Perfect Library Format: Booking Through Thursday

Format February 21, 2008

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All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?


At one time I was only interested in buying hardcover books, because I was newly married and loved the way bookshelves looked (with books on them!)  Mine were basically empty so I needed to start filling them up, and let’s face it, hardcovers look better on the shelves.  But that was then.  Now I almost never buy hardcover books.  I prefer the feel of a paperback in my hands.  They are more portable, lighter, easier to hold, and definitely more affordable.  I can dogear or highlight without guilt.  I’m not worried about a kid with sticky fingers touching my books if they are paperbacks.  I want them to be accessible to the whole family.

It’s funny, though, I rarely keep my books anymore.  Once I’ve read them, I lend, share, send, donate, and leave behind all my best books.  People who know me will tell you that I am the type to constantly be pressing a book into their hands, no doubt annoying the heck out of them (at least I don’t drive them insane by asking them, “Did you read that book I gave you?”).  The only books I make a point to keep are the ones we read with my book club so that I can reference them later if I need to.  

But the question was about a library, so..  I’m thinking, is this a library I want to use all the time?  Or one I want to impress others?   If it’s purely about looks, then fill it with hardcovers.  If it’s about practicality and ease of use, bring on the paperbacks.  The exception would be my best loved, most cherished books.  I’d want them in hardcover, so that they’d last longer, but probably after I’ve read them in paperback.  Must I make a choice in this perfect world we’re talking about?  Can’t I have both? And can someone else please do the dusting in this perfect library?



Booking Through Thursday: But, Enough About Books

But, Enough About Books… February 7, 2008

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Okay, even I can’t read ALL the time, so I’m guessing that you folks might voluntarily shut the covers from time to time as well… What else do you do with your leisure to pass the time? Walk the dog? Knit? Run marathons? Construct grandfather clocks? Collect eggshells?


I do love to read and really never tire of it.  However, there are other things that compete for my time, mainly my two children. Their needs are varied and constant, and it seems I am always doing something for or with them, including volunteering at school, helping with homework, packing lunches and making dinner, driving them to school or band practice or soccer or Brownies or playdates or birthday parties, cleaning up their rooms, laundry, shopping, planning, playing games, etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

There are other things I like to do that are more about me..  I love photography and rarely go anywhere without my camera.  I love to go to photography exhibits at local museums.  I scrapbook in fits and starts but sometimes I don’t touch it for months on end.  I enjoy the computer and love blog-surfing.  I work out with a friend a few days a week.  I enjoy going out to dinner and to the movies. The beach is a place I can relax alone or with my dog.  It’s fun with the kids and Bob, too, but I really like going by myself. Sometimes on the weekends I’ll make a really good dinner and have a glass of Chardonnay.. I enjoy cooking when I take my time and don’t feel rushed, and when Bob’s home to appreciate it.  I love music and listen to a lot of it at home, but in the car I primarily listen to talk radio.  And I love spending time with a friend over a cafe mocha at Starbucks or browsing at Borders.

As a family we like to go camping over long weekends.  We spend a few weeks each summer in Pennsylvania with my husband’s side of the family and look forward to it all year.  We like to ride bikes together or go kayaking or just hang out watching the Discovery Channel.  We enjoy visiting with friends and family.

And, in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.  ~Abraham Lincoln 

What do you do with your leisure time? 


Quirky: Booking Through Thursday

Quirky January 31, 2008

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:33 am 

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This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?


I read a book a few years ago about this half-Apache/half-white boy who had his head crushed when he was run over by a mail truck.  His family (drunks and  losers, as I recall) abandons him during his lengthy recovery in the hospital, where he befriends another quirky character.  He then gets bounced around until he ends up in a horrible Indian hospital/school, living in the basement with the janitor, and is bullied and teased mercilessly.  More misery and chaos ensue until the end, when someone from his past that he doesn’t really remember rescues him. There’s a happy ending, although the details are fuzzy.  Anyway, the story and the character were definitely quirky, but in a good way.  What the heck was the name of that book??  (Leaving the room to check my shelves….)  Ahhhhh yes.  The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall.


I like quirky characters in general, but things can definitely go too far in the quirk department.  I’m blanking on a real good example of what would be too far, but I can usually tell pretty early on if a character is going to bug me with their unbelievable off-beatness (if that is, in fact, a word).  I suppose I prefer characters I can relate to, with fewer quirks.   


What quirky characters have you enjoyed?  Which ones were too quirky to like?   



Booking Through Thursday: Huh?

Huh? January 24, 2008

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:14 am 

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What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

And, folks–Becca was nice enough to nominate Booking Through Thursday for a Blogger’s Choice Award–while you’re here, why don’t you head over and vote for us, too. Because, a vote for BTT is a vote for all of us who play each week!



Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge is a great book club read that few people are aware of.  There is much to discuss and, perhaps because the book is not so well known, the author was able to join us at our book club meeting by speaker phone, which was a real treat! 

The book I’m reading now doesn’t seem to be too well known either, at least not with my book club or the people I talk to in real life.  Maybe in the book blog world it’s better known.  Come to think of it, I remember seeing it reviewed somewhere in the blogosphere.  The Girls by Lori Lansen is a fictional autobiography about twin girls, Rose and Ruby, born conjoined at the head.  They grow up to be distinctly different people with unique voices. It’s a fascinating read.

I passed around a couple other books to people in my book club, and no one had heard of them either:  We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (reviewed HERE) and Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (reviewed HERE) are books I enjoyed that were not “big” books jumping out at you everywhere.  Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (reviewed HERE) was a memorable commentary on lifelong friendship and marriage.  

It’s good to look beyond the splashy displays and the bestseller lists once in a while!  What little known gems do you recommend?


Let’s Review: Booking Through Thursday

Let’s Review… January 17, 2008

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This week’s question is suggested by Puss Reboots:

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?


I’m embarrassed to admit that I am very easily swayed by book reviews. Bad reviews have kept me away from books I wanted to read.  Good reviews have caused me to give a second look to books I never thought I’d want to read.

But I do try to consider the source of the review.  Is it coming from a book blog that I like, read frequently, and often agree with?  Is it coming from a friend whose opinion I respect, or someone in my book club?  If it’s an online review on a site like Borders or, is the review well thought out rather than reactionary?   

If the reviewer raves about a book I’ve read and really disliked, I have to question their judgement.  I probably wouldn’t put much weight on any review they gave after that!   

How about you?  How much do reviews affect your reading? 


Introductions: Booking Through Thursday

May I Introduce…. January 10, 2008

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  1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?
  2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?

I don’t have one favorite author.  I have favorite books, but even then I haven’t been compelled to run out and read everything those authors have written.  Favorite books have come to me in a myriad of ways, but most often from recommendations from friends and family.  
My mother gave me her Louisa May Alcott collection to read when I was a child.  I was hooked.  Later, there was the former co-worker who turned me on to Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries.  There was the ex-boyfriend who was a huge Dean Koontz fan.  And there’s Oprah and her love of Maya Angelou. Well, Oprah’s not a personal friend (I wish), but she does visit my house via the television on a regular basis.  I also read reviews at and for inspiration and have discovered books that way. 
A beautiful, interesting cover sometimes translates into a beautiful, interesting read, but not always.  I have been dazzled by covers and displays in bookstores many times, only to be disappointed (What?  You can’t judge a book by it’s cover?  Shocking!).  
I’ve found some new favorites on the many book blogs I visit, too. Some of these book bloggers read so much, I don’t know when they have time to sleep or wash their hair. They must be speed readers!  
For me, the most reliable path to a favorite book, and consequently a favorite author, tends to be the passionate, personal recommendation. There’s nothing better than a recommendation from a person who adores the book they’ve just read and wants to spread the word.  


Anticipation: Booking Through Thursday

Anticipation January 3, 2008

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:18 am

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Last week we talked about the books you liked best from 2007. So this week, what with it being a new year, and all, we’re looking forward….

What new books are you looking forward to most in 2008? Something new being published this year? Something you got as a gift for the holidays? Anything in particular that you’re planning to read in 2008 that you’re looking forward to? A classic, or maybe a best-seller from 2007 that you’re waiting to appear in paperback?


Santa was good to me this year. I received several new books and a couple gift cards to Borders and I can hardly wait to dive into my new books. Some of my choices were heavily influenced by other book blogs that I’ve come to enjoy and rely on for suggestions.

My most anticipated books of 2008 are:

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Giver by Lois Lowry (I want to pre-read it before giving it to my 10 year old)

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

And I’m waiting for these to come out in paperback:

Peony in Love by Lisa See

Gifted by Nikita Lalwani

What books are you most anticipating this year?

Highlights: Booking Through Thursday

Highlights December 27, 2007

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:16 am

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It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?


It’s hard to pick favorites. My favorite book is generally whichever one I just finished reading. I don’t keep lists of books I’ve read (although I’m thinking about starting) so I don’t have that to look back on either. So, off the top of my head, and in no particular order, my favorite books of 2007 were:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Winterdance by Gary Paulsen

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Which books did you enjoy most this year?

Catalog – Booking Through Thursday

Catalog December 13, 2007

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:14 am
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Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))

If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?


I have no method.  I am catalog-free.  I don’t keep track of the books I’ve read or the books I own on spreadsheets, cards, or notebooks.   I guess I’m not very analytical that way.  Is that a bad thing??

I started listing my books on Shelfari but didn’t keep up with it.  I like the IDEA of cataloging my books, but the practice of it is too time consuming for me.  I’ve never looked at Library Thing (<–making a mental note to check that out next time I’m surfing the ‘net).

Initially, this blog was my feeble attempt at keeping track of what my book club has read, and my thoughts on those books, but it has morphed into something a little different.   I’m still using it for that purpose, but I also use it to make connections with other readers, to sort out my feelings, to document my days.  I’m enjoying this new (to me)  form of communication.

What about you?  Do you catalog your books?

Out of Print: Booking Through Thursday

OOP December 6, 2007

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:31 am
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This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)


I can’t think of a favorite novel, but there is a favorite cookbook I’d like to see become available again. Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookies Cookbook contains many of our family’s treasured Christmas cookie recipes.. the ones we make year after year.

I received the book as a gift from my mother in the 1970’s and used it a lot, making notes in the margins about which recipes we enjoyed most, or small changes that needed to be made. When I went away to college, the cookbook was left behind, and my mother confiscated it. It is now hers, even though I can prove it’s mine by my childish signature and the date on the inside cover. She admits it ‘was’ mine, but refuses to part with it.

I’ve copied down all the beloved recipes by hand from my “mom’s” book, so I do have them at least. Last year I was able to get my hands on a used copy and I gave it to my sister for Christmas. She recognized the book right off and was happy to have all the old recipes. But I need to find another copy for myself. Maybe I should get 3 copies, one to keep and the others for my kids to take when they grow up and leave the nest.



UPDATE – I found one on eBay and hopefully I will win the auction!