Booking Through Thursday — Windfall

Yesterday, April 15th, was Tax Day here in the U.S., which means lots of lucky people will get refunds of over-paid taxes.

Whether you’re one of them or not, what would you spend an unexpected windfall on? Say … $50? How about $500?

(And, this is a reading meme, so by rights the answer should be book-related, but hey, feel free to go wild and splurge on anything you like.)

$50 would go into my wallet for cash expenses. I’d probably spread it over a month or two, with extra meals out on errand days. If it came with instructions for a meal and an offer to babysit, husband and I would do as instructed.

$500 would mostly get set aside for the new kitchen. (Aka, pay off the line of credit, because husband won’t let me talk about the kitchen until it’s gone.) I’d probably take a few extra lunches, but try not to.

$1000 might tempt me to a new couch that isn’t broken and I can sweep under, but only if I like this year’s designs. On the other hand, it’s enough that I would be able to see the kitchen getting closer.

In a year or two, if it’s enough for a Disney trip, we’d do that. Yes, Disney while they’re the right age to enjoy it comes before my kitchen.

Although, this is a reading meme, so I might splurge on an e-reader. I’d enjoy it. The current generation has all the bells and whistles I want. But, we’re library users. We enjoy looking through the shelves and grabbing whatever looks good. We don’t spend that much money on books for the adults. Those that we do buy are normally in sets for the shelves. (Okay, boxes, but we want to keep the set together.)

The new kitchen will be well-lit, so I’ll be able to read in it.

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Booking Through Thursday: Numbers Game

Prompt:

Some people read one book at a time. Some people have a number of them on the go at any given time, perhaps a reading in bed book, a breakfast table book, a bathroom book, and so on, which leads me to…

1. Are you currently reading more than one book?
2. If so, how many books are you currently reading?
3. Is this normal for you?
4. Where do you keep your current reads?

I’m normally a monogamous reader, but that’s changed in the last month due to technology. Now I have several on the go, for different situations. I’m still monogamous for novels and even anthologies. I’m less monogamous for lecture series and articles or podcasts — things I never used to be interested in.

I got an MP3 player for Christmas, and discovered online lectures and podcasts. I have a couple on the go. It’s difficult to rewind in the car, so I don’t listen to large files or lectures, especially if I’m tired. Also, some work better for walking beside a noisy road then others.

“One novel at a time” applies regardless of format, so if I’m reading one I’ll listen to something else, and if I’m listening to one, I’ll listen and knit rather than read a book.

Also, lecture series and podcasts aren’t intended for single-sitting reading. I enjoy them more with a few days between each file.

I used to have a book on my PDA, for shopping runs late and I treat myself to lunch, but I stopped using the PDA last year (Winding Down the Palm) and this is the thing I miss most. It’s not something I plan, so I don’t keep a book in my purse. Last week I left a book of short stories in the car, for this situation.

I’m reading an online book on the computer. Too big to print. And I don’t have an offline reader. So, there’s one for when I can sit in at the computer and read. The hassle of getting husband to prepare it on his computer so I can read it on the Palm isn’t worth it.

I’m terrible about finishing books with the kids. We often start reading one, then the kids will want a different one, so we start way more than we finish. But at least we’re reading books they enjoy, rather than forcing them to finish a book just because Mommy enjoyed it when she was small. They’re better about finishing books they read for themselves.

Booking Through Thursday: Library Week

Prompt: I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

http://btt2.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/library-week/

I go weekly. That’s when I meet my shorthand study buddy.

Other than that, it varies wildly. At least monthly, sometimes weekly, though we have gone a month or two without. As a kid we went every two weeks. I was allowed to take out anything I wanted (from the children’s section), but had to take at least one author I’d never read before. Dad always took at least one non-fiction.

The coffeehouse/bookstore has not replaced it at all. Huge cost difference, and the library has better selection. I’m happy to do without the extra food from the coffee house. As for getting stories electronically, there’s still something about a physical book that bears evidence of the dozens of people who read it. (I suppose there could be something gross about that, but I’m used to it.)

I remember the shelf with The Rescuers, and the nifty date-stamp on the pencil. I never could hold a pencil behind my ear, although I did try. When Mom told me about Aunt Mid, who was a children’s librarian in Kingston for decades, I pictured her in that small-city library. Later, I remember being thrilled the library was near my apartment for my work term, and even happier that they accepted my contract as proof of residency.

The libraries around here mix space, air and convenience, without sacrificing the cozy chairs and reading nooks. The old one is a bit crowded on the bottom floor, so it just has one long table.

Booking Through Thursday — Collectibles

The question this week is:

* Hardcover? Or paperback?
* Illustrations? Or just text?
* First editions? Or you don’t care?
* Signed by the author? Or not?

I don’t collect intentionally, but what I’m very attached to what I actually collect.

For pure reading books, paperback. They’re much cheaper and take up less space. We use the library for most of our reading, but will buy authors and series that we like. We don’t care the edition.

I do have some books signed by authors, but they are authors I know personally, or when we have gone to a signing. Mom used to be a freelance typist, and many of the authors became family friends. Storytellers sometimes write as well. We don’t buy books just because they are signed.

I also have books signed by someone special who gave them too us. I have several that were given to my grandmother (pre-paperback), and the giver wrote a note in them. Mom often writes a quick note in books when she gives them, especially if the book has meaning, like a favourite story of hers, rather than “I was walking by Chapters before Christmas.”

Booking Through Thursday — Storage and Electronic vs. Paper

Booking Through Thursday — Storage and Electronic vs. Paper

Edit: Doing this closer to properly. Booking Through Thursday asked the following question this week:

Storage:

I recently got new bookshelves for my room, and I’m just loving them. Spent the afternoon putting up my books and sharing it on my blog . One of my friends asked a question and I thought it would be a great BTT question. So from Tina & myself, we’d like to know “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or you just put it where it falls on?”
 
 (Thanks to Ivy for answering a BTT questions in her blog — enough of them got me thinking and writing that I decided to join.)
 
Reading further back on the main site, I realized that this answer also applies to another question:
Electronic vs Paper:

Tell us what you think. Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?

 

Here’s my answer:

Paper, to me, is like good animal fibres. Yes, it dry rots. Yes, moths like it. Yes, it needs a bit of care with storage. But it’s worth it.

My first Bible still smells of Mom’s cedar chest. For years, I thought that was how all "real" Bibles smelled. The first story I told as a storyteller, Kipplings "The Tale of Old Man Kangaroo", came from a blue volume printed in 1902; handwritten in the front are, in fountain pen: To Muriel, from Uncle Jack. And, in ballpoint, in a more aged hand: "To Sandy, from Grandma."

My shorthand books have prices and handwritten notes — "for Tues" and "Philadelphia". They remind me of the history of the science. My 1986 edition of McCabe, Smith and Harriot is the same size and binding as Grandpa’s 1930 edition. My copy of Perry’s on the shelf at work proudly proclaimed my background, as much as my Girl Guide calendar.

I spent hours in Grandma’s basement with Mom’s old books. If they were smaller, I’d have brought them home when I found them, rather than spread the joy (and avoidance of boredom) over years.

I can toss a book on my son’s bed, without needing to borrow his reader or worry that a tiny card will be lost. I can look on the coffee table and see which Ready Set Grow book he picked out, or whether we need to make him start something new. We can carry on the tradition of moving bookmarks. My daughter has small and practical knitting projects. (Thanks to Jane for the idea!) My grade eight English teacher told me Rilla of Ingleside (which took me 3 years to find) was unsuitable to my ability; words on a screen wouldn’t get the same reaction as the 1898 onion skin paper of my next book (Lorna Doone) did!

Finding Rilla, getting A Family Collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a gift. If I had simply searched Amazon and gotten everything the author had ever written the first time I loved them, I might never have rediscovered them.

The look and feel of the pencil as I underline or write notes just isn’t the same as typing them.

We can still read cave drawings. We have trouble reading disks from 20 years ago. Remember 5-1/4’s?

On the other hand, now that I’m free of the Palm, I miss having a book (or even one per mood) with me all the time. There was always one in my schoolbag, but I don’t need one often enough to justify a larger and more awkward purse. It was great when treating myself to a surprise lunch out. When Mom got a Palm, I went to Guttenberg and made a card of all the classics she "made" me read as a kid. I put that book Grandma gave me from 1902 on my own as well, and read it to the kids at the cottage. Somehow, though, Lorna Doone, which was the first book I re-read after graduation, just didn’t appeal to me three years ago on the Palm.

An entire encyclopedia can be delivered without a moving van, and more than one kid at a time can read the same article. Schools won’t have to pay for storage or replacements. Kids’ backs may survive the school years better.

As to Ivy’s other question, where my family puts the dead trees?

Library books are in the library bag, except for the book being read. Iron clad rule.

The kids’ shelf is by size. My great-aunt the librarian is probably rolling in her grave — or maybe not. They stay neat. Series end up grouped. Books in the kids’ rooms are lucky to be on shelves, so they’re sorted by last time and place of use.

Books I have yet to read are together on one shelf.

Reference books I’m likely to use are on another shelf, with some exceptions. Computer books and dictionaries are by my computer. Kids’ dictionary is by their desk.

Recent purchases are on shelves upstairs, then move to a pile on the boxes in the basement. Most are still in boxes from the move, first sorted by genra (mystery, SF, non-fiction and ther), then author. Two are "Boy, age 10-15, from Mom."

You can tell a lot about our family by where the books are. Bits and bytes just aren’t the same.

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