15 May 2012

Hestia .... and books

I think libraries are fantastic places.  Always have done.  I became a member of my local library before I started school and enjoyed nothing better than finding a quiet place between the towering book shelves to pour over my latest borrowings.

And I'm still like that today.  But now they've got rather plush violet chairs to sit in.

Here's today's haul.

As you can see, the Gaelic moment has passed and I have opted to give Spanish a chance.  Gaelic is too hard to learn on your own and the library set was on cassette.  Which meant hauling an ancient Walkman out of the cupboard.  Sadly SOMEONE had left batteries in it about 20 years ago and I have not been overly keen on trying to prise their leaking bodies from the cavity....so I managed to find a mains adaptor. A rather short mains adaptor, which meant that I was trying to learn Gaelic humphed over like Quasimodo.

I have gone instead for Spanish.  358 million people can't be wrong.

I have opened the box (something that I failed to do in the library).

It has cassettes.  Ah well, at least Quasimodo speaking Spanish is a step in the right geographical direction I suppose....

The book on the left is a biography on one of my favourite artists - Caravaggio.  What a man - a brawling, whore-loving, artistic genius who thought - amongst other things - that the Vatican wouldn't be perturbed about him using the body of a drowned prostitute as the model for his Death of The Virgin.

They were.

And on the right, the Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen.

I haz eclectic tastes, no?!


Now I have TWENTY legit pounds to spend in the bookshop in town!  What will it be?!  What book do I NEED to buy?!

Tell me!

PS - the two envelopes on teh table (green) are birthday cards that should have been posted last month. Perhaps a book on time management?


  1. I am re reading the Tales of Para Handy at the moment. Not too deep or thought provoking, but highly enjoyable, especially with a glass of wine or two.

    1. My all-time favourite Para Handy lines

      Macphail (the engineer): Ye see that thing that's goin' roon and roon?

      Para Handy (the captain: Aye...

      Macphail: Well, it should be goin' up and doon!


  2. Libraries have a special place im my heart as well. Some of the strongest memories from my childhood consist of browsing the shelves, surrounded by the smell of chlorine (my family want swimming every Wednesday and to the library after)

    You won the Mills & Boon Competition?
    Well done.

    Does that mean you read more Mills & Boon than anyone else?
    I'm not sure whether to congratulate or console

  3. The competition was to write the closing paragraph of a Mills and Boon type novel. And you could make it as mad as you liked. I basically had the characters talking about how they met on page one and if ONLY she had recognised that the hero was not an arse, they could have been together 340 pages earlier in the book...that sort of thing.

    I don't know that there were many entries, but I don't care! I got the book token *high fives TSB*

    Ali x

  4. Enjoy your libraries while you can...down here they're closing hundreds, sacking hundreds of library staff and cutting down hours elsewhere.

    Recycle the birthday cards for next year (assuming they're ones without ages in).

  5. Caravaggio....how utterly fab....don't make artists like that anymore.... large diary and a wall planner?? I'm currently enjoying A Visit From The Goon Squad......!!X

  6. My local library now is a different one to that of my childhood, but when I go in I get the same sense of excitement and anticipation. It's not been closed down yet but the opening hours have been shortened. (Deep breath... rant avoided!)

    If you like historical novels you might like The Sea Road by Margaret Elphinstone. It's about Vikings (yea!), and based on the Sagas, but told from the point of view of a woman. I actually borrowed this from the library initially but loved it so much I had to buy my own copy.

  7. We have some Spanish books, including one where your have to read and decipher magazine articles. Dave picked up loads in about five seconds, it took me a year to be able to say even basic sentences. It seems unfair that he is god at science AND languages.

    One of the things that makes me really sad here is that our local library isn't nice. It's perfectly functional, but it's in the less nice of our two shopping centres, and has no soul. I still go obviously, we have to keep libraries open, but I miss the library in Paisley, all columns and book smell and old chairs.

  8. Oh, and as for books to buy - It depends if you want one swanky book, for which I'd say either a modern cookbook (Molly Weisenberg's 'A Homemade Life maybe), or a nicely bound classic (Dorian Grey, or one of the Fitzgerald ones), OR try to get loads of the wrapped together ones that are two for one. I recently got two Rosie Thomas Thomas ones, she writes very well!

  9. Carravagio! One of my fave artists! He often used a technique called chiaroscuro which to me is the film noir stylee of the Master Painter world. Very moody, very intense :)

    I'm currently reading a book of cartoons called 'How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy) by Julia Cameron. It's light hearted poke at all the excuses we make for not doing the things we really want to do. It's good for a giggle, and my fave today is, "Make your first project really BIG!" :O

  10. Hi Ali, I love a post about books, really do and I love my local library. I gave you an award today but you may have it already - check it out over at mine xx


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