Reading Journal (March 3): Swapping Books

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Last week, I finished a few shorter books, as well as my project book, which I’d worked on all month, and The Fellowship of the Ring, which was the February Lord of the Rings book. I enjoyed Woolf’s book, and Douglass’s narrative was a great perspective on what it meant to be a slave. DNA had it’s faults, but I’m glad I kept reading; the ending was better written and less technical than the first parts.

I also picked up a book I own about gender-based genetics (The X in Sex), and it is so easy to read compared to DNA. It’s short, too, so I may finish it. I started skimming Daily Life in Victorian England, and while it’s not spectacularly written and there are no footnotes (a huge pet peeve of mine in nonfiction), I’m still so fascinated by the era, I’d love to keep reading. I didn’t get to any of my Japan books this week but I did read about 150 pages of East of Eden as well.

At any rate, this week, I must finish my Heyer book, which I’ve barely begun. I’d forgotten my tour dates was so soon (it’s Monday)! And I need to work on another house project so I’ll finish my audiobook. East of Eden may become a priority, but I don’t mind if I only make a little progress. Although it’s hard to put it down after just a little, the writing is so beautiful, it’s like a little reward at the end of the day and I like stretching it out.

Of course, it was due yesterday, so maybe I need to work on that…

I started swapping books at PaperbackSwap instead of Bookmooch. PBS has a “condition” requirement that attracted me to it. I’m very tired of getting really old, falling apart books, and I’ve gotten many from Bookmooch. (I still have some books from my “writing-and-highlighting” college days listed at Bookmooch, but I list the condition, so you won’t be surprised.) At any rate, the fact that my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring fell apart as I read was testament to me that it’s about time I owned books that were not in rotten condition. I’m having fun swapping away some of those nice condition books I own that I know I’m never going to read again for nice condition books that I do want to own and read again!

Do you swap books?

Finished Books

  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (110 pages, plus 30 pages front matter; nonfiction).
  • Poetry for Young People: William Blake (50 pages; poetry).
  • DNA by James Watson (405 pages; nonfiction).
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave (140 pages, plus 50 pages front/end matter; nonfiction/memoir).
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein (490 pages; fiction). For the Lord of the Rings Readalong.

Returned or Abandoned Books

Although I wanted to read both of these, the due dates were approaching and I decided to give them a pass this time around.

  • I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches that Changed the World by Martin Luther King, Jr. (200 pages; nonfiction/speeches). I am not really in the mood for speeches this week and it was due.
  • We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson (children’s nonfiction). I flipped through this and loved the illustrations.

Currently Reading

Each week, I list my progress so I can see how my reading compares week to week. I did make a little progress on some of these.

My Books

Here are the books I own or downloaded. I’ve been rather horrible at reading my project book this week!

  • Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and Their Messages by Karen Lynn Davidson (140 read of 455 pages; nonfiction).
  • A Raisin the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (drama). Not begun yet. Some day soon?
  • Reading in Bed edited by Steven Gilbar (nonfiction/essays). A collection of essays about our favorite topic: reading. Occasionally, I’ll post some thoughts about an essay for the Reading Reflections feature.
  • The X in Sex by David Banbridge (40 read of 200 pages; nonfiction). My project book last month gave me a good jumping ground to read some more about genetics.
  • How to Read a Poem And Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch (nonfiction). My project book for March. Not yet begun.

Old Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck (400 read of about 600 pages; fiction). For the Classics Reads Book Group.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (on part 7 of 10, 11 ½ hours audio; fiction). So much fun!
  • Daily Life in Victorian England by Sally Mitchell (40 read of 280 pages; nonfiction). I was just going to skim it, but I’m fascinated!
  • The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer (25 read of 300; fiction). For Monday’s tour stop.
  • Japan: A Concise History by Milton Walter Meyer (nonfiction).
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. For IRL book club
  • Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata. Haven’t begun.
  • A History of Japan by R.H.P. Mason.
  • A History of Japanese Literature: The First Thousand Years by Shuichi Kato.
  • A History of Japanese Literature: From the Manyoshu to Modern Times by Shuichi Kato.
  • Introduction to Classic Japanese Literature by Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai.

New Library Loot

  • Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
  • Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata


  • Yukio Mishima’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Recommended in a comment by Claire at Kiss a Cloud
  • Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros. Eva posting at Color Online
  • The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. Nymeth.
Reviewed on March 3, 2010

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • I enjoyed X in Sex-it is quite readable! My fave though, is Genome by Matt Ridley. Just in case you want to go on a mini-binge of genetics books. 🙂 Love the title of Reading in Bed!

    Back in 2007 I used bookmooch a lot, and the books I received were always in great condition, unless it had been noted in the condition box ahead of time. But I don’t know what it’s like now…I wonder if it’s gotten too big?

    If you want to switch tour dates with me, I’m planning on picking up my Heyer today, so I’ll have it done by Monday!
    .-= Eva´s last post on blog ..Dearest Anne (thoughts) =-.

  • I’ve had pretty good luck with Bookmooch though sometimes have been disappointed with the condition but not often. If it isn’t a book everyone wants I’ll usually email the person and ask about the condition if there are no notes listed. The biggest disappointments have usually come when I thought I was getting a particular edition like a NYRB Classic for example but when it arrives it ends up being a book club edition.
    .-= Stefanie´s last post on blog ..Off Kilter =-.

  • I hit the library used book sales in the area and just give the books back for re-sale once I’ve finished them.
    I’m tempted to try the sites you’ve mentioned, but I’m really trying to be good on the book purchasing front….

    (btw — finished Ethan Frome on the weekend — it is definitely a quick read. Good story.)
    .-= Suzanne´s last post on blog ..Do I read too much? =-.

  • I have had the same problem with bookmooch. I also find that books there take months to arrive and the ones I want are often not listed/not available to UK.

    I joined readitswapit which is a UK site similar to paperbackswap, but found I got swamped with requests when I put up my quality, newer books. I tend to avoid the swapping sites now – stick to buying from charity shops where I can see the condition of the book. It is often cheaper than paying for postage of swap too.
    .-= Jackie (Farm Lane Books)´s last post on blog ..Red Dog, Red Dog – Patrick Lane =-.

  • I haven’t tried any of the book swap sites yet, but would like to try sometimes; sounds like paperback swap might be a better one to start with!

    I have been having fantastic finds lately at our library book sale shelf….at 25 or 50 cents each.

    I’m starting my Georgette Heyer today…I have ten more days until my post goes up, looking forward to reading yours!
    .-= Valerie´s last post on blog ..FreeVerse: “Ars Poetica” by Archibald MacLeish =-.

  • I’ve had good luck with both swap sites. I love Bookmooch for getting books published in the UK before they’re published here, and I haven’t had any more problems with condition that I’ve had with PBS. (In three years, I’ve had maybe 2 or 3 books from each site that were falling apart.)

    And I’m really interested to see what your final impression was of Fellowship.
    .-= Teresa´s last post on blog ..LOTR Readalong: The Two Tower Intro =-.

  • Swap sites seem like a great idea, but when I find a book or two I no longer want to own, I always give in to temptation & sell it back to Powell’s for store credit. It’s kind of a Johnson family tradition, so I don’t feel too badly. 🙂 Plus I’m really picky about the condition of my books, so I would probably have the same issue you do.
    .-= Emily´s last post on blog ..The Paris Review Interviews IV =-.

  • Eva, I saw your comment and when I was at the library yesterday, I picked up Genome! Maybe I’ll make genetics my project subject this month…. It looks good too! I think maybe paperbackswap has taken lots of the good condition books from bookmooch because it seems there is not much available that i want anymore. Ah well. People also have notes saying “I only go to the post office every two months” too and that’s just ridiculous: if I request a book, I want it now!

    Amanda, so far so very good. They have so many books I want I just need more points so I can keep swapping….But how many books do I really need…

    Stefanie, that’s my biggest pet peeve with bookmooch: people list books under the wrong ISBN all the time!

    Heather J., just sent a buddy request!

    Suzanne, I haven’t had luck with library sales, but I’ve only been to a few. Should try again! I always check the book table, though. Glad you enjoyed Ethan Frome. I’m looking forward to it!

    Jackie, yes, I’ve found that int’l requests take a very long time! So sounds like charity shops is the right answer for you.

    Valerie, yeah, it really depends what you are looking for — it sounds like library sales are the best for you!! What great deals.

    Teresa, yeah, it sounds like I’m the out of luck person when it comes to bookmooch. I guess because I order older books from it… I did enjoy Fellowship, but still wanting to reread Silmarillion!

    Jenny, yeah, if you have credits, get the books you want! It’s fun to get a book in the mail! At least, for me since I rarely do…

    Emily, yeah, Powell’s sounds like a great alternative! I’m not at all picky about the condition of my books, but I’m becoming more so. I just am sick of falling apart books.

  • Well… that’s interessting but to be honest i have a hard time understanding it… wonder what others have to say..

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