Monday, 29 March 2010

Could you recommend a book ?

Recommendations. Can you resist them ?
I think I have an innate inability to NOT resist when something is recommended to me, no matter who is the recommender. Well, not everything. Films, TV programmes, music, restaurants, holiday destinations, shops – with these I can listen to someone extolling the virtues of the item or place in question then forget about what they have said, but with books … no chance. Suggest that I would like a particular book or that you like it yourself, and regardless of whether we have anything in common or not, I am likely to seek it out. If not actually buying the book then certainly searching the library for it.

Needless to say this has resulted in me reading and owning a multitude of books that I may not necessarily have chosen myself, but feel obliged to read because someone suggested it. Of course, sometimes this is a great blessing as I might have otherwise missed out on a great read, but sometimes it seems like a mania that I have.

Amazon (though it’s very useful) often makes things worse. They have daily recommendations for me, supposedly based on what I have bought before. Today, James Kelman, Martin Amis, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh and Monica Ali novels based on me buying “Lanark” by Alasdair Gray. This book hasn’t arrived yet so I am not sure if the style of the writings are the same, the themes similar or if the authors are from the same place or what. I know I have never read Martin Amis or Irvine Welsh at all. I have read and own Monica Ali books – but I didn’t get them from Amazon so how do they know? Them recommending a book by the same author as one that I have bought from them makes sense; I can see the logic there. But I have been known to buy a book for a relative and their taste in reading is certainly not mine.
Never mind. At least it saves me from thinking too much on what I could read next. I usually have about four books “on the go” at once, so the recommendations list does get used.

Is anyone else like this? And if so, could you recommend a book on the subject ?

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Happy Spring Solstice

Today, in astronomical terms, is the beginning of Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere - 22 September in the Southern Hemisphere. This is when the sun crosses the equator on its journey toward the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn. Spring lasts until the start of summer at the summer solstice.
Apparently the moment when spring begins does not correlate exactly with changes in weather which we usually take as the change of seasons. Temperatures in the daytime lag behind the energy delivered to earth by the sun by several weeks as the earth and sea take time to warm up. (thanks and reference to Wikipedia for my apparent scientific knowledge on this)
It’s a good feeling to know that the days are now lighter for longer and that we can look forward to some sunshine soon, even if not right now at the official beginning of Spring. Today in my part of the country the sun is struggling to get through cloud and the ground is soaked after a day of rain yesterday. (I was told that it was frosty at 5am but I can not vouch for that ) My garden, adjoining marshland is, by its nature a semi-bog. The so called “lawn” resembles a paddy field and the poor crocuses and miniature daffodils have raised their heads more than once above ground... and gone below again.
I got a clay chiminea the other day. Today I will warm myself by this , drinking tea and coffee while watching my partner erect a fence and lay a new patio. This is the life. Happy Spring Solstice !

Saturday, 20 March 2010

May I renew these books, please ?

I have just been reading a news article about a library book that has been returned after 45 years. "Quatermass and the Pit" was borrowed from Dinnington library in 1965 and posted back just this month. There's clearly some interesting story behind where the book has been all this time and I hope the "returner" gets in touch with the library to explain.

This made me think of my library book borrowing habits and of how easily I could in fact have a book on loan for 45 years - with no interesting story behind it. It's not that I let them get overdue on purpose.It's more likely because I have so many books "on the go" at once. This must be something to do with having a short memory span or plain lack of concentration - it's certainly not that I am super good at multi-tasking. I am only happy if I have a pile of books on the bedside table, on the floor beside the bed and in various other piles on tables and other places around the house. Perhaps it's a security "thing" that I need enough books so that if someone decided there was never going to be any more books printed, I would still have a good supply of unread stuff to keep me going - library books and books that I have bought included.
Whatever the reason,not returning books on time has cost me. Not only financially, but in anxiety that I may not be allowed to borrow anymore !
More than once I have paid the full price of the book at the library rather than the fine - granted one of these times was because the new dog had decided to eat the cover (yes, I know, irresponsible and all that, but like I say, I like to have books easily accessible and if they are for me, then they are even more so for the dog)
I have to say that my local library is exceptional in supporting me in this bad trait that I admit too. They even didn't charge me when I borrowed a book from the hospital library during a stay there, brought it home and returned it about 3 months later (no charge, they said, you were poorly at the time - and no they were not humouring me, at least I don't think they were)
Ok, I am off to check what I have for bedtime reading tonight. Whatever it is, it will be a selection of genres. And I will check dates as soon as I remember to.

(my HTML seems to be still on the blink - so apologies for however this text turns out on the blog page)

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Gremlins in the blog system or have I lost some HTML?

I am not sure what has happened to the font on the posts on this blog. I am not even sure whether it's my computer that's showing some text to be extra large and some extra small, some black, some blue etc. I suppose that it's excusable that I don't know if it's only my computer that's showing this as one does not normally read one's own blog on someone else's computer - unless one is editing it or purely narcissistic (must spell check that)
Anyway, for whatever reason, I apologise and would be grateful if anyone would let me know if this is a blog problem or computer problem. I read on a blog the other day that the reason the text had changed on that one was that some HTML had been lost. This is rather scary as I would have no idea where to look if I found that I had lost some of mine !
Been losing my memory for years and now it's seems my blog is losing it's.
Ah well, close friends always share things...

Mindfulness - the New Capitalist Spirituality ?

Since coming across this article in   The Guardian's "Long Read"  my mind has  been full of the issues it raises- so to spe...