Sunday, January 4, 2009

The New Year

It's 2009! Hard to believe, but here we are, nonetheless. Also hard to believe that two months went by without a blog post. Oh, dear...

I came across this quotation the other day on the LibraryThing profile of devenish :

"I often stand in the centre of the Library here and think despairingly how impossible it is ever to become possessed of all the wealth of facts and ideas contained in the books surrounding me on every hand. I pull out one volume from its place and feel as if I were no more than giving one dig with a pick in an enormous quarry. The Porter spends his days in the Library keeping strict vigil over this catacomb of books, passing along between the shelves and yet never paying heed to the almost audible susurrus of desire - the desire every book has to be taken down and read, to live, to come into being in somebody's mind. He even hands the volumes over the counter, seeks them out in their proper places or returns them there without once realising that a Book is a Person and not a Thing." --From 'The Journal of a Disappointed Man' by W.N.P. Barbellion

My job is sort of like the Porter's; the problem is that unlike him, I do hear that "susurrus of desire" every time I take books upstairs to put them back on the shelves. It's very hard to ignore sometimes, and it's why I have such a huge stack of books checked out from the library, waiting patiently to be read. Perhaps the Porter's wife put her foot down?

To help keep me on track with working my way through this mountain of "to-be-reads" I've joined the 75 Books Challenge for 2009 group on LibraryThing. The discussions are friendly and the reading tastes range wide.

The only trouble is that out of all these discussions, new titles of interest come up every day to join my wait list. I'm trying to take notes on the new ones and stay focused on what's already queued up, but sometimes the new ones just barge in and cut the line. For instance, this Journal of a Disappointed Man is one I'll need to watch for. We don't have it at our library, but perhaps on Interlibrary Loan I'll find it. You'll find my LibraryThing reading lists here and my library by clicking on the "ThingamaBrarian" button at the top of my blog.

Reviews for my first two books of the year are
Word Work: Surviving and Thriving As a Writer… by Bruce Holland Rogers
My first book for the year [2009] is Word Work: surviving and thriving as a writer by Bruce Holland Rogers. The book is a collection of essays in which the author shares some of his writing techniques and philosophy. Rather than giving advice, the author presents some of the common pitfalls and stumbling blocks that writers encounter and then explains how he deals with them and why his techniques work for him. He also explains different techniques that have worked for friends and fellow writers.

The emphasis throughout the book is on the need for self-reflection to identify the issues and for mindful awareness to keep oneself on course. This was an excellent book, filled with helpful information. My only regret is that it's a library book so I couldn't mark it up and I can't keep it at hand. Perhaps it will go on my birthday wishlist! Definitely 5/5.

Beard on Pasta by James Beard
I never meant to read this, I was just looking for ideas for dinner. In the end, thouigh, I read pretty much the whole thing. Some of the recipes seemed likely, many would require far more time and attention than I'm willing to devote to cooking. I'm quite certain, for instance, that I'll never make my own pasta from scratch, but Spinach-Anchovy Sauce or Pasta Primavera are easily within my reach. Beard writes in a friendly, down to earth way that makes the reading enjoyable. 3.5/5.

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