Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekly Geeks #14 - Bookish Photos

This week's challenge is to provide "bookish photos" from around home. Suggestions include the TBR, favourite places to read and shelves of books. Those are the topics I'm going to go with.

So the obvious starter for ten: my TBR. It's a bookcase in our bedroom upstairs (while the main book collection is down in the rumpus room, so having a shelf upstairs in a necessity.)

Yes, the actual TBR is small. But that is both deceiving and deliberate. I read about 50/50 paper books and ebooks these days and there as as many books again (in fact, probably more) on my PDA that count as part of the TBR. Also, if the shelf gets too full, I get stressed by the number of books I want to read when I have limited energy and concentration for reading them, so I deliberately keep the number of books on it controlled. If something has been there too long or my enthusiasm for it has waned, I swap it out and take it back downstairs. I can always bring it up again later. Of the three books on the lower shelf marked as ready to go downstairs, two have been read and the other is one I know is a bit too complicated for my CFS-fogged brain at present, so I'm going to send it back downstairs until I feel more ready for it.

Here's my PDA (it's a Palm TX for anyone interested) that I use to read ebooks. I love it. I find reading on it easy and I love being able to control the font size and having something nice and light to hold. I don't know if it's my health issues or just the fact I'm getting older, but I struggle with books with tight packed, small fonts these days and much prefer to read them on the PDA. Also, books for it are much cheaper for me here in New Zealand as I don't have to pay the mark-ups due to shipping and exchange rates that paper books have in the shops here. And I don't have to wait. I just pay the US price, click "download" and I have my book ready to read. I just wish more books were available as ebooks as it's very frustrating when I find something I want to read and it isn't available. I prefer the PDA to a dedicated ereader device as I can use it for lots of other things too, such as an address book, a calendar, for podcasts and audiobooks and even to surf the web if I have access to a wireless network.

While I listen to my Audible audiobooks on the Palm, I find it less convenient for mp3 audiobooks, so here's my trusty mp3 player that I use for the others. It's not a hugely posh one, but it is perfect for me and I love the fact that it includes an FM radio so I have that option too when I'm awake in the middle of the night.

So where do I like to read? Well, the short answer is: everywhere. I'm one of those people who takes a book everywhere - I'll only ever buy a handbag if it is big enough to fit at least a paperback book. (Another advantage of the PDA is that it fits easily in my bag, no matter the length of the book I'm reading.) But I do have favourite (or at least frequent) places around home that I read.

Like many people, I like to read in bed. With my CFS, I spend a lot of time in bed and, so long as I'm actually awake (which is a lot less than I would like), naturally then, it is somewhere I tend to do a lot of reading. My bed is my friend.

While I'm happy to read in a chair or on the sofa, I actually spend a lot of my reading time on the floor, either sitting cross-legged or lying on my stomach with the book in front of me. With it being winter, that means the carpet beside the heater is currently prime real estate and I have to negotiate with the cat for the best spot.

Okay, I admit it. I read in the bathroom. Both the actual toilet (a seperate room in our house) and the bathroom itself. I have a four year old, and while he's old enough to play in the bath himself, he's not quite old enough for us to be happy to leave him to it on his own. So we have a bath ritual each night, where Marcus gets to play while I sit with him and read a chapter or two. After that, we get down to the serious business of washing. I do have to choose my books carefully for this as there tends to be quite a bit of water splashing. Again the PDA is good, as I just have to wipe the screen, but otherwise I pick something that I'm willing to let get some water spots on it. Generally that means no hardbacks, absolutely nothing that doesn't belong to me and nothing that I consider to be an especially precious book. Ratty old paperbacks are perfect.

As always, this post has got long and I still have the photos I took in our "library" down in the rumpus/spare room. So I'll just add some notes to the photos and make them the rest of this post. Like many bibliophiles, we have way, way too many books and never enough space for them all. The rumpus room is great as there's enough wall space to take most of our fiction collection, but there are still ten to a dozen boxes of books in the storage space under the house (along with moisture absorbers to protect them). While I love being able to look at all my books on the shelves, space is a premium and I hate to think how much more space I'd need if the 130 or so ebooks I have sitting on my laptop needed to be on shelves. So chalk up another point for ebooks. I'm happily a fence-sitter on the paper book/ebook issue - I love them both and think both have advantages and disadvantages. Generally, I buy my "keeper" books in paper and most anything else I'll get as an ebook if it is available.

There are a few other bookcases scattered around the house with things like coffee table books, craft books and cook books, as well as all Marcus' books in his room. But this is the bulk of our book collection.

I hope you enjoyed the quick book tour around our house.


trinalin said...

Thanks for the tour! I like seeing where other readers relax to read. And seeing shelves full of books always makes me happy.

I dunno when (if) I'll be able to make the leap to digital books. I purchased The Day of the Triffids as a pdf book from a couple of years ago and still haven't finished reading it. And I don't think it's any comment on the book, just the format for reading.

Although I'm not a member of Weekly Geeks, I think I might try this challenge myself. :-)

MizB said...

Great photos!!! Like others, I love to see other people's bookshelves, and reading spaces. :)

You gave me a great idea, btw! When you mentioned that you'd need tons more space to hold all the extra books that are stored on your PDA, I thought, "Ooo, if I had a PDA, and put a lot of my books on it, I could keep adding to my library without worrying about having to keep moving books out to bins in the garage (i've already run out of room in our house... see my own WG post for why). ;)
Or, check out my "shelf" for my book collection:

Anyway. Thanks! :D

Book Zombie said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos. It's great to see so many books! I have to admit I am a terrible one for reading in the bathtub, sometimes I use all the hot water just because I get caught up in a book. (My boys are teenagers so a bubblebath and book is how I escape to relax, lol)

Kerry said...

trinalin: Ebooks aren't for everyone. And I wouldn't read them like I do if I had to use a desktop or laptop. My PDA makes all the difference for me.

book zombie: That's the one real drawback of this house - it's a small bathroom and the bath is really to small for an adult to relax in with a book. It's good for washing the child, but not much else. I miss long baths with a book.

Icedream said...

When I saw your first picture I was thinking you were so much more in control of your book collection than I will ever be. I am so glad I kept scrolling down! LOL!! I love how we bibliophiles are such kindred spirits. (btw, I'm not sure who Dave is but I am impressed with his Alan Dean Foster collection, he's a fav sci-fi author of mine)

Kerry said...

For the record, Dave is my husband and Marcus is our son.

Tez Miller said...

Somehow I get the feeling that Cally does not agree to share ;-)

Have a lovely day! :-)

Crazee4books said...

Hi Kerry,

Love it when I see another book
lovers stash. These photos are
so cool. I'd love to browse
through your books and talk to
you about them.

Finding room for all those books
that we love and can't live with
out is so hard. My room in the
basement is full, and there's not
much more I can do to add shelf
space except by thinning. And
that is so hard to do.

I've never thought about using
ebooks. I'm old fashioned and
prefer the physical book in my
hands. But I guess with room
to store them becoming a
premium I may have to revise my
thinking. Am I too old to
change?? We'll see.


Kim said...

Loved your tour! I too was amazed at first at how small and controlled your tbr pile was, but quickly began laughing as I scrolled down and saw your rumpus room! Wow! I wish I had your space for keeping books. I am actually having to be very choosey as to what books I keep after reading--the space for those books is more limited than the space I take for my tbr books!

I am impressed you can read on a screen--your pda. I absolutely can't! I need to be able to physically hold a book to read! :)

I will confess to you and everyone else reading, that I read on the toilet also--but never the tub as I am not a tub kinda girl. :)

Thanks for sharing--oh, just wanted to tell you I am getting ready to start my, "Don't make me call my flying monkeys" picture. For some reason that project just cracks me up!


Rebecca said...

I love your bookshelves lining the walls! I just want to go browse through them.

I particularly like your tbr specific shelf, with your different piles, I'm thinking I need one.

Molly (Restless Reader) said...

Love your cat/heater photo. Thanks for sharing all the pics with us! I've noted your images in my Weekly Geeks post.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for adding a cat photo! With two of my own at home, I just love seeing other peoples kitties.

Susan said...

I, too, at first thought the TBR shelf was awfully small...then your last pictures of the rumpus room had me laughing! You are a true book addict!!I'm still trying to get my books organized (I bought more shelves and it wasn't enough!) so I'm not posting yet until the book corner (now taking up a whole half of the living room wall space) is finished. Then my rocking chair broke, so I don't even have a chair there now!! I love your walls of books....and the kitty is sweet! (my cat won't sit still ever since my boss asked to see a picture of her....) Thanks for doing this!! It's wonderful to see your house of books in NZ from far away in Canada!

Susan said...

PS I have the same dragon you do, too!!!

Roxanne said...

WoW! WoW! WoW-Wee! I could live in your rumpus room for all time. May I bring my lounge chair and sit awhile? LOL! Thank you for the tour. I would definately be there if not for my living in Georgia, USA. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I envy you the book space. I have a library but the room has a weird shape, so I can't have wall to wall books. I've also moved on to ebooks somewhat (I also have a Palm) and audio books (Librivox and my ipod are my best friends), but I still get tons of books from the used bookstores and Paperback Swap. I just posted pics of my library on my book LJ.

We have a lot of the same keepers! :D And I also have that dragon Beanie Baby, along with another dragon and a unicorn on top of one of my bookcases (unfortunately, they wouldn't fit in the picture).

Oh and I "multi-task" by reading on the toilet. Since I have an intestinal disease, I spend a lot of time in the bathroom and I can't see wasting time while I sit there.

I wish we could hang out in each other's libraries, but I guess through the magic of the internet, we sort of can.

Kerry said...

Sauscony - don't know if you'll see this, but I tried to reply to your lovely bookshelves post on your LJ and it wouldn't let me post as I wasn't a friend. So just wanted to say I loved your photos. We have lots of books in common and I would happily visit your library if I could.