Happy New Year- Bring on 2017

penguin-1904This past week has flown by with the social events of the holidays. We didn’t do much on the actual day of Christmas and New Year’s Eve but the leading up time and the ‘after time’ continues.  It is summer which also adds social events to the calendar.

It feels good to have a new year upon us. A blank slate, so to speak.

snip20170101_5I finished the book The Good People by Hannah Kent from audible.com.  I will put up a review of it but not before our book group meets on the last Wed night of February. It is our monthly pick.  It is very hard to not talk about  it though.

I have started our March book from audible- Songs of a War Boy by Deng Thiak Adut. This book grabs you by the throat and really takes hold. It is also an audible book.

I am not going to set specific goals or get too excited about challenges on my blog this year. Something else always gets in the way and they go by the wayside and that makes me look like a really unreliable blogger. Which I can be at times.

snip20170101_6I have decided to use my monthly audible.com credit for my book group books. I seem to be in the car a lot and it is so nice how my phone will connect with the bluetooth in my car and start playing the book as soon as I turn it on.

I rescue wildlife for Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. The park itself is about 45 minutes from my home and they always need animals transported either to the sanctuary or from it to vet appointments or wildlife carer’s.  I used to not volunteer as much because the ride got so boring.

I have solved the problem of reading book group books I don’t always want to read along with the boring route to the park every week or every day if you volunteered enough.

Bonorong gets a phone call from a person who has found injured wildlife on the road or in their yard or tangled in fishline in the water. A text message goes out to all volunteers and whoever is free texts back and says, “Ring me.” You know what suburb the animal is in but not a specific address. You then get a call with the details. Once the job is finished you text the words back to them, “All sorted.” I have volunteered for several years now. This past year volunteers rescued more than 8000 (yes, 8000) animals.

I had the care of a blue tongue lizard the other night. A friend of mine who is a veterinarian was heading off with five children in the car and asnip20170101_3ll their bikes on the back on the way for some family riding. She found the lizard on the side of the road and rang me to keep it overnight. It was very cold so I warmed it up, kept it safe overnight. The next day I took it out to Bonorong for some R & R ,treatment and heat. I listened to the Songs of a War boy there and back. 90 minutes of reading this book. I think my book count will go up significantly for 2017 if I keep doing Bonorong work.

My goals for the year, if you want to call them that are:

1  Listen to my book group books on audible.

2  Read the books on my shelves that are now unpacked from boxes and drawers and have been shelved on the old empty Penguin shelves.

3  Keep reading some children’s books from 1001 Books Every Child Should Read. Only because they are interesting stories. They keep me in the loop about what young people read who are not like me, middle class, middle aged retired folk.

4  Shop for new books (to me) in the library catalogue instead of bringing home a bunch more books to put on my over burdened shelves. I enjoy reading all the reviews on blogs and going straight to the library’s web site to see if they are there and put them on my wish list. I will read library books because I feel it is important to support libraries. We do have a wonderful service here and I would hate to see it end.

5  I want to make sure I comment on the blogs I read regularly to further establish those friendships. This might mean cutting  back on blogs that don’t interest me. I like to explore new ones but don’t often find a lot I want to follow for a long time. So many blogs that focus on fantasy, mystery only, romance or historical fiction.

6  Write more on my blog. Keep the variety of the blog growing and do not get stale. My reviews are not nearly as extensive as some but I want to keep the enthusiasm going for the books I do read.

7. Update Books of the Century years and read more books on that list.

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Last week I had to transfer a baby Eastern Rosella to a carer and four days later I had to transfer an adult Eastern Rosella to the same carer. It was found impaled on a cactus needle in someone’s yard. 

8.  Keep better stats so I can actually do an end of year analysis and report.

That sums it up. I just plan to relax with it all and have heaps of fun with like minded, intelligent bloggers.

I guess that is the week that was. Mostly mental with some Christmas and New Year’s cheer thrown in.

 

Farewell Penguins- Part II

coffee-shop-penguinI talked about the decision making regarding giving up my extensive Penguin collection yesterday. I feel sad about that but today I am thinking about the happiness this collection has given me.

Penguin books are disappearing as the baby boomers of the world also disappear. I think a few young people appreciate the books but they have been the domain of the older generations. The books in my collection dated from 1935 to 1970. The world is a different place these days.

In collecting the Penguins I have experienced two overseas trips to the UK that were both great fun. We talked to booksellers, found rarer books, saw parts of the world not seen before. The first trip would not have happened if I wasn’t collecting these books.

While travelling on the first trip I also saw how many book readers and collectors started blogging. I started getting into that more so when I returned home. I have had the best experiences blogging. I have made bookish friends in Australia as well as in England. I have met and stayed in touch with three people in the UK,  one of which has a blogs, one that is also a Penguin collector. One person from the UK has visited me in Tasmania and is coming back again in March.

I am a member of the Penguin Collector’s society and their publications have been excellent. I will continue to support them.

I am on a first name basis with all the book store owners in Hobart because of the time I have spent in their store looking for Penguins. I have enjoyed their enthusiasm.  The Penguin network goes through out the world.

I found a first printed Penguin in South America. A No 1 book, 1937,  written in Spanish. That was exciting. I have a French Penguin from that country.  I am always happy when I see that little bird on the bottom of a spine with a number next to it.

I have conducted four presentations through schools for seniors in Tasmania about the history of the Penguin publications. As I shared the various Penguin series with these people, I saw what a  great deal of pleasure handling the books and retelling their memories of Penguins in their life when they were growing up gave them.

I will continue to keep Penguins out of landfill but they won’t live at my house. They will all be gone one day, as nothing is permanent but the attachment will not lie with me anymore.

I will enjoy the Penguin series of poetry, classics, handbooks and Kings that I will retain for now.  One day they too will find new homes.

I look forward to chatting to others about the books that aren’t Penguins and that don’t live in boxes in closets and under the bed any longer.

Farewell to the Penguins-Part I

snip20161229_1After considerable thought and having way too many books in the house, I have sold my main collection of the Penguin collection.  I packed up 13 cartons of the books the other day and a local bookseller has bought the lot of the main series. It is close to 1000 books.I also have removed the small collection of Pelicans I had.

However I continue to save many of the books in the other series of vintage Penguins. I will keep everything else you see listed above, the poets, the classics, the Kings, the Puffins (maybe). I will also keep the ephemera.

I have had too many books that aren’t Penguins packed away in many boxes and in the drawers under the bed.  At night I found myself waking up and thinking, “There is too much in this house.” I am approaching the next decade of my life in another three years and I need to get rid of things while I am still able to lift and move things.

When I talked to the store owner I had to fight back tears as I have loved collecting them. I ask myself why I kept them in the first place. Answer: to keep them out of landfill.  As many of them came from the Tip shop I have achieved this goal.

I had contacted libraries and a museums but nobody has enough staff to catalogue them all and transportation of 13 cartons to the mainland is too much for me to handle. The cost would also be considerable. The man who bought them is a youngish guy and he loves books, probably more than anyone I know. (outside of myself). He has coveted these books for a long time.

I worry that if I or Mr. P left alone one day, we do not want to have to deal with this massive collection at that time. One must be pragmatic and realistic about the older years.

The exciting thing is the shelves are now filled with beautiful books I have collected that are not Penguins and the books I really do want to read and write about.

I have one whole wall devoted to built in shelves that will keep these books. I have had four additional full size book shelves full of everything else. One bookshelf is in the hallway and has my old book collection which I love. John Steinbeck first editions, Hemingway, Jack London and quite a few other older things. I have collected old hardcover books of dog adventure stories from 1800’s to 1950 longer than I have collected Penguins. I will spend some time with them and share those with you. I collect them mainly for the illustrations that are wonderful. They are books too that I would read.

Of the three bookshelves that are portable in the front library room two of them will be sold. I will have more room now for my computer, desk and furniture. It won’t be so cramped. It won’t be so cluttered.

It is true what ‘they’ say about clutter causing stress. My stress levels were starting to rise as I could not adequately control the amount of books I had. In the past couple of years including the Penguin sales I will have removed about 2000 books from this house. I probably still have between 500 and 800 books left but they all fit comfortably on the shelves. If they don’t fit then they will have to go.

As I read through some of the books I own I will be giving some away through the blog. I won’t need to retain most of them once read. 2017 will focus heavily on my own books. I am looking forward to it.

Part II of this post will talk more about the excellent experiences that have happened to me through this collection.

I will feel sad for awhile but once they are gone I will be happy to begin reading the books that have been in storage for so long and if there is room add a few more??

 

 

 

 

Richard Adams – RIP

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credit: Wikipedia

I cannot believe another loved author has died. The news this past year has been full of the death of loved music literary people we cared about deeply.

Richard Adams, author of Watership Down passed away at the grand old age of 96.

I turned on the early morning news and I heard the news. Watership Down was a book many of us read years and years ago as young people. We hadn’t exposure to many books as this ‘back then’ and it left a big imprint.

The story of a family of rabbits, dear Fiver, and the perils they faced. I was only thinking the other day as I sorted through  box of books I pulled out of the closet I should reread this book. It has been a long time.

Do others have thoughts on this story?

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Credit: Wikipedia

Do you remember what you were doing in life when you first read it?

Tuesday Trivia

snip20161225_16Today I read a bit about Kafka from Prospect magazine. I have had an interest in Franz Kafka since Mr. P. and I visited his house next to the river flowing through Prague.  If you are ever in Prague I highly recommend this experience. It is an interesting residence and although sad around the war years as he lost so many of his friends in the concentration camps it taught me a great deal about the man I knew so little about.

Reading this brief article I learned that :

In the summer of 1911, on holiday in Switzerland, Franz Kafka was working on a string of bestsellers. With his friend Max Brod, the 28-year-old writer devised the plan for a quintessentially modern set of books, which could be “translated into every language,” would “energise the whole person” and would provide their creators with “a business venture worth millions.” None of them would contain the man-sized insects, opaque legal machinations, ghastly bureaucratic punishments or anything else for which the name Kafka later became famous. Instead, they were to be a series of stripped-down travel guides for tourists on a budget, which Kafka and Brod intended to call Billig, or On the Cheap.

 

Armed with a volume of Billig, frugal travellers would enjoy straight talk from Kafka and Brod about decent hotels, fast trains and clean brothels as they travelled “On the Cheap Through Italy,” “On the Cheap Through Switzerland,” “On the Cheap in Paris” or “On the Cheap in the Bohemian Spas and Prague.” “NB the candour of our guide,” wrote Brod in his business plan, next to excited notes on buying “pineapples and madeleines” in the French capital and blagging free exhibition tickets “like a local.” Kafka, meanwhile, promised in his cautious, spidery handwriting that “exact tipping amounts” would be noted throughout.   ( Prospect Magazine online)

Sadly this venture never got off the ground as other activities in life took over and the idea faded away.

Can you imagine had it happened how interesting these books would be to read more than 100 years later. I have a hard time imagining travelling around Europe in the years around 1911. WWI started several years later and I suppose that would have probably stopped a great deal of European travel. It was a wonderful idea but it just didn’t seem to be the right time.

For a moment picture yourself …

…sitting in a large armchair. A rainy day where the light is fading. You have a hot mug of coffee or hot chocolate, the dog lies by the fire or the cat in your lap. There is no work in the morning as it is a day off. You turn the pages on travelling through Europe in your favourite city reading a 1911 travel book. The people, the rivers, the food. It hooked me in.

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Kafka on holiday.

Merry Christmas 2016

 

It is hard to believe another Christmas is upon us. The food is packed for a picnic. The weather forecast has been checked.

The dogs are in their harnesses and we’re ready for a family day at the beach. Mr. P, myself, Odie and Molly.

It was quite a year around the world. Much tragedy in the world. We will think of more peaceful days ahead. May our world leaders make considered decisions.

May more people find shelter in the world. May people find that simplicity brings as many riches as wealth. Let 2017 be the year we look for kindness and simplicity.  The wagging tail and smiling eyes of our dogs. The softness of a child’s hair or the happiness of a purring cat.   Going out for coffee or a movie with a friend.

Package up the greed for what you want but cannot afford. Put it on a top shelf and take a walk. Smile at people you meet. Enter a coffee shop or a food court and sit next to the elderly person who sits alone and chat to them. (one of my favourite things). Don’t be shy. Hold a door for someone. Give up your seat on the bus. Have patience with a family member even when they do something that drives you nuts. Don’t yell unless you’re at a sporting event. Get out of your comfort zone once in awhile.

If someone around you gets grumpy start to laugh and tell them it isn’t so bad. Shake your head. Defuse. Walk away. Check in on troubled friends. Ask “Are you  okay”.

Spend time with books if the weather is bad or you don’t have the cash for a movie or a trip. Make that second cup of tea and coffee. Wrap that fuzzy polar fleece around you. Bring your pets in from outside if it is cold. A bit of fur on the floor won’t hurt anything.

Enjoy nature if it is only a dandelion with an ant on it on the nature strip. Look up when you walk. Notice what is around you. Don’t avert your eyes as you encounter others on the street.

snip20161217_4Remember, we never really know another’s story. Everyone has one. Coax it from them if you can. Pay for another’s cup of coffee. Let someone cut in front of you  in the grocery line if they have fewer items than you do.Help someone with their bags.
I think the main resolution for 2017 isn’t to read more books, lose weight or keep the house tidy (though that is nice). I will carry two words with me next year and hopefully for every year after that.

Be Kind.

(even if you have to go out of your way or wait a few minutes to do so. Look for opportunities)

Pollyanna Penguin? snip20161217_5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts of trivia for 2017

I snip20161218_1was soaking in a bubble bath on a rainy, windy Sunday afternoon in Hobart (as you do). I should have been out with our Ulysses motorbike group following our motto of ‘Growing Old Disgracefully’. The wind was strong and I don’t like being around gum trees in the wind. They don’t call them widow makers for nothing. Instead I was going through a backlog of Good Reading magazines (Australia) and Bookmarks (USA). I had my cup of decaf and my green marker pen and I kept coming across a lot of Trivia. Pieces about authors, funny quotes, literary tours; you get the idea.

I thought of those bookish bloggers I follow and how much I know they would enjoy the information I was reading.I started thinking about how much I enjoy Simon’s Stuckinabook Sunday posts of Weekend Miscellany. Each Sunday (quite often) he features a link, a book and a blog post. Short snippets that give one something to look up on a Sunday afternoon.

I thought as I have been revamping my own blog to give it a bit of life I would start something similar. I thought, “hmmm” quite  a bit as I sipped my coffee.

Now, book bloggers seem to love alliteration and without thinking another moment, the decaf must have kicked in, I thought, “That’s it. Tuesday Trivia”

No doubt someone else probably does something like this out in the blogosphere but I am not familiar with it so the name stays.

My trivia or wealth of UBI’s (Useless Bit of Information) needs to be showcased a bit. I know I don’t have the blog following of a Trump rally but the few good friends I have made through cyberspace might like it.

I would also like to invite readers to add their own bits of trivia in the comments at the end of each post. I will probably put up something each Tuesday. I am sure I can find enough, as I originally thought I’d do it fortnightly but I’ll start weekly and see how I go.

To name a few, information will be garnered from the various magazines, book reviews and information related to those awful publications in hairdressers and doctor’s offices. I will search online. I will listen to people as I traverse various Op, Tip, Secondhand and Independent book shops.

I am looking forward to it. As always a new year always presents itself as a big, blank white paged diary waiting to be touched with a sharp fountain pen full of ink. (Don’t you love that image).

Let me know if this idea appeals and if you would be willing to add additional information either on your own blog (put your link in comments) or add to my post in the comments. I think it would be great fun.Think how popular you will be at the next dinner party when you casually drop in a bit of information you may have learned from a James Joyce tour in Dublin or on our blogs.

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