Ralph's Rules "By the Book"

By Ralph Hipp

A longtime avid reader, I now spend more time clicking through articles on websites and reading e-mails from our news fans all over Northeast Kansas.  That also means my actual time of holding a book in my hands and reading has gone way down lately, and I do like that a little. 

But there are times when most of us like to settle in a warm chair, have some latte, open up, flip the pages and start reading.  No Kindle, Nook, e-readers, etc.  But with those very cool devices I have changed my rules for buying books, and thought I'd like to share them with you until I get an e-reader of my own someday.

First of all, as much as you'd like to buy a book as soon as it comes out, wait till it hits the bargain rack.  You probably won't touch it for a while anyway, and if you wait long enough you could probably buy your favorite book to hang onto for 6 dollars later.  Some of them very good books indeed.

Don't sell books to the discount stores like Half Price Books.  I took in a stack of six paperbacks from my daughter, and you know how much they gave me for the whole stack?  $1.  One Dollar!  I have now vowed to donate any books I don't want, books that clutter up our house, to the library so they can be sold by the Friends of the Library at their annual book sale.  Hopefully, they could be checked out by library fans, so I can share those books with someone else. 

If you drive a lot (as I do) keep a steady supply of audio books coming from the library and listen to some of these fabulous readers as they tell you a story.  I also really like biographies, especially the ones read by the people who lived those lives.  Ted Turner read his autobiography on CD, and I couldn't stop putting in the next disc to hear him tell how he created TBS and CNN and about all those wild business decisions he made.  If you're an audio fan, find out from our library workers how you can download audio books onto MP3 players or iPods if you don't know how.  That will open up a whole new world of audio books for you.  And a reminder again, many outstanding audio books are on the bargain shelf for only 6 to 13 dollars at the stores these days, if you'd like to wait for a while.

Don't buy book after book from the book clubs.  I used to be in 5 book clubs.  Now I'm only in the History Book Club.  I always send my book of the month replies by e-mail from here at the station, refusing the monthly selection.  Then I look at the catalog they send me by snail mail, and mark off some history books I might like to buy at the bargain rack later, or check out on audio to listen to.  (See my earlier rule.)  Of course, you're required to buy I believe it's one book at year.. and I do order a book club selection that I would probably never find in the bookstores.  Make sure to keep track of your bonus points to get the discount.

If you escape through your reading after work (and sadly some people read a lot because they don't have a job right now..) get into a trilogy.  Keep your sets together as I'm doing, of the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (it starts with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and goes on to "The Girl Who Played with Fire.")  The 3rd and final book of the set is still only in hardback.. I'll wait for the paperback that matches the two I already have. Tara French's trilogy awaits me with her stories from Ireland.  And many fans like Marilynn Robinson's "Gilead" Trilogy which starts in Kansas, and mostly takes place in Iowa.  The Women's Murder Club from James Patterson is a favorite of mine!  They're easy to read with short chapters.  And there are 9 of those in the series now!

One book rule I would like to start this year.  I'd like to make my children read more.  Maybe more of the books I have.  Encourage your children to pick any book they want from your shelf.  Anytime.  They may need a classic this year for a homework assignment.  Don't go out and buy it.. see if you already have it.  In a world of I-Tunes and video games, that old fashioned sitting with a great book is something that never goes out of style.

(Ralph is currently listening to Marilynn Robinson's "Home" on the $5.99 audio book he bought at Borders.  He's reading "Moscow Rules" by Daniel Silva, which someone recommended to him from the discount rack.) 

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