Monday, October 13, 2008

Reducing Clutter - bookswaps, craigslist, and freecycle

I never thought that think I have too many books but I do.  I've started posted skimming through the unread books and posting them on online bookswaps.  My two main sites are and  

I've noticed that I tend to request more books from  but my books are more often requested from  Paperbackswap gives you points for each referral that you bring to the group. You get two credits per new recruit.  It does not offer additional points for each book that you list.  In contrast, bookmooch offers 1/10th of a point for each book that you list but does not offer any referral points.

Bookmooch seems to be stricter about its wishlist and inventory. You must send books that are posted in your inventory and you must request the books on your wishlist that become available.   Paperbackswap isn't as strict about these items, but it is stricter about sending the books within a short period and a fuller description of requestor restrictions and the way that the books are packed, listed and sent.

I love using both groups - it makes it possible to recycle books that I'd like to read once and don't have space to keep in the apartment.  I can also request books and have them sent to friends and family members in the US.   Bookmooch has the added advantage of having a global reach - it allows you to request books from people outside the US and you can opt to send the books outside the US for a greater number of points.  Check both sites out!

Craigslist is a good way to sell used items within your neighborhood.    Be careful about scheduling appointments and giving out personal details - some people have used fake postings to lure victims out with cash and then robbed or mugged them.  

If you don't have time or the patience to sell the items, you can choose to give away things through the different Yahoo freecycle groups.   It's a great site and I've benefited from some generous posters/freecyclers.  We've gotten a new paper shredder, blender, a baby car seat, and numerous books (law, fiction, mysteries, etc.)

Now that we've moved to Brooklyn, we noticed that people leave items on their stoop for neighbors to take.   Just while having coffee on 9th Street and 6th Avenue, a man brought down a microwave and toaster and put them on his stoop.  Less than five minutes later, a woman put the toaster on top of her stroller and took it home!  They bypass the hassle of posting and scheduling pickups on freecycle and still share with the neighbors.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Mighty Queens of Freeville - October's First Look Book Club at Barnes & Noble

I am so excited! I just got my free advance reading copy of "The Mighty Queens of Freeville" by Amy Dickinson through the Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club.  

I discovered the First Look Book Club last year when I was exploring the Barnes & Noble website.  Every few months or so, they host these First Look Book Clubs.   The membership is not set but they do make advance announcements to previous members alerting us to sign up at noon on a particular day. Then you email your desire to join and your address which you must do quickly because they run out of slots fast.  If you're among the lucky ones, you get a confirmatory email and your book arrives in a few days!

I'd joined the discussions for "The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton and "The Sister" by Poppy Adams.  I loved Riverton, it reminded me of Rebecca and of Atonement - a Gothic sort of suspense centered around an old aristocratic family and an ancient home in England.  I wouldn't have found or read the book ordinarily, but it was a wonderful escape. 

I'm very excited about this new book - it's more along the lines of something that I would have found myself.   I've never read Amy Dickinson's column "Ask Amy" or heard her on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" but the first chapter is reminiscent of Fannie Flagg.  

Here's the blurb on the back of the book:

"Five years ago, after an exhaustive nationwide search, the Chicago Tribune announced Amy Dickinson as the next Ann Landers. They wanted a contemporary voice and they found it.  Bracingly witty and candid, Amy is not your mother's advice columnist.  Readers love her for her brutal honesty, her small-town values, and the fact that her motto is "I make mistakes so you don't have to."  Her advice column, "Ask Amy," appears daily in more than 150 newspapers nationwide, read by more than 22 million people.

In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson takes those mistakes and spins them into a remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the women in her family who helped raise them."

More to come!