Sunday, August 10, 2008

Book shelf I: The Motionless Pictures

I'm going to take my cue from Dinah and do something a little bit different for my next few posts - something with a theme. And my theme? 

Books.

I've got loads of books. Hundreds. And before I moved out I had even more, but I decided I needed to get rid of some of them, mainly because I knew I wouldn't read them again, but also because I needed to make room for the books I hope to buy in the future. There's something almost magical about a book. If you told me you were going to take away all different forms of media except one, I'd choose to keep books. Yes I love music, and I love movies… but books are different. With a book you can create your own vision of the author's world, unhindered by budgetry restraints. Your mind's eye can cast whoever you want in the roles of the individual characters.

I was reading an interesting article a few weeks back in which a writer was arguing how electronic book readers like the Amazon Kindle will never take off like the iPod has for music because we form emotional attachments to books, unlike CDs, which we're obviously quite happy to dispense with in favour of mp3s. I agree wholeheartedly. I have no problem buying music off the iTunes store instead of picking up a physical copy in a record shop. Similarly, I'm finding myself veering towards buying an Apple TV so I can rent and download movies from the iTunes movie store rather than buy DVDs that take up shelf space. 

Books, however, are different. I love seeing a shelf straining under the weight of books. The differing sizes, the designs of their spines all vying for your attention. Each book is different, from the feel of the paper to the – and this might sound weird - smell. Have you ever opened a book and just breathed in the smell? If you haven't, do it now.

So the next few days are going to be about books. I've been taking photos of my bookshelves (and believe me, there's a fair few of those at Sparky Towers), and I'm going to post them here for you to see. There's going to be some good books, and there's going to be some … not-so-good books. If you spot any titles on the shelves that you're intrigued by, let me know in the comments section and I'll post up the back cover blurb and a bit about what I thought of it.

Here we go then:

If you look carefully you'll actually see that the books on this shelf are two-deep. I'm actually not too sure what's hidden away at the back there, but I suspect there's some quality titles.

29 comments:

CyberPete said...

you dø like your superheroes don't you? Which is kool. I have Jurassic Park too somewhere in a box along with a few other books by the same author

Tim said...

Heh. Just you wait until we get further down the shelf…

watch*paint*dry said...

I also love my books in the same way I love cds. I have been reading books like a demon of late but can't manage to get into Rant. Damn, I don't ever want the buy or not buy indecision when it comes to his books.

watch*paint*dry said...

Oooh we nearly collided.

Tim said...

Dude, I know *exactly* what you mean. I hated Rant with a passion, and I read a terrible review for his next book, Snuff. A Chuck novel used to be something I'd greatly anticipate, but I now look forward to them with a sense of great foreboding…

CyberPete said...

I do prefer owning a physical copy of whatever I buy be that books, dvds, cds or whatever.

Can't wait to see what you've got further down ;-)

Tim said...

I know what you mean, although I am slowly trying to move over to downloads for music… Of course, that means I'll probably end up buying loads of external hard drives to store it on!!

Are you being cheeky?

CyberPete said...

I like having the artwork as it was intended by the artist.

Me? Cheeky? The nerve!

Tim said...

Yeah, I can understand that. There's something nice about having a CD inlay, or a DVD sleeve as it was originally intended. But I genuinely believe that in a few years time physical formats will be beginning to disappear, and downloads will be the norm. I don't think Blu-ray will enjoy the same success as DVDs, for example. It seems like a last gasp attempt to hang on to the idea of making people buy a movie on a disc of some sort.

And cheeky? Yes.

CyberPete said...

Unfortunately I think you are quite right. I will miss it a lot.

I think digital only releases are a bit underwhelming as there is no fuss or circumstance. It's just there. Take the new Kylie single The One, a smashing track with awesome remixes by the Freemasons but it's got no exclusivity like In My Arms which came out on two cds and pink vinyl. Digital formats are a poor mans release. Or well cheap record companys anyway, like EMI

CyberPete said...

And cheeky, you got me

Definately!

Tara said...

I know exactly what you mean about the smell of books. Library books especially have a distinct smell, as does the library itself. It's a nostalgic, nice scent.

Have you ever liked a book so much that you read it all over again?

The book I'm reading slowly but surely called "Take Me Out" is really good. The tension and stress felt by the main character is palpable.

Tim said...

Cyberpete - I think you're right, although with music I don't think I've ever been attached to the format it's presented in. Tapes were, well, a bit annoying at times, while CDs are kind of clinical. Neither are like the old vinyl LPs that many people remain fond of.

With music and films it's the content of the CD or DVD that is of real importance to me, not the format they're delivered on. Books are different - I'm often drawn to a book because of the cover, or the way it's packaged.

Tara - You're right! I've not been to a library in years, but I do remember the one near my parent's house - it seemed bigger on the inside than on the outside. We used to spend what seemed like hours there on a Saturday afternoon!

And yes, I've read several books more than once. In fact, there's about 10 paperbacks I've been meaning to reread for a few years now (I'll point them out in one of my upcoming posts). I've resolved to finally get back to them this year!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I'm intrigued by the cover of that Alan Dean Foster book. I can't make out what the title is, though. Something beginning with Q?
Good Omens is one of my favourite books of all time. Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett make an awesome team!

I have to agree with CyberPetra in having a physical copy of media - I like to see what I've got. I like to run my gaze along the shelves to remind myself what I've got (book, DVD or CD), then choose whether or not to watch it. I don't want to have to turn on the Demon Box to make my selection.
I'd be interested to know if anyone else does this, but when you look at a book, DVD or CD, does the content flash before your eyes (or ears)?

CyberPete said...

Definately IDV!

I'm very multimedial in that regard. I also run my finger over my dvd collection and most of the time that's what helps me pick out the movie I am watching.

You know, feeling that spark when you touch the right dvd.

This of course makes me sound like a loony but that's ok. I'm unique that way.

eroswings said...

Well, you certainly got a great collection; enough to open your own library!

Books are the worst things when it comes to moving. They're heavy! I still go to the library. I try not to buy books...trying to declutter. And for some reason, I've got too many damn magazines...even though I've stopped subscribing, I still get those dang journals from professional memberships.

As for music, I tend to download mp3s of songs that I like. Nothing sucks like finding only one good song a CD you've bought.

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - Quozl? That's a great book - it's all about a race of giant rabbit-like beings who crash on Earth and decide to keep themselves hidden away. But then they're discovered by two kids. The first half of the book is all about them setting up home on Earth, but then the second half takes a massive twist that leads to their presence being revealed.

Sadly, I don't think you can get it anymore…

Cyberpete - Coming from someone who sniffs books that's not weird at all.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I like the smell of new books, or old books that I've had since new, but I do not like to smell second hand or library books because they smell of other people.

Actually, it depends on whose books they are. If they were yours, for instance...




Quozl sounds intriguing. If you lend it to me, I promise I won;t inhale it!

CyberPete said...

TIM pheeew I was beginning to doubt myself after picking out Collateral tonight.

IDV that does not make you sound eccentric and narcissistic at all. No way.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Thank goodness for that, CyberPetra.

Dinah said...

I love books. I can't wait to see the rest of your shelves (if I was feeling naughty I'd put in something about wanting to see your drawers, too...but I'm not feeling naughty, I'm just sort of tired.)

T-Bird said...

Ooh! I have the black version of Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrel! One of my favourites, it is.

I haven't really read any of the Shat's stuff - or Terry Pratchett. Although I do have lots of Vonnetgut - courtesy of Dinah.

Maybe I should spend my afternoon at the book store. We are having a public holiday.

Books away! I love to see what other people are reading and pick and choose what I might like from them!

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - Ohmygod! You're coming on to my books now?!

Cyberpete - No, don't worry - you're safe. For now.

Dinah - Are you tired because you've been watching the Olympics non-stop since it began?

T-Bird - Shatty's stuff was great; very easy to read, enjoyable nonsense. There's actually nine books in the TekWar series, but I seemed to have stopped at five. I wonder if I can get the remaining ones somewhere?

CyberPete said...

Oh well, that can't last long.

IDV: I know! It's every queens dream.

btw my word verification is: kissraw

Someone trying to tell me something?

Dinah said...

Heh. re: watching the Olympics non-stop, It's funny because it's true! Although at the moment I'm watching a cheesy TV movie staring Melissa Gilbert and William Shatner. But I'll return to the Olympics later tonight.

T-Bird said...

Dinah, I'd like to make a request... can you pretty please review that movie with Melissa Little House on the Prairie and Captain Kirk?

I am all intrigued!

Dinah said...

No problem! Look for it in an upcoming post.

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Kissraw?! Nuttin' to do with me!

Dinah - Even I've been watching it, and I thought I had reached saturation point before it even began!

T-Bird - Yeah, I second that!!!

Dinah - Oh look, you've agreed - good times!

missy&chrissy. said...

i can't believe i've been missing the book posts...i work in publishing! nice selection - did you read jonathan strange? i've owned it for a few years now, and just can't figure out when to read it when lugging that giant book around won't be a nuisance. and so it sits on the shelf, collecting dust + dwarfing everything around it.