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It's hard to walk out of the Book Barn empty handed. Even when you arrive to drop off (the Barn buys books seven days a week), it's tempting to take the credit slip instead of cash and burn through it then and there. From the main barn to the annexes and all the cubbyholes in between, discoveries await around every corner. To prove the point and to celebrate its 25th anniversary in business, we went browsing there recently and this is what we found:
1 "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Scholastic, 2009, $3. Austen fans may be put off by the gory cover, but the premise is irresistible. You want to read it. You know you do.
2 "How to be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy" by John Bridges. Rutledge Hill Press, 1998, $4. With helpful information such as "how to leave a tip." Someone you know needs this - perhaps you yourself do.
3 "100% Official Justin Beiber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story." With photos by Robert Caplin. Harper, 2010, $4. Sadly, someone you know probably wants this. Just beware: it's an outsize hardcover, so you can't smuggle it into your house.
4 "Moon Shell Beach" by Nancy Thayer. Ballantine, 2008, $4. A novel that's light enough for the beach bag but better than your average beach book.
5 "Our Young Aeroplane Scouts: Fighting to the Finish" by Horace Porter. A.L. Burt Company, 1918, $4. If you find this series book too antiquated to read, it would look good propped up in your bookcase.
6 "The Neighbor" by Lisa Gardner. Bantam, 2009, $4. "The Case of the Spurious Spinster" by Erle Stanley Gardner. Curtis Publishing Co., 1961, $4. Take your pick. Do you prefer your Gardner mystery contemporary or of the Perry Mason era?
7"The Haunted Bookshop" by Christopher Morley. Doubleday Doran & Co., 1918, $10. A story of a mysterious bookstore in Brooklyn. How apropos to find this on the staff favorites shelf.
8 "Emily, Alone" by Stewart O'Nan. Penguin Books, 2011, $4. Among the new arrivals, this won't last long. This poignant novel about a woman facing old age revisits a character we first met in O'Nan's "Wish You Were Here."
9 "Certain Girls" by Jennifer Weiner. Atria Books, 2008, $4. Another great character returns: Cannie Shapiro, the sardonic heroine of "Good in Bed." Make room in the beach bag.
10 "Quite a Year for Plums" by Bailey White. Knopf, 1998, $4. You can buy a paperback or hardcover version of this novel for the same price. There were three copies … but we, uh, bought one for ourselves. Here's the start of Chapter 4: "It was late May, housecleaning season, when Roger fell in love with a woman at the dump." We defy anyone to put down a book with a line like that.