Saturday, October 25, 2008

Random Bookish Bits

Just a few notes about the bookish things I've been up to recently, the ones besides writing the reviews for the four books I've finished lately. I'll be posting some soon, but there are still a couple of other things to share:

I went to a book signing in town; Christopher Plummer is with the Stratford Festival this season, starring in Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra. His new biography In Spite of Myself was being featured at our local bookshop and I'd just received a copy from Random House (thanks, RH!). So I wandered down to have it signed by the great man himself, but forgot my camera. Sigh. At least I got a few kind words from him!

I went to the library booksale. Held myself back, as I really don't have room for any more books plus I have enough TBR at home to keep me reading for two years straight. But who can resist a book sale? Here's what I found, including a couple of ex-library copies I hadn't got around to reading:

top to bottom:

Beauty, incorporated / Reita Lambert (This is the tale of pretty Bernadine Lake, the successful owner of a cosmetics business who has turned her back on romance. I couldn't resist the subtitle of this book, which is "Can any woman really live alone and like it?" Considering that it was published in 1939 I think we can guess their answer to that...)

High Bright Buggy Wheels / Luella Creighton (a Canadian novel set in the early 1900's about a Mennonite girl in Ontario. I read it years ago and liked it then)

Just say the words / David Helwig (I've read 2 of his novels recently and loved them both)

My Brilliant Career / Miles Franklin (Virago. Need I say more?)

Physics and Beyond / Werner Heisenberg (I've read 2 books recently about the beginnings of quantum physics and atomic research. I'm interested in finding out what Heisenberg has to say about his career working for the Nazis, if anything.)

Japanese Vegetarian cookbook (because I can never have enough cookbooks)

Three Cities of Bells / Elizabeth Goudge ( I think I'm the only person who took this out for the past few years, now it is mine)

And then I was at a library workshop in Toronto. It was about Reader's Advisory, you know, the kind of thing we all do anyhow; recommending books based on someone's preferences and interests and past reading history. The difference as a librarian is that we have to be prepared to suggest things not based on our personal reading, and there are many tools to assist, although being a big reader and reading book blogs automatically puts you ahead of the game! It was fascinating, but even more thrilling for me was that the lunch speaker was Helen Humphreys. Wow. I love her writing, and recently received her latest novel Coventry (which she read from) from HarperCollins Canada (thanks, HC, especially Deanna!). I finished it on the train in the morning and had her sign it at noon. Pretty much a perfect reading experience, and I'll post a review shortly. (It is very worth reading, a wonderful book, but finishing it on public transportation was not my finest moment...good thing the train was pretty empty so nobody gawked at my sniffling.)

And not as immediately bookish but really great -- and based on a play -- we watched an old movie tonight, Born Yesterday (1950). Amazing. I'd never even heard of it before but the husband mentioned it so we watched it; it is about a corrupt millionaire who heads to Washington to set up a deal with his pet Congressman, and hires a tutor for his girlfriend Billie so she won't embarrass him in good society. It works only too well, as she realizes how corrupt he is and what kind of life she really wants. It is astonishingly relevant at this moment (60 years later, how sad) and has some great performances, especially Judy Holiday's lead role. There are some wonderful quotes, like "you know, it's interesting, how many interesting things a person could learn, if they read." (loose quote from Billie). Really, watch it, before Nov. 4 if you can.


  1. Great haul! I want some new books to paw even though I reallyyyy don't need them.

  2. You'd best be careful with those books on physics, now that you've started to appreciate jokes that involve potential barriers. Next thing we know you'll be laughing at the Copenhagen Interpretation and the very idea of matrix mechanics!

  3. Jeff - the scary thing is, I now know what you're talking about! ;)

  4. I can't resist library sales either. I brought home too many from the last one, and now my bedside pile is toppling.

  5. Great post and the first book on your list from the book sale sounds really good. I'll look forward to your review. I've also got the CP bio and can't wait to dig in - exciting that you met him!


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