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 🙂