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[LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories]Have your books piled up during quarantine? Consider a book swap!

Update time:2021-07-22 14:08Tag:

  A retired French and Spanish teacher, vonReichbauer said in her childhood she read the usual books like Nancy Drew mysteries. “My English and French teachers at Fairview High School introduced me to the classics and gave me an appreciation of fine literature,” she said. “Most notably, Madame Kitzes opened our minds to the enormous depth and breadth of French literature, from its beginnings through the 20th century.”

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  Over the years, and as she moved around as an adult from city to city, vonReichbauer joined a variety of book clubs. Not only did she get to know others who enjoyed reading, but also discovered fascinating books she might not otherwise have chosen. After returning to the Miami Valley and attending a book swap hosted by her friend Ann Wilger, vonReichbauer decided to host her own. Wilger, a retired piano teacher who lives in Centerville, said she got the original idea “out of my head.”

  “I’m book-addicted and when I moved from my house in Oakwood, I needed to get rid of a lot of books,” she said. “We put up tents in the side yard and people came all afternoon. It was a social thing and everyone was so enthusiastic.”

  Ginny vonReichbauer and Ann Wilger discuss book recommendations. Photo by Staff writer Meredith Moss.Ginny vonReichbauer and Ann Wilger discuss book recommendations. Photo by Staff writer Meredith Moss.

  Fun for everyone

  About two dozen people attended vonReichbauer’s recent event. Although guests were not required to bring books, many brought a book or two, others arrived with filled boxes.

  “Most people took home a few books, and several took home a bagful,” vonReichbauer said. “For everyone, it was fun to peruse all the offerings, find new books and remember old favorites.”

  Often the lively conversation revolved around favorite books and recommendations.

  After the last guest left, vonReichbauer was left with nearly 200 books, DVD’s, CD’s and puzzles to donate. Volunteers from Dayton Book Fair Foundation arrived the next day and quickly boxed up all the books. They’ll be sold at the organization’s November sale.

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  “The Dayton Book Fair Foundation is a wonderful charitable organization,” said vonReichbauer. “Each year, they choose three deserving non-profit organizations in the Dayton area to be the recipients of the proceeds from their annual book sale.” This year those organizations are the Dayton International Peace Museum, the Xenia Area Community Theater and WYSO’s Center for Community Voices Project.

  Contributors can drop off books year-long at the organization’s warehouse, at various sites around town, or arrange for a pickup of larger donations. Volunteers will box up your books for you.

  Jan Balbach browses for a good read. Photo by Staff writer Meredith Moss.Jan Balbach browses for a good read. Photo by Staff writer Meredith Moss.

  Attending a book swap

  Lucette Fogel of Centerville has been reading since childhood. As a college and grad student, she majored 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 swap and took six more home for herself and her husband. She was most thrilled to find a copy of Julia Child’s book, “My Life in France.”

  “If I could come back for a second lifetime I’d come back as chef Julia Child,” Fogel said. “I had the book in paperback, but I was ecstatic to find it in hardback. I intend 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 get to see very often. “It’s fun to see what people brought in; there was such a big variety.”

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  Retired Fairmont High School librarian Linda Harrison of Moraine grew up in a rural area and only saw schoolmates at school. ”In the summers I didn’t have playmates other than my brother, so my mother took both of us to the library,” she said. Books became her friends.

  She said a book swap isn’t just 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 email

  Want to plan a book swap? Ginny vonReichbauer offers these suggestions:

  Invite as many people as you can and encourage them to bring friends. The more people, the merrier, and the more books, the better.Make it an “open house” format so that guests can come and go as their schedules allow. It could be in the morning, afternoon or evening.Keep the food simple so that you can enjoy the event, too. I had coffee and finger foods: mini-muffins, fruit and banana bread. You could also do wine and cheese or whatever suits you. Just keep it self-serve.If you have the space, separate categories of books. I had fiction and non-fiction in separate rooms.Have some bags on hand for guests who take more than a few books.The Book Fair Foundation is located at 2181 Embury Park Road, Dayton. Call a week or so ahead if you would like to have a pick-up. The number is 937-999-4491. The Book Fair Foundation also accepts media items and puzzles.