A bookworm’s pipe dream

A bookworm’s pipe dream

a bookworm's pipe dream

(Why is it called a pipe dream? I wondered that, too, and I laughed out loud when I found out. You’re welcome.)

All right, here’s the deal. You have a magical Amazon gift card. Fifty bucks. You must use it on books, and you must use it in the next fifteen minutes.

No overthinking. (NO MAXIMIZING!) What do you buy?  

(We’ll grant you a 10% overage, because we all know you’d gladly fork over $5 from your bank account to grab some good books for mostly free.)

I’m playing by the same rules, and this is what my cart looks like: 

• Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found it, Jennifer Fulwiler. $17.20 (Because I want to read it, and because I want this.)
Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, Molly Wizenberg. $18.22. Because I can’t wait to read it.
Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me, Karen Swallow Prior. Because I keep hearing amazing things, and my library doesn’t have it. $13.50.
Cinder, Marissa Mayer. $5.72. Ditto Booked. (Fabulous reviews; my library doesn’t have it; it’s $5.)

Grand total: $54.64.

Okay. So I only got four, but:

1. I got two hot new releases, plus
2. A bonus ebook I can’t wait to read, plus
3. Physical books, which I personally think are worth paying more for than the ebooks, plus
4. I have four new books on my shelf I’m psyched to dive into.

I’m pretty pleased with my virtual haul. What’s in yours? 

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  1. Actually, I just did this, but was $9 over your budget (although I went ahead and clicked “order” – and my order included 4 DVDs too). Books coming my way (used) are: The Way to Cook by Julia Child (and a b-day gift for the hubs), My Berlin Kitchen (thankyouverymuch), and Below Stairs by Margaret Powell. I keep a full cart at Amazon in case I ever get a gift card (or credit) to splurge with. 🙂

    Also in the basket… waiting: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin, A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton, and One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson. 🙂

  2. Molly says:

    This is hard! I generally hang on to my gift cards until I find something I need or really want. I am usually very frugal with my money (and gift cards are like free money to me) so to spend $55 on books in under 15 when there are literally hundreds of thousands of books to choose from is a lot of pressure. 😉 I’ll need t think about this, but I promise not to over analyze.

    • Molly says:

      Here is what I came up with. I pulled some titles from my wish list. The titles about herb gardening I had to research a bit. I am new to herb gardening, but I want to make a serious go of it this summer. So far the two plants I have are not doing well.

      Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior $9.99 (Kindle Ed.)
      End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe $8.09 (Kindle Ed.)
      Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, 2nd Ed. by Susan C. Pinsky $11.30
      Easy Container Combos: Herbs and Flowers by Pamela Crawford $11.88
      The Cooks Herb Garden by Jeff Cox $9.50

      My total is $50.76.

  3. Tuija says:

    My first thoughts: I’d probably order Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines and Bread and Wine (haven’t read them, my library doesn’t have them). Add the Locust Effect to the basket, and then the total is almost $42 and I’d probably use the rest of the fifty dollars for shipping, if that’s possible. (I don’t get free shipping from Amazon.com, since I don’t live in the US.) If I got the books for Kindle, I might be able to buy something else, too – perhaps Gilead, or the Land of Blue Burqas… I love getting physical books, but getting more to read for the dollars would be a tempting option…
    ( I love this kind of “what if” games.)

  4. Beth says:

    I would buy “Lucy Maude Montgomery-the Gift of Wings” for $16, Tim Keller’s book on Romans 1-7 for $16 and then Jennifer Fulwiler’s book…see how quickly I can plow through 50 dollars in books? I am blessed because our library in town asks patrons to make purchase suggestions, but sometimes you want to buy a book so you can pass it on for others to enjoy also.

  5. Keri says:

    Boys in the Boat, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, What Alice Firgot, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, & Just 18 Summers – $57.49.

  6. Goodness, I’m not sure where I’d start! I buy books so infrequently, because my library usually has whatever I need. And when I do buy them, I almost always go to half.com.

    I’d buy Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung, because my library doesn’t have it. And I’d probably buy True Beauty too.

    And I’d probably spend the rest on the next set of Story of the World books we need!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider, Delancey, Birth Skills by Juju Sundin, and a new smaller sized ESV Bible.

  8. Grace says:

    oOo, interesting choices. I love to see Cinder in your list. I’ve been reading that series and am currently in a huge line at my library waiting for Cress, the newest. Great books!

    Hm, this is hard for me. I never, ever buy books. I’m a library loyalist, haha. And I hardly ever read a book more than once, so I wouldn’t know what to look for in a book to own.

  9. Corrie Anne says:

    I once spent $100 cash from my stocking money at the Tattered Cover. It took me hours to decide, and I was giddy going home with my new stack! Right now I just want to buy sewing books because they are gorgeous, and sewing is my new hobby. I also want to buy the 21 Day Sugar Detox book from the Practical Paleo people. I don’t have a good list going because I have a pretty established Amazon Prime habit, and I just ordered about 15 books from the library over the weekend.

  10. Christina says:

    On a completely different angle than everyone else – I’ve actually had $50 (give or take!) worth of books in and out of my Amazon cart for days, trying to decide on the perfect early reading books for my three-and-a-half year old. I would love to know what you recommend! She knows a handful of sight words, but I’m mostly interested in an approach that combines phonics and sight words (at least, that’s what I think I want, unless someone wants to convince me otherwise!). Reviews are so mixed on every series – of course, because every child is different – but I’d be interested to your thoughts, and those of your readers. She absolutely loves books (like her Mama!) and I want to find a way to keep that interest active while she learns. Any suggestions?

    • Molly says:

      At that age I would suggest reading to her a lot. I can’t tell from your post if you are looking for a program to teacher her to read or if it is something else you want. Just read tons of good literature to her. Beatrix Potter stories, Little Golden Books, early reader Dr. Seuss like Hop on Pop and his alphabet book are all good for young children with short attention spans. Keep a supply of books around at all times, especially in the car, if you aren’t already. I wouldn’t worry about looking for early reader programs. Many of them kill the fun of reading anyway.

    • Anne says:

      We focused on doing more “real books” than educational phonics books, and I don’t regret that approach. Personally, I love Frog and Toad and Dr Seuss (Go Dog Go is a favorite!). My oldest loved Nate the Great. When the reading got tough (or just plain tedious and slow) we’d take turns reading sentences.

  11. I had half of this pipe dream come true recently — one of my students gave me a $25 Amazon giftcard as a thank-you for writing his college letter of rec. (can you think of a more perfect gift for an English teacher?) 🙂

    Not sure what I’d buy with $50 — but I’d have fun browsing, for sure. I might see if Amazon can connect me with some of the Persephone books I’ve been eyeing lately. (Persephone is an English publishing house that publishes “forgotten classics” — most of them books by women. Dorothy Whipple is just one of the terrific writers I’ve found thanks to them. Their website is http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/ and no, they’re not paying me to say this — I just love them! 🙂 )

    • Anne says:

      I hope you gave that kid a good rec. 🙂

      I need to browse that Persephone list. I know my own edition of Miss Pettigrew is a Persephone classic, but I never thought to look up the others!

  12. Jillian Kay says:

    I’m trying not to give this too much thought because I want to save it for when I have a good 15 minutes 🙂

    My Mom always says I’m having pipe dreams, and I never liked it because it sounds like she’s accusing me of smoking crack. Good to know I was in the ball park.

  13. Kristen says:

    Booked by Karen Swallow Prior – $13.50 (paperback)
    Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist – $10.72 (hard cover)
    Dakota by Kathleen Norris – $10.48 (paperback)
    The Storytelling God by Jared C. Wilson – $6.99 (Kindle edition)
    Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman – $11.70 (paperback)
    Total = $53.39

  14. Love this idea! I’d buy Delancey too ($18.22). Also Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor ($18.62) and The Geography of You and Me ($16.20). These are all upcoming releases I’m dying to read and will probably want to own.

    I so enjoyed Cinder and am reading Scarlet now!

  15. Jeannie says:

    I’d choose
    – Daring Greatly by Brene Brown $17
    – Found by Micha Boyett (just released today!) $13
    – The Spiritual Art of Raising Children With Disabilities by Kathleen Bolduc $18

    • Anne says:

      Jeannie, I did my math wrong at first and I was going to ask if I could borrow your leftover $12 magical dollars. $2 isn’t quite as much fun. 🙂

  16. Anne says:

    If I had the magical $50 gift card, I’d buy:
    “Fangirl,” by Rainbow Rowell – $10.74
    “A Field Guide to Getting Lost,” essays by Rebecca Solnit – $10.93
    “The Novel Cure: from Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You,” by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin – $20.16
    “Snobs: A Novel,” by Julian Fellowes – $12.61
    Total: $54.44
    I had a fifth book, “The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM,” but at $13.97, it pushed me over the $50 plus 10% to $68.41.

      • Anne says:

        I haven’t read any of Julian Fellowes’ books yet, but after reading the description of that one, it’s absolutely on my list! And the title is what attracted me to A Field Guide to Getting Lost as well. 🙂

  17. Susan S says:

    Since I just finished spending a number of giftcards I’ve received since Christmas, I would restock my cozy mystery stash from my ongoing TBR list:
    Pearls and Poison by Duffy Brown $7.19
    Muffin But Murder by Victoria Hamilton $7.19
    Taken In by Elizabeth Lynn Casey $7.19
    Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams $7.19
    If Catfish Had Nine Lives by Paige Shelton $7.19
    Picked to Die by Sheila Connolly $7.19
    The Wolfe Widow by Victoria Abbott $7.19
    That puts me at $50.33 – not bad!

  18. Joslyn says:

    If I had a magical $50 to spend I would get these nine books, all on kindle and I would have to be over budget at $57.20
    1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
    2. Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
    3. The Modern-Day Pioneer: Simple Living in the 21st Century
    4. Essential Oils & Aromatherapy For Beginners
    5. The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!
    6. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
    7. When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes
    8. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
    9. Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos

    • Anne says:

      Some of these are on my list and some I’ve never even heard of! When your magical book order arrives, I’d like to invite myself over to browse your new books. 🙂

      • Joslyn says:

        I do have a few undiscovered gems sitting in my Amazon Wish List along with some more mainstream goodies. I’m very impatient waiting for things that I order online, but thankfully I only buy e-books so I never have to wait! 🙂

    • monet says:

      Josly – I have #1 on your list.. WOW! All I have to say. I understand so much more about myself and so do loved ones. Guilt is gone.

      I’m checking out #’s 6 & 9 🙂

      Glad to see that I’m not the only one crazy about books and reading them. 🙂

  19. Emily says:

    I’d get:

    Redeemed by Heather King $13.16
    On Writing by Stephen King $9.07
    Deconstructing Penguins by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone $10.91
    Daily Rituals by Mason Currey $14.10

    That brings my total to $47.24 plus $3.19 for tax, making the whole order $50.43.

    I actually found this hard because I always buy my books used nowadays–a heck of a lot cheaper!

    • Anne says:

      I love what you chose! I’m not familiar with Redeemed, but the other three are titles I’ve read, loved, and have turned to again and again for reference: great books to own, not just borrow.

  20. Monet says:

    I love books and that is where all my extra $$ pretty much goes.. Let’s see.. Just yesterday I bought:
    Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Iyengar, B. K. S.
    2 of The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
    Man’s Search for Meaning Frankl, Viktor E.
    The Bhagavad Gita (Classics of Indian Spirituality) Easwaran, Eknath
    World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony Will Tuttle
    The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition)
    Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living Hand, Robert
    Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? Clinton Ober
    Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys Kindlon, Dan
    Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (Ballantine Reader’s Circle)
    Pipher Ph.D., Mary
    Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
    Jon Kabat-Zinn
    I know..I’m a bit eclectic and love learning everything I can. I only but print books unless they are only available as e-books. Yesterday was quite a haul. I need to read a good fiction both just to get me off of more of the serious, non-fiction I’ve been into lately.
    I’d rather have new books, then new jewelry/clothes/dinner at a restaurant or “GASP”
    ….SHOES!!!. Reading has been a passion of mine since I was 3 years old. I learned to read early and never stopped. Thankfully, because of my love of reading all my children love it, most naturally, some learned to love it later.. But they all have my passion 🙂

  21. Ginger says:

    I always say if I magically won the lottery (would be really magical, because I never play the lottery), the only splurge I would make would be to actually order every book I have in my “Saved for Later” cart.

    My picks for $50 would be:
    Art History for Dummies (because they don’t have this at my library, they don’t have it available for Kindle, and I have no shame in reading these cheesy “for Dummies” books when I want a light introduction to something I’d like to know more about)
    The Art and Flair of Mary Blair (I’ve been dying to pre-order this, because I love Mary Blair illustrations.)

    I just noticed that both of my books are on art, which isn’t a major interest of mine, but I’ve been wanting to learn more about visual arts. I also noticed that this only comes up to $49, which is probably the only time in my life I’ve ever underspent my budget on Amazon (yes, I literally have a line-item budget for Amazon in our family’s monthly budget because it’s a regular expenditure). Leave it to a make-believe game to be the one place I actually underspent.

  22. monet says:

    I love those series! They are an excellent introduction to things you know noting about but are interested in.. I own quite a few 🙂

  23. Kim says:

    The fickle side of me has to shut down to do this.

    1. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave. Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel by Edward T. Welch $14.37 (Just finished the library copy. Want my own to write in. If you or someone you know struggles with any kind of addiction, this is a must read)

    2. Me Too! by Mercer Mayer $3.59 (gift for grandson)
    3. The First Easter by Juliet David $6.29 (gift for granddaughter)
    4. Holy Spirit Rising by Jim Cymbala $15.28 (gave our copy away before I read it)
    5. The Memory of Old Jack Porter by Wendell Berry $11.59 (for vacation)

    $51.12 – will dig out the change from the bottom of my purse to cover the difference.

  24. Holly says:

    Impulsively, I went to my bookstore yesterday and bought books 6 and 7 of The Ranger’s Apprentice series, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NORM, and a beautiful copy of A Tale of Two Cities. I spent almost $50.

  25. Kimberly says:

    Amy Runyan: The Daily Book of Art
    Ed Emberley: Make a World and Funprint drawing book
    Jennifer Paganelli: Girl’s World: 21 sewing projects for girls

    I have a B.A. in art and my daughters LOVE to do art projects so love for art runs deep. I have been eyeing Girl’s World for a while!

  26. Amy E Patton says:

    So I spent $100 in literal BN gift cards today. I was at the store so that limited my selection. I got A Call to Action by Carter, Bel Cantino by Patchett, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh, and She Walks in Beauty by Kennedy. I’m excited for some new reading. I really wanted Surprised by Motherhood and Jesus is Better than You Imagine which released today but alas my BN didn’t have them in stock. Thanks for the fun.

  27. Anne says:

    Okay, I wanted to type with two hands to do this and couldn’t get ‘er done until today.

    First, I’m glad you saw Conversion Diary’s e-book sale! I pre-ordered her memoir on Monday; so, I can’t put that on my list. I’m sure I can find another, ha.

    The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning – Simcha Fisher – 8.96 (we’ll do paperbacks)
    Getting Things Done – David Allen – 9.59
    Booked- Karen Swallow Prior – 13.50
    The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful – Myquillyn Smith preorder – 14.94
    Three dollars left! I can’t narrow down another pick….maybe Juia Child’s My Life in France, Emily Freeman’s Million Little Ways, or a Laura Vanderkam book.

  28. Erin says:

    Coming in at $50.80
    1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling
    3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (a mostly true memoir) by Jenny Lawson
    4. Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind

    Now I wish it was real.

    • monet says:

      I’m looking up so many titles.. I have got to stop but so many of what everyone is reading… I CAN’T help myself!! I currently have 8 Amazon tabs opened to find out about some of the books being suggested. Also, don’t know if you know this but this website has daily deals everyday.It’s a free website and they deliver whatevery Genre choices you choose to your e-mail everyday.
      Half of the e-books are 99 cents and the other half are FREE. Don’t be mis-led. Some big name Authors and books have crossed my way. I believe this is the link. It is called EReader http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4a164775398f63a93dcbc8f17&id=c033fbc1a0&e=e2f94286d3

  29. I loved Cinder. Spend the $5!!! (I loved Scarlet, too, but not quite as much.)

    I keep a wishlist for Kindle books and keep an eye on it for good deals. With $50 I’d buy:
    Eat with Joy by Rachel Marie Stone (9.99) and The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken by Laura Schenone (10.49), and The Child That Books Built by Francis Spufford (not on Kindle, 13.24) for me; replace the copy of All-of-a-Kind Family my daughter threw up on (5.47), and get Humphrey’s First Palm Sunday for the kids – we love Humphrey’s First Christmas! (12.48) That’s $51.67.

  30. I love this question. I would buy: The Paleo Patisserie by Jenni Hulet (pre-order $30.76) & The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke’s Gospel by Brendan Byrne ($11.90) & Table Life-Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home by Joanne Thompson (10.48)

  31. Amanda Roby says:

    I want to read every single comment. I will, but it would be wasting time right now. I did pick out my books, though. I’m a library girl, and rarely buy new. I also give a LOT of thought to whether I want ebook or hardcover or paperback for pretty much every nonfiction I buy these days. These three books are what I’d order, all books I’ll use until they fall apart: The History of the Ancient World (hardcover), by Susan Wise Bauer; The Well-Educated Mind (Kindle ebook), by Susan Wise Bauer; and the Action Bible (hardcover), by Sergio Cariello, for the whole family. The first two books are mostly for me, to start my self-education career, and the third is mostly for the kids, though I’m really hoping my husband would read it, and I’ve been told I would love it as well. Thanks for the fun exercise, and the sudden longing for a spare $50.

  32. Arenda says:

    Oooh, what a fun question! I would purchase The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (sounds intriguing, $12.73), Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (just read and loved Scoop, $16.00), Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination (been thinking about getting this for a while, $12.45 on kindle) and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (have heard so much about it, $9.53). Total: $50.71.

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