Second-Hand Reads

December 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

book2I just wanted to take a second to make a shout-out to a long beloved but oft overlooked entity: the used book. In a time of economic and environmental woe, the used book is a cheap and green way to entertain yourself and reward others throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Yesterday I picked up my mail and was pleased to discover that my expected delivery from had arrived. Just a week earlier, I went online and paid $3.50 for the book ($7.50 with shipping), which happens to be a 1977 paperback edition of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath“. This is a classic piece of American fiction that I’ve never read before, but have recently been compelled to pick up after reading another book, “Stuffed and Starved” by Raj Patel.

“Stuffed and Starved” gives an informative and well-researched overview of our ailing global food system, and although it’s not as artfully written as some other works in its genre, particularly those authored by Pollans, Schlossers and Lappes, it is a must-read for anyone who cares about food, nutrition, environment and social justice. But more to the point, Patel’s book regularly quotes Steinbeck, and inspired me to read “The Grapes of Wrath” (which I will, starting today).

A new copy of “The Grapes of Wrath” will run you at least ten bucks, so I really scored with my $3.50 copy. Plus, my copy has a nice yellow coloration and some lovely coffee (or maybe chocolate?) stains on the cover, which give it character and a light fragrance. I am a strong believer in judging books by their covers, and I can tell that this is going to be a good read. And new books are tainted with carbon footprints and the blood of happy young forests, which is simply awful.

So if you’re planning to buy a book (or anything else, for that matter), try and get it used. I promise it will be better for your wallet, better for the planet, and it will look cuter on your coffee table.


Entry filed under: clothes, shoes and other goodies (or badies), conservation, entertainment, recommended, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. kim  |  January 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Hey Gwen,

    I recently re- discovered this place where they have FREE books!
    The library! I think it will be a great resource once again. Many have wireless, computers and comfortable chairs, free story time for kids, dvd’s music and FREE books to borrow. Saves space on my book shelf too. I think you can check out books online now, though I have not tried since the library is only a few minutes from home. the only cost is when I forget to pick up the phone and renew a book that takes longer than 2 weeks to read, then I pay a fine, something like 10 – 25cents a day. I sometimes comehome with too many books that look good and never get read, but its OK cause they will be there when I’m ready for them. and, did is say they are FREE?!

    happy trails through the dust bowl with Steinbeck…


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