Saturday, August 25, 2012

Independent Book Stores

Hello fellow book-worms!
 
As I ranted last night on twitter about the state of book prices, with amazon able to charge more than 50% less than independent book stores, I decided that I would do my bit (however small that may be) to help Independent booksellers.  Starting with - the ones on the street.  
 
I appreciate that my blog reaches a far wider audience that just the UK, and so whilst I am very happy to patrol the streets of the UK looking for Independent Booksellers I would love for my international readers to get involved.
 
If you have a bookstore which you're passionate about - please send me an email or tweet and we can arrange a little post here.  Hopefully we'll have a great collection of worldwide bookstores - and a little link on the side for new visitors to see where they can buy their next read ;)
 
Also - if you have any hints/tips for little things which every person can do to help independent booksellers - leave a comment, because I'm sure everyone here would much rather support the stores on the street before companies like Amazon just swallow up the book industry entirely!

So, in conclusion, what I am asking for is:

1. independent book store recommendations / posts
2. little ways everyone can help support independent book stores

thank you, and happy reading!
 
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Things To Worry About

 
 
Things To Worry About:
 
Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
 
Things Not To Worry About:
 
Don't worry about  popular opinion
Don't worry about dolls
Don't worry about the past
Don't worry about the future
Don't worry about growing up
Don't worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don't worry about triumph
Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don't worry about mosquitoes
Don't worry about flies
 Don't worry about insects in general
Don't worry about parents
Don't worry about boys
 Don't worry about disappointments
Don't worry about   pleasures
Don't worry about satisfactions
 
 
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, in a letter to his 11 year old daughter
 
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

 
Admittedly this was one of the (many) books I have started reading for my course.  It won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003 and the Man Booker Prize in 1999.  That said - I thought I would also put my support behind it - just in case you still had some doubts over whether or not it was any good!

We initially meet David Lurie, and his mundane life as middle-aged professor in Romantic poetry at a university in Cape Town.  Twice divorced, he has decided he isn't one for marriage, and instead frequents prostitutes for intimacy.  On the spur of the moment - he decides to pursue one of his students, a beautiful, but uninteresting girl. He has a brief affair with the student.  A brief affair which brings his whole life, as he knows it, to a stand-still as his world falls apart around him.  Instead of admitting defeat and bowing to the pressures of the media he moves to the small farm in the countryside run by his daughter.  As he gradually adjusts into the new way of life - the peaceful countryside existence is interrupted by a savage attack, and nothing is the same afterwards. 
 
It would be easy to paint this novel as purely a political novel.  It is set in post-Apartheid South Africa with new languages burgeoning, and the relationship between men and women, the police and citizens, changing at a rate that David Lurie himself becomes unaware of the shifting focus happening in his country that the younger generation, especially his daughter Lucy, are subject to.  
 
It is a story of city vs country, men vs women, degrees vs life-experience, old south africa vs. new south africa.

It is a novel of intricacy.  There are so many things going on and yet you never feel bombarded by events or information.  There isn't a host of characters names and relations to remember.  That doesn't, however, mean that their relationships are simple.  Many of the events in the novel are unexplained, and Coetzee doesn't offer an easy solution to the problems faced by the characters.  Disgrace will make you think, feel puzzled, offer some comfort, and another puzzle.  It is not written to comfort you but it is written with such talent that whilst it makes you question events and people's testimony it doesn't unnerve you in the process.  You want to question people.

At 220 pages, Disgrace, is a short read, that said - a lot happens in those pages!  It took me an evening to read (because I couldn't nor wouldn't put it down).  As I said at the beginning - the novel has a host of awards to recommend it to you - but I would also recommend you read it.  It's a history lesson without the boring teacher and homework.
 
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Fig-Tree

 
I thought it was a lovely story, especially the part about the fig-tree in winter under the snow and then the fig-tree in spring with all the green fruit.  I felt sorry when I came to the last page.  I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print the way you crawl through a fence, and go to sleep under that big beautiful fig-tree.
 
:: The Bell Jar :: Sylvia Plath ::
 
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