Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lost Books

Many readers have strong feelings about their books as physical objects—the slew of articles from the late 2000’s and early 2010’s about the pros and cons of ereaders vs physical books prove that.

The arguments for physical books generally center around the attachments people create with those physical objects—the smell of the pages, memories of how, where and when the object was acquired, whether the physical object holds notes or dog-ears or cracked spines or the weight of previous reads.

But what about when one loses that physical object? Recently, as I reorganized my shelves, I realized my ten-year-old copy of City of Bones was missing. I remembered lending it out to someone, but not who. I posted on facebook searching for it, but whoever I lent it to has not responded.

Some people would likely be enraged at the loss off such a valuable object—a couple years ago, I might have been. City of Bones is one my favorite books, and that copy contained a litany of notes and underlines from the many times I read it, as well as the key to my colored tabs for the entire series. Quite a loss.

And yet, even as I asked on facebook for the identity of whoever I had lent it to, I was peaceful. Even as others commented on the post, working themselves up on the loss of the book, I was surprisingly okay with it. That object, while precious to me, did not contain the joy it had given me. I contain the joy it had given to me. And the joy I have yet to take from the story—well, that will come from another copy. Another physical object, that might hold just as much or more meaning than the previous one had.

I find myself actually excited to encounter this new physical object. Will I buy it or will it be gifted to me? Will I borrow it, from a friend, or the library? Will I shell out an extra ten dollars or so to get the UK paperback, with the really pretty cover, or will come across it at secondhand bookstore and pick it up for two bucks? Will it be a new copy, or a used copy? Will that used copy contain the weight of its previous reads and readers, just like my lost copy, wherever it is now, does?

In this way, thinking about the lost book in this way, has allowed me to let it roll off my shoulders pretty easily, though I question how applicable this approach is. Would my reaction be the same if I lost my paperback copy of Divergent, or my Collector’s Edition of Divergent, both of which hold vale to me more as physical objects than receptacles of the story, which I am quite critical of? What if my copy of City of Bones had cost me 20 or more dollars? I’m pretty stingy, so I think I’d take issue. What if it had been a signed copy, or a copy given to me by a friend who’s now gone? How much value do certain objects hold?

I can’t be sure of the answer, or how I’ll react the next time I lose a book. But this experience, this particular way of approaching the loss of the book not as a loss of it’s story or a loss of it’s memories, but a loss of the object alone, has taught me a lot about how I regard books and stories and memories.

As for the saying "a book lent is a book lost", the solution is very simple: never lend a book, always give it away.
-Jacques Bonnet Phantoms on the Bookshelves

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November TBR

It's that time again, when I tell you what I will attempt to read.

This month, I would like to finish Phantoms on the Bookshelves and In a Handful of Dust. I would also like to finish Great Again before November 8th, but we'll see how well that works out. I also need to finish American Housewife, which I started in August.

The only two book on this TBR that aren't 'finishing' are The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor, which I would like to read to give me inspiration for NaNoWriMo as I'm writing assorted Southern Gothic short stories, and Spiderman: Blue because I want to read more comics.

That's it for me, I'll talk to you next week!

Monica, out.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Weekend Reads

I’ll be reading quite a few books this weekend, and thought I’d note them here!

For school:

Runaway by Alice Munro—currently on page 48, I’m reading this book of short stories by the Nobel Prize winning author for my fiction class. It’s really good so far.

The Art of Intimacy by Stacy D’Erasmo—currently on page 27, I’m also reading this book for my fiction class—it’s a writing craft book, and so far had been pretty good. I need to finish this 123-page volume before Tuesday, so it’s top priority

 RunawayThe Art of Intimacy: The Space Between

For fun:

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis—I’m on page 115 of this book, and it’s going pretty slowly, but also pretty good so far. In my memory, the first one is better though.

Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet—an anti-minimalism perspective on the value of collecting and keeping books, the author owns over 40,000! I’m currently on page 75, and REALLY enjoying this one.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez—I’m listening to this on audio. I’m almost an hour into this one, which is a total of about ten hours. I’m slowly dipping my toes back into the world of Audiobooks, and I haven’t had as awful of an experience as I had listening to A Darker Shade of Magic. Anyways, the story so far is really compelling, and the narration is pretty amazing.

 In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2)Phantoms on the BookshelvesThe Book of Unknown Americans

So, that’s what I’ll be reading this weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Monica, out.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Quarter 1 (Jan-Mar) Book Haul!

This is a list of all the books I got in the first three months of this year!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carleson
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Women by Kristine Carleson
Flirt + Cerulean Sins + Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton
The Martian by Andy Weir
House of Deer + The Method by Sasha Steenson

After Alice by Gregory MaGuire
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk
The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Lethem
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Bluest Eye + Beloved by Toni Morrison
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Trust Me by Romily Bernard
The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Walt Disney's Classic Storybook

That's it for me! All in all, I got 21 books, and I've already read 2 of them. See y'all soon in another post! :)

Monica, out.