We read...

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

Monday, March 23, 2009

This week bespecatacled Becca of Just one more page asks: How many bookstores do you frequent? Do you have a favourite? If so, which one and what makes it so?

For me it's a case of horses for courses...for each need there is a favourit bookshop. For new books I was once a book snob - only buying from the more prestigious bookshop in town but have now matured a little (well I like to think so anyway) and will shop at the competition - this has a little to do with it being new & large and a lot to do with it's proximity to good coffee (essential for the buy-a-new-book-crack-it-open-imediately experience).

For non-new books:

I've discovered the discards rack at my local library which offers very cheap books, it's possible to get 5 for $1! although I never seem to make great discoveries to put me on par with Becca (shopper-extraordinaire) who introduced me to the stand.


I have a favourite antique book-shop that is good for hours of browsing and I usually find something to add to my collection which was sadly depleted by a house fire a couple of years ago. If I'm on holidays I like to try for an antique book as a memento rather than a snow-dome or key-ring.

I have a great memory of an antique bookshop in Scotland where I purchased a book on Rob Roy to whom my family tree can be traced.

p.s. Becca loves her glasses so she won't mind the bespectacled descriptor!

Monday, March 16, 2009

This week Bendy-necked Becca's Musing is brought to you courtesy of Dena...We were all warned as children to 'never talk to strangers', but how do you feel about book-talk with random people? When you see people reading, do you ask what it is? Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? Why or why not? What do you do if people talk to you?

I agree with Becca, the book shops & libraries are the best places for talking to strangers about books and reading. This was one of my favourite things about working in public libraries, talking to the borrowers about what they were borrowing/returning/reading tastes. And my boss, who was very old-school, made this part of our job! He called it report-building. His aim was to make the library a community space of shared interests rather than scary places for the elite – he was a great first boss; taught me a lot about the ethos of good library practice.

My kids will tell you I'll talk to anyone. They have been embarrassed often by my penchant for talking to complete strangers while waiting in queues. If one of these strangers is waiting to buy a book I'm interested in I have no qualms about mentioning my interest. Usually they don't mind, it is after all a way to pass the dead time of a queue.

If I don't have my kids with me I'll be reading in that queue and strangers talk to me, usually to say 'what a good idea'. It's a no-brainer for me. If I'm out anywhere I have a book - there's no dead time with a book in tow!

I try to avoid the craning to see what others are reading but I did have a lady doing that to me today while waiting the RTA. This was the perfect stranger-chatting opportunity but she looked a bit crazy-eyed while she was trying hard to read along without me noticing and, with Jenners comment in mind,I might not strike up a conversation with a blood-spattered, mad-eyed person holding a copy of American Psycho I didn't say 'it's little women, have you read it?', fearing the blood-splatters were hidden!

My fellow bloggers crack me up!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'd rather read the book

BTT’s question this week is inspired by Tami :
What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Some books just read like the movie, I can see the actors & scenes sometimes even the fade to black. And I don't like it, I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I'm not a fan of the whole making-a-book-into-a-movie-thing. I don't condemn all book/movie transitions - I could appreciate Peter Jackson's vision and the scope of the LOtR series even though I was loath to see the first one because of my devotion to Tolkien's art.

I just have this idea of what everything/one looks like and it is rarely the same as what I see on screen especially when the liberties are taken in the name of artistic licence - I'm a fundamentalist at heart.

I was put off Seven Ancient Wonders because of the screen-playishness (will give it another go however it's on the reading list for bookclub) and I just knew that Dan Brown would make it in Hollywood as I was reading The Da Vinci Code (didn't stop with this one though). I hope they never have a go at Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles no actor alive would measure up to my image of Francis Crawford of Lymond.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Marcia at The Printed Page is attracted to gorgeous covers. I have to admit I'm a sucker for the cover. Not being one to judge a book thus however, I have spent many a disappointed blurb scan to discover the inside content does not live up to expectations. No concerns on this score with Red Spikes - Margo Lanagan never disappoints!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

plans for a busy retirement

last week’s question We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

I'm coming to the party a bit late but I keep bumping into this fascinating question as I spider my way through the wonderful world of blogs. Everyone's answers are so interesting that I thought I'd join in too.

Like many other passionate readers i've discovered in my blog reading my TBR list is a long one. This is my retirement list - they all require my undivided attention and right now my attention is not just divided it's diced up like an onion for frying.

1. Tolstoy's War & Peace and Anna Karenina
2. Dostoyevsky's Crime & Punishment
3. Foucault's The Archaeology of Knowledge and Discipline & Punish: the birth of the prison
4. Goethe's Faust
5. Wolfe's Mrs Dalloway
6. Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Satanic verses
7. McCullough's Masters of Rome series

gotta go now... must start reading!

Monday, March 9, 2009

new authors - new friends

This week, inspired by our recent book-shopping, bemused book-buying Becca asks in this weeks Musing... What is your policy when it comes to new authors? Do you feel comfortable purchasing a book or do you prefer to borrow new authors from the library? How often do you 'try out' a new author? .

Becca gave a hint as to my answer...if I'm buying I'll go for a tried and true author over a new one every time. What she didn't say, kindly, is that I get a little excited (my kids would say that was a gross understatement) when a favourite author publishes something new. I was very uncool to shop with when I discovered the new Sharon Penman - ask my poor son who reckons he won't be able to show his face in that shop for a very long time (visions of 'oh look there's the man who was with the crazy book lady').

I'll buy an author I know anytime but, as mentioned in my last post, I do research before I purchase a new author, in order to keep my reading from stagnating. I borrow from the library and friends; take recommendation on board; and it was one reason for doing my degree in English lit. To find out what books I should/could read, you know what's out there and how to read outside my comfort zone. It's a great joy to find a new author to whom I can devote my attention - it's like making a new friend.

6 years part-time at uni? now that's research!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

new books **sigh**

There's nothing like getting new books! the extra leg on the y chromosome makes me question my exuberance at owning new books but that aside I have a process for bringing new books into my home and life.

1. drop book voucher hints like crazy before birthday, Mother’s day, anniversary and Christmas.
2. tuck those book vouchers in my wallet and revel in the fact that I can buy whenever I feel so disposed.
3. research: check out bookshops, friends, and reviews till I decide what precious few books I can get for my vouchers.
4. give in and shop: (usually have the vouchers for at least 3 months before I get to this point) which event is enhanced by the presence of a fellow booklover.
5. get as many books as I can for my voucher.
6. bring them home and leave them on my desk (where I spend a lot of my time) so I can admire them (you might even catch me caressing those smooth new covers - and yes I am aware this is somewhat creepy).
7. after about a week I take them up to my bedside table - there to be admired for a few more weeks.
8. From the bedside table they go to the bookshelves (still within reach from bed) to wait in line with the other un-reads and the beginning of the reading process (which is another list for another day).

I was very excited with my last voucher to get a book I haven’t been able to get for a while (the Dahl). And to get 3 books – I usually only manage to get 2. These are my latest purchases, obtained with a Christmas voucher, while shopping with my friend & book-devotee


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

how we read

At a recent book club meeting I was shocked to find that not everyone reads every word. To be fair I think they were equally shocked at me for reading every word of 900+ page book. It's so easy to judge others by our own experience, I somewhat naively, assumed that because that’s the way I read that’s the way everyone reads. I’m so glad bodacious Becca asked about this in Monday musing – how interesting to see all the comments about how we read. Dyslexia driven, I do read every word (sometimes two or three times!) to help me get the order correct, which in turn enables sentences to make sense. I miss a lot anyway no matter how slow I go. Sometimes the words make sense in the wrong order but mean something completely different. It can alter the meaning of whole chapters. When I find myself going... huh? I have to backtrack. Sometimes I just don’t get a story until some bright spark (usually at bookclub) says something revealing and everything clicks into place.

There’s another character trait driving my need to read every word – curiosity. I can’t bear the thought I might miss something if I skim/scan the page. There might be some clever word play or some essential clue and anyway I just like words so I don’t usually skim.

My first real experience with skimming was just last month. I just couldn’t get into Friday Night Knitting Club so I stopped about half-way through, read the last few chapters and skimmed the rest so I could share in the discussion (sort of) at BookFreaks . I didn’t really enjoy the experience so I’m afraid it will continue to be slow steady every word for me.