Stuck-in-a-Book’s Weekend Miscellany

It’s that time again – c’est le weekend! And so, of course, I have a book, a blog post, and a link for your delectation. Come in, sit down, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake. I even made a cake yesterday – coconut and orange sponge (like the chocolate and orange, but with a sizeable amount of coconut instead of cocoa powder.) I haven’t tried any yet, but I’m looking forward to having some tonight… mmm. Anybody got any baking photos to share? I’d love to post a link to them.

1) Let’s start off with the book. Beautiful Books published Angela Young’s Speaking of Love, which I loved, and then they did me the kindness of putting my name on the back of the paperback – so I consider them little less than heroes. And respect their judgement, of course – so I’m looking forward to starting Lanterns on their Horns by Radhika Jha. A very striking cover, I think you’ll agree. Read more about it here. Apparently it involves the artificial insemination of cows to end poverty in an Indian village, and is compared (admittedly by the publishers) to Charles Dickens (great) and Naguib Mahfouz (who? I’m sure he/she is famous, but my knowledge of non-British writers is shamefully low. Unless Mahfouz is British, of course, in which case I don’t even have that excuse.) There’s a review on (the aptly named) Farm Lane Books here.

2.) The link – my e-friend Sherry, from the dovegreybooks reading group, sent me a link to an article from the Telegraph which is likely to strike a chord with Stuck-in-a-Book readers. Click here to read it. It’s called ‘There’s no smell on the shelves of cyberspace’ by Simon Heffer, and is about the pleasure of browsing real life bookshelves, as opposed to clicking a link and getting the book delivered. The internet has done wonderful things for book-lovers – and dire things for their bank accounts – but there will always be room for the surprises and serendipities of bookshops. Call it the thrill of the chase for those who prefer a more leisurely pace. To whet you appetite, and show that Simon Heffer is One Of Us, here’s a quotation: “I realised at an early age that hours passed in shops full of old books constituted one of the greatest joys of civilised existence.”Yes, Mr. Heffer, we can but agree.

3) And the blog post – it’s Paperback Reader again. Over the past fortnight or so she has been sporadically putting up photos of colour-themed bookshelves. Some are kept like that all the time, some were done for the photo-op. Here’s the link, which cleverly shows you all three relevant posts (white, orange, and silver) because she knows what she’s doing with tagging. (Something I manifestly failed with the only time I tried to do it.) Harriet did the same thing with her shelves a while ago – but I don’t know if she’s kept them like that. Harriet? I’ve toyed, occasionally, with putting all my books in colour order… but while I love to look at other people’s photographs, I know I’d never be able to find anything. Plus all my bookcases are double-stacked (and now books are in piles on the floor) so it might not have the same effect. The picture above isn’t from Paperback Reader, but one which did the rounds on the blogosphere a couple of years ago.

16 thoughts on “Stuck-in-a-Book’s Weekend Miscellany

  • August 15, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Another wonderful cake by the sounds of it. No baking at my house this week as it's been quite warm so I don't like to have the oven on if I don't have to. Soon though…

  • August 15, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Thanks for the link to Simon Heffer's excellent article. I enjoyed the comments attached to that story also. Have a good weekend. I do so enjoy your blog.

  • August 15, 2009 at 6:05 am

    I wouldn't compare Lantern on Their Horns to Dickens at all, but it is a very good book and you learn a lot about cows! I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

  • August 15, 2009 at 6:40 am

    The cake sounds wonderful. I now really want a rainbow bookcase like the one in the photo but I have the same problem as you with double stacking, books on the floor, books under the bed, books on chairs – I need to get organised.

  • August 15, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Simon shame on you for not knowing who Naguib Mahfouz was! He won the Nobel prize for literature in 1988 and is most certainly not British. See here for some enlightenment:

    He is one of the most important writers of the 20th Century and I think you would find his novels and short stories well worth trying.

  • August 15, 2009 at 8:57 am

    That cake sounds good. I'll be making my jam sponge tomorrow so will post a pic then :) Made some flapjack yesterday but it has mostly disappeared before I could get the camera out.

    Love that rainbow bookcase but how would you ever find anything? Mind you that would help when a fellow comes into the library @ Magd wanting a book which he can/t remembe the title of but is green…

  • August 15, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Love that Simon Heffer article. He articulated everything I feel about books and the book buying experience, right down to planning trips based on whether a place has a good second hand book shop. As much as I am consciously trying to curb my book buying at the moment to save money and encourage myself to actually read the books I have had languishing on my shelves for years, I can't quite bring myself to stop browsing for books completely because the pleasure of the experience is one of the great joys I have in life. People who don't love books can never understand the excitement of finding a little bookshop tucked down a side street, and then entering to find stacks and stacks of undiscovered books waiting to be searched for that elusive treasure. The euphoria I feel when I find a book I've been searching for for ages, at a decent price, is indescribable. My friends just don't understand it, and I don't think they ever will. I believe bibliophiles are born, not made, and unless it's in your blood, you'll never understand our passion!

  • August 15, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Yes I have kept the bookshelves like that — or I had, but now all the books are in boxes waiting to be transported to Oxford, where they will eventually be up there again and colour coded of course. So you will be able to come and see them in situ! Don't hold your breath though as everything is going into store while the house is ripped apart and put back together again. Hope to start all this on 28 Aug.

  • August 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I tried the book shelves in coulour co-ordination but I just couldnt find stuff. Plus i have varying shelves and it would be hazzardous to my health in a book stress related way. I do think Claire's are stunning though.

  • August 15, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Simon, I have to warn you, in case you haven't already figured it out, that you're in big trouble. Your books are double-shelved ALREADY, and stacked on the floor. And probably your most prolific book-buying days are still ahead, beyond that Masters.

    My tiny house has limited book space, and over the past year I've redistributed 10 cartons of books to charity sales, and IT HASN'T RESULTED IN ONE SINGLE NEW BOOK SPACE ON ANY SHELF.

    Apparently books, like work in Parkinson's Law, expand to fill the available space.

    But they never shrink.

  • August 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Simon, I love the heavenly sound of the cake! Thank you for the article link and to my mention. I love the photograph posted and Harriet's and those along with the comments on my post are strongly tempting me to colour-code all of my books… I too have them double-stacked and hiding elsewhere but one day I will have the space to present them all as brilliantly as above.
    I am loving the colour theme of your blog!

  • August 16, 2009 at 7:24 am

    OV is still shuddering at the thought of contaminating a perfectly good cake with coconut. Sounds good to me! I will put my non-prize-winning (or prize-failing) cake pics on my blog as soon as I can find the camera-laptop lead…plus the slightly more successsful flower arrangements etc. However, my dear sister pointed out that to come 2nd in a class with 2 entrants is no great deal. "Ah," quoth I,"you clearly do not understand the finer points of F&P shows – where some judges award NO prizes in a section."(One of my seconds was awarded without a first…I'm still not sure if that makes it better or worse!)
    As for arranging books – ALL of the Honey Pot books are now in alphabetical order (apart from the Mills& Boon… which I keep under the counter!) We took S-Z to the village show… much to the punters' amusement. :)

  • August 16, 2009 at 8:09 am

    S-Z? Obviously a fan of Roland Barthes, Mum :-)

  • August 16, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I must add that every time people see a picture of my colour coded books they always say Oh but then I couldn't find anything. I assure you that I can. Perhaps I am more visual than some people? But usually when I think I need to find a book I can say to myself, ah yes its a green one (or whatever).

  • August 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Nice book shelves picture :-) I want to have to same at home :-)

  • August 28, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I'm still managing to find everything! Maybe I'll drastically change all my shelves in Somerset when I go home… but probably not. Too lazy.

    Susan, I know, I know! What am I ever going to do, in thirty years' time… And you're so right – no matter how many books I take off a bookcase, no space appears at all.

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