Musing Mondays

Musing Monday

This week’s MM.

When is it inappropriate to read in front of others? Is it ever appropriate?

To be honest, this is something I’d never even thought of. I usually read whenever I’m waiting for something or somebody or when I’m on transport. If there’s too much noise, I stick in my iPod. I used to be able to block out other sounds when reading but I’m more easily distracted these days. Obviously, if I’m waiting or travelling on transport with a friend, I don’t read since I have somebody to amuse me. 🙂 I also used to do a lot of reading in the lounge room while the rest of the family watched T.V. Of course, I can’t do that anymore since the noise distracts me but that habit really made me feel more like Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

I don’t really think there’s a time when it’s inappropriate to read unless you pull out a book in the middle of a conversation with a friend! I remember one time, a long, long time ago when I was…15, a friend remarked what a large book I was carrying around with me at the shopping centre and I slipped out it was in case I got bored. Ooops! :-p I’d meant while I was waiting for the bus.

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Musing Monday

This week’s MM.

Are your bookshelves strictly books only? Or have knick-knacks invaded? Do your shelves also shelve DVDs? Photos? Why not snap a photo – I’m sure we all like to spy on other’s shelves!

This has to be one of my favourite bibliophile tendencies: having a good perve on other people’s bookshelves. I’ve also been known to spend some time on Flickr having a gander at dozens of annoymous shelves.

My shelves are largely books only. At the moment, there’s barely any room for all my books let alone other bits and bobs. Right now, I’m trying to get a new bookcase but there’s limited room in the house. It’s an endless struggle – which could be helped if I stopped buying so many books.

The main bookcase. Yes, that’s a feather stuck there on the side. I used to have a habit of peeling off the price tags and sticking them everywhere as a memento.The bottom shelf is cut out and it’s a bit of mess. There are wooden planks (?) supporting the shelves.

I have two shelves filled with largely classics.

Here is the other. I promise I’m not secretly spruiking for Penguin (but if you would like, I’m up for hire!! 🙂 ). There’s a large gap between Stoker and Wilde since I’ve taken out Thackeray and Tolstoy. They’re sitting by my bed.

Can you spot Harry Potter?

This is the small bookcase I managed to squeeze into my room. There’s still some space here. Hurrah! These are mainly new acquisitions or books I recently finished. I keep library books on the top of it and various bookmarks and postcards.

Finally, this is the shelf on my desk with books I’m meant to read, started reading or used for studying. The pile is completely random. Notebooks and book catalogues are somewhere in here too. I love the little monk who’s reading. I don’t know why I have an empty plastic container there.

So there you have it. My messy, reading life. Come to think of it, it really looks like I don’t have as many books as I thought I did. And I still haven’t read all of them.

Musing Monday

This week’s MM.

Do you find yourself forming trends in your reading? Is this a conscious act, influenced by either your own interests or current publishing fads?

I don’t usually have a trend when reading but I do go through phases. I went through a classics phase, Sensation fiction phase, *cough* Dan Brown phase *cough*, Indian writers phase, Agatha Christie etc. Many of those phases were brought on by subjects done in uni and that had spurred my interest. Currently, while I’m still reading other books, I’m in an Existentialist phase and trying to get my hands on a lot of the works by Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and also trying to discover new existentialist writers. However, I start to feel a little guilty at being so narrow with my choices that I soon feel compelled to break up trends and go read something entirely different.

I’m not at all interested in publishing fads. In fact, if I do notice a fad happening, I won’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

Musing Monday

This week’s MM.

Do you have a favourite publishing house — one that puts out books that you constantly find yourself wanting to read? If so, who? And, what books have they published that you’ve loved? (question courtesy of MizB)

Previous posts might have given readers a heads up regarding my publisher preference. I tend to really notice titles released by Penguin and Text Australia. Penguin has a really strong marketing strategy and are innovative in the way they go about making their audience aware of the classics. I’m not too familiar with Penguin’s contemporary titles though. Text is one of my favourite local independent publishing houses. They release quirky and interesting titles and the fact that they are independent and local gives them oomph.

Musing Monday

This week’s MM

We all know the old adage about not judging a book by it’s cover, but just how much sway does a book cover have when it comes to your choice of book – whether buying or borrowing? Are there any books you’ve bought based on the cover alone?

The book cover definitely plays a part in how I select a book. If i’m simply browsing among the stacks I will pick up the one that interests me the most or one that grabs my attention. I am easily turned off by bad cover designs such as those that are typically depicted on chick-lit fiction. I can assume many of them contains perfectly well written stories but the covers repulse me and I don’t want anything to do with them. A bit harsh, I know, but I think those covers contribute to the trivialisation of the chick-lit genre. The writing aren’t all bad. I also don’t like movie-tie in covers. Absolutely horrendous. The only one I’ve seen that is well done is ‘Notes on a Scandal’ – partly because it is artistically done and Cate Blanchett is gorgeous to boot. 🙂

If I have a title in mind, then the cover doesn’t matter to me although it does help if they have a nice cover. Penguin does a fantastic job with its covers, in my opinion. I’ve never bought a book based on the cover alone though.

Musing Monday

This week’s MM

Who, if anyone usually accompanies you to the library? Is it somewhere you go alone? Or is it a regular outing with family or friends? Which do you prefer?

When I do go to the library, it is usually by myself. I find it more of a solitary and more comfortable time if I’m not constantly overshadowed or pestered by another person – even if they are great friends or fellow book lovers. However, at times, particularly back at uni, I would go to libraries with friends but we would split up and do our own thing before meeting up again whenever we’ve all finished.

Musing Monday

This week’s MM

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? Was it from a particular person, or person(s)? Do you remember any books that you read, or were read to  you, as a young child? (question courtesy of Diane)

My parents weren’t, and still aren’t, big readers but mum did always encourage me to go to the library which was only a 2 minute walk from our place. I remember one of the very first books I read by myself (well, I followed the words while listening to a cassette) was Noisy Nora. I moved along to various picture books but I remember that I was never really interested in picture books and I’d skip that section and go browse through the YA section even though they were still pretty difficult. Much of my childhood was consumed with YA series – Goosebumps, all of Sweet Valleys, Baby-sitter’s Club, Baby-sitter’s Little Sister, etc. Sweet Valley was the major player though along with Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton.

Reading was never difficult for me and I never struggled with it. In primary school, I was always chosen to help other kids read, and when I was older, to go listen to the preps read. My love for reading was probably cemented after reading Roald Dahl’s Matilda though. Wonderful story and pictures.