Monday, 20 February 2017

Musing Mondays - blind date with a book & book smell

Musing Monday, February 20, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…my library's BLIND DATE WITH A BOOK event last week

Last week at work we had a blind date with a book event organised by the Outreach Librarian. Blind book selections are all the rage in libraries and bookstores right now, vert trendy. What you do is you take a book, wrap it in craft paper, and then put a 3-5 word description of the book on the paper. The goal being to make the books sound exciting so people choose them. In choosing them you're hoping to get something you'll enjoy, but also something you might never have picked yourself. Anyone who knows me knows I have a little bit of an obsession with blind boxes and things like that, I love the surprise of seeing what I'm actually going to get. Therefore it should be no surprise that I ended up with 3 of the blind date books.

Rebecca's Daughters by Dylan Thomas

This is the first book I scooped up. It was really down to the "derring-do", that was what caught my attention, I needed to know what this book was. I didn't read the whole summary, just enough to see that it was set in the 19th century in Wales. I'm on a steampunk kick so I thought why not give it a try it since I had it! It's under 200 pages so I figured I could get it done in about 2 hours. I started reading it on Wednesday and read for 50 minutes and then I haven't picked it back up again. But I do plan to finish it tonight. I'm up to page 61.

If I were going to re-wrap this book and put it back on a blind date with a book table here's how I would describe it: 19th-century, cross-dressing Welsh Batman:

Rebecca’s Daughters is the nearest Dylan Thomas ever came to realizing his ambition to write a film scenario in such a way that it would not only stand ready for shooting but would, at the same time, give the ordinary reader a visual impression of the film in words. A romantic adventure story set in mid-nineteenth-century Wales, Rebecca’s Daughters has a dashing hero who is not what he seems; commonfolk oppressed by the landowners; and finally, justice triumphant over greed and misused privilege. Who is the mysterious "Rebecca" swathed in wide black skirts with a shawl drawn over his mouth and his eyes flashing from beneath the brim of his tall black hat as he exhorts his "daughters" to tear down the hated tollgates imposed by the gentry’s Turnpike Trust? And where does the foppish Anthony Raine––just returned from a tour in India with the despised British army––stand? And how is the lovely Rhiannon to choose between them? -- via Goodreads

The Tiger in the Smoke (Albert Campion #14)  by Margery Allingham

I was only planning on taking 1 book, but I should have known myself better. I succumbed to this book for the same reasons I grabbed the first one, the description. I wanted to know what kind of treasure and havoc! I am too curious for my own good sometimes!! My coworker Melanie was with me when I unwrapped this one, and because we work in an Academic library we don't keep the dust jackets on our hardcovers, so neither of us had any idea what this book was just based on the title. Thankfully Goodreads exists.

Once I found out on Goodreads that Tiger in the Smoke is actually the 14th book in the series Melanie and I agreed I should probably try and get my hands on the first book and start with that to get a sense of the character. Luckily one of the libraries in our consortium owns a copy, so I've got that on its way to me so I can read it before I read this one:

Meg's marriage to self-made millionaire Geoffrey Levett should have been happy, until she began receiving photos of her late husband Martin, presumed dead in WWII. She calls on old friend Albert Campion to get to the bottom of things. For Campion, the case was cut and dry - until a brutal triple murder.

All the books from Albert Campion series are standalone titles and can be read in any order.  -- via Goodreads

Among Others  by Jo Walton

I certainly wasn't planning on 3 of them...This one had been sitting there for a few days, I expect that was because a lot of people made the assumption that I made. I assumed that it was our copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone so I wasn't going to take it because I own 4 copies of that book in various formats and have read it about a dozen times. But my curiosity got the better of me again and I had to know if I was right. I brought the book over the the user services desk and scanned the barcode, obviously, it wasn't Philosopher's Stone and I'd never heard of Among Others so to Goodreads I went once more.

After reading the synopsis on Goodreads I just had to bring this book home with me. How could I not when it's got a premise so close to my absolute #1 favourite series? And it's pretty highly rated. I'm really shocked I've never heard of this book before now. It's not even that old because it came out in 2011:

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off…

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.   -- via Goodreads

I'd like to try and read all 3 of these this week. I'm sort of setting myself a personal mini-challenge in that regard. It's what we call reading week at work, so the students are all off for the middle of their term. You might know it by spring break or half-term break but we call it reading week. So I'm going to have my own personal reading week by attempting to finish 7 books this week. I've already finished 1 (finished The Girl with the Iron Touch this morning) and if I finish Rebecca's Daughters tonight too then I am on track to meet that goal :)

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you like new book smell? Old book smell? All book smell?

My original answer was going to be all book smell with the exception of musty books. But then I realised that I had both an old book and a new book right on my desk thanks to Tiger in the Smoke and the copy of The Invisible Library that I've borrowed from a friend, which was recently purchased. So I sniffed both - and I definitely found the new book smell to be more pleasant than the old book smell. Some old books do smell amazing, though, and in large quantities old book smell just makes me happy. That's why I like wandering up in the stacks at work.

Which type of book smell do you prefer?

1 comment:

  1. That event you had was so interesting to read through! I'm glad you got some great books! :)