Showing posts with label Books/Reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books/Reading. Show all posts

30 August 2012

A heavenly library has a book fountain

[caption id="attachment_13522" align="alignleft" width="259"] Bookshelf Wallpaper by Young & Battaglia[/caption]

When books die do they go to heaven? I like to think they do. Earlier I lamented the gradual departure of bookshops here and there. It is  bittersweet to succumb to book depression. Then something came up which made me think that in a traditional book lover's space this would be perfect - "a heavenly library." Or at least the look of it. Young & Battaglia is the creative genius behind this bookshelf wallpaper idea showcased by Design Year Book.

"White books on white shelves." How peaceful is that! And to me it is quite a comfort to see reminders of traditional books like this if they have to be driven off our lives by e-readers. On a fashionista note, it looks like an intelligent sort of background for a photoshoot with a dark-clad reading model, does it not?

Let's go to Budapest. Just a 5-second show that may stretch your fascination to five minutes or more: [youtube width="250" height="200"][/youtube] If you have encountered these bookish delights earlier somewhere, well, it was fun sharing them again with you in my nook.

18 August 2012

Disappearing bookshops

In the world of books and authors and the business people among them, things and people come and go just like everywhere else. Stephen Covey, familiar isn't he?, of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People fame passed away at 79 last month, July 16th. Bookseller Irving Oaklander, is also dead at 88 on August 8th. I am not very familiar with Oaklander but certain words in a tribute written for him by Steven Heller endears me to the kind of person he was -

"... he kept a booth at the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair... beckoning all passersby to feast their eyes as they page through the material.... He invited me to his Upper West Side book business... the main bookcase -the spines said it all. Indeed, Irving had them all. Every classic and many obscure volumes that I would have died for then... Irving was the Trader Joe of rare design books."

It's not just book people leaving. Bookshops are too. With the full-blown utilization of the internet our reading lives have been revolutionized by e-readers. Amazon, what a giant! We see traditional bookshops disappearing. We mourn, yes and then what? Mourning does not exactly resurrect dead bookshops.

 (Photo credit: beckvalleybooks)

Fortunately everything is not dead or lost yet. Hope is alive as there are still a few bookstores existing around us. This is where we are advised to invest in our hope. In other words stop lamenting and put your money behind what you love. When a bookstore is in danger of being closed down, do something.

St Mark's Bookshop in New York is in danger of being closed down due to high rental costs. Karen the Small Press Librarian lists ten reasons why people should help the bookshop survive. The scenario is not so different from the future of other bookstores anywhere else in the world. There is one among Karen's reasons that I think we can relate with - the bookshop is "not just a place that sells (and curates) culture and history, it IS living history." Isn't it quite compelling when put like that? Any book lover in his right mind and heart would not be willing to part with such a thing of beauty as a bookshop without first putting up a fight, i.e. investing in hope.

03 August 2012

E-books v. printed books

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.
Georgia Borders store. (Wikipedia)

In a reading world where the trend has gone as electronic as Kindle or Kindle Fire, we hear talks of booksellers worrying about sales of traditional books or worse, going out of business. The lot are wary of ebooks but not Michael Popek, author of Forgotten Bookmarks who is also a used bookseller in Oneonta, N.Y.

Popek cited one good point why he is not afraid of the new reading medium: "e-books can't replicate some experiences that readers of the printed word are after - the collector of modern first editions; the new mother passing her childhood favorites down to the next generation; the reader of forgotten and esoteric texts unavailable digitally--all are seeking out an experience greater than the words on the page."  He goes on to comment on each kind of book -
E-books are fantastic at keeping us reading; traditional books are great at reminding us why we started in the first place. We're fortunate to live in a world where we don’t have to decide on one or the other.

As I'm someone who still loves having traditional books around, I say that's the spirit! I love keeping a bookshelf. My king-size bed is littered with books and I'm enjoying the sight. I feel uneasy if I could not buy books at least once a month. Traditional booksellers will always find a buyer in me, and it will probably be like that for awhile.

But I don't mind a Kindle either. The NY Times sciences section poses this question: "When an e-reader is loaded with thousands of books, does it gain any weight?"

I haven't wondered about that but now I do. And a U.C. Berkeley professor of computer science answers 'yes, sort of.'  Here's the technical explanation:

"... the amount is very small, on the order of an atogram. This amount is effectively unmeasurable. It is also 'only about one hundred-millionth as much as the estimated fluctuation from charging and discharging the device's battery'"

Whatever our purpose for reading or acquiring books, here's to more lovely experiences with the word, electronic or printed.

26 July 2012

Reading in the rain

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

GigiAnn asks:
Do you have a favorite season of the year that you read more? (Example: during snow storms, rainy weather, or sunny and warm weather)

Lisa asks:
Where is your favorite place to read? On the beach? Inside/outside?

During rainy weather! I love the rain, especially when I'm indoors. I love curling up in bed with a fuzzy blanket, a cup of hot chocolate or tea on the side table, and read read read. While traveling on a coach from Windsor Castle back to London, it rained. Hard. The next minute everything was white. That was my first snow experience ever and I was thinking... this would be perfect if there was a charming book in my hands right now!

The beach -- well, every time I'm on a beach I'm doing something else like catching up with family and friends so the bedroom with the rain pitter-pattering on the roof works very well for me.

Thursday 13: Books (on my TBR pile) for the rainy days
See if you might be interested in any of them. Most of them are recent.

1. Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart
murder mystery in Victorian England
2. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
private lives under government surveillance
3. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
a touch of sunny Tuscany
4. Things That Are by Amy Leach
communion with the wild world
5. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
hair removal, getting fat, tiny pants, expensive handbags
6. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
psychological elements, problem of perception
7. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
wonder of life, animal and human
8. The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes
the lost art of letter writing, amnesia
9. Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta
lack of communication in sibling relationships
10. The White Devil by Justin Evans
contemporary horror set in a centuries-old boarding school, Lord Byron look-a-like
11. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
an artist's life, otherworldly beings
12. White Shotgun by April Smith
FBI agent, Italy
13. A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion by Ron Hansen
classic mystery feel

24 May 2012

Pet names

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

Lu asks
Do you have any pet that has a name inspired by your readings?

If not, what would you pick if you DID?

Do any of your friends have book-based names for their pets? (Or their children?)

Piano lessons were imposed on me when I was a little girl. My love for reading extended to the short background of the music or biography of the composer written on my music books. I think I enjoyed the reading part more than working on the keys. Fast forward to 2002 I bought a toy poodle and named him Mozart, that's him on the sidebar, after the composer. I use his photo as a bookmark.

My mother's dog is named Shakespeare, after you-know-who. (sorry for the HP reference). A fairy tale - addict young niece named one of our cats Snow White, and the other George, after King George.

Thursday Thirteen: Books the feature dogs

1. Odyssey by Homer features Argos
2. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov features Banga
3. Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie features Bob
4. Call of the Wild by Jack London features Buck
5. The Roly-Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter features John Joiner
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck features Candy's dog
7. Two Gentlemen of Verona, by Shakespeare features Crab
8. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens features Diogenes
9. Harry Potter by JK Rowling features Fang
10. Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien features Garm
11. Ulysses by James Joyce features Garryowen
12. Adam Bede by George Eliot features Gyp
13. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens features Jip

10 May 2012

In or out

In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

Heidi asks:
Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

Perhaps a combination of both. I have been living alone since my big D in 2006 and I don't seem to mind; rarely wish for company. Seventy five percent of my king size bed is littered with books. I occupy the remaining 25% when I sleep. As for socializing I am happy meeting friends for lunch, dinner or high tea in or outside my nook. I love cozy cafes. Church, concerts, lectures, or family get-togethers  - I welcome them as revitalizing shot to my routine which is being alone.

Thursday 13: They are also in and out

Breakfast this morning was spent watching CNN's Pierce Morgan talking with people about President Barack Obama's support for gay marriage. I wonder what would these writers have said if they were the ones interviewed.

1. Sappho (600 B.C.) Greek poetess
2. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) British statesman and writer
3. Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) English dramatist and poet
4. Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet
5. Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) Danish poet and writer
6. Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) Euro-American writer and journalist
7. Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Euro-American poet
8. Herman Melville (18-19-1891 Euro-American writer
9. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and dramatist
10. Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French writer
11. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) British writer and dramatist
12. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) British writer and publisher
13. Truman Capote (1924-1984) Euro-American author
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