books, free, reading

Finding Free Books Wherever I Go

I saw the first so-called Free Little Library in the small city where I worked for a local newspaper. It was an attractive box, with plexiglass on the door that was held in place with a hook and eye, and raised on a post beside the sidewalk. I didn’t find a book I wanted for free but I was intrigued by the concept. Then my curiosity grew as I began finding these free book boxes in my village, and today, I got a lesson about IMG_2578the rewards of sharing. (Stick until the end of this post for that.)

But before I go any further … if you are reading this on Saturday, March 26 and you are a Kindle reader, then you can get one of my books for free. Peace, Love, and You Know What is the first book I published.

Here’s a brief synopsis: Turn on, tune in, and then what? That’s the question facing Tim and Lenora. But first they’ll escape to a three-day graduation bash put on by Tim and his roommates at their funky, hippie pad. Peace, Love, and You Know What is a comedy framed by the Vietnam War and Watergate.

Now back to those free book boxes … I found the first in our village as I drove along a main street. I was curious enough to later walk out of my way to find it. Alas, there wasn’t anything inside I wanted to take.

But now that I’ve expanded my walks through the village, aiming for that magical 10K steps, I found five more free book boxes. One has a note advising donors to leave only newer books and in great condition. That’s where I found a first edition in like new condition of Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, and the next day I returned with three newish books in gratitude.

The other day I explored a section of streets on my side of the village — Shelburne Falls is separated by the Deerfield River with the town of Shelburne on one side and Buckland, where I live, on the other. I was surprised to find two more. One was the traditional enclosed box on the
post. The other was what had to be the best use of a small refrigerator, which had a metal overhangIMG_2576 and was mounted on post. The outside said “LIBRARY” and the books were stacked neatly inside.

So far the Colson Whitehead is the only book I have scored but I haven’t given up looking for a read. I also see this as an opportunity to find a good home for the books I no longer want to keep or sell. (More on the selling in another post.) I’m talking about paperbacks and even hard covers that I’ve read and will never read again. I will give them to people who might want them.

And so, here is that interesting lesson that happened about an hour ago. Hank and I were walking home from having coffee in the lower village when we passed a woman reading in a chair outside a restaurant. She was ingrained in the book she held, even smiling and nodding. That’s when I recognized the paperback, Tony Hillerman’s The Great Taos Bank Robbery: And Other True Stories of the Southwest. It was one of the books I had left in a box the other day. I had bought the book or maybe it was given to me when I was the editor-in-chief of a newspaper in New Mexico.

I was glad to see by donating the book, I was contributing to someone’s reading enjoyment. Pass it on, I say.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s the inside to a small refrigerator cleverly converted into a free book box.

LINK TO MY BOOKS ON AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Livingston/e/B01E1HKIDG

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free, hippies, Peace Love and You Know What

Steal My Book

Well, it’s not really stealing if I give it away, which is the case for my novel, Peace, Love, & You Know What. And that’s the situation when I make the Kindle version free Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10.

Many of you might be familiar with my Isabel Long Mystery Series, published by Darkstroke Books, and The Sweet Spot, which I self-published. I also self-published Peace, Love, & You Know What.

As a comedy, perhaps it’s the perfect escape from these troubling times.

So what’s Peace, Love, & You Know What about? Here’s my pitch: First a three-day graduation bash at a college hippie pad, then maybe adulthood; Peace, Love, & You Know What is a comedy framed by the Vietnam War and Watergate.

Here’s more: There’s Tim, who is actually faking his graduation, and his roommates Mack, Manny, and the poetry-spouting Joey. Then, there’s Lenora, their queen, who is graduating and splitting for Europe. Tim and Lenora have been tight friends for four years, and he figures this might be his last chance with her.

The three-day bash is a big hit for every hippie freak and dirty professor at Westbridge State College. But the story doesn’t end there. We follow them, well, mostly Tim and Lenora, as they stumble through adulthood. As to be expected, I love my characters, well, maybe not one of them, but I bet you can figure out who that is if you read the book.

Peace, Love, & You Know What is inspired by my own experiences, so I believe I portray that time with authenticity. However, I will be upfront that none of it happened in real life. When the novel, which I wrote when I lived in Taos, New Mexico, came out, a few friends from that era weren’t happy. But this book is a work of fiction and not a memoir. The difference is that I take what I know and have my way with it.

Interested? Here’s the link: Peace, Love, & You Know What

By the way the title to this post is a takeoff of Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book. Hoffman was a counter-culture activist, who published wrote that book in 1970.

And thank you for reading what I write.

 

 

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free, Isabel Long Mystery Series

Free for the Taking

Well, you’ve got to start somewhere, and that includes writing a series although frankly, it was not my original intention. One day I decided to write a mystery, fell so in love with the characters, the plot twists, the setting etc. I couldn’t let them go, and now I am closing in on the end of book number four in the Isabel Long Mystery Series.

So my gift to Kindle readers: you can have the first book, Chasing the Case, for free. Plain and simple, I want you to get hooked on my series. Here’s your chance, but only for three days: March 20-22, so hurry.

I have had wonderful support from family, friends, acquaintances, who have bought my books. I express my deep appreciation to them, so I am reaching out to more recent acquaintances, many of whom are authors themselves. And if you don’t mind, let your mystery-loving friends know as well.

So what is Chasing the Case about?

Isabel Long has just come off a bad year. Her husband, Sam, died and she lost her job running a newspaper when it went corporate. So she decides to put those transferable skills to good use as a private investigator solving cold cases in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts where she lives. Besides, she has a perfect “Watson,” her 92-year-old mystery-loving mother who’s come to live with her.

Isabel’s first case was also her first big story as a rookie reporter: the disappearance of a woman 28 years earlier in her small town of a thousand people.

To help her case, she takes a job at the local watering hole, the Rooster, so she can get up close and personal with those connected to the mystery.

That’s the bare bones to that story. When I decided to attempt a mystery, I wanted my protagonist to be a woman. She wasn’t going to be a sweet, young thing. She was going to be a woman with some good miles on her — what the French call une femme d’un certain age. Isabel has three grown kids and a granddaughter. She’s also a recent widow. As for looks, she’s attractive enough to gain the attention of older men.

And Isabel had a long career as a journalist — starting as a reporter covering the dinky hilltown where she lives to being the managing editor of a newspaper. When the new owner said everybody had to reapply for their job. Isabel said, “To hell with that.”

Yeah, Isabel is a bit on the sassy side. She doesn’t take crap from anybody. She’s also savvy, which made her a good journalist. Now, it will come in handy as a private investigator.

Isabel’s also ready to reinvent herself — as a private investigator and as a single woman. The second part means after a year of properly grieving her late husband whom she loved, she’s ready for relationship with another man — and she finds it. Her relationship with Jack, owner of the Rooster Bar, is complicated. But I’m not going to spoil what happens for readers.

So, how much of me is in Isabel? I’d like to say the sassy and savvy part, especially since I wrote these books in first person. I, too, was a journalist who started in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, where I’ve lived twice. But unlike Isabel, I didn’t become a P.I. Instead I write about one, and that’s fine with me.

Here’s the link to Chasing the Case: Chasing the Case on Amazon

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