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And the Winner is…..

Sunday, June 11th, 2017



Jennifer F. (jfarr5)

Congratulations Jennifer! Your books will be on the way to you soon.

Thank you Mary Potter Kenyon for your interview and for providing the books for this give-away!

Musings, Memories and Miscellany from our MoM’s

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Matt B. (BuffaloSavage) was named our Member of the Month for May 2016.



How long have you been a PBS member?  How did you find PBS? How has PBS impacted your life? What does PBS mean to you?

I have been a PBS member since 2006, so I am coming up on the 10th anniversary. I found PBS through a web search in which I was looking for a book for purchase; that is, PBS had a book review of it. The offer was a pretty good deal and the PBS way of doing things contrasted with another service’s chaotic (to me) and grabby ways.  I had stacks of pocket and trade paperbacks I had promised myself to cull, and getting to a post office was no problem since a branch was within walking distance of my office. Since then, PBS has given me the chance to meet nice people. PBS represents to me the means by which I can score many curious books that I would not have found otherwise. Like at a used book sale, I never know what I am going to find.


What book impacted you most as a child or young adult? 

The book that impacted me most as a child was Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. It is a family memoir that describes growing up in a family with twelve children whose parents, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, were both efficiency experts in science and industrial engineering.  Frank was the first to propose that a surgical nurse hand instruments to the surgeon during a procedure. After Frank died suddenly of a heart attack, Lillian made great contributions to the design of kitchen appliances and household furniture, not to mention the design and marketing of feminine hygiene products. Her reports were models of lucid argument and precise writing.


Saving time and energy and effort became very important to me. What I learned from that book was that there were better ways to do everything, all I had to do was think, be creative, and consciously avoid getting into ruts by testing new ways to do jobs. Emphasizing efficiency, practicality, feasibility, planning; doing more with less; and even making due with limited resources have all helped me in my professional life. It just shows there no knowing how a book will influence a certain kid in a certain place in a certain time. Sure, my parents taught a strong work ethic but I was lucky that book was assigned in school, maybe 5th or 6th grade.


What is your favorite or most meaningful book read as an adult?

The books I re-read as an adult are self-help books by Albert Ellis. One is A Guide to Rational Living and the other is How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything: Yes, Anything. Both books argue that it my belief that I’ve been, for example, needlessly hassled or disrespected or whatever that leads to my upset feelings. I make myself upset, not other people, not the world as it is. Ellis would advise that I dispute my irrational thoughts, by asking myself, ‘Just what is the evidence that so and so harmed me? I don’t know what was going through his mind.” Or, “Even if he did slight me, where is the law of the universe that says everybody I meet has to be friendly, talkative, and all round overjoyed to talk to scintillating me?” Ideally, I use reason and logic to develop and support disputing ideas. And I focus on what I can control: my own responses, my own will, the one thing that I have power over, the one thing that cannot be taken from me.



What are you reading now? 

Now I am near the end of The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945 by Ian Kershaw. It’s the grim story of the terrible things Hitler and the Hitlerites did to Jewish people, foreign workers in Germany, and the German people as the Allied armies advanced from both the west and the east. The books explains why the Nazi leadership, the military, and the civilian population fought on though the war was obviously lost.







Do you know of another PaperBackSwap member who just seems to go above and beyond? One who makes you smile, or helps you figure out something about a swap, or who simply makes you glad she or he is part of the club? You may just have found yourself a MoM (Member of the Month)!
MoMs are special members, ones who put a little extra effort in for the benefit of others, even when they think no one may ever notice. Maybe they send their packages well-wrapped bearing cheerful stickers on the outside, or they post interesting topics in the Discussion Forums that get people thinking and talking, or they work behind the scenes to correct book listings or upload images to book listings. Maybe they’re Tour Guides and help other members navigate swapping, or maybe they create extra-fun games in the Games forum, the kind after which everyone feels like they’ve made new friends.
If you believe that you have encountered a MoMsubmit your nomination to us here. Tell us why you think the member is a MoM — the more details, the better! The Member of the Month gets a newsletter mention and a nifty MoM icon to wear on profile and forum posts with pride.  So go for it! Tell us who’s helped you in the Forums, who’s been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to the club. Who knows–the next MoM might just be YOU!





Books for Schools 2015

Friday, December 4th, 2015

books for schools 2015 blog


Books for Schools 2015 is underway!


It is one of our very favorite things here at PaperBackSwap. Sharing the joy of reading with children. Creating a new generation of book lovers. Knowing we are making a difference in the lives of children. 

Each year PaperBackSwap, through our generous members, donates brand-new new books to selected deserving elementary schools across the country.  The goal of the program is to provide children with books that they can read for pleasure. As you know, most of us learned the love of reading at an early age, and this is a great opportunity to share that joy. In the past four years PaperBackSwap and our members have donated over 87,000 new books to elementary schools. In 2014 we reached our goal of 17,700 books sent to 18 deserving elementary schools.

Your donation of credits or PaperBackSwap Money (which is used to defray some of the shipping costs) or both will help. Let’s put books in the hands of children. To go to the donations page, click this link.

This year’s goal is 14,000 books sent to schools across the country.

Thank you for joining us in making a real difference in the education of these kids! Together PaperBackSwap and our wonderful members do make a difference!

Richard and the PaperBackSwap Teamapple





Audio Book Review – The Confession

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

The Confession by John Grisham

Review by Mirah Welday (mwelday)


Recently, the debate over the death penalty in the United States has been getting more attention.  I hear it mentioned in the news regularly and politicians and citizens continue to argue over the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent for future crimes by others and the ability to rehabilitate offenders.  No matter how you feel about the issue, it can become a heated debate full of strong opinion.

During a recent work trip I listened to The Confession by John Grisham.  Donte Drumm, an African-American teen in Texas, is convicted and sentence to death for the kidnapping and murder of a white cheerleader from his school.  Drumm confessed to the crime (even though the victim’s body was never found) but insisted later at trial that it was a coerced confession given after hours of being interrogated and lied to by officers.   Drumm’s lawyer, Robbie Flak, continues to fight every angle to get Drumm’s conviction overturned.

Mere days before Drumm’s scheduled execution date Travis Boyette, a convicted sex offender, walks into a pastor’s office in Kansas and confesses to the murder of a Texas cheerleader years earlier.  Thus begins a bitter, often angry, frenzied attempt to get Boyette’s confession before the eyes of the court in order to save Drumm.

In listening to this audiobook, there were times I found myself gripping the steering wheel so tightly my knuckles were white.  The down-to-the-wire desperate rush of the story had my head swimming and my heart racing.  I think no matter what side of the death penalty debate you are on, this novel will make you think twice and contemplate whether what you believe is right or wrong.

I have already sent my audiobook of The Confession to another PBS swapper but if you’re interested in a fast-paced, gut-wrenching novel on justice (or the lack of), I encourage you to add this to your list.  The narration is excellent and the sheer thought-provoking nature of the novel is valuable.


Mystery Monday – Blues for the Prince

Monday, August 25th, 2014



Blues for the Prince by Bart Spicer


Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

Published in the early Fifties, this hard-boiled mystery was the second in a series of about a dozen novels starring Philadelphia PI Carney Wilde. Wilde investigates a murder among the members of a band that still plays hot jazz (aka Dixieland) in the face of up-and-coming bebop. Admittedly, this novel has little action or detecting, but its setting, scenes and characterization make this an outstanding read. It is included on many “best mystery” lists.

Spicer was a journalist so that implies he valued an organized plot and fluent understandable language. His style is neither simple like James Cain nor complex like Raymond Chandler, but he strikes a balance between concise and literary. His dialogue is authentically hard-boiled without being cheesy (Cain’s failing, on his bad days), and his similes and metaphors are not self-conscious or over the top (Chandler’s failing, at times). The character of Wilde doesn’t crack wise nor is he given to mordant urban folk wisdom. His portrait of the weary homicide detective is realistic and humane.

Interesting to readers who like music would be the asides about Early Jazz, the kind of music that Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, and Joe Oliver played. Obviously, in a book about jazz, race is an unavoidable topic. Spicer makes clear that among the musicians, it was not an issue compared to the artistic judgments of “plays good music” versus “plays lame music.” The critic for the New York Herald Tribune Book Review said that Spicer does an “excellent job . . . showing the relationship between whites and Negroes both in the unbiased world of jazz and the more deeply biased outside world.”


Mystery Monday – The Case of the Hesitant Hostess

Monday, July 7th, 2014


The Case of the Hesitant Hostess by Erle Stanley Gardner


Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)


Fans and critics agree that the following Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Gardner rank the best for courtroom fireworks, convoluted plots, and swift pace:  The Case of the Lazy Lover (1947), The Case of the Lucky Loser (1957), and The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll (1958).

I would argue, however, that The Case of the Hesitant Hostess (1953) should rank among the best because of its setting and atmosphere. Gardner examines the process in which a gang makes pots of money by opening nightclubs and gambling joints. Punished for their good looks by being coerced to become shills, hostesses distract suckers from realizing they are victimized in crooked games.

Unwary squares find themselves in trouble as rubbing elbows with crooks gradually turns into helping said bad guys do their dirty work or paying big costs like death, injury, and disability when not paying up. Given enough venal ruthlessness, Gardner finds, gangs find it relatively easy to gain control of a medium-sized burg, corrupt the police department, and stymie reform with bribes and violence.

The gritty noir setting and tone remind us of Gardner’s other series featured the PI duo of Bertha Cool and Donald Lam. Crime doesn’t not come out of everyday stuff like infidelity or personal indiscretions. Instead, the crime is the outcome of a complex criminal scheme. Gold Comes in Bricks (1940) is about an intricate fraud. Turn on the Heat (1940) examines the corruption of local politics: seedy cops, crooked politicians, co-opted news reporters, mean gangsters, and cowed citizens.  Top of the Heap (1952) is about gambling hells, income tax scams and fraudulent gold mines.  All Grass Isn’t Green (1970) is about the ins and outs of dope smuggling for criminal syndicates. Gardner took endless interest in process, such as how gangs succeed, how detectives ferret out information, how the cops manipulate and prime impressionable  eyewitness to misidentify blameless people as perps.

There are lapses in this Hesitant Hostess. We don’t even get the name of Mason’s client until the fourth chapter. Perry meets one of Drake’s operatives, talks to him at length, and we never get his name either. We are told Perry and Della win in a casino but are not told what they played. Chapters 3 and 16 are so long – unusually long for Gardner – that we wonder if Gardner just lost track of the length of his usual chapters.  The motive for framing Mason’s client rather wilts under scrutiny.

But I quibble. To both Mason fans and newbies, I highly recommend this mystery as one of the more tightly plotted and atmospheric Perry Mason novels from the Fifties.

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, April 20th, 2014


Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale


The winner of the copy of this week’s Free Book Friday prize is:


Jennifer D. (cricket75)


Congratulations Jennifer, your book is on the way to you!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the blog!