• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Our Prices Are Insane

In today’s New York Times, there’s an article by David Streitfeld, pointing out one more piece of bad news for publishers and writers: the on-line availability of used books for pennies. “What’s undermining the book industry is not the absence of casual readers but the changing habits of devoted readers. In other words, it’s all the fault of people like myself, who increasingly use the Internet both to buy books and later, after their value to us is gone, sell them.”

Maybe.

When exactly is the value of a book gone? The last time I checked, most people get rid of books only to make room for…more books.

I learned to become a devoted reader at Whitlock’s Book Barn, two converted chicken coops in Bethany, CT. where, as a teenager, I found dusty treasures that sold for pennies. Literary biographies, collections of letters, and poetry. I could fill a shopping bag for a few dollars and later when I had more than babysitting money to spend I bought hardcover books and spanking fresh trade paperbacks and built a poetry library of over 300 volumes.

That said, I couldn’t help but look up my two books on Amazon to see what they are going for. You can pick up a used copy of THE FOREST FOR THE TREES for $1.71. Now, that’s a bargain. If you’re more interested in my memoir of pain and suffering, FOOD AND LOATHING, a used copy is waiting for you for…one cent. When Streitfeld was faced with buying a copy of a Wendy Lesser book for a penny, he confesses, “A penny felt a little chintzy even for me, so I bought a hardcover copy for 25 cents.” A penny for my thoughts?

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