In this post, I’m going to tell how I rode to Ravena with my friend Sue to buy 1 book for 50 cents.

But first an update. I have been working at home for a month and I definitely like it. I don’t have to rush out the door to catch the bus. I like blasting my tunes. ABBA never sounded so good. I like taking a break to check on the mail. And at 4:30 on Fridays, I shut down my laptop and go to the bedroom to watch Clinton Kelly’s Instagram live show. It is always worth watching. He makes a cocktail, make fun and quick pasta dishes, plays games like Dirty Grammar or Kill, Marry, or Fuck, all while swearing like the gay sailor he is.

I haven’t been able to go the book store since the lockdown. I miss going to The Book House or Dove and Hudson Bookstore. I have been lucky, though, because the Free Little Library behind St. Andrews on Western Avenue is back. It’s a block up from my house. I have been lucky to get books from there: I got Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters, The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy, Double Deuce by Robert B Parker, and Any Human Heart by William Boyd, a writer I’m not familiar with. In return, I put in the Library Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers, The Naked Civil Servant by Quinton Crisp, and my copies of The USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos.

Now on to my Ravena story. My friend Sue and I have gone to the Book Nook at The Grace United Methodist Church in Ravena. They are usually open on Saturdays. I’ve had good luck finding books I wanted there including The White Hotel by D.M.Thomas, Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene and Saigon, Illinois by Paul Hoover, one for my beloved Vintage Contemporaries editions I love.

At the beginning of June they sent word on Facebook that they would offer curbside service. You could give them a list of 15 books and they would tell you what they had on your list. You had to tell them what time you were showing up and you had to have exact change. I decided to test out the waters by asking for 11 books. This is the list I gave them:

  1. A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
  2. Americhana by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  3. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  4. Short stories by Katherine Mansfield
  5. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  6. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  7. Lolly Willows by Sylvia Townsend Warner
  8. The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks
  9. Death of an Archbishop by Willa Cather
  10. Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  11. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibson

Except for A Fraction of the Whole (a favorite of my friend @places_and_books on Bookstigram) and Lolly Willows (I was inspired by a Booktube video praising it.) I thought most of the books should be found easily. Can you guess what was the only book they could find? It was The Return of the Native. So I went down with my friend Sue. She bought an entire series of about 20 books while I bought the Hardy novel for .50 cents.

Sue recently told me that the Book Bin is closed again, which makes me sad. I miss going to book stores and sales. I’m getting as desperate as my friend @kenny_lagers_library who posted a photo of himself “shopping” for books from his own bookshelves with a cloth bag over his shoulder. I completely understand his frustration. I miss the days when I could browse in a book store or at a book sale. I hope those days will come soon.