Archive for August, 2010

Wandering Conversations

Posted August 25, 2010 By Jandy

Three Tuesday evenings a month I volunteer in the Friends of the Library bookstore at the local library. It’s a great gig – mass market paperbacks are 50 cents and hardbacks are 3 bucks. Also, I can read if it’s not busy and no one objects.

My shift is 3 hours long. Last night I had customers who were chatty – for the first two hours I listened to customers. By the time the chatty people left, I didn’t have time to read because there were bookstore things I needed to do.

What struck me, though, was the variety of topics that were discussed in that two hours. I believe it started with the vacation I have planned to the Mediterranean and Italy later this year. In no special order, here are the topics I could remember once I was alone:

Italy – both for travel and during WWII
Ancient architecture both in Europe and Korea
glamor photography
Bosnia and the conflict there
evil in the human heart
Paris, the Nazi occupation, and current neo-Nazism
Chinese people
Northern California – current and the shipping and lumber industries in the late 1800’s
European train system
digital photography
beginning of the Viet Nam war
recovery from surgery
British and Italian governments – how they function
basis of Christianity
Francis Bacon

I know there was more, but I was amazed at how our conversations were all over the place. Although one of the chatters’ hobby is photography, the digital photography and the glamor photography were separate conversations with other things in the middle.

Whew! If I remember a third of what I learned last night, I’ll be a wiser woman.

Joining the Modern Age

Posted August 20, 2010 By Jandy

In November I’ll be taking a two week vacation to Italy and Greece. I have traveled that far before with books in my suitcases. I will do it again.

But books weigh down a suitcase. I know I’ll pick up a few when I’m traveling. I’d like to start with less weight. The solution is obvious with our modern technology.

Yesterday I bought a Nook, the Barnes and Noble e-reader. I thought I would buy a Kindle from Amazon. The new model was preordered for me. Then I learned that the Kindle doesn’t handle Digital Rights Management (DRM) software that is set up through the Adobe e-reader.

I can borrow ebooks through my library. They are encoded with the DRM. I couldn’t use them on a Kindle. I canceled my preordered Kindle, went to the local Barnes and Noble, and came home with my new Nook e-reader. They didn’t have the book-style cover I wanted in stock (in any of my local B&N stores) so I had to order it online. I won’t do much with my new toy until the cover comes in.

Last night I connected up with Overdrive audio and ebooks through my library’s web site. I was able to borrow and download two books for my new reader.

I have now joined the ebook trend…

Thomas Jefferson – Kindred Spirit

Posted August 20, 2010 By Jandy

From John Adams by David McCullough:

“In the bookshops and stalls along the Seine were volumes in numbers and variety such as Jefferson had never seen, and his pleasure was boundless. To Madison he would describe the surpassing pleasure of ‘examining all the principal bookstores, turning over every book with my own hand’… There were weeks when he was buying books every day. In his first month in Paris, he could not buy them fast enough…”

I can certainly empathize with that!

Reading Time Curtailed

Posted August 7, 2010 By Jandy

For the past five weeks I’ve been recuperating. During that time I napped a lot, worked on learning Drupal, scrapbooked, and of course, read. For the first time in ages, I feel like I’ve made a scratch in Mt. Bookpile.

In my time out of work, I’ve taken 20 books out of the many books waiting for me to get to them. Now I have some shelf space to put some of the Mt. Bookpile books that are stacked beside the bookshelf. Admittedly, most of the books have been light reading. Since my attention span was very short at the beginning of my time off, that’s what I needed. Even now, I’m still avoiding the “big” books.

Alas, my reading time will now go back to pre-appendectomy schedule. Plus some of the library books I requested are in. Things will slow up again.

Reading was one good way to ignore the healing pain. Thanks, Mt. Bookpile

Killer Thrillers

Posted August 5, 2010 By Jandy

National Public Radio (NPR) recently had readers vote on the best murder mystery/thrillers. Now they’ve published the top 100 list.

Since I’m obsessive that way, I counted the number of books on the list that I’ve read. The total is 22 1/2 (I have to go back and finish The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown). For this list, I can say that many of the books don’t appeal – they’re horror as much as thriller. I refuse to read the top rated book, Silence of the Lambs.

The Woman in White by Wilkie CollinsThe list goes from very new to very old mysteries – many not what I would call thrillers. The newest is the recent Stieg Larsen book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Next. The oldest is Wilkie Collins’ Woman in White. While I haven’t read the Larsen trilogy yet, I wouldn’t call Collins’ book a thriller in the modern sense. The same would be true of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles.

The list is an interesting collection. If you like mysteries and/or horror, check it out.