Drowning in Books: Musing Mondays

MusingMondays-ADailyRhythm

I am drowning in books.
Order is needed.
Order and self control!

Last year I began to put all my fictional books into an a-z order, tidied them up however I was left feeling dissatisfied. Non fiction was already in a different place. The I pulled out all the short story collections and the poetry putting them into two distinct sections.

Was that better?
It didn’t feel so.
So I left it.

Sometimes one needs to know when to walk away and let ideas stew a bit. Should I leave the rest of fiction together. I found that I, a person not known for her love of labels of any kind, who dislikes ‘genre’ and ‘sub genre’, whose sense of order is erratic to say the least, I wanted more order in these hundreds of books.

How much order did I want?

Did I separate the fantasy into plain fantasy and urban fantasy? Was the sci fi to be separated into dystopian and straight forward sci fi? Did I want the magic realism with the reality fiction or in a patch of its own? Indeed should the fiction be divided into continents, should the continents be sub divided into say North and South America the UK and the rest of Europe? What about translations? What about character driven literature as opposed to plot driven,’ should sagas and series go together or stay with the a-z? What about detective or mystery?

There was no end of bothersomeness:)

Then there was the non fiction.

Well I had moved all the philosophy and ethics into one section already and due to my studies at university food had its own section. Now should I divide science into evolution, general science, should the natural world come under science or should that be divided into its own natural divisions.
And so it goes on, the more one regards this momentous collection the more the problems multiply. I had at one time separated my parents books from mine but then I put them all together, only keeping established classics apart, then I mixed the classics with the A-Z as well, but, should the classics be kept separated?

So far I have separated fiction into short stories, fantasy/urban fantasy, magic realism, sci fi, hard backs, paperbacks, a-z by author and poetry.

Why do I bother? Well it may make it easier when I die of course, easier to get rid of to the correct places. That’s not, I fear, why I want order. I want it for me it is just that I am not very practised in the art!

How do other people do it?

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What do you do with your books once you’ve read them?

It was sheer coincidence that this question ties up well with the post with all my puzzlement as how to order my books. The inevitable thought comes up – why do I have so many? Why not use the library? Well, I do use the library, always have, but I am an addictive book buyer. I am also a book re-reader and if I have a sudden desire for a certain book it is too frustrating to wait until

A) The library is open
B) To find it is out on loan for next six weeks!

Every house move I make I do shed some of the load to libraries , charity shops etc but that is getting harder as my books age. also I cant stop buying books!

I try not to buy books, I do try, but like all addicts it is very difficult. I saw two yesterday at the supermarket, on their second hand stall, which looked really interesting, by an author I do not know. It used to be a second hand book stand for charity, donations that one thought was fair.  I had managed not to look at it for months in an attempt not to buy any more so I hadn’t noticed it had changed to a book exchange stand. Now there was a thought, could I find some books I know I will never want to read again, could I bring some books here each week to leave for others to read. I would only take back if something interesting came up:) Maybe it is worth a try. Wont reduce the piles tottering in the book room by very much but a drip of water eventually can wear away rock.

But. . But. . Do I have a few million years:)

 

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Good intentions line the highway:Musing Mondays

musingmondays51Well so much for intentions! Not only did I not read the books in translation mentioned last week, I diverted off course with a random read – a book I picked up on a charity stall in the local supermarket. I enjoy these random buys of mine – they follow no predestined thought; whimsy and curiosity mark my choices. This one Broke Through Britain: One Man’s Penniless Odyssey intrigued so much I desired an instant read. No TBR pile for Peter Mortimer.  Another for Non Fiction Challenge.   Will be reviewing very soon.

As I was off course anyway, I decided to read Broken Homes by Ben Aaronvitch – this is the 4th of his I have read, I am behind:) So yet another urban fantasy and another for the British Book Challenge. Must get back on tract!

I did read Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards which was a little disappointing – maybe because I liked the Memory Keepers Daughter so much.

I managed to finish Doctor Faustus by Marlow for the Literary Movement Challenge. So not such a bad week for books. But miserable failure on what I declared,  I was going to read, last week:)

The Random Question this week is who or what influences my choice of books.

I think I would have to answer circumstances. When I was a child obviously my choices were more limited, I read what was in the children’s section of the public libraries, what was around me at home ( more than the library but not so many children’s) What was bought for me as gifts. Until I had enough pocket money to buy my own books, I just read everything I could find, regardless. Many of them too old for me – returning to them years later would be like reading a whole new book! When it was my money, when coins were precious, I would devour the blurbs, read the first chapters and cross my fingers.Mostly detective novels then, people like Dorothy Sayers, John Creasy, science fiction and my only real love affair with romances Georgette Heyer.

I went through a stage in my mid-late teens when I was still at school, studying for major exams, when I would devour magazines devoted to literature and new literary books, my’ pretentious’ stage I call it, when I became a little snobby about titles and authors – in public at least!:) I found some great writers from these reviews and they led onto other great books, so it wasn’t all bad.This was a period when I devoured the classics, they were also to stand me in good stead on my travels.

I rarely took advice from others, not many of my friends read as much as I, my parents had never banned books from me. So, by the time I left education and began wandering I had quite an eclectic taste. On my wanders I discovered the power of books to learn as I wandered. I had already discovered non fiction as a child but these books explaining the countries, by local writers, were amazing. This was also when I discovered so many readable books penned by foreign writers.

On my wanders my choices became even wilder because I relied heavily on other travelers cast offs, books left at camp sites, in hostel rooms, passed from back pack to backpack. I read some amazingly bad books and an equal number of good. On one occasion stuck on a sheep station in the outback in Australia I ran out of reading matter completely and the Jackaroo helped me out – he had in his possession 26 science fantasy books of the most lurid – naked women about to be devoured by some space monster or other. I read them all, by the end I was even enjoying them. His books saved my sanity. A junkie needs her daily fix:)

I do take note if someone recommends a book, or I read a review in a paper or online when I am browsing but will always take the final decision myself. I am very good at spotting what I would like after so many decades.

Yes circumstances mostly.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

a spur of the moment reader:) musing Monday March 2nd

musingmondays51I missed posting last week from Monday onwards so straight back into Musing Monday.

What I plan to read this week. So many waiting my pleasure and I don’t normally decide until the spur of the moment. However, I do have to read The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards as it is our required read for a book group next week. I have high hopes of enjoying it.

It is also high time I reported in to my Books in Translation challenge, so I have taken off the shelves The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I bought this some time ago intrigued by the title, so it is on my Mount TBR challenge as well.

Also The Girl who saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson – aren’t some titles just a siren song to possess these books:) I enjoyed his first book so much, fingers crossed this is as delightful

It is not strictly speaking a reading week for me, that was last week and because of health issues I didn’t read, so whether I will be able to fit all three in around my writing I’m not sure. Especially as I am still reading Marlow’s Dr Faustus.

Random Question: Now it is required of me to really think hard – and Monday morning is not the best time for this! A favourite Genre?

Um.
Ah.
Dunno really.

In no particular order, I enjoy literary, magic realism, urban fantasy, some detective, non-fiction( science, natural life, ancient history, language)So many more it is quite an eclectic range

In fact I think I throughly confuse Amazons little elves when they are trying to find me similar reads based on my ordering.

I cannot hand on heart say which is my favourite. I’m not keen on romances, vampires, thrillers, historical but that is not to say I don’t sometimes find one I really enjoy. So afraid the random question has me stumped today- sorry folks.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favourite genre?

 

Musing Monday:February 23rd

musingmondays51Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you enjoy debating / discussing the books that others are currently reading? Why, or why not?

I blogged about this past week:

Last week I reviewed five books for the British Book reading challenge, on this blogsite, over three blogs in succession. I have moments when that is all I want; easy, exciting, escapism reads. I came to Urban Fantasy late in life but I guess the seeds of enjoyment were always there.

Otherwise I contributed to 1000speak blogathon where bloggers wrote their take on compassion. There are hundreds of bloggers who joined in and it’s certainly worth looking at a few.

If you ask people what they like best in their heroes, compassion, in it’s many forms and labels, comes up high on the list.

It is I think hard wired into our DNA. We forget it too often as our lives get so tangled and busy but everywhere you go in the world of ours compassion is there. I saw it firsthand years ago on my travels and see it constantly now at home. The ability to put oneself into another’s skin – to feel what they feel.  In times of great disaster it leaps to hold out its hands.  Parents can look at their children and feel another’s pain, can look around their neighbourhoods and feel the loss So lets raise a cheer for the compassionate and celebrate  can feel it every day, those who carry it so far they are willing to put their lives on the line to do so.

As to discussing a book with others:

I used to hate doing this and dreaded those times, when studying for Literature exams, when we expected to do so. My friends and I used to watch all the plays we could, in London, standing for hours in the gods. We watched Shakespeare, Osborne, Becket, Elliot, Brecht amongst many many others.  Immersed ourselves in modern authors and had to dissect and find hidden meanings endlessly.

I remember watching Peter O’Toole playing Hamlet in the long version nearly 5 hours of, I have to confess, torture on the legs! My friends always wanted to discuss, analyze on the way home and I only ever wanted to sit on the tube and relish in quiet what I had seen.

Live it for a few more hours.

For years after reading groups sprang up around the country I avoided them like the plague

Not for me.
Horrid idea.
Just enjoy the books.

Then I lost my books and spent three years in loneliness and decided in desperation to join a reading group. Treat reading

As homework
A task
Anything

It worked a treat, I remember it was a Minette Waters book. I found it difficult to discuss, at first I lurked on the fringes. It wasn’t pretentious as it had been in the days of exams, it was fun.

It was fun?
Well I never!

Now, well yes, I still have some reservations, some books which  I hold so dear I will not discuss them with others.

I belong to two reading groups now, down here on earth, none really in cyberspace. I love discussing our designated reads at the groups, especially if opinion is so divided there is an ‘interesting’ discussion about it. I have also taken on board genres and authors I would never have tried before and because of the discussions read them with a mind as to whether and why others would enjoy them. I believe this has made me far more tolerant, understanding of ‘others’ it has also added whole genres to my ‘likes’. More willing to step outside my comfort zone in pursuit of a good read.
Took a few decades but yes I do enjoy discussing books with others.

Neon Court, Acid Lullaby: British Books Challenge

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The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running  on Fluttering Butterflies between 1st January to 31st December 2015 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.If you sign up for the challenge you will be aiming to read at least 12 books by British authors (which works out to one a month).In terms of what books would count towards the challenge – the books can be in print or out. Old or new titles. They can be from any genre and for any age range.

Here are two more for my British Books Challenge. I am not sure why Urban Fantasy appeals to me so much – I am not in the usual way a fan of the supernatural, magic and all that cling to them. But one day an unknown voice on the other end of the  phone line recommended Ben Aaronovitch to me (she was helping me with an enquiry and we got chatting about books – as one does:) I tried the book and haven’t looked back. I obviously prefer the ones set in London as I was brought up there and know the places these magicians inhabit, but have occasional ventured across the pond to USA.

If you have not indulged in Urban Fantasy or physiological thrillers before be warned, neither of these books are  for the faint-hearted, murder is nasty, graphic and there is a lot of it in both books:)

 

The Neon Court (Matthew Swift, #3)

 The Neon Court (Matthew Swift #3)  by Kate Griffin

ISBN-10: 1841499013

ISBN 13: 978-184499017

Goodreads Blurb: War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy – The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone is in trouble loses.
But Matthew Swift has his own concerns. He has been summoned abruptly, body and soul, to a burning tower and to the dead body of Oda, warrior of The Order and known associate of Swift. There’s a hole in her heart and the symbol of the Midnight Mayor drawn in her own blood. Except, she is still walking and talking and has a nasty habit of saying ‘we’ when she means ‘I.’
Now, Swift faces the longest night of his life. Lady Neon herself is coming to London and the Tribe is ready to fight. Strange things stalk this night: a rumored ‘chosen one, ‘ a monster that burns out the eyes of its enemies, and a walking dead woman. Swift must stop a war, protect his city, and save his friend – if she’ll stop trying to kill him long enough for him to try.

 

I am a big fan of Kate Griffin and am following her two series.

The Midnight Mayor aka Matthew Smith is an amazing creation, with his Blue Electric Angels. From the first word, of the first book, in the series I have been seriously hooked. This is the third in the series and I turned to it for light relief from Confessions and Mabinogion last month. This is my escapism.

If you have not read the first, the narration might take a little getting used to. Matthew alternates between himself and a collective within him. The Blue Electric angels took over when he was killed and now he has them as well as himself – switching from ‘I’ to ‘we’ is confusing unless you know this. As this also happens to Oda his friend, (she is possessed  as well) one needs to keep on top of the narration.

In this episode of the series, Mathew is engaged unwillingly in a battle to save a friend/enemy from a mysterious ‘chosen one’ and subsequent hell. At the same time he struggles to save London itself from all out war between two factions of the magical underworld. A war between magicians is not good news for anyone and in true magical tradition the death toll mounts rapidly and nastily. There is a subplot between him and his apprentice which just gets better, each book.

I have sung Kate Griffin’s praises before and am doing so again. Splendid read.

 

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Acid Lullaby

Acid Lullaby (Underwood and Dexter #2) by Ed O’Connor

ISBN 1841196150

Amazon Blurb: A deranged predator on the rampage, a man with a terrible, drug fueled obsession, a monster who thinks he’s a god. The discovery of a decapitated body signals the start of a living nightmare for Inspector Alison Dexter. As she struggles to co-ordinate the manhunt, Dexter is suddenly forced to confront two demons from her own past: the arrival of a man that poisoned her career and the resurrected memory of a life she had to destroy. Returning to New Bolden CID after medical leave, John Underwood learns that Jack Harvey – the police psychiatrist that saved his own sanity – has been murdered. Events take on an added urgency when Harvey’s wife is savagely abducted. Baffled by the killer’s crazed modus operandi, Underwood becomes entangled in Dexter’s investigation and eventually finds assistance from the unlikeliest of sources.

I hadn’t read the first of this series, this was a book from a charity book stall. One of my recycled finds. I will certainly be reading the first and any more that come. Not an urban fantasy but good old fashioned police story – well maybe a little different, this is more psychological thriller than an ordinary who done it. I wasn’t sure the first few pages – I am not a great fan of detective books but I soon swam into the current, with great enjoyment.

Ordinary beginnings  within the hallowed and suspect halls of the financial markets in London, the story very rapidly swoops out of control and bodies  begin to pile up. What was a just to be a one off act of revenge spirals way off beam and we end up with a kind of gothic horror, fantasies of Hindu gods and what may be supernatural or hallucination episodes.  With the continuing disintegration of a mind rotting from within.

The characters were rounded and interesting, the plot complicated enough to keep attention with a touch of dark humour in the blackness. I kept on reading, not quite in one sitting, one has to live, but in two sittings. Great fun.