Saturday, 16 August 2008

MEDALS!!! and a random book question

Hurray, finally! Day 8, I woke up to Canada finally winning our first medals: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze. *sigh*. Considering the lack of funding our athletes receive, it is always a miracle when we finish in the top 10 in the world, but nothing is sweeter than winning a medal. Congratulations to our winners!! All of Canada is heaving a great big sigh of relief.

In my own marathon, I am halfway through Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and I am loving it. I have also bought some new books at the beginning of this month:

Changeling - Delia Sherman
In the Forest of Forgetting - Theodora Goss
Lonely Werewolf Girl - Martin Millar (when I bought this, the clerk said that one of the other clerks had just finished it and said this was amazing. Now I have to confess that I am looking at longingly and wondering, how long can I wait to read it? Should I bother keeping up with all the challenges? Why didn't I leave spaces on every challenge for new books through the year?)
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie (for Man Booker Prize and Award Winners Challenges) - very curious about this book, and it looks interesting
Blood and Iron - Elizabeth Bear
The Dragon Quintet - ed Marvin Kaye (collection of dragon short stories, with Orson Scott Card, Michael Swanwick, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, and Elizabeth Moon contributing)

I also bought in July:
Tamsin - Peter S Beagle (eagle-eyed readers will have noted I snuck it onto the Awards Challenge so I can read it this year! I can't wait, after so many good reviews of it on other blogs! Nymeth,
and Chris come to mind. Please let me know if you have and I will add you here)
A Writer's Space - Eric Maisel (my writing has stalled completely. I'm desperate! New books on writing sometimes help, so I picked this one up - his book on creativity is enlightening - and I'm happy to say that I've had an idea - a scene - to add to my novel. Not that I've written it down yet, of course. It's simmering in my mind while I try to see where it fits in the plot. It's a very good start, though!)
Never End - Ake Edwardson (a long time ago in January I read my first book by this author and loved it, Sun and Shadows. So when I saw this in hardcover on sale, I grabbed it. Now it's finding a place for it on a challenge.)
Bones to Ashes - Kathy Reichs (her new one, getting reviews. Supposedly for my summertime mystery reading, but summer seems to be slipping away)

Random book question:
So, before I slip away to go see the men's 100 m final (our Donovan Bailey's record is about to fall, and he is graciously commenting on the race for our CBC news. He accepts someone is going to break the record, but, as he says, 'I'm not giving it to them, they are coming to take it from me.' I like that competitive edge!!), I have a random question: when you go into a bookstore, do you prefer to order your books if they are not on the shelf, or will you wait a while and see if they turn up? What I think I mean is, how long will you wait to buy a book you want to read? I'm asking because as I peruse our bookstores here in Ottawa, it seems to me that there is less stock available to choose from - our bookstores, even the box-store Chapters which has thousands of square feet of new books - there is little or no mid-list carried, and certainly, rarely, first books in a series. You always have to order them now, it seems. And that bothers me, because I don't always want to order it without having it to look at first. I really like being able to walk into a store, select a whole pile of books that look interesting, and then go to a quiet corner and sort through the pile, feeling their weight in my hand, the covers, the blurbs, opening page one and reading it to see if I am in the mood to buy it then, or put it back and wait because I want another book I am holding, more. That seems to me is part of the pleasure of book-buying, and by not having a wide variety of older published books and new books to choose from, we are losing out on some of pleasure of buying books. What do you think?

I am asking this because I have searched for years for a copy of Transformations by Anne Sexton, and it has not been in any new bookstores, not even Chapters, where I go to look at copies if they have it, decide which version I want, and then go order it! I want to look at the book first, and see how it feels in my hand and to my eye, before I buy it. That is part of the sensual pleasure of books. I love the texture and feel of books, and sometimes one company's publication won't feel as nice (to my eye or hand) as another's. So I want to choose which version I buy. So I am reduced to either haunting used bookstores, which I also very happily do! but haven't seen Transformations there either. This leaves me the library, which may have ancient out of print copies that I can't get, or Amazon, which of course I can only look at. What do you suggest, what do you do, when you are looking for a copy of an older book to buy and can't find any copies to look at? Of course, part of the pleasure of books is that one day, a copy will appear on a shelf, and it will be one that I love just because it is finally there.

Happy Saturday, happy Olympic Games watching, and happy reading, everyone!


GeraniumCat said...

I've got Tamsin on my TBR pile too. I love Beagle, but I can't quite bring myself to start it as then I won;t have anything else by him to read! I'll look out for your review:)

Patricia said...

Right. The secrets you learn by reading someone's blog! If I had known that you like to SIT with a bunch of books in a store, get a feel for them, READ a couple of pages each...well you would NEVER have gotten me into one with you!!

I watch the Olympics in bits and pieces. I didn't even know we had finally won any medals until I looked at your blog this morning.

I am just about to pick up the photos I took of my time in Ottawa and have a bunch of copies to send you. Which I will do. Along with your extra set of housekeys I took by accident.... lots of pictures turned out amazingly well!

I didn't realize that new book out by Kathy Reichs is a new NOVEL; I thought it was just one of her other books now available in softcover. Is it another of her Kay Scarpetta series? To be honest, I got kinda tired of all the s*** the lady repeatedly found herself in each of her stories.

Bybee said...

Separated at birth! I'm not seeing "Oscar Wao" in any of the stores here right now, but I'm waiting patiently and not ordering because I want to touch it before I buy it. I want the fun of finding it. Ordering from most bookstores here is a PITA because of the language barrier...except for good old What The Book...
Transformations, eh? Did you try Bookmooch?
Congrats to Canada on getting their medals. It was almost fightin' season at work last week...our staff is more than half Canadian, and some smart-aleck Korean student with excellent English skills was rubbing it in that Korea was medaling and Canada wasn't. They can sometimes be such sore losers and ungracious winners.

Becky said...

I loved 'Lonely Werewolf Girl' but I did have to make that 'ok, I'm going to go with this' decision. But it was a lot of fun.

In bookstores it really depends how long I've wanted to read the book for before I buy it. Sometimes a book can sit on my tbr list for ages before I make the purchase. Sometimes I buy it immediately. It depends what I'm in the mood for. But I don't like to buy sight unseen (and texture unfelt, and new book smell unsniffed), although I will if I have to. Then I try to make sure that I'm getting the edition that I want so that I have some idea of what I'll end up holding.

Nymeth said...

I'm dying to read Lonely Werewolf Girl! I just adored his The Good Faeries of New York and I've been told by some people and this one's even better. I hope you enjoy Tamsin, and all your other new books :)

As for your question, I'm not very patient at all...if I can't find a book at a bookstore I normally just order it online. Normally that's the fastest and the cheapest way to get it. It's too bad you've been having a hard time finding Transformations. But now that I think of it, I don't remember ever seeing it at an actual physical bookstore either.

Michelle said...

I'd wait for it.

Bybee said...

I'm dying to know what you think of Birthday Letters.

John Mutford said...

I recently ordered one from a local bookstore. It wasn't a popular title and I knew the library wouldn't have it. Plus ordering it online would have taken just as long and I prefer to support the independent local guys if possible (i.e., price matches). So yes, under certain circumstances, I'd order in.

Carl V. said...

I look forward to your thoughts on Jonathan Strange. It is a book that I read partially, loved what I had read, and the inexplicably set aside...not too inexplicably though, I do have a habit of doing this with chunkster books. I loved her short story collection though and have been feeling the urge to return to Strange.

Carl V. said...

Also meant to mention that I have had a hard time resisting the temptation to buy Lonely Werewolf Girl, but feel I should at least read my copy of The Good Fairies of New York before I do so. We'll see how I hold out come fall!