Sunday, 20 May 2007

Holiday reading.

Have just finished Matthew Parris's Castle in Spain, the story of how he found and restored, with his family, a ruined house in northern Spain. I enjoyed the articles in the Times about this venture, and it was good to catch up with the finished product, so to speak. I've also just started Sebastian Faulks Human Traces, which is proving gripping. As husband and I are going to France later this week, I'm also hunting out books to take with me So far I've collected Wild Mary, a biography of Mary Wesley by Patrick Marnham, Alexander Masters Stuart, a life backwards, Sarah Dunant's In the company of the Courtesan( I loved her Birth of Venus) Jed Rubenfeld's Interpretation of Murder and Manette Ansay's Blue Water. I tend to take too many books and end up not reading one or two, but cannot imagine being without a book to read or worse , having read all I've taken with me , and not wanting to re-read any. Two of these, the Jed Rubenfeld and the Alexander Masters are for the two reading groups I belong to. Last time we went to France, I finished the couple of books I took before we came home, so I've probably gone for overkill this time.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

I spent last Saturday in bed, feeling doped out with antibiotics and painkillers, so finished reading Catcher in the Rye, by J D Salinger, the choice for Mondays Reading Group meeting. I found it rather sad, had understod it to be the ultimate book aboutt a teenage boy growing-up in 1950's America - but I'm not sure the main character/narrator does much of that in the tale he tells. Sure, he does some grown-up stuff ,if you can call it that, smoking like a chimney, getting drunk, trying to get laid by a prostitute, but ultimately it's more about his loss of the companionship of his younger brother and how the only person who he seems able to communicate with is his eleven year old sister. An interesting read, which provoked a fairly lively discussion at the group meeting. Our next read is Jed Rubenfeld's The Interpretation of Murder, which the library could only supply us with 2 copies of , all other 27 being on loan. I bought one in the Sainsbury's opposite the library for £4.99, and may sell it afterwards on green, a useful place to buy and sell recent books and which may net me £3.00+. I recently ordered Yiyun Li's Thousand years of good prayers for another reading group I attend and the order came in about 3 or 4 days and cost £3.75.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Starting out

I have just read the article about the situation of the professional librarians in Hampshire in Update (journal of CILIP) - very sad, for both the staff and the users of the service. It's all very well to chase number of items loaned as the main means of showing how well a public library service is used, but if one of the criteria is also how satisfied users are with staff knowledge , how does getting rid of the trained and qualified members of staff help?

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