Sorting Out the Shelves #5

Hello Bookworms!

Welcome to another edition of sorting out the shelves! I haven’t done one of these for a while and although I thought I’d mostly covered the books I wanted to get rid of, when I looked harder I still have loads more to get through. So, it looks like this feature is here to stay!

Today, I’m looking at books that I bought when I became interested in two very different topics – fantasy writing and gardening! Soooooo… it’s time for Own or Re-Home!

Own

Assorted works by J. R. R. Tolkien

I love that edition of the Hobbit…

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The copies of LOTR are some of my most battered books (having been obtained when I was a student and surviving four different house moves – including a period where they were kept in my Grandma’s shed) but they’re also amongst my most loved books. Confession: I essentially stole them off my then boyfriend and never returned them – oops – but that was fifteen years ago and he never asked for them back, so… yeah. Mine now! He recommended that I read them despite my initial trepidation – I’d made an attempt at reading The Hobbit when I was about six or seven and thought it was the dullest book in the world. Surprisingly, I loved them and that started my journey into fantasy. I bought the special edition copy of The Hobbit mostly because it was pretty but when I actually read it again I loved it – I think I’d just been too young the first time round. Now, I fondly look at these books as a kind of gateway drug into a world that I didn’t know existed and even though I really don’t like my ex I’m grateful that we had a relationship purely for the book recommendations!

Re-home

A selection of gardening books that all pretty much say the same thing…

We have the internet now…

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All of these books have been gifts (because what else do you buy for someone who likes both gardening and reading?) and although they were initially useful, they’re pretty basic and the internet has much more up to date information. I haven’t referred to any of them in years, so off they go to the used bookstore at the library.

 

Do you have any “long term loan” books lurking on your shelves that you’ve never got round to returning? What were your “gateway” books that introduced you to a specific genre? Are reference books even remotely useful in the 21st century? Let me know in the comments!

 

Sorting Out the Shelves #3

Hello Bookworms!

Welcome to another edition of sorting out the shelves! This week it’s a special feature – cookbooks!

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Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

I have tons of cookbooks because EVERYONE buys them for me despite having, you know, the internet to find recipes on. So, I’m overrun with the bloody things and I need to get rid.

Lets play own or re-home!

Own

Vintage cookbooks inherited from my mother-in-law plus New Covent Garden Soup recipe books

Cookbooks should be battered and covered in stains…

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I mean, look at the state of the Be-Ro book – that tells you everything you need to know about how useful it is. Seriously, it’s my most used recipe book by far, even though it must be forty years old. It also houses a number of handwritten recipes from my non-husbands since-departed mother and possibly his ex-girlfriend, all of which I’m very grateful for (even though the non-hubs always complains when I use them to make something it don’t taste as good as when his Mum/ex made it). The Marguerite Patten cookbook is even older – it must be getting on for fifty but again I use it all the time. I love how simple the recipes are and how there’s an easy “blueprint” guide, with variations to try once you’ve mastered the basics. There’s also a brilliant “what to do when it goes wrong” section at the back that’s absolutely indispensable when you’re first learning to cook. The soup books are lovely, easy to follow and even though all of the recipes are probably available online I always find it’s easier to use a hard copy book than try to keep a tablet/phone open when you’re in the middle of cooking. They’re all definite keepers!

Re-home

A totally random assortment of cook books

I’ll just use BBC Good Food…

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Clearly, at some point someone found out that I’d bought a slow cooker and got me some recipe books to go with it – failing to realise that there’s really only three things you can make in one and the recipes are all just variations on a theme. There’s also a jam/chutney making book (I might look at this once a year when I have a glut of allotment veg but I’d rather look online) a veg cookbook (too weird) a couple of “British” cookbooks (fancy versions of what’s in Marguerite Patten) a Delia Smith How to Cook book (again, Patten does it better) and a “Mediterranean” book (featuring ingredients that I never own). Off to the charity shop you go!

Do you have a million recipe books that you never use? Are any of them quirky, old or unique? Do you have any treasured inherited recipes that you can’t make as well as your relatives did? Let me know in the comments!

 

TL;DR January Review

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Hello Bookworms!

One word you guys – SNOW! It’s been trying to snow for a few days now (on and off) but nothing has stuck. However, we’re due more tomorrow so I’m excited!

January, as always, has been a month of sorting things out, making plans, buying new stationary and Taking Care of Business. I wrapped up my 2018 and even wrote a New Year’s Resolution post! I got a laptop for Christmas so I’m slowly making changes to my blog to make it prettier and more diverse. I’ve literally just learnt what a Gravatar is so with any luck next month you’ll all be able to see what I look like (unless you follow me on Twitter, in which case you already know).

Speaking of Twitter, I was Blog of the Day on The Write Reads Twitter feed which was very exciting and earned me a load of new followers (welcome!). It’s a great site for finding new book blogs and making bookish friends ☺

Our house project is coming along nicely – we have PAINT ON A WALL! OK it’s a ceiling but same difference. Thanks to my cousin, we also have skirting boards and we’ve done lots of boring fiddly jobs like sealing the kitchen top to the new tiles, filling in a gap next to the toilet (with a bit of windowsill – sounds bodged but you can’t tell) and sticking on approx one billion bits of plastic trim. Everywhere. Not fun in a house with no boiler but it feels like we’re getting there now.

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I’m on a roll with the 2019 Read Harder Challenge and I’m pretty much up to date with my Chapter-a-Day Read-Along, yay! I took part in the first Calendar Girls meme of 2019 where I chose The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden as my most anticipated book of the new year. I also introduced a new feature called Sorting Out the Shelves where I posted about getting rid of some books and keeping others. I’ve done this twice now (second post here) so hopefully I’ll be able to make this a regular feature.

I posted five reviews this month:

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden: A beautiful novel that went far deeper than I thought it would and created a fabulous ending to the trilogy. Five out of five.

Good Samaritans by Will Carver: A brilliantly twisted, darkly comedic novel about lies, relationships and murder. A total page turner! Four out of five. 

The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J Harris: An interesting novel about a child with synaesthesia, autism and a love of parakeets that could have been amazing but got a bit tedious. Three and a half out of five. 

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield: A fantastic beginning that meandered about and in doing so lost all of it’s tension. Three out of five. 

The Map of Us by Jules Preston: Cute but quirky for the sake of it, I struggled to fully engage with this book. Two and a half out of five.

So that’s January wrapped up! Do you have snow? What plans have you made? Follow the links or let me know in the comments!

 

Sorting Out the Shelves #2

Hello Bookworms!

A bit late this week but welcome back to my new feature, where I try to Marie Kondo my massive collection of books that I’m fast running out of room for. I hate getting rid of them but needs must, so bring on the binbags! *Side note: obviously I’ll be donating my books to the charity shop, not actually chucking them away. I’m not a monster.

This week’s selection features some beautiful vintage hardbacks that have sentimental value and some popular paperbacks that I’ll probably never re-read – plus a bonus book that somehow escaped the first cull!

Keepers

My Grandad’s 1950’s Encyclopedias

I could spend all day looking through these…

I know it’s hard to believe, but back when I was at school the internet was not a thing and we had to rely on encyclopedias to obtain information. If you couldn’t find the topic that you were looking for… tough. Dark times indeed.

These encyclopedias were printed in the 1950’s when books were luxuries that most ordinary people couldn’t afford, so quite how I managed to inherit these is something of a miracle (my Grandad died with 22p in his pocket and zero savings – he’d even cashed in his funeral plan). I guess he must have thought that they would be useful to my Mum and Uncle so found some money from somewhere? My Mum thinks that he got them from a door to door salesman so probably bought them one book at a time, which would have helped with the cost. Considering my Mum grew up with very little, I love the idea that my Grandad prioritised her education over all of the other household expenses.

The books themselves are beautiful, in fairly good condition considering their age and have some gorgeous colour illustrations (?) (I’m not entirely sure what they are, they look like paintings but they’re so realistic they might be black and white photographs that have been coloured in). They’re fascinating to look through and a real slice of history, as seen through a very British colonial lens (i.e. racist). Despite their problematic language I love what they represent to my family and I could never throw them away.

Donations

The Millennium Trilogy plus a stowaway Eclipse book.

Read them, next…

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Bleurgh, look at the stickers…

I enjoyed reading the Millennium Trilogy and although I like the look of the spines all sitting in order on my shelves, I’ve read them, I’m not re-reading them, they have to go.

Also, although I admire the tenacity of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, how did it manage to hide itself when I was chucking out all the Twilight books last week? It was right next to them! Whatever, I can’t really remember what it was about, I’m not going to look at it again, It’s just taking up space. Bye Felicia!

Do you have any inherited books that you just can’t throw away? Do you own any unique books that have sentimental value? Can you remember what The Second Life of Bree Tanner is about? Let me know in the comments!