Monday, February 21, 2011

So. Things have gotten interesting

Obviously I can't say a lot. I don't really know anything, but I have no interest in making things worse. Plus there's that pesky contract.

Mostly it's a mixture of happiness and sadness going on at Borders right now, at least mine. Sadness at the possibility/probability of change. Happiness because I love all the people I work with. How many people can say that? Not many, I think. Sadness at the idea of not working with them, because as corny as it sounds, they're a little like a family to me.

I don't really have anything more to say, I don't particularly want to dissect the whys and wonder about the health of the publishing industry. I think I'm getting sick of reading about it. And as someone foolhardy enough to be completing her first novel, I don't want to crush my creative spirit. Things are getting interesting right now in the land of book-selling, and not just for us. I am curious about the future. Let's leave it at that.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Battle Hymn For the Tiger Mother

Today is the 17th of February, 11 days left of my book-buying fast. I already have four books in my Book Depository basket, I am ashamed to admit: Paradoxical Undressing by Kristin Hersh, Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves us by Laura Van Den Berg and The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut. I am not made of stone, ok? There is a benefit from not being allowed to click 'buy' right away. I may even reconsider getting them.

Thanks to the kindness of my managers at work, I borrowed The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. It's definitely entertaining, not always for the right reasons. I think the same part of me that enjoys true crime enjoyed the extremism exhibited in her parenting style. But to my thinking, it's not so much a how-to book on parenting than a memoir about pride, ego, humility and the search for a third way. It is evident pretty early on that her one-size-fits-all 'Chinese parenting' model can't be applied to every child, let alone both of her children. Only one child responded well to it, while the other rebelled constantly, causing her to eventually concede that there had to be a middle ground between the 'Western' and 'Chinese' models of discipline. It's certainly written with a lot of humour, and in a very self-aware voice. It makes me think that all the controversy was drummed up to fuel book sales. And she is pretty extreme at times, so those wanting to read it in order to get angry at her will find what they're looking for to an extent. But it is by no means black and white.

Next up, I finally read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Illness leads to time speeding up

Signs I am recovering from the mysterious stomach flu/food poisoning are that I actually feel like reading is enjoyable again. Being sick did wipe out about a week of book-yearning though. Win. I feel like I am experiencing the same type of 'missing time' as the supposed abductees in the book on UFOs I recently read.

During my bed-ridden days in the last week, I didn't get to do much reading, though I got through most of Carol Topolki's 'Do No Harm', which is meant to be about a good doctor gone bad. I thus expected a trashy read that was somewhat entertaining. It wasn't as trashy as expected, though the 'madness' wasn't very cleverly conceived. The child's isolation was well-drawn, but as an adult, her 'imaginary friend' is such an obvious way to show the crazy. Split personality? Or just a lazy way to personify all the things wrong with her? I gave up just before the doctor went bad (and I am led to assume, maims patients in a way that messes with their reproductive abilities), so I cannot comment on the lack of subtlety in representing mental illness as the plot leads to its climax. There's something in the writing I found nauseating and exhausting - and not in an entirely good way. But because I never intend to finish it, I will never know if it was my illness or the book being simply mediocre.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day three

I have been avoiding places that sell books. Except of course for the bookshop I work in. I have been good so far, though you know I haven't been abstaining for long. So that's not really much of a claim, is it?

Highlights so far on this most noble journey.

1. Borrowing a book from work. Reading said book. Returning said book the following day. The book was 'The UFO diaries' by Martin Plowman. I really really wanted to buy it, but since I have now read it the feeling of intense desperation has gone. Obviously. Yes, the book contains the word UFO. Judge all you like, it's still an awesome book. The author studied UFOs and those who believe in them (in the past and present) for his PHD. The book contains a lot of philosophical insight into the phenomena of this belief, as well as the entertaining journeys he made to the USA and South America in search of UFO connections. Imagine going up to a stranger and asking 'so..uhhh...are there any UFO hotspots in this area?' This book contains such odd conversations. Gold.

2. Today I walked PAST Dymocks and didn't go in.

3. I am intent on finishing 'Truth' by Peter Temple finally. Even though it is an amazing book, it is written in a pared-down style that is pretty sparse at times. This style does not invite dipping in and out of the book and is best enjoyed reading all at once, from beginning to end. I have not done this, but read the book in between various trashy true crime novels, young adult fiction and celebrity biographies. Peter Temple deserves better, evidently.

Tune in next time for more book-obsessive hijinks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FebFast for books

I have a problem. The problem could end in either two scenarios. The first would be starvation, or being thrown out of home due to spending all of my money on books. The second is being crushed from above by my ever-growing 'to read' pile. In all seriousness, it's a real issue. I am going to have absolutely no savings, and in the advent of an emergency that requires a lump sum? Well, 'screwed' is putting it mildly. I do enjoy reading, in some ways to the detriment of my social life. And I am not exaggerating much about the piles of books I have yet to read. There's piles alright. At least 20 books I have meant to read, or am mid-way reading. And these are recent acquisitions, not books I've have for 5 years. I know, bad Candace.

I guess I went a bit crazy last year, got a bit excited about books. And you know, books are exciting. Pat me on the back. But there's a line. I think I crossed it. Call it scary consumerism, because that's surely a part of it. Another problem is the fact that I work in a bookshop, so temptation is never very far away. But there are only so many books a person can read at once, and when you continually add books to that towering mess of literature in my room it becomes a bit of a cycle that needs to be broken. The solution? Feb Fast! I don't drink, at least not very much. I can go half a year without remembering to drink alcohol. But I am using the month of February to slow down the book consumption. It's about treating books with a little more care, and not just as objects to keep consuming and adding to my pile. It's about reading the ones I have. It's about not acting like the consumer equivalent of a jack russel.

Rules: I have to have rules, because otherwise this is not going to last long. I am not allowed to buy any books for myself in the moth of February. But if it is someone's birthday or whatever, I am allowed to buy them any present I like. This includes a book. I am not allowed to buy a book and pretend it is a present, read it and then give it. That is bad. I am allowed to borrow books. Borrowing won't be a problem, because I tend to think fearfully of my book pile when I add something to it that I have to return within a time-frame, so I only tend to borrow when I know its going to jump the queue and be returned soon. And thus, I don't borrow books very often.

So. It is the 1st of February. Wish me luck.