“ ‘Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.” –Mark Twain

In the summer months my taste in wine and books undergoes a drastic change—the literary fiction and cabernet are shelved in favor of pink wine, and its literary equivalent—the mass market paperback. Whereas rose is no longer scoffed at the way it once was (I dare anyone to turn their nose up at Frog’s Leap Pink, for instance), I’ll be the first to admit that my summer reading may appear déclassé to some.  I read Regency romance novels, vampire nonsense, and any post-apocalyptic zombie western steampunk pulp I can find.  Give me adventure!  Love!  Gore! Survival in the face of insurmountable odds!  Give me more exclamations points! 

I gave up being embarrassed about these tastes about the same time I became a librarian—enabling people to read whatever they want is a foundational tenet of library science.  Now, this may be sacrilege for a librarian to admit—but sometimes a good used book store is really what you want for summer reading.  Anyone who has left a library book in a hotel room in another state or tempted fate (and lost) by taking that brand new hardback from the library to the beach knows what I mean. 

So, if you want a good one-way read (something you can leave with your host or give to the guy sitting next to you on the plane after you’ve read it) I suggest visiting The Book Den at 8250 Belvedere Ave, Suite E.  The Book Den is a fantastic bookstore run by the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library—and proceeds benefit the library.  They have an amazing selection of books of all kinds, including paperbacks priced as low as 50 cents!  Don’t get me wrong, the Book Den has much more than mass market paperbacks—there are beautiful old editions and treasures galore as well.  Visit and see—they are open Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Here are a few paperbacks I recommend pairing with a good hammock and a shady lawn: 


  1. Tom

    I love your writing, and I hope you write a book someday. If you do, I’ll ask the library to buy lots of copies. Although many of us, in today’s economy, can’t afford the plane, hotel, beach, or used bookstore you refer to, we are grateful for the books and services that all you librarians work so hard to maintain. With books, we can travel the past, the future, real worlds and make-believe ones. Keep the columns coming!

    • alt library

      Thank you for the kind words, Tom! And you’ve given me an idea for my next post–something about stay-cations (but I’ll avoid that word because it makes me wince a little).

  2. Melvyl Dewey

    I agree, Tom! Instead, Lori spends oodles of her library/non-library energies encouraging others to create things, another one of those “foundational tenet[s] of library science.” That said, I think she’s definitely got a few titles on her…

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