all things biblio



For the Love of Used Books

book smell.jpg

My sentiments exactly regarding old books. I recently went to the annual Founders Book Fair here in Nelson, a weeklong booklover’s must-do. Several hours perusing thousands of used books in a chilly barn (I was prepared this year – layers, fingerless gloves, no purse, just a pocketful of cash and a reusable bag – and a partner to carry said bag when it got too heavy) ranging in price from 50 cents to three dollars netted me another 40+ books to add to my collections for $43. I felt supremely satisfied and my only problem was how to organize my already-full shelves and what to read first. I accepted haphazard “organization” (I swear there is some method there!) and then cuddled up with a cup of tea and a new/old paperback. There is something a bit magical about old books, as they are a story themselves. Who owned this? What did it mean to them? Why did they part with it? Did they even read it, or was it merely occupying shelf space until they had a clear-out?

Two other things I love about old books: inscriptions and random bookmarks. Receipts have to be the most common bookmark, the best one I found was for a cartload of liquor from a store in England. Perhaps someone had a party and then when everyone left they took the last remaining bottle and a book and sighed in relief for solitude. Or perhaps that was merely their personal supply for the week as they  stayed in and hid from the outside world, reading and drinking (although the two only go together to a certain degree, usually that degree when the contents of the wine glass meet the pages of the book because someone has nodded off… not that I’ve ever done that of course, that wine stain was surely there before!).

Whenever I give a book as a gift I always inscribe a note to the receiver. A book is a personal gift and there had to be some thought in selecting that particular book for that particular person. Inside an anthology of quotes titled “Shakespeare on Love” I found this handwritten inside the cover:

“To Violet,
Merry Christmas 2006.
May God bless you.
Love Jayne xxx”

Was this a gift given to a friend who loves Shakespeare? Or was it from an admirer? And why was Violet able to part with it? Perhaps there was little meaning behind it and much misunderstanding about Violet’s taste for Shakespeare. Or for love quotes, for that matter. We will never know and can only speculate.

What about you? Do you share my love for used books or are you devoted to the new and untouched? And what treasures have you come across in books?



Spreading the Goodreads love

I am a huge fan of Goodreads. I use it to keep track of what I’ve read and find new recommendations, and to see what my friends read (I believe seeing someone’s reading list is a fairly intimate glance into their mind). I highly recommend it to all booklovers. I recently learned a few new tricks, including how to add a link to my local library. Now when I find a book I want to read, I can with one click see if it’s available at my library. How exciting!

So to anyone interested in Goodreads, or already signed up, here is the link to the article where I learned a few new things. I will say I am not generally a fan of BookRiot because their site is full of ads and not at all easy to read, so apologies for that, just do your best to focus on the content and ignore the flash and nonsense.

By the way feel free to add me as a Goodreads friend– let’s see what each other is reading!

An Awesome List of Short-ish Books

A worthy list indeed; I may add all of these to my To Read list! I’m usually not interested in book reviewers. This is the first time I’ve come across Maureen Corrigan, and I think I’m a fan. From the way she writes it’s evident she is intelligent, a prolific reader and lover of books.

No Schedules, 100 Notable Books and My Top Ten Books of 2015

Well. I’ve been away from my projects for awhile but life is just like that and I’ve decided I don’t have to make myself have a schedule that will only result in my feeling bad when I don’t adhere to it, because feeling bad for no good reason is something I try to avoid. I prefer to live in an undisciplined, do-as-I-please and take-it-or-leave-it style. Just had to get that off my chest.

As a result of being away from my projects, I have a head filled with things to get out into the world! I foresee a smattering of posts getting done today.

To start with, the title “100 Notable Books of 2015” really caught my eye. Oooh, how many have I read? I was admittedly a bit surprised to find that I have not read a single book that the New York Times editors deemed the most notable of the year (as a side note, 2015 is not over yet – poor authors who have not yet published and missed their chance). Needless to say I found a few to add to my To Read list so it was worth a look anyway.

However it inspired me to create my own list as a means to look back on what I’ve read this year. I set a goal to read 50 books and am currently on numbers 44, 45 and 46 so I reserve the right to change depending on what I have yet to read in the next 33 days. In no particular order (that would take me ages to decide) I present to you:

My 10 Favourite Books of 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Worst Person Ever by Douglas Coupland

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

The Dog Stars by Peter

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St John Mandel

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is the Life by Alex Shearer

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry

Cooked by Michael Pollan

There you have it. Apparently I was big on Fiction in 2015. What books are in your Top 10 of 2015?

Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes place for that.

− John Green

hot drink plus book equals happiness
It doesn’t take much to make a book lover happy.

America’s Reading Habits

While idly browsing Pinterest, a venture that presents the risk of disappearing down a rabbit hole of randomness, I came across this infographic regarding America’s reading habits.

America's Reading Habits infographic from H&R Block
America’s Reading Habits infographic from H&R Block

I discovered that I read far more books than the average person; I suppose it shouldn’t have been that surprising, but I couldn’t help but think who are the people only reading 1-2 books in a whole year!? I’m currently on book #28 this year (having set a Goodreads Reading Challenge of 50 books for 2015, and currently slogging through the 800+ pages of The Luminaries). When selecting books to read I weigh how worthy of my time they might be, as I’m afraid there aren’t enough days in a lifetime to get through my To Read list; how much more agonizing would the decision be if you were only reading 1-2 a year? I hope these people have chosen well, though logically if they had read excellent books one would presume they would be spurred on to consume more than 1-2 in a whole entire year.

Briefly I’ll mention my dismay at how much of the book market is dominated by Amazon. Look at the number of books sold in the U.S. in 2013 (2,590,000,000 – a cheering number in itself – yay, people are reading!) and then look at the number of independent bookstores (1,917). Imagine for a moment the faces of independent bookstore owners if all of those 2 billion+ books had been bought in their stores.

Where do you find yourself stacking up? Please share your own insights in the comments.

Reading Together

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I’d Rather Be in This Treehouse

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Cozy, quiet, pile of books and tea. And a dog. 

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