Before Ever After: A Novel Pre-Order

Friday Field Trip: My Deep Dark Secret

“A black-cloaked monk unlocked the library’s door. Ginger steeped with cloves. Shelley caught its scent in the spiciness of the weathered leather-bound pages that surrounded her. The smell reminded her of her father’s evening ritual up until the time he needed to use a feeding tube. Her mother continued to brew it for him just the same. And when he had gone, she still set a cup on his bedside table. Shelley remembered watching and breathing in the fragrant and frail wisps of steam rising from it. That was the only time she allowed herself to miss her dad. Her mother mourned him enough for the two of them. She didn’t think their house could hold any more grief. She was glad to get away. She scanned the library, desperate to remind herself of how far she was from home.” p. 126, Before Ever After

If you promise not to laugh, I’ll let you in on my deepest and darkest secret. Pinky swear? Great!
Okay…here it goes.
*whispers*  In sixth grade,  I…um…was president of….*takes a deep breath* …the Library Club.

There. I said it. Phew.


I certainly did not earn any cool points by joining the club. (You wouldn’t be wrong if you likened it to Glee, but without the impromptu Lady Gaga song and dance numbers in the hallway.)  But I loved it.  I loved being surrounded by the smell of paper and ink. I loved the cool and quiet sanctuary of its little nooks.  I loved the little clicking sound the date stamp made when I pressed it against the book card.  *Looks around furtively for incoming Slushies*

No Slushie grenade? I love you guys. Thank you for not judging me. Now I don’t have to run home and change my shirt before our field trip.
To celebrate my coming clean, today we’re taking our little van to some of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Are you ready, Campers?  Follow the red umbrella and remember to keep your voices down, okay? 


Strahov Philosophical Hall, Prague

Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland
Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil


The Library of the University of Delft, The Netherlands


The Central Public Library in Vancouver, Canada


George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Main reading hall of the City Library of Stockholm
Our final stop isn’t a actually a library, but I thought it deserved a place on the tour.  Can you guess what it is?
No, it isn’t a theater…

….or a museum.
It’s the Ateneo Grand Splendid
And it’s a BOOK STORE.
Posted in Blog | 56 Comments

56 Responses to “Friday Field Trip: My Deep Dark Secret”

  1. Dafeenah says:

    I was secretary of the Beta Club. Although we never got really picked on. If people weren't nice to use, we didn't help (do) their homework for them so people were usually extremely nice to us. The pics are absolutely amazing! I want to go to that book store for reals :(

  2. Traci says:

    Love it!! Look at those libraries/book stores! Absolute heaven.

    And lol about your dark secret – so cute! I was a band geek, then choir geek, and I've always been a bookworm/geek.

  3. I've been to the Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura once.

    I got lost. Not in books or pages, though.

    The bad kind of lost.

    The one you think you'´ll never see sunlight again.

    Damn those security guards who found me.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Wow I think the next time I go on vacation I am going to have to check out the libraries. Thanks for taking us on the tour!

  5. Kathy says:

    I just love your blog! I always look foward to Mondays and Fridays. The excerpt from you book is wonderful, I can't wait till it comes out and I can read it! Thanks again for a great visit!

  6. stacey says:

    Pinky swear… I LOVE libraries and bookstores best of all! Sigh. I like book nerds, too. I guess I might be in good company here? ; )

  7. Thank you! What a lovely tour, and great idea for blog post!

  8. PS: Tell your publishers it is not fair to have a giveaway only to USA on GoodReads. Pft.

  9. Ooh, that bookstore is indeed lovely! I've been to the Vancouver Central Public Library. It is impressive =)

    What's wrong with being in the Library Club? I still remember those Dewey Decimal System contests. =)

  10. Janel says:

    Whoa! Book store nirvana! I have a library secret too. When all of the other kids in high school got co-op jobs at big corporations and practiced becoming executives – I worked in the high school library.

  11. Great pictures, Sam! When I was in high school, I was co-editor of the yearbook, a public library aide and a member of the orchestra. Talk about a path for popularity! (It's always good to carry an extra shirt.) ;D

  12. Be still my beating heart! Places to go, books to read. What I love most about libraries: there are certain spots you walk into where sound is totally canceled out.

  13. Wow, I really enjoyed looked at all those pictures of famous libraries. Wouldn't it be wonderful to take a year touring them and checking them out to ones' heart content?! Beautiful pictures and beautiful tour. In your next life I think you should be a tour guide!

  14. Brynne says:

    LOVE the pictures!! Thank you!! Pure magic!!

  15. nerkasalmon says:

    Awesome, Sam! You have such a great voice and spirit in your writing, so delightful to go on field trips with you! (And no judgment from this group…With people who love words so much, I suspect we all have some secret nerd history!)

  16. meaganfrank says:

    I would soooo have been in the library club…had I the option. Beautiful libraries. Which one is your favorite? Have you been to all of them? I have to make a trip to the library at least once a week, and as cool as my local library is…it really does not compare. Libraries do have it all though!

    Thanks for this.

  17. The President of the Library Club! If that isn't instant coolness, I don't know what is!

    I love libraries. I love everything about them. There's a world inside each book, and they have thousands and thousands of books… sigh. If they'd let me live in one, I would.

  18. Jade says:

    Breathtaking images & that paragraph is just perfect.
    I also love libraries, although I didn't as much when I was young. :)

  19. Great post. I loved the excerpt from the book and am looking forward to buying it. And those libraries…what a great idea for the blog. Now I have even more places I just have to visit.

  20. DEZMOND says:

    I just knew you had presidential qualities in you, Sam :P PPP
    The library in my city is situated in an ancient Hapsburg palace in the centre of town, and the people who work there aren't much younger than the building itself :) ))

  21. Dafeenah – Sounds like a good strategy to avoid getting picked on! :D

    Traci – Geeks RULE :D

    Elaine – Oh my! That must have been some adventure! Well, if you're going to get lost, you might as well get lost in gorgeous library, right? :D (As for Goodreads – yeah, I know. Sigh. )

    Jennifer – Wouldn't it be awesome if there were actually library-themed holiday tours??

    Kathy – Thank you so much! I enjoy dropping by your blog too!

    Stacey – *high five* fellow library lover!

    Journey – Thank you! Glad you liked it!

    OCMom – Dewey Decimal Contests!!!! Hahahahaha!

    Janel – I think you had the BEST job :D

    Kenya – Some things are worth getting "slushied" for :D

    Kate – Absolutely! Your personal little corner of quiet.

    Elizabeth – Thanks! The funny thing is, after my first trip out of the country, I really wanted to be a tour guide when I grew up.

    Brynne – It was my pleasure, my dear!

    nerkasalmon – Hahaha! I think so too. Nerds ROCK :D

    meagan – A favorite? That's an impossible choice! I love the look of St. Gallen, but I think that the one in Vancouver is the one I would enjoy visiting on a regular basis. The Ateneo Book Store is also a place I MUST visit one day!

    Jenny – If you find one that let's you live in it, save a shelf for me! :D

    Jade – Thank you! Happy you enjoyed the tour!

    Meryl – Thanks!! There's so much of the world waiting to be explored!

    Dezmond – Hahaha! You MUST post a photo!!!

  22. The library club? We didn't have one of those when I was in Grade School, nor high school for that matter. But then again, I was keeping my readerly and writerly inclinations on the down low then.

    The libary tour was awesome. I particularly love the photograph of the one in Switzerland. I have always harbored the belief that dead authors' spirits like to visit the shelves that carry their books. The blurred people in the photograph reminded me of that.

    Thank you for the lovely excerpt. I can smell the ginger-clove brew.

  23. KLZ says:

    Oh my goodness, my husband is going to laugh his butt off when he hears I want to go to Switzerland to see a library.

  24. C.M. Villani says:

    Its okay, Sam, I was a theater geek in school. Do you notice how many groups are dubbed "geeks"? It makes up more of the population then the jocks. just sayin'. :)

    You know what's really sad, on the various trips that i've taken abroad, I never once thought about checking out their libraries! Although seeing the pics you posted makes me very sad I didn't. :/

  25. Scrollwork says:

    But Sam, you DID turn out to be a tour guide. Every post is a guided tour for us. No one else can take us where you do.

    At my last employer, they thought it was a big deal that the campus library was going mostly digital, so the shelves looked like a bare cupboard. Just not the same.

    When I visit a cool new town, I usually peek into the ladies' lounge (restroom facilities) in the nicest-looking restaurant. I've been known to take pics of them. But that's just me, being my quirky self.

  26. Andrew Leon says:

    Okay, here's my deep, dark secret: I don't like libraries.
    Okay, well, that's not -exactly- true. I don't mind libraries, I just hate checking out books. Actually, it's not the checking them out I have a problem with, it's the taking them back. Not that I forget; I just want to keep them.
    I loved the library when I was a kid. There is actually a book dedicated in my name in my elementary school library. However, by the time I hit high school, I had decided that if I was going to bother to check out a book, I'd rather just go buy it. And, thus, ended my library days.

  27. angel011 says:

    I was in the library club in my elementary school. Libraries are great.

  28. Tanya Reimer says:

    Wow, some of those libraires I'd love to move into, forget about joining a club! I finally got around to passing the lovely award on. Thanks again.

  29. The Library Club?! How cool! I'd have joined had my school had one. I LOVE books.

  30. I was in theater…which made me a Thespian. Try being one of those in high school!

  31. The libraries were "calling" to me this week too! Tanya Reimer told me about your library post – WOW! Amazing pictures! – Hey have you seen the famous libraries at the site for a book by that name?

  32. Girl Parker says:

    What a Gorgeous Tour! Thank you. And congratulations on your upcoming book. Imagine having a book in that last book store? Shivers!!

  33. Julie says:

    Thank you for the amazing tour! I loved the photos, and wish I could visit each place, how gorgeous.

    Loved the excerpt from your book as well, fabulous and makes me even more anxious to read it!

    We didn't have a library club at my school. If we had, I would have joined! :D

  34. Mieke – If I were going to "haunt" a library, St. Gallen would definitely be on the top of my list too! Thrilled you liked the tour and the excerpt :)

    KLZ – Haha! That's a perfectly good reason to travel, in my book! :D

    Christina – I was in theater too (in college)! Well, you know what they say about great minds… ;-) Don't feel bad about not visiting libraries when you travelled – it just means that you have more things to look forward to visiting! (Off topic – did you ever get the email reply I sent you? :D )

    Scrollwork – Hahaha! You're not alone. I just took pretty pics of possibly the prettiest door I've seen in a restroom :D

    Andrew – *gasps and picks up jaw from the floor* ;-) I totally relate to the reluctance of returning a good book.*rereads your comment* Hang on. You have a BOOK DEDICATED to you? How cool is that?!

    Angel011 – Amen! :D

    Tanya – You're welcome! You deserved the award :)

    Whispering Writer – Thank goodness for the internet – it's biggest library club we'll ever join :D

    Stephanie – I was a "thespian" in college – I can relate. LOL. (And it didn't help that my biggest role was playing a twelve year old in "Our Town") :D

    Margo – Thanks for stopping by! I just checked out the website/novel you mentioned. WOW. Great photos and such an interesting concept for a book! Thanks for sharing :)

    Dezmond – Gorgeous!!! If it looks that lovely on the outside, I can just imagine what it looks like on the inside. Thanks for posting it! :D

    Girl Parker – Oh my! Shivers indeed! I would break open the piggy bank and be on a flight to that book store in a heartbeat! :D Thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked the tour :D

  35. Julie – Yay! I'm so happy you liked it!!! :D

  36. Andrew Leon says:

    Yeah, I won a reading contest in 4th grade, and I got a book dedicated to me as part of the award. I didn't do it for the award, though. I also got a book. I believe it was the same book that was dedicated.

  37. That is SO cool! I hope you kept that book!

  38. MuMuGB says:

    I love libraries Sam! That said, your secret is not very dark…lol! The British Library is quite nice in London and in Paris, you can study at the top floor of the Centre G. Pompidou…

  39. Andrew Leon says:

    I do, indeed, still have it. Somewhere…

  40. ONID says:

    Sam, isn't it great that now you can find your very own book in a library! Wow, that to me is amazing . . . and oh soooooo cool.
    Perhaps, that's why you were the president of your library club . . . you should've been queen = ) a library would soon be your kingdom.

    lovely pictures of those amazing libraries

  41. thefancyflea says:

    Thank you so much for letting me tag along on your library tour! I oohed and ahhed and got told to be quiet in every single one!

    I also really enjoyed the excerpt from your book :) xx

  42. MuMuGB – Super jealous!! I hope that the local libraries on my side of the world improve in my lifetime. When I win the lottery, fixing them up will be at the top of my list of things to do.

    Andrew – Spring cleaning is good for the soul ;-)

    ONID – Finding my book in the library would be on a Twilight Zone level of freakycool!!! :D

    The fancy flea – Haha! So it was YOU making noises at the back of the line! ;-) Glad you enjoyed the tour and the snippet :D

  43. WOW I love it this blog! Love the pics as well… i am a new follower

  44. Welcome, Miss Agie! So glad you could make it to our field trip. I just stopped by you blog as well. It's adorable! :)

  45. Andrew Leon says:

    Well… that's a nice thought, anyway. I don't think spring is big enough.

  46. Cathy K says:

    You give the best tours ever!

  47. Donea Lee says:

    Library club sounds awesome!! :) Loved the excerpt, too – btw. And all the pics – I'd love to see these libraries in person, although – the Vancouver one looks VERY similar to the big central library here in Salt Lake City. Hmm…

  48. How can you not love an old beautiful library?

    Thanks for the tour. And I always enjoy your excerpts.

  49. Sherry says:

    Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  50. Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  51. This is a judgment free zone! I really enjoyed those pictures. Have you noticed that something strange happens to Time when you enter a library or a bookstore?

    I've gone to the bookstore at lunch time and I swear I just set foot in the place and my lunch time is over! It's like entering a Vortex Of Time where for every second you are there a minute has elapsed in the real world!

  52. Wow … I'm completely drooling over these pictures.

  53. Andrew – Haha! Crazy!!!

    Cathy – Thanks! :)

    Donea – Really? So cool! You have to post some pics!

    Florida – Thank you! :)

    Sherry – Glad you liked them! :)

    Carmen – So true! (And that sounds like a great idea for a story too!)

    Tristi – Happy you enjoyed them! :)

  54. mymommyology says:

    Where's the Ateneo library located? That's so cool!
    You'd never think to visit libraries when you go to foreign places.

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