Sunday 27 October 2013

Organising the Penguin Books Collection

I have been spending a great deal of time sorting the various series that Penguin Books published between 1935 and 1970 in my extensive collection.

Most people, when they think of a Penguin book think of an often tattered orange book of fiction and that is the end of it.

However there were many different types of Penguin publications and as I travel around by scooter, car or plane I pick up anything I see that was first published (for the most part) by Allen Lane during this time period.

There are also books about him and the innovative publishing achievements during his career.

Penguin books were published in several countries but he was the person who started it all with his vision.  A good read that anyone could afford.

My entire Penguin library is almost finished being inventoried on this blog and about 90% of the collection has been photographed and catalogued on The Library Thing web site.

Anyone who is interested is welcome to peruse the titles, authors and the various series of books that were published by Allen Lane until his death in 1970.  There are also more modern series and individual books published after his death I own, when ISBN numbers came into being,  but the focus of my collection is on those books published between 1935 and 1970 when Allen Lane then died and the publishing company changed hands.

I am not sure what will happen to my library one day but I know it will either be donated or sold as one large collection.  The only way to keep these wonderful books out of landfill and being pulped, 
is to keep them together. I don't think they'd survive for as long if sold individually.

 Hopefully someone will think they are as valuable as I and my friends believe they are and continue to give them a home.

If you'd like to see the lists or donate/sell books you no longer want feel free to go to the inventory lists at the top of the page and see what continues to be missing. All lists are updated regularly.

The lists will never be completed but that is what is so much fun about collecting anything.

The Quest !

Saturday 26 October 2013

Australia's National Garage Sale is Today

The yellow ones were bartered for in a
2nd hand bookshop here in Hobart.

The rest all came from garage sales. 
Australia is participating in a national garage sale today to raise money for charity.  I think there should have been a lot more publicity about it as many people I spoke to didn't know anything about it.

I was listening to the ABC (Aus) radio this morning, there is a gardening program on every Sat from 9:00 to 10:00 and they were broadcasting it live from the ABC studios live and talked about the garage sale that had been set up there.  The announcer kept saying how many people were selling books.

The aim of this national sale is to encourage everyone to hold a garage sale, do a big spring clean and donate a portion of the money earned to charities of your choice.

The wind, as is usual for the past 4 weeks here was howling up a storm and I, for one, am sick and tired of the noise.  So I put on my motorbike gear and off I went in search of garage sales and fresh air while doing a bit of Penguin hunting.

The Ship is new to me and I can never have too
many James Thurber books. I love him.
I visited some second hand book shops as well but had much better luck at the garage sales and even the local Tip shop had some Penguin books on their shelves.  As the garage sales and Tip shop were only charging 50 cents a book I picked up anything vintage, first published by Penguin that I could find.

To put it mildly I think I hit the mother lode.  I was leaving the Tip shop, my last scheduled stop of the day, the wind was still blowing but now it had started to rain, I was getting tired after having walked all over Salamanca market and around the ABC studios. Also it looked like snow clouds moving in over the mountain.

I cranked up Beverley (my scooter's name as it is a 350 cc Piaggio Beverley) and headed towards home. I only had 1.5 km to go.  As I steered my way out of the Tip shop and down the road, there in front of me was a large sign in a driveway that said "Book Sale".  It was up a steep hill of a driveway and it was raining but I could see a lot of books in their carport. So I pulled up, popped the helmet onto my mirror (as you do) and climbed the hill.

Very strange cover for Owls & Satyrs. Going to
have a good look at it.
I immediately found 2 orange Penguins.  I then asked the  man if they had any more Penguins.  He said, "There are some green ones around here somewhere."  Sure enough there were some green ones. When he saw me pick up the bunch of them (50 cents each- I didn't care if I already had them as any duplicate books I have I will pass on to a friend or sell them myself on eBay or at auction). After all they are green.  The man seemed surprised as I held these Penguins and he ran up the stairs into the house and next thing I know down the stairs comes the wife with another big stack of Penguins in her hands.

So all in all I ended up with a bagful to now transfer to their new home.

I have noticed that as the Baby Boomers continue to downsize their large family homes the first thing they seem to get rid of are their books.  Yes they do hang onto their favourites but many of them seem to be appearing around here. The other day a local woman rang me and had put aside 33 books she knew I didn't have by reading my inventory on this blog site.  So this week has been exceptionally good for Penguin hunting.

After the Penguin drought of the winter spring cleaning is looking better and better.  Now it is time to put them onto Library Thing, onto Travellin Penguin's inventory and shelve them.  I might even get to read them.

Anybody else buy any books this weekend?

Wednesday 23 October 2013

A Bit of a Catch Up

Seems the year just goes so fast and I can't keep track of everything going on.  We finished our Sunday Pink Ribbon ride with 90 motorbikes riding up to Campbell Town with a full police escort.  That was fun to have the traffic stopped for us on the main highways as we headed north for the 90 minute ride to the middle of the state. The bikers raised $2,000 for breast cancer and handed the check over to the Cancer Council at the end of the afternoon.

90 bikers with a police escort. It was great fun seeing all
the cars stopped for us at the intersections.

Yesterday I went to my Play Reading class where our lovely, beautiful instructor of 80+ is giving us a great lesson with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard.We are loving it and everytime we reach a reference to Hamlet we pull out the Hamlet book and read those passages too.  It is a fascinating play and we are all really getting into the comical dialogue.

Our play reading class is loving this.

After Play Reading class I decided to head out to Glenorchy which is just north of Hobart about 20 minutes. They have a very well organised Tip Shop with lots of books. I hadn't been out there in ages so scootered on out to have a look.They used to charge way too much for old second hand books. For example a battered old Penguin would be marked  $7.00 so I stopped going out there. When they didn't sell, as all of the books seemed to remain on the shelves they have now come to their senses and Penguins were only a dollar with other brand new books no more than $2.00.

I have never read a Jasper Fforde book and the other two looked
interesting. They are in an as new condition.

Two lovely vintage Penguins in good condition. Penguins No. 2491 and 2662,
first published.  These are nearing the last of the vintage Penguins as they
were published only a few years before Allen Lane's death

More for the Penguin collection. A first published Pelican about Ants of all things.
I have always had a strong interest in insects, (I know, my inner Autistic side, and
Harriet and The Cherry Pie is a first published Puffin. The first published Puffins
are quite difficult to find. This is PS 379 published in 1968.

They must have just gotten a big donation in because I found some wonderful books.  The year 2014 is going to hopefully be a year I focus much more on the books I own. That will be my challenge. No, it won't be hard and fast b/c I have learned as a blogger I evidently don't do hard and fast.  It will be an attempt. I will leave it at that.  But with the haul from yesterday I am looking forward to some of these.

I don't come across many second hand Viragos in excellent condition
in Tip Shops so picked them up. No doubt many book bloggers have
read them especially in the UK.
Today I also remembered my dad as he died 9 years ago this month. I just can't believe so much time has passed.  He used to love food so much. But he had a wife in his later years who liked to tell him what to eat.  He did need to lose weight. He did like a cocktail hour. He loved big band music and was the most social, funny person I ever knew.  I remember when I would visit we'd sneak out to the mall and eat chilli dogs because his wife wouldn't let him have them. Too fattening.  To her credit she fed him a good diet but there is a limit and he was in his mid 80's. How long does a person want to live anyway.

One day, in the middle of entertaining a friend at their house for dinner, telling some jokes, eating good food, he sat down and said he wasn't feeling well, closed his eyes and was gone.  A wonderful way to go but he left a real gap in our life.

Today I was cleaning up weeds in the back yard and came across a whole pile of rhubarb that somehow survived my attempt to cull it last year. I cut it all back, came in the house and made a rhubarb pie.

My dad always enjoyed a dessert so this was for him.  I had fun chopping up the rhubarb and added an apple b/c I was a bit short of the 4 cups of rhubarb I needed.  It came out wonderfully and we'll look forward to having a piece of it tonight in his memory.

This one's for you Dad.

So bikes, books, gardening and cooking and even time for a frisbee game with the dogs.  The time truly does goes by so fast.  So please, for today only, if you feel like having a piece of cake or pie or a beer (unless you're recovering), please do so. Life is short, pleasures can be fleeting and I hope anyone who reads this does something today they really love doing, whether it's good for them or not.

Monday 14 October 2013

When I Was A Child I Read Books

Well the house sitting job finished up in good order and I am happily taking care of our own animals and sleeping in my own bed now. Always nice. The weather hasn't improved at all and yesterday afternoon we watched snow, sleet, rain pour down, fog over the river, and wind that almost bent my juvenile trees over in the front yard.

What is there to do when the weather refuses to cooperate for long bike rides or playing frisbee on the beach with the dogs?  Read, of course.

I caught up on lots of the blogs I follow which was motivating. I also read the book of essays by Marilynne Robinson, When I Was a Child I Read Books.

I put this book on hold at my local library ages ago and after reading again and again I still had more than 100 days in the queue I somehow managed to finally get hold of it.

I am not familiar with Marilynne Robinson.  The first thing I did was to research her a bit on the web.

She is an American author born in 1943 and her first novel Housekeeping (1981) won the Pen/Hemingway award for first best novel and was nominated for a Putlitzer Prize.  She later won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle award and the Orange prize in 2009 for her book Gilead.

She is held in high esteem by reviewers by the New York Times, The New Yorker and the Guardian publications.  So please take my comments about this particular book with a grain of salt.

Now knowing what I know about her writing excellence I knew I was in with a really interesting and intellectual read.  Both of these were true.

However I was really disappointed with the book as a whole.  The book is extremely well written so of course that does not disappoint me. It was the title.   I know, silly.  I expected to find another version of a book about books. Well this wasn't the case.  Not really.   I was thinking along the line of Howard's End is on the Landing the way I would have liked that book to have been written.  But no, it was preachy.  Now I know I am not a writer and I in no way am an academic always capable of understanding the finer points of good literature.

But this book of essays is very much overlaid with religious overtones as well as continually pointing back to her first two award winning books I kept thinking, " Yes but what books DID you read as a child.?"

It is the title that completely threw me off base.

I did learn quite a bit from this book. The topics of the essays are  Free of Thought, Imagination and Community, Austerity as Ideology and then came Open Thy Hand Wide: Moses and the Origins of American Liberalism.

Finally at page 85 the essay was entitled When I Was a Child, a chapter I really enjoyed.   Then we are straight back into Moses in the next essay.

Not being a religious person I got tired of the continual references to it.   I also got tired of reading about her previously written books. Though no doubt had I actually been reading the two books she refers to I would probably have understood this book better.

However to be fair, as I said before I am not a literary academic and there is no one here to sit down and discuss all of the issues she raises. That would be beneficial. This book should be discussed with others because there really is so much in it and she is a highly recognised author.  It was just not the book I was expecting though I understood it with out any difficulty.

When I read a book about books and what people read in their childhoods I really love knowing how those books affect the readers.  There is a great deal of substance in this book and had I been connecting more to it I would have gotten more out of it.  It seems her life rather than the books she read had the greatest impact on her.

I would recommend this book to people because there is a great deal of interesting content in it. But it was raining, sleeting, snowing and it was cold and I was surrounded by dogs and cats and a husband reading his own interests and the time just wasn't right for this book.

She certainly has a great deal to say though I just wasn't expecting much of it to not relate to books that had influenced her. I know, I am just too shallow at times.

I would love to know what others thought of this book if they read it outside of academia.

Monday 7 October 2013

House Sitting is Giving Me No Time for Books

When I came here for my 10 day stint of peace and quiet in the country I was convinced I would have lots of opportunity to practise my photography and read a great deal of things I wanted to catch up on.
You know how one sees ones self, lying back in a chair, outdoors in the sun, a hot drink at hand.

The dam out front usually has a great deal of water fowl on it however
everything has disappeared due to the winds. A big hawk flew over this
morning though looking for a bit to eat.

Kazzy celebrates her 11 th birthday TODAY. My house sitting directions
I must sing Happy Birthday to her OUT LOUD. Did I? Will I do this?
I am not saying. 

Well the first three days here it rained a lot and the wind blew everything everywhere. The dog continually tracked in tiny foot prints on their hardwood floors from the muddy back yard, then she spent copious amounts of time finding weak points in the fence to disappear over the ridge to the neighbours. So I have spent a great deal of time finding her escape holes. I certainly don't want to lose the dog.

Rounding up the chickens at the end of the day took some practise too. You don't just walk out with a floral hat on and sundress, call " Chook, Chook, Chook" and expect them to run to their coop. Instead they hide behind trees and under things. Little did I know they would go home to roost on their own once the sun started to go down. Now I know that.

I did get the camera out but the wind was terrible and the lighting worse. I'd line up a pose with something I liked, such as a bird and then the automatic would struggle and by the time the picture snapped the bird was long gone, or the flower had died.

Night time was even more interesting. There are engine sounds but noone on the road? How fast does sound travel in the country? There are starlings under the iron roof and that starts to sound like a Lodge meeting. There are people out at night hunting roos which seems to be popular and just as I'd settle with my book a gun would fire not all that far away.  I found it was easier to drink my glass of milk, put on the heating blanket and turn out lights for an earlier than usual night and try again the next day.

So although I have started to read several things I have not finished anything I want to write about yet. So just hold that thought. However enjoy the beauty and serenity ? of this beautiful property my good friends have built up for themselves.  It really is very lovely.

Thursday 3 October 2013

House Sitting in the Country

As I sit here writing I am 45 minutes north of Hobart living in a lovely country house for 10 days. My good friends have taken the family to Fiji for warmer weather and a good holiday they so deserve. I happily volunteered to stay with their tiny, well behaved dog, their four chickens and two goldfish.

I did finish a couple of books last week that I enjoyed, one more than the other.
 I may have previously mentioned that this book is quite formulaic as Ms. Reichs has written quite a few books in this series and also does the script writing for the TV show Bones of which I don't care for at all. I think since she has branched out so much commercially an edge has gone off her books and I always seem to know how they are going to end.

I don't get much from the stories but I do like the main character Temperance Brennan and I enjoy the side of the archeological forensic science . I think it is a very interesting field so no doubt I will continue to read her series but I have hope in swings and roundabouts and perhaps her future ones might touch on the excellence of her earlier ones.

Last night I was going to read but as it got later and I was in a house I have not slept in before I found myself snuggling under the covers as it was quite cold and the fire had gone out earlier.
There is an electric blanket on the bed so that helped but it was so quiet it was hard to go to sleep.  Also I wasn't familiar with the house noises.  I awoke this morning to scratching sounds but realised the noise was only swallows nesting in the eaves and as the house has an iron roof I could hear every coming and going and scratch and squabble.

The second book I read was A Hundred Summers which I enjoyed much more. Although a romance that was again, yes, predictable I did enjoy the people. I read a review of this book on another blog and it was a good review.  I enjoyed the beach side scenery of the American north east and it took place in the 1930's, and included the 1938 hurricane that hit the east coast of the eastern seaboard that evidently was a real doozy of a storm. It kept me turning the pages over.  I liked all of the characters very much with the sometimes exception of the annoying younger sister, Kiki who I wanted to put in her place now and again.  I have a hard time reading about precocious children who get their own way all the time and I found her quite annoying but of course she plays an integral character so there was no chance of her disappearing anytime soon.

I do have a few things I plan on enjoying during the next 10 days of isolated country living and that is to continue to read a bit, study a bit as I have an interesting book that is full of information in all kinds of areas (for adults) and hopefully I will learn some new things. I also want to figure out how to use a particular lens for my camera (Canon OES 640 D that is new) and see if I can get some bird photos as there are many Tasmanian birds flying around the pretty extensive garden my friend has been nurturing over the past few years.  So I will put up some photos once I can get out and not drown in the wind and the rain and it's warm enough to not need the wood heater fired up.

I also plan going on a bike ride or two with some friends that live out near this area so no doubt before I know it I'll be home again caring for my own brood of animals and listening to city noises again.