I like books. I like collecting books and referencing books and knowing that I have books that could cover almost every part of American history. But like most of the free world, I don't like to pay for books. To subscribe to the books that Library of America (LOA) offers, one has to pay a heft price.
LOA usually has some kind of introductory offer that is too good to pass up. I acquired 3 books this way. I was browsing my own web site, http://USHistorySite.com and saw an add for an Abraham Lincoln collection for about $5, and a free book about US Grant. I clicked on the add (even though it was on my own site... sorry GoogleAds, I probably have 3 fraudulent cents in my pocket), and I got the books and quickly sent back the invoice with 'cancel' on it... Of course I still received a shipment of books, paid for them to be returned and made a phone call to cancel my account. I didn't like the idea of paying monthly for more books. But I do have some pretty good looking cloth bound books about Lincoln now in my collection.
And another good thing about giving them my information is now I receive The Library of America Story of the Week via email. This is simply a link to a blog written by an LOA staffer which gives their service more exposure and allows you short previews of the books the peddle.
The story I received last week struck a chord... John Muir. I'll be honest, I hadn't hear of John Muir until a few years back when my wife and I were visiting family in San Francisco on the way back from our honeymoon. We were fortunate to be able to spend a few hours driving Muir Woods just north of San Francisco. Naturally the curiosity in me nudged me to research a little more about Muir. That year while teaching in Atlanta the high school librarians were getting rid of old books that hadn't been checked out in a few years - and I was able to convince my wife to allow a box load or two to come back to our 2 bedroom apartment in Atlanta. One of those two boxes of books was a collection of John Muir writings, with a narrative by a more modern writer of the same vein.
To make what's already a rather long post shorter... John Muir is founder of the Sierra Club and a catalyst for the preservation of Yosemite National Park. Library of America pays tribute to the best thing since Thoreau in their blog: http://www.loa.org/storyoftheweek/2010/01/wind-storm-in-forests.html
Enjoy his prose. And then go outside...