30 June 2008

And Another

Yep, I'm on a roll. I finished Gothic Illuminated Manuscripts yesterday, but then found yet another half-read book on the shelves. This time it's Black Water 2, a short story anthology edited by Alberto Manguel. Really, really great stories, but the book is massively huge. I tend to read short stories in cycles: sometimes I'll burn through masses of them, and other times I don't read any. I've been on a non-short-story-reading phase for quite a while now, so this book has sat on the shelf, page marked about halfway through its 1000+ pages.

In non-book news, today I've rented a U-Haul cargo van so we can help move a corner-cutting machine from my boss/teacher Joe's basement to the Dawson Printshop and collect a couple of free chests of drawers and a massive worktable/corner desk. I'll have to post a few pictures--this apartment is starting to look like an actual home. You can see photos of what it looked like when the boy moved in on my Facebook page (they're in the album called"Cellphone Photoshoot 3 - Moving Day(s)"). Mind you, the furniture is still all second-hand--and a lot of it was free--but well-placed pieces of fabric can do a lot for crappy furniture.

29 June 2008

One Down

So I finished Codex yesterday, but discovered several more partially-read books on the shelves, identified by the slips of paper sticking up from between the pages to keep my place.

  • Gothic Illuminated Manuscripts by Emma Pirani: Lots of pictures and a fair amount of rather dry text. I'm going to tackle this one while I still have plenty of old-book enthusiasm from Codex (not that I ever really lack old-book enthusiasm).

  • Introduction to Bookbinding by Lionel S. Darley: Why, you might ask, am I reading an introduction to bookbinding when I've already read several and have progressed beyond the introductory stage in actual hands-on binding? Maybe because I'm a completist. Actually it's because everyone has their own way of doing things and I always like to see what other people recommend. I've learn a surprising amount by occasionally going back and looking at the basics from the point of view of someone I haven't read before.

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: My mother loves the Brontes. I loved Jane Eyre (different Bronte, but they always seemed more like a collective than individuals). I made it through a pretty good chunk of this before it started to get pretty tiresome. Now I'm trying to read a chapter now and then, except I keep losing the thread of the story. I should probably start over at the beginning. Oh well.

27 June 2008

Time to Read

So school is out for summer, and my one summer course is over (digital photo, which was excellent thanks to a really great teacher, even if he did only give me a B in lighting last year). Here's my favourite of the photos I did for my final project (an attempt to recreate the Happy Family photos I remember from growing up in the 70s):

I'm actually considering putting that one on the wall, even though I don't especially like having pictures of myself up. Here's another, that isn't as successful in terms of colour, but which works really well otherwise.

I love the one raised eyebrow thing.

But I began this post with a mention of school being done, and it is, until September. Which means I have a little more time. Time to play videogames, and time to read. Recently I've started to get that feeling I sometimes get, that I need to finish all the books I started before I start any more (except I just started a new one yesterday, completely violating my good intentions). So I'm going to concentrate on finishing unfinished books and see if I can't get them all out of the way by the time summer's over. Then I can start accumulating partly-finished books all over again. Whee!

There's never any one reason I don't make it all the way through a book. Sometimes it requires more brain power that I can give it at the time, so it gets put aside for when I have more leisure. Sometimes it's simply the wrong size to easily read on the bus or in bed or in the tub. Sometimes I lose interest, read something else in the meantime and then don't ever get back. Here are the things I've got in progress at the moment:

  • Lost Discoveries by Dick Teresi: It's subtitled "The Ancient Roots of Modern Science--from the Babylonians to the Maya" and is essentially a history of non-western science. I've been reading this one on and off whenever I don't need too much brain for other things. It's a pretty good read and I'm well over halfway through. It's not going to be a problem to finish now that I have no school for a while.

  • The Lungfish, the Dodo and the Unicorn by Willy Ley: Another subtitled book; this time "An Excursion into Romantic Zoology." It's a fun book about fantastic beasts that are either not real, real but extinct, or really really for real but seemingly improbable. It was published in 1948 and just seems to work better in small doses, which is why I haven't finished it yet. I guess I've been craving something I can consume in big chunks. Mmmmmm . . . books . . .

  • Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht: I'd only just begun this when I moved, so I never really had a chance to get into it before I had to set it aside. Looks like it'll be a good read, though.

  • This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson: A novel about nautical exploration and discovery, in which Charles Darwin is a character. I'm enjoying it immensely, but it fits in the category of "too big to comfortably read anywhere but sitting upright in a chair," though I have made valiant attempts to read it in bed. It's going to require evenings of tea and sitting it the ugly salmon-coloured granny rocker to finish, but they'll be good evenings.

  • Tom Sawyer by Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain: I love Twain, but I'm finding it hard to get into Tom. I don't remember Huckleberry Finn being this obviously written for children. I will forge on, though, because the writing is marvelous, and I have a copy of Tom Sawyer Abroad on the shelf that I want to get at soon.

  • The Confusion by Neal Stephenson: This is the second book in the Baroque Cycle, and baroque it certainly is. Phew! Really great writing, but very very dense, and not as well-sprinkled with humorous bits as the first book. I'll take me a while to slog my way to the end, but I know it's going to have been worth it (how's that for a convoluted verb tense?).

  • Codex: by Lev Grossman. Woo! I love books about books, and this novel is proving to be just the easy read I needed, without being too lightweight. I acquired it through BookMooch, which a recommend highly if you have books you don't need but don't really want to dispose of. BookMooch lets you send books off to appreciative other book folks and use the points you thereby accumulate to mooch new books off other people. It makes it so much easier for me to part with books (always a hard thing, even if I know I'll never read them again), knowing who they're going to, and being able to get books in the mail in return. I love mail. Especially when it has books in it.

Well, this post is getting long, so I'll leave it at that. I think there are a few more partly-finished books lurking on the shelves, but I'll deal with the ones listed first, then go in search of others.

24 June 2008

Pen Lust

I have no idea how much it even costs (but no doubt way more than I can afford), but I really, really want this pen. Er, anyone wanna bargain for a firstborn child?