Part 7 – WAR IS SUCH A WASTE

On Thursday 28th July it was nintey-seven years since World War 1 was declared; The Great War, The War to end all wars. There weren’t supposed to be any more after that. What happened? Somewhere in the world there probably has always been some sort of battle going on, and I fear there always will be. There always seems to be some head guy trying to  wrest control from another, be it country, village or even multi-million dollar business. Sadly, in the case of full-scale wars, many lives are sacrified. Thousands and thousands of men and women who travelled far and wide didn’t make it back to their homelands to live fulfilling lives, marry, raise families.

I have two adult sons, and the thought of sending them off to be potentially slaughtered fills me with dread. This is a touchy subject, I know, because even now members of our armed forces are overseas putting their lives at risk, so I will get off my soapbox  and hop back on the fence where I belong.

Several years ago I purchased the book pictured below, published by the British-Australasian Publishing Service in 1917. You may wonder what this has to do with the subject I previously mentioned. Well this book was published to highlight the national effort during The Great War. Entitled ‘The All-Australia Memorial: History Heroes and Helpers, Victorian Edition’, this publication contains numerous biographies, plus many, many photographs, maps, plans and diagrams. Apparently similar editions were published for New South Wales and South Australia. Just how many were printed I don’t know at this stage.

The All Australia Memorial: History, Heroes and Helpers

The All Australia Memorial is such an important part of our history that on one hand I am very reluctant to sell it, but it appears to be quite rare these days, and someone out there might value it even more than myself. Apart from a bit of bumping around the edges of the cover it’s in very good condition, and internally all the pages are intact. I will be listing this on my website shortly.

I’ve had a couple of enquiries about this book recently and it appears I am more attached to it than I thought. At the present time I’ve decided to keep it for my own library.

Part 6 – BACK AGAIN

Hello readers, here I am again with some more tales from this book reader and sometime online book seller. As I mentioned in my last entry, the weather had turned quite chilly and remains the same. I guess it’s to be expected at this time of year. However it doesn’t encourage me to venture out in search of books, that’s for sure. Rob and I did briefly attend an antiques and collectables auction up at Ballarat, but there weren’t many books, and the ones that were there didn’t attract me so I saved my money for another day.

I’ve been having trouble with my laptop recently, and finally it gave up the ghost on Wednesday. It was three years old, so considering the amount of use its had I reckon its stood up pretty well. What fun I’m having with the new one! As you can see it doesn’t take much to amuse me. 🙂

On a non-book related topic, recently I discovered some most exquisite pieces of artwork which are lovingly created by Chelsie Sharp of Echuca. Chelsie’s miniature paper framed keepsakes are so gorgeous I want to order all of them. You can visit Chelsie’s online store, Love Paper Scissors where there are many examples of her work on display. Below is an example of what this talented young lady does.

You will all probably be familiar with the annual MS Readathon, where children are encouraged to obtain sponsors to raise money to assist sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis. Well now there is a version for adults, called The Novel Challenge. I’ve joined a group, named ‘Twitter’ and so far I’m on to my third book. The group is still looking for donations so if this is something that you’d like to contribute to or would like to join in to raise funds, the link is http://register.thenovelchallenge.org.au/The-Novel-Challenge/Twitter

Anyway, time marches on so it’s back to the books for me. Bye for now.

Part 5 – HOW QUICKLY WINTER HAS APPEARED

Summer wasn’t that hot, and pretty wet compared with what we’ve been used to over the past few years in particular, but Autumn seems to have passed us by completely. Apart from the odd nice day it’s been quite chilly, not that we’d expect snow or anything that drastic.

Anyway, enough of that. I’m finally back again to talk about books. I read an interesting and quite different book last week. Elizabeth Tova Bailey’s observations in “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” brought this reader to a greater understanding of these tiny creatures of the forest. Elizabeth became bedridden after a mystery illness hit her and the wee snail became her companion of sorts after appearing on her bedside table. The author developed a huge interest in these creatures and spent many hours learning about the many types of snail and their habits. I’d definitely recommend this one.

Last month’s book club choice was my selection.  I have to confess I had not previously read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, and must admit it took me a while to get into it even though it’s quite a small book. It’s supposed to be one of the great classics isn’t it? Maybe it was because all the characters seemed so superficial that I was put off, I don’t know. I was glad I read it, anyway. Only four of us turned up for the discussion so that was possibly an indication that it wasn’t a popular selection. Coincidentally the movie was on pay TV this week. Seeing Robert Redford playing Jay Gatsby may have made a few more readers sympathetic to him.

Currently I’m reading “Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks. Caleb’s story is a fictional account (based on fact) of the first Native American  to graduate from Harvard, in 1665. I’ve enjoyed all Ms Brooks’ books so far, on varied subjects, and this is proving to be the same.

I attended my first ever book auction a few weeks ago. A friend came along supposedly to stop me from overspending. but she kept on nudging me and saying “Go on, bid.” Just as well I used a little self-control or there may have been a divorce in the family. 🙂 I didn’t go home empty-handed, however, having successfully bid on a small lot of books illustrated by Dorothy Wall of Blinky Bill fame. These are yet to be listed.

A week or so after the book auction, my husband (Rob) and I went to an antiques auction in Ballarat, where among the furniture and other bric-a-brac were several lots of books. We were only there about five minutes during which time I purchased several Miller’s Antiques and Collectables books and a Mrs Beeton’s cookbook. Rob decided I’d spent enough so I collected my purchases and we made a hasty exit.

Such is the life of a small town bookseller.

Part 4 – IT’S BEEN A WHILE

It has been several weeks since I last posted on here, but I have been busy doing book stuff. I’ve finished three books and am part way through another.

The first two are by the same author, Anthony Marshall, owner of Alice’s Bookshop in Carlton, inner suburban Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Originally from the United Kingdom, where he also ran a bookshop for several years, Anthony has been a book dealer for for over thirty years. Trafficking In Old Books and Fossicking For Old Books are (mostly) light-hearted accounts of his life as a bookseller in the UK and Australia. As Anthony points out, the books don’t give a how-to-guide on becoming rich dealing in secondhand books, but are aimed at booklovers everywhere who enjoy fossicking around in piles of books. A plus for me, as a Melburnian born and raised, was the fact that many of the chapters mentioned places I’m very familiar with. I’d highly recommend both books for anyone interested in what goes on behind the scenes in the world of books.

Book number three is our book group choice for the month and is entitled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. The main character is Christopher John Francis Boone aged (at the beginning of the story) 15 years and 3 months and 2 days. Christopher is autistic. He doesn’t like the colour yellow and he doesn’t like people touching him. Christopher can name all the countries in the world and their capitals. One night he discovers a neighbour’s dog dead on their front lawn and decides to solve the mystery of “whodunnit”. An easy to read story, simply told from the young boy’s point of view, yet one filled with a lot of emotion, as Christopher describes his day to day life in a world he finds it hard to comprehend, while his father attempts to cope as a sole parent. One I’d definitely recommend.

Among the Gently Mad, Perspectives and Strategies for the Book Hunter in the Twenty-first Century is the fourth on the list. The author, Nicholas A. Basbanes, well known and highly regarded within the book industry has also written A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes and the Eternal Passion for Books, and Patience and Fortitude: A Roving Chronicle of Book People, Book Places, and Book Culture. As the title suggests, Among the Gently Mad combines accepted book collecting methods with the most up to date means of locating additions to one’s collection. I’m approx. one third of the way through and enjoying it immensely.

The final book related piece that has kept me occupied over the past couple of weeks, is Book Hunter’s Holiday, Chris Lowenstein’s blog. Chris has been an Antiquarian Bookseller for just over 4 years, but boy has she come a long way. If you are at all interested in book collecting, particularly Antiquarian books, I suggest you pop on over there and take a look. Chris has documented her journey via 630 Chapters of inspirational and informative postings. And I read every one of them! As well as all of Chris’ posts there are heaps of links to many other helpful sites.

So that’s where I’ve been 🙂

Part 3 – A TIMELINE OF PICTURE BOOKS

Picturing Books is a delightful site sent to me via Twitter this morning. I love picture books. The illustrations can be so stunning. Being unable to draw more than a basic stick figure, I have great admiration for artists of all types, be they illustrators or any craftspeople who create items of beauty.

Do you have favourite picture books from your childhood, or even ones you read to your own children?

Part 2 – MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE SAID A BOOK A MONTH

Pacific Centric SVG World Map

Image via Wikipedia

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was reading Jessica Watson’s True Spirit. Well I managed to get to the end with a couple of days to spare. A literary masterpiece it’s not, but still the story of Jessica Watson’s solo circumnavigation of the globe is something that I’m glad I read. It’s not a book I would have normally chosen, but as it was this month’s selection for our book discussion group, I had to make an effort. I admit that I had preconceived ideas on whether or not Jessica was adequately prepared for her sea voyage, and was surprised how much work she had put into getting herself and her equipment ready. Having said that it was still an extremely dangerous journey. However, I digress. As I said in the beginning, not a great book but easy to read. As it was basically in the form of a blog and there’s only so much that can be said about sailing off into the wild blue yonder, I felt it was somewhat repetitive and was glad to reach the end.

Edit: I’d be interested to know your opinions, whether or not you’ve read the book. It might be stale news now, but still worthy of discussion I feel.

Part 1 – A BOOK A WEEK FOR THE WHOLE YEAR

A new blog and my first post, so here we go. Wish me luck!

I was given an ereader for Christmas. I thought it would be fun. It wasn’t. Sadly I’m struggling to work out how to use it, so it’s sitting forlornly on my bedside table. But that’s not what this post is about. Can I read fifty-two books this year? Maybe. A couple of years ago I was getting through a couple a week; but that was in the midst of my Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb frenzy. Boy can that woman write. It’s a wonder she doesn’t have RSI or something. But I suppose she’s been doing it for so many years she has the routine down pat.

However, I have joined a book club again, so at least that will give me the impetus to at least read one a month. Our first book is True Spirit by Jessica Watson. A friend in Queensland followed Jessica’s travels religiously and read the book, which she told me was enjoyable. Stay tuned to find out my thoughts.