Adventures in Reading


If You Love Me Buy Me Books

dscn1526.jpgMuch to my surprise, my parent’s neighbors (who I have only briefly known through sibling and parental association) stumbled across some lovely 1918 New Education Readers and have gifted them to me. I am quite the geek for old reading and grammar guides if only to see how things have changed (or not changed). However, it is a lovely collection of books and if I can get to a scanner I will be making use of it.

Over the weekend I barely read anything, and instead spent a great deal of time and money purchasing new books. In addition to the books I mentioned in my last post I also acquired a few more including: Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.

A few years ago I invested in a Book Collector account only to realize today – the day I decide that I am going to begin the great adventure of cataloging my books – that my account now appears defunct. While I do have a LibraryThing account, I am not quite decided whether or not to invest in an upgraded account. So how do you catalog your books or do you not bother? At work I always come across (usually) older people with their books jotted down on a variety of notepads and napkins, and while my failing memory has not set in yet it would be nice to have my books listed in one place and keep track of what I have and have not read (and not to mention for insurance purposes as well).

Now, what I did read this weekend were portions of Susanna Clarke’s The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Short Stories, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. The latter two are (mostly) rereads, but I decided on Clarke’s short story collection as a test to see whether or not I should bother with her much lengthier novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I first listened to a good portion of the novel and could not make it through, and have since then heard many disparaging remarks directed at the book. Most of these remarks criticize the book as being overly polished, which put me in mind of Bernini’s beautifully unpolished St. Longinus statue at St. Peters. However, very quickly into the short story collection it dawned on me that Clarke’s book is by no means overly polished but that she (and with quite a fair hand) has taken upon herself to write in the literary tradition of the 19th Century. How perfect!