The Library

I grew up using the library, and the bookmobile that stopped outside our apartment complex once every few weeks or so. I’d check out as many books as they’d let me, and then make sure to get them all back on time so I could borrow some more. I was an avid reader even as a child, and I went through books like water. Days when we could go to the library and just browse were always my favorites. We were very poor for a good chunk of my childhood, so buying books wasn’t an option. I loved and was grateful for the books I got as Christmas and birthday presents.

When I got to be old enough to work, I started buying books. I still used the library some, but my schedule wasn’t always conducive to getting books back on time, and increasingly, the library didn’t have what I wanted to read. I hate to say I outgrew it, but that’s really kind of what happened. Aside from making extensive use of several libraries for research papers in college, I pretty much stopped checking out fiction as soon as I was making enough money to buy books for myself. I spent a lot of time in used bookstores in college, buying stacks of books for fifty cents a piece, sometimes less, occasionally splurging for more. And then when I could afford to buy paperbacks new, that was always my preference. I’m not fond of hardbacks – they’re impossible to hold with one hand in bed.

Needless to say, the last time I was at the library, it was to attend an event. And given our propensity to buy new paperbacks as soon as they’re out (or ebooks, in some cases), I don’t see myself making good use of the library anytime soon. But I’m glad it’s there, should I ever need to use it, and for countless other kids going through that manic reading phase that would be far too expensive to support with actual purchases.

When was the last time you visited your local library? Was it to check out books or were you attending an event of some sort?


January Writing Prompts

Prose Prompt (1000 word max for submissions): At the end of a certain rainbow, there is a door, and beside it a black pot full of gold keys. The person guarding it is most definitely not a leprechaun…or is he/she?

Poetry Prompt (500 word max for submissions): In like a lion, out like a lamb? In like a lamb, out like a lion? Write a poem about a lion, a lamb, and a magical kind of breeze.

Submit your work to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com by January 31st, and your story or poem could be published right here on the Snake Bites blog and in our February newsletter! Flat fee of $10 paid to the author for non-exclusive publishing rights.

Bookshelves, Books, & Weekly Writing Prompts

Canvas CoverBookshelves & Books

How long has it been since you organized your bookshelves?

This past weekend I spent a fair amount of time moving about a quarter of our books from the three bookcases in our home office to the living room floor and dining room table, and then back again after we replaced the cheap pressboard shelving with much nicer plywood shelving that my husband built custom for the room. I meant to go through and sort/reorganize/cull that section of books as I put them back, but it was nearly 8pm on Sunday before we got the shelves in, and I needed to get the books put back so we weren’t tripping over them all week. So I just tossed them up there, willy-nilly, and now I actually think they’re more randomly shelved than they were before.

Ironically, they still look “neater”, because there’s room, so they aren’t crammed together, and the shelve sizes fit the books better. But I definitely need to go through and reorganize/cull, and then I can go through the bookcases in our bedroom and basement and reorganize those as well. But it’s going to have to wait until the snow flies and things quiet down. A good January/February project, maybe?

I did forget to put my vintage/antique books back (they’re still on my dining room table), so I’ll have to do at least some shelf reorganization to fit those in where I want them. I’ll do that next weekend though. It’s kind of surprising how much work it is moving books around. Thank goodness I don’t care for hardbacks! We have some, but most of those live in one of the bedroom bookcases.

When was the last time you really took a look at the titles on your shelves? My husband and I were looking the new shelves over and talking about certain titles that caught our eye, and it made me wonder how many people really “look” at their bookshelves, and think about what they have, and what they’ve read in the past to shape their way of thinking.

Maybe we should all reorganize and take stock of our shelves more often…

 


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A person is going through his/her books and comes across one they can’t remember reading, much less buying. Opening the cover to get a refresher scan of the first page, they find a photograph that is definitely not of them or any family members. What do they do?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: A person is going through his/her books and comes across one they can’t remember reading, much less buying. Opening the cover to get a refresher scan of the first page, they find a photograph that is definitely not of them or any family members. What do they do? 

News, Library Cataloging, and Weekly Prompts

BSB News

MacKenzie Saves the World Cover

First up…the newsletter is going to be a week late this quarter. So instead of it going out tomorrow, it will hit your inboxes next Monday, July 3rd. Which is just in time to announce an Independence Day sale, so watch that inbox!

Did you find last week’s freebie download? MacKenzie Saves the World would make a great beach read, methinks. If you like comic books, chocolate fountains, cookies, drama and romance, this is the book for you!

This week’s free download is waiting for you to find it our Available Books section. Happy hunting…

Don’t forget to pop over and check out this week’s writing prompt poem and story: First Kiss and Skills by yours truly.

Topic of the Week: Library Organization

*Note: All links below are for Android, as that’s what I use for mobile. 

My husband is building me new bookshelves for my office, and as you might guess, I’m quite excited about it. We have a rather substantial library (even with new shelves, it will never all fit in the office – there are books all over the house), and we still buy most books in print, plus I have both a stamp collection and a comic book collection that are currently stored in binders.

Naturally, the thought of moving all those books is exhausting, but there’s also one other thing that kind of bugs me…and that is, we don’t have any sort of inventory for our books. There are far too many to type all the information in by hand, and the last time I tried the Goodreads barcode scanner, it was less than impressive and unable to find a good chunk of what I tried to scan. So I gave up.

As I was thinking about the new shelves the other night, I got an email from LibraryThing that mentioned their new Android app, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to go try it out, and see if it worked any better than the Goodreads app. Of course I haven’t used the Goodreads app in forever, so I decided to try that one again too, just in case it’s improved over the years.

I have to say…I was extremely impressed with the LibraryThing app. The barcode scanner worked great and easily, and even found Ford Forkum’s latest book with no trouble (just recently released). Shelving the book in categories was very easy as well, and I can definitely see myself cataloging my entire library in just a few days using their app.

I’m sorry to say that the Goodreads barcode scanner still didn’t work very well, and still couldn’t find several barcodes I tried to scan (including Ford’s new book). I’m not a huge fan of Goodreads anyway (too much drama, not very author-friendly), so no biggie for me.

At that point, I was happy with the LibraryThing app, and figured I’d just use that. I figured then that I’d look at comic book collector apps, because I need to index that collection as well, but I don’t really want my comic books in the same place as my non-comic books (just for clarity and ease of searching…there are so many of each!).

That’s when I found CLZ Comics – an amazing app that seems to have no trouble scanning barcodes, and automatically “shelves” books into series, and in order while allowing you to pick which cover you have if there are more than one available. It’s free for the first 100 issues, and $15 for a lifetime unlimited license, which includes cloud storage. This is a no-brainer for me…Comixology is confusing (or was) and most of the apps out there are geared more toward digital comic books rather than physical (which is what I prefer). So $15 for a database to store all of my comic books for life, where I can access the catalog anytime (I believe it’s downloadable too, so easy to backup/use offline)? Easy decision.

Naturally, when I saw they had a book catalog app as well, I downloaded that too, and I think that’s going to be my go-to cataloging app for books, though I may use the LibraryThing app concurrently for awhile and just see which one seems more intuitive/robust.

I didn’t try cataloging ebooks at all…I tend to buy ebooks through Amazon most of the time, and categorize them on my Kindle. But according to the play store descriptions, CLZ apps will store ebooks just as easily as physical copies, so I may start adding my ebooks too, depending on how difficult it is to do.

I’m quite pleased with finding CLZ for cataloging, and am really looking forward to scanning in as many books as possible over the rest of the summer. If only I could find a similar program for my other collections.

Do you use a library catalog program to keep track of your books? Which one, and what are your likes/dislikes about it?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  It’s the time of year when gardens everywhere are just begging to hear people’s private thoughts. Write about a character sharing his or her inner monologue with the flowers…and whether or not the garden (or a garden eavesdropper) replies…

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Roses are blooming everywhere, and are always a popular theme/subject in poetry. Write a poem about roses – love them, hate them, or use them as a metaphor.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the story and poem we like best to post right here on the blog next Saturday.