Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Short Stack: April Favorites


Hahaha, who would have thought that I'd be incredibly busy this month and have no time to read?

Probably almost anyone, honestly. April was my last full month at the iSchool. It was a month full of new discoveries, like that it is possible to have both a cold and allergies at the same time and that you will feel like dying. I also celebrated a birthday, so I am wiser and clearly know what I am talking about now.

So, in this particular order, let’s talk about the one book I read and the very first Austin Independent Bookstore Crawl!

The Shortest Stack:

1.     Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

If you’re not a Hamilfan, turn back now. This young adult novel about Elizabeth Schuyler meeting and falling in love with Alexander Hamilton is just what I needed this month. Eliza is given more character than she has in the musical; instead of being entirely lovesick, she goes to Morristown to help her aunt vaccinate Washington's troops against small pox, where she is reunited with Alexander (they met earlier) and begin courting. While this is obviously a fictionalized account, I really enjoy books where women are allowed to think about things other than men. Even if they do eventually get married (spoiler!). Pay attention to chapter titles.

April 29th was Independent Bookstore Day across the country and part of the celebration was Austin’s first IndependentBookstore Crawl. Participants completed scavenger hunt challenges at up to fourteen independent bookstores across Austin and posted pictures on social media to prove it.  I didn’t do the complete crawl because I should have been doing almost anything else, but I visited BookPeople, Malvern Books, Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy, BookWoman, Half Price Books on North Lamar and Balcones Books. 

Despite living here since I was an undergrad, I hadn’t been to Malvern, BookWoman, that Half Price Books or Balcones Books. The Half Price Book thing makes sense since there are four other locations and they were all on the crawl, but I’m almost appalled by myself for not going to some of these sooner. 

A breakdown of the bookstores:

Zach, my driver to insanity
Required visit for all book-loving Austinites/Texans. I love their variety and amount of author readings and signings. I met Kinky Friedman here when I was in undergrad!

Task: Take a picture with or in the Barber Chair

Malvern Books
This is a smaller store and had a bit of a too-cool-for-me vibe, but I liked their poetry sections and they are across from the Texas French Bread Company so I could pick up a croissant after this photo.

Task: Take a picture with a book that was originally in French. I actually bought a different copy of this book because I liked the layout more, but I liked this cover better.

Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy
This is where I pick up my comics, so I’m here every few weeks. The crawl coincided with my pull list, so we stopped in to pick up Bitch Planet #10 and the very last of Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!

Task: Take a picture with Deadpool and a Variant comic from their table. I didn’t love Monstress, but none of the others were ones I had read.

This place should be my bookshelf, and I am so mad that I haven’t been here before. I’ve driven past it plenty and wondered what was in here, so the crawl was a wonderful excuse to pop in. There were so many books that are on my wish list, plus I have never seen that many female-centric Who Is…? books in one location. I was really impressed by this place and I will definitely be back. 
Task: Take a picture with an inspiring children’s book. Thanks for the vote, Susan B.!

Half Price Books at North Lamar
Another one I haven’t been to that made me a bit sad. I visit Half Price Books plenty in general and even worked for them a few summers during undergrad, but I have never gone into this location. It’s so big! Plus, their collectibles section is ridiculous. I’m so used to tiny sections of a store devoted to signed, rare and simply old books that this made my eyes go wide.

Task: Find the see-through Roswell alien.

Balcones Books
We originally planned on skipping this stop because I needed to get back to school work, but we missed our turn onto the highway and ended up driving right next to it. It’s a small store full of used books in pretty decent condition, and it had my favorite task. It’s worth visiting if you’re nearby, but I might not go out of my way to find it. 

Task: BookFace.

The Austin Independent Bookstore Crawl was a great way to experience new bookstores and support local businesses. Plus, it reminded me of all the things I’d like to read once I’m done with all my work! Definitely visit some of these places or some of the other 14 if you get a chance. 

Back to work for me, bookworms. I’ve got a massive TBR pile waiting for me after I finish!


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