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QUESTIONS for the Avid Reader Part II

This is a continuation of the topic QUESTIONS for the Avid Reader.

Club Read 2018

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1SassyLassy
Jul 1, 7:37pm Top



Well here we are half way through the year, so time for a new thread and new questions. Feel free to PM me if you have a suggestion.

2SassyLassy
Jul 1, 7:49pm Top



QUESTION 13



You have the ability and the means to endow a literary prize.

a) What would be the theme: genre, author, region, subject?

b) Would the theme have personal meaning to you?

c) What would you name the award?

d) Who would you select for judges?

e) Who would be your first recipient?

f) Give us a taste of the press release for this first award.

3thorold
Jul 3, 10:52am Top

Q13: Literary awards

I really don’t think the world needs more niche prizes and awards ceremonies, so I would probably refrain! The only kind of prize that is of any use is one that is so long-standing, richly-endowed and universally-recognised that winning it really means something. The rest exist purely to generate good publicity for their sponsors, with the winners getting little out of them apart from a cheque and a free dinner. (Which you have to offset against the cost of hiring a dinner-jacket...)

If I had the chance to endow something in the literary line, it would have to be something that could really help a writer to develop their career. Something like a travel grant for researching a new book, or a writer-in-residence scheme in a school, hospital, prison, etc. Or an endowment to subsidise a publisher of unprofitable books (new poetry, for instance). Preferably set up in such a way that dinner-jackets and press-releases don’t enter into things at all.

4avaland
Edited: Jul 4, 7:03am Top

Q13: Literary Awards.

I am inclined to agree with >3 thorold:. Aren't we spoilers! If I were to create/develop something, it would be something similar to a MacArthur Genius Grant or a McDowell Colony grant, something that gives support to promising writers and translators who are in need of support during their time writing (or so they could concentrate on their writing). But, it would definitely be something outside the "MFA & living in Brooklyn" culture.

>3 thorold: I like the idea for the endowment for publishers of unprofitable books, although there does seem to be a fair number of awards with publication for poets.

5lisapeet
Jul 4, 8:33am Top

I'd carry on the mission of the website I co-work on, Bloom, which celebrates authors (and other artists from time to time) who published their first major work after age 40 (or switched genres in a big way). The idea for the site came out of a backlash to all those 30 Under 30/Young Lions–type awards that celebrate writers for their youth. So I'd fund a Bloomers Award with that as my criterion. And since I'm lazy I'd just carry over everything from the site—have myself and the site's founder, Sonya Chung, as judges, and for a motto use Bloom's: "Late according to whom?" As a Bloom poster child myself, it most definitely has resonance for me. I didn't really step into the ring of writing until I was over 40.

Not sure who I'd pick as first recipient, since that's kind of like asking me which child I love best. And oy, don't make me write a press release! Too much like work, and I'm trying not to think about work today.

6nohrt4me2
Jul 4, 9:46am Top

Q13 I would rather give my money to schools, where teachers are struggling to keep liberal and fine arts alive.

My son's English teacher had an annual "Evening with Young Artists" event where seniors read their poetry and essays, showed videos they made, displayed photos, and sang songs they wrote. Sometimes someone did a dance. Once there was a brief panel discussion: "Brave New World"--Utopia or Dystopia?

I fondly remember a sock-puppet satiric version of "Beowulf" that was absolutely hilarious.

The teacher did this pretty much single-handedly, setting up the cafetorium with little tables, coffee, and getting donated fancy desserts.

We went every year.

And then she retired, and the program died. And so much else with it.

Geez, Louise. I'm getting kind of teary thinking about this, and I may have found my retirement job.

7RidgewayGirl
Jul 4, 9:54am Top

>5 lisapeet: That's a wonderful site! I'll have to spend a few hours reading the articles and browsing around.

I think that rather than endowing a new prize, I'd rather point to my favorite literary prize, The Rooster (officially, The Morning News Tournament of Books) which is a literary prize that is based on absolute transparency. First there's an outrageously long longlist (2017 had 72 books listed) and then each book on the shortlist goes head to head with another book in an NCAA-style tournament in which various judges write essays about why they chose one book over the other. It's lively and irreverent and the comments section is full of intelligent, opinionated people who have read the books.

8lisapeet
Jul 4, 10:44am Top

>7 RidgewayGirl: Thanks! It's such a labor of love, and Sonya's been doing the lion's share of the site management because my job eats my life and because she's a wonderful human being. But I'm trying to ramp up my essay writing for Bloom a bit, not least because I don't want my job to eat all my other writing as well. Right now I'm just starting a piece for Bloom on Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over, and have a phone interview scheduled with Nell Painter for Friday. Looking forward to that one.

9LadyoftheLodge
Jul 10, 7:47pm Top

I want to hear about the interview!

10LadyoftheLodge
Jul 10, 7:48pm Top

>6 nohrt4me2: Applause for you! I was a classroom teacher for more years than I care to admit. I used a lot of my own money for things like you described. Lots of fun and memorable.

11nohrt4me2
Jul 10, 9:34pm Top

>10 LadyoftheLodge: Yes, me, too! Don't begrudge those kids one dime of anything I spent.

12SassyLassy
Jul 21, 11:57am Top



QUESTION 14

We've spoken earlier of lending books to people. Now people are in your house perusing your shelves, putting your well cared for books at risk.

a) Does this make you edgy?

b) Do you mind them taking books from the shelves and flipping through them?

c) Do you fear for particular parts of your collection, for instance finger prints on glossy images?

d) What do you do if someone does something that you feel damages a book, for instance breaks the spine or puts a coffee mug on the book?

e) Would a shelf of books in the condition above bother you?

f) Do you think this is all just completely uptight and just go with the flow?

13cindydavid4
Jul 21, 1:54pm Top

UESTION 14

We've spoken earlier of lending books to people. Now people are in your house perusing your shelves, putting your well cared for books at risk.

a) Does this make you edgy?

no because the people who come to see me are generally known to me.

b) Do you mind them taking books from the shelves and flipping through them?

No. In fact I'll spend hours telling them about the book, whether they'd like it, more books about the author etc until said person either borrows it or puts it back and walks quickly away

c) Do you fear for particular parts of your collection, for instance finger prints on glossy images?

Yes - Those books are in a specific place for display. I gladly show them off, Im not concerned about fingerprints as much as I am someone dropping it or accidently staining or tearing.

d) What do you do if someone does something that you feel damages a book, for instance breaks the spine or puts a coffee mug on the book?

Never happened to me before because I really don't have people do that when they visit and my books are up on a shelf.

e) Would a shelf of books in the condition above bother you?

no, I'd just shelf the book where it belongs.

f) Do you think this is all just completely uptight and just go with the flow?

pretty much :)

14nohrt4me2
Edited: Jul 21, 10:08pm Top

Question 14

If people come over and start flipping through my books, I usually offer to let them have whatever they want. If I want to read something again, I'll get it from the library or buy a kindle version.

IMO, one of the saddest thing is a book that just sits on a shelf that nobody ever looks at twice.

My husband, to the best of my knowledge, has never lent a book to anyone in his life. He seems to need the physical books for reasons that escape me.

15avaland
Jul 22, 6:37am Top

Question 14

We don't have enough visitors to really worry about this, and my grown children are usually here for other things than the books (like baked goods). However, I had a visitor last weekend, a person met on LT nearly 12 years ago now, and she enjoyed looking through the shelves, and I had no problem with that. I even foisted several books on to her (and she brought one to me).

I am a reader and not a collector. I do have some collections, of course, mostly loose author collections, but I am not a completist—they are collected out of a hunger to read them. Aesthetically, I prefer the mixed chaos of colors and sizes of different books next to each other, it facilitates the siren song each book sings from the shelves (however there is an order to most but not all of the shelves...we want to be able to find a book when we want it. However, the "crate wall" in the living room is a semi-chaos of mostly unread books -- which is a disorder I love.

16bragan
Edited: Jul 23, 11:20am Top

QUESTION 14

We've spoken earlier of lending books to people. Now people are in your house perusing your shelves, putting your well cared for books at risk.

a) Does this make you edgy?


Depending on who it is, it might make me mildly anxious about how they might be judging me by my books. But then I remember that I'm not ashamed of my books, doggone it, and hopefully the feeling goes away.

b) Do you mind them taking books from the shelves and flipping through them?

It might be weird and uncomfortable if it was someone I don't know terribly well doing it. But otherwise, no. I have a friend who comes over and does this all the time, looking for things he might want to borrow.

c) Do you fear for particular parts of your collection, for instance finger prints on glossy images?

Um, no. Look, books are meant to be read and loved, not kept pristine and untouched. Well, mine are, anyway.

d) What do you do if someone does something that you feel damages a book, for instance breaks the spine or puts a coffee mug on the book?

OK, that I would be annoyed by. Well, spine breaking happens and is not the end of the world, and stains on books... Again, that sort of thing just demonstrates that it's been lived with and read. I read while eating all the time, and if I get a spaghetti sauce stain on a book here or there, it's honestly not a big deal (although I am generally much more careful with borrowed books than I am with my own).

But if someone actually put a coffee cup down on one of my books... I think that goes beyond normal wear-and-tear and into deliberate (or at least highly negligent) defacement, and I would not be pleased with it and would certainly watch that person around my books from then on.

I did have someone once borrow a book from me, remove the dust jacket, and lose it. I pretended not to be as annoyed with them as I was. But I was annoyed. A little wear and tear is one thing, but I do expect everything I lent you to come back to me, dust jacket included.

e) Would a shelf of books in the condition above bother you?

No! That is a shelf of books that has been well-loved. I feel immediate affection towards them.

f) Do you think this is all just completely uptight and just go with the flow?

Mostly, yes. :)

17thorold
Jul 24, 1:07pm Top

QUESTION 14

I can't find anything major on which I would disagree with >13 cindydavid4: >14 nohrt4me2: >15 avaland: or >16 bragan: here :-)

Completely agree that books ought to be used, that normal wear and tear goes with that, and that it's only reasonable to expect that other people won't always be quite as careful with books as I would like them to be. Which isn't to say that I would watch silently as the coffee mug headed for the first edition...

Last week I chatted a bit with a volunteer book-conservator in a National Trust house - nowadays they are expected to do their work in the public gaze and answer silly questions from visitors. Her job really seemed to be to keep the books in good condition by taking them off the shelf and simulating (in a very gentle, controlled way) the process of reading them - turning the pages, removing dust as she went, checking for any damage from damp or mould. Apparently the current wisdom is that leather bindings, in particular, benefit from being touched (with clean hands). It struck me that it would be so much better if they just let people read the books... (But of course that's not the point: in country-house libraries, the interest is mostly just in the way books were brought together over multiple generations; the catalogue is much more interesting than the individual books. Very little of what's there would have been unique in itself or even mildly interesting to most scholars - the landed gentry have always had an unerring eye for the supremely boring and long-winded...)

18nohrt4me2
Jul 24, 2:33pm Top

>17 thorold: Most interesting thing I've read this week! Thank you!

19thorold
Jul 24, 5:04pm Top

>18 nohrt4me2: Thanks! A good thing that it’s only Tuesday, or I’d be getting conceited.

20LadyoftheLodge
Jul 24, 5:08pm Top

We've spoken earlier of lending books to people. Now people are in your house perusing your shelves, putting your well cared for books at risk.

a) Does this make you edgy?
No, not really. I like to "snoop" amongst the libraries of others when I visit them. I am ok with them snooping in my library.

b) Do you mind them taking books from the shelves and flipping through them?
No, not at all. Books should be enjoyed rather than viewed from afar.

c) Do you fear for particular parts of your collection, for instance finger prints on glossy images?
No. Most of my books are used anyway. There are a couple of special ones that are in plastic bags to prevent damage though. I worry more about water damage if there happens to be a ceiling leak or something like that.

d) What do you do if someone does something that you feel damages a book, for instance breaks the spine or puts a coffee mug on the book?
I have not had anyone do that. However, I would move a coffee mug that landed on one of my books.

e) Would a shelf of books in the condition above bother you?
Not at all. I feel the shelf looks friendly and loved, and I would want to pick up the books there. Parts of my home library look sort of like that.

f) Do you think this is all just completely uptight and just go with the flow?
Yes, but I can think of people who cringe when others touch their books.

21SassyLassy
Aug 7, 10:44am Top



QUESTION 15

This is inspired by my current following along with Alberto Manguel of his A Reading Diary, as over a year he reread books from his library in preparation for a purge, one book a month. So, a quick and possibly easy question for summertime:

If you were writing such a journal, what 12 books would you select?

22RidgewayGirl
Aug 8, 1:24pm Top

Ok, I'll bite.

1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë -- it's a favorite and it's rewarded every reread, while also being full of drama.

2. Outline by Rachel Cusk -- having just finished Kudos, I want to start the whole thing over again.

3. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth -- I loved this book when I read it close to two decades ago and with the sequel due out sometime in the future, I'd love to revisit this one. The size has stopped me so far, but an actual reading project would give me a push.

4. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid -- when I read this, I though it was the best post-911 novel written. I'd like to know if I still think that.

5. The Mind-Body Problem by Rebecca Goldstein -- I read this way back when I was a philosophy major and I'd like to revisit it.

6. The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen -- I fell in love with this book. I wonder if it still has that power during a second read.

7. Criminals by Margot Livesey

8. Days of Cain by J. R. Dunn -- I read both 7 & 8 a long time ago, but they've stayed in my mind, enough so that they've survived several moving-related purges.

9. Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls -- This is an odd story, with the tone of a fable.

10. The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy -- An old favorite.

11. Queenpin by Megan Abbott -- The way this novel both embraces all the traditions of noir and subverts them blew me away when I first read this. I'd like to take another look at how she does it.

12. The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester -- I was reminded of how well Lanchester writes when I read Capital and I'd like to go back to the first book I ever read by this author.

Of course, rereading these books would in no way cause me to purge them from my shelves.

23thorold
Edited: Aug 8, 5:05pm Top

In no particular order, and with a minimum of reflection and limiting it to books and authors I actually re-read, not those I feel I would like to:

1. The luck of the Bodkins|The code of the Woosters|The ice in the bedroom Uncle Fred in the springtime by P.G. Wodehouse. It’s impossible to choose just one Wodehouse novel. But I wouldn’t have enough room in the list for anything else if I had a really representative selection...

2. Die Autobiographie by Thomas Bernhard. Cheating again, because this is really an omnibus of five short books, but it contains a good deal of the most memorable and complicated writing by one of the most original and contrary writers of German prose.

3. Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Because it would be dishonest to make a list of re-reads without at least one Dickens novel. But it’s no easier to choose one Dickens than one Wodehouse.

4. Persuasion by Jane Austen. (See (3)).

5. Die Blechtrommel by Günter Grass. There’s a lot about Grass’s shouting and posturing that doesn’t appeal to me now quite as much as it did the first time I read it, but it’s still an amazing book.

6. The prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. Like (8) this is one I first read for a course, but that never put me off coming back to it to enjoy Spark’s amazing touch for the quietly outrageous.

7. Tales of the city by Armistead Maupin. Not just because his books turned up at just the point in my life when I needed them, but, as with Wodehouse, really expert light fiction repays re-reading just as much as ‘great literature’ does.

8. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Studying a book is supposed to put you off it for life, but reading this one three or four times in succession to write essays about it had the opposite effect on me.

9. Deutschstunde by Siegfried Lenz. I first read this when I was about the same age as the narrator, and I keep coming back to it. A wonderfully ambiguous, challenging story about art, duty, betrayal and north-German scenery.

10. Middlemarch by George Eliot. There’s nothing like a big, complicated 19th century novel for re-reading pleasure, and they don’t get much better than this.

11. Brideshead revisited by Evelyn Waugh. A deeply flawed, self-indulgent, whiny, snobbish book. But one I’ve always enjoyed, and which has probably had a share in forming the way I think about Englishness.

12. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. Scary to think that this is well over twice as old now as it was when I first read it! But still capable of giving great pleasure on every re-read. (And if I purged it from my library, I could probably still reconstruct a lot of it from memory...)

Missing from the list, amongst others, because 12 is not very many: Margaret Drabble, Thomas Mann, Angela Carter, Graham Greene, Barbara Pym, all crime writers, Stendhal, Zola, Trollope, all poetry, all travel, all history, quite a lot of quirky stuff like The horse’s mouth, self-indulgence like I capture the castle, a reasonable number of communists and LGBT authors, non-Europeans...

24nohrt4me2
Edited: Aug 8, 9:08pm Top

I guess these are the books or authors I feel I haven't quite "wrung out" yet:

1. Something by Faulkner

2. The Diary of Lady Murasaki

3. Something by John Dos Passos

4. The Haunting by Shirley Jackson

5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

6. Abel Sanchez by Miguel de Unamuno

7. Something by Par Lagerkvist

8. Oscar Wilde's fairy tales

9. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

10. Beowulf trans. by Seamus Heaney

11. Three Lives by Gertrude Stein

12. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

25avaland
Aug 9, 6:43am Top

At the moment I can only come up with seven, but I'll give it further thought during my drive north today. I've not been much of a re-reader over the last few years as I am always being seduced by new, shiny books or those still not read on my shelves. And, in many cases, I suppose I want my memories of my initial read to rest intact.

1. Middlemarch, George Eliot. Just because.

2.& 3. Some earlier Margaret Atwood. I have already re-read Surfacing and The Robber Bride, so perhaps The Edible Woman and The Blind Assassin?

4. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville, for the 4th? time. I was just thinking about this book the other day. One always comes away with an appreciation of the imperfect. Yes, why do we always value and put into museums the perfect, unused things?

5. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. Would I find that my romance with this novel is finally over?

6. Bloodsmoor Romance by Joyce Carol Oates. Homage/spoof of Little Woman and the Alcotts. I've only read 35 of JCO's books, and there are at least twice that number I haven't read so why would I reread? But, if I did, this—one of her "American Gothics"—would certainly provide a bit of fun. Seriously, the book starts off with kidnapping by balloon....

7. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin.

8.?
9. ?
10. ?
11. ?
12. ?

26avaland
Aug 9, 6:47am Top

>22 RidgewayGirl: I am intrigued by your inclusion of Livesey's Criminals. I have been a Livesey fan but have yet to read the latest, which sits here on the shelf. The thing is, at the moment I can't remember anything about Criminals!! Will have to pull it off the shelf....

27RidgewayGirl
Aug 9, 11:36am Top

>26 avaland: At this point, two decades on, neither can I, but what I do remember is a mood. Now that SassyLassy had me think about rereading, that, Days of Cain and Mrs. Caliban are all calling to me.

28kac522
Edited: Aug 10, 2:14am Top

I regularly re-read favorites. So NOT on my list would be these, since I have re-read them multiple times and most probably will read them again anyway:

--all of Jane Austen
--Middlemarch, Eliot
--Jane Eyre, Bronte
--Bleak House and Little Dorrit, Dickens

In alphabetical order by author, I would want to re-read these books which I have not re-read recently* or have only read once:

*1. Atwood, The Robber Bride--I loved this when I read it 25 years ago; I wonder how it would stand up to time.
2. Carr, A Month in the Country--I know I missed things on the first reading; I need to read it again, slowly.
3. Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop--another that needs a slow re-reading.
4. Dickens, Our Mutual Friend--I was so busy sorting out the plot, I wasn't sure where Dickens was going with it.
5. Eliot, Daniel Deronda--lots to absorb and reflect on here.
*6. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning--a Holocaust book with hope; I can always use a renewal of hope.
7. Melville, Moby Dick--I became impatient to finish the first time through; now I can re-read more critically
8. Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa, Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa--want to read this time while listening to the recordings that they discuss in the book
*9. Pym, Quartet in Autumn or Excellent Women--just for the sheer enjoyment
10. Tolstoy, War and Peace--and yet another that needs a slow re-reading
*11. Trollope, Dr. Thorne or The Duke's Children--I enjoy Trollope, and I think a second reading of either of these could be insightful
12. Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America--Wills pulls apart the Gettysburg Address phrase by phrase; it had historical and philosophical revelations for me on the first reading, and would easily bear re-reading.

29RidgewayGirl
Aug 10, 8:57pm Top

>28 kac522: The Robber Bride is my favorite Atwood.

30kac522
Edited: Aug 10, 9:59pm Top

>29 RidgewayGirl: Mine, too. The first time I read it, when I got to the end of the book, I immediately went back to the beginning and re-read the entire thing! Which is why it's definitely overdue for a re-read.

31avaland
Aug 12, 7:35am Top

>28 kac522:, >29 RidgewayGirl:, >30 kac522: I can't remember exactly when I reread The Robber Bride but it's been since I have been on LT (sometime in the last nearly 12 years then) but I enjoyed it and Zenia is a timeless character, don't you think?

I'm tempted to reread The Blind Assassin - the story within a story within a story.

32nohrt4me2
Aug 12, 12:31pm Top

>29 RidgewayGirl: I always found The Robber Bride maddening. Fascinating, but maddening. I've always wondered if Zenia is a kind of entity or fantasy scapegoat the three friends dream up to explain their failed relationships. It's an interesting story you can take at face value or turn on its head.

33tonikat
Aug 15, 10:47am Top

I'm not a good re-reader. Why do I keep so many books then? Goodness knows.

There's also any number I'd like to complete. But increasingly aware of the finitude of things -- and then there is work which is devilishly obsessed with diverting me. Then there is also an idea of doing other things with life. I read this this week - https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/08/08/notes-nearing-ninety-learning-to-write-less/ and picked up an idea of how other things could be done.

I think I do tend to read slowly, which I sometimes justify as to why I don't reread. But then I do reread, just not so frequently do I reread whole books, but bits. But even then not that a lot really. Poetry is different, that can be back and forth, probably should be. I also think about books and poems a lot -- is that somewhere on the rereading continuum?

Maybe one reason i don't reread is that when they are good its often as they sort of fit where I am in life - so the experience is very rooted in where my life is at. I can't think of a particular example, but I think I've had experiences of disappointment when I do reread and I'm not in the same place. But I often think of such experiences and times.

I'm not answering the question am I. I have to say I baulk at the idea I'd chuck any of these, or any others. But let's have a go - in a way it should be almost every one of the books I have read. But in no particular order, on my current whim:

Islands in the Stream by Hemingway (my first by him - on another day could be another)
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (or Catch-22 by Heller)
Mani by Patrick Leigh Fermor (my first by him, could be others by him)
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
What We May Be by Piero Ferrucci (wonderful introduction to Psychosynthesis, with lots of exercises as you go, happy reading experience)
A Christmas Carol by Dickens
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, as I'm altogether too much a bit Liz and a bit Mr D. but not read it for 34 years.
A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving
J. D. Salinger (cheating I know, but they're only small)
Conversations with Kafka by Gustav Janouch
Howards End by E. M. Forster
The Gospel in Brief & Confession, Tolstoy (were originally part of one book I think -- but maybe otherwise his What is Art?)

Maybe my relative inexperience of rereading speaks a bit, it's interesting though as several of these I've already reread -- and it made me wonder if doing so, if there is no disappointment, if that can lead to greater addiction in a way, to these particular wonders...and then wonder how others may grow in me if I read more -- and of course if you can have disappointments then you may also surely have surprises in rereading things that weren't so hot first time.

I also wonder about rereading our own lives - maybe that is what journalling does. And even in doing so we can get lost and then hey, you have to regain perspective, where did the last ten years go again.

34avaland
Aug 18, 10:14am Top

>33 tonikat: Ooo. The Name of the Rose would be a good re-read. Such a great book.

35tonikat
Aug 19, 4:38am Top

>34 avaland: yes indeed - thinking of Brother William and Adso makes me smile.

36LadyoftheLodge
Aug 19, 2:44pm Top

A Christmas Carol is on my list too!

37NanaCC
Aug 19, 9:19pm Top

I’m not much of a re-reader, too many books, etc. However, the ones I do read over and over are:

My hubby and I listen to A Christmas Carol every Thanksgiving on our trip from my daughters house in Connecticut. :)

The Harry Potter series (I can’t help it, they are good)

Anything by Jane Austen

R. F. Delderfield (I’m not sure if they hold up for others, but I still enjoy them)

London Belongs to Me (my copy is called Dulcimer Street)

The Woman in White

Little Women

For now, that’s all I can think of. I may come back to add more later.

38SassyLassy
Aug 22, 11:26am Top

QUESTION 15

Lots of books there I am also inclined to reread, or that are already on my regular reread list. It makes me think I should read some of the others on the list, sort of like a suggestions list, a "if you liked this...".

Given my own reading I was really heartened to see so many books from the nineteenth century and back, some of which appeared on multiple lists, like Middlemarch, which would definitely be on my own list.

The idea of choosing authors instead of particular books would have made a completely different kind of book from Alberto Manguel than the one mentioned, but I'm sure he may get to it some day; it makes so much sense. After all, choosing your favourite book among those written by a favourite author is practically impossible, especially as some have suggested it varies with time and mood.

As usual

39SassyLassy
Aug 22, 11:38am Top



David Foster Wallace's heavily annotated copy of Don Delillo's Players, from flavourwire.com

Some of us like our books pristine, spines intact, pages like new, others not so much, writing their opinions and thoughts all over the text.

QUESTION 16

a) On which side of the divide do you place yourself?

b) Do you know why?

c) If you are an inveterate scribbler, do you restrict yourself to your own books, or do you find yourself writing in library books too (academic and otherwise)?

d) What kind of comments do you make?

e) Would you buy a second hand book that had been marked up by someone unknown to you?

f) Do you find comments written by others in a book distracting?

40LadyoftheLodge
Aug 22, 8:26pm Top

a) On which side of the divide do you place yourself?
I am ok with writing in books, but not as much as the example shown for this topic.

b) Do you know why? I find notes from others interesting, to give me their take on the book.

c) If you are an inveterate scribbler, do you restrict yourself to your own books, or do you find yourself writing in library books too (academic and otherwise)? I do not usually mark in library books.

d) What kind of comments do you make? I make marginal notes, highlight or underline items that are meaningful to me or apply to my own experiences. I also despise typos and always correct them. My friends to whom I lend books laugh about this.

e) Would you buy a second hand book that had been marked up by someone unknown to you? Yes

f) Do you find comments written by others in a book distracting? Not unless they are all over the page, or have a lot of underlining, as in almost every sentence.

41tonikat
Edited: Aug 23, 10:46am Top

a) tend most to the pristine if possible. As an undergraduate i did write in books (the margins) and also underlined a lot (none of either in library books) -- but got so sick of library books that had this done to often by people that thought they were very smart i stopped after those studies.

b) It's not so good for resale. But I do write in poetry books, definitions of words and sometimes comments and reflections. Never in library books. Not that I'm against what can be gained, but often those that do aren't adding much -- but if it was DFW I guess I'd find his comments interesting, many other people's too. And don't get me started on the ones that you read half of and cannot make out the rest. But those medieval monks even deleted and write over older manuscripts you know, :O.

c) & d) above -- i suppose in non fiction i might still underline, try to use those sticky markers though (in fiction too), I might also number a great long list of paragraph length points or title them in the margin.

e) I have done - usually avoid this, sometimes it happens when you buy on the net. if the comments look good it might not stop me if in person.

f) yes, they can be -- especially those that are having some argument of their own with the author that is missing the point, or just not clear -- sometimes those can be the best, but often not.

(I suppose the quality of the library book comments might depend on the library and the members that did this - one part non random, one part random, and the other way too.) oooo could this be a potential app for LT? the great LT palimpsest project?

42nohrt4me2
Aug 23, 10:13am Top

People who write in books go to hell.

43Dilara86
Aug 23, 12:06pm Top

QUESTION 16

a) On which side of the divide do you place yourself?
I used to break spines because books are easier to read when they fall flat. My brother told me off when I did it to his books, and at the time, I could not understand why it annoyed him so much. I don't do it anymore because experience taught me that if I do, I'll have to sellotape all the leaves together 10 years down the line, and it doesn't appeal. I still hate having to read a page at an angle but I suck it up, especially with books that don't belong to me, such as library books.
Similarly, I used to scribble, underline and highlight stuff in my books (never in library books, though!), but I pretty much stopped after high school, when I revisited some of my notes and found them embarrassingly stupid! I might underline words in light pencil in non-fiction books and/or dog-ear pages to find them more easily later on, but I don't write notes in them. I use filing cards for that, which I keep tucked into the book. If I don't want to dog-ear a book, I write down the page's number on a filing card.
I do scribble in cookbooks, though: I might write down tweaks, for example.

b) Do you know why?
1) I don't want my books to turn into a stack of loose leaves.
2) I don't want to be distracted by random notes, whether they're from a younger me or strangers.

c) If you are an inveterate scribbler, do you restrict yourself to your own books, or do you find yourself writing in library books too (academic and otherwise)?
I would never deface books that don't belong to me.

e) Would you buy a second hand book that had been marked up by someone unknown to you?
Possibly, if not too heavily marked. I find that people tend to go to town on the first few pages, then give up. Having said that, there's a second-hand copy of Derek Walcott's Collected Poems I'd quite like in a local bookshop but the margins are full of inane comments and there are inaccurate word-to-word translations between most lines. This is one book I will not be buying.

f) Do you find comments written by others in a book distracting?
Yes. Personally, I have never found one that was enlightening. Teacher's-type comments ("Good", "Unclear", etc.) and spelling corrections are particularly annoying and pointless.

44LadyoftheLodge
Aug 23, 4:16pm Top

>42 nohrt4me2: I think there will be a lot of us there if that is the case. I don't think there is any harm in writing in my own books if I want to. I paid for them and own them.

45baswood
Aug 23, 4:35pm Top

Yes I write in books, but only those books that I own. I don't think twice about it. The writing is usually in note form and I rarely end up scribbling over the whole page.

Most of the books I buy are second hand and many of them have been written in. It does not bother me and you get the occasional scribbler who is more entertaining than the book you are reading.

I am usually intrigued by messages or dedications scribbled in the front pieces of books.

46lisapeet
Aug 23, 10:50pm Top

I don't write in books directly, but as a lover of paper goods I tend to fill them with stickies—the skinny pointer kind and the bigger ones that I write on. A book I'm reviewing tends to look like a paper hedgehog when I'm done. I don't write in them mainly because I like note-taking better for organizing and then retrieving my thoughts, and also because I tend to pass books along and figure other folks might not appreciate my notes.

And I won't so much as dog-ear a library book; not my property to mess with (though I've probably returned a few with some kind of bookmark in them).

I'll gladly buy a book with someone else's annotations, as long as I can read the text without too much distraction. DFW's might drive me nuts. But then again, if they were really insightful or added to the text in some way I might overlook that.

47nohrt4me2
Edited: Aug 23, 10:56pm Top

Writing in a book renders it annoying or useless to anyone else, imo, especially if there are spoilers in the marginalia.

It also increases the chances that it will be thrown out by your heirs as junk. If they don't want to read your thoughts and ideas, they won't be able to donate the book.

I never marked up my instructor copies of books that I used to teach from. I kept notes in a notebook or on sticky notes. But I felt I owed it to the students to do fresh re-reads so my thinking didn't get stale.

I dunno. Maybe I'm being irrational in seeing books as more than just objects you can do whatever you want with because you own them.

Maybe only the people who write in library books or who try to resell/donate their marked up copies go to hell.

48tonikat
Aug 24, 9:01am Top

I was wondering if for some people it's a way of blending their labour with the book, a sign of their interaction with it, and important part of taking it in.

49kac522
Edited: Aug 24, 7:18pm Top

QUESTION 16

a) On which side of the divide do you place yourself?

I only write or underline in my own textbooks for a class. I do not write in any other books, mine or anyone else's.

b) Do you know why?
Except when I am studying where I have underlined what I feel is important, I find all that marking-up very distracting.

c) If you are an inveterate scribbler, do you restrict yourself to your own books, or do you find yourself writing in library books too (academic and otherwise)?
Never

d) What kind of comments do you make?
N/A--I only underline, and only in textbooks.

e) Would you buy a second hand book that had been marked up by someone unknown to you?
Nope--When purchasing used books, I always flip though and check for markings. But occasionally after buying a used book, I've found underlining or marks by others, and the book immediately goes into the donation pile. I don't even look at it--in my opinion, it's ruined.

f) Do you find comments written by others in a book distracting?
Absolutely. If I wanted somebody else's thoughts or opinions, I would have asked for 'em

However, I can understand why some people find that writing in the book is their "interaction" with the book. If I need to do that, I save it for my comments in a notebook or on LT. Just my style--I don't need to fight with the print, just the ideas.

50bragan
Aug 25, 2:04pm Top

QUESTION 16

a) On which side of the divide do you place yourself?

Both? As I've mentioned here before, I am not remotely fanatical about keeping my books pristine. A cracked spine doesn't bother me too much, and food stains on books are the perfectly acceptable price of not having to put them down to eat.

But I don't dogear pages, and I don't write or highlight in books. (Well, I did in textbooks when I was in college, but that's a slightly different matter. A textbook isn't just a book, it's also a classroom tool and study aid.)

I'm not sure why the difference. Maybe it's between alterations that are incidental and unintentional, vs ones that are deliberate. Maybe it's that I don't feel right imposing myself on a book, having a sense that they ought to be allowed to speak for themselves without me interrupting them.

b) Do you know why?

See above.

c) If you are an inveterate scribbler, do you restrict yourself to your own books, or do you find yourself writing in library books too (academic and otherwise)?

Oh, geez, people, please do not write in library books. They don't belong to you!

d) What kind of comments do you make?

N/A.

I do have a "from the library of..." book embosser, though. So I guess I do mark books in that fashion. Probably I'm just territorial about them. That, and it means people can't borrow them from me and then forget that they're mine.

e) Would you buy a second hand book that had been marked up by someone unknown to you?

Would and have. If it's not marked up too badly (especially not to the point that it's hard to read), it won't necessarily discourage me. Although, given the choice, I'd take one that wasn't marked up at all.

f) Do you find comments written by others in a book distracting?

Yes. Admittedly, sometimes they can also be interesting or entertaining. But much of the time, they're just annoying. Usually I leave them alone, in either case, but there was one notable instance when I bought a second-hand book that was scattered with notes that I found really clueless and point-missing and actually kind of offensive. Fortunately, it was all in pencil. So, after seething quietly at the scribbler for a while, I finally just went through the book and erased all the notes before continuing, and from there on I had a much better reading experience. I've never done that before, and I'll admit there's something that feels uncomfortably metaphorical about literally erasing the words of someone I don't agree with. But screw it. It's my book now, that person was an idiot, and it wasn't their thoughts I was there to read.

>45 baswood: I am usually intrigued by messages or dedications scribbled in the front pieces of books.

Those can be interesting, and are less distracting since they're tucked up there at the front. I always feel a little odd carrying around a book with a gift or dedication message to someone who isn't me, though. And they can be oddly emotional. I recently read a second-hand book with a long note written in it indicating it was a gift from a son to a father who was (perhaps quite seriously?) ill, hoping it would help him pass the time in the hospital. Makes me wonder how it ended up on that table at the local library sale. Too many of the possibilities seem really sad. Which is a slightly odd thing to have in your mind as you plunge into a historical adventure novel...

51LadyoftheLodge
Aug 26, 2:54pm Top

I have also found books at used book sales with poignant messages or dedications written in the front of them. I always wonder about the people who wrote them, and how or why they ended up at the sale.

Re. my "heirs" and what they do with my books: I don't have any heirs, and once I am gone, I have no control over what people do with my stuff. At that point, I won't care anyway. If someone wants to get rid of books, they won't care if there are inscriptions or any writing inside them.

52avaland
Aug 26, 3:40pm Top

Question 16.

I find that I am allowing myself to dog-ear, underline and write a few words in my books while reading, if I like. Usually, I'm writing on scraps of paper or the back of a bookmark, but it seems I've crossed some line that screams MINE! and I do as I like. Most book pages do not have enough space in the margins, and frankly, I don't want to be flipping back and forth.

Comments by others can be very distracting. I do not wish to have an argument with the person who wrote them and who is not in attendance (but then, they would not be there to disagree with me, would they?) I am generally buying new books these days so problem solved :-)

53nohrt4me2
Aug 27, 5:30pm Top

I see anybody who gets my books as my heirs, the people who care about the same stories I did. If I keep them in good shape, there's a better chance whoever has to dispose of the books will see them as valuable and release them into the wild.

No, I won't care about my books when I'm dead. But I do care now. Which is why I kept my books tidy, packed most of them in boxes, and sent them off to the state penitentiary library system.

I get my books from the liberry now. Or buy on Kindle if I just can't wait.

Of course, writing in your books is not against the law.

Until everyone has to live in My World ... :-)

54thorold
Aug 30, 12:53am Top

I’m a non-annotator. I was brought up with the notion that writing in books was something rather sinful, and that seems to have stuck: even when it would obviously be useful, I still feel very uncomfortable about making even the lightest of underlinings. My course books were always full of interleaved bits of paper, and when I really needed to engage with part of a text in detail I made a copy of it. Probably the only thing I could actually bring myself to mark on the text itself would be an error of fact in a textbook. (I don’t see the point of marking mere typos unless the information is going back to the author or publisher for the next edition.)

I still have a sneaking suspicion that people who fill their books with highlights and underlining are just trying to convince themselves how studious they are (especially the ones who spend hours and hours underlining so much that the underlined passages don’t even stand out any more - why?), and I’ve always found it comforting to reflect that there must be a little corner of Hell specially reserved for the Evangelicals who proudly show off their Bibles full of fluorescent highlights and sycophantic comments, but I like to think I’ve grown a little more tolerant of other people’s annotations over the years. I sometimes even enjoy seeing how another reader reacted to the text, especially when I know the reader. It’s fun to see my late-Victorian great-great aunt telling Sir Walter Scott off for his historical inaccuracies, for instance.

But I find heavy annotations very distracting. Fortunately, a lot of the annotated books that end up on the secondhand market are course texts sold by students who gave up early in the course, so the annotations stop abruptly somewhere around the end of the first chapter, and the misery ends fairly quickly.

55japaul22
Aug 30, 7:52am Top

Question 16

I have nothing against writing in a paperback, though I would never write in my Folio or Easton Press editions. There aren't very many books, though, that I write in. When I do, I tend to choose to before I start and its usually a book with a reputation for being "difficult". I did notate heavily in Proust when I read it last year and I found it very helpful. I tracked themes and symbols as they developed over the course of the seven volumes and I think it really helped me to get more out of the reading. I've also made markings in The Waves by Virginia Woolf and Don Quixote. Those are the only books I remember marking over the past 10 years or so.

I do buy a lot of used books and generally I'd rather they be clean copies. Occasionally I think its fun to read someone's markings. Honestly, though, I rather find the old receipt from purchase or an interesting bookmark than read someone's notes.

56baswood
Aug 30, 4:40pm Top

I am currently reading Portuguese Voyages 1498-1663 bought second hand. In the front-piece there is a stamp that reads: Edinburgh Corporation Education Committee Boroughmuir - 9 May 1969. I am presuming that this book was part of some library collection, but anyway the good people of Edinburgh kept the book in excellent condition, apart from the stamp there is not a mark in it.

57SassyLassy
Aug 30, 7:46pm Top

>56 baswood: Oh dear, maybe none of the good people of Edinburgh read Portuguese Voyages 1498-1663, but I prefer to think they kept it in excellent condition. I must say though, Scottish used books I've checked out rarely have any markings other than a book plate or inscription on the fly leaf.

58SassyLassy
Sep 4, 6:50pm Top




Image from the Carnegie Library

QUESTION 17

Well it's back to school day in much of the world. For most of us, it is probably at least a few years since we finished our formal educations and the assigned readings that went with them.

a) Do you still read books that are connected to your original school/college/university/technical interests?

b) Do you have to read for your current work or activities?

c) If you do, some of that reading might be enjoyable, some not. What percentage of your reading time would this "staying current" reading be?

d) Have you discovered a new field or area of study that you pursue independently out of sheer interest?

e) If so, do you read in that new field with the same intensity with which you once pursued more formal study?

59thorold
Edited: Sep 5, 2:29am Top

Q17

a) Hmmm - “original”...

As most of you probably know, I’m a lapsed scientist with a “second time around” literature degree - I haven’t picked up a book related to my original studies in physics or electronic engineering for decades (I vaguely follow what’s going on through news reports, but that’s as far as it goes), but I do still quite regularly read academic Eng Lit books for pleasure.

b) As I’m retired, there’s no-one to make me read anything (apart from the book-club...). Of course, I used a lot of books in my job when I was still working, but they were mainly legal and technical reference manuals, not the sort of books you “read”. I didn’t have the sort of job where you need to stay on top of what other people in the field are publishing. Not books, anyway.

c) n/a - see (b)

d) I’m always “discovering new fields”. All it takes is a trip to the library...

e) Up to a point, but it rarely lasts more than three or four months.

60LadyoftheLodge
Sep 5, 11:03am Top

>59 thorold: Your answers are much like mine would be, so "ditto." I am retired from full time work teaching in public education. Now I teach part time as adjunct faculty online for several private colleges. Occasionally I read books about college teaching, but there is not much new going on there. As you said, I read science information online or in some popular books, but I don't read heavy duty science stuff as I used to do. No one makes me read anything, so I read whatever I want. I recently discovered NetGalley, so that opened up some new ideas for me and also I like to write the book reviews.

61bragan
Sep 7, 1:33pm Top

Question 17:

a) Do you still read books that are connected to your original school/college/university/technical interests?

I studied astrophysics in college, and I do still read a lot of popular science books on physics, astronomy, and such. Often they're not telling me a whole lot that I didn't already know, but I do still sometimes learn new things, especially as much of what I learned in college is woefully out of date now. Plus, I kind of like good science writing for its own sake, even when it's going over familiar ground.

b) Do you have to read for your current work or activities?

Not unless you count the occasional bit of technical documentation.

c) If you do, some of that reading might be enjoyable, some not. What percentage of your reading time would this "staying current" reading be?

Not really applicable.

d) Have you discovered a new field or area of study that you pursue independently out of sheer interest?

In a casual sort of way? Yes, so very, very many. I am interested in just about everything! I read lots of books on other areas of science, on language, on human society... All kind of things.

If you mean some kind of organized self-directed study, not so much.

e) If so, do you read in that new field with the same intensity with which you once pursued more formal study?

It's probably a good thing that I don't. I was pretty burned out by the time I got that bachelor's degree.

62lilisin
Sep 10, 3:28am Top

a) Do you still read books that are connected to your original school/college/university/technical interests? Do you have to read for your current work or activities?

I had two undergrad majors: Japanese and chemistry. And I ended up getting a masters in chemistry and now I live in Japan as a chemist so under some very fortunate circumstances, I ended up working in both fields of study! However, while I most definitely should(!!!!!) still be reading books and papers about my field to keep up to date, chemistry was never my passion and graduate school killed me to the point that I never want to study it ever again. I just can't motivate myself to do it. Even while working as a chemist! (This is a huge dilemma that is actually quite constantly on my mind.)

However, I'm very active in perfecting my Japanese so I read a lot in Japanese. I used to read only manga but I've been strengthening my novel reading skills so now I'm hitting a good reading pace in Japanese. Now, of course I'm reading out of pleasure but the cool thing about studying a language is that as long as you are doing something in the target language, anything counts as "studying"! :)

I no longer do straight textbook type studying though in Japanese although sometimes I might look up a particular grammar point that I'd like to have more clarification on.

c) If you do, some of that reading might be enjoyable, some not. What percentage of your reading time would this "staying current" reading be?

I'm unintentionally aiming for splitting up my reading languages in thirds: English 33%, French 33%, Japanese 33%, with Spanish covering that last little 1%. I say unintentionally because I hate having reading goals since as soon as I create a reading goal, my next goal immediately becomes how to crush that previous goal's hope and dreams. So best to notice trends after I'm done reading rather than try to set them. I would ideally read more Spanish but I'm busy improving my Japanese (which has highest priority since I live in Japan), then up-keeping my French (since just talking with my parents twice a month on Skype is not enough to keep the muscles going), and I just don't have a Spanish TBR pile due mostly in fact that I haven't read in Spanish since I moved out of Argentina to start grad school which was about a decade ago. (eesh! A decade!)

d) Have you discovered a new field or area of study that you pursue independently out of sheer interest? If so, do you read in that new field with the same intensity with which you once pursued more formal study?

Over the years I've discovered not necessarily a new field, but I've gotten deeper and deeper into my Japanese literature "studies" and I continue to read a lot of Japanese WWII history. At first this was focused on within Japan (Nagasaki/Hiroshima), then that spread to their presence in the Philippines, then that took me to Nanking and China, and now I'm interested in Japan's relationship with Korea during that time, and Pearl Harbor. Every time I read a new book I find something new and interesting that leads me to another aspect of Japan's military grasp that is so fascinating. However, I make no pretense that I'm trying to become an expert. In fact, I'll read a heavy nonfiction book, find it enthralling, then I'll forget every fact and date I just learned as soon as I finish the last page. I just can't retain history-based facts in my head no matter how many times I might learn something or how detailed I get into the topic. I really wish I could have that kind of brain though as it'd be really convenient for television game shows, trivia board games, and getting to interject someone with "well actually, Japan in ...." . :)

63SassyLassy
Oct 9, 9:29am Top

QUESTION 18

This could be my current bedside stack:


image from Barnes and Noble

This would be a workable solution for my bedside book stacks!:



a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/under the bed/anywhere you can reach from bed? We're talking here about physical books, not books in electronic form.

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there?

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average?

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed?

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go?

64tonikat
Oct 9, 4:56pm Top

a) too many, but at present two and a kindle or laptop

b) forever

c) too long

d) yes, usually (the two next to my bed were a result of a tidy up, now I can't sit on the chair in my spare bedroom as that is where the rest are)

e) tidying up, getting real about what I actually am reading and see answer to d (and assorted other places, sometimes back on the shelves).

65kac522
Edited: Oct 9, 6:08pm Top

a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/under the bed/anywhere you can reach from bed? We're talking here about physical books, not books in electronic form.

Immediately next to my bed right now are 3 books (2 of mine, 1 library book), a crossword puzzle book and The Little Oxford Dictionary.

Across from my bed, about the distance of 18 inches, is another little end table, where there are 22 more books stacked up, 4 of which are library books. Library books are always on one of these tables, so I don't lose them.

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there?

Years. Currently on the table across from my bed is a book I borrowed from a friend in 2014 and I've only read the first few pages. At least, I think she's still my friend.

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average?

On the table immediately next to my bed: these are all books that I'm currently reading or about to read, so they move along pretty well. Across from my bed are books I'm planning to read next--for challenges, book club, from the library, etc., but haven't started yet. These can be there a long time (months) if I get distracted with something else.

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed?

Yes, these are the ones on the table right next to my bed. Usually I'm working on 2 books (one fiction, one non-fiction); occasionally switching between 3.

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go?

If I've used up all 15 renewals at the library, the library books get returned. When I'm in a cleaning mood, some of the books on the table across from the bed get shelved back to my TBR bookshelf or get shuffled around a bit on the same table, to get me motivated to read the ones on top. And of course, if I take some off, I have to go hunt for some other worthy TBRs to replace them. The empty space makes me nervous.

66dchaikin
Oct 9, 10:47pm Top

a) three, also the one I'm reading goes there are at night. (but it's in my work bag at the moment). Those other three, two I had started in July and meant to finish in August, but, well, the haven't been calling. The other I completely forgot I had bought. Also, I took Mark's idea and put a poetry book there, but it's migrated to the office.

b) no idea. Things get lost in plain sight for a long time

c) I go through phases... Once to twice I piled books there thinking it would motivate me to read them. It doesn't work.

d) on the go?...hmm, they're really just there. I haven' t touched them in a while

e) panicky spats of responsibility. Doesn't happen all that often.

67RidgewayGirl
Oct 10, 11:35am Top

>65 kac522: Fifteen renewals! What communist paradise do you live in? My library allows me to check a book out for a maximum of two weeks, and I can renew twice.

a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/under the bed/anywhere you can reach from bed? We're talking here about physical books, not books in electronic form.
Five to seven. Currently six. When the stack gets too high, I have to prune it back down to size.

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there?
Currently, a complete collection of T. C. Boyle's short stories has been living there since January. I'm not feeling it, but I am a good hundred pages in and I really should just return it to the bookshelf because I haven't touched it in a few months.

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average?
As long as it takes me to read them. A few weeks?

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed?
Yes, obviously. Doesn't everyone? I mean, the ideal number of books to be reading at any given time is five, we all know this.

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go?
I rarely remove unread books from the nightstand, as these are books I want to read, but when I do, they get tucked right back into the space on the shelf where they were before.

68shadrach_anki
Oct 10, 11:53am Top



My bedroom bookshelves from back in July. The floor stacks aren't nearly as neat now, and I really to need to organize things again. (The other side of the room has boxes, also filled with books. It's a small apartment.)

a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/under the bed/anywhere you can reach from bed? We're talking here about physical books, not books in electronic form.
The above bookshelves are no more than three feet from my side of the bed; I would say they all qualify for this. So...a few hundred? And for electronic, I tend to keep my tablet in easy access to the bed, and it has the Nook and Kindle apps on it, so all my digital content is also available.

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there?
In the floor stacks, months to years. I cannot say as I have kept much track of things. I do not know that the shelves really count when considering "lingering" time, since they are intended for book storage.

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average?
Depends on what I've been in the mood to read and whether or not I've neatened everything recently. The "months to years" from the previous answer is probably still accurate, however.

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed?
The floor pile that has Emily of New Moon sitting on the top of it (middle bottom of the picture) is all made up of books that I am somewhere in the middle of reading but have not finished yet. So, yes, I have a good sized stack.

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go?
Periodically I will have the urge to neaten my shelves, usually when the piles on the floor get to the point where things start to get hazardous.... At that point I will often shuffle the unread books around to present them in a new light to myself. Occasionally I will look at my books and decide I am unlikely to ever read a particular title; those will be donated to the public library, and my LT records will be updated accordingly (yes, I keep track of all the books I let go of, and why I decided to do so).

69dchaikin
Oct 10, 1:45pm Top

Love your picture, in all its appealing chaos.

70japaul22
Oct 10, 1:49pm Top

I don't keep any books permanently by my bed. I usually am reading 2-3 books at a time and whichever I feel inclined to pick up travels with me all day. That includes when I go up to bed and then when I come back down in the morning.

71kac522
Edited: Oct 10, 6:13pm Top

>67 RidgewayGirl: Fifteen renewals! What communist paradise do you live in?

Chicago Public Library. And each renewal is 3 weeks, so you can have a book for 45 weeks. I think they just don't want to deal with collecting fines.

72baswood
Oct 10, 6:59pm Top

I don't keep any books by my bedside at home. When staying in hotels I usually have just one book (the book I am currently reading) within reach of the bed.

73ELiz_M
Edited: Oct 10, 10:51pm Top

>67 RidgewayGirl:, >71 kac522: As far as I know, my library has unlimited renewals*. I had a cookbook checked out for more than two years (over 100 renewals) before I finally realized that maybe I should buy my own copy. :D :D :D

*ETA: as long as no other patrons request/put a hold on it. And this is only for physical books.

74thorold
Oct 11, 12:42am Top

a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/under the bed/anywhere you can reach from bed? We're talking here about physical books, not books in electronic form.

Usually no more than two or three. At the moment, there’s a poetry collection and a short-story collection for dipping into, as well as a book I’m actively reading, which will go with me to the breakfast table and then into my backpack.

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there?

I don’t know. A year or so?

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average?

Difficult to say - most books won’t be there longer than a night or two, but the poetry books often stay a few weeks or months.

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed?

The bedroom isn’t really a place where books pile up - the table in the living-room is usually where books “on the go” accumulate.

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go?

When I get the urge to start on a different poetry collection, the one currently in the bedroom moves back to the poetry section in the study. If I’ve taken something off the TBR shelf into the bedroom but don’t actually start reading it, then it gets put back where it came from as soon as I notice it.

>67 RidgewayGirl: I have an illogical dislike of renewing library books, probably through having it drummed into me in childhood that it was wrong, or bad manners, or something. If I know I won’t manage to finish a book in three weeks, I return it and borrow something else instead...

>68 shadrach_anki: Magnificent book-chaos!

75ELiz_M
Oct 11, 7:52am Top

a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/under the bed/anywhere you can reach from bed? We're talking here about physical books, not books in electronic form.
On purpose? Less than 3

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there?
Maybe a month

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average?
Only as long as I am planning to read them. I am generally a one-book-at-a-time person, so most of my books stay on the bookshelves until it is their turn. But these questions did prompt me to remove The Kindly Ones which never migrated back from the bedroom after I was done reading it.

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed?
Nope.

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go?
See c)

76bragan
Oct 11, 3:36pm Top

Oddly enough, the answer to this for me is zero! There are two things going on here.

One is that I don't read in bed. I used to, like most compulsive readers, but I had to stop. I do shiftwork, and that can lead to all kinds of sleep disruptions. Good sleep hygiene becomes incredibly important, and an important rule of sleep hygiene is that you don't do anything at all in bed except for sleeping. (Well, OK, almost anything except for sleeping! Certain adult activities are also acceptable.) The idea is that you really have to train your brain to accept that when you get into bed, it's time to shut down, not time to stay awake.

Fortunately, I live alone and can read all night anywhere in the house that I like, and I have an extremely comfy sofa, so I do my before-bed reading there, then I get up and go to bed when it's time to sleep. So my books might rest on the coffee table, but never on a nightstand.

But there is never a pile of books on the coffee table, either, because I am very much a serial book monogamist. If I'm close to finishing one, I might pull anther off the shelves to start next, especially if I need to stick it into my bag in case I finish the previous one when I'm away from home. But that's about it.

On the other hand, all my bookshelves with the TBR books are in the living room with my comfy sofa, so looked at another way, maybe you could say there are 931 books on my version of the nightstand.

77LadyoftheLodge
Oct 11, 3:55pm Top

I also am not a person who reads in bed, so right now there are zero books on the floor or near my bed.

My husband and I sit in our great room and read every night, so my book pile is at the end of the dining room table with my coloring books and colored pencils. There are also stacks of books on an end table in the TV part of the great room. I usually sort through these areas every few months and move things to the shelves or somewhere else. We have one wing of the house that is a library wing, but there are still not enough shelves. We were discussing getting more, since both of us are avid readers and book buyers.

78Dilara86
Oct 12, 3:54am Top

a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/under the bed/anywhere you can reach from bed? We're talking here about physical books, not books in electronic form.
On average, I’d say half a dozen, but it could be anything from one to over twenty, or even, if I’ve just had a good tidy and haven’t read in bed yet, zero. Most of the time, there are books I’ve finished but haven’t shelved yet, generally because I haven’t written the review, or because the shelf I want to put them on is out of reach (too many boxes in front of the bookcase for example, or in the house we just left, the “library” doubled up as a spare bedroom and so was occasionally out of bounds). There’s the book or books I’m actively reading: rarely more than two – usually one fiction and one non-fiction, possibly also a cookbook for a couple of days, before it goes into its dedicated bookcase (they’re great for lazy bedtime reading). In my old house, I did a lot of reading in bed because the house was cold and my bed was cosy. I also kept a couple of books by the bed for non-reading purposes: one to prop open the skylight window (we call it “spivaking”, as in “Did you spivak the window this morning?” because we used the Spivak Reader for this), one as a flat surface to use as a bedside table / lap table. And then there are books I intend to read soon. I also have a TBR shelf - OK, shelves, but for some reason, books seem to migrate to my side of the bed anyway…

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there?
Months, probably. Or if you take into account books used as furniture, years.

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average?
From a few hours if it’s a quick read, to months if I don’t get to it straight away, or if I stopped reading it at some point but intend to pick it up again, or forgot to put it away once read. Probably a few weeks in most cases. No more than three weeks for library books because that’s the time we’re allowed to keep them for. I only ask for a renewal when absolutely necessary (that happened three times in the past ten years), and I like to return library books as soon as they’re finished so as not to keep anyone else waiting.

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed?
Yes. See a)

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go?
I’ll put them on the TBR shelf in the living room when I do some serious tidying up, which doesn’t happen all too often…

79nohrt4me2
Oct 15, 11:08am Top

a) How many books on average do you keep by your bedside table/floor/ ... About 50 on a shelf over my bed. Combo of TBRs which will rotate out and about a dozen books I feel sentimental about as objects.

b) What's the longest time a book has lingered there? Sentimental books, 30 years, since we bought the house. TBRs are gone in under a year.

c) How long do you keep individual books there on average? Don't know.

d) Do you have several unread books on the go by your bed? Yes.

e) What prompts you to finally remove unread ones and where do they go? I always read them. Then they go to friends, students, or prisoners.

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