I have five classes this semester, each with a list of required texts and recommended texts. Altogether, I think there are eight books I am supposed to own so that I can do the readings for class, etc. These eight books would usually put me out, oh, say 150, maybe 200 euro. However, I paid exactly zero euro for my books.
First, SAI (I don't know if I ever explained what SAI is. It stands for Study Abroad Italy, the program I came over here with. They are our liaison with our home school, host school, housing and other things in Italy.) has collected an assortment of books over the years from past students. They offer these books to current students by way of the honor system: take what you need for classes and bring them back at the end of the semester. This works out well since no one wants to buy a brand new Statistics book and then have to lug it back to the States or try to sell it before leaving.
So that's how I found most of my books. The rest I found in the reserve section of our library, which means I have to go to the library and read for class there, since you can't actually take the reserved books home...but since I have several hour breaks in between classes, that's the perfect time to veg in the Frohring Library with a copy of Rome: A History.
I'm pretty proud of myself, but the funniest part of this is even though I bought the least amount of books out of all of my roommates (zero), I have the most books in my room out of all my roommates (15). Big surprise, right? Of course I would be the one with all the books, and half of them aren't even for my classes. I'm quite sure I have some undiagnosed disease.
The thing is, once I get started on something, I can be single-minded to the point of recklessness...so after I started forming this theory about Rome's history and gender roles in Rome I went crazy finding books to research and back my theory. I'm hoping I will get to use this stuff for my research methods class, but if I don't I'll still read most of the books. Right now the stack on my bedside tables holds titles like Engendering Rome, The Erotics of Domination, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, & Slaves and Reading Roman Women. Good stuff, I know. The librarian actually told me I had pretty much gone over my limit tonight.
I realize I haven't so much told you anything about living in Rome as I've exposed myself for the deranged bibliophile I am, but I promise you will learn more about Rome than you ever cared to know in the coming weeks, thanks to all of these books.