I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s memoir, The Happiness Project. A more thorough review of this book is on the way, but pertinent to this post is the fact that The Happiness Project has inspired me to “go off the path” – and there’s much to be said for it. Making time to do something unplanned is important; it’s energizing.

I’m currently house-sitting for my Dad while he’s on holidays. It’s out in the suburbs – this is unusual for me, I’m usually within a few kilometers of the city. So the stay itself is a bit off the path, but I can’t say that I find the suburbs particularly invigorating. To combat suburban malaise, I’ve been exploring the shops within walking distance of his house. This effort paid off – I found the best stocked Vinnies (op-shop) in existence.

In the last three weeks, from this one op-shop I have bought the following:

  • The first five Lemony Snicket books, $2 each
  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, by David Sedaris, $4
  • Unless, by Carol Shields, $3
  • Eragon, by Christopher Paolini, $3
  • Obernewtyn, by Isobelle Carmody, $1

Now, I’m pretty happy with those purchases. For $21, I have bought 9 books, and they’re all books I’m pretty excited to get reading.

And, just now, a bonus surprise: I open Obernewtyn and see that it belonged to a “Felicity” – I like books with old owners’ names in them. I turn to the title page… It’s signed. “To Felicity, Isobelle Carmody.” For one dollar, I have picked up a signed copy of Obernewtyn. It has a crazy-ass retro cover, too. Just a dollar. Kicks the butt of the Popular Penguin for $9.95. Unsigned. Plain cover.

This is the edition I bought. Did I mention it's signed? Accidental signed-book buy!

I’m feeling generous, and I’m giving you two messages here. 1) Make some time to go off the path. Without meaning to be overly cosmic or romantic, it pays off. 2) Get ye to a suburban op-shop! They’re the best for used books, super cheap.