Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sundry distractions

I've been too busy with babies and the garden recently to concentrate on anything else. As a result, the mind is cluttered with bits and bobs of unfinished business, so I'm going to have a Saturday clear out. (That seems like a much better idea than cleaning the kitchen cupboards.)
  • The public library
I read this interesting post on Stephen's Arts Blog the other day concerning Jeanette Winterson's moan about users of Read It Swap It and other book swapping schemes. As Stephen points out, the argument is a nonsense but it did get me thinking about public libraries. Although I have a valid ticket, I haven't borrowed a book from the library for several years and then I only ever used the non-fiction section. So, feeling that I ought to support struggling writers with the 2p they would get for each book I borrowed, I set off this morning with my Wish List.

I know ours is only a village library, the main library being in the town about 7 miles away but even so, out of a list of 20 books, all currently in the public eye, they only had one - Alexander McCall Smith's The Careful Use of Compliments. I borrowed it and came home to cross it off my Amazon order for my summer reading. AMS gets 2p from the library instead of whatever his share of Amazon's £11.99 would have been. I hope that makes Ms Winterson happy! Fortunately, the library didn't have a single copy of any of Martin Edwards' books so I'll be paying the going rate for those when I buy my summer reads, Martin.

I did find a book I might not otherwise have read, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiao
lu Guo. I heard it on Book of the Week recently and enjoyed it; check out the cover and see why I couldn't resist it.
  • BookRabbit
I first read about BookRabbit on Musings from a Muddy Island. I admit that I wasn't sure what benefits I might get from joining since I already belong to Library Thing (and haven't had time to add more than a couple of hundred of my book titles) and the Book Depository is a good place for bargain prices and free postage. However, I registered an interest and was quite excited when I got an email with an invitation to join!
I p
laced my first order yesterday, for David Lodge's Deaf Sentence. There is a fantastic offer on at the moment: spend £10 and get a free book selected by the BookRabbit Team, based on the books in your library, if you have uploaded any, or from the order you place.

I have only uploaded a few books to date so the team didn't have much to base their judgement on (split infinitive!) but their choice was brilliant - Engleby by Sebastian Faulks. It arrived this morning along with the book I ordered only yesterday. A bargain price and prompt and FREE delivery. I also got a limited edition founder's badge (balanced on the David Lodge book in the picture).

My only problem with BookRabbit is that I can't type that lovely inverted R!
  • Searching for a word
Friend Keith, who is a priest, has just heard that he has been appointed to the Cathedral Chapter and will be called Canon instead of Father Keith. He has invited me to the rather low-key ceremony and I am wondering what to write on the congratulatory card: I want to say "Well done on your canonisation" but the MM wants to say "You're fired!" I wonder if Hallmark has a suitable card?


  1. Ooh, you've beaten me to it with your first bookrabbit order, M. I will have to busy myself uploading some 'bookshelves' today so the rabbit can sniff out a suitable freebie for me!

  2. Hurry up, J, the offer is only on until 21 May. I love free books, don't you?

  3. Yes I know - eeek! – I was too busy with work when the email arrived, but will get onto it over the w/end.

    I can think of a lot of people who like free books!!

    Big excitement here right now, with arrival of finished sea-glass jewellery from Hedgelands. Pics on blog soon!

  4. I look forward to seeing the sea glass. D and I are going to see Michelle in action at the Rackenford Shop on Wednesday. I'll take photos if she doesn't mind.

  5. I'm sooooo jealous! I insist on photos asap and shall be stuffing myself with tea and cake in a consolatory fashion on Wednesday, while weeping gently at the thought of being sooooo far away from all the fun!

  6. Well, only in the cause of friendship, you understand, D and I will eat enough cake for you! really sorry you can't be with us.

  7. Hi gals, looking forward to meeting you both! Believe the jewellery will make a much more beautiful pic than me (LOL) Sorry you can't be with us juliet. And thank you for the very kind words about the transformed Mersea sea glass.

  8. m. can't your library order books through Inter-library loan? It works great. No matter how obscure a title, it's available somewhere in the country.

  9. I'm sure I could have asked the librarian to get books from the main town library, e. Actually, I attend a meeting in a room in the town library every week but never go into the lending rooms! My point was that authors do better from my purchasing books than the 2p they get from my borrowing a library copy.

    I buy a great many books and keep most of them but those I know I'll never want to read again, I like to swap. A good swap might lead me to purchase more books by the same author. If you read the article by Jeanette Winterson (linked in Stephen's post), you will see she thinks book swapping is cheating her of her dues; she approves of libraries, charity shops and lending among friends but not recycling. Illogical in my very humble opinion!

  10. Hedgelands Glass Lass, I'm really looking forward to meeting you and seeing your work Sorry about the extra 'l' in your name. I bet that has been a lifelong annoyance!

  11. By that logic, libraries cheat authors out of fees by making books available at no charge. It's been a long time since I worked in a library, but here I think authors get a percentage the purchase price of books and don't get additional fees when books are borrowed from libraries.

    I can understand the frustration of an author not being able to maximize profits on his or her work, but much of what's written wouldn't be read if everyone everywhere had to purchase new every book they read.

    It is still to be seen whether easy access to books online will be as big a boon to authors as it is to readers. I quite like reading books on my laptop and when a gizmo that more closely approximates a volume in hand is marketed, it'll go on top of my wish list.

    Have fun on your outing.

  12. What's this about cake, M? Please order coffee and walnut; nothing less will do. And Michelle, if you read this, I'm about to order one of your bookmarks - look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.

    I'm on Book Rabbit too but I haven't yet found time to take pictures of book piles, I mean bookshelves, upload them etc etc but it is a good offer - and we should definitely encourage them.

  13. 60 going on 16 - Let me know which one and I'll bring it along but keep it separate. Most of my charmed creations are coming along for the outing. : )I'm going to post up some preview pics of the demonstration. And the extra 'l' doesn't bother me - my maiden name always had to be spelt out in full - what were my parents thinking?! (LOL)

  14. Haven't heard of Bookrabbit but shall investigate.
    A friend who was a canon once had to fill out some pointless, bureaucratic form, so under occupation he wrote "Clerk in Holy Orders" and for employer he put "GOD!"
    Love the "your fired" suggestion.

  15. I hope you find some aspect(s) of Book Rabbit to suit you, Karen. I don't have enough time to explore it thoroughly but I was delighted with my signed copy of David Lodge's book and, of course, the free one!

  16. Must look up Book Rabbit, but I already swap books with Read it Swap it (excellent idea, love it!)
    Love sea glass, but found none on Slapton Sands last week. Perhaps there are areas which have more sea glass than others?
    I used to borrow all the time from the four libraries within the borough of Torbay (Torquay, Paignton, Brixham and Churston Libraries.) It was my modus operandi to read reviews and then order books. Indeed, I used to get the ordering cards by the dozen. I would also use ILL for obscure titles but since the Internet I confess I've bought all my books from my fav 2nd hand bookshop, from Amazon Marketplace from Abe or from Persephone or other specialist publishers, and now I swap on Read it Swap it. I enjoyed using the library but books are now much less expensive than they were; some books on Amazon are only 1p plus postage.
    from Margaret P


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