July 18, 2009

Introducing: Booklove Saturdays

While there has been a tremendous lack of blogging lately, I have still been doing a lot of thinking about blogging, and what I want to do with it. I have some ideas. Mainly, to blog more. So I am tearing myself away from the fantastic book I'm reading to type a bit.

One of those ideas I had is that I want to start doing some weekly things, to trick myself into at least doing that much (anyone who struggles with their creative processes will know the value of tricking oneself. Bribes work, too). One for books, and one for knits.

It's been a good weeks for books, so I'll start there.

I finished The Thirteen and a Half Lives of Captain Bluebear, by Walter Moers. And it was ok. I don't think it quite measured up to the critic's quote on the cover comparing it in one go to J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, and Shel Silverstein. I don't think Mr. Moers is quite in their class, but then again, how many people can be? Those are some big literary shoes to fill.
Anyway, it was largely enjoyable and it went by fast, so I'm mostly happy with it, in all its fluff. I did like the pictures. Especially the one of the dragon that went on for eight or nine pages. That was a good one.

I also finished Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World. And of course I liked it. It was about books. Really nice books, which the two writers, Nancy and Larry Goldstone, collect. As one who is happy with the beat-up old library discards that cost a dollar or less, I don't anticipate ever becoming a serious book collector (never say never, though). My strategy with buying books is to get as many as possible for as little as possible (Yay for Half Price Books, my favorite bookstores yet). Where I found three lovely and well-loved copies of Andrew Lang's Fairy Books (Blue, Red, and Green, the first three in the collection), a boxed set of the Griffin and Sabine trilogy, and once a signed copy of Stardust, which I'm still sort of kicking myself for not getting. So Used and Rare was an interesting look at how people get started down that road of spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a single book at a time. I tend to like my books about books with a little more history, like in Nicholas Basbanes' stuff, but it was a nice read.

I'm almost done with Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time, by Dava Sobel. I have Galileo's Daughter, which is probably her best-known work, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. The giant Half Price Books in Dallas has their cartography books shelved right next to the genetics, and I was looking for Richard Dawkins when I came across Longitude and picked it up on impulse. And it sounded interesting, and it is. I started reading it while I was still visiting in Texas, one night when the time-change had me up later than everyone else. And then I didn't want to go to sleep, because it was so interesting. It's only in recent years that I've started really branching out into more non-fiction, especially into science and history writing, but this has been one of my more successful forays. Who knew men puttering around their workshops, inventing clocks that changed the world would make for such lovely reading?

And finally, the mailman rang my doorbell this morning to hand me my copy of I Capture the Castle, which I've been waiting impatiently for all week. I actually visited four bookstores last weekend without finding it, and then finally came home and ordered it off Amazon, along with the newest B-52s CD, "Funplex", which I still have yet to listen to, because I can't seem to stop listening to the newest Regina Spektor CD, "Far".
Nevertheless, I am already four chapters into it, and adoring every word. I wanted to read it after Brenda Dayne talked about it during her Audible spot on her brilliant podcast, Cast On. She mentioned that she fell in love from the first sentence: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink." It's about a genteel British family, post WWII, living in a crumbling, centuries-old castle on less and less money every year, and that's about all I know so far. But it's very charming, and I'm dying to get on with it. I fear it'll be another weekend in which I don't even leave the apartment.
I must say, as well (and this should make you happy, Mama), reading about how they get by in a castle that's falling apart around them, only reminds me just a little bit of how it's always been in our house, with one unfinished project or another going on. I still wonder if the wall in living room will ever be finished, or if it'll just be studs and drywall until someone buys it as-is. I'm not even going to mention how many of the self-appointed deadlines have gone by on when the house in Louisiana was supposed to be done.

The other literary thing going on this week, is that I started volunteering at the public library. Since I've not only decided to go to grad school for library sciences, but have started narrowing down which schools I'll apply to I figured I ought to get a little experience. So far I like it. They had me start with re-shelving children's books, which was nice. And then they had me throw a bunch of out-dated reference books in the dumpster, which was a little bit traumatic. I did not expect to start my library career by trashing good books. But such is life, I guess. Out with the old. Although, I now know the combination to the padlock at the library's dumpster, and don't think I didn't seriously consider going back to rescue some of those books.
My triumph for the evening was when I sent The Hundred Dresses home with a little girl, just by telling her how much I loved it when I was her age. I hope she loves it too.
And then that was overshadowed by almost getting myself locked in the library and setting off the alarm. I thought the staff would stay a little while after closing to finish up what they're doing, but it turns out they run for the door at closing time. So while I was in the stacks, straightening books and whatnot, I was forgotten, and I didn't come out until they had almost turned the alarm on.
That's a mistake I'll only make once.


cocoabean said...

I could think of worse things than being locked in a library all night. Have you tried half.com for books? it's a wonderful place!!

Katness said...

I would have been perfectly pleased, had it not been for the alarm that immediately calls the police.

I've mostly only bought textbooks on half.com, but yes, it's a great source!

Bill said...

Weeding and withdrawing books can be quite traumatic, especially at first. Of course, the reason for doing so is usually to increase circulation by allowing patrons to find the informatio and materials they're actually looking for (hence "weeding"). And, more importantly, getting rid of out of date information is critical, especially legal and medical information that can be dangerous. But, yeah, putting books into a recycling dumpster makes one feel quite guilty--which I think is why some people bring their crappy old books to the library as "donations" (as if libraries want crappy, out of date, grimy books).