Archive for June 2009
I wouldn’t normally blog about a bookshop as big as Borders except they’re doing one of their 100 Top Favourite Books of all Time. I reckon we should do our best to get one of our favourite books on the list. I recommend Grug just to be awkward. You don’t have to take my suggestion you can vote for your own book, but it could be fun to try and stack the odds. Anyway, here’s the linkso you can see which books are currently on the list.
Edit 26th July 2009: Just checked the link to find out progress and it’s not there any more. The voting must have finished and I’ll have to do some more research to find out the results. Will get back to you with this info. I’ve taken the url out.
Another in the list of bulk buys. I still have my doubts about this one, but it paid off in the end.
I won an auction on eBay. I was very careful to do my calculations before I put in a bid. The listing was for 2,000+ books. I thought about it and decided to do my calculations based on 2,500 books. I worked out how many per box, how many boxes and roughly how much space they would take up based on how many boxes high I would be able to stack them. I figured I would have enough room with maybe three or four boxes left over. No problems. Really happy. I put in a bid, dithered a bit over it as I really wasn’t convinced I wanted them, so I lowered the amount I was prepared to spend…twice. I won at a really low price.
Talked my nephew into helping me pick them up as I’d done some damage to my neck and didn’t want to have to face the wrath of my physio when I made it worse. The books were in the back of a shop located fairly close by which was good as I estimated we’d have to make two trips. I collected some boxes being fairly confident it would be enough. We drove down there, found the back of the shop as instructed. The seller opened the door and said those fateful words…”You realise you have to take everything”…I looked and laughed as there was nothing else I could do. There were far more than 2,000, my estimate of what the + might be was totally lacking. My final estimate was about 4,500 books. It took us three trips in my wide bodied Camry to get them back to my place and because of that it took much longer than expected so we had to leave them sitting on the floor of the garage until I could find time to put them in a better place. I had already put lots of plastic on the floor to protect them as I expected to just stack them there until they were all transported here.
With the second trip I figured it didn’t matter if I lost a few boxes of books due to being squashed so what with not having enough boxes we just put enough boxes in to give the whole thing formation and began throwing books in. We stuffed them behind the boxes and stacked them around the boxes. We put a couple of boxes on the back seat and then piled books around the boxes and stacked them on the floor of the car. It was chaotic, but it worked. So, here we are driving down Warrigal Road and I had to brake for some red lights. The books cascaded in a stream onto my nephew’s lap. He picked them up and sorted them into books he wanted (onto the floor with his feet) and books he didn’t want (thrown dismissively over the shoulder into the backseat) while drinking water from a clear bottle. The look on the guy’s face in the next car was a picture. It looked as if my nephew was drinking vodka as we were both very cheerful. When we got back home with that load we had another book-a-lanche when we opened the back door. They all just cascaded onto the ground. I wish I’d taken a video of it, it was very funny.
I had to get very creative when packing the books as there were just so many I had not accounted for in my calculations and I hadn’t collected enough empty boxes. I had kept the box from our new washing machine as I was going to cut it up and use it for packing books. I brought that out and put it in a corner of the house, we then carefully packed books in it. It was a big box and it must have taken several hundred books. It never moved again until I sold all the books to someone else and I had to unpack it into other, smaller boxes.
For those who are worried about the treatment we meted out to these poor books please be reminded they were secondhand. I expected some attrition from this treatment, but it was only about half a box full and most of them were in terrible condition before hand, none of them were very collectable as they were cheap books and I had other copies of them. I just want people to be warned to ask questions and to try to look at the auctions of these things beforehand so you have more information about them than I did…actually, I lie I really just want to entertain people with my story.
I found this fabulous website a while ago. It’s a part of the Eastern Regional Libraries website and can help you find new authors. Some lovely person has gone to the trouble of writing lists of who writes like who and has presented it here.
Here’s an example.
Authors like Terry Pratchett
Piers Anthony (Fantasy)
Charles De Lint
Stephen Donaldson (Fantasy)
Raymond E Feist
J V Jones
Guy Gavriel Kay
George R R Martin
L E Modesitt
J R R Tolkien
I guarantee I chose the first author that came to mind, there are reasons it was Terry Pratchett which I’ll tell you about another time. I don’t necessarily agree with their choices, some of them are rather interesting and they don’t include a number of my other favourite authors but this is a big project so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and hoping they’ll catch up at some later stage.
Reading this list is interesting, though. My nephew raves about Mercedes Lackey and I’ve heard so much about Janny Wurts, Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan that they’ve just moved up my to-read list. What I’m also finding interesting is that I’ve actually met two of them as well as Terry Pratchett.
This is one of the most talked about books this year. I heard so much about it from so many sources I just had to read it.
This is a really fabulous book. It details the journey of the Sarajevo Haggadah as seen through the eyes of a book conservator. I don’t know how much is correct, but the forensic ideas are just fabulous. To take such a small sample and be able to state where and when this book was looked at is just amazing. I truly admire the author for taking the facts and weaving this fantastic story around them.
Not only that, but I felt I was there. In each section of the book I felt I was really there watching and following the story.
One small segment of the book I felt wasn’t needed. How much of that was due to me wanting my 16 year old to read it and how much of it was because I felt it was out of place is a question I can’t answer. Until this point I was thinking it would be a fantastic book for her to read as it would give her a possible career to aim for. She is interested in so many elements of the work that goes into book conservation and I felt it would be good, but then came the sex scene. The first one was okay, it was glossed over, but the second one was not okay. She won’t be able to read this book for another couple of years.
Edit: Not certain how that happened. I must have clicked on publish instead of save draft. I was only saving the link as it seemed like a good link to show people but I had no thoughts in mind as to what I wanted to say about it. I might have to make something up pretty quickly.
This is a great website for those who want to write or read fan fiction. You can also find a beta reader, someone who will act like an editor and read your fan fiction with the idea of publishing in mind. I think the idea of being a beta reader is pretty cool.
Some of the fans are pretty good at getting the right writing style.
Snailmail No More by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin is about two teenage girls and their friendship. Tara has moved states while Elizabeth has moved houses due to her alcholic father. They start off by writing letters and when they both get computers they take the conversation to email. It’s a lovely book, easy to read and a little compulsive. I had trouble putting it down.
Tara and Elizabeth go through the highs and lows of being teenagers. They discuss boys, changes in their bodies and making new friends. They discuss Tara becoming a big sister and Elizabeth’s father.
Alcoholics and Alcoholism, and how it affects the family
Making new friends and incorporating them into your existing friendship group
Being different and still being friends
New baby in the family
When I’m stressed I turn to the genre I’m most comfortable with, fantasy. The particular area of fantasy depends on so many factors I’m not going to discuss here, but this time I turned to Robert Asprin and have been re-reading the M.Y.T.H Inc stories.
It’s a fabulous series of books and this excerpt from Wikipedia explains it much better than I can. “MythAdventures is the collective name for a series of humorous fantasy novels written by Robert Lynn Asprin that are popular for their whimsical nature, myriad characters, and liberal use of puns. Each novel’s title makes a pun on the similarity between the word “myth” and either the prefix “mis-” or the word “miss”, with the exception of the first, which puns on the phrase “Another fine mess” (which was, incidentally, almost the novel’s title due to a misunderstanding with book’s publisher).”
What Wikipedia doesn’t say is how I feel about them. I just love them. They are wonderful, they have very cute characters and I just wish I had some of their gadgets. I would absolutely love to be able to rent out a bit of extra-dimensional space, it’d be fabulous to have more room for my books.
I sometimes get a bit confused with all the action, but I suspect it would be the same with any action movie. Keeping track of the characters and what magical disguise they are currently wearing is a little hard.
This series seems to have engendered a similar following to the Discworld series written by Sir Terry Pratchett. A quick google of ‘m.y.t.h. inc robert asprin’ will bring up a number of fan pages including a reference to the alt.fan.asprin newsgroup.
In my eagerness to buy all the books in the series I have managed to buy doubles of some of these books and when I’ve finished checking them all out I’ll be listing the doubles on Suz’s Space.
Reflections on Grug
When I was a child, my family were missionaries in Nepal. Every so often we would receive a “blue barrel” from Australia. This would contain all sorts of goodies, including presents for myself and my 3 siblings.
One barrel contained a gift for my brother – the first book of the Grug series. This book was a favourite with all of us and was read over and over. We all committed it to memory, simply because we read it so often. Even now, after 20 or so years, I still remember “Once the top of a burrawong tree fell to the ground, and the grassy top began to change. It became… Grug! And off Grug went to search for a place to live.”
Over the years, we collected most of the Grug books for my brother. When he grew up and moved out of home, the books were left with my parents, including the much loved first book, which now is a little worse for wear.
The advantage of the books being with my parents is my children have had the opportunity to read and love the Grug books too. My 7 year old learned to read with them and we are about to start reading them with my 5 year old.
The news that Grug is being reprinted has caused a lot of excitement – we are planning to buy a copy for my brother and keep it safe for when he has children, so he can share the joy of Grug with them.
Melissa Khalinsky is the mother of 2 boys and the oldest of 4 children. She runs the Business Mums Network and often has various kids story books on her desk and in her handbag!