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In Praise of Bound Books

 

Book ShelfRight now I’m reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. It is a memoir of his mother’s life after her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer that has spread. This is a terminal diagnosis. There are lots of thoughts to ponder in this book. This one tickles me and is a good definition:

“One of the many things I love about bound books is their sheer physicality. Electronic books are out of sight and out of mind. But printed books have body, presence. Sure, sometimes they’ll elude you by hiding in improbably places: in a box full of old picture frames, say, or in the laundry basket, wrapped in a sweatshirt. But at other times they’ll confront you, and you’ll literally stumble over some tomes you hadn’t thought about in weeks or years. I often seek electronic books, but they never come after me. They may make me feel, but I can’t feel them. They are all soul with no flesh, no texture, and no weight. They can get in your head but can’t whack you upside it.”

Book I often talk about the feel of holding a print book. An electronic book just isn’t the same. But that electronic book weighs less in the suitcase than five to ten print books. Plus I can get an electronic book any time I’m ready to start it, even if I purchase it or borrow it from the library at midnight. That print book, though, sits in that pile waiting for me, shows off its cover when I’m reaching for a different one in Mt. Bookpile, or has Nora Roberts’ or Jim Butcher’s or Connie Willis’  signature in it, or sits on the shelf showing off a complete series waiting for me to read it again (Are Amelia Peabody or James Herriot calling my name? When I have time…).

Schwalbe captured the feelings quite well.

Read Your Own Challenge

 

Last year Lazy Gal took a challenge to read books off Mt. Bookpile. She passed on the challenge and I accepted. She’s doing it again. So am I. Actually, I’ve been doing this unofficially for years. This helps me be accountable.

The rules – read books added to Mt. Bookpile (aka to-be-read) before 2012. The intent is to bring the pile down, of course. It doesn’t work, though, because I pick up as many as I read. Re-reads and books submitted by publicists for review don’t count.

The list at the left of this blog shows 44 books off my Mt. Bookpile in 2012. Actually there were 65, but I didn’t review all of them on the site. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Except…

I read 201 books in 2012. So Mt. Bookpile accounted for less than half. Why? There are three main reasons.

1. I read a lot from the library. I’ll see an interesting review of a book (like right now I’m reading Odd John because of a site I stumbled across) and request it from the library. Although the book may be an older one, it’s not on Mt. Bookpile, so doesn’t count in the challenge. Also, I like to listen to books in the car. Most of my Mt. Bookpile books are not available in audio from my library – I’ve checked. Then there are the new releases that I don’t buy but want to read, such as Carole Nelson Douglas’ Midnight Louie series.

2. I accept one or two advance review books a month on average. I’m then committed to those. I couldn’t count them even if I had received them in 2011. I’m picky about my books so I usually like them and then may want to follow up with more of the series.

3. I keep picking up new books. I’m one of Mysterious Galaxy’s A-list customers. When the new Jim Butcher, Margaret Maron, Jacqueline Winspear, Jasper Fforde, Ann Perry, Jayne Ann Krentz (in any guise), Nora Roberts, etc. etc. is released, I’m picking them up shortly after publishing date. They have authors doing signings in both stores all the time. I get to my share of those signings. (The last one was during Timothy Zahn’s visit, but I wasn’t there to pick up his book. My granddaughters loved all the visiting Star Wars characters.) Of the new books I bought there in 2012, about half of them are still on Mt. Bookpile, including a Connie Willis, a Lisa Lutz, a Janet Evanovich, a Nora Roberts, and more. That means I can count them this year when I finally get to them, doesn’t it?

But I finally read some great books that had been waiting for me. I finally read Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Louis Sachar’s Holes, both books that had been subtly calling my name. How long had Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead been waiting for me to pick it up? And wasn’t it about time I finally read Agatha Christie’s first Miss Marple novel, Murder at the Vicarage?

I put a good dent in my Nora Roberts collection. A few years ago I went on a mission to find all her old Silhouettes as well as her newer novels. I have almost all of her books now. While those are easy reads, they kept sitting there, along with Jayne Ann Krentz’ books. Those two have their own section, but it’s much smaller now.

A month into 2013, and I’m already reading as many non-Mt. Bookpile books than those that are. In January I read ten library books, re-reads, advance review, or brand new books. I’ve read ten from Mt. Bookpile.

Book-a-holic. Yep, that’s me.

I’m taking up the Read Your Own Challenge again. My goal this year is over 50, although the original challenge calls for 22 (an odd number – I wonder how that one was chosen?). You’ll see some of them over in the left hand column again. I want that list to be over 25.

So Little Time…

 
One of my favorite sayings is “So many books, so little time”. Mt. Bookpile grows each year despite my reading list. I’ve taken 64 books off this year that I picked up in 2011 or earlier. (No, they’re not all listed on the left – only the ones I’ve reviewed at my web site are showing.) Plus there have been another 20 or so I’ve bought this year that I’ve read.

But I know I picked up at least as many as I’ve read. And now the world is supposed to end tomorrow. Since I’m in California, that actually means it should have already ended in Australia, Asia, and Europe. If the world is ending, how am I ever going to catch up? How will Jim Butcher finish the Dresden File series? How will Carole Nelson Douglas finish the Midnight Louis series?

OK, since the rest of the world is still here, I guess I can relax. I’ll go back to reading one of the books I recently bought, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

And yes, the cover really does glow in the dark…

2012 Reading Resolution

 

LazyGal has issued a challenge. I can’t ignore it because I have to do it whether I take the gauntlet or not. See her post about this resolution. The 2012 Read Your Own Books Challenge was originally issued at the Tales From the Crypt blog.

These are the rules:

This challenge is for those of us who have books that we’ve purchased and just haven’t gotten to. I will go into what does and does not qualify for this challenge below.

Rules:

Starts January 1, 2012 and ends December 31, 2012
Anyone can join
You don’t have to have a blog to participate.
Non-Bloggers feel free to share your list of books in the comment section of the monthly link up post.
Reviews though not required are always nice.
Audio, E-books, Bound all count
Re-reads DO NOT count
There is no need to come up with your list of books in advance.
Challenge crossovers ok

What qualifies for this challenge?:

Any book that you have personally purchased, been gifted, or swapped, BEFORE January 1, 2012 and just have not gotten the chance to read yet.

What DOES NOT qualify for this challenge?:

Any book that has been purchased AFTER January 1, 2012.
Any book that you have been asked to review
Tour sites, Netgalley, GalleyGrab, etc.
Library Books

Levels:

Level 1 – Read 1-5 Your Own Books
Level 2 – Read 6-10 Your Own Books
Level 3 – Read 11-20 Your Own Books
Level 4 – Read 21+ Your Own Books

Like LazyGal, I have to go with Level 4 – perhaps my own Level 5 – 50+ Your Own Books. Mt. Bookpile is high. Perhaps it’s not as high as hers, but my bookshelves runneth over.

I have one already for the list. I’ll add the widget with the list in the left column.

Web site update: It takes a (long) while to convert over 2,000 book review pages from the old html to the new WordPress format. I was way too optimistic when I hoped to be done by November. I may have been half way through then.

I keep plugging away at them. Once all the pages are converted, there will be more work to be done with the web page developer. I started in June. Hopefully I will have finished by this coming June. In the meantime, I still continue adding reviews to the current site. I really want to finish so I have more reading time and so I can get back to my scrapbooking. Yes, at times I bite of huge chunks. Some day I will finish this project…

Library Book Sales

 

My local library has 2 or 3 book sales a year. Because of their excellent used bookstore, they get more books donated that can be sold through the store. The overflow is sold in a large sale to benefit the Friends of the Library. That means ultimately it benefits the library.

Today was the spring sale of the year. I volunteered to work opening this morning. Of course the first thing I did was look over the huge selection. With all hardbacks and trade paperbacks only 50 cents and mass market paperbacks a quarter, it’s hard to resist. I walked out with 11 books. Only one was for my daughter although I was looking for other titles for her. I’ve read one of the other books I bought. So that means 9 more for Mt. Bookpile. (I only took 2 off this week.)

Friends of the Library book sales – dangerous. No wonder my Mt. Bookpile shelves are overflowing.

As If There Aren’t Enough Books on Mt Bookpile

 

Kirkus released its list of best science fiction and fantasy of 2010. I haven’t read any of them (one is on Mt. Bookpile, though) and a few sound interesting…

Rest of the Year Challenge

 

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet EvanovichSizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Waters Rising by Sherri Tepper
Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

The common factor here? All of these were published this year. All of them now sit on Mt. Bookpile. I really should read them before the end of the year. (I still have 2 or 3 from 2009 to read, too, but hey…)

Plus I want to pick up the final Bride Quartet book by Nora Roberts, Happy Ever After and read it. Then there are the three older books I bought specifically on recommendation (rather than browsing used book stores and picking up what looked good). I’d like to read those, too. Thirteen books – all in paper, not audio or e-book. I probably should quit borrowing library books for a month or so.

Mt. Bookpile Explained

 

Lazygal’s uncle wrote this post about the mysterious increase of books on our shelves.

Addicted

 

My web site slogan is “So many books, So little time”. To that end, I really should quit talking about books to people, reading friend’s blogs, staying away from my online reading group at The Reader’s Place (since this post the site has closed down), avoiding my real life book club, and even my coworkers.

In my home Mt. Bookpile keeps growing. (I volunteer weekly at a used bookstore – one more place I should avoid.) I keep putting books on hold at the library. Favorite writers release another book (you Connie Willis, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Jim Butcher each have one coming out in the next few weeks and Sherri Tepper‘s came out a few weeks ago).

This morning I was talking with my fellow librarian about our fiction reading (never mind we’re medical librarians). I walked away from that conversation with more books to read. Recently at The Reader’s Place someone mentioned getting ready to read a book that sounded good so I put it on hold at the library. Then there was the review on NPR yesterday – another book put on hold. There were four more added to my mental list this morning (three are a trilogy). No question – I’m a bookaholic.

No wonder Mt. Bookpile doesn’t shrink.

Reading Time Curtailed

 

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

Robert B. Parker

 

This entertaining author of the Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall series died today. I still have a number of his books on Mt. Bookpile, so I’ll still get to enjoy his work.

Thank you, Mr. Parker, for keeping us on our mystery toes.

Robert Parker’s Homepage

Life Back to Normal

 

Holidays – January 2nd wedding out of town – 3 day all staff meeting in our offices

I think all of the big stuff is done and life will now return to as normal as anything is. It was nice at the out of town wedding because my responsibilities were 1) take snapshots at the rehearsal; 2) attend the wedding and reception; 3) shop; 4) read. Between plane rides and waiting for events, I read 5 books over the weekend. Plus, since I was in Portland, OR, I made sure I visited Powell’s. It’s a good thing I was broke – I only walked out with four books. Then I returned home with a concentrated staff meeting with out of town staff coming in. I was too tired to read in the evenings (or do much besides zone out) so my reading will drop back to normal now.

Last year I did the 999 challenge as you’ve seen. This year I want to read all the books on my borrowed pile (about 20), finish up some series (such as Lydia Chin/Bill Smith by S.J. Rozan or Barbara Holloway by Kate Wilhelm), and pare down Mt. Bookpile. Lazygal can tell you how many books she has on Mt. Bookpile. I’m not sure I want to know. As it is, they overflow 2 bookcases, sigh.

Shree has posted a number of reading challenges. There are two that catch my eye and fit in with the above – Read Your Own Books Challenge and Take Another Chance Challenge

I also have to catch up on my blog reading. I’ve been behind since before Christmas…