Posts Tagged ‘books and reading’
These few additional thoughts on being a reader were prompted by a blog post at Booking Through Thursday on the topic of “Being a reader.” I have to say that I cannot imagine not being a reader. Since the days when my mother placed my first books in my hands, I’ve been reading. I cannot imagine any life without reading, nor can I imagine a house without books (even if they can be a pain to move).
The curious thing, if you can call it that, is that not many people in my life read, and that does include librarians in and out of my workplace. Contrary to popular belief, not all librarians read, or, I should say, they do not read more than the absolute minimum required by their jobs–memos, an article now and then, a paper on occasion. I’ve written on that before, as I think it diminishes our profession when librarians admit, some with pride, that they do not read. But that’s them. I read because I enjoy it. I read because I am curious, inquisitive, and I enjoy learning. I often get many solutions to problems from reading books. In addition, I get pleasure and entertainment from reading. So I make it a point to always have a book or two nearby.
As for my relationship with others, it depends on who it is. For the most part, my family, with one or two exceptions, are not readers. They know that I read a lot, and some may acknowledge I am a bit more knowledgeable about a few things because of my reading, but we really don’t talk about my reading or about books. I can talk books with a friend or two and with a librarian or two now and then. However, I will admit that most of my book talking and discussion happens online via my blogs or my social sites online. There are a lot of people online who read books and enjoy sharing their reading experiences. I enjoy meeting them, even if many have different reading tastes than me. It’s interesting to me learning what others like to read. Granted, sometimes I do wonder about some reading choices people make, but as a librarian, I try to abide by the old laws of every book its reader and every reader its book. Besides, who knows what they think about some of the things I read.
Via The Daily Beast, we get a question on why people buy cookbooks. In an age when you can access all sorts of recipes online, and you can do so with an iPad or some other tablet computer, why buy a cookbook in print? Naturally, that question goes back to why buy any print books at all, but let us focus on cookbooks at the moment.
The author of the article provides some explanations such as cookbooks being objects of art and for some people the cookbooks are status symbols. But she goes on to make the argument that culture of cooking from cookbooks and recipes is moving online. To her, very often, cookbooks are given as gifts. Let me then look at why we buy cookbooks.
At home, The Better Half is a cookbook collector. We don’t really buy big, sumptuous, oversized cookbooks. We do buy a variety of cookbooks from practical ones to a few on various ethnic cuisines. I will add that I do collect, in a small capacity, some cocktail recipe books. Anyhow, part of the reason we get them is aspirational: we hope to make some recipes from the books. The Better Half and I do make some recipes out of them though probably not as many as we could in order to get the full potential. She particularly enjoys buying small and local cookbooks, the ones put together by local groups, churches, or community organizations. You probably won’t see those on Amazon or the bookstores, but they are part of her collection. Cookbooks are one of the areas she enjoys collecting and reading. Plus it makes me happy to make her happy when I can add another one to her collection. And while we do go online, we cook out of books when making a recipe. Having a laptop in the kitchen is not really an option for us, and we are not into tablets at this point in time. So, at least in our household, we still buy cookbooks.
Besides, cookbooks do not require power, a battery, an Internet connection, and unlike e-books, we actually own then and can do with them as we wish.
This post was prompted by this blog post at Booking Through Thursday. I should note that I wrote this before I heard the news that GoodReads was selling out to Amazon, so I will probably have more to say on that topic later on.
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I keep lists of books I want to read in a few places. I have a large folder of clippings and handwritten lists. I started it as a reader’s advisory tool, and I still review it and add items to it now and then. In addition, now and then I jot down titles in the personal journal or in my small pocket notebook (one I carry to use for when I can’t get my hands on my personal journal). Those then I move to the folder, or I put them in GoodReads.
Once I discovered GoodReads, it became a great tool for me. I use it quite a bit to track books I want to read. I also use it to keep a record of books I have read. I even went back through old journals to find notes on books I’ve read and added them to GoodReads as well. I still make notes on books I’ve read in my personal journal, but this has always been for books I really want to remember. Now with GoodReads, I record every book I read, then I expand any brief review I think is worth noting into a larger review and note for one of my blogs or for my personal journal.
Finally, I keep another running tally of books I want to read here in Alchemical Thoughts. I basically make the lists from reviews that come in on my RSS feeds. I do include links to the reviews on the blog posts here.
Now, this may seem fragmented, but it gives me different places to browse for ideas when I need to find the next book to read.
A little bit of everything this time around. There are some newer items and some things I am now catching up.
Items about books:
- The Good Vibes blog features a review of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s anthology Best Bondage Erotica 2012. The review mentions that “a wide variety of bondage styles are showcased, from heavy chains to characters who can be silenced with only a stern gaze. All genders and sexualities are represented, leaving the collection feeling diverse but still focused on erotic bondage.” By the way, the 2013 edition of the book is also out.
- Another erotica anthology. This one is Say Please, which is a collection of lesbian BDSM erotica. It is edited by Sinclair Smith, and it is reviewed in Kissin Blue Kraken (warning: this blog is an adult content blog, so may be NSFW).
- Via Yes! Magazine, a review of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power.
- Lambda Literary reviews a new history of the gay press. The book is Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Papers in America edited by Tracy Baim. It is one of those books someone publishes on Amazon, so it may be a while before I see it, or the book makes it out into mainstream so to speak. But it does sound interesting.
- This is a manga series I was not sure whether to pick up or not. To be honest, the whole librarian suddenly becomes some hero or heroine genre seems cheesy (and I don’t mean that in a good way). In fact, I find that stupid The Librarian series of television movies annoying and dumb, like a very poor librarian’s Indiana Jones wannabe, in spite of the fact a lot of my professional brethren somehow like it. Go figure. Anyhow, this manga seems like it might be entertaining to read. The Manga Critic is reviewing volume 9 of Library Wars (link to volume 1). Sounds like I need to catch up. It’s a series with “slight goofy premise of librarians becoming a paramilitary force to fight censorship.” Now that sounds better.
- A Case for Suitable Treatment has a review of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Omnibus 1.
- A discussion of the novel Magic Words and the topic of Jews in the American Wild West at The Prosen People. Here is a bit more on the novel’s author’s work.
- A different idea: taking Medusa the gorgon and making a sympathetic love story out of her tale. That is what Sasha Summers did in her book Medusa: A Love Story. The book is reviewed at Bending the Bookshelf.
- A YA steampunk fantasy novel reviewed at Ninja Librarian. The book is Innocent Darkness. I have mentioned before that I am not a big YA reader, but once in a while I am willing to take a chance.
- Via Bending the Book Shelf, a review of Adventures in Fetishland, which is a BDSM retelling of the Wonderland tale. I do find some retellings or expansions on Wonderland of interest, so we shall see on this one. It is an e-book, so again, not something I may get to right away. The book’s author describes the book’s inspiration sources here.
- And speaking of Alice in Wonderland retellings, here is Alice in the Country of Hearts (Link to first volume in the series). The third omnibus edition is reviewed at A Case for Suitable Treatment.
- The Liquor Snob reviews The Brewmaster’s Table, a book about pairing beer and food. When it comes to liquor and food pairings, most people think wine, so this book may be a way to expand horizons.
Bibliographies and lists:
- The United States Naval Academy’s “Reading List for Life.” A few of them like Ayn Rand’s works (at least one of the professors gushes about how wonderful the book is), which may go to prove that just because they may be military folks does not mean they have good reading taste let alone good critical sense when it comes to books. Still, the list is worth a look.
- The Slog provides some brief reviews of three comic and graphic novels. From the list, I already read My Friend Dahmer, which I do recommend.
- Via the blog Write to Done, a list of “Top 10 Books for Writers You Need to Read Now.”
- In her July 2012 list of books read, the Dirty Librarian has some items of interest.
This time around I have a few books related to information literacy and librarianship; I keep on reading articles, but I have not tackled too many books on this topic, so I am jotting them down to help remedy that. In this installment, you will also find some science fiction and some graphic novels and manga. As always, if you read any of these, feel free to let me know if you liked them or not. You can also share in the comments any suggestions for things you think I should read.
Items about books:
- Via the Journal of Information Literacy (which is open access), something that is directly related to my work and sounds like something I have to read. This is a review of the book of the book Transforming Information Literacy Programs: Intersecting Frontiers of Self, Library Culture, and Campus Community.
- Here is another one from the Journal of Information Literacy, a review of the book Engaging First-Year Students in Meaningful Library Research.
- One more from the Journal of Information Literacy, a review of the book Information Literacy Beyond Library 2.o. The whole 2.o thing seems to be moving on (though some of the bad attitudes seem to remain).
- The Information Literacy Weblog mentioned the book The Busy Librarian’s Guide to Information Literacy in Science and Engineering.
- Via Marketing Matters for Librarians, a review of Building a Buzz: Libraries & Word-of-Mouth Marketing. This may be one I move up the queue a bit sooner. It would have been timely in my previous job, but I think I can still get something out of it now.
- Via A Case For Suitable Treatment, a review of the first volume of the manga Angel Para Bellum.
- I have mentioned now and then that I read Warhammer 40,000 novels, and they often feature the Space Marines, which are armored genetically engineered super soldiers. However, others have done tales of highly armored soldiers such as Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie). Now, there is an anthology dealing with armored warriors. The title is, well, Armored, and it is reviewed at Bookgasm. This sounds like one I do have to pick up soon.
- John Joseph Adams has another themed science fiction anthology, this one on mad scientists. John Scalzi featured the book in his big idea series. The book is The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination.
- A book that may be helpful if you want to cook and make more things at home. The book is Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese. It is reviewed over at Blogging for a Good Book.
- The Prosen People highlighted the cover of the book Electric Dreamland: Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity. At the time they posted, the book was not out. Looks like it is out now, though looking at WorldCat, it does not seem too many libraries have it yet. I may have to investigate some more.
- Via National Public Radio (NPR), a discussion with the author of the book Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution. It is a history of gay rights that draws on in-depth interviews and a lot of archival material. A hat tip to Lambda Literary for this story and the next one.
- Via Edge on the Net, a review of Spandex, a comic collection about a gay superhero team.
- Via My Favourite Books, a review of The Punisher: Girls in White Dresses.
- Via Contemporary Japanese Literature, a review of Speculative Japan 2. The reviewer describes it as “an excellent anthology without even a single dull story. The premise or idea behind each story in the book is uniquely fantastic.” That sounds encouraging.
- Bob Sutton suggests that you check out the book Do Nothing! How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader.
- Via Drinkhacker, a review of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage. The reviewer states that “quite simply, it’s a fantastic read for anyone with even a remotely passing curiosity about bourbon’s expansive history.”
- Via Manga Report, a review of Alice in the Country of Joker, Vol. 1: Circus and Liar’s Game. Sean Gaffney also has a review of this.
- Via A Case for Suitable Treatment, here is a review of Emerald and Other Stories.
- Something a bit different. I do enjoy some reading about food. I have read works by Anthony Bourdain and some others. So, I am willing to give this collection of essays a shot. The book is Best Food Writing 2012, and it was reviewed at City Book Review.
- Via Bookgasm, a review of the first volume in the manga Knights of Sidonia.
Bibliographies and lists:
- A set of three reading lists on Jewish topics, such as Jews and politics, via The Prosen People.
- A set of reviews of lesbian and queer erotica from Lambda Literary, their Cliterotica issue for summer 2012. Ran a bit behind in jotting down this list.
- Via the Food Politics blog, a couple of books on the food industry reviewed.
- Bookgasm highlights a trio of graphic novels from the Dead Space video game franchise. I am not big on video game novels, but once in a while you find something interesting, so I am willing to take a chance.
- The Dirty Librarian has some items that I may be interested in on her list of books she read for January of 2013. From the list, I already read Gonzo.