Saturday, 22 September 2012

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

My ex-housemate Mel is visiting Oxford this weekend, which will make me very happy.  It's not the same city without her, and we'll paint the town red this weekend (or, more likely, play Scrabble.)   This might mean no post on Monday - forewarned is forearmed, and I'm sure you'll get through the day!  But for now, a link, a blog post, and a whole mound of books.

1.) The link - is a free library!  "The only rule is that there are no rules" - books can be borrowed for any length of time, or even kept.  The man running this, from his home, wisely says "As a book caretaker, you become a full man."  Take note, OV and OVW.   Oh, and it's in one my very favourite cities, Manila in the Philippines.  (WHY didn't I visit when I was there?)  Read more here.  I know a few of you live in Manila - have you ever been?

2.) The book - comes from beautiful Folio Books (thank you!) - a rather lovely edition of The Wind in the Willows, which I haven't read since I was about 12.  I'll probably have a re-read soon, and will post more then, but I promised Ozal a link to Folio's page on the book asap. 

3.) The blog post - is Victoria/Litlove's fascinating discussion-opener on writing blog reviews.  She also includes links to other posts, which will send you off into one of those link-blog-link-blog spirals that could be gloriously unending.  Well, that's what it did for me.  Victoria's post also acts as LitCrit 101 for those who sometimes feel out of their depth in that area - and there's also a really interesting set of comments which are worth reading.

4.) The ebooks - *washes mouth out with soap*  Yes, I'm going to talk about ebooks.  The lovely people at Bloomsbury Reader got in touch to ask whether I'd like one of their Ivy Compton-Burnett ebook reprints (can one reprint an ebook?)  Obviously I couldn't accept, but I did offer to do a 'shout-out'.  So, for those of you who are yet to try Dame Ivy, Bloomsbury Reader have quite a few available as ebooks: A Heritage and Its History, Elders and Betters, Two Worlds and Their Ways, The Present and The Past, The Last and the First, A Family and a Fortune, Men and Wives, Parents and Children and even her first, disowned, novel Dolores.  The only one of those I've read is Parents and Children, which is great - and I imagine all the others are great too!  (Some are available as print-on-demand paperbacks, but at twice the price of the ebooks, and rather more than you can find the books for secondhand.)  Let me know if you try any!

22 comments:

  1. Have a lovely weekend, Simon.

    Thanks for the links, I was very interested to read about book reviews, now trying to work out what category I fall into! It has given me pause for reflection I must say.

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    1. It certainly does that! Lots to think about.

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  2. I hated Wind in the Willows as a child, but rather took to it when reading it to my son. I still find Toad rather tedious, but some of the other parts are both magical, sad, and lyrical. An interesting experience to re-read books as an adult, though I guess there was a larger gap for me than is likely for you,

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    1. I like having that gap - all too often I'm reading children's classics for the first time now, and I would like to have the different perspectives, even if I hadn't liked them the first time around. As it is, I never revisit the books I *did* love as a child - Enid Blyton, Goosebumps etc.

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  3. One of the most successful 'miniature worlds' creative task I did with Y1 children was to create Badger's house using a shoe-box on its side as the core. Once the fireplace and all the wonderful things described by Grahame were in place, the roots of trees added (+ shoe-scraper, snow and access doorway) and, of course, figures of the Badger, the Rat and the Mole settled around the fire - they were magical. The children showed them off to their parents with huge pride and every single child became entirely 'sold' on the book. Ah, happy days - BEFORE SATS !

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    1. Dear OVW, how lovely! However I'm not sure I'd have loved the book as a child even after making the Badger's house. I should perhaps have made it clear that I don't think I read it myself, it was read to me around the age of 8 or 9 I would think.

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    2. To be fair - I think the children read a children's version rather than the full book - and I think I missed out 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' as being somewhat above their heads! (But when I read it to them, I read from the 'full version')

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    3. Mrs. Wild missed out that chapter for us too!

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  4. Oh I am so happy! It's made my weekend to appear in your miscellaneous links post, Simon, thank you! Have a lovely time with your ex-housemate; nothing nicer than catching up with dear friends.

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    1. I shall read it now, I'm sure I will learn a great deal from it.

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    2. Ah, bless you Victoria!
      I had a lovely weekend, thank you :)

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  5. I know you're not a fan a e-books in general, but I do love to see ventures like the Bloomsbury e-books. It seems like the e-book format could be a great way for publishers to test the waters when considering whether to bring a book back into print or to make available older books that are of interest to only a small audience.

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    1. Teresa, what's wrong with "print on demand"? I have some "small audience" books that used that route? e-books (which I have no issues with) are not the only way.

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    2. In theory, POD could work, but in practice the only company I've discovered which makes them at all attractive is Dodo. The others I've seen have been ugly.

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    3. Oh, I didn't mean to imply that anything is wrong with POD. In fact, I think the ideal would be to have both e-book and POD options if a proper printing isn't feasible.

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  6. Chuckling at you washing your mouth out with soap! I just wanted to ride in the car with Toad. My kids think that I drive like him now. Those folio additions are so nice - the pages feel how a page should feel. I haven't acquired any yet, but they are very tempting. Happy weekend!

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    1. Haha! I am quite a nervous driver, so Toad fills me with horror...

      I keep stroking the folio ed, or getting it out to look at! One day I might even read it... when I'm reading books that beautiful and new, I'm always afraid I'll destroy them by accident.

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  7. I love the story of the Filipino library, it's lovely and I'm going to share it on my facebook page. I've never been to the Philippines but my husband is Fiipinao, he was born in Manila. I didn't realize they had so few libraries for such a literate country!

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    1. Strange, isn't it? Lots of bookshops, but not libraries.

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  8. Great post - thanks for introducing us to the free library in Manila. A little far to drop by, but a very inspirational story! I have to echo your use of the word 'beautiful' in relation to Folio Society books - they're simply amazing. Anybody who hasn't already should visit their site.

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    1. What's wonderful is that Folio editions are often quite affordable secondhand - for some reason they don't hold their value. This is the first new one I've had!

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