The Best Place to Buy Books is NOT Amazon


The best place to buy books, believe it or not, is NOT Amazon.

I have been buying books new and used for most of my life, or from the age of about 12. I was a reader even way back then, so I’ll tell you now that if I wanted a book I found one way or another to get it, even if the parents weren’t willing. And that was before Amazon, even before the internet. You know…where you walk into a store and find the book you’re looking for and pay for it with cash, your treasured title in your hot little hands. There is something to be said for actual brick and mortar bookstores.

Amazon is great for book selection, but not so much for book prices. You may get a tiny discount from the retail price, and have it in your mailbox in two days but I would like to remind you that if you’re on a budget there a better ways.

Top FIVE places to buy books:

book_outlet_logo   This place has its distinct advantages and they have a whole boatload of new books that are either reasonably priced or on clearance. My daughter buys a good many YA books from these people each year, and you should see the bookshelves in her room, they’re just groaning from the weight of it all!

imghalflogo_126x54   From eBay, they have sellers on here that have pretty much anything you might want; you can get it in new, nearly new, red white & blue, and textbooks too. Definitely worth looking into for anything you might need and a whole lotta things you just want. Huge selection and reasonable prices, even with shipping charges.

half-price-books-logo Half Priced Book Stores   Yeah, they charge approximately half for most books, but I’ve noticed they have a good selection here. The prices sometimes seem a little higher than I’m willing to pay for some of the more expensive books, but they have a great, organized selection of books of all kinds. They also have, usually, a nook area that has a treasure trove of clearance books, and some of them are quite good! They also pack up six or more books of a series by authors on occasion and sell them for an incredibly cheap price for the lot. I always come into this store a little excited and wondering what I’ll find. Did I mention you can bring your old books and turn them in for store credit to buy even more books?! If they don’t have this store in your area, they’re online as well.

goodwill-logo Goodwill   Well, obviously. Though there is quite a selection, the chances of you finding something you’ve been searching for are slim. With this one you must be patient and keep coming back until you find that title you’ve been wishing for. Great place to find audiobooks in good shape, too. Prices here are a little high in my opinion, so if you can wait and buy that book on half-off day, even better! They also have various Goodwill locations that have eBay stores online, so there is yet another chance to get a deal on more books than you can shake a stick at!

Garage sales   Garage sale season will be getting going soon throughout the U.S., so that’s a good place to get just about anything you may want to read. This is a great way to get current fiction hardbacks for fifty cents, but you may not be able to find particular titles until you’ve been going out there and searching for a while. Best way to get a deal on a large number of books if your shelves are looking a little empty and you’re not too fussy about titles, and are looking more for certain genres like mysteries, romance, etc. Let’s not forget about the chance of finding vintage or rare books at a great price, too. It’s also a way to get out there, enjoy the weather and talk to other book lovers!


BOOK REVIEW: Ghost Towns of the American West by Bill O’Neal


I have tried unsuccessfully to go back to my “regular” reading list more along the line of thrillers, suspense, horror and whatnot. But NO….my trip to Tombstone lit a fire under me I can’t seem to put out in regard to learning more about the American West and what it was like to live there back in the late 1800s.

I gobbled this book up. Let’s look at the book as a whole: It’s broken down into sections; The Middle, The Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, and the Northwest. That covers a pretty big area, y’all.

This book was done really well, in my opinion. Once you hunker down into the first section (Middle West), you’ll see some engrossing and generally good quality photos of the particular town mentioned, usually the busiest time on Main Street. What it was like to live in that town back in the day is spelled out: work, what people did for fun, how they kept the town law-abiding (if they were able to!), along with more photos and information about the most well-known people to settle there. There are even a few photos thrown in that show what the town looks like now, hence the “ghost” town book name.

Some pretty big names get thrown about: Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane (and there’s a head-to-foot picture in there of her if you’ve always wondered what the West’s most colorful female looked like); Outlaw Bill Doolin, and of course you can’t even think about the Old West without the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday.

There’s a little bit of everything in this book, I reckon. Traveling by stagecoach, living in towns with no real law to speak of, cattle rustlers, horse thievin’; not to mention the fact that there was more than one cemetery burstin’ at the seams with the name Boothill. Guess they weren’t willing to waste a lot of time of creatin’ new, flowery names for their graveyards.

My favorite part? Deadwood, South Dakota. The home of a massive gold mine, this place got burned to the ground then flooded a few years later, but they just rebuilt the town time after time, and it continued to grow until after the turn of the century. Wild Bill and Calamity Jane both met their maker there, and can be visited in the Mount Moriah Cemetery right there in Deadwood.

Because of this great book I’ll be addin’ Deadwood to my bucket list of must-see places to visit. See ya there, y’all!


Mom’s Top Ten Read Aloud Books

Just for fun I thought I’d start with something (a book, of course!) That really had an impact on my life as a mother.

You are fully aware, those of you who have kids or grandchildren, how important ‘everyone’ says it is to read aloud to your young ones, beginning while they are still babies. I fell in line with all this because it made perfect sense to me as a young mother, and then, later (in my 30s) when I started having children again. It made sense because I was a ‘book person,’ and had been since being old enough to read on my own. Once I had a book in my hands it seems like I had found the thing that made me happiest in my life (this, of course, is another story we can come back to some other time).

So I read to my kids. I found lots of good books, some of which are quite old and some new. I will recommend these titles to any and all who are interested in such things. They all have unique stories, creative art, and are, best of all – fun to read! These are the books I have read so many times to my own babies and other people’s; books I and my kids have loved, and millions of other people have loved. Here they are in no particular order.

go-dog-go-cvr Go, Dog, Go!/P.D. Eastman

goodnight-moon-cvr Goodnight Moon/Margaret Wise Brown

give-a-mouse-a-cookie-cvr Give A Mouse A Cookie/Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond

brown-bear-cvr Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?/Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

bear snores on cvr.jpg Bear Snores On/Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

green-eggs-and-ham-cvr Green Eggs & Ham/Dr. Seuss

big-red-barn-cvr Big Red Barn/Margaret Wise Brown & Felicia Bond

guess-how-much-i-love-you Guess How Much I Love You/Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

frog-and-toad-cvr Frog & Toad stories/Arnold Lobel

mouse-soup-cvr Mouse Soup/Arnold Lobel
Hope my list was useful for you!


Obituary Writing 101


I was innocently asked today if I were able to write my own obituary, what would it say? Would it be long or short? they asked. Serious or humorous?specialized-obituaries-far-side-cartoon

I had to think on it for a while, because, let me be honest, I’ve never ever had to answer this question before. Without going into the whole long, drawn-out and very obvious conclusion of saying I wish I’d done a few things differently (most everybody thinks that in their last moments, I’m sure), I’d rather say something…else.

Here goes: (my own obituary)

Li was a morning person. She loved the dappled sunlight that came through the trees, but didn’t like direct sunlight. People told her she was funny. A lot. She felt that being a little silly was a good way to spend a few minutes a day.

After latching onto an idea of something she wanted to accomplish, she would. At least half the time. The other half? Miserable, pathetic attempts at doing things too perfectly. Her favorite things other than family and friends? Words. Cats. More words, this time written by Li herself. “There is no such thing as a perfect life,” Li used to say. “But spending time in a room full of my favorite books is certainly a great start.”

I don’t have any preachy sayings on lost loved ones, memories, and such. Instead, I’ll just give you a link to a funny story about a lady who really wrote her own obituary, and recently used it as a joke from beyond the grave. Enjoy!





Tombstone is More Than Just Gunfights

I like most book genres. Right now on my list toward the top would be thrillers, historical fiction and non-fiction, and kid’s fiction (my daughters and I have just begun listening to the first Percy Jackson audio book at night before bed).

The book I’m reading now is a non-fiction, a short paperback with photos having some really interesting information on Tombstone, Arizona and the goings-on at the O.K. Corral back in the 1880s. We visited there a couple of weeks ago and it left me with a burning need to find out more. *Let me point out that the Old West historical stories never seemed to interest me much, but I am amazed at how much I would like to learn more about the settling of the American West.*


So after this book, shown above, I will also be reading (and reviewing) Lady at the O.K. Corral, about Wyatt Earp’s common-law wife, Josephine.

In keeping with my earlier promise to keep my posts brief (and hopefully interesting), here is a tidbit I’ll bet you didn’t know about the miners who worked the silver mine in Tombstone back in the 1880s.

Excerpt from Tombstone: Wyatt Earp, the O.K. Corral, and the Vendetta Ride 1881-82 by Sean McLachlan:

‘The reality of Tombstone for most people was a dreary ten-hour day, six-day week working the mines. They lived in wretched shacks as dirty as the mines they worked. A miner’s most prized possession wasn’t a gun but a cat. Cats were essential to good sleep, as they ate the rats that would crawl over miners at night and disturb their slumber. A miner had to guard his cat, as cat theft was one of the most common crimes.’

I can’t tell you how surprised I was to read this! What an unfortunate way to live, and thank goodness for the cats! When in Tombstone recently they never said a word about the lives of the miners, so I’m really glad I found this book, it makes it all seem so much more real to me.

I haven’t finished the book yet but am so far finding it entertaining and informative. Will be reviewing it when I finish.

Thanks, readers, writers and lovers of the written word, for coming by! -Li


Community College and the Teenager


This post is dedicated to a high school girl’s experience in starting college early; the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll bring you new stories as her experience progresses.

Let me also say, I’ll keep most of it short and concise. There’s nothing worse than reading the blog of a blustering, complaining, whining windbag. ☺

And finally, no, I’m not selling anything. 5 – 10 minutes of your attention will give you some idea of what it might be like to supplement your teen’s education at a local community college, even if it’s just a night or summer class for a half credit. Not to mention the feelings they’ll have of accomplishment and independence.

My daughter (from here on out known as Izzy) goes to a high school that makes available to their sophomore, junior and senior students free classes at the community college nearby. This is a great school from what we’ve experienced so far, though she is still new there. There are high school/honors classes available on a small campus with less than twenty students in each class. The rest of the classes available are taken through the community college. I have heard all about how students can (and do!) graduate from high school with an Associate degree! (These types of schools are becoming more and more common, if you’re interested check it out in your area).

All paid for by the high school, by the way. We are required to pick up the tab for her textbooks, which you know can be a hefty amount of money if you have to buy new. We’re learning how to avoid the pain of that, and learning fast. As I find places to get deals on books I’ll pass that on to you, friends.

A few days ago we went in and registered Izzy. All went well though the wait is consistently 30 minutes or longer because, of course, there’s always going to be someone in there who needs help with college stuff. She turned in her paperwork, was enrolled in the class she needed, and we headed out to another building, where we were sent to get her school ID. She was officially a college student now, at age 15!

Izzy gets into her class and all is well. The instructor treats her like an adult and is somewhat nice, and most importantly, professional. He expects Izzy to do the same as everyone else and turn everything in on time (which is all done online now, no more disorganized messes of papers in their backpack). There will be no special treatment because my daughter is a little younger than the others.

The only problem here is…Izzy can’t do her homework assignment until she is hooked up with something called CANVAS through the college website, this is how they turn assignments in now.

To make a long story short, this is day 3, and that’s how long it took us to get the CANVAS thing taken care of. Two trips to the Admin building at the college, 3 phone calls (totaling over an hour of hold time).

I mentioned to Izzy that she needs to file this memory away in the “what it feels like to be an adult” file. Meaning, when you want something, you have to do what it takes to make it happen, no matter what. You can’t give up, no matter how frustrated you get.

After it was done she was all smiles. “That was totally worth all the trouble,” she said simply, her eyes shining. I smiled back at her, glad to be a part of this new adventure in her life called higher education.

I’m Li and this blog is devoted to the written word in whatever form that might take. Thanks for reading!