Hello, my name is Maryann and I’m a bibliophile…sounds better than book addict, doesn’t it? Most of you already know this because you are bibliophiles too. I love to read: Mystery, Fiction, History, if it catches my eye I’ll give it a chance to pull me in. Doesn’t have to be a new book or a bestseller either. I’ve discovered new friends in many places, including used book stores (knew that was coming, didn’t you). Our library has one on its lower level. There’s one (across Wright Street in in our next door neighbor, Urbana) with the intriguing name of Priceless Books. Their shelves are filled floor to ceiling with every type of book you can imagine. Carts too with “newer arrivals” and oversized pictorials. It is easy to lose an hour or so craning your neck to scan the upper reaches of the store or bending down (ignoring the creakiness in your knees) in search of a book by Richard Russo (my friend found one of his, autographed) or finding a Tom Clancy previously unread, or coming eye to eye with an older biography of someone important. Theodore Roosevelt, Alan Turing, Helen Keller. Hardcover or paperback, it’s like exploring someone’s library. Priceless also carries used CDs and DVDs; mostly jazz and the classics but with a few surprises as well. And it breaks down the orchestra by instrument; woodwinds, brass, you get the idea.
The library bookstore (Friends of the Library) is not as extensive in quantity but just as much fun to browse. You must know your alphabet and their system of classifying some fiction as mystery and vice versa (or you may never find Kent Krueger) but each section has frequent new additions. I find something I hadn’t seen before every time. And the prices are definitely right. Last week $7.00 bought me two hardcovers in great condition, one trade paperback (self-published by someone whose other books I’ve read and enjoyed) and a paperback mystery that I had somehow missed. Color me a happy shopper.
What does this have to do with elderberry wine you might ask? My last book search occurred after visiting a local winery. Wyldewood specializes in elderberry wine and it’s darn good. Two friends and I went there for a tasting not knowing much about berry wines and were happy to find we enjoyed the semi-dry and semi- sweet versions of elderberry, cherry (tart) and blackberry wines. These are not your grandmother’s cordials, although Mae would insist that…along with a wee dram of single malt…elderberry wine is good for your health. Really. It’s all about the antioxidants these days and evidently both scotch and berries are brimming over with them. Who knew? Did we walk out with wine? Indeed. The winery also has several grape wines made from regional varietals, also quite tasty. And did I mention the cordial and dessert wines suitable for sipping or pouring over ice cream or trifle?
Now, all you need to do is connect the dots. Cold winter evening, a comfy chair (and throw if you need one), a new (used) book to read, and a glass of the wine of your choice. Elderberry anyone?
PS. Next time out, I’m introducing you to one of my favorite characters. The language is a bit rough and the setting a bit gritty but this character is a major part of one of the books I’m working on and I think you’ll find him fascinating. Intrigued? I hope so!