Thursday 30 October 2014

Books, Books, Books Everywhere

The other day I walked into the front room where all my books are housed to get something. Something small, like some tape or the stapler, I forget.  I was looking at the shelves and decided I wanted to reorganise my vintage Penguin collection and do something about all the non Penguin books.  The Tasmanian Dog's Home is having a big garage sale on Saturday and I am on the committee that helps organise it and need to bring some things.

I sat down on a chair and looked around the room and in my head I had this beautiful picture of a room of books, immaculately ordered, no books on the floor and plenty of room to come in, sit in the chair and become a real literary hound.  Writing copious blogs and people falling at my door to hear me discuss the books of the world. Delusions of grandeur.
It won't take long to reorganise this little pile of books.
I began thinking I could move the first 600 Penguins onto the hallway bookshelf as many of them are quite frail and old and need more intensive care out of the sunlight of the front room.

Okay, I will take all the books from Steinbeck, Hemingway, James Thurber and William Horwood out of the hallway and swap the shelves. I also have quite a few Lonely Planet travel guides and they could go in the main room too. Can't get rid of them. Never know when I'll be taking a quick trip to Laos.   This took about half an hour to do and it looked so good I went back into the front room to see what else I could do.

Well, I laugh as I write this, let's just say it got completely out of hand and I had books strewn everywhere.

I am going to put all the Penguins on one side of the room, in order, chronologically by the number on their spine and the series they belong to.  I think I will get rid of some of the ones I have that aren't in the main series. Like the occasional Peacock or maybe the duplicate Penguin Specials that have never been properly sorted. The reprinted Puffin that is falling apart.  All the duplicates.

Then I got stuck into the non-Penguin shelves and imagined everyone at the Dog's Home garage sale happily walking away with a bargain of a book I no longer need.  I felt good knowing I would be supplying the masses with wonderful books to carry home and raise money for the dogs at the same time.  There would be many smiling children. There would be elderly people nodding at each other coveting their find.

Everything goes. Clean up the room, declutter, make my mind at peace.   Well to make a long story short.  I have a box of 6 books for the dog's home garage sale and everything else is going back on the shelf.  I had more in the garage sale box but then I went back and pulled them out again.  No, I cannot give you away yet.

Actually these might be better shelved as well. Perhaps I could put all of these over here.
I learned I am not old enough, or mature enough to get rid of all my books.  So what if next month I am old enough to collect a pension.

Some of these books have been with me since I was 10.  All of them have a story. This one I got back in the 70's when we had those discussions at work about African American literature.   The Night Before Christmas is falling apart but it belonged to my mother. If I put it between two other books it won't look like it's falling apart. I  had to work a week when I was 8 to buy the Trixie Belden book for 57 cents at the local dime store in Michigan.

Well, if I put those there then I have to put these here.
I saw this book on the tip shelf waiting for a new home. It needed a home, it needed to be loved, fed and watered.  I needed to read it or I wouldn't be a well read, well rounded person.  Okay , now you know why I have three dogs and two cats all rescued.

I realise I am anthropomorphising my books.  They are alive. The characters come to life at night while I sleep and they talk to each other.  There is a whole community of people in 19th century clothes talking to those characters from the 1960's and learning the America of hippies and inventors and explorers.  Why would I take that away from them.  There are cowboys in my front room. Real cowboys that Zane Grey wrote about and there are lots of heroic dogs and cats. Dogs that saved people from fires and those children who were lost in the hills. There are people that are circling the wagons. There are New York socialites who work in high rise offices wearing really glamorous clothes.
Have I told you about my LP Vinyl collection?
There are academics working with underprivileged children and those children are making something of their lives.  There are American serial killers talking to Australian bush rangers but I try to keep them away from everyone else.  There are whole centuries of activities, people, communities.  So today as I continue to alphabetise the titles they are all going back onto the shelves.  Until my next big cull in another year or so. When the mood strikes me.  I can put this off.  After all didn't Scarlett O'Hara give me the philosophy of my life??
"Oh Fiddlesticks, I'll think about that tomorrow."

Monday 27 October 2014

Audio Books Step In

 Another Monday morning and there is a steady rain outside my window. My dogs decided they wanted their breakfast at 5:15 a.m. and there was no talking them out of it.

I was a little under the weather over the weekend and couldn't concentrate on the book I am currently reading. I had a couple of audio books from the library and decided I would listen to those and let somebody else do the reading.

The first one was an Agatha Christie novella called Murder Was Easy (1939). It is the story of Luke Fitzwiliam, a retired policeman who meets Lavinia Pinkerton on an London bound train. They begin a conversation and he learns she is on her way to Scotland Yard to report some murders that have been happening in her village.  As she disembarks from the train and begins her journey she is killed by a hit and run driver.  After witnessing the accident Luke then wonders more about their conversation and decides to visit her village posing as her aunt.  More murders ensue and of course it all comes nicely together.  I felt like I was in Midsommer what with all the murders that were happening.
I didn't think this was her best work but it was entertaining for my energy status and kept me intrigued until the end of the story.  Of course I did not figure out who did it as I seldom do with Agatha Christie. It was a very relaxing listen.

The second audio book was Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (1938).  I imagine there aren't many people who have not read this book. I remember seeing the film years ago as well as reading the book back in the 1970s.  The audio book was read by Jenny Augutter with Simon Williams. It was an excellent reading. The story came back to me as I listened and Mrs. Danvers was as creepy as ever.  I loved this book and settled into listening to it nicely.

The weekend also saw the national garage day sale for charity being held.  I think this is the second year it has been held and it was fun. A friend of mine and I started out at 8:00 am and had written down the sales that were occurring.  Evidently it is a charity event where you hold a garage sale, register it on the website promising to donate so much to charity and then your sale goes onto a map.  People can download the map and off they go.  I decided I would only buy Penguin books I don't have in my collection. I was not going to bring home any junk!

Well off we went, arriving at the one in Battery Point (oldest section of Hobart) to a 70 year old estate sale. Wouldn't you think this would be full of stuff?  It was a bust. There was hardly anything in the yard and the woman obviously didn't want to part with anything as prices were high. We left in disappointment. Off to North Hobart to a multi-family sale. It didn't start until 9:00 am so already we were thinking this was not going to be our day. We decided to get a coffee instead.

After a couple of cappucinos at a local cafe we went back to the multi-household sale. The sale was held by students and there was only a box of fantasy novels and a few clothes and a table full of beanie bears. So much for this one.  Then we decided to drive to Kingston, a small town 20 minutes south of Hobart where there was a community hall full of people selling things. I found an interesting Penguin book which I am going to do a separate post on.  On the way back to Hobart we took the scenic route along the river and came across a couple of more sales. They had a lot more books and I found another Penguin.  They had a large box full of travel writing that was quite current. I would have loved the box but I resisted. I have quite a few travel books on my TBR shelves. I didn't  need anymore. However I was tempted.

Mine kind of looks like this without the base.
The last 2 sales of the day saw me getting a black t shirt with an illustration of dogs dressed up in various outfits in a vintage style for $3.00 and a terracotta echidna to put in my garden next to my terracotta birdbath that the cockatoos flock to.   I laughed when I got home showing off my terracotta echidna as that isn't something you get up for and say, "Today I will go to a garage sale to look for a  terracotta echidna."  But I liked it and it was cheap.  It looks nice in my yard. He is kind of cool.

Today I think I will organise the Penguin books I found at the large book sale I picked up a week ago and then the few I found this weekend.  Penguins seem to abound lately. It is either feast or famine with these books.   A quiet weekend with simple pleasures. What did you do this weekend?

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Man Booker Prize 2014- Our Tasmanian Local

It would be remiss of me to not congratulate Richard Flanagan of TASMANIA  for winning the Man Booker Prize of 2014.  It is really exciting. Only Patrick White and Thomas Keneally from Australia have won it in the past.  This really does put Tasmania on the literary world map.

The book is the Narrow Road to the Deep North.  I was given this book for Christmas last year and I saved it to read before the July date for the book group meeting. However when July came I must admit there was so much terrible news in the media about war, beheadings, Malaysia airlines being shot down that I could not bring myself to read the book that month.  I just wanted to read something light hearted and not so grim.

However, hearing Richard talk about the book after his award win made me realise, as he said, the book is about love, not war.  So think it is time to bring this book off the shelf and get stuck into it.

Even the lovely author Tim Winton said at a book signing and lecture I attended last year about this book what a genius of work it is. Then he realised he was flogging somebody else's book and got back to his own.  He couldn't speak highly enough about it.

So everyone out there in our big wide world, put this book down on your Australian books to read soon.  Having read other works by Richard Flanagan I know it will be brilliant.

Monday 13 October 2014

Finally Got My Act Together......

I haven't written a post for what seems like ages but I am probably the only person that bothers.  I enjoy writing posts because it keeps me anchored a bit in my mostly unstructured life of retirement.

Yesterday we had a beautiful spring day.  Our motorbike group was going on a ride yesterday I didn't really fancy going on so I headed out south to the Huon Valley of Tasmania.  It is really beautiful.  The destination in mind was a shed of a book shop in Huonville.  Really it is a shed and you can barely turn around in it. They have thousands of books all stacked up.
This is Huonville area. Beautiful area to scooter through and look for books.
The photos I took inside the shed didn't come out because it is quite dark and I only had my phone camera. Next time I'll be sure to take my proper camera because it really is a sight to behold.

At the best of times it is hard to see what they have but the owner told me she was starting to paint the place and had moved everything.  The aisle to the Penguins was literally a metre by half a metre.  I reached up as high as I could but another section of Penguins was unattainable.

You have to walk through a narrow path in the garden to get to the books.
I could not reach them. I could not get to them. I could see them. Many Penguins at the back of the piles. However the piles of books were eye level and there was no way I could move them.  I will go back and hopefully they will be accessible.

I know they are there.

I have been reading a bit lately and will put up a bit about those books because one of them in particular was very good.  But in the meantime here are the Penguins I did find that I didn't have in my collection.

I have no idea about this story or author. 

I particularly like this book cover because it is quite humorous.  I also collect old books about dogs.

This is also an author I have not heard of.

I  certainly know of John Updike but had no knowledge of this book. Never heard of it.

Oh,, and on an unrelated note. I have to put up a photo of my little dog Molly too. It will make you laugh. I had washed a bunch of towels.We go through a lot of towels what with three dogs and two cats and rainy muddy days of late.

I dumped them onto the couch to fold them later on because I needed the basket. When I came back to them Molly, my smallest dog beat me to them. She loves to burrow.  Made me laugh. I hope it makes you laugh too.