Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan – A Discussion (may contain spoilers).

20130724_16111720130724_161117I really enjoyed this book.  It was an interesting take on the old quest/de-coding tale. The integration between modern technology and old world knowledge was nicely interwoven and quite fascinating.

* The story takes place in a strange bookstore with barley any customers and shelves of books that reach the ceilings with ladders being the only means of reaching the top shelf.  This is my dream setting and I appreciated the way Sloan describes the bookstore.

Imagine the shape and volume of a normal bookstore turned up on its side.  This place was absurdly narrow and dizzyingly tall, and the shelves went all the way up – three stories of books, maybe more.’

* Clay Jannon is the narrator and hero of the story.  He is kind, honest and curious.  You want him to succeed in cracking the code, get the girl and of course get the employment he so truly deserves.

*  The Google references were a nice touch.  It is crazy how far modern technology has advanced in such a short amount of time.  Although there were a lot of mentions about technology that perhaps went a bit over my head, it did not affect my reading experience and was cleverly balanced with traditional books and research.

More Quotes

– ‘Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines – it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.’

– ‘There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.’

– ‘Your life must be an open city; with all sorts of ways to wander in.’

– ‘After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind.’

Book Collections Continued…

DSC_0257I recently went through my books in storage only to discover that I had more book collections than expected.

I will begin with the children’s books.  I loved the Cat in the Hat series and still have a large collection.  I remember getting them through mail over, a different one would come each week and I would read them and add them to the shelf.

My favourites include;

* Because a Little Bug went Ka-Choo! by Rosetta Stone

* Wacky Wednesday by Theo. LeSieg

* A Fish out of Water by Helen Palmer

* One Fish two fish red fish blue fish by Dr. Seuss

* Spooky Riddles by Marc Brown

* The Bears’ Picnic by Stan and Jan Berenstain

* Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

DSC_0258

Coming Soon – Books I can’t wait to read

Just a few books that I am waiting patiently for;

1) Joyland by Stephen King (JUNE) – As a fan I’ll read pretty much anything he writes but this plot just sounds intriguing and creepy.   Set in a small-town amusement park in the 70s, student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder.

2)  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (JUNE) – I really enjoy his books for young adults (Coraline, The Graveyard Book) and am curious to see what he has in store for an adult audience.

3) The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen (APRIL) – I love both Illustrator and Writer and a picture book about being afraid of the dark will be enjoyed by my students (and myself).

4) Revenge by Yoko Ogawa (JAN but I haven’t had the time to get it as yet) – 11 connected stories with macabre and supernatural themes.  Sounds fascinating.

5) In the Shadows of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (APRIL) – Séances, spirit photographers and early-twentieth-century photographs, what more could I ask for?

10 of my Favourite Books

Cover of "The Lovely Bones"

Cover of The Lovely Bones

I love so many different books so a top 10 was difficult to compile.  These are books that I have read over and over again and stay with me long after they are closed.  This top 10 does not include horror or children’s fiction.

Here they are in no particular order;

1) The Lovely BonesAlice Sebold

2) Little WomenLouisa May Alcott

3) AtonementIan McEwan

4) The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak

5) The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

6) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

7) I’m the King of the CastleSusan Hill

8) The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

9) The HobbitJ.R.R. Tolkien

10) The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Taking Care of your Books

Some tips for taking care of your books;

1) Ensure books are shelved properly in a vertical position; they should not be on their sides or stacked.  If you store them in boxes they should also be vertical and not on top of each other (Mistake number 1 on my behalf)

2) When you dust your books, make sure to dust from the spine outward so that the dirt doesn’t settle in the pocket behind the spine.  Dust each individually book and not just around them.

3) If the book has a jacket cover take it off while you are reading it and store in a safe place (At least this is one tip that I am following)

4) Repair torn pages as quickly as possible – how to repair torn pages shown here

5) Inform children how to take care of their books – as a school teacher I have had a lot of my books ruined by student’s because I didn’t spend time explaining how to look after books.  A great book to help parents/teachers with this is Read it Don’t Eat it by Ian Schoenherr.

If any one has any more helpful tips they would be much appreciated!

How not to store your books

How not to store your books

Missing Borders

There has been a hole in my bookstore heart that can’t seem to be mended.   Since Borders closed I have been struggling to find a suitable replacement.

I have been purchasing books from booktopia.com.au and although I do like browsing through online stores it doesn’t feel the same as wandering through the shelves of the once book super store.

The smaller book stores are sufficient if I get really desperate for a book purchase.  Unfortunately they are slightly over priced, don’t offer quite the range that Borders did and don’t have the extras such as notepads, magazines, etc.

I also miss the fact that I could spend hours in Borders without feeling like a criminal.  You could sit down, browse through the books and enjoy a coffee.  I feel as though I have to get in and out as quickly as possible in the smaller stores.

Borders had the best range of magazines.  I now have to search through newsagents to find my favourite international mags and more often then not I come home empty handed.

Borders had everything a book lover needed all under one roof.  It is sadly missed.

2013 Reading List (updated)

Books 2013My aim is to read more than 38 books this year.  I have treated myself to a book splurge courtesy of www.booktopia.com.au

I have 21 books in my stack thus far and will add more as the year progresses.

My reading pile for 2013 consists of new releases, non-fiction, some classics that I have never read and some old favourites that I have not read in a while.

2013 Reading List (not in reading order): 

* The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom

* Red Rain – R.L. Stine

* The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins

* IT – Stephen King

* Madame BovaryGustave Flaubert

* On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King

* The Passage – Justin Cronin

* Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

* The Secret History – Donna Tartt

* The House of the Dead – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

* The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

* Mystic River – Dennis Lehane

* Ten – Gretchen McNeil

* Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

* The Turning – Francine Prose

* Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire – Rafe Esquith

* Engaging Students – Dianna Beirne & Kathleen Velsor

Old Favourites I want to re-read in 2013

* The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

* The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

* The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven titles) – C.S. Lewis

How is my list looking?  Any more recommendations?