Booking Through Thursday — New and Used

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is, “All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical speciman, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?”

This is an interesting question. A quick look at my bookshelf shows a preference toward new books, which makes sense since I generally don’t buy books unless I’m going to keep them. And I’ve learned from experience that you can’t keep an older used book indefinitely unless you have a lot of patience and tape. But I do have a few used books that I’m planning to keep; for these I looked specifically for the least used-looking of the bunch, and they have worked well for me.

And I do have a decent collection of last-legs, or nearing there, used books, largely come my way by giant booksales. These I buy because they’re 14.7 cents or whatever and I’m not terribly concerned about liking them or reading them a second time, and I know that if I don’t treat them too terribly I can always take them to a used bookstore where someone else can worry about their cracking spines. Of course, some of them turn out to be really awesome books, and so I try to touch them as little as possible so I don’t have to buy a new copy, but of course eventually they will fall apart and the new books will inhabit my shelves again. 🙂

Musing Mondays — New Year’s Books

Today’s Musing Mondays question is… “How many books did you read in 2010? If you had a reading goal, did you meet it? What books are you most looking forward to reading for 2011 (either new, OR ones that have sat on your shelves for a while)?”

As I mentioned yesterday, I read 123 books in 2010, which is more than I thought I would read — I had figured on 100, maybe, but I ended up with about half of my reading being children’s and YA, which of course tends to read more quickly. So I did pretty well for myself!

For this year, I am looking forward to FINALLY reading a few books with the TBR Challenge. I have to admit that I don’t really know what’s coming out this year in books except for Jasper Fforde’s One of Our Thursdays is Missing, which is coming out… soon-ish. I don’t really keep track of these things, I just note them when they happen and go from there!

Booking Through Thursday — Borrowing

Today’s Booking Through Thursday asks… “Who would you rather borrow from? Your library? Or a Friend? (Or don’t your friends trust you to return their books?) And, DO you return books you borrow?”

That’s a lot of questions! First, I tend to prefer borrowing from the library, because even though the library lets me keep things for a while it eventually wants them back or I have to start paying some serious fines (it’s $0.20 per day, here!). With friends, there’s usually not a set date for returning books except “as soon as you’re done”… and so unless the book is something I am already interested in reading (like Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, which I read the day I borrowed it), that might take a while.

Second, I’m pretty sure my friends trust me not to, like, lose their books or burn them or something, but I think they know it’s going to take me a while to return them. 🙂 I know that’s how it is with books I’ve lent out, one of which I have been itching to read and am thisclose to checking out of the library. And third, of course I return them! I want mine back, so my friends get theirs back. Just sometimes it takes a while. Like how I’m returning a tape next weekend that my friend lent me… a long time ago. I would say possibly two years. And that I still haven’t watched, but can no longer even attempt to do so because we got rid of our VCR. But I have kept diligent track of it, so I think that counts for something!

Musing Mondays — What to Read

Today’s Musing Mondays question is a thoughtful one…

“I was reading Eleanor Roosevelt’s book, “You Learn By Living“, via Google Books the other day, and came across a quote that really struck a chord with me. The quote said this:

“What counts, in the long run, is not what you read; it is what you sift through in your own mind; it is the ideas and impressions that are aroused in you by your reading.”
(pg. 7-8, “You Learn By Living” by Eleanor Roosevelt)

What do you think about this quote? Do you believe this to be true? If so, why and how? And, if not, why not?”

I’ve said a little bit on the subject before, but I will say again that I am a big fan of people reading what they want to read rather than what they think they should read. Reading in general is good, and you’re going to learn new things and get new impressions from every book you read, even if you’re not reading “literature” or whatever.

But at the same time, I would say that reading widely is what’s really important for ideas and impressions. If you like mysteries, say (which is pretty much the only thing I used to read, back in the day), that’s great, but don’t spend your life re-reading those books, or reading only mysteries by Agatha Christie or Philip R. Craig or whomever. Read stories that are different, try new authors, look at books that are mystery but are for whatever reason shelved in fiction instead (these are now my favorite mystery books!). And move on from there! Even if you don’t like everything you pick up (and feel free to put it down if it’s not engaging you!), you’ll be exposed just that little bit more to new ways of thinking.

Booking Through Thursday — War

Today’s Booking Through Thursday is topical… “It is November 11th, known here in the U.S. as Veteran’s Day, formerly Armistice Day to remember the end of WWI but expanded to honor all veterans who have fought for their country, so …

Do you read war stories? Fictional ones? Histories?”

…Not usually with that aspect of the story in mind. I have read plenty of books that take place during wars, but usually I read them because I’ve heard they’re good stories in general, not because I’m seeking out war. And, looking through my blogged books, I can see that I haven’t even read that many in the past couple of years. Perhaps I need to work on this! In case you need to work on it, too, here’s what I’ve got for you:

The Pox Party (Octavian Nothing), by M.T. Anderson — American Revolution plus slavery
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne — Holocaust plus sadness
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak — Holocaust plus intense sadness
The Madonnas of Leningrad, by Debra Dean — World War II in Russia plus Alzheimer’s

Got any suggestions to broaden this list a bit?

Musing Mondays — Buying Books

Musing Mondays is quite interesting today:

“A blog I frequent suggested I check out several articles of interest… one of them which happened to be this one: “Trendspotting: Readers’ Spending On Books“. So — being the avid reader & book junkie that I am — I couldn’t help but click over and read the short piece about readers’ current spending habits.

My questions for today are ones that are asked at the end of this particular article: What are your responses to this report? Does it match with what you –as a reader– have observed? With your own buying habits? When was the last time you bought a book? What did you buy and why?”

The tl;dr of the article is that people are buying fewer books, people are paying less for the books they buy, hardcover sales are down, and Amazon and other e-retailers are up.

And I’m not surprised by any of that. It’s a tough economy, books aren’t really a need for most people, and of course libraries are doing pretty okay right now lending out to people who need books to breathe. And of course e-retail is up, with its lack of sales tax and often free shipping and especially with the proliferation of free and cheap e-books.

My own buying habits, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m sure, involve only buying books new when I’ve read and loved them. I’ll stock up on maybe books at a cheap-pants booksale, but my big dollars go to the books and authors that I adore. But right now I don’t have a lot of big dollars, so often I wait until I have gift cards to buy anything and then still try to find things on a decent sale so that I can stretch those free moneys.

So most of my books come from libraries. And if I had an e-reader, which I am seriously thinking about once I’m gainfully employed again, it would be of the sort that can read library e-books because again, I don’t want to pay for things I don’t love, and also the things I do love, I want to be able to lend out to others to read.

The last time I bought a book… I bought Life as We Knew It and Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging from the library booksale a while back — the first is a loved book, the second a maybe that turned out to be awesome. And I’ve got several moneys in Barnes and Noble gift cards that I am figuring out how to spend. At the moment, it looks like I’m going to grab up John Green‘s novels, but I’m not sure what else. Time to page through my list of loved books!

Musing Mondays — How Many?

Today’s Musing Mondays question is… “About how many books (roughly) would you say you own? (If you don’t have a clue how many, do you care to know? Why, or why not?)”

Well, my GoodReads “owned” tag tells me that I have 72 books, which seems a little low… a quick count of my shelves puts it at more like 95, on account of I don’t track my reference books on GoodReads just yet. Perhaps I should?

But really, I don’t care too much about how many books I own, just which ones I do, so I don’t go buying duplicates at book sales and so that I remember what I’ve lent out. And actually, I’m surprised to know I own so many books! I guess that explains the new bookshelf we just bought…

Booking Through Thursday — Foreigners

Todays Booking Through Thursday question is… “Name a book (or books) from a country other than your own that you love. Or aren’t there any?”

Oh, there definitely are.

The Shadow of the Wind (from Spain) is a book I read what feels like forever ago, but that I’m still pretty in love with. I need to find the Cemetery of Forgotten Books someday.

Its prequel, The Angel’s Game, is also good, if more confusing than its predecessor.

Who Slashed Celanire’s Throat is an intriguing book, one of those where there’s not much plot but there are plenty of interesting characters.

And of course no list of anything is complete without my beloved Thursday Next series, out of Wales, which is a completely oddball series about a literary detective in an alternate-universe England where time travel is real, people have cloned dodos for pets, and books are not just for reading.

Booking Through Thursday — Travelling

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is, “When you travel, how many books do you bring with you? Has this changed since the arrival of ebooks?”

Well, I don’t have an e-reader, and probably won’t until they work out the whole DRM issue, so that’s not a consideration.

But the number of books I take does depend on where I’m going and what I’m doing and how long I’ll be there and how I’m getting there. If I’m headed out for a vacation, where I don’t have to do anything in particular while I’m there, I’ll bring one book for every day I’m going. Usually that ends up being just enough; sometimes I have to scrounge for more to read!

If I’m headed somewhere where I plan on being busy, and I’m flying there, I’ll just bring a couple of books for the flights and hope for the best.

And if I’m driving, I’ve learned that I can’t really get any book reading done because either I’m driving or Scott is driving and I’m talking to him, so I’ll stock up on audiobooks. We’ve been working our way through the Series of Unfortunate Events books, which are good because they’re short and easy to take a break from when it’s time for a pit stop. 🙂

Musing Mondays — Cold Weather Reads

Today’s Musing Mondays question is, “What’s your favorite “cozy” book — and, by that, I’m meaning “curl-up-on-a-cold-day comfort read“? Or, if you don’t have a particular book, what genre do you most feel like reading when the weather starts to turn colder?”

I’m not sure I have any temperature-based reading habits… I mean, I definitely read more mysteries and such during September and October for the RIP Challenge, but that’s not a personal temperature decision (and especially not with living in Florida now!)

But! I will say that if it’s the kind of day where all I want to do is curl up with a good book and perhaps some hot chocolate, that book is probably going to be an easier read. I’m not generally one for reading long or difficult books in one sitting — I’d rather have time to digest everything — but I also don’t want to curl up with too short a book and have to get up an hour later to find something else to read. So I would definitely pick something more like a classic mystery or YA or fantasy read, where I can float away to Bookland for a few hours without having to think about it too hard. 🙂