03 July 2017

Taking a break

Reading in Reykjavik is on indefinite hiatus. 

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16 June 2017

Friday links, 14 April 2017

Here's some reading about literacy, libraries and books:

07 April 2017

Friday links, 7 April 2017

Today's links are a varied mix:

Today there are two book lists: 

And to counteract the strife in the first list: 17 Best Bromances In Literature.

Finally, here's a fascinating video:

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect hatching from Zoos Victoria on Vimeo.

24 March 2017

Friday links, 24 February 2017

I have been pretty inactive on this blog lately, mostly because I have hardly been reading. However, I have done some web surfing and here are some of the things I found:

Today's list:
Books about friendships.

These is no book I'd like to read today. 
I'm going through a reading slump and don't feel like reading.

17 March 2017

Friday links, 17 March 2017

Today's links are all book-related in some way, and three of them relate to libraries:

10 March 2017

Friday links, 10 March 2017

Some very mixed links today:

  • If you didn't already suspect it - translating is hard. It's even harder when translating books full of meaningful names of people and places (don't forget to look underneath the video):

The book I want to read (and indeed own) is the new Atlas Obscura book. I am a long-time fan of the website and while nothing can replace that as a resource, the book is still appealing and I think I'll put it on my Christmas wish-list.

09 March 2017

Car trouble

My nearly new car is in the garage for a problem that is so unexpected and unlikely in a car this new and little used (less than 20 thousand kilometres on it), that the guy I spoke with at the VW shop said they would give me a good discount off the part if it needs to be replaced and not just repaired/cleaned.

I will not see my beloved VW Caddy again for a week and will be driving around in a borrowed, ancient Suzuki Jimny with a cranky manual gearbox and stiff handling. Good thing I only need it to visit my parents in the next city and not to get to work.

At least I know I can get around if it snows as much in the meantime as it did two Sundays ago, because that tin can is altered for off-road driving.

08 March 2017

Look at what I found!

I came across this book in my favourite second hand shop recently. At first sight it doesn't look very prepossessing - in fact it looks downright grungy. The glossy white cover is scratched, discoloured, stained and chipped and it is ever so slightly tacky to the touch, like a cookbook left out in the kitchen for too long. Ick!

Then you open it up to find glorious, clean, empty pages. I'm only guessing, but there might be around 200 leaves, which makes 400 pages in A4 size. This is the kind of journal I dreamt of owning back when I still kept written records of my reading. I've gone wholly digital now, so I'll have to find a different use for it. More about that below.

I can only speculate as to what this book was designed for, but the paper is thick and heavy and I'd like to imagine it to have been designed as a guest book (maybe for a convention or a company), sketchbook or journal rather than a scrapbook, because the binding is too tight to allow for many insertions. From the tackiness and the nature of the discolourations and stains on the cover I think someone bought it with the intention of writing recipes in it, kept it in a kitchen for years and never did anything with it and then donated it to the charity shop.

This stamp is the only clue as to the provenance of the book. Eurolitho seems to be a publishing and printing company based in Italy.

I'll probably use it as a commonplace book and/or sketch book and/or journal. It's tempting to put it in my little motorhome to use as a log book and journal for my travels in the car, but it's big and heavy and space-saving is a concern, so probably not.

I'm having fun thinking up ways to make the cover more attractive. I might draw on it with Sharpies or cover it with stickers or decoupage, or simply make a nice dust cover for it. I might even go all out and make a sculpted leather cover for it. But I'll start by giving it a gentle scrubbing to see if the stains will come off.

There is a bit of chipping - but nothing that can't be fixed.
This chip, for example, will disappear under a metal corner.

06 March 2017

Reading report, March 6, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the last week.

I had to take two sick days in the middle of the week and missed my day hike on the weekend because I didn't want to risk having a relapse, so I had plenty of time to read and finished four books during those two days and one more during the weekend. I was still heartily glad to stop reading and return to work on Friday. Being at home on weekdays is no fun when you can't go out and are feeling miserable.

The books were:

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L Howard. This book answered a question I asked myself when I first read Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: Where do diabolical carnivals come from in the first place? I liked it so much that I ordered a copy of the second book in the series and hope it will arrive some time this week.

The protagonist is the titular Johannes, a scientist who wishes to find a cure for death and has sold his soul to Satan to that end. But it isn't working out the way he expected and so he goes down to Hell and makes a bet with Satan: he will get his soul back if he collects 100 souls for Hell in one year. In order to help (or hinder) him in doing so, Satan gives him a diabolical carnival to run.

Gnomes by Wil Huygen (text) and Rien Poortvliet (illustrations). Wonderful piece of fantastical natural history, translated from Dutch. I filed it next to my copy of Peter Dickinson's The Flight of Dragons, in the book-case where I keep my books on religion, folk-tales and mythology.

This books seems to be a mixture of actual gnome lore and speculative descriptions of the lives and living conditions of gnomes. It is beautifully illustrated and fluidly translated from the original Dutch.

A volume of short stories from two different collections by Swedish author Torgny Lindgren, titled Fimm fingra mandlan in Icelandic, in English The Five-Fingerd Almond, and drawing its title from an unnamed short story in the book which features an almond potato that looks like a human hand and becomes the means of unmasking a murderer. Not keeping it.

I found Style Deficit Disorder by Tiffany Godoy in amongst my cookbooks, where it had been languishing for a couple of years with a bookmark sticking out of it. So I decided to finish it. It's about the Japanese Harajuku fashion scene and contains colourful photographs, potted history and descriptions of the style and influences of various designers. It's nice, if a bit chaotic, to look at, like a book-length teen fashion magazine on acid, but terribly designed with regard to actually being read. Some of the spreads are printed, for example, in black lettering on eye-watering bright blue backgrounds, and the lettering used in the headers is designed for looks rather than reading. I don't expect many people would even consider reading it from cover to cover - this is a product to be leafed through, displayed on a coffee-table and perhaps used to look up one's favourite designers. I don't think I'll keep this one. Owning one book about Japanese fashion is enough for me (Shoichi Aoki's Fruits).

On the weekend I read:
Safari for Seven by Thea B. Von Halsema. This is the travelogue of an American family of seven who bought a Volkswagen Transporter in The Netherlands in the 1960s and drove it to Israel and back. It was quite an adventure and I closed the book with a considerably wider knowledge of biblical geography than when I started, as the family were religious and planned their route to take in as many biblical locations as possible. Culling it.

I now have 839 unread books on my TBR (owned) list.

Next weekend I am planning to go shopping in Ikea to buy a Billy bookcase with an extension, to replace a smaller bookcase that is full to overflowing. First, however, I have to empty the current bookcase and find somewhere to keep the books from it until I can stuff them into the new one...

I'm currently reading:
Watching the English by Kate Fox (anthropology) and Whispers Underground (urban fantasy) by Ben Aaronovitch (the third Peter Grant book).

05 March 2017

January and February book haul, part 3

Here are the final books:

  • Gnomes: This is a book of lore and natural history and should sit nicely on the shelf with my other illustrated guides to the world of folktales and mythology, e.g. The Flight of Dragons and my bestiary of Icelandic folk-tale monsters.
  • The Norman Rockwell Treasury: I love Rockwell's work but when I first saw this book in a bookshop, I was pretty much broke and couldn't afford to buy it, so finding a copy was lucky.
  • The Far Side Gallery: I have volumes 2, 3 and 4, but I don't think I have this one.
  • The guide book is yet another addition to the guidebook collection.
  • Trees and Fungi are natural history guides. 
  • The Steampunk Gazette is a guide to all things steampunk. As I mentioned in the first post in this series, I have been wanting to delve into this sub-genre of science-fiction, and what better place to start than with a guide?
That's it! (for now).