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Dear Members,

When I was very young, my parents would often take us on vacation up north to visit my grandparents and other relatives.  The favorite topic of conversation on the drive up was whether there would be enough snow for sledding down the hills.  Well, it was my favorite topic of conversation, anyway!  I couldn't wait to go sledding, and every year I spent the whole long car ride wishing and wishing for snow.    

Nowadays, I still like snow...I like to watch it fall, from inside a warm house!   When it's snowing, I am perfectly content sitting in a comfortable chair beside the fireplace reading a good book.   Sometimes I wonder where that kid went, the one who loved to rush down the hills, but then I am reassured by looking at my own kids, who still love snow and sledding and everything about Christmas.   We grownups grumble about holiday shopping and all the hassles of the season, but for the kids it is still pure magic. 

So while you're feeling stressed this holiday season and asking yourself whether all the effort is worth it,  take a moment to remember why we do it - because the holidays (whichever one you celebrate at this time of year) bring family together, make memories that last a lifetime, and let us "old folks" relive a little of that magic from our childhoods.

On behalf of the entire PBS team, we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday and a terrific New Year!  

and the PaperBackSwap Team


GC Card Let your fingers do the shopping...   Why fuss over what to give?   PBS Gift Certificates are the answer!   We've spruced them up and now you can create your own custom card with a gift code redeemable for 5 or 10 book credits.   You can choose from among the many holiday-themed designs we offer OR upload your own graphic.  Then add your own personalized message, purchase the gift code and email the card, or print the card out to go into the mail.  There is even an option to send an e-Card to a PBS Friend (so you don't have to know his or her email address to be Santa)!   It's a great way to show the readers in your life that you care - no worries about sizes or colors or do-they-already-have-one...  You can't go wrong with books! 


Newsletter imageStarted as a game, turned into friendship... junie (June E.) writes in to tell us that the Mystery/Thriller Virtual Box swap she participates in is the longest running Virtual box in the club, and all of the participants have become good friends.    "We are planning a get together in June 2010 with some of us flying from all over the Country, possibly in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.  However, six of us didn't want to wait, so we all met in Lake Anna, Virginia Oct. 23 thru 25th in a beautiful 5 bedroom house on the lake."  Looks like they had a great time!  

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Left to right, Debbie G-(deb3009), Diana M. (booklady4), Rachel P. (Retrogram), June E. (junie), Nita A. (nawatramani), Kay A. (jegka). 

We looked and saw that this Virtual Box began way back in May 2008!   If you are interested in playing Games at PBS (or finding out what the heck a Virtual Box is), check out the Games forum.  Don't be shy! Experienced Gamers and Games Moderators will help you learn the ropes, and there are topics in the forums that you can read to teach you how things work. Make some friends, get some books, have some fun!

Books for SchoolsWe think you guys are awesome.  And so do the schools to whom you all so generously donated your credits, so that we could send them books.  We were astonished by, and really proud of, the response our Books for Schools program got.   You donated enough credits to provide books to NINE schools in need - for some of those schools, these books will actually start their school libraries!  Currently, we're getting the books all shipped and making sure everything goes well with the first nine, and then we will be enrolling more schools from the long list of needy schools we've compiled from your suggestions.  You can read more about Books for Schools here.

A letter from one of the teachers in NC says it all: I want to thank all of the PBS members from the bottom of my heart for the book donations! With your donation, teachers will have many books in their classrooms that students can have easy access to. Our students are enthusiastic and excited about learning and reading. Your donation -- your thoughtfulness -- is helping to grow these kids into lifelong readers and learners.  You are readers, so you know the power of books.  Thank you for giving that power to our students!  - Jayne Jennings, AIG Specialist, Henderson County Schools

Holiday tales... each one available to request right now!

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Skipping Christmas   Luther and Nora Krank are fed up with the chaos of Christmas...this year, celebrating seems like too much effort. They decide that just this once, they'll skip the holidays, and spend their Christmas budget on a Caribbean cruise set to sail on December 25, and happily settle in for a restful holiday season.  But they soon learn that skipping the holidays has consequences they didn't bargain for...  A modern Christmas classic, Skipping Christmas is a hilarious look at the mayhem and madness that have become ingrained in our holiday tradition.


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The Power of Light: Eight Stories for Hanukkah Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize- winning author, gives us these eight stories, one for each night of Hanukkah.  Publisher's Weekly said that this collection "can enrich readers of all faiths, all ages, with its descriptions of the miraculous power of light over evil." Why not start a tradition in your own family of reading these stories aloud each year?

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Christmas Ghosts  Can't get enough ghosts?  If Scrooge's three ghosts just leave you wanting more hauntings for your holidays, then here are some ghostly tales for you! This collection includes twenty-seven original stories, featuring Mercedes Lackey, John Betancourt, Judith Tarr and other favorites. 

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It's Kwanzaa Time!    Here's a Lift-the-Flap book to introduce your littlest ones to this holiday of unity, togetherness, and creativity. For Reading Level ages 4-8.
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Santa Baby... Three Christmas tales from three bestselling authors, in one book...Jennifer Crusie's shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real life spy game, in the arms of a sexy secret agent...Lori Foster delivers a steamy office romance of two coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them planning a Christmas party side by side...Carly Phillips' "mistletoe moment" begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead...

PBS Local Chapter News:

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The Northern Virginia PBS Chapter meets on the third Saturday of each month, except for December, somewhere in the Fair Lakes region of Fairfax County... here they all are on 21 November at the Chantilly Regional Library.  If you are in the NoVa area and want to join these meetups, contact Aubrey H. (Bookpurrsn).

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Above, left to right: Mary H. (Ladyhawke), Aubrey H. (Bookpurrsn), Shirley S. (Nacirema540), Joan W. (media-junkie), Nicki B. (treefinder).

New Local Chapter Leaders:

  • Kathy A. - arizonk - American Canyon (Napa Valley), CA
  • Dawn B. - dbaltezor - San Francisco, CA
  • Laura P -  laura612 - Long Beach, CA
  • Betsy G. - bg  - Philadelphia Suburbs, PA
  • Caroline H. - carolinefaye  - Morgantown, WV

If you want to be a Local Chapter Leader for PBS, you just need to have a PBS NIckname, a viewable public profile, and some organizational skills...check the Local Chapter Leaders Forum List of Official Chapters to see if your area already has a local Chapter.  If not, and you want to do this, just contact us.  There are no formal guidelines for being a Chapter Leader.  All of the information is in the Local Chapter Leader Discussion Forum topic.    If you are an official Chapter Leader and want us to include your upcoming meetup in the Newsletter, send in a message to us with the date, at least a week before the end of the preceding month.


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Valli A. (ALbookbugg)

Members have been nominating Valli for a couple of years, but the votes came flooding in recently!  Valli is a longtime member who is very active in the Historical Fiction genre Discussion Forum; she's also one of our Tour Guides.   We got so many great comments about her that we can't begin to share them all here. Just a SMALL portion of the comments we got:

"She is a great organizer and a very considerate, caring person. I think that I can honestly say that those of us who participate in the HF forum love her. Anyone new to that forum is graciously welcomed by her."

"She is always willing to lend a credit, send out free books to those in need, or just chat with you if you need some feedback about books in our genre."

"She...does wonderful, short & quick book reviews. There are many books I have picked up just because she reviewed them."

"This is my first year at PBS. Valli has been very helpful and made my time here enjoyable."

"When I have a question, Valli has the answer (or finds it for me). She organizes activities for us at the HF Forum - read alongs and challenges. She spearheaded our 2009 Historical Fiction Challenge, which was a huge success."

"She has a great sense of humor. She makes everyone feel welcome. We love discussing books, and Valli often leads such discussions.  She's a natural born leader and worthy of your MoM award."

Valli, you have a mandate!  The sheer volume of praise we got about you was...historical.  Thanks for doing all you do to make PaperBackSwap a better place.  You are our Member of the Month for December.  Congratulations! 

If you have any nominations for Member of the Month, 
submit them to us here.  Your nomination will not "expire"--anyone you nominate will have a chance at getting Member of the Month if enough nominations accumulate over time. Each month the person who has the most votes accumulated when the Newsletter goes to press gets to be Member of the Month and gets a newsletter mention and a nifty MoM icon to wear on profile and forum posts with pride.  So go for it! Tell us who's helped you in the Forums, who's been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to PBS.  We are keeping a list of all the nominated members.  Who knows--one of them might be YOU!


Dear Librarian-  I love the new Gift Certificate pictures!  I have seven friends I'd like to give certificates to, and I want to use a different message and picture for each card.  But I can't seem to save the card I am working on and add another - every time I finish one card and click Discard to start over, it throws away my design!  There has to be a better way to do this.  -- Donder

Dear Dondy,

We're sorry you are having this experience!  Yes, the template can save only one design at a time, so what you need to do is buy the giftcodes (purchase 7 gift certificates) in the Kiosk and then come back to the Gift Certificate page and make the cards, applying a gift code to each one. Once you've created a card and it has a code, you will be able to re-generate it from the list in your Receipts link in your account.  In other words, you can save your design by applying a gift code to it and printing it or sending it as an eCard. 

We hope that helps.  Please give our warmest regards to your "deer" friends, and be careful on those icy roofs!


  • The next round of Books for Schools schools...keep your eye on the donations page for updates.
  • Christmas...if you're going to Amazon to shop, use the Buy From Amazon link on any book here to get over there, and your purchases (of anything, not just books) will support the club!