We read...

To know we are not alone. ~C.S. Lewis~

Monday, February 23, 2009

A pox on officious librarians

This week blissfully borrowing Becca asks: How often do you visit the library? Do you have a scheduled library day/time, or do you go whenever? Do you go alone, or take people with you?

When I'm working which, sadly I'm not at the moment, I 'visit' a library every day so I do my borrowing then. When I'm not working in a library I don't have a schedule to follow, just use the library when the need arises. I love to visit libraries when I'm on holidays but I have issues with my local library so I feel a bit hypocritical going in there. Rarely, however, does it fail to annoy me so I usually feel justified about my criticisms upon leaving.

I’ve worked in public libraries and this one just doesn’t stack up. I always seem to find the scary librarians, the officious ones, who condescend until I start library-speak where-upon they modify their approach. This annoys me even more because a librarian’s job is to facilitate not alienate. we shouldn't be part of an exclusive club but rather we should be full of the joy of reading and wanting to share. Can’t tell you the amount of people who’ve told me they’ll never go to a library again because the librarian made them feel stupid, it makes me so sad. Libraries should be a place of wonders not put downs.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Allans adore aliteration

Some of us Allans are a bit nerdy. We like to play games with words. One of my favs is alliteration as bella Becca has noticed. Just as well she likes books!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

covering all bases

Bubbly bookworm Becca
asks this week Do you read any non-blogging book reviews? If so, where (newspaper, library etc)? Do you have any favourites sources you'd like to share?

I read my reviews in the paper SMH and New York Times

And listen to reviews on the radio I especially like Richard Glover's Drive weekly visit from 'the Critics' who review books, movies, t.v. with all sorts of interesting info on 702

And watch reviews on the tellie First Tuesday book club

So I have all mediums covered!

Friday, February 13, 2009

blogging lessons

My friend Becca has been saying for years that I should get into blogging, had I realised it would be this addictive (being the compulsive type) I might have steered clear for longer...but here I am for better or worse...hooked.

I was reminded, as I read the 53 posts for Becca's Monday Musing, which involved visiting some fascinating blogs, that reading is more than books. Anyone who has worked in public libraries and school libraries will tell you that a recurring question is how can I get my child to read? I usually answer with go with the child's strengths, if a child likes to cook get them recipe books, if a child like soccer get them a book about Beckham, you get the gist. One mum was worried that her son liked Goosebumps books and I told her his tastes would mature if she let him choose but if she stopped him reading he may never pick up a book again. For a while he tested this out, read his way through Goosebumps and then, shock horror, started to read comics. He’s a man grown now and chooses to read sporting biographies – good on him I say. While I am a strong advocate for the monograph I have to accept that kids reading online are still reading and this is a good thing (and so is net-nanny).

We really are reading to know we're not alone and the world really is shrinking.

I had some blogging questions for Becca last time she dropped in (just a few) and she was a veritable font of knowledge spewed forth so fast that I find I'm still processing it (she is half my age after-all). so thanks Becca for all your gems and thanks Nise'for showing me how to get the date stamp (this post is my test case).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Diane's right

Diane's right... My Monday Musing on Wednesday did go up Tuesday HA! I don't know how the time/date stamp works when posting but I can tell it it was well and truely Wednesday. I'd been slogging away at my Teusday list (all the things that had to get done on Teusday)for so long that there wasn't a break before I started on the Wednesday list! (no sleep for me *sob*)at around 1:30am I thought time for some me-time or should I say MM time. But obviously I was worrying about not being ready for Wednesday as I was coming up with that title.

The up-shot is...I need to write shorter lists or learn to say no.

I must be doing something wrong becasue it's 1:15pm on Wednesday but the date stamp is still showing Tuesday!

Monday Musing on Wednesday (a sign of the times!)

this week the beguiling bibliophile Becca asks: What do you use to mark your place while reading? Do you have a definite preference? Do you use bookmarks, paper, or (gasp) turn down the pages? If you use bookmarks, do you have a favourite one?

I have a preference for beaded bookmarks. I get a lot of pleasure in the making and just love the way they enhance the beauty of a book. These are my current favs...

If I’ve borrowed bookclub reading from the library I use a thin note-pad to to mark my place and keep a record of comments/questions/ fav passages because I can’t write in a library book. My poor scandalised bookfreaks were dismayed to find I write my notes in the back/margins of books I own (sometimes in PEN!).

I can understand their distress because I feel the same about dog-earers. Anything can be used to mark your place...a lolly wrapper (unstickyfied), a twig (from a very clean ground), a strand of hair (verging on the creepy), floss (unused of course), a paddle pop stick (well licked – rinsed even) there is just no need to resort to turning down the corner of a page. If you feel tempted come and see me I'll make you a beaded bookmark...okay!?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lucky Me

Uni opened up so many doors and not all of them academic. There was a social side that I wasn’t expecting. I thought my age would isolate me, what young uni student would want to hang out with someone their mum’s age? So I was surprised to find myself making friends (and not all of them mature age students either). These lovely people became firm friends who still drop in for coffee and a chat or invite me out, even though I’m finished my degree. It’s a blessing to still be making friends at nearly 50 which often prompts me to say, lucky me.

Another door that uni opened was to a bookclub – BookFreaks we call it – founded through a mutual love of reading. Last time we had such a good time discussing Middlesex, laughing and shouting and talking exuberantly all at once yet also sharing serious, quiet moments that the subject matter demanded. It’s my fellow freakets who make each night a joyous event. We’re blessed in a number of ways: we have a man in our group who brings a unique perspective that balances our discussion; we’re made up of Mums and children, when your adult children choose to spend time with you it’s a gift beyond measure; we’re not all readerly readers, some listen to the audio books, some ‘read’ the movie but all bring something interesting to the table. We listen to each other and, joy of joy, we argue!

Ask anyone, they’ll tell you I’m not shy with my opinions but, instead of shying away from them, the freakets confront my, often belligerent opinions, and gently argue: constructively,in a way which informs my thinking and often modifies my opinion, proving there is always more than one way to approach something. We’ve just started giving our rating on the book before AND after discussion which is such a good idea because it will demonstrate the affect we have on each other.

Conversation is a dying art as our lives are subsumed in electronic media so I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to spend an evening with such erudite, vibrant and generous friends – lucky me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hosted by the beautifully bookish Becca She asks: How do you choose what to buy from your local bookstore? Do you have a list, or just browse? What is the selection in your book store like? Do you find what you're looking for? Do you feel pressured to buy the kind of books the store makes prominent? (question courtesy of MizB)

Usually I go with a list or at least some idea of what I want to read, this was especially the case while I was studying. Now I'm happy to browse and am happy of the pig in mud variety if I have a voucher to spend. Once I was a bookstore snob (can you believe it?). I would only buy from A & R – the less commercial, more high-brow bookshop carrying a good classics section and not much riff raff. I like to think I’ve matured past this snobbery but inside I really do still prefer A & R. Having said that Dymocks, in my local shopping mall, is much bigger than its competitors; it’s roomy, has a loyalty system that does actually pay and very courteous staff. If I get a book voucher as a gift it’s usually from this shop as it’s more attractive for non-book lovers gift-givers than the small, cluttered one I prefer. Spending my vouchers (YAY!) in the bigger shop has won me over. I do feel a little consumer-guilt but I figure I have enough books to buy to spread the love around.

I don't get suckered by the displays - I'm not a fan of doing anything when it's trendy but one thing that puts me off a bookshop entirely is lack of order. Some department stores for example have their books stuffed on their shelves willy-nilly and it drives me nuts – how can they ever find anything!?! So I don’t often buy from them on un-cost-effective principle.

If I need a book quickly I do as Becca does and use Fishpond which is so totally addictive I have to restrain myself to hard to get items (or second hand which are very cheap so I can buy double the amount). Which is totally Becca's fault (why oh why did you introduce me to Fishpond?)!

Lastly I do have a favourite antique bookshop. It’s about an hour away, we go for an outing as a family, have lunch in one of the yummy restaurants and then go our separate ways – my girls do the craft shops, Mike does Stairway to Kevin (a 1st floor music shop with the best name ever) and Rick and I go to Pickwick’s Antiques...heaven.