First Signing of 2018!


Indigo North London

 86 Fanshawe Park Rd, London Ontario
January 27th
12-4 PM

Are you in the area? Come say hi!

Updates and news (and an excerpt!) can be found on my Facebook page.

The Library Book Sale

This weekend was my city’s annual library book sale (well, there’s one in the spring, too, but that one sucks and no one goes to it). What it means is that thousands of withdrawn library books and books donated by the community get hauled into a giant warehouse-style building at the fairgrounds and put up for sale. Cheap books. Books for a dollar. The sale runs for three days, and on the Sunday anything you can cram into a plastic shopping bag is yours for three dollars.

Let me reiterate: a bag stuffed with books for three dollars.

It’s like the best garage sale ever — you have no idea what you’ll find. Some years are better than others. Having broad interests helps: you’re bound to find something. I picked up books about hypochondria, Afghan women’s rights, and disappearing languages. I got one about the Muslim middle class that may turn out to be propaganda; if it is, I’ll toss it into the recycling. When books average out to something like fifty cents, you can do that.

Every time I go it brings out my primal instincts. There’s only one copy of most titles, and you’d better hope that you’re not reaching for the same book that I am. I’ll throw elbows. I have no shame. I get tunnel vision, eyes skimming quickly over spines, heart soaring as I find that one book I’ve been looking for forever, stomach sinking as I find a pristine copy of a book I only just bought last week. It’s a huge rush if you’re a book-obsessive like me.

The score? 24 books, easily worth a couple hundred bucks, for 11 dollars. I love today.

Books: Sacred or Mundane?

If you look on my bookshelves, you can tell which books I’ve bought new, and which were used.

The used books are in all stages of wear: some are underlined in someone else’s pen, some are dogeared, almost all have cracked spines. The books I bought new, by comparison, are all pristine. No bends mar their covers. Their spines are unblemished. A coworker of mine likes to tease that I must barely open my books, pantomiming what she thinks I must look like: wrists bent unnaturally, thumbs barely breaching the pages.

It’s not like that. Honest. There’s just some part of me, ever since childhood, that respects the Book. Books are just…different than other media. Cassettes, and now CDs, become outdated. I know only a couple people with a VHS. But books are timeless; if treated well, they last for what seems like forever.

The funny thing is that I don’t mind at all if a book comes to me already damaged. In fact, I love the soft flexibility of a well-read novel. But I can’t bring myself to be the one defacing them. (I’ve actually had my husband “break” a couple books for me while I look away, a task which he takes on gleefully and which makes me shudder.)

I’m fully aware of the hypocrisy here: I’m an eBook author. I publish digitally. I’ve been in a couple “dead tree” books, but haven’t yet offered any of my own. I publish this way because I love the new world that eBooks have opened up to indies like me: they’ve leveled the field and let us writers represent ourselves. They’ve allowed those of us who want more control over our work a way to get it out there with minimal interference. I can carry thousands of books with me everywhere. And the convenience factor can’t be beat; see a book, want a book, have it within seconds, even at three a.m. on a Sunday. I love my Kindle for these reasons and more.

But I can’t deny: physical books have me in a trance. The smell of the paper. The heft of a good thick book in your hands. Seeing your progress through the story as the pages read overtake the pages remaining.

I’m planning to try paper publishing once I get this effing novel finished. I’d like to see my own work alongside the work of so many others on my shelves. You guys will be the first to know when I make that leap.

In the meantime, though, I’d like to hear your views. Do you flip your books inside-out and fold down corners to mark your place? Or do you treat them as “more” than just words, reverently and carefully?