Saturday, April 23, 2016

Series and Trilogies

As you all know, I love collecting books - yes, I have a huge collection which is growing by the day - but I also love collecting books in their complete series before I start reading them. 

Weird I know, but I want to know the book I need next is right there in on the shelf for me to pick up and read when I finish the first one. 

So far, I have the complete 'Dark Tower Series' by Stephen King, 'Lord of the Rings' is six books kept in three volumes. I have that in one big thick volume, and in three volumes as well as in the six separate books. Then, there's 'The Talisman' and 'Black House' which are a part one and two by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Garth Nix put out a brilliant trilogy I own and have read - must re-read it again. Then, I have my vampire books one of my friends - Debbie Behan - gave me when she and her husband moved up to the Sunshine Coast and they wanted downsize. The P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast books; there's gotta be around ten of these - all in order. I also have quite a few of the Janet Evanovich books - all the numbered sleuth ones - which go from 1 - 18. I don't have all of them, but I have a few of them; would love to have the rest so I can read them all at some point. I have the first one, then ten, twelve, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and eighteen. Then, there's two other books of hers I have that aren't part of that series. I also have Tad Williams' two books - which I haven't read yet - and other books around the place which are the second books in chronicles of something by other authors; and I've yet to find the first of those, as well as the rest of those books.

Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it. Like 'The Wheel of Time' books. Yes, the series which outlived the author who wrote them... is all worth the time and effort for the reader and fans to go out searching for these books? I know it takes time to write these books; but if it's going to take so long to do all of this, and once you're finished, you get kinda stuck with the books. However, I'm the type who goes back and rereads a book over and over for the sheer joy of it... of being in familiar territory. So, what about you? Do you enjoy collecting books and the series for the joy of them being around you? Or is it just the hunt you love so much? I love both of these ... the hunt and the joy of having them around me. Reading them is the luxury of all time; especially when it's something I've been wanting to get my hands on for years. Until my next post, happy reading! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

So Many Books!

My townhouse has a little room filled almost to the brim with books. I love these books and I go through them from time to time - to keep the amount of them from becoming too much. 

However, I'm looking at them all now and have found that I really need a new bookcase in the spot where the brown one is - this brown one is old and looks like it's going to fall down soon.

This means I must go through my books and look at them seriously. 

Yes, I'm going to either release the ones I've held onto for far too long into the Wild, control release them (if you don't know these terms, look them up on Bookcrossing.com) or donate some of them to a charity. 
The last time I went through my books, I got rid over around 50 mystery/thrillers and was very pleased with myself - and had a lot more space to fill with other books. Now, I have this problem again. 

However, it's not just the amount of books I have here in the office, it's my townhouse. As much as I enjoy the idea of having my very own little library - of almost 2,000 books - at my beck and call, I really do need to move from this place as my furniture is far too big for this place... my book collection is becoming far too big for this townhouse bedroom/office. 

It makes me wonder how other people with small spaces around the world work with their collections. I've been trying to work with my collection - and feel as though I'm failing in controlling it. So, have any of you - my followers - have any ideas on being able to keep my collection and yet still have the space around me in a small home to enjoy it? I know this sounds like an impossible thing to do, but I'd like to see how this goes. Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Been Offline

It's been a good while since I last posted; there's a bad reason for it. No, I've not been lazy. My internet connection has been cut for the last 2 weeks. Yep, I've had to borrow my Mum's Telstra Hotspot connection and so I haven't been staying online for the long hours I've wished for.

But today, I had a breakthrough! Yes! Optus called me and we talked and the guy put me back online. He didn't tell me why my internet was cut (I think he couldn't tell me) but he did help me out with it. He asked who I spoke to and how I was treated and was honestly disgusted in how things turned out.

However, since my internet has been on the blink, I have been looking at my book collection and wondering if I really should have everything in proper sections - you know, all the series and trilogies in one area, the poetry in another. Yes, my book collection is a bit of a mess. I did sit down and start reading 'Lord of the Rings' and enjoyed the freshness of it all - after all it's been over 20 years since the last time I read it.

I've also been looking at new patterns on how to make tote bags. They look great! I'm hoping to be able to make one for my brother's girlfriend for her birthday this year - and if not by then, well, one for her for Christmas, along with a few for other people by then too. 

So, I've been reading and looking at patterns for presents this year for birthdays and Christmas (yes already! I'm really getting like my Grandmother; she'd be so pleased with me). Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Long Weekend

It's the 4-day weekend we all look forward to - well, most of us - and I'm wondering: what are you all up to this weekend?

Today, being Friday, I've already gotten out 3 loads of laundry, put out the rubbish, washed up and put away the reusable shopping bags and folded all the towels and put them away and it's not yet 11am. Yep, I'm an early riser today (and not by choice - as neighbours screaming at each other woke me). 

Otherwise, I'm off to lunch with an online craft group of ladies tomorrow. It's going to be lovely to catch up with them all! I can't wait.

In between my housework and socialising, I'm hoping to read some of 'The Silmarillion' by JRR Tolkien and get into looking at 'Simply Too Good To Be True 6' by Annette Sims (it's a whopper of a volume this one). And I'm hand-writing a couple of books too. 
I've been doing my one-page-per-day experiment since Christmas last year and it's turned out to be harder than I first expected. Some days I can't find the space on that one page to get out what I want to say, while other days I just can't fill the page - how weird is that? Otherwise, it's a good writing exercise on how the mind works. 
I'm also starting to write another book about living in unit complexes and apartment buildings. Seeing that all I've lived in all my life is these places, I thought to give it a try - to write about life in one of these places - and let people know what it's like to see what I've seen. I'd say the public will never see unit/townhouse complexes exactly the same way ever again; nor believe some of the stories that I'll tell.

Well, this long weekend is sure to be an interesting one. Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tolkien Reading Day

Today I went out to celebrate Tolkien Reading Day. It's a day of celebrating this great author and his works. And so, when I spotted that this event was on at a local library, I thought it was about time I went to see who was giving the talk; and what it was about.

However, a few days ago, I was at the Logan North Library when I spotted the advertising about this event and called up Peter Kenny - Brisbane's biggest collector of JRR Tolkien memorabilia - and we chatted for a good half hour about just that topic; as well as collecting books. I found that Peter has a huge collection of 'The Hobbit' in a variety of languages, of merchandise, costumes and other information he's researched about the realms that JRR Tolkien created just to write 'Lord of the Rings', 'The Hobbit' and 'The Silmarillion'; as well as other books on how those books came together. 

There weren't many people at today's reading, but the few who were there knew their fair share of information about Middle Earth and some of the specifics. One girl showed up and greeted us in Elvish - a language that JRR Tolkien developed himself to use in the just the books, but people have learned and used for themselves - and she bowed to him as well; fun stuff.

Well, the talk went for over an hour on the history of how the spirit guides and the lands were created. This was very briefly explained. Then, Peter talked in-depth about how 'Lord of the Rings' was about Aragorn more and less about Frodo and him getting the ring he had to Mount Doom. Believe me, I'll be rereading that book again just to pick up on it all.
He also made note that the movies were a mess of mis-quoted lines from the books that were placed in the wrong places, into the wrong character's mouths in the movies.  

Overall, the whole talk was fascinating and was well worth my morning there. I stuck around to chat to Peter more as he asked me to stay after his talk so we could catch up about our books and collections. It was good to talk to somebody about something we both understood completely. What made it worthwhile was that he had a huge amount of knowledge and books I didn't; and I had some books he wanted to look at that he hadn't seen. So, it was good for us both. Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Milford Method

I've been having problems with critiquing at a new writer's group over the last few months. It's the method of critiquing that has been of importance to them.

Now, being somebody who has been critiquing the same way for the past 20 years, I didn't think there was any new way of doing this. And it took me long enough to learn the way I do it now. So, when I heard about this Milford Method, I didn't believe in it at first - seeing I hadn't heard of it before - so I did some Googling and found there were a few different ways of doing it. But all of them included the person being critiqued to sit quietly while the people who critiqued their work tell them what's wrong with what they've written. This takes around 20 minutes to do, something I can't hold onto in my memory. For those who know me very well in Real Life, you know I have bad recall; and the very idea of sitting through 20 minutes of people telling me things while I sit quietly is huge and quite draining. Most of the time, I just don't remember anything that's been said. And then, I'm handed my piece of writing with suggestions written in and I'm expected to remember the added-on bits they have told me; even though they've written a short piece on the back page of what's what in their opinion.

So, this Milford Method isn't something that works for me; in more ways than one. There is another half.

The way you critique is chopped up into tiny segments. This sounds good, but really I don't work this way. I read the way I edit: I'll read the piece - fixing up the tiny errors as I go through. Then, I'll read it again, going through it with a fine-tooth comb - ie: my editor's cap on. Then, the third time around, I open a new document on the computer and start taking notes (eg: Page 1, paragraph 3: ....) and I'll go from there in a more informal description of what needs to fixed up, looked into, worked on and examined. Then? I save the document, the edited piece of writing and email it back to the author - including the two documents - and it's all done without printing out a single thing. 

I don't leave anything out, I write everything I need to say in this document and so when it comes down to it, when I attend the writer's meeting, they don't have to ask me any questions about their work, they have everything I want to say to them via an email. I also talk about their work in the group - repeating what I've told them to the group. 

However, the group's leader doesn't see how my critiquing method is best and wants me to change it. I have tried it out and find his way isn't something I can work with. Have you guys critiqued somebody else's work? Is there more than one way to critique or do you use the Milford Method as well? Seeing I use one type of method - which I find is easier for me than the Milford Method - what method do you use? I'm just asking as I have come up against some people who think I'm being too critical about this new method. Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I'm Back!

Woah! It's been a long silence between posts and I gotta apologise to you all.

I've been very busy lately doing a needlepoint for an art deadline which is coming up next week! And finally - yay! Finally! - I've finished it, signed it and it's now at the framers here in Logan City. 

Damned I'm so relieved!

But in between all that needlwork, I've been writing, cleaning out my house - bit by tiny bit - and editing a collection of flash fictions to be looked at by InHouse Publishing at Underwood. I'm hoping to get my name down to get an arts grant as well... hoping is a good word, and I do hope to get it because I do need that grant money to get my first book published.

That's not the only thing I've been doing.

I got my David Bowie 'Blackstar' vinyl off layby, as well as 'Molly' miniseries paid off too. Then, I put a set of retro drawers on layby at Fantastic furniture and I've been eyeing off a new bookcase - yes! I'm finally going to look into replacing The Saggy Bookcase! About time too! I know there's a home-spun theory about how that bookcase is holding itself up through the space-time continuem - with the help of the Sonic Screwdriver and the Tardis (wherever it may be right now) and The Doctor as well - but truthfully, it's not doing me any favours by sitting here and looking like crap. I need a bigger bookcase and I need one that can handle the weight of the books I currently have - as well as take on the weight of more books of an expanding collection.

So, I'm in the search of 'the perfect bookcase' ... if one exists ... to house the books that are on it and the collection that will be in the future of my home library.

Well, that's what I've been up to lately. What about you guys? Have you been hunting for books, bookcases or hoping to get in and read more books (which is another dream of mine... to get in and finish some of the books I've started, instead of sitting in my Reading Chair for 10 minutes and nodding off. Yes, it's that comfy - darned chair! Making sleep when I should be reading! How dare it be that comfy!) Until my next post, happy reading. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Loving Collecting Books

I totally enjoy my book collection. I also love indulging in being around my books at any time of day - but mainly at night, when it's late and I'm about to go to bed. What I do is I sit in my Reading Chair and look around that the shelves of books surrounding me. From this angle, they appear to reach up to the ceiling and look as though they're about to topple over on top of me (like the huge bookcase almost did in Wales when I found my very first collectible book; and I pulled it from its well-packed case there!), but they're not going to.

The one thing I absolutely love doing is going through my stacks and finding books I had forgotten I had bought; and yet I'll still want to read them. Or funnier still, I'll find about three copies of the same thing because I've forgotten I've bought the first copy.

Now, that's hilarious!

But I do enjoy being around my books so much that I actually miss them when I go on holidays for more than a week. Yes, I come home and just have to touch them with my hands to feel as though I'm really home - and be around them to feel relaxed. 

My reading room/library is a very private room, though. I find that when people do come into the room, they are amazed at how many books there are. From the outside of my place, you wouldn't think I had such a large collection of books, or a room such as this, but it's nice to see one like this.

So, do you have a large collection at  your disposal at your place where you can escape into whenever you want to? Or do you have to go to the library to do that? Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The World Loses Harper Lee

It is with great sadness that I have found out today that Harper Lee has passed away aged 89. Born in the same small town her famous book 'To Kill A Mockingbird' was set, Nelle Harper Lee has lived her life with the same people and wrote that one book about a lawyer who defended a 'black' man who was accused of raping a white girl in a time when people assumed the worse of others. 

Harper Lee grew up in a world similar to Scout and her world in the book. Lee lived next door to Truman Capote and they were best of friends and she lost her mother at a young age, with only her father to bring her up - him being a lawyer as well. He battled a case similar to the one in the book - but he lost it and never practiced law again.

Lee went to university and studied law but didn't finish and decided to write, and this is where 'To Kill A Mockingbird' came out - her only book. Then, last year, she published 'Go Set A Watchman'. 
The people of her town have said that Nelle Harper Lee was a wonderful person to know. She taught the world about how not to judge people until you 'have walked around in their skin'. And how true that is.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Oh! The Irony!

The other day, I wrote a post about libraries freaking me out - and they do! It's the matter of so many books with too many germs on them, and not knowing where they've been. 

I know that sounds crazy, but that's me.

Anyway, this got me thinking about bookstores and how people go and handle books there; and where those books have been before landing on the shelves at those places. And you know something? Bookstores don't bother me at all. You see, these books don't have a history of being with every single person in the city before it came to be in my house. It's been to the publishers, the printers, then packed into a box, taped up, tossed into a truck and shipped out to a bookstore.

These books have that gorgeous new-book smell too! I love that smell, it's intoxicating! It's a very clean and sweet smell that a new book has and I love it. 

But once a book has been in a library for a few years - or even a few months - it loses that new-book smell. It's been in a few houses and I simply cannot touch it. Yes, I can look at it, but touching it is another thing all together.

Second-hand bookstores vary from each other. There's one at Browns Plains which cleans each and every book as they come in. They wipe them over and spray them, look at them carefully and then add them to the collection after putting them into the computer. 'The Very Good Book Shop' is one place I love going to because of how they handle their books; and I never hesitate to add my books to my collection because I know how they've been handled.

'Archives Books' on Charlotte Street in the city, however, is a dusty bookstore - not to mention haunted (the back section has up to 5 spirits in there who are not happy) and their books aren't clean, but they have history to them. I'll bring them home and clean them before adding them... even put them in apple peelings and coffee and in the freezer if needs be to clean the odour off them (yes I did that once - just once to a book years ago and it worked well!). 

However, library books are a no-go zone. I still haven't touched that Nick Earls book I borrowed on Monday... and I now have to return the stupid thing. Now, to pick it up without feeling disgusting and put it into a bag to return it! Oh! Yuk, it's gotta go into my car! I'll put it on the floor in the bag. I can't have it on the seat next to me - I don't know where it's been! Until my next post, happy reading.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Libraries Freak Me Out

Today I went out to a public library for the first time in over a year. The place freaked me out. I didn't like being there. 

I'm not sure if it was the computers, all the people using the internet, the three security guards who were haunting the place (yes, they have security guards at the Logan Central Library now) or the row upon row of books that are sitting there waiting to be read by people.

I sat there in a chair waiting for a group session to start a reserved room (I was an hour early; as I wanted to sit and read; but silly me I forgot my book!) and instead, I looked around to see how much my local library had changed. Not much really - just it had internet and wifi, and security guards walking around looking really bored (and believe me, they were bored). 

Then, it dawned on me about why this place put me on edge: these books have been taken home by somebody else. They've been coughed on, sat on, sneezed on... they've been carted around in somebody's bags, or a dog might have slept on them in a teenager's bedroom floor. Yes, I was having the typical reaction of a not knowing where these books have been.
Even when I found a book I was interested in and I picked it up, took note of the ISBN, put it back, I really wanted to wash my hands. I know that sounds weird and germaphobic. But here at home, I know where my books have been (well, okay, most of the time); and when they come home, I wipe them down and Glen-20 them with a spray so they're clean. That sounds really over the top, but that's how I keep my home library the way it is - clean. 

I did borrow a book from the library. But when I got it home, I carefully placed it in such a way that it wasn't touching any of my chairs, my bed or anything personal... because, well, I don't know where it's been before my place. 

And yes, public libraries freak me out. Home libraries don't. I think it's because public libraries have so many books that I haven't read, haven't seen, don't want to see and there are so many aisles of the same thing the sight of them overwhelms me. However, a home library has many books in a small space and it's a lot of things in all at once; not spread out across a huge space. 

So, what about you? Do libraries have this affect on you? Or am I alone in this? Until today, I didn't know these buildings had this affect on me; not when they used to be places of comfort and wonder to me when I was younger. I wonder what changed? Until my next post, happy reading. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Best Bargains at Craft Group

It's been two months since I attended my local craft group and just yesterday I went to it again for our first meeting. And what a stinking hot day to get outside to go somewhere! We did get some rain with a few grumbles of thunder, but that didn't do anything to cool Brisbane down - our city just got hotter and more humid. And seeing I didn't buy any books in January, I thought to skip the 'In My Shelves' Monthly and just jump straight into what I bought yesterday. 

But I seem to find the best books at my craft group. The ladies there have the best things in their bookcases. I think it's because they taste in reading is decades old and I'm the youngest one there who loves the classics; but I did find some great books on the selling table. 

The first book I spotted was 'Gardens in Perspective' by Jerry Harpur. It's a nice big hardcover book on Australian gardens and how to get them to look just they way you want them to look with the right plants. It's an old-fashioned book - and that's what I love; old-fashioned gardening in my little garden. I got this one from the book trolley for only a dollar; what a bargain!
The next two were fiction books from the show table and I dug around for them. The first one is 'The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie' by Alan Bradley and 'The Moon is Down' by John Steinback. I had to judge how much I wanted to pay for these books. So I paid $1.00 for the first one and only .50c for the Steinback one; as it was a pulp fiction. 

I do love getting great books for even better prices; and it's amazing where you find the best books - in the most unusual places, which normally aren't bookstores. So, where have you found the best books in your life? Which one was the best bargain, where did you find it and was it a huge surprise to find it where you did? Until my next post, happy reading.