Saturday, July 15, 2017

How do you manage your book collection?

I have accumulated a lot of books over the years. I do read a lot of e-books, and I borrow books from libraries. However, sometimes I end up buying a book if it's not available in one of those categories. I like to keep nonfiction to refer to them, make notes, and bookmark pages. And cookbooks are much easier to read and use in print form.

A lot of my books are old textbooks from school. I've taken a lot of classes over the years, and sometimes (due to a new edition) the books are not worth anything when I'm done. Some I kept as a reference, though they get outdated quickly.

Ideally, I'd keep them all forever. But sometimes I know that I'm not going to read certain books again or they have no sentimental value, so I remove them from my collection. After all, I'm going to move someday, and books are heavy.

How do you get rid of old books you don't need anymore? Fiction that's still in good condition can go to charity, usually either a library book sale or a thrift store. Really outdated books, or books in bad condition, can be recycled. Bookscouter is also a good way to find sites that buy back textbooks.

And as for the remaining collection? I have a huge bookshelf to display my books. I try to group them by subject--fiction, cookbooks, textbooks, etc.--but more often I tend to group them by size, just so they fit on the shelf.

If you have any tips for managing a book collection, please leave them in the comments.

Similar posts:
Book Review: L'art de la Simplicite: Living More With Less
On the Shelf: Book Riot's 2017 Challenge
Writing Challenges and Time Management

Monday, July 10, 2017

Saturnine sale

In the spirit of Prime Day, I'm putting Saturnine on sale. The thriller/sci-fi ebook will be 99 cents for a limited time on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. (It should be available on Kobo and Apple soon.)


"They don't want her. They want me."

Thomas Huxley is an agent in the twenty-sixth century. When his agency is breached and his identity revealed, his wife, Zoe, is kidnapped.

His friend Ariel, a time traveler, knows that the kidnappers are working with an old enemy of hers, Bailey Tyler. If they can unravel Bailey's plans and stop her, they might have a chance to rescue Zoe. 

But the kidnappers are killing agents, one by one, and Thomas's name is on their list...

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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Book Review: L'art de la Simplicite: Living More With Less by Dominique Loreau

As part of my Book Riot challenge, I've been trying to read more nonfiction. My life has been complicated, so I chose a book about simplicity: L'art de la Simplicite: Living More With Less by Dominique Loreau. I read the English translation, and it was originally published in French.

This slim volume packs a lot of wisdom into the first few chapters. It's one part declutter movement and one part minimalism. A lot of the tips seem to be aimed at women. One tip is: don't carry a handbag that weighs more than three pounds when full. It sounds simple, but if you're like me, you probably haul around a lot more stuff than you think you need. The author also boldly states that if you carry a handbag, you shouldn't need a wallet; the pocket(s) in the bag should suffice. As someone who has owned a wallet since I knew what money was, that was surprising (and liberating). 

The first few chapters give a zen-like outlook on life, but the second part of the book didn't resonate with me as much. A lot of the advice, such as eating less and reducing clutter, is good, but other tips (such as only buying fresh food and never canned, and not eating leftovers) are more strict. Most people can't make such a drastic lifestyle change, due to time, money, or other obstacles. The book also doesn't provide very good advice on health, and at one point discourages therapy, which is necessary for many people.

I'd still recommend reading the first part of the book, and have re-read parts of it because it is so light and optimistic. I'd have liked the parts on minimalism and decluttering to be a little longer, but then again, simplicity is short. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

My thredUP review

Awhile back, thredUP asked their customers to write a review of their site. And because I'm so conscientious, I wrote one ... within six months. They didn't offer compensation, but just asked customers to spread the word. allows you to buy and sell secondhand clothes (and some accessories) online. Right now it only has clothes for women and kids; apparently it hasn't been cost-effective to sell men's clothes.

I like to go to thrift shops -- they're better for the environment, and have low prices -- but I find it overwhelming to try to find brands and styles I'll like. ThredUP does make searching for clothes easier for me. Their prices are reasonable, and I can sort by brand, size, color, etc. They frequently have 10% off coupon codes as well.

The clothes arrive in a cute cardboard box wrapped in tissue paper. There's no plastic bags, unlike other stores, so everything is recyclable. You have 14 days to return items if you don't like them. I've been seeing a lot of items that are "final sale," though, which sometimes makes me skip them.

The clothes have always been as described, but they used to arrive with a floral scent that took a few washes to get out. The latest box didn't, and the scent hasn't stopped me from buying.

So, that's buying. Sending clothes to them -- and potentially getting money for your clothes -- is easy. You request a bag, and it arrives in the mail a few days later. Then you pack it with clothes, wait in line at the post office (or schedule a USPS pickup) and mail it off. They subtract $6.99 from the payout (was $4.99 or so when I tried it) to cover shipping costs, or you can opt to have the proceeds donated to charity. I picked clothes that were in good condition but not a good fit for me: too big or too small, or the wrong style.

Is it worth it to send stuff to thredUP over a charity? I'm not sure. I sent them a bag, but it will still be a few weeks before I find out my payout. If you have expensive clothes, you might want to try selling them on your own first. And it may be more eco-friendly to give them to a charity shop in your area.

Fast fashion has created a trend where clothes are bought and discarded quickly. Hopefully secondhand shops (both online and brick and mortar) can temper that a bit. Any thoughts?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

April Check-In

Spring is finally upon us, and I started working in my garden.

A post shared by Laura E. Bradford (@lauraebradford) on

I have been wondering if I should release Saturnine in print, but there hasn't been that much demand so I'll wait a bit on that. I suppose I should actually do some marketing first.

I have some notes for a third Flyday book, but as I said, I'm not sure there's much demand for it. I've got an outline and a few chapters of a YA novel written, so I'll try to keep working on that.

I haven't been on posting Twitter as much lately, but if you send me a message I'll get it. Happy spring!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What to do when you have too many ideas

I've stepped away from my series for a bit, and I'm writing some stand-alone books. My current work-in-progress is a YA novel, but right now I have too many ideas. Some writers might say that's a good thing, but when I have ideas for six books I want to write, the process gets muddled. When I come up with a great plot event, should I use it in my current book, or save it for a future book? If I'm struggling with the current work, should I slog through or switch to writing something else?

I try to stay on the same book, but it isn't easy. The project I'm working on now? I've been writing it, off and on, for the last few years. I try to outline, but I don't view writing as re-discovering a story that was already there, like a paleontologist chipping away at stone and finding fossils. I write drafts upon drafts as I edit, plan, and shape. In other words, I write like someone taming a wild horse.

When I get an idea for a future book, I write it down in that novel's file, but then I have to return to the main project, or it will never get done. If I'm not sure whether to use an idea now or save it for later, I use it now. There will always be more ideas.

And the ideas I get when I first start a book are always the fun ideas, the exciting premise. But actually writing an entire book--the nitty-gritty of character development, fixing plot holes, and rewriting and editing--is hard work and takes more than just creativity.

Right now I'm taming horses (that is, making sure the plot makes sense) and keeping a running file of stray ideas that haven't been assigned yet. Hopefully I'll be able to make it through this book, and write many more.

Photo by Unsplash.

Friday, January 13, 2017

On the Shelf: Book Riot's 2017 Challenge

A friend of mine pointed me to Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge. I considered myself pretty good at selecting diverse books, but lately most of my reading has consisted of nonfiction, and I need to shake things up a bit.

I'm currently reading Neurotribes by Steve Silberman, about the history of autism, and on just about every page I feel an almost static shock of recognition. As for novels, I'm reading through Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie's excellent Half of a Yellow Sun.

But reading through the list made me realize I do box myself in. Read a book about sports? I had never thought of it, but after scanning through the list, I realized there are some interesting books about running I'd like to read. I've never been too fond of travel memoirs, but I stumbled across an interesting one while looking for recipes. Since Book Riot recommended I read a travel memoir, I added The Sweet Life in Paris by David Leboviz to my to-read list.

There is a library close to my job, so I'll attempt to check a few items off the list. I don't think I'll be able to get to all 24 suggestions this year, but the challenge opened up some ideas about great books I could be missing out on.