Although it was rather hesitant in making its appearance, it would seem that fall has finally arrived and I’m glad. Fall is my favorite season. This is for a variety of reasons: it is football season, I like sweater weather, as a kid I always liked the fun that could be had raking leaves, the weather is prime for baking cookies and other goodies (no one wants to hang out by the hot oven when it is 90 degrees), and Halloween is probably my favorite holiday.
But, more than anything else, this cooler weather absolutely requires me to curl up in a cozy blanket, sip a warm drink, and read about dastardly murders in Victorian England being solved by Sherlock Holmes or someone like him. Considering all the hits the economy has taken in the last year or two, it is nice to know that some enjoyments don’t have to break the bank. Here are my tips for enjoying a good book and soul-warming drink on any budget.
- Bare-bones budget. If you are scrounging for inexpensive entertainment, look no further. No matter how pricey the coffee or tea is at your grocery store, chances are that it still will cost you less than a dollar a cup to indulge in style. For some reason hot chocolate is more pricey. Inexpensive reading material can be found in a variety of places, from garage and rummage sales to used bookstores and thrift shops, however, for the bargain price of nada you can get books from the public library. As a plus, many libraries also rent movies very inexpensively too.
- Mid-range fun. Many bookstore chains have membership programs that provide members with discounts on books and items from in-store cafes. My family has a Barnes & Noble membership that cost about $50 a year and gives us 10% off on most books (some books are up to 40% off for members), music, DVDs, and all cafe items. If we went once or twice a year, the membership fee might be steep, but we are there nearly every week because we’re book junkies who physically can’t go longer than that without a fix so I’m pretty sure we get our money’s worth out of the membership in the course of a year. As a bonus Barnes & Noble also sends members additional coupons online and in the mail. This gives you a bit of a discount when you want to dash out and buy the latest book by your favorite author and immediately sit down to start reading it with a barista-blessed drink in hand.
- Splurging. If you can afford a splurge, there are always places willing to accommodate your desire. Take in a book signing and meet the author, there’s a chance you’ll even get a slight discount on the brand-new, hard-cover book they’re peddling. Or you can browse specialty shops for rare first-editions by your favorite authors. When you are ready to put your feet up and start reading, you might consider indulging yourself with high tea in a local tea room. Sites like http://www.teamap.com can help you locate a tea room near you and provide ratings, reviews, and pictures. Nothing goes with a British cozy like a good cup of tea and a warm scone.
I raise my tea mug in your direction and wish you good reading.
Next time: Favorite mystery writers.