Who, me catalogue?

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))
If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

Despite being a library page for my very first job and going on to be a teacher-librarian, I do not keep automated records of my books. In fact, unless they are the reference books in my home office, neatly shelved within arm’s reach of the computer, you could say I shelve them according to where they will fit. Why? I dunno. I think my natural instinct is to be only as organized as I have to be, preferably when someone is paying me to do so. I’m a pack rat who has trouble throwing away any published item. Once every three years I throw out enough magazines to start a recycling business. I could fight it, but my husband’s just the same. It’s like a bad Star Trek episode where the lead character gets doubled and has to wrestle with himself on camera. Well, sort of like that. No pancake makeup, no fake sweat.

Rare Booking Through Thursday

This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:
Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)

I don’t have a favorite by my husband does. He reads the historical children’s series by Ronald Welch which starts with I Am David. Just last week he found Welch’s Elizabethan adventure, The Galleon, at the public library. It’s a good thing too. These books cost up to $100.00 from rare bookshops. And no, he is not even tempted to steal it to complete his collection. He’s just not that kind of guy.

BTT – On a roll

This week, Booking Through Thursday asks:

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…

I will read a string of books if they are very funny, like the Myth series. Sometimes I will try to read a group of books that are similar to a project I am trying to write or that will help me with a course. For this reason I have read a lot of childrens’ literature and young adult novels in the past few years. My compulsive read is the dystopia genre. If you recommend a dystopia to me, I have to read it. They are my favorite.

Dystopias aside, I do read by author. At one point I had read everything written by Salmon Rushdie but he is prolific and I have not been keeping up lately. I will read anything by Margaret Atwood, although I have quite a bit of catching up to do there too.

In French, I will read anything by Amelie Nothomb. I have read all of Proust’s A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu but I haven’t read his letters. I only wish Voltaire were still writing. What era could be easier to satirize than our own?

Book markers BTT

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks: how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?

This is an easy question. It depends on the book. If if comes from the rare book library, turn the pages with a pencil and don’t even get the oil from your skin on it.

If it’s my own book or novel, I sometimes mark it up with sticky notes or, more likely, I turn over the corners of pages I want to revisit.

I don’t buy hard covers for resale purposes. It’s the content I’m interested in. The very worst I did to books was in my first year university French classes. When you are beginning to read full-length books in your second language, it’s very helpful to underline the new words and write the meanings in the margin. That way when it comes to writing the essay, you still understand all those pages you have worked so hard to decipher.

Books are sacred to me, but as an idea, not as a physical object. A few pencil marks in my copy of Beaudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal are no threat to more book issues, like freedom of the press.

Booking Through Tuesday???

Thursday night I took the bus from work to my new writing group (1.5 hours). The return trip was over 2 hours long, by which time I figured the BTT site would have so many comments, it wasn’t worth bothering with.

It’s too bad this is the week Deb at BTT (Booking Through Thursday) decided to use a question I had suggested some time ago. I’m sure this is setting a new record for BTT lateness but here’s my entry:

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

I am very good at finishing what I start. If I get through the first chapter of a novel, chances are I will finish it. This goes mostly for literary novels. If I’m not amused by something modern and popular, I just figure I don’t get it and move on. If something receives good reviews in the book pages of the newspaper or creates some kind of a stir in the literary media (podcasts, TV, CBC radio etc.) I need to know why. The Shipping News was one novel I might have abandoned because the narrator is so frustrated and frustrating through much of the book. In the end, I was glad I hung in because he turns himself around.

Does this make me a literary snob? Well, I suppose it makes me my very own kind of reading snob. I only read for my own fun/ stimulation. It’s one of the perks of dropping out of grad school. I’ll read anything (meant for intelligent laymen and novel readers). I love to try reading a new genre, but I won’t repeat the exercise if I didn’t like it. Category romance, for example, is something I doubt I’ll try again.

I have it bad for literary language and if a book is funny with a touch of satire and a large dollop of linguistic experiment, I’m in love. Of course, the hardest experiments are the ones that go the furthest wrong when they don’t work. There’s a fine line between entertainment and intellectual exercise and, well, I have my own navel to gaze at. There is only so much time to read in our busy, disjointed, attention-splitting world.

With the constant flow of advertising and noisy media, intruding into our consciousness, I dote on books for their polite habits and pleasant demeanour. Loyal and patient, they sit up and show us their covers, hoping we will choose them.

Happy Reading

Pornographication of society – BTT meme

Booking Through Thursday

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

It’s funny this question came up because I have been pondering the pornification of our culture lately. I have trouble, for example, finding ‘clean’ popular songs that my grade 8 students can play for their dances or their physical education program. My current favorite bands, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers or Black Eyed Peas, use profanity or unacceptable concepts (drugs, prostitution, sex) in just about every song. That said, I wouldn’t change the music or its content. I just don’t bring it to school. Continue reading “Pornographication of society – BTT meme”

Booking Through Thursday

The reverse of last week’s question:
Imagine that everything is going just swimmingly. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. You’re practically bouncing from health and have money in your pocket. The kids are playing and laughing, the puppy is chewing in the cutest possible manner on an officially-sanctioned chew toy, and in between moments of laughter for pure joy, you pick up a book to read . . .

When life is good I read the dystopias, the serious non-fiction, the serious literature. My idea of a good beach read has been nominated for a Booker or a Giller etc. I also have a shelf of books on writing with titles like: Origins of Story, The Art and Craft of Poetry, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel and Negotiating With the Dead (By Margaret Atwood). These books come out when life is so good that I have time to read and time to write as well. Sigh. September and back-to-school is not one of those times. I did, however, make the deadline for the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival for 2008. It doesn’t mean my script will be chosen, but I can always hope.

Indoctrinated by the book meme


When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)

You can reply to this book meme here or play the game at the home of the weekly Thursday meme: BTT . Here’s my reply:

I have fond memories of my mother reading to us around the kitchen table when we were already reading independently. My fondest memories are of: The Hobbit and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe series. I have vaguer memories of the learn-to-read books like Amelia Bedelia but I know we must have read them all. I think we took ten books out of the library every two weeks during the summer months. The set number was so that we would know how many to search for if one got lost!

Happy memories. I’ve always been a “lucky kid.”