Bookish Miscellany at the Change of Seasons

Happy Summer! (Err…northern hemisphere… 🙂 ) It even feels like summer around here–after a nice mostly cool-to-slightly-warm spring, the first day of summer opened with hot, humid weather, and today is even hotter. I’m not too keen on hot (especially humid) weather, but a little bit to remind us it IS summer is okay. But just a little. It’s perfect weather for lounging on the screen porch with a cold drink, jazz standards playing in the background and a book in hand. (Except I cheat–I don’t care for iced tea so I’m still drinking the hot stuff. NPR reassures me I’m not crazy!) I’m a bit in-between books at the moment so I thought it was high time to play catch-up instead.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post when I open up my dashboard and the visuals have all changed–nothing major, just a bit of re-imaging by WordPress. Apparently it’s been two months–I guess I should officially admit to being in a blogging slump. Plenty of reading, on the other hand. Now with the change of seasons, though, I’m feeling more interested in blogs than I’ve been in a while. Maybe with this official start of summer my brain is expecting more free-time like all those school-teachers/students I’m slightly jealous of. Or maybe the weight of a backlog of books to talk about is just catching up to me.

As a way of easing myself back into this blogging thing, I thought I’d share some of the bookish odds ‘n ends from the last few months. (Click pics for larger versions)

January 28, 2013 marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, an event marked by British Royal Mail with the issue of a set of stamps inspired by each of Austen’s six major novels. I can’t recall where I saw the preorder posted, but waaay back in January I ordered a first day set which included the Steventon postmark. It also seems a good time to mention that I received Emma: An Annotated Edition as a gift (um–can’t remember when exactly, maybe Christmas?) in the past few months. I have three of these annotated volumes now–I really need to start reading them, they’re so pretty just to look at. Maybe for Adam’s Austen in August event?

(And yes, that’s my subtle announcement that I’m planning on participating this summer!)

Look, more books! Which is a tale of two bookstores. I no longer consider myself to have a local bookstore. Yes, there might be a big Books-A-Million nearby, but after my last visit I’m not going back. They’re so pressured by corporate to sell the discount cards (because the cards are mostly profit to the company, and only benefit the user if they buy a LOT of books) that it ruins the shopping experience. The last time I was there the wait in line was twice as long as it needed to be and the salesclerk wouldn’t shut up about the [adj.] card even after I told him, curtly, to just ring the transaction up. So, The Wizard of Oz, Les Misérables, and 2666, consider yourself privileged–you are the last books I will buy from that particular chain. Which makes me very sad. I love a good bookstore, and there isn’t another new books bookstore in the county left, that I know of.

A few months later, however, I found myself in a small town about 45 minutes to the west. A college town with a lovely, independent bookstore. Not very big, but decently sized, and with a very good selection, including a nice selection of local authors. It’s a bit too far to go just on the spur-of-the-moment or if I want a particular book, but for the drop-in-and-browse, perfect. I found a collection of early Jeeves & Wooster (as well as unrelated characters) stories and an absolutely lovey, if a little pricy, garden book. I have a weakness for lovely garden books, even though I don’t garden myself.

Which leaves the Book Darts. I recall, way, way back when Book Riot first started one of their early “Book Fetish” columns mentioned these. I kept in the back of my mind, and as a first paycheck reward ordered some. They don’t know me from Eve, so no kickback here, but I love these little darts. The design is so well thought-out that they slide easily onto the page while still holding the place perfectly. My only problem? I only have 75 and since I use them where I used to use sticky-notes in my reading, I can easily run out. (I mark passages as I’m reading and then go back later to copy them down.)

Blog Plans

In terms of bloggish-related things, my last post was a sign-up for a summer challenge to read books in other languages. So far, a big fat FAIL on my part, but I’m planning to get to that on my vacation in two weeks.

Thanks to my big blogging slump I’ve read four books that I haven’t written about yet. Soon, hopefully–before I forget any more about them than I already have. At least the reading’s been good!

A New Project?

I’m tentatively considering a project for the second half of the year or so. At this point I’m not sure if I want to commit myself to it or not (and if I do, it would likely account for only some of my reading). I’m also not sure if I should open it up to others, as I’m not really sure there would be any interest–it’s kind of a specialized project. Here’s the idea though: reading books by local-to-me authors (living or deceased, ideally not-so-well-known) or about local people/events. If it became a larger group, I’m thinking that each reader would read local-to-them. I live in Ohio, USA, so that’s my local–and I already have some reading ideas. (Feel free to offer suggestions, actually–even if I don’t do this project this year, it will happen sometime.) Regardless, it would be very flexible.  If you’re interested, do let me know–it might be the push I need to get a project together that I do want to tackle.

Of course, then there’s all the reading goals I made at the first of the year. The only one that’s on track is reading 26 books this year! That’s okay; ultimately my goals are mostly guidelines so that I don’t forget what I want to read eventually. I was looking over my TBR challenge list a bit ago and reminded that I really want to get to some of these soon. Good thing I’m not in a reading slump!

Now the promise: I have four books to blog about–I hereby promise to post on the first no later than the last day of June. (Teaser–it will be one of my bookish weaknesses!)

6 thoughts on “Bookish Miscellany at the Change of Seasons”

  1. I’m very excited to see you back on my dashboard. I’m looking forward to hearing about the books you’ve read. I think we all go through a slump sometimes. If I’m not reading I usually don’t feel like I have anything to relate posts too. It’s nice and rejuvenating to read.

    1. Thank you! I don’t know how much time I’ll have to get all the posts written up quickly, but at least I know what I want to write about. And at least my slump this time was on the blogging side, not the reading–I agree that reading is rejuvenating.

  2. Glad to have you back, Amanda! I love, love, love your new blog design.

    I think your local project is great especially if the writers are alive and you can interview them. It is one of the joys of contemporary literature 😀

    1. Thanks, Elena! I think I spend waaaay too much time on the layout, but I was in one of my perfectionistic moods–I had to try just about every blog theme until I found the “right”one.

      It’s really intriguing how we all have different interests in our reading. I personally am not so interested in interviews with contemporary authors, but I enjoy seeing the world I know (i.e., the current world) from another viewpoint.

  3. Glad to interact via blogging again! I’m happy to see you’re enjoying your books. (Also, your project sounds wonderful!)

    1. Eesh, a whole month it took me to respond! I really AM out of it. 🙂 Time to take another stab at getting back to blogging. I’ve been distracted by other books, so the project is probably on hold until next year–at least the books always wait!

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