I was in California this past week, and I discovered a “little free library” in front of someone’s house when I was mailing some letters.
I’d never had the opportunity before, so I grabbed a book I was willing to give up and visited.
I donated an unread Anne Rice novel. I figured that I had had it and never read it, so it might as well be read by someone who would appreciate it. While I am fascinated by a lot of topics, vampires have never appealed to me. Maybe I’m afraid of them, not sure.
There were quite a few children’s books in this little library, but even with only a handful of adult books, I could see several that appealed to me. I picked the memoir about anxiety (I can sure use that and then I can pass it on to one of at least ten other people I know who could use reading it) by Daniel Smith, Monkey Mind.
These little libraries are such a positive affirmation of reading, sharing, education, and community spirit. The only drawback I can see is that adult books can fall into the hands of children–and, of course, there are inappropriate scenes in many of them.
I wonder what other people think about that concern . . . .
I finished the first book in the Dolls to Die For series. It was great fun, in part because Deb Baker pays such attention to setting, and that setting is Phoenix. In fact, Phoenix almost becomes a character in the story. The reader is given a lot of description of the climate and topography of Phoenix. Here she describes the aftermath of a monsoon storm: “Last night’s storm had moved toward the coast, and the arid desert heat had already begun to absorb the large quantities of fallen rain. In the next short, sunny hours, all evidence of flooding would evaporate, and the land would appear parched again.”
Because the book was first in the series (Dolled Up for Murder), I had a good time guessing which characters might become regulars in the series. The protagonist, Gretchen Birch, is young at barely thirty, but her aunt played a large role in the story, too. Nina, the aunt, is a purse dog trainer, meaning she trains tiny dogs to stay inside handbags so they can be sneaked (aka snuck) into restaurants and stores.
Another treat I finished was the entire six seasons of Downton Abbey. More, more! I became addicted, and now the whole world seems gray without it. Soon after I wrote my last post about Downton, I realized that Isobel Crawley was my absolute favorite character. I love them all, but she is the one I will miss the most.
But I am reading Monkey Mind already!
I hope your week is full of just the number of books that you have time to read. If you love books, you will know what I mean.
65 responses to “Another Opportunity for a New (to me) Book”
I see these little libraries popping up all over. It’s such a fantastic idea.
I absolutely love it. I had seen them online and never dreamed I would find one by accident. It appeared, almost like a mirage :).
There is a little library in my mom’s neighborhood. It just gives me the coziest feeling when I walk by it.
So well put. That is exactly the feeling it gives!
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Thanks for stopping by, Stefano.
We have one of these at my gym. Always interesting and always something to read.
What a great place to install one. Do you know if the gym did it or was it the people who go there who asked for it?
I think the owner did it because she likes to read. It’s all women so everyone jumped on the bandwagon.
What a great idea she had!
Great post, Luanne! I love little libraries at our local coffee shops as well as the “birdhouse”—just finished WHO KILLED MY DAUGHTER by Lois Duncan, picked up at Java Joe’s coffee shop. What fun to have these reading opportunities floating about 🙂
So glad you have these available to you, Elaine! There is a feeling of serendipity because the selection is small, but then something fits the reading need so well. Not like in a bookstore or big library where the choices can be overwhelming. Thank you so much for the beautiful Amazon review of Doll God, by the way!
We have a transfer station up here where people dump their recyclables and old couches. I went with my husband to drop off scrap metal and found that they have a huge box for unwanted books! My husband turned a blind eye to my dumpster diving. I came home with GREAT books for free!
Oh, that is so cool that they made a special place for books! You will be excited to go back again, I’m sure!! The recycling place we go to doesn’t have anything that literate hah, but they do have beautiful metal parts!
I’ve read both of those, having anxiety and living with someone who likes most Anne Rice books. Tale of the Body Thief was really good, but I’d read her prior novels that added depth. Monkey Mind was excellent.
I am enjoying Monkey Mind so far–he’s a wonderful writer. The opening scene kind of threw me for a loop as far as sending it to daughter, but she’s a big girl . . . . I was glad to get rid of the Rice book. I’m not going to read it, so it was just stressing me out with all its weightiness.
I’ve heard of these libraries, but I haven’t seen one “in person,” only online.
Reading books and watching Downton Abbey sounds like a wonderful time! I just saw something about a Downton Abbey movie in the works. Isabel definitely grew on me.
This has nothing to do with the above, but I just saw this and thought you’d be interested: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3796203/Dolls-snatched-young-Jewish-sisters-sent-Auschwitz-donated-Shoah-Memorial.html
Merril, thanks for the link. I posted it on my Facebook page. I hope people read it. Those dolls will be an important addition to the Shoah museum.
When I was going to the gym this morning, I heard the story was coming up on BBC. I looked it up when I got home, and since it involved the dolls, I thought you’d be interested. I thought it was so touching that the people kept the dolls and then finally donated them. Those poor girls. I think the horror of the Holocaust is so enormous, that when we see something like this, it just really hits.
Those dolls have been kept in such amazing shape that they will really bring it all home for people, even children, seeing them.
Oops, I got so interested in the doll article that I forgot to respond to the news of a DA movie! Wow! I need to google that! Thanks!
You’re welcome. Someone had posted it on FB today. I don’t know if it’s 100% definite.
An exciting post with lots of books and possibilities. I think kids have lots of access to adults’ books right at home. Perhaps the small print, lack of pictures, and length of adult books would be a major turn off to kids. On another topic, it sounds so fun to read a book set in one’s own city!!
I wonder if they have these little libraries near you, WJ. If you go to the website they have a map to find them; however, the one I found is NOT on the website map.
I see these little libraries here and there, in many towns.
You get around!
Hmmm! Purse dog. That might be a good career for a prairie dog.
Nina teaches them that when you say “hide,” they lie down in the bottom of the purse and don’t show themselves to anyone. If I was a purse dog I would be a meerkat.
With purse-meercats, as soon as the all-clear signal is given, five pointy noses and 10 pairs of eyes peer out of the purse.
One of those pointy noses would be me!
I really like the way they have a glass door to protect the books from the elements. These little libraries are new to me in the last year. I kept hoping more would pop up!
Your “find” looks very pretty, colorful and nice, Luanne.
A glass door for protection, but also so people can see the books inside from the street and understand what it is or at least be curious enough to look closer. I hope they catch on like wildfire!
A great idea; and I’m pleased you like Downton Abbey
I hope it’s true that they are going to make a movie of DA.
These little free libraries are great. I wrote about them recently too. Glad to hear you discovered them too.
It felt so exciting to find it! are they a lot in PHoenix? Are they in front of houses or more often at schools, etc.?
I’ve never heard of these little free libraries. I adored your post. Whatever happened to book mobiles? Do they still have them. I loved them as a child.
Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t know! I haven’t seen one in a long time. One of the things I love about these little libraries is that anybody who has any property can put one up or if they are part of a group they can petition or try to get others involved to do (like at an apartment building, for instance). It’s so hands on!!
These little libraries are a great idea, Luanne. I haven’t seen one in my neck of the woods (but then again I am in the middle of nowhere) 😉 Monkey Mind sounds very interesting indeed xxx
Haha, well, maybe you need to get one installed somewhere others go to :). I think the website has instructions for building one! Monkey Mind is very interesting, especially what he thinks triggered his anxiety (wowsa).
Hi Luanne! How is the muse? 🙂 The accidental aspect of these things is what gets me every time. I’ve found them in bus shelters in country villages and the like, so I don’t necessarily have a book with me I can swap. (the public lending library might want their money back 🙂 🙂 )
I agree about the accidental aspect. It feels like serendipity. And I agree about the public library–they always get money out of me one way or another!
A lucky find Luanne, I hope you have many happy hours of reading!
Thanks, Andrea. I am getting back into reading. I almost think Downton was a good influence, weirdly.
Isobel Crawly is indeed “a woman of substance” and I love her fearless ability to be the skunk at the garden party by making the privileged uncomfortable. I love the Maggie Smith character too, because she has the best lines. And the little free libraries? What a great idea.
Cynthia, Maggie Smith’s lines are wonderful, but I so seldom agree with her! Isobel is who I aspire to be like and am only like on my best days. Most of the time I am Mrs. Hughes! I can’t wait to go visit the little library next month and see if the book I left is gone!
The first place I saw one of the little libraries was on Worsham Street when I lived in Texas. Becky Huss, one of the Little Women of Worsham Street and the mother of the three Fabulous Huss Brothers, put one up in front of her house for the children in the neighborhood – I absolutely loved it!! Such a wonderful treat to remind children (and adults) that there still are real books available in a real world beyond cyberspace!
Now that you have finished Downton, you must join me in my obsession with the BBC: Lark Rise to Candleford is mandatory for you and His Highness!!
I promise you will love it…oops but then I also liked Lady Mary…:)
We need that reminder, if you ask me! I hope I never have to turn to Kindle. Is that show on TV now? I can’t do more than a couple episodes on Netflix. Small computer screen.
Oh, it’s an older BBC series…finished several years ago, I think…I know what you mean – it’s hard to see the little screen. If you ever have a different Netflix viewing, put Lark Rise in your queue. 🙂
OK, I will. I need a “goodreads” type site to put in my want-to-views so that I remember!
Excellent idea, Luanne – I need that same site!!
P.S. Loved the pictures in your post today, too!!
I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing such a lovely free library as the one in your photo, but I’ve been hearing about them for a long time. What a great idea. My only concern would be the effects of weather, so hopefully there is some kind soul who checks on the books now and then. I wouldn’t be too worried about adult books falling into the hands of children. I’d (like to) think that kids would gravitate to the obvious children’s books and stay away from the adult books because they seem too long and boring (all those pages and no pictures!!!). No doubt there may be some precocious tweens and teenagers out there purposely looking for adult books (not that I have any experience in that ;)) but look on the bright side: they’re reading 😉
Well, the weather is pretty darn mild in that part of California, let me tell you. 🙂 But I guess that would be a problem for most of the country. In Arizona, the sun is really destructive. So is the dust. But it’s not ice and snow. Thanks for your response about the adult books in children’s hands. That all makes a lot of sense and makes me feel better!
The books in these freestanding free libraries would probably get moldy and rotten in Florida if they’re out too long. But, then, I haven’t looked to see if there are any around.
Hah, you and I both have some issues with where we live ;).
I wish I had more time for reading (and writing). I’m supposed to be reading a book about parenting right now, and then I have the new Harry Potter. I should make a New Year’s resolution for 2017 – read more!
I’m always reading a book and then stopping and starting another book. I was the college student reading in the library books of my choice and not reading homework :). So I can see where you would be sneaking the Harry Potter reading in . . . .
I love the look of these little libraries and have read a lot about them, seen photos but never come across one in real life. This one is lovely, so colourful and great about the selection of children’s books.
I thought it was so darling when I saw it! And it’s against a backdrop of all beige stucco houses, so it really pops! Thanks for stopping by!
Luanne I often wish there was one of these little libraries near me. I think the best thing would be to have a key and someone in charge of it with times that it would be open, so as the little one’s did not get the wrong books. I took the goodreads challenge hoping to read 35 books this year, sadly I have only read 12 so far, that kind of made me realise how quick this year has gone and how busy we get. I love Anne Rice I have read The Body Thief a long time ago I was obsessed by vampires in my twenties. But felt that series went on a bit too long. Happy reading.
I need to write about what happened to me with this little free library on my second visit: stay tuned. I see you share my concern about children around adult books! 35 books a year–wow, that would be one every 10 days, no matter what else is going on. That is a lot.