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Yesterday, there was a surprise straight from Canada waiting for me in the mail. Binnie Brennan sent me her novella, Harbour View. This will be one of my holiday reads as I will be able to read it in one sitting and my Christmas treat is to take the three Christmas days completely off in order to read for pleasure (as opposed as for my studies). This is something I haven’t been able to do for a long time, so I’m really looking forward to it! Thanks Binnie!
Also in the post were the latest two issues of Margaret Atwood Studies, the journal published by the Margaret Atwood Society. One of them contains essays on The Year of the Flood; exciting! I was also delighted to see the paper I gave at the International Conference on the Short Story in English, last June, mentioned. It’s a small pleasure, but it counts!
I also received another early Christmas present from a friend of mine: All for Grace by Mairead Whyte. Mairead is for the area where I live and I am glad to be able to read her novel. I have been told it is a page turner, so that will also be perfect for my bookish Christmas. This makes me want to join the Ireland Reading Challenge as I have a huge pile of Irish books to be read, but I’m not sure I can commit.
I still haven’t opened my package from my secret Santa as part of the Book Blogger Holiday Swap, although I must admit that I open a tiny corner of the envelope to have a pick and saw something colourful.
After receiving, I thought it was time to give, so I went to do my Christmas shopping today. I didn’t have much to buy but managed to find a few bookish presents and, for the kids I know, I bought a children’s version of A Christmas Carol. Then, I realised I had never read it, so I bought a cheap unabridged version for myself. It’s about time I read it!
My other plans for the holiday break are to finish My Life as a Man by Philip Roth and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I started the latest ages ago, but its format is not ideal for a bedtime read and, as I was reading only little bits at a time, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I should have. I am, therefore, hoping that the free time I am allowing myself will enable me to finish it in a few sittings. I am also planning to read some short stories and the 21st should be the ideal day for that as it is the National Short Story Day in the UK (ok, I am not in the UK, but Ireland is not very far!). The break will also be the occasion for me to catch up on a few belated reviews and on my posts about my trip to Canada (you can see them in the June archives). It looks like I will be kept nicely busy, but this can be an exhausting time in the restaurant and I am sure I will enjoy the bookish relief!
Today, I read this article written by Hugo Hamilton celebrating books in print. I don’t own one of those e-book readers. I am not categorically against them; I actually think they have many advantages, but so far I have done without them.
Call me materialist, but I actually like books as objects as well. I like to be surrounded by them, I like to touch them and I also like to know they have lived, a bit like the author of the article who sees books as a medium to transmit memories. I am not one who likes books to remain pristine clean. On the contrary, I like to see them get marked by the ages. I love buying second-hand books on the internet and I do like when things are written in them: names of past owners, comments, stamps from libraries, etc. I often write in my books, I add my name, where I got the book from, the date and sometimes a few comments on the book or when and where I read it. They become part of my life. All book lovers have different habits, what are yours?
As for the bookshelves mentioned in the article, I love mine! I recycled wine bottle wooden boxes and built my shelves with them. Easy, cheap and I can expand them if I need! Do you too have an original bookshelf?