What To Read

I first wrote this post in October 2013 for a WordPress Daily Prompt on choices. I still read books so I decided to dust it off update it and run it again as most of you won’t have seen it. I had about half a dozen views a week back then if I was lucky.

How do I pick what blogs or books to read?

Whether it’s books or blogs the thing that always gets me to read it is the hope of being entertained. If I see the name of a writer whose work makes me laugh or who tells a good story I will be eager to read what they have written. I enjoy the humourous take on everyday life that I find in some of my favourite blogs but I also like those who share their knowledge and passions. I have learned a great deal from my fellow bloggers about writing and photography.

If I don’t know the writer I’ll look at the subject matter, if it is  non fiction is it about a subject I’m interested in? Is it relevant to my specific interests? For example I like cricket so I’ll read biographies of players but  I wouldn’t read a book about the laws of cricket or a blog giving an interpretation of the LBW rule unless the writer made it funny because I would get a headache!

Biographies and Autobiographies.

Is the title appealing? An intriguing title will at least get me to read the first few paragraphs to find out more. Sometimes it turns out to be not what I thought it would be but sometimes it will turn out to be a good read.

Fiction is a bit trickier to choose than non fiction. When I was at school I often used to enjoy the fiction extracts in my English text books so much that I would search for the books they were from in the library.

I don’t like to read books with  excessive violence or bad language, so as well as reading the plot outline, I will usually skim through a book trying to get a feel for it before I settle down to read. There have been many books which promised to be good stories that I’ve walked away from because they were just too graphic for me.

Sometimes I read something because a friend has recommended it or I’ve read a favourable review but only if I think it sounds interesting myself. If I have enjoyed a film that was based on a book I may decide to read it but I won’t read best sellers just because it is trendy to say you have read it.

True story

I think a lot of people must do that. In our book room at the Op Shop we have at least three copies each of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its sequels. It seems to be by far the most often donated book we have. (I haven’t read any of them.)

Recently I have started to listen to audio books and I found that the reader makes a big difference to my enjoyment. “A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens is a favourite story of mine but the main reason I bought the audio book was because Sir Patrick Stewart was reading it and I love his voice. Likewise Stephen Fry is exactly the right person to read the Harry Potter stories. One of my first audio books was “Deep South” by Paul Theroux. I have read several of his travel books and I understand his style but I had a lot of trouble listening to the book. It was partly the book itself, it was long and I’m afraid I fell asleep a couple of times. I just didn’t enjoy the narrator’s voice though. I decided that in future I will stick to reading the books.

RDP: Book

Book

Although I have a Kindle now which I find very handy when I travel or for reading in bed I still own a lot of books. I like all kinds of books, some science fiction, detective stories, biographies, history and even some of the genre known as chick lit. I also have a small collection of doll books. Although I do a lot of my researching online those books are very handy to quickly look something up and I enjoy the illustrations a lot more in a book.

Identifying Barbie

When David and I lived in South Australia there was a big second-hand book sale two or three times a year at the Dom Polski Hall in Adelaide and we always went, the proprietors got to know us by name over the years. When we first visited in the late seventies or early eighties, the cheapest books were fifty cents each. We were very hard up at the time so it was great to spend five dollars and come away with a big pile of new reading material. In later years I mostly spent a little more to buy nice hardcover books. I can still remember how we would browse the many tables of books for a couple of hours. I don’t think we ever left empty-handed.

Some old travel books from my bookshelves

However,  these days lots of people seem to be ditching their books because they are downsizing. We get lots of them donated to the Op Shop and keeping the bookroom in some kind of order has become one of my pet projects. It’s a small room and there is never enough room for all the books. We do have our regular customers amongst the locals and we sell quite a few books to holidaymakers too. They often come in for books, jigsaw puzzles and board games to pass the time with.

A stack of Sidney Sheldon books at the Op Shop

There are other ways to dispose of unwanted books too. At the Botanical Gardens in Hobart, there is an area called The Burrow. It’s a small room with shelves of donated books which are available for visitors to the gardens to read and even take home if they wish. People often drop donations of books and magazines there too.

The Burrow, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Hobart 2015

There is also the Little Free Library Organisation.

According to their website, they are the largest free book sharing network in the world.  There are a couple of registered libraries in Tasmania and I suspect there may be a few unofficial ones as well. I am pretty sure I’ve seen one in Geeveston although I’ve never used it.

Some people use books to create art too. At Maker’s On Church Street in Geeveston, you can buy paper flowers and other items made from the pages of old books.

I still enjoy browsing in secondhand book shops and there are a couple of good ones in Hobart. The one pictured is my favourite kind, cluttered and you never know what you will find.

Deja Vu, second-hand bookshop near Salamanca Place, Hobart.

 

 

RDP: Book

The Book

It’s funny that today’s word is “book” because I spent most of Friday surrounded by books.

I was at the Op Shop. I don’t usually go on Fridays but one of the other volunteers was away so I was helping out. It can be a big job for just one person. Anyway, there were not a lot of customers so I decided to continue tidying in the book room which had become very untidy. It’s a tiny room and as boxes of donated books had been dumped in there to be sorted out it was getting very hard to browse comfortably. I’d spent a couple of hours on it earlier in the week but this time I wanted to tackle a particularly messy corner.

It’s always best to work in there when it is quiet because there is not enough room in the aisles to pass anyone. A few customers came in to look at books but apart from a few interruptions, I was able to sort most of the donations that would not fit on the shelves into boxes and label them alphabetically. This will make it easier for me to restock the shelves as space becomes available.

We also keep CD’s, DVD’s, cassette tapes and computer games in that room and these too, were a terrible mess but by culling most of the games, I don’t think games for Windows XP sell much these days, I was able to create space for the boxes.

Non-Fiction books at the Op Shop

I was feeling satisfied with my day’s work when ten minutes before closing time a customer asked me if we had any books by a certain author. There were none on the shelves but I knew I’d see one when I was sorting. He was determined to have it and at closing time he was still rummaging in the box it was in. He found what he was looking for but I didn’t want to go back in there and see what sort of mess he might have left.

If I hadn’t tidied up I would not have known we had that book.