Book Stall

Posted on 2 December 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I promised myself I wouldn’t do another book stall as they’re just too much work, but when the invitation came around it was too hard to refuse. It came just before I made the decision to specialise a little so I’m taking the opportunity to clear out some stock.

I won’t be selling children’s books unless they’re collectable, any more, unless people give me a special request. So I’ve packed most of my children’s books in the form of novels and picture books and am going to be working on selling them rather than bringing them home. So, if you’re in the vicinity of Ashwood tomorrow afternoon and there was something you noticed on the old website which you’d be happy to buy at a lower price come around and we’ll talk. Just let me know you read about it online so I know to give you a special discount. As I mentioned on Twitter (you can follow me on SuzsSpace if you want to get all the goss that’s too short for a blog) I’ve got 18 boxes worth of books. I’ve only got three boxes of picture books, a couple of boxes of children’s novels and a box or two of teenage books, I’ve also got some adult books as well as some cooking magazines. If you’re after cooking magazines I have plenty I’m leaving at home so you’ll need to contact me so I can try to squeeze them in. I know my car is big but 18 boxes is getting very close to full, I have three smallish tables and a box full of admin stuff to fit in as well. I can guarantee I’m not going to be able to take passengers.

Anyway, you’ll want some details:

Fun, Food and Carols Night
Parkhill Primary School
Parkhill Drive

Be there between 5pm and 7:30pm tomorrow, they’re forecasting 31 degrees so bring your hat, sunscreen and drink bottle. I’ll have a hat so if you see someone with a pink legionnaires hat decorated with fluorescent dinosaurs and goodness knows what else you’ll have found me. My hat is rather unique and I stick out a mile.

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Family Stories – Uncle Abe and the car

Posted on 28 November 2009. Filed under: Family Stories, Uncategorized |

I know it has nothing to do with books but I’m going to give you a few family stories at odd times. My Great Uncle Abe passed on recently and has left a rash of stories. This is my favourite. It’s set sometime in the mid to late 1960s.

Uncle Abe used to work in Russell Street, Melbourne. He normally took the train into the CBD and then back home afterwards, embarking and disembarking at the old Princes’ Bridge Station under Swanston Street just before St Kilda Road. One day he had to take a parcel in so he took the car and as was possible in those day he parked outside his office all day with no repercussions. Nowadays you either spend an enormous amount on parking or move the car every hour or two to avoid a parking fine. After work he drove south down Russell Street, turned right into Flinders Street and was stopped at the lights at Swanston Street opposite the clocks. Knowing the length of the cycle he hopped out of the car (leaving the keys in the ignition and the engine on) to get a paper from Princes’ Bridge Station. At that point habit took over and he got on the train, got off at Gardenvale Station and realised what he’d done. So he crossed the line and went back into the CBD looking for his car. When he got there he found a policeman who directed him to his car which had been run up onto the pavement. The policeman had seen what he’d done and taken the car out of the way, he was most amused and let Uncle Abe take the car away without any official repercussions.

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Website updates

Posted on 17 November 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Well, things are certainly a lot better now. The website problems seem to have resolved themselves very nicely and I’m able to upload books. I’ve managed to solve the problem of the banner and it is now clickable so it takes you back to the home page and I’ve also solved some search engine problems so that the urls now have the title of the book and name of the author in them. The problem now is with the wifi. It’s just not consistent and today I’ve had five minutes of internet access interspersed with half an hour of non-internet access. I’ve partially solved this problem by typing up my books and getting everything ready offline ready to be quickly pasted into the listing in the five minutes I have online before the wifi decides it doesn’t want to work. It’s unwieldly and I can’t research prices until I get back online, but it does work and I’m getting books listed a few at a time.

Today, in the few minutes of internet access I had I’ve managed to list a couple of fabulous autobiographies: Journey From Venice by Ruth Cracknell and Cleared For Take-Off by Dirk Bogarde. I’ve also listed a couple of cookbooks and a literary classic: Three Men In a Boat by Jerome K Jerome.

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Remembrance Day

Posted on 11 November 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

What do you do on Remembrance Day? I don’t have any books handy that talk about Remembrance Day and it seems so wrong to not talk about it for that reason so I’m just going to say a few words about what I do.

The first thing I think about is my uncle’s birthday, it’s today and it’s something I think about because it’s on Remembrance Day. It’s just like I remember my cousin’s birthday because it falls on Guy Fawkes Day. I don’t remember the rest of my cousins, aunts and uncles, just those two. I should also mention my sister who was born on ANZAC Day. It’s interesting how three of my family were born on notable days.

The other thing I think about is my great-uncle who was a pilot during WWII and died over France. His grave is one of many, many other graves of people who died fighting and I hope to see it for myself one day. It’s in a beautiful place in France and I can never recall the name of it but I’ve seen photos and it’s beautiful. The family has talked about him a lot over the years so I feel like I know him even though he died many years before I was born. My personal opinion is that people should talk about their deceased family and friends as that way they never truly die. It’s an awkward balancing act to ensure you live in the present while remembering the past but I’m sure it’s possible to do.

This leads me to think about all those people who did their best during all the wars over the centuries, I just like to dwell on them for a bit.

What do you do on Remembrance Day?

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Nothing about books today

Posted on 4 November 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Some time ago I posted about a gentleman who makes the most exquisite things using offcuts of wood and knitting needles. Well, today I’m finally going to post some photos. Here’s a link to the original blog in case you want to remember my washing day.

Huon Pine Bowl Huon Pine Bowl

Bowl Mahogany Bowl

Pen Stand with Southern Cross Pen Stand with Southern Cross

Pen Stand Pen Stand

Small Pot Small Pot

My challenge now is to find some link to books and the only way I can do that is if you can see the book shelf behind the Pen Stands. Anyway, you can see how absolutely gorgeous they are. He’s put an enormous amount of work into them and it shows. Now, you lot have drooled over them I’ll let you drool some more, he was so pleased by my excitement that he gave me the two bowls.

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Time Critics 100 best books from 1923 to present

Posted on 29 October 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This list from the Time Critics is interesting as it contains adult and childrens books. Some of these books are very new while others are not. I’ve read a total of 10 of these books and plan to remedy that as soon as I can, I’ve actually just found Snow Crash today and picked it up as my cousin recommended it. I’ve heard of most of these books and without actually reading them I agree they should be on the list.

I’m curious how many of these books you’ve read.

The Complete List In Alphabetical Order
A – B
The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
American Pastoral – Philip Roth
An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Appointment in Samarra – John O’Hara
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume
The Assistant – Bernard Malamud
At Swim-Two-Birds – Flann O’Brien
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Beloved – Toni Morrison
The Berlin Stories – Christopher Isherwood
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder
C – D
Call It Sleep – Henry Roth
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
The Confessions of Nat Turner – William Styron
The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen
The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon
A Dance to the Music of Time – Anthony Powell
The Day of the Locust – Nathanael West
Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
A Death in the Family – James Agee
The Death of the Heart – Elizabeth Bowen
Deliverance – James Dickey
Dog Soldiers – Robert Stone
F – G
Falconer – John Cheever
The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
Go Tell it on the Mountain – James Baldwin
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
H – I
A Handful of Dust – Evelyn Waugh
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
The Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene
Herzog – Saul Bellow
Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson
A House for Mr. Biswas – V.S. Naipaul
I, Claudius – Robert Graves
Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
L – N
Light in August – William Faulkner
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
Loving – Henry Green
Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
The Man Who Loved Children – Christina Stead
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Money – Martin Amis
The Moviegoer – Walker Percy
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Naked Lunch – William Burroughs
Native Son – Richard Wright
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
1984 – George Orwell
O – R
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski
Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
Play It As It Lays – Joan Didion
Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
Possession – A.S. Byatt
The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
Rabbit, Run – John Updike
Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
The Recognitions – William Gaddis
Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett
Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
S – T
The Sheltering Sky – Paul Bowles
Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
The Sot-Weed Factor – John Barth
The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
The Sportswriter – Richard Ford
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold – John le Carre
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller
U – W
Ubik – Philip K. Dick
Under the Net – Iris Murdoch
Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
Watchmen – Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
White Noise – Don DeLillo
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

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Posted on 19 October 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Libraries are a wonderful invention. I know I shouldn’t be advocating the use of libraries as it reduces the number books you actually buy, but I think they’re wonderful. My local library is having a bit of an upgrade and while some of the stock has been distributed to the other libraries in the area some of them have been relocated to a temporary building in the carpark so it’s not quite closed but it does have reduced stock.

I’ve been to many libraries over the years. I grew up in Hawthorn, fairly close to the library, and spent many happy hours browsing, reading and borrowing. I spent a lot of time working my way through the Alfred Hitchcock collection as well as Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. It was a lot cheaper than buying all those books.

I won’t detail all the libraries I’ve been in but I do want to make a special mention of the library in Shrewsbury, England. We visited England a few years ago and made sure to spend a little time in Shrewsbury as I’ve read so much about it over the years, what with the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters, the Lone Pine Adventures by Malcolm Saville just to mention a couple. I felt it was very important to walk around the township of Shrewsbury to find out how big it is and to get a feel for where everything is, I also wanted to walk across the border to Wales but that didn’t happen, 19 miles was just a little much for me at the time and we ran out of time. Anyway, while walking round Shrewsbury we came across a statue of Charles Darwin. He’s sitting in front of a beautiful building which used to house the school he attended and we just had to go closer for a look at the statue and also to go inside the library. I don’t have any photos of the inside and can’t find any links but it was just gorgeous. It had a separate children’s area and the doorway was very inviting, unfortunately I don’t recall the details.

Why don’t you write a few words about your favourite library?

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Borders Top 100 Books results

Posted on 11 October 2009. Filed under: reading, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

100 Favourite Books of All Time as voted by You!!

Ok, it’s taken some time but we’ve finally received notification of the results of the poll Borders took a couple of months ago. Funnily enough my vote didn’t make it into the top 100, I really don’t know why, Grug is highly collectable and they’ve recently reprinted the entire series so that should prove my point. The top 100 only has one little children’s books, and that’s Animalia by Graeme Base. I find this really interesting as there has been so much quality children’s writing throughout the years you’d think there’d be room for more.

There’s a lot of quality writing in this list some of which is aimed at children and some at adults. Some of the list is fact based fiction and other is just plain fiction. There is a good sprinkling of fantasy and also some science fiction. Some of my favourite books are here such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I feel some of the books shouldn’t have made to the list as they are not actually good writing they just have a vast readership so that shows that this list is really made up of popular books and not necessarily good writing. I’m going to point the finger here at Harry Potter and also at The Da Vinci Code. Both books have some fabulous ideas and have the potential to be great books but just fail miserably. They do have a wide readership which doesn’t necessarily make them good.

I’ve noticed a decent spread of Australian authors, Tim Winton and John Marsden for example, both of whom are really great authors and deserve to be there.

Here’s the list so you can see it for yourself.

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Australian Book List

Posted on 29 September 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Ok, another booklist, but only because I have to iron tonight and so I don’t have time to do anything properly. Therefore I’m not even giving you the whole list, you can download the pdf just as well as I can.

This list has been published by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission, for those readers not in Australia).

Here’s the first 20 only in voting order. If you go to the ABC website you’ll find you can download the entire list, in alphabetical order, as a pdf.

It’s interesting how Tim Winton has two entries in the top 20, I’ve only read one of them and it was good with very evocative images of the heat of Western Australia.

My total: 18

1. “Cloudstreet” – Tim Winton
2. “A Fortunate Life” – AB Facey
3. “Dirt Music” – Tim Winton
4. “My Brother Jack” – George Johnston
5. “The Magic Pudding” – Norman Lindsay
6. “The Tree of Man” – Patrick White
7. “Seven Little Australians” – Ethel Turner
8. “The Fortunes of Richard Mahony” – Henry Handel Richardson
9. “Tomorrow When the War Began” – John Marsden
10. “My Place” – Sally Morgan
11. “Power Without Glory” – Frank Hardy
12. “Power of One” – Bryce Courtenay
13. “Oscar and Lucinda” – Peter Carey
14. “The Harp in the South” – Ruth Park
15. “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” – May Gibbs
16. “Eucalyptus” – Murray Bail
17. “The Idea of Perfection” – Kate Grenville
18. “The Ancient Future” – Traci Harding
19. “I Can Jump Puddles” – Alan Marshall
20. “Voss” – Patrick White

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Measure bookshelves

Posted on 9 September 2009. Filed under: Collections, Uncategorized | Tags: |

Measurements of bookshelves, estimate number of books, how many shelves we had when we moved in, how many boxes we had when we moved here. Think about packing them up for another move – lots of screams and I can’t do this it’s too much. Man, that’ll be hard to move that many boxes twice in one day.

Have I ever said how addicted to books I am? Or how many books I have? Or how the people in my household share my passion for books? I don’t think I have and I don’t know that I want to think about some of the points I made in my notes for this post. I first had the idea of measuring my bookshelves and figuring out how many books we have in this household back at the end of July. It’s now only a month later and I’ve girded my loins and done a part of the measurements.

When I first moved in with my OH I already had a lot of books and so did he, we even shared many of the same authors but with all those books we only had two titles where we had two copies. When we moved to our new house four months later we had 33 boxes of books, I’m talking wine boxes so not terribly large. We’ve upgraded our bookshelves a couple of times since then and the result is big. Just looking at our halfway alone we have 21 metres of shelving, admittedly a couple of shelves are full of Scientific American magazines, but the rest is just books. I’m guestimating about 40+ boxes just for these alone. I don’t want to look at the rest of house it’s just too hard.

I’m really not looking forward to moving just these figures alone makes me cringe as I’ve probably got that many boxes stored on the premises with stock in them waiting for listing or selling. Add some boxes for the rest of the books and the normal moving stuff of clothes, linen, photos, kitchen stuff etc etc sounds like one massive day as they would have to be moved onto the truck and then off the truck.

Just on a side note. We have another Doctor Who meeting this weekend. Anyone who wants to pre order can do so and pick up their orders at the meeting. You’ll save on postage and if you’re a member of the Dr Who Club of Victoria you also receive a 20% discount. The secret password is “David Tennant – yum” if you’re female and “Leela – ohhh” if you’re male (I wouldn’t be showing my preferences here). If you can’t come to the meeting and you’re a member of the Dr Who Club of Victoria you’ll still receive the 20% discount.

I promise to get back to reviewing books in due course and not just rambling about books. And don’t forget the competition. All you have to do is to comment to enter.

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