark Virgil Finlay, Paul Lehr, Frank Kelly Freas, Bob Pepper and H. R. Giger (yes that one) are just a few of the ones out there.

But here is a little secret.

Some of them have signed the books along with the author.

Thus there might be some value to that broken down book after all.

So before you toss that book, or do what ever else you were thinking about doing with it, check the book for the illustrator’s name and do some research. You might have a rare copy. Or you might just see some nice art work.

A win-win either way.

And since that DJ and cover cannot be recycled, why not save them, along with what ever interior artwork there is? You can offer it online to some Crafty Folk or some art teachers to see if they can use them for something.

But wait! What if I find the signature in the book?

First step is to put the whole book in a box or other safe place. You will need to do some research, and it will take some time.

And that process will be explained in the next posting.

Happy Reading!

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What can you do if you love to read?

What can you do if you love to read?

There are many people whose only passion is that they love to read, but while there are many jobs for proof readers and book reviewers, they don’t pay well. So what can you do?

Well you can become a bookseller, a literary scout or even a bibliotherapist.

A what now?

A bibliotherapist is a therapist  who specializes in bibliotherapy.  Bibliotherapy is a creative arts therapies modality that involves storytelling or the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing. It uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy. So while you still need to become a therapist, you can now assign your clients books to read to help with their issues. The link below has a better explanation of how this works and  the second one tells you how you can become one.

Getting Trained