the Book Pile’s transformation

Sometime ago, I mentioned that one of the advantages of my workplace (one of the reasons I have stayed there) is the large amount of books available. There used to be a couple of shelves, that went mostly unused. Most people would take a book and then just put it back on the table next to the bookshelf.

I started to think about it, fondly, as The Book-pile. There was always something wonderful hidden inside. I’ve talked about it before.

After a couple of major book donations, the pile became unmanageable and the table started to give under the weight of the books. That’s how it came to be that my boss decided to order some new shelves and assign someone to make some sense of all that craziness. 

This summer, as it happens all summers, my workload started to look increasingly slow to the point where it became obvious I’d been mostly reading during work hours. I even reorganized my files. It ended up looking beautiful: simple, practical and labeled!

Sadly, my boss noticed. She thought to take advantage of my sudden organizing mood, obvious love for books and my free schedule… and assigned ME the task of shelving everything in the book room, into some kind of logical system. 

It has been an insane task. It turns out that we have way more books that I thought possible. And it became not only a matter or placing them in the shelves, but checking each one and deciding if they need fixing. 

Some books just needed a new dust jacket, so that was easy. But some, needed some real fixing. 

Of course, I could have opted for tossing them out… labeling them as damaged and throwing them away. But I just couldn’t. 

I love books. Really, I do. I feel bad when one is left neglected… But, or course, my boss just looked at me like I was crazy when I innocently asked if I had a budget for fixing books, and told me I could do as much as I wanted with the supplies the office already had. 

I raided the storage room, and blessed YouTube for all the things it has taught me about fixing damaged books. 

Still, some were beyond what I could do. Those went into a box I labeled “Adopt a book”. Hopefully someone will take pity. 

To make my daunting job more manageable, I divided it up in little tasks. Like all those Organize-Your-Life articles I’ve ever read said to. And, it turns out, it DOES help. 


I have already separated the books alphabetically according to author’s last name. And it already looks like I’m making progress.  Getting rid of the table was a major accomplishment. 

This task has been consuming not only my days at work, but also my evenings at home. It feels like it is all I can think about. It will still take some time before it is all ready, but I’m really getting excited about this project now.  

Wish me luck! 

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Opportunistic reader

I have always been very proud of the fact that I can sleep pretty much anywhere…

I can sleep as easily sleep if it’s daytime as if it were nighttime. I can sleep in small beds as in large ones… Even in a hammock. I can sleep on the floor, or in a bedroll. I can sleep on sand (which I have done, when we spend all day at the beach), it does t matter if the sun in on my face.

I can even sleep standing up.

Ok… That last one I haven’t done in ages, but I used to do it all the time when I was younger and we had to stand around during school ceremonies listening to boring speeches. I would just find a wall to lean on, somewhere where no one would pay attention to me, and nod off for a couple of minutes at a time.

This past couple of weeks, I discovered that I might be doing the same with my reading.

These past few weeks, work has been intense and quite busy. For some days before he Christmas break, I had been depending heavily on my phone’s alerts to keep my on time with a changing schedule… But I have been this busy before, even more so… And this is the first time this totally halted my reading.

Having little free time usually means it takes me way longer to finish a book that it would’ve normally taken me, no matter how much I’m enjoying it. But I feel like I haven’t  read anything at all in more than three weeks! This is one of the reasons why I finished my book count before the year was over

I keep feeling at the end of the day, like I forgot to do something. That feeling precisely is what got me thinking about it, and I realized that I read at some very strange times. Like…

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Also… Did you know it’s easier to read while you’re supposed to be working when you don’t actually have a book in your hand? A tablet is way less obvious. I could as well be actually working!

But, let me say this… The best tool to read while you’re supposed to be doing something else: A phone that syncs your bookmarks and notes.

Hell week

It makes me feel I like I’m letting myself down when I don’t read. Specially when I have a book that’s already started…

Last week has been specially bad.

Coffeebath Work was annoyingly busy, the weekend was supposed to be long but ended up feeling way too short and exhausting, I got to the point with my audiobook where I’m not sure I’m really understanding the story seeing as there are some very strange words and easily confused names…

And to top it all, my paper book was weighting down my bag when I had no chance to read at all, and at home when I actually could’ve read some.

A new week started, and things didn’t get better…

The week is half-gone already, and I still feel like I’m trudging through the hours without achieving much.

Why can’t I just quit work and devote my whole days to reading and drinking coffee?

Doesn’t that sound delightful?

Audio vs. print: Vocabulary

To be completely honest, the first time I re-read Seraphina, will probably be to check out all those words that weren’t quite clear to me. There were, along the whole book, some words that I’m not familiar with (English not being my native tongue and all). Most I could discern for the context and guess what she was referring to, and there were a few that were aimed to descriptions or objects that could be ignored without affecting my understating of the plot. But there were a few that really bothered me.

audiobookI remember the first books I read completely in English, some years ago when I was in school and one of my teachers recommended it as a good way to improve my vocabulary. I used to have to sit down on my desk with my trusty dictionary and stop a couple of times in every page to search for a word and write it down (so I wouldn’t forget it).

But the years passed and the times I had to stop and consult my dictionary became fewer and fewer. And then came the era of electronic readers, and everything became even easier. Now, when I encounter a word I’m not familiar with, I just have to tap it with my finger and I get a definition. Easy as pie.

But, guess what?! It doesn’t work for audiobooks. Shocking, right?!

So, I’m already in search of the eBook or print book that would give me the visual to catch all these unknown words. I might even start using them. Who knows when I can bring up into conversations things like chemise or sally-port, right?!

Fae or Elf?

It hit me out of nowhere (Or maybe it did come from somewhere but I didn’t realize)… Is there suppose to be a difference?

I have been picturing them in my head as the same thing since I can remember… Tall, magical, pointy ears, extra skinny, somewhat androgynous, and very good looking. Isn’t that the kiss of it?

Ok, sometimes I do picture them all manly and such, but that mostly the Rowan Whitethorn my mind conjured up.

Falin Andrews might also be getting some of that, but much more urbanely refined… He IS law enforcement in a major city, isn’t he? There no room for all the extra fough edges that come with the lack of social skills.

But what if I’m been wrong all along?! An if what I’ve been picturing in my mind for years and years has nothing to do with what was described on the books?

I don’t imagine it would much change my opinion on characters or stories, but the question has been asked in my mind, and it is not as if I can simply ignore it. It would drive me crazy if I did.

So, I looked it up. Yes, I did. I’m one of those people that interrupts everything she’s doing to go searching for answers when a question like this pops into my mind (or someone else asks it).

DobbyAnd it turns out, that I was somewhat right. They might not be the exact same thing, but kind of the equivalent for the same thing in other cultures. Like the Grimm Reaper and the Shinigami, or maybe like the Aluxes and the Shoemaker’s elves. They might not be precisely the same thing, by close enough to lump them together in the same category.

The simple’s explanation I found is this:

One man’s brownie was another man’s house elf.

Yes. It made me think of Dobby.

Problems of a Booknerd

Somewhere along my wander in online I came across this…

Booknerd problem #946

It’s one of hose things, you know… Damned if yo do, damned if you don’t.

When I got Cinder, I had he option of getting the first tree books in a bundle and with a discount, but I chose not to, in case I didn’t like it… And I ended up loving it and having to wait to pay more for the rest of the books.

So, this time, when I came upon the whole Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series in a bundle, I simply grabbed it. I’m not sure if it is a good thing or not, but if it weren’t because I already have all the books, I don’t think I would’ve read the whole series.

Either way, bundles are bad for my budget.

Good & Bad Habits

I’ve been told that after 30 days of doing something over and over, it becomes a habit… being it good, or bad.
I just finished reading an actual paper book after quite a while of only carrying around my tablet and reading from the growing collection of books I’ve load into it. And I realized that I’ve picked up some habits that I’m not really sure are either bad or good.
First,

Paper books are heavier.

I had been trying to downsize my purse for a while, only to be reminded why a bigger one is better. My shoulder has been complaining. Second,

My double-tap stopped working.

It is not unusual for me to find unknown words, or simply a few that give me pause and I prefer to look them up and certain of what they refer to. usually this is done with a soft double-tap that clicking of DEFINE. Easy as pie.
Not so easy on paper books. The first couple of time, I did try to tap the pages but nothing happened. Thankfully, I do have a dictionary app on my phone.

It is true, though,

There’s nothing like the feel of paper.

It was a complete rediscovery of the feel of actual paper in my hand. There is really nothing else like it. I think this is my most important argument when it comes to my undying love for paper books, and it is all mostly about nostalgia. But,

Underlining and coloring.

My eBooks are a colorful bunch. Not so much for the covers, but for all the highlighted parts and notes. I’m all about color-coding. I have purple marks for the parts I loved, blue for the parts I’d like to share and yellow for the cool words I had never heard of before. This is something new I’ve been doing for a couple of months now, but I imagine it would be cool to find those marking when I get to re-reading these books… like talking to myself. And if I ever disagree with me, I can simply delete it all.
I don’t really feel it would be right to do this to paper books. It might ruin it for anyone else who wants to read the book, or it my just damage the pages over time. That without taking into account that I’ve been getting a lot of books put of the book pile at work. Highliting them would be plain rude. And,

Speaking fo sharing.

I don’t know an easier way to share bits and snippets of what I’m reading than simply tapping it and clicking on SHARE. Having to remember what was it that I wanted to say, and having to transcribe it… it was not impossible, just more complicated and bothersome. Lastly,

Moonlight reading.

I’m not a morning person, so the sunrise and i are not very good friends. Meaning,I avoid him. I have think curtain, dim lights and all in all a rather comfortably darkened cave for sleeping (what other might call a bedroom). But I also use this cave for reading, and without self-illuminated pages, my late night reading becomes a tiring thing. Might need to get a new bedside lamp, exclusively for reading.(Would that be a reading lamp, then?)

I have no real opinion on the matter of PAPER vs TABLET when it comes to reading. I think both methods have their own merit and disadvantages of their own. I guess these will continue to be my arguments, until something new pushes me towards one or the other side of this argument.

What do you think?

Paper book or eBook?

 

How good is good?

I’ve never considered myself to be very good with words, to be honest. I’m mostly the kind of person that answers questions with the expressions on my face, or the movements of my hands. That’s why emojis have always been my great friends.

So, after I had some trouble describing my thoughts about my last read , I felt it might be time to find a better way to relate my feelings about the things I read. Of course I fell back on some cartoonish faces to help me get my message across.

So, here is the plan:

5/5

LOVED IT!

For the absolute favorites. Those that I will read, and re-read and collect and insist that everyone must read for years to come.

 

4/5

GREAT

For the ones I really enjoyed and might re-read , depending on my mood. The ones I definitely recommend, but will not be obsessing about.

 

Not apt for public consumption

DON’T TAKE IT TO WORK

For the ones full of steamy pages that you don’t wanna be caught up on while at work or when surrounded my strangers at some public place.

 

3/5

GOOD

For the ones that were quite enjoyable, but either didn’t match my expectations or were simply not my cup of tea. Other might enjoy them, but I will definitely put them away and forget about them.

 

So confusing

SO CONFUSING

For the ones that left me just wondering what the hell happened, or had to be re-read and re-read by sections to be able to keep up. They requiere your full attention.

 

2/5

NOT SO GOOD

For the one that end up being definitely disappointing. Definitely didn’t enjoy it and would most likely not recommend it, but I’m open to changing my mind by other people’s arguments.

 

Have tissues close by

GRAB THE TISSUES

For the ones that made me cry. As simple as that. Not necessarily sad dramatic stories, but that have that one chapter that had me reaching for the box of tissues.

 

1/5

WHAT THE HELL…?!

For the one I definitely hated it. It might even lower my opinion of others who say having enjoyed it. Will most likely rant about all the things and reason why  I hated them.

 

Had to put it down, couldn't stand it

COULDN’T STAND IT

For those, hopefully few and far between, that just couldn’t be endured and had to be put away and out of sight so as not to drive me crazy.

 

 

To the left, you can check out the 1-5 rating scale that I came up with, with some extras thrown in for good measure. Hopefully, it is simple enough, that I’ll have no problem using it without having to check out this post again and again for reference.

Exhausted: Body or mind?

I have always laid down with a book after a long day.

It that moment when your feet hurt, your back aches, and you may have just stuffed yourself full of food after spending a good while feeling like eating your own hand because you’re so hungry…  And no matter all of that, you mind would take you on incredible trips to amazing places. That’s one of the reasons I love book so much.

Summer is usually my more relaxed season when it comes to work, and it being so absolutely melting-hot in my little corner of the world, it has the best moments to relax in a hammock with a very icy beverage and my flavor-of-the-week book…

This summer has completely ruined my plans.

Even the few free days that I’ve had, have been completely exhausting; but, not in the way that I’m used to. Lately, I’ve felt like my brain has been put through the blender, baked and then left for the ants to eat.

After a full day of work, my feet don’t hurt that bad, my back feels fine, and I have completely lost track of the last time I ate… but I’m so tired that my eyes burn and my head feels heavy.

… and my reading time has suffered. And I hate it.

Reading is THE thing that keeps me sane. I LOVE reading. And the fact that I, until the beginning of this month, hadn’t felt in the mood to read really bothers me. How can anyone maintain their sanity without time to themselves, alone with their books?

Things seem to be falling more into place now, and this week I finally got to cuddle up with my book and enjoy it. It felt like a change of skin: dropped of the frayed one and soothingly wear a brand new one now.

I feel restored by a bit of good reading time. Have you ever felt like that? 

Grownup spring break

I remember those days, back when I was in college, that we’re all about spending the days on the beach and sleeping way too much. At least that’s what my Spring vacations used to be all about.

But now, I’m an adult… Or at least, I try to impersonate one most days.. So, my 2 weeks off work aren’t as they used to be back then.

To start with, the week leading to it is full with extra work that need to be done beforehand… That included extra appointments and prep work to pile p and leave waiting, as well as cleaning and tiding up for the company that was surely coming.

One of the things about the Beachside life I enjoy is that my siblings siblings come visiting whenever the opportunity present itself. Spring vacations is usually one of those times.

So, some of the time leading up to the break, had to be used to clean up and set up the guest rooms for them. And one of the time off I get has to be used to spend time with the family and be a good hostess.

The downside? All this cuts into my reading time. And as much a I looked forward to the free time to read more, I end up actually having less. Isn’t that ironic?