Monday, November 11, 2013

The Free Bin: Book Slides, Googly Eyes, and Other Links

I’ve been pondering a name under which to gather the various links I come across on my lazy weekends. The Rap Sheet cleverly collects crime-related links under the title Bullet Points, and I wanted something that suited my blog just as aptly. The name I’ve settled on comes from my long tenure at a used bookstore, where the free bin outside housed a collection of books deemed unsaleable, but for those willing to dig, could be a treasure trove of the obscure.

So, welcome to The Free Bin. Take whatever you like. It’s free. 


  • Joshua Glenn at HiLobrow has listed 60 great espionage novels, along with some lovely vintage covers for each pick. Because it’s a list of personal favorites rather than a best-of, there are some wonderfully eclectic choices (including my childhood hero, Harriet the Spy).
    One of HiLobrow's top espionage novels.

  • Researchers have determined that there’s a single word that appears in pretty much every language, relatively unchanged. When you find out what it is, you’re likely to say “Huh?”

  • The Googly Eye Books blog at Tumblr is exactly what it sounds like, a blog, in their own words, “combining two of mankind's greatest achievements: literature and googly eyes.” It’s hard not to be fascinated by the collection of books, both classic and modern, adorned with pairs of sticky googly eyes. Well worth a couple of giggles.
    Sherlock Holmes gets the googly-eyes treatment.

  • At The Library Journal, The Annoyed Librarian explains to self-publishers why libraries can’t (and usually won’t) put their books on the shelves, and it’s nothing personal. The comments section has some interesting perspectives too, from both sides of the circulation desk.

  • Remember the time Columbia University moved its whole collection to another building by putting them on a giant slide? The Paris Review does, and they’ve got pictures, not just of that particular book slide, but of other book slides.

  • Shock Totem magazine is reading submissions through November for their fiction magazine (tagline: “Curious tales of the macabre and twisted”). They’re open to most anything dark, with a maximum of 5,000 words: dark fantasy, horror, mystery, suspense, supernatural, morbid humor. See guidelines for details and payment.

Check back or subscribe for regular links to book-ish and writer-ish things. And if you come across something nifty, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Have you ever found a gem in a bookstore free box? What was your best free find?


  1. All of the links are interesting, but I especially loved the list of 60 espionage novels.

    1. It's a good one. Some expected stuff, but some nice surprises, too.

  2. I love your title, Kelly! I've gotten many good books in the free bin. Harriet the Spy started me on the path of mystery and detective novels all those years ago. I remember carrying my little notepad and pencil around and spying on everyone! The googly eyes are hilarious.

    1. I emulated Harriet as well. I think she got me started on writing down everything I see, and I still do, though I've graduated to Moleskines now.

  3. Great fun (love slides) - thanks Kelly!

  4. I guessed that the universal word was "Mama," but not according to that article.

    That googly-eyed thing is hilarious!