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Celebrating a birthday with a trip to a bookstore

As I expected, I didn't get much reading done on my birthday. Instead, I spent the day with friends and went out to eat for both lunch and dinner. I love food as much as I love books, so I had a really good time.

I did get to unwrap a copy of "Twelve Sharp" by Janet Evanovich, though. The book was a gift from my mom. "Twelve Sharp" was a quick read. I didn't think that the book was quite as funny as some of the other Stephanie Plum novels, but it was still pretty entertaining.

In addition to giving me "Twelve Sharp," my mom also took me shopping for my birthday. Though we looked mostly at clothes, we also stopped by a book outlet store. I really love discount bookstores, especially when most of the books cost $5 or less. I always have a hard time figuring out what to buy when everything is cheap, though.

This time, before I even went inside the store, I decided I wouldn't pick up more than three titles. At the store, I went straight to the fiction section to look for authors I like and books with cute covers or appealing titles.

First, I picked up a copy of "Back Roads" by Tawni O'Dell (New American Library, $14). The discount price was $4.99. This book has been on my reading list since I finished O'Dell's "Coal Run" (New American Library, $14.95) which was one of the best books I read last year, so I definitely had to take it home.

I also got a copy of "Summerland" by Michael Chabon (Hyperion, $8.95), which was only $3.49. I love Chabon's work. His novel "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" (Picador, $15) is one of my favorite books.

At the discount bookstore, I also spent a lot of time looking at memoirs. Reading about other people's lives fascinates me. The one I couldn't resist was "Bitter is the New Black" by Jen Lancaster (New American Library, $13.95). It cost $4.99.

Lancaster's story reads like a chick lit novel. When the story begins, she has a great job and a very expensive shopping habit. But after she gets laid off, she struggles to find a new job - and live without spa treatments and designer purses. "Bitter is the New Black" is a funny book that made for perfect birthday week reading.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.