Currently Checked Out Vol. I: Blog Version Introduction

Over on my channel I started a weekly series called “Currently Checked Out” at the beginning of the year. The idea behind the series was (& still is!) to raise awareness about the different resources that public libraries provide and to share how much money I save by utilizing the resources available to me through the library systems that I utilize.

I’ve honestly loved filming the series but I have taken a pretty decent sized hiatus from it. Between the pandemic, libraries physically closing, and the exhaustion of reading digitally my heart just wasn’t in it. I missed physical books too much for it to be a happy filming experience for me.


However! Sometime in August (I think, time has been fuzzy) a few public libraries in the Bay Area have reopened for curbside pickup services meaning I could finally stop reading off screens. My go to library system has been the San Francisco Public Library and I’m so incredibly proud of my coworkers for making the pickup process so efficient and easy. It’s just been the proper chunk of motivation that I needed in order to get me to start back up with my Currently Checked Out series and to bring it to this space as well!



Now, if I were to share all the books that I’ve checked out since curbside services have started this would be an insanely long post. So, I’m just going to share what I’ve checked out between November 1st – 7th!

THE BOOKS


Ghostwriter by Rayco Pulido (translated by Andrea Rosenberg)
Synopsis via Goodreads
Green Apple Books $19.99 (N/A) | Books Inc. $19.99 (N/A) | Amazon $15.06 ✔︎

I honestly wish I could remember where I came across this or what made me request it. I might have been looking for translated creepy works because this is the author’s first English-language debut and it features a serial killer who’s killing husbands (hide yo kids, hide yo man), a scriptwriter for a radio advice column who sets out to find her missing husband while the serial killer is active and a detective who uses hypnosis. Or maybe I just YOLO requested it. I honestly have not a single clue. I do know that I was expecting it to be a novel so I was a little bit surprised when I saw it was a graphic novel, but I’m down with the graphic novel read too. It’s been too long since I’ve read a physical graphic novel anyway.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
Synopsis via Goodreads
Green Apple Books $11.99 ✔︎ | Books Inc. $11.99 (N/A) | Amazon $10.99

Lately I’ve found myself in the mood for short reads, but not “short story collection” short reads. I felt like a novella would satisfy the need for a short read so I decided to do a keyword search in the library catalog for “novella”. After doing a few refinements to my search I ended up finding a few novellas that looked and sounded pretty gosh darn interesting; much like this one. The cover of this one is the first thing that grabbed me and then after the synopsis mentioned a cottage, cat and dryads I was sold. After all, I do love a good “green magic” woodsy tale.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
Synopsis via Goodreads
Green Apple Books $12.99 ✔︎ | Books Inc. $12.99 (N/A) | Amazon $11.99

Another novella! Seriously, I can’t believe how long I’ve slept on just doing keyword searches for books. I knew it was possible when I was walking a patron through how to find the DVDs that were currently available at the library through the catalog but it didn’t click that I could do it for books too! The title for this one was what sparked my initial interest and then the mentions of a “feminist high fantasty” and a “mage-made summer” set in an empire reminiscent of imperial China were the deciding factors in making me request it.

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Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Synopsis via Goodreads
Green Apple Books $18.99 ✔︎| Books Inc. $18.99 | Amazon $15.46

I’ve been experimenting with reading more YA fiction and fantasy because I’m honestly amazed at how diverse the books for the age group have become. I’m so excited and happy for teenagers who get to actually see themselves in the story instead of having to imagine themselves in the story like I did when I was a teenager. What really drew me to this book was the Goodreads synopsis where it mentioned “Southern Black Girl Magic” and if there’s one thing I’m always down to read about when it comes to the South is Black Girl Magic. Also, the cover of this is absolutely stunning!

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Ring Shout, or, Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times by P. Djélí Clark
Synopsis via Goodreads
Green Apple Books $19.99 ✔︎ | Books Inc. $19.99 | Amazon $16.19

I didn’t know that this was a novella when I requested it but, I am excited that I’ve ended up with three novella’s this week. This was one of those “Twitter says it’s good, so I shall request it” requests. It has a bad-ass chick with a magic sword who’s not only a bootlegger in Prohibition era Georgia, but also fighting the Klan as they attempt to release hell on Earth. Helping her defeat fight the Klan is a “foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter“, which sounds like the perfect ‘here to eff ish up trio’ ever. I think I’m not excited to read this one out of everything I currently have checked out this week.

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The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar
Synopsis via Goodreads
Green Apple Books $16.99 | Books Inc. $16.99 | Amazon $9.39 ✔︎

This one was definitely the result of Goodreads browsing. I was originally interested in Joukhadar’s The Thirty Names of Night but it doesn’t hit the shelves until later this month so I decided to give this one a shot to see if I like his writing style. The story follows two teenage girls, 800 years apart as they make the same journey across the Middle East and North Africa but for different purposes. The first girl Nour is traveling with her family to escape the violence that had recently erupted in 2011 Syria and the second girl, Rawiya is on a mission to help King Roger II of Sicily create a map of the world. When I requested this book I realized that I haven’t read much historical-fiction that takes place in the Middle East or North Africa (as this book does), nor have I read much historical-fiction about the refugee journey in those countries. I’m looking forward to learning more about those cultures through this author’s work!

Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
Synopsis via Goodreads
Green Apple Books $14.95 | Books Inc. $14.95 | Amazon $6.99 ✔︎

I know that I saw this book on some sort of list but I honestly can’t remember what list it was. Which is probably a sub-theme in my life. I absolutely adore the color of this cover and the Victorian era vibe of it (Edward Bettison, the guy who did the cover design and illustration has done some absolutely stunning covers that are worth looking at!) If I had a ton of money I would turn my basement into a bar/lounge area with this cover as the inspiration. It was actually thanks to the cover that this is the book that I’m jumping into reading first out of my Currently Checked Out pile. At the time of me writing this I’m about halfway through and enjoying the murder mystery, romance, and potentially paranormal aspects of the story.

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How Much $$$ Did I Save?

I calculate the money I saved by looking at the prices of the books at the two bookstores in San Francisco that I most often frequent; Green Apple Books and Books Inc along with Amazon. Amazon only gets my coins if the book is significantly cheaper than it is at the bookstores. I also only take into account the prices of the books new. Green Apple Books has a huge used book collection but unfortunately, they don’t have their used books listed on the website.

With San Francisco sales tax (8.5%) factored in the total amount of money I saved is $103.51.
Green Apple Books = $69.40 (67%)
Amazon = 34.11 (33%)
Books Inc. = $0

I’m Curious…

Are the public libraries in your area currently open for curbside service or in-person browsing? If so, what do you currently have checked out? If not, what have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments!

Cheers,

YouTube Version of this Post





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