Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Bookworm Club

We have become a pair of book traders since embarking on this trip.

We hunt down used book stores in each city we stop in, looking for the opportunity to trade in our read books for fresh reading material. Brand new books in the US (and in Singapore) cost alot, unless you score a US$5 find at Wal-Mart on a lucky day. How the used book stores work is that they assess the books you bring in and assign a value to it, and you get a discount of the same value on any books you buy from the store.

Most used book stores have a good selection of books but are generally nothing to shout about. The exception being Capitol Hill Books in downtown Denver. I didn't do a headcount, but according to their website, they have 30,000 books in stock at any one time, out of which 27,000 are priced less than US$10, and a used book goes for US$6.50 on the average.

Books aside, what I loved about this place was the decor and how the books are neatly categorised according to their content.

There's the Travel section, well-stocked with maps and atlases, as well as travel guides and travel biographies...

And the shelf of books on Religion is marked with a string of Tibetan prayer flags...

A toy wheelbarrow and potted plants mark out the Gardening section...

A purple warty warlord (or an incredibly uglier-than-a-dog's-butt witch) adorns the Metaphysics shelf...

And a plastic vampire bat with papery wings, together with a fake black rat and a rusty can, make visitors recoil in Horror....

Best of all, there are chairs of varying sizes and designs wedged in every book-filled corner so that you can browse in comfort. Here's one in the Fiction section...

...and one amongst the travel books.

This book store doesn't just collect used books for resale, check out the collector's items pinned to this board:

There are scrips and scraps of everything and anything that can be found tucked soundly between the pages of a book. Forgotten. Or maybe just left in there on purpose cos the owner was too lazy to throw it out. Handwritten notes, family photos, doodles, stickers, ticket stubs, postcards, a dried leaf and even a 5-dollar bill.

I thought this poem from 1945 took the cake:

Dear Linda,

Roses are red, violets are blue.
Skunks stink but I wouldn't think that of you.

your buddy, sherry.

To date, we have bartered the following titles:
- The 19th Wife (David Ebershoff)
- Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates)
- a bunch of Star Wars books

- Little Children (Tom Perrotta)
- The Abstinence Teacher (Tom Perrotta)
- a bunch of Star Wars books

Sitting at the bottom of my backpack still, all the way from Singapore, is Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup. I haven't read it yet cos I just don't feel like being transported to the world of dead Indian ministers, Bollywood actresses and murder mysteries at the moment. And also the evil offerings of American television seem alot more attractive right now. In particular, back-to-back episodes of The Family Guy, The Office, and reruns of Friends and SATC.

Ah well, but it'll get read sooner or later. Read on!

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

Look what I found hiding in the corner and managed to get for $6.50!


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