Sunday 22 December 2013

Preparing for the New Year of Books

I really LOVE this time of year. I am not talking about the lead up to Christmas. I find the lead up to Christmas quite stressful and very tiring. Mostly I put too many expectations on myself and then feel bad when I can't meet them. This year I had an excuse to not send out many gifts, no cards, no dinners out in a festive spirit. I was travelling overseas and came home only recently.  So I am doing that poster thing that says, "Stay calm and _____" and have decided to put "get on with the book plans for 2014."
I love the clean slate feeling of a new year. If only they wouldn't go by so quickly. It all feels so fresh.

Today I was meant to be going on our Sunday motorbike ride with our group. The plan was to ride south of the state to Southport. It is a good couple of hours riding down winding, narrow two lane roads and although very beautiful, full concentration on a motorbike is needed.  Well it rained this morning and it has continued to rain all day long. It is chilly out. As I did 170 km ride last night with 9 other people I didn't force myself out of bed for today's ride. I doubt many people did. I wonder if anyone showed up in fact.

I decided to clean the bookshelves in the bedroom while listening to the ABC (Australia Broadcast) classical music station. Get rid of the hairballs, the dust, the myriad of magazines to be sorted and read. Reading books is one thing but what about all the extra things we read. Sunday inserts of magazines about books and art. Literary magazines. Magazines about books, I especially follow Good Reading Magazine (here) which I subscribe to and love, and while in the USA I picked up Bookmarks which I also like.

Then there is the Independent Fuller's Book Shop's Summer Reading Guide. I love the summer reading guide. There are 10 questions scattered throughout the magazine (that is free). In order to answer the questions you have to read every review about every book. I enjoy it but there is always one question that is so hard to find the answer to.  I have begun. The prize is a copy of every book in the entire magazine. A HUGE prize. One I'd love to win. One I'd dread if I did win. So many books.

So now I have vacuumed up the dustballs from under the shelves, wiped the shelves down, dusted the books and put a few next to the bed to begin right away.  Our Feb book for Book Group is The List of My Desires by Gregoire Delacourt.

 I also have a copy of Marian Keyes book, The Mystery of Mercy Close that my good friend Kate loaned me. I need to read it. I need to return it to her so she doesn't think it is lost.
I also have a copy of a book I won from Simon of Stuck in a Book.  It is a lovely old copy of Literary Lapses by Stephen Leacock dated 1917 that fits into my Century of Books Challenge.

The books I am really going to focus on during the coming year are those in my own library. I have stated this before so won't belabour the point but I do need to get a move on reading these books and releasing them into the wild. There are many I will pass on once I finish with them.

Photo source
Alex in Leeds Blog
There are quite a few, of course including my Penguins I won't be passing on any time soon. But the fluffy novels can be given to others. So stay tuned for some giveaways.  I am seriously thinking of creating a book jar of all the books listed on My Library Thing numbered 1 - 3000+. (See Alex's post from Alex in Leeds) If I pick out say book number 345 I will go to my Library Thing listing and choose the 345th book on the list. I will include a few R cards for Random which means I can choose anything. I think this will be a fun way to rediscover the books I own as I know there are many I have forgotten live with me.

Another interesting thing I read each day is a book quotation of the day from Good Reads website.  I get the quotation in a daily Email and there is a single sentence of the day about the author. Most of the authors are novelists or poets and quite obscure in many cases.  I have decided to have a Good Reads quote day on the 1st of each month during the year. I will post the quote on the blog and write a paragraph about the author and maybe what he/she has written.  I will try and use more than just Wikipedia.  It is a fun way of becoming familiar with authors I have never heard of. I think it will be fun. If I can find a photo of the author I will include that as well.

I think the structure of Travellin' Penguin's blog is taking shape nicely and to summarise the following year you can expect the following from Travelling' Penguin and myself.

  • Book Jar of my own library including all the Penguins and non Penguins listed on My Library Thing link (here)
  • Quote of the day's author information on the first day of each month with a bit of information about the author to share with others.  Quotes provided by Good Reads website. Will be interesting to know if others know the person of the day and can also share information about him/her.
  • Travellin' Penguin and I will continue riding around the country side on my Piaggio BV350 cc Penguin Hunter II. This will include books found in the community charity shops, cafes, camping trips and photography from the places we haunt.
  • Any interesting book trivia or websites or other information from magazines that might be of interest to the sponge like brains that all bibliophiles have out there.  There will be information on book fairs and visiting authors as they may arise. I think it will be a fun year and it all begins on 1 January, 2014.   A very happy New Year to everyone out there and be sure to stop by.  I will also give away books on my Facebook page so if you'd like to be a Facebook friend you're certainly welcome, (here).


  1. I really need to follow your example and do a spot of book and magazine tidying. I think I have about 15 months of London Review of Books (which I've subscribed to for ages, though I am getting a bit antsy about the constant political stuff in it and find myself discarding them after a few pages - I really just want to READ ABOUT BOOKS!) and piles of books that don't seem to fit anywhere anymore. Your planning sounds a bit like a mental uncluttering too, from which I could certainly benefit! Have a great Christmas, Pam!

  2. I don't know if it's possible to unclutter my mind completely. ha ha. I need to stop reading so much about the books as it seems much of it only reviews the same books, they're a bit trendy and I could be reading other things. But it just all seems like fun. I hope you have a great Christmas too. Ours will be a quiet day on the beach. I just heard Hobart will be 25 Christmas Day so a day with the dogs and the water is the plan.

  3. You have some great reading plans here! I have become a big fan of the book jar approach, though I wish I'd thought of numbers, rather than writing out all the titles by hand. I love learning more about authors, so I'll look forward to your biographical posts. I hope the New Year brings you many wonderful books to share with us.

    1. Thanks Lisa, I am looking forward to seeing what I find on my own shelves. I'm like a kid in a candy store whenever I go into a bookshop of either new or used books. I keep bringing them home. Time to really get stuck into them. Happy New Year. I look forward to more chats in the new year.

  4. I'm catching up on a horrendous amount of book blog posts I've missed in the last couple of weeks but I just wanted to pop up and say that I love the idea of using numbers in the book jar and combining it with something like LibraryThing. :)


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