Saturday, 30 November 2013

Can there be too much bookcase porn?

One of the fun, and sometimes unexpected, things about blogging is what catches people's attention. I've written posts that I knew would get hits - the ones on The Hunger Games (first post, second post, third post) and Fifty Shades of Grey, for instance. And they did too... But then there have been others that have surprised me - such as the string of bookcase 'porn' posts. Obviously, given the nature of keywords and search engine functions, a search for 'porn' of any type is quite likely going to mean my posts land somewhere in the hierarchy of the search. But, they've also attracted the book junkies in goodly numbers, because, as I wrote in the first of the posts, we're none of us immune to drooling over photos of fabulous bookcases! You can find the other posts here and here...

So I figured (particularly in the light of comments that just landed on some of the older posts) it was time to post the pics I've been collecting over the last little while as I've come across them. There are some beauties in this lot. Enjoy!

I just realised there's a common theme in this lot - the whole floor to ceiling thing... That would have to be the ultimate book junkie fantasy, I think - a room where the bookcases can do just that - and all the more fun for having to have a ladder to get to the uppermost ones!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Floating bookcases

How DID we find all sorts of random things before we had Facebook? I'm not a true Facebook junkie - in that my whole life isn't plastered all over my wall. I figure people have better things to do than follow the mundane ins and outs of my life day by day. I do love playing Scrabble and have a number of games on the go all the time. I do use it to keep in touch with overseas friends. And I do love the random things that pop up from time to time, including this VERY cool idea for floating bookcases, which honestly wouldn't have occurred to me if I'd not seen it there. Follow this link for the whole collection of fun DIY projects:

Use Bookends as Floating Bookshelves
Use Bookends as Floating Bookshelves

Book hangovers

When I did the post on the A-Z quiz, one of the questions was about book hangovers. Book junkie I may be, but I'd never come across this phrase, so I was a bit at a loss, as was the person who'd done the quiz before me on her blog. Someone on her comments list provided an explanation, so I dealt with my quiz differently than she did. Today, The Librarian posted this meme on Facebook, and I couldn't resist popping it up here. Which book gave you YOUR last book hangover?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A-Z book survey

There's a book survey floating around the blogosphere, and it's kinda fun, so thought I'd have a play with it. I saw it on At the Edge of Ordinary and then followed links to the blogs that writer follows - quite fascinating seeing how others answer the questions.
So, here goes:

Author you've read the most books from: Tricky - I'm basing this on the fact that this author has the biggest series I've read (and re-read) - Elsie J. Oxenham. It's not that she's my favourite author of all time, she's just written more books than most authors I read!

Best sequel ever: The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. My Name is Asher Lev documents Asher's childhood and growing up as an artist and observant Jew. The sequel is a powerful story where for any number of reasons he could have walked away from Judaism, but doesn't...continuing his struggle to live as both people, and dealing with what both ask of him.

Currently reading: Noel Streatfield by Angela Bull - marvelous biography of this amazing children's author. It always makes me crave her adult fiction, none of which I've ever been able to find, let alone read!

Drink of choice while reading: Tea, usually. Wine, occasionally if it's late in the day!

E-reader or physical book: Book, always. Have never read a digital version of a book and don't intend to.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school: Gilbert Blythe from L.M. Montgomery's Anne books! The gorgeous Gilbert - who won Anne in the end...

Glad you gave this book a chance: This is tricky. Probably April Fool's Day by Bryce Courtenay. I don't like his books, generally. I admired his success, but I didn't enjoy what felt to me like books written to a formula. April Fool's Day is the book he promised his son Damon, who died of medically acquired AIDS, he would write. It's a very different beast to all his other books in its utter raw honesty. I kept this one - I don't own any of his others.

Hidden gem book: The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden. The story of a half gypsy child left orphaned after the death of her grandmother, and her subsequent adoption by a single woman in a small English village. This is one of Godden's books that sits across the adult/children's literature divide. An exquisite little gem that I first came across in condensed form in a Readers Digest anthology, and much later acquired in its full length version.

Important moment in your reading life: Reading Anne Frank's diary, aged 8, and realising that not all books were stories - some of them were real people!

Just finished: A Vicarage Family and Beyond the Vicarage by Noel Streatfield - the first and third of her ficionalised autobiographical trilogy. The second is called Away from the Vicarage and I'm still hunting a copy. Interesting to be going on with Angela Bull's actual biography and making the comparisons of real events and those fictionalised for this series.

Kinds of books you won't read: Vampires! DB loves the Anne Rice books, and gave me one to read, telling me how awesome it was. I did try, truly I did. But, it left me cold - and I couldn't even finish it! Graphic novels don't do it for me either.

Longest book you've read: Shogun by James Clavell, I think... I'm not really one for huge door stoppers. I'd rather read a long series than one humungous book - don't know why that is!

Major book hangover because of: A book hangover - for those who don't know - is finishing a book but not being able to get out of the world it created for you....from a comment on another blog where the blogger asked what on earth a book hangover was - which was also my question. Maybe I'm permanently in a state of book hangover! I certainly seem to have characters from books hanging around for ages after I've finished a book. Perhaps my biggest one was when I was reading for an undergraduate paper about Dora Carrington - partner of Lytton Strachey, who was one of the Bloomsbury group. I read biogs of ALL the Bloomsburys, and I had them all hovering for nearly a semester!

How many bookcases do you own: Currently, four. Bought when I moved in with DB after selling off my motley collection of pine bookcases acquired over many years as the collection grew. However, I'm looking at purchasing maybe three more...possible enable me to get the rest of my books out of storage now we have room for more!!

One book you have read multiple times: Oh Lordy....ALL my books!! The ones I re-read the most... everything I own by Chaim Potok, L.M. Montgomery, Elsie J. Oxenham, Rumer Godden, John Wyndham, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer - and that's only the tip of the iceberg!

Preferred place to read: Curled up someplace quiet and comfortable. In our old apartment, that was my nest of pillows on the couch. Here, I've not yet worked out the best spot. I have a room of my own - perhaps when I have that properly set up, that will be the place...

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feel from a book you read: This is from The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, and comes towards the end when David is asked by Sophie if he loves Rosalind. There is a specific context in the novel, but beyond that, this quote embodies everything about love for a partner for me:
A word again... When the minds have learnt to mingle, when no thought is wholly one's own, and each has taken too much of the other ever to be entirely himself alone; when one has reached the beginning of seeing with a single eye, loving with a single heart. enjoying with a single joy; when there can be moments of identity and nothing is separate save bodies that long for one another... When there is that, where is the word? There is only the inadequacy of the word that exists.
Reading regret:  That a lifetime won't be long enough to read everything I want to read!

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in the series): The Abbey Books by Elsie J. Oxenham. I have lots of them, but all the ones I don't have are long out of print and incredibly rare. Both the Girls Gone By publishers and the British Abbey Girls Society have rights to re-publish many of the scarce titles, but it will be a long time before they get them all out.

Three of your all-time favourite books: Oy...only three?! The Asher Lev books (yes, I know, that's two, but you can't read one without the other so I'm counting them as one!), The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, and....ooooh....A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Greene. That leaves SO many out...seriously!!

Unapologetic fangirl for: 'Fangirl' ACK!! Horrible term... Buuuut - lots of vintage children's literature - favourite authors: Elsie J. Oxenham, Dorita Fairlie Bruce, L.M. Montgomery, Hesba Brinsmead, Ruth M. Arthur, Honor Arundel, K.M. Peyton, and oodles more (the bookshelves are downstairs, and I'd have to go down to make a list...).

Very excited about this release more than all others: The second in Maggie Anton's new trilogy, Rav Hisda's Daughter. Her Rashi's Daughters trilogy is magnificent, and the Rav Hisda's Daughter trilogy, based on having read the first of them, looks likely to be as good. Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Worst bookish habit: Buying books and more books... I'm hopeless with libraries - I borrow, and then forget to take them back, so I get fined... So, I buy them instead. I'm getting WAY more selective now, so I have a much smaller pile that will go on to their second homes via second hand bookstores!

Your latest book purchase: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (interesting interview with the author in the weekend before last's papers that got me intrigued) and The Full Ridiculous by Mark Lamprell (recommended by a friend the same weekend), both purchased this Monday.

ZZZ-snatcher book (the last book that kept you up WAY late):'s been a while since I did this. Can't remember. I used to do this all the time when I lived alone. I don't do it so much these days because I'm exhausted by the end of the day. More what happens is that I'm up in the wee smalls due to pain, and I'm reading at 3 or 4 in the morning having been asleep for a while.

Well, THAT was fun. One thing it didn't ask was HOW you read - I tend to go on a bit of jag reading everything I have of a single author until I've got through all of them. That's one of my re-reading patterns. My purchasing patterns are a bit more eclectic. Anything here match up with your reading habits? Let me know in a comment!

Monday, 4 November 2013

More books....gotta have more books....

The Librarian posted this meme on Facebook yesterday, and it cracked me up - it's only people who AREN'T book junkies that don't get this:
I made a decision yesterday though... I had some time to kill before an appointment and I was in Double Bay...location of one of my favourite indi book shops. I found two of the books on my current list right inside the door, so it was a very simple operation. I did think though, that it's time to impose a bit of a budget on the book purchasing - not that I go berserk. There isn't enough spare cash to do that at the moment. However, restacking the books on Saturday reminded me of particular gaps in the collection, which will require hunting second hand shops and eBay. So, I think I can safely say that it's not just about wanting more books. It's wanting more particular books!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Moving house - AGAIN!

It seems we are quintessential wandering Jews! We moved again on the weekend... Seventeen had the final exam of his school career, so we didn't need to live so close to his school any more, and we were craving the space of a house after years of apartments. So, we have left the Eastern Suburbs for a location a little further afield, although, we still - in terms relative to Sydney's great sprawl - live pretty close in.

And so, as all book junkies know, there was the Moving of the Books to deal with (thank you Seventeen and DB), and the great Bookcase Re-arrange... The living room in the new place has two parts, so the inner section is going to be a combination of library and creative space. On Saturday morning, it looked like this:
Then The Valkyrie arrived to help me get sorted. You'd think, given I can, once the books are in place, go to the shelves with my eyes closed and put my hand on the book I want, that I'd remember where they sat and the re-stacking would be a very simple operation. But's amazing how quickly the order of the alphabet can escape the brain when one is tired and over the confusion of moving! However, by the end of the day it looked like this:
In the corner behind where I stood to take this pic, there are several large stacks of books - in the eighteen months in our previous place, the collection grew... Also, the rest of my books have been in storage for about three years now, and it's time to pull them out now that there's enough space for bookshelves to accommodate them. The few things that have already been brought out of the storage unit have shown some evidence of damp, so I'm not happy to leave the books there any longer. DB made a few less than happy noises when I mentioned the need to buy more bookcases - I plan on running them around the corner so they meet at the left hand end where the paintings are currently stacked - but I don't think he was being too serious.

It WILL be nice to be able to spread out, and if things go according to plan this will, hopefully, be our last rented place. The next move will be to something we buy, which will be chosen with library space on the priority list - and new, SOLID TIMBER bookcases to be built in....oooh, the luxury!!

A girl's gotta dream...