Friday, 27 December 2013

The Book Jar Pick Happens This Week

Years ago I used to copy out reading lists required in schools and then put them in a box. It was just an ordinary shoe box, nothing fancy. Then I'd pick a slip of paper and read the book listed on it. It was fun but then life got in the way and the idea disappeared.

Years later, well really, decades later I was reading Alex in Leed's blog (here) and she did a lovely post about her book jar. She used coloured squares of paper folded up with many names of books hidden away.

It has been sticking in my mind ever since I read it. It's a lovely way to pick books off the shelf randomly when one no longer wishes to make anymore decisions for the day.

Yesterday I decided to do a big clean up of some back issues of 'book magazines'.  They set on shelves for ages waiting for me to read all of the books listed in them. Well we all know that is not going to happen.

I had a bit of a rethink and decided to tear them apart. That's right. In keeping the Book Jar idea alive I sat outside with the dogs while they played in the sun and reread many of the magazines with a pair of scissors.  I snipped out book review after book review after book review. Then I snipped apart the Persephone catalogue and the Folio Society catalogue and the local indie book store flyers.

Each one of the snips went into the book  jar.  Then I threw in another list or two of books I'd written down I want to read.  I actually had to get a bigger jar.  I had a very large pickle jar that was empty and now it is filled with the titles of many books.

For 2014 I plan on having a very random reading year. But I think it will be lots of fun.  Books on my own TBR shelves will be chosen by from my inventory on My Library Thing. They will be the main focus.

The Book Jar will be extra books I get to choose to reward myself for being so good and reading already owned books.  I actually noticed that some of these choices are also on my shelves so already it is looking promising. I also won't need to give up library books or heaven forbid, buying a new one.

I plan to continue to add to the book jar as new book titles become available as I listen to radio interviews, read newspaper Sunday mags and hear about them from friends. I will simply add them to the jar and see what crops up during the year.  Travellin Penguin is quite excited as many of the books in the jar have been published by Penguin Books and we have vintage copies of them.

Christmas saw me receiving a very generous gift voucher for books. I do look forward to using it.  After all I do want to keep up with  modern times and I am in a monthly book club. I think I'll have a good round up of things to really get stuck into this next year.

I am looking forward to seeing what the Pickle Jar tosses up for the new year.

I know Alex has enjoyed her Book Jar but does anyone else choose books randomly?

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).

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Something to share from Penguin Books blog

I just read the latest update on the Penguin Books publishing blog and was delighted to see current Penguin authors reading Twas the Night Before Christmas.  I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd share it with others. Click on the link below.

Source:  Penguin Books Publishers- The Penguin Blog
                                                Twas the Night Before Christmas

I have learned so much this past year from other book bloggers. I have become a more concentrated reader, have made lovely friends and it is really great to interact with other book lovers from around the world.

Although there are so many books in the world that often I do feel completely overwhelmed by choice and also frustration at knowing I'll never even get to a smidgen of them. However I have been motivated greatly for the next year by others.

  • Next year the Travellin' Penguin and I will continue to work together in searching for more vintage Penguin books for the collection.  I plan on reading more of the vintage Penguin books next year and he plans on travelling with me through books that are not related to the Penguin family.
  • We will be focusing on the books in our house.  Books in the front room library, books in the bedroom on the reference shelves, books in the hallway where there is little sun to fade the collectibles hidden there. The world in our home is a haven for books, we will travel to various countries, meet wonderful and maybe scary people. Our adventures may be current or we will visit the past. We might even take on the fantasy of the distant future.
  • We are going to pay extra attention to what we learn from books. We will learn what makes us laugh and what makes us cry (not too many animals tales though for sadness). Travellin' Penguin will have new clothes to match the books he visits and we will share our thoughts with anyone who is interested.
  • We would also like to find new places to read our books. Maybe at the cafe in the bookshop? Maybe in the Parliament chair that my sister made for me when here (I really do need to do a blog about this chair in my back yard.) Maybe we'll take some old beat up weathered book to the beach with the dogs and sit there for an afternoon.  There will be a book in the campground packed with my tent under the seat of  the big scooter with the camera. 
  • There will be photos of Penguin hunting in our beautiful state of Tasmania. 

It is all going to be wonderful.  What makes the beginning of 2014 even more wonderful is that we are now in our summer. The weather should be gorgeous and there will be festivals and activities as well as films and walks under clear blue skies.  Travellin' Penguin and I  won't blink because we might miss it all.

I would like to thank everyone who visited our little corner of the world and please come back in January to see what bookish news we have to offer. I have some posts almost finished of some bookstores I visited in the USA recently and photos of new books that I brought home.

May everyone have a safe and very Happy Holiday and New Year. 

Now go back and watch the video of the Night Before Christmas. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Back to Australia soon

I am finally in the home stretch of my family trip. I found some wonderful books I will share once I recover from jetlag and race around doing some Christmas thiings. I only found one vintage Penguin book from the main series. However I did buy some lovely and quirky books from a second hand bookshop in Franklin Tennessee. I also got to McKays bookstore in Nashville. I will share both those stories soon. I have also been enjoying Christmas lights both in Tennessee and now in northern California.

Thanksgiving was fun being at my brother's family and food was bountiful and delicious.

I arrive in Hobart Thursday evening and am very much looking forward to seeing T.  and the pets. Have missed all of them.

I will be back with book news before long.
In the meantime I hope everyone is enjoying the lead up to the big holidays.