A retired French and Spanish teacher, vonReichbauer said as a child that she read the usual books like The Nancy Drew Mysteries. “My English and French teachers at Fairview High School introduced me to the classics and gave me an appreciation for fine literature,” she said. “In particular, Madame Kitzes opened our minds to the enormous depth and breadth of French literature, from its beginnings to the 20th century.”
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Over the years, and as she moved as an adult from city to city, vonReichbauer joined a variety of book clubs. Not only did she meet other people who loved to read, but she also discovered some fascinating books that she might not have chosen otherwise. After returning to the Miami Valley and attending a book swap hosted by her friend Ann Wilger, vonReichbauer decided to host his own. Wilger, a retired piano teacher who lives in Centerville, said she got the original idea “from my head.”
“I’m addicted to books and when I moved from my house to Oakwood I had to get rid of a lot of books,” she said. “We set up tents in the side yard and people came all afternoon. It was a social thing and everyone was so excited.
Ginny vonReichbauer and Ann Wilger discuss book recommendations. Photo by editor Meredith Moss.
Fun for everyone
About two dozen people attended the recent vonReichbauer event. While guests weren’t required to bring books, many did bring a book or two, others arrived with boxes full.
“Most people took home a few books and several brought a full load,” vonReichbauer said. “For everyone, it was fun browsing all the offers, finding new books and remembering old favorites.”
Often the lively conversation revolved around favorite books and recommendations.
After the last guest left, vonReichbauer was left with almost 200 books, DVDs, CDs and puzzles to give away. Volunteers from the Dayton Book Fair Foundation arrived the next day and quickly packed all the books. They will be sold during the organization’s November sale.
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“The Dayton Book Fair Foundation is a wonderful charity,” said vonReichbauer. “Each year, they choose three deserving Dayton-area nonprofits to be the recipients of the proceeds from their annual book sale.” This year, these organizations are the Dayton International Peace Museum, the Xenia Area Community Theater, and the WYSO Center for Community Voices Project.
Contributors can drop off books throughout the year at the organization’s warehouse, at various locations around the city, or organize a larger donation pickup. Volunteers will pack your books for you.
Jan Balbach is sailing for a good read. Photo by editor Meredith Moss.
Participate in a book exchange
Lucette Fogel from Centerville has been reading since childhood. As a student and graduate, she specialized in French language and literature, which required a lot of reading. She belongs to two book clubs and enjoys both fiction and non-fiction.
Fogel brought six books to the recent book exchange and brought six more home for herself and her husband. She was delighted to find a copy of Julia Child’s book, “Ma vie en France”.
“If I could come back for a second life, I would come back as chef Julia Child,” Fogel said. “I had the book in my paperback, but I was delighted to find it in a hardcover. I plan to keep it for the rest of my life!
Fogel said she met new people at the event and talked to friends she doesn’t see very often. “It’s fun to see what people brought; there was such a great variety.
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Retired Fairmont High School Librarian Linda Harrison of Moraine grew up in a rural area and only saw her classmates at school. “In the summer I didn’t have any other playmates other than my brother, so my mom would take us both to the library,” she says. Books have become his friends.
She said a book swap is not only fun, but a great way to give books a new home.
“Reading takes you to another world.” she said. “Your imagination is free to explore and be in a different setting. “
Contact this reporter at 937-225-2440 or by email Meredith.Moss@coxinc.com.
Want to plan a book swap? Ginny vonReichbauer offers these suggestions:
Invite as many people as possible and encourage them to bring friends. The more people there are, the happier you are and the more books there are, the better.
Make it an “open house” format so guests can come and go on their schedule. It can be in the morning, afternoon or evening.
Keep the food simple so that you can enjoy the event as well. I had coffee and appetizers: mini muffins, fruit and banana bread. You can also make wine and cheese or whatever you like. Keep it self-service.
If you have the space, separate the book categories. I had fiction and non-fiction in separate rooms.
Have bags handy for guests who take more than a few pounds.
The Book Fair Foundation is located at 2181 Embury Park Road, Dayton. Call about a week in advance if you want to be picked up. The number is 937-999-4491. The Book Fair Foundation also accepts media articles and puzzles.