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The wonder of books at NIE fundraiser

When I think back to how I first got interested in a good book, I always remember the Hardy Boys.

Frank and Joe Hardy were fictional characters, but I sure thought they were pretty “cool” as a boy in elementary school.

How much better could it be than for Frank and Joe, a few years older than I was at that time, to solve mysteries and lead the life of amateur detectives?

For a young man, the mystery, adventure, and action was a winning combination. I can remember many a day retreating to my bedroom and lying there on the bed, reading a book from cover to cover.

That might have been the beginning of my love affair with books, but by no means was it the end. Today, my passion for a good book is just as strong, if not stronger, than it was all those years ago. And, while today it isn’t Frank or Joe Hardy that capture my attention, a good mystery or espionage thriller still is my favorite genre of book to read.

Today’s readings involve characters like Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, or Scot Harvath, by authors Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Brad Thor.

Books allow us all to escape, through their pages, to exotic lands and faraway places. They allow us to be an investigator, an explorer, or an adventurer. They can transport us back in time to historical settings, giving us a glimpse into events that shaped the world. The really good ones can make us laugh in one chapter, while bringing out the tears in another.

Books unlock the doors to our brain. They make us smarter and more interesting by exposing us to new ideas, new places, and, yes, even new words.

I know I would never have chosen the profession I have had it not been for my love of books and writing.

All of which sets the stage to remind you of The Alpena News’ Newspapers in Education Book Sale coming up Feb. 8 at the APlex. Coupled with Business Expo that day, the NIE Book Sale allows residents to purchase really good books on all kinds of topics for dirt cheap prices.

Not only do residents win by walking away with some great bargains, but the students whose teachers participate with the newspaper’s NIE program also benefit through the free newspapers a classroom gets during the school year. The newspapers, which are used by the teachers as supplemental learning resources for students, cost the school nothing. Revenue from the book sale covers the production costs of the newspapers for students.

It is a win-win for everyone.

We currently are in the book-gathering stage here at the newspaper, and, while donations have been steady, I can tell we need more. We we will collect books for two more weeks, so, if you have some to donate, now would be the time to do so. And, in that process, think of the space you will gain on your shelves.

Or, you can be like my wife and me. We will pick up books at the NIE sale, read them, then donate them to the Alpena County Library’s sale in the summer. Then we go to that sale, pick up some more books, read them, and donate them to our NIE sale in February. It’s an endless cycle of recycling books from one good cause to another.

So circle Feb. 8 on your calendar for the NIE Book Sale — and, of course, Business Expo.

Then, in the meantime, go through your shelves and see if can clear up some space through a donation of books to us.

And if you find a Hardy Boys mystery, think of me.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.