Archive for June 2011
I’ve read a number of memoirs written by Jews about their life during the Holocaust, how they survived and how they rebuilt their lives afterwards but this is the first book I’ve read from a non-Jewish viewpoint.
Liubinas was born in Lithuania and fled with her family from the Russians to the West. They had an horrific time hiding in the forest and being hid by neighbouring families until they were sent to a refugee camp in Germany. They eventually managed to migrate to Australia in 1949 and rebuilt their lives in Melbourne, buying a house and with Liubinas marrying here and having a family.
This is a wonderful book, actually three books as it’s been divided into three sections with the first one being their time in Lithuania and Germany, the second one being their time in Australia until her marriage and the third being Liubinas first visit to Lithuania. It’s interesting to see how people other than Jews were persecuted during the Holocaust. I did know about this, the figures I heard as a child were 6 million Jews killed and 6 millions others, but I’ve never managed to read any first hand accounts of it. Liubinas talks about the Jews being persecuted and actually tries to help someone at one point. The only difference I found between the Jews and Liubinas’ family is the celebrations, Liubinas’ family openly celebrated Christmas while the Jews hide all possible celebrations. We also get some information of how the Communists treated Lithuanians i.e. not well.
I loved this book, it was well written, reasonably well proofed but I felt it could use a good deal of editing. I thought it was too Australianised and would have liked to have more Lithuanian in it (with translations, of course). Liubinas calls her parents “Mother” and “Father” which I’m sure are not the words she would have used in Lithuania, I would have like to have seen the Lithuanian words and a translation as well as a glossary at the end with all the Lithuanian words, their translation and a pronunciation guide. Having said that it’s really the only problem I have with the book, it has graphic accounts of living as a Lithuanian under Communist rule, then living under German rule with a hair raising escape in good Hollywood tradition. The family had such trouble adjusting to life in Melbourne and this is shown very nicely. I found myself sympathising so much with them, it’s incredibly courageous to emigrate to a country where you don’t understand the language or the customs. The language was a little simple but I’m bearing in mind English was not her first language, nor her second, in fact I’ve lost count of the number of languages she could speak enough of to make herself understood.
Anyway, I fully recommend this book but you’re not getting it from me as this one’s staying on my shelf.
It’s almost July and I’m watching from the sidelines as someone else has the experience you never want to have. I’m not going to reveal names or anything else other than to say she’s going well. It’s been a bit of a shock and has made many of us stop and take stock of our lives and our businesses.
I have been stressing out about my website and transferring books in time for it going live on 1st July and this ‘little experience’ has made me have second thoughts about it. It’s still going live on time but I’m going to stop stressing, I’m going to start writing again. It’s all about what’s important. The website is important, but as I have over 500 listings transferred I feel it’s a very good start and the rest will get transferred or culled in due course, transferring the books before it goes live is not important.
I have some other tasks that have deadlines and I’m going to try and make those deadlines without stressing about them. It’s almost the end of the financial year and I’ll need to start the process of putting my paperwork together for the Taxation Office. I have the bare bones of an article for The Bookshop Blog and that will be written and I’ll also work on my next SAC (School Assessed Coursework) for my Year 12 English Literature subject. I might write about the process of doing this SAC as it’s an interesting one and I’m debating which direction to take. I’ve been nominated to the position of PR for Nullus Anxietas 4 and there is much to do there. My pile of books to be reviewed is growing and needs to be reduced by actually writing the reviews. And at some stage I need to stop giving you updates and actually write. One of the things I don’t feel important is the monthly Retro Reading newsletter, not the people subscribing to it, but the newsletter itself. I’ve never managed to feel it useful and while I will continue gathering names for it I might not use them monthly. I’m just not certain about the direction the newsletter will go, but monthly just doesn’t seem to suit me.
Somewhere in the middle of all of that I will be scheduling some family time, some housework time, eating time and sleep time. Focussing on what is important.
I wasn’t going to write again until after the website goes live on the 1st July. Unfortunately it’s been a bad week and I’m recovering from a migraine last night which put me out of action and is making it challenging to do important stuff. I don’t like complaining about my health here as I feel you don’t come here for that but it’s something that’s worth mentioning as it’s really slowing me down. I managed to get my migraines under control for two or three years but now they’re back and I have to make allowances for them. I endeavour to do the most urgent and important things but everything else needs to be put on the back burn burner for the time being. Sending out orders is both on the urgent and important list so I just make sure I check it twice to ensure I’m sending the right book to the right place. I’m going to have to sit down and evaluate what is urgent and what is important and what is something that can just go by the wayside for the moment and be picked up later on. Some of them are little things that I need off my mind and don’t have much impact on anyone else while other things are slightly bigger. I will write as and when I can and feel up to it as that seems to make a big impact on my emotional well being.
My apologies to anyone if I haven’t been quite up to the mark recently.
I’ve been looking at my time recently and wondering when I’d next have the time to write. I’m in the middle of an article I’m writing for someone else and I have to finish that so I can get paid. I have a plethora of books going from my To Be Read pile into my To Be Reviewed pile, it’s not that I’m reading a lot but more that I’m reading steadily. While pondering it last night and transferring listings to my new website I happened to do an eBay search and didn’t like what I saw.
I’ve heard about these listings from friends who have complained mightily about them, but hadn’t actually seen them myself. They’re books created from Wikipedia pages. The one I saw is Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers by Lambert M. Surhone. I don’t know who Lambert M. Surhone is and I won’t know if his book is any good as I don’t intend to spend that amount of money on it. It was $108 on eBay and $69 on another website. The description on the other website infuriates me…to be honest the whole thing infuriates me.
Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online. High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles!
I would like to know when Wikipedia articles became High Quality Content. Yes, I do use them as sources occasionally, but I do try to back up that information from other sources. I believe if you’re writing a thesis you’re not allowed to use Wikipedia at all.
Wikipedia is an open source website and anyone can amend and insert information. I understand they have instituted some form of control with talk pages to discuss changes and moderators to make changes, but anyone can go in and make these changes. You don’t need qualifications or even accurate information. I haven’t asked his permission so I can’t use his name, but a popular author was complaining a while back about things on his Wikipedia page which he never knew he’d done.
Basically, you’ve got people who’ve probably done absolutely zero original work, may not have even read the books and are publishing books using other people’s research, information or misinformation. Why are publishers allowing this to happen? They’re probably self published, or even more likely, print on demand. This means anyone can go into Wikipedia, take the information, formulate it into a book and then send it off to booksellers who will order a book from a Print On Demand publishing house when they have the money. Why are otherwise reputable booksellers accepting these books for selling? I don’t know, but it probably has something to do with money.
The other thing that infuriates me is why do they think people are so stupid as to want to buy something that they can access for free. Generally people are not stupid and readers are anything but, so I just don’t get it.
Not only but also. I did a search for the ‘author’ of this book on that reputable booksellers website and came up 307,500 results. Even if he’s only selling a couple of copies of each book he must be laughing all the way to the bank. Made the ‘mistake’ of putting his name into Wikipedia and it opens up a whole new wealth of information which I don’t have time to rant over now, but the essence is still here.
Print on Demand is a whole new post and one I have very little information about.
Anyway, I’ll probably be back when I’ve cooled down and made lots more progress transferring listings, I’ve only got about 1,100 to go. This always assumes I don’t get annoyed with Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry and write a few words, I’m of the opinion it’d actually be a perfect time to open a bookshop.
There’s been a lot of debate since the 4 Corners programme on the abbatoirs in Indonesia. I haven’t seen the programme and have no intention of doing so as I’ve been told it’s quite graphic and disturbing. I had a discussion on Twitter yesterday and I hope I didn’t offend him. He told me this had been going on for 18 years and I commented on how interesting that number was.
The abbatoirs have been slaughtering the animals without any respect to them at all, in some cases they have been letting them die in pain and slowly. Sometimes they have cut the achilles tendon in order to keep them still while they die. I believe there was a lot of graphic footage about how these abbatoirs work. I thought there was a large Muslim population in Indonesia and that they eat Halal meat. I also thought Halal meat was prepared in many of the same ways as Kosher meat i.e. slaughter the animal quickly and cleanly with respect and prayers. If this is correct then this meat can not possibly be Halal. Maybe we should be getting the Muslims involved rather than just boycotting those abbatoirs.
I’ve been trying to watch The Last of the Mohicans, with little success I might add. I read the book some time ago and one of the things that struck me about both the book and the movie is the respect the Indians pay to the animals they kill. First of all they only kill the animals they absolutely need and that seems to be something we’ve lost in this day and age. Secondly they kill them cleanly, quickly and with respect, they ask for forgiveness for having killed them and thank them for giving up their lives for them. There seems to be little respect in those abbatoirs.
18 is a very interesting number. I’m not going to comment on mathematically or numerically, although you can get your Driver’s Licence in Victoria at 18 and you’re allowed to buy alcohol at 18, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. In Hebrew, 18 is Chai and Chai is translated as ‘life’. If these abbatoirs have been getting away with this behaviour for 18 years then maybe this is a good year for them to change.
I’m not actually certain if that’s a good heading for this, it’s going to be a general rant with no particular theme in mind. I’ve been catching up on some goings on in the industry in some forums and reading what other people have to say. It’s going to be an interesting time and I have no answers.
I understand the price of everything is going up due to the recent spate of natural disasters and the political challenges in the Middle East. Australia Post recently put their prices up, they’re going up again on the 4th of July with a review every three months. I’ve managed to absorb the previous three price rises but I had no choice this time, I had to put my prices up. If I find on posting that I’ve overcharged someone by a very large amount then I do try to refund part of the postage price, it’s easy if they’ve paid by Paypal. I’ll be reassessing the prices on each price rise and will see what I can do to absorb the rise, but it will be hard.
REDGroup, the owners of Borders and Angus & Robertson will stop ordering books from publishers on the 1st of June. I can’t begin to speculate on the impact this will have on the industry. When one of your biggest buyers stops buying from you what do you do? Especially when you know there’s no-one in the market place who has a hope of taking their place. Such a big challenge, so many long term repercussions.
There’s so much happening on eBay in the book department. Several months ago they changed the pricing structure to make it easier for people to list books. If you have a basic store costing $19.95 per month you can list as many books as you want for 5c per listing per month, the final value fee is not too good at 9.9% but if sales are down then at least you can list heaps more for very little. The listing fees were too enormous before (I think they were 40c per listing per month) and it doesn’t take many months before you’ve lost the price of the book in listing fees, but 5c is pretty good and you can list a $10 book for two years and still make a profit. The problem is they’ve opened up the market to some pretty big companies and between them they’ve listed almost 7 million books just on eBay Australia alone. We have a very small population and I’m not sure we can sell enough books to make that number of listings viable. One of the problems is that these large companies are mostly in the UK and they can get some very good deals with Royal Mail to send their parcels outside of the UK. In almost every case they can mail the brand new book to your house for less than the price you can pay at the shops, and that includes postage. I know, I sell pre-loved books and therefore that’s a totally different market, but with 7 million listings how is the average buyer going to find my book? If they know the name of the book then it’s easy, but if they just want to browse then they’re going to stop after a couple of pages. The other problem with eBay is that to accommodate these large sellers they’ve changed the search function, you can’t search by category any more. If you want to search by fantasy then you’re out of luck unless your seller has filled in the item specifics and it takes time to fill in the item specifics. It was much easier when there were second level categories that the seller had to choose in order to list their books.
So many book sellers have found that in order to make money you have to sell on several different platforms. You can’t just have a website and expect to make money on that, you also have to sell on eBay and other online auction sites, some people even sell at markets. I have a website and sell on eBay, I also write for The Bookshop Blog and do some virtual admin work for some people, I’ll also be a Census Collector in the up and coming election. It’s leaving me pushed for time, but it is exciting. I do make posting orders a priority.