• Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out that the library is like the friend we take for granted. “What’s amazing to me about the library is it’s a place where you go in you can take out any book you want. They just give it to you and say ‘Bring it back when you’re done,’” he joked. “It reminds me of this pathetic friend that everybody had when they were a little kid who would let you borrow any of his stuff if you would just be his friend. That’s what the library is. A government-funded pathetic friend.”
The thing is, even the most conscientious of book borrowers can’t help thinking, “This looks really good on my shelf … .” And it seems that Pack Memorial Library (67 Haywood St., Asheville) has finally caught on. Now patrons can not only borrow books, they can shop Bookends, the gently used bookstore in the library’s lower level. Much like an ongoing version of library’s popular semi-annual book sale, Bookends offers hardbacks for adults and children at discount prices. Also for sale: paperbacks, music and movies. Proceeds go to the Friends of Buncombe County Libraries. Store hours are the same as library hours. Info: 250-4700.
• Local author Bahia Abrams recently published her debut book, The Other Half of My Soul (Grateful Steps, 2007). Set against a collegiate background in Maryland, the main characters are anything but white-bread teens. Syrian-born Rami is a passionate Muslim drawn into the clutches of an extremist terrorist organization. Rayna is an American-born Syrian Jew raised in Orthodox traditions but longing to experience life beyond the confines of her upbringing. When the two opposites attract, their taboo relationship sparks intolerance on all sides. “No love story like this has ever been told,” claims press for the book. Purchase it online here; find an accompanying study guide here.
• Looking for book-related activities to pass the cold wintery days? The Barnes & Nobel bookstore (83 South Tunnel Road, Asheville, 296-9330) hosts a variety of events. Offerings include: The Magic Tree House Book Club for kids at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27; a Writers’ Workshop writing group at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30; and Metaphysical Overview: an evening with Angela Fae Moore at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7.