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Boxes of Books

Moving BoxesIn May, I shared the news that I’ll soon be moving to Ireland to start a graduate program. This will be a big change for me in many ways, and it starts with a task I am all too familiar with: packing.

Given the detailed logistics (and the high price) of a trans-Atlantic move, I’m selling my furniture, putting most of my non-essential belongings in storage, and bringing only what I truly need. Unfortunately for me, this means that most of my beloved books will be staying behind.

(I know. I KNOW!)

Currently, I live in a small, but big-enough one-bedroom apartment. And, being the resolute bookworm that I am, I have four different bookshelves, all filled with a variety of books. Sadly, I have to limit myself to one small box of books to take with me, which means I’m facing the daunting and heartbreaking task of figuring out which books will get left behind. 

I know some people might laugh at my melodramatic take on something relatively simple, but to me, it’s not simple. Take, for example, my Harry Potter books. I own the original U.S. hardcovers – all seven of them – and my fellow HP fans know that books four through seven are not slim volumes at all. True, I don’t necessarily read (or re-read) Harry Potter all the time, but I have loved the comfort of knowing I could pick any one of those books off the shelf and start reading, at any time, whenever I felt like it. Leaving these books behind will mean giving up that comfort.

Lest you think I’m completely incapable of the task before me, I have managed to fill three boxes of books to donate to my local library. But I’m still faced with agonizing choices: my paperback copies of Jane Austen novels, or my signed, hardcover edition of Susan Cain’s Quiet? Favorite books I’ve read several times over, or books I’ve purchased, but haven’t yet read? Practical writing style guides (helpful for a graduate program) or purely for pleasure fiction novels?

Any choice is a hard one, and I have a feeling I’ll be packing and unpacking up until my final days. I’m fairly certain I’ve definitely decided on all of my Gayle Forman novels and my Sarah MacLean mass market paperbacks (which, added bonus, take up less space and weight). Other than that, I’m still a bundle of indecision as my life gets reduced to cardboard boxes and I figure out which books I actually cannot live without. 

Side notes: (1) I’ll obviously have less free time to read, what with being in school and all, but I’m the kind of person that needs to have all sorts of books around, whether I have time to read them or not. And (2) I do still have my Kindle, which holds a great deal of books, for which I am grateful.

[Photo Credit: Word Press, via Google Images]

Book News, July 26th

It’s the last weekend in July, which means this summer is about four to six weeks away from ending. Frightening, huh? I’ve only had two beach days this year! They were pretty fantastic, Southern California beach days, but still. Soon, it will be “back to school” time (literally, for me this year) and that always means more books! I’ve also been stockpiling some e-books, so I have plenty to read in the next few weeks. Then again, I always have more books on my TBR pile than is strictly necessary, so… Here’s the book news:

  •  I suppose this is one way of leveling the playing field. France has passed a new law which prohibits online booksellers from offering free shipping on discounted books. The law is part of a push for “biblio-diversity,” which encourages readers and book buyers to frequent independent bookshops as well as the online retailers. This law may work, in part because while Amazon commands a 70% share of e-book sales in France, only about 18% of all sales are online sales. France also has other laws on record which prevent any one bookseller from offering too steep a discount. The idea behind all the book selling laws is establish a uniform industry, to keep publishers and indies in business.
  • Another day, another e-book service described as “Netflix for books.” This time, Amazon has launched an unlimited e-book subscription service for Kindle users. Designed primarily to compete with Oyster, the service costs $10 per month for unlimited access to more than 600,000 Kindle books and Audible audiobooks. (In comparison, Oyster offers 500,000 books with no audiobook option.) For Kindle users and avid readers, this is a great deal, though I can’t help but feel like it’s not a great deal if you don’t read more than two books a month. Still, if you’re interested, Amazon’s offering a free 30-day trial.
  • And since we’re on the subject, Kelly Jensen has an excellent article on Book Riot about why – precisely – libraries are not “Netflix for books.” I’ll let Jensen’s article do the talking, but her argument stems around the idea that Netflix, Oyster and other such companies exist to make money, whereas libraries do not – and, even better, libraries don’t cost $10 per month.
  • That’s a lot of chocolate. Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, Penguin Young Reader is – what else? – hosting a sweepstakes. There are no golden tickets, alas, but there is the chance to win a year’s supply of chocolate, as well as a trip to New York City and the VIP experience at Dylan’s Candy Bar. In addition, for every entry received, Penguin is making a donation to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books to children in need. Best of all? Adults can enter! According to the rules, you have to be at least six. Score one for multiple decades!
  • It was, by most accounts, a beautiful bromance. In the first half of the 20th century, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis maintained a long-term friendship, while both publishing fantasy series that would eventually dominate the genre. A new film, Tolkien & Lewis, will chronicle the pair’s friendship, as well as their shared and individual faiths, and their rivalry. Both Tolkien and Lewis taught at Oxford and fought in World War I. While Tolkien famously convinced Lewis to come back to Christianity, faith would eventually be the source of tension in their friendship. There’s no word yet on which actors will portray the authors, or when the film will be released.
  • In book-to-screen adaptation news: We’ve met (and said goodbye to – *sob*) Oberon Martell. Now we may get to meet his infamous eight daughters. Keisha Castle-Hughes may join the cast of Game of Thrones as one of Oberon’s daughters, the Sand Snakes, who set out to seek revenge for their father’s death. The eldest, Obara, is particularly cunning and clever. Casting isn’t official yet, but since we’re already promised glimpses of Dorne, the Sand Snakes can’t be far behind. And the SyFy channel is bring Lev Grossman’s The Magicians to screens as a television series, so Book Riot started to think about their dream cast for the show. Should the show do well, there are also two sequels to mine storylines from, so casting is key.

As always, happy reading.

Word of the Week (167)

DictionaryMary Queen of Scots certainly had a lot going for her at one point in her life. She was Queen of Scotland where she was merely a baby, and for a time, she was also Queen of France. Not too shabby for a teen royal. But the aristocracy is fickle and their moods equally changeable. So on July 24, 1567, Protestant nobles forced the Catholic Mary to abdicate and replaced her with her infant son James. Perhaps had Mary possibly not been linked to the death of her second husband, she might have been spared this opprobrium.

Opprobrium (“uh-pro-bree-uhm”)

Noun; from Dictionary.com:

1. The disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy

“I would never burden your name with the social opprobrium resulting from the path my life has taken,” India told him, following up with a smile and a gaze that indicated clear-eyed courage and self-sacrifice. (Three Weeks with Lady X, Eloisa James)

No confusion about this one: opprobrium comes into English directly from Latin, from a word of the same spelling meaning “disgrace, infamy, scandal, dishonor.” The prefix ob in Latin means “against” and the root word probrum means “reproach, infamy.” So while the literal translation of opprobrium may have meant “against infamy” instead of its modern meaning, the history of the word developed in such a way to come up with the current definition.

Your turn, bookworms - Literature is filled with characters behaving badly. Who’s your favorite literary bad boy or girl? I confess a certain fondness for Austen’s Frank Churchill. He behaves terribly, and yet still gets exactly what he wants in the end. Not bad.

[Photo Credit: Google Images]