Idea Generation Wondering the Bookstore Aisles

Just over a week ago, I won a Half Price Books gift card. Heaven! I promised that I would post a photo of my haul. How can 1 book be a haul? When it is full of photos and stories.

I’m amazed at how much of this is new to me. Sure, there are things that are familiar like Phil the Gorilla. I never saw Phil in person but people still talked about him when I was little. They’ve also included my G-ma’s favorite Mavrako’s Candy. Mavrako’s is still around but now it is part of Crown Candy. I learned that when I toured the latter.

But there are many other things in the book, including restaurants and motels, that are completely new to me. Every writer knows that coffee table books like this one are simply bound writing prompts.

But the best thing about going to a bookstore like Half Price Books, that features used books, is that not every title there is a current best seller. Sure, you’re going to find the books that are hot right now, but you are going to find a lot of older books and reprints. You may find out about something that wasn’t even on your radar yet still yields an idea.

For me, that came from The Women’s Suffrage Cookery Book. Now, I may get the date wrong, but it was originally published in something like 1910. The point of books like this one was to prove that these women weren’t abandoning their families to forage in urban parks. They still cared about their children even as they worked to get the vote.

The first question that came to my mind was – how many suffragettes actually cooked? Didn’t many of them have “a girl” to do this for them? I could be utterly and entirely wrong but now I want to know!

While the quick research I did didn’t reveal whether or not my hunch is correct, I did learn that suffrage cookbooks were a way for these women to raise money to support the cause. Many also contained more than a little propaganda.

What about a secret message? A hidden agenda?

And this is how ideas are born. It was definitely worth the time spent wondering the aisles at Half Price Books.


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