Lori's Book Nook

Archive for January 2007

It’s hard to believe, but yes, there are books I don’t want. True crime, boat repair, anything by Ann Coulter…

Here’s a list of the World’s Oddest Book Titles. Most of them I don’t want, but some would be interesting conversation pieces:

HISTORY: Learn about events that have shaped our world.
The Social History of the Machine Gun; 1975
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun; 1995.
1587. A Year of No Importance; n.d.
Highlights in the History of Concrete; 1998

I like history, but I think I’ll pass on these.

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…of having books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. And books that I have no plan to read, because it’s a reference text, or a copy of a book I’ve already read, but wanted to own it. And books that I’ve started, but not finished, for whatever reason.

Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of those books that I never got around to reading. It’s on my shelf — I think. It may not have survived my ruthless culling** before I packed books for the move.

But I don’t have to worry about it, I found it online, in its entirety.

Very cool.

**By ‘ruthless culling’, I mean I sold 1 large box, but still packed 35. Trust me, that’s ruthless.

Here, and at my more general, more absurd blog, I’m updating my links to include David’s Very Short Novels, Azahar’s Casa Az, and Archies’ Archive.

It’s about time, since I visit rather regularly, and they seem to visit me.

Enjoy their sites, if you haven’t gone already.

What is the quote I’m looking for? I’m looking for the one about the definition of knowledge is knowing where to find the information you need.

Just this morning, I bookmarked the International Music Score Library Project. Why? I’m not a musician, nor a musicologist, nor… I’m just fascinated that if I wanted a classical score, it’s available.

I also bookmarked Luminarium, an anthology of English literature, from Medieval times to the 18th Century. Again, why? It’s not like I’m ever going to read all of them (or any, even!).

My enormous bookmark list is a testament to my desire to be able to access the information I need, when I need it. [For those with the same mania, you might want to add Refdesk.com to your bookmarks, if you haven’t already. Good for the mundane stuff of life, like currency exchange, etc.]

My husband asked me the other day, “How far are you into your 5-foot shelf?” I didn’t answer, because he wouldn’t understand. I’m glad I have them, because who knows when I’ll feel the urge to browse through Darwin or Plutarch, or pick up Cervantes (I think I have that one)…Okay, I’ll admit, I’m reading the Dante right now (For those of you who are interested in reading Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, I found a brilliant website completely devoted to it — the Princeton Dante Project.) — at least it’s sharing space on my bedside table with a couple others, and gets picked up every 3rd night or so.

Deep down, this is my need to own books. It’s not a competition thing (“The person with the most books wins!”), it’s not a possession thing — it’s a stored knowledge thing. I like being able to refer to a book in my library for (almost any) answers.

I’m assuming I’m not alone in this?

Did you know that we (not le gorille) are the chimp’s closest cousin on the hominid family tree? It’s a fascinating idea…and one of the questions that Jared Diamond’s The Third Chimpanzee is based on: If we are so similar, DNA-wise, what constituted the changes that created us — innovative, artistic, destructive humans?

So far it’s fascinating, somewhat eye-opening, and worth reading. And worth discussing — it’s the latest book for the BookTalk.org crew. We’re getting into it, and while still early in the quarter, some insightful comments have already been made (unfortunately, not necessarily by me!).

Read along with us!

We all need some mental relaxation periodically. I’ll often pick up a book I’ve read a thousand times, open it to the middle, and just ‘continue’ reading…calms me right down.

Yesterday, I picked up a bit of chick lit that had been sent my way (by BzzAgent actually — I participated in a preview of some upcoming books from Penguin, and they sent me one of the books…unfortunately, not the one I would have chosen), Your Big Break by Johanna Edwards. (A cute little story about a woman who works for a company that can be hired to break up with your boy/girlfriend for you, quit your job…)

It was morning, I was lying abed (again) with a cup of coffee, brought to me by my man, and I picked up this book. Its 308 pages were done by about 9:30 a.m. Maybe three hours (2 pee breaks, 1 break to get more coffee, and one to pour a bowl of cereal, which I brought back to bed of course!) to read through a $20 book.

No wonder I prefer 1) secondhand books, 2) meatier books. More value per word.

Am I alone in this? Does meatiness level contribute to your book buying? What are your criteria for buying a new (ie. not secondhand) book?

Two pieces of library news (well, one piece of not-news) came my way this morning, so I thought I’d share them with you.

First off, the news that a  man returned a book to the library after 47 years and paid his $171 in fines. Wow.

Secondly, via Nag’s book blog, is a story about librarians’ job to remove books from circulation…and how they’re using computer programs to weed out books not taken out in 24 months or more: Hello, Grisham — So Long, Hemingway?

This, unfortunately, is not a new story. When you stop to think about it, a librarian’s job is difficult. Librarians love books, and it is probably very distressing to delete classics to make shelf space for the latest bit of fluff.

If it makes you angry that Hemingway is making way for Grisham, then do something about it. Go to your local library today, and take out a couple of classics. Next week, borrow a couple more. If they’re circulated, they’ll stay. (The main character in the novel Bellwether by Connie Willis does this as part of her weekly errands…a great idea.)


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!