Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: Reading Room

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Does anyone else compulsively (but discreetly) go to parties check out their host's bookshelves, records and DVD collections? Don't know if I entirely trust people who don't have a book in the house.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11911 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    I want the 8 year old's book shelves! Those Nancy Drew's take me back too.

    There is something about physical book shelves filled with books - it's like looking at art. It induces a feeling that is quite hard to describe to those who don't get it.
    "Why don't you get a Kindle and you could keep them all on that!"
    "What the???!!"

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 173 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Does anyone else compulsively (but discreetly) go to parties check out their host's bookshelves, records and DVD collections? Don't know if I entirely trust people who don't have a book in the house. (OTOH, I hate to think what character judgements people would form from my fondness for Anita Brookner and slasher flicks.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11911 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    Does anyone else compulsively (but discreetly) go to parties check out their host's bookshelves, records and DVD collections? Don't know if I entirely trust people who don't have a book in the house.

    Books - All. The. Time. And often from a "I wonder if I can borrow this" perspective. Book people are often awful people to lend books to though. I am very guilty of book stealing by forgetting to give back lent books, which I feel bad about in my weak moments. Then I remember all the books I've lost through lending them and not getting them back and figure it's a circle. A ciiiircle of liiiiiiiife.
    Records - yep, a lot of the time!
    DVDs, not so much.

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 173 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Friday being a sharing and caring day, some of you might be interested . . .

    Gee thanks Geoff, much appreciated. A very handsomely done PDF it is too.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Don't know if I entirely trust people who don't have a book in the house.

    I feel much the same about a house without a TV set!

    Still, if the only books were Mein Kampf and gun manuals, I would feel a bit uneasy. :-)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2307 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Want to live somewhere? Learn the language as soon as you get there so you'll fit in.

    My maternal grandparents, originally Scottish and Irish, having lived in South India and learned passable Hindi, arrived in NZ in 1934 to settle with their young family. They were expecting to learn Maori, the local language, but were informed by friends that this "wasn't done".

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3439 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    But it seems that colonial New Zealand was very big on reading

    This is definitely what I've gathered as well.

    Some colonists were probably sent the latest bestsellers hot off the press by the authors.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    I'm guilty of the "books and records" checking too - DVDs not really, but that's because I only own about 10 DVDs in total, but HEAPS of books/records/CDs.

    And houses without books or pot plants or photos/paintings/wall art of some sort always seem a little, well, barren to me.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 237 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Gee thanks Geoff, much appreciated. A very handsomely done PDF it is too.

    Agreed. Nice job, Geoff.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold,

    What always strikes me is the minimalist bleakness of those homes featured in interior decoration, architectural and house and garden magazines - always a state of art TV , but usually not a book in sight, or if some do feature, always a neat little display of coffee table books, carefully stacked so as not to disturb the indoor-outdoor flow...

    Since Jan 2007 • 146 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Ideal home photospreads are occasionally good for a laugh, as when Bob Hawke and his then new squeeze Blanche D'Alpuget flaunted their sumptuous living arrangements back in the 90s. The beady-eyed pair posed in Japanese bathrobes next to a hideously oversized Mexican onyx chess set, with the pieces arranged as though for a game in progress. Closer examination showed that the arrangement of pieces couldn't possibly correspond to any known variety of chess.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Does anyone else compulsively (but discreetly) go to parties check out their host's bookshelves, records and DVD collections?

    I find the books that people have on the shelves interesting, but I don't think I'd assume it says that much about who they are. For many years I carried about 6 boxes of a collection of fantasy books that I'd had since I was a teenager from house to house.

    DVDs definitely. That says what a person has been like in the past ten years, my DVD collection says a fair bit about what I like to watch (and read actually).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I don't think I'd assume it says that much about who they are

    Since we converted every CD in the house to incorporeal files and biffed them in the garden shed, people might possibly assume from a brief glance around our house that we don't like music. Which would be laughably inaccurate.

    On the other hand, they might assume from our bookshelves that we are extremely clever readers of scholarly non-fiction and the classics, when it must be admitted that on my part, at least, I just have leftover historical works from my previous life as a grad student, I keep re-reading Jane Austen, and I never bloody get past chapter three of any Dickens.

    It's difficult, this 'expression of your true self through possessions' malarkey.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3653 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Does anyone else compulsively (but discreetly) go to parties check out their host's bookshelves, records and DVD collections? Don't know if I entirely trust people who don't have a book in the house.

    I totally do this before deciding how much closer I want to get to a person.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    And of course the mainstay of every eight or nine year old's library: the graphic novels, especially Calvin & Hobbes, which he has entirely from memory, chapter and verse, like a good evangelist, and reads daily for inspiration and consolation.

    I love Calvin and Hobbes. I really chuckled at the idea that the fictionalised gems of wisdom of an imagined eight year appeal to a real one. I took similar pleasure from reading my five year old Winnie the Pooh and watching her process Pooh's genius.

    Does anyone else compulsively (but discreetly) go to parties check out their host's bookshelves, records and DVD collections?

    Of course. One of the things I notice is how frequently my close friends read very similar stuff to me. I guess that confirms the notion of cultural homogeneity?

    I once read an article that suggested our books provide others with insights into who we aspire to be whereas our music collection tells who we really are. Kinda makes sense though I'm not sure anything on my book shelf balances my remixed CD of Kylie </shamefacedadmission>

    Gee thanks Geoff, much appreciated. A very handsomely done PDF it is too.

    I'll add to that - fantastic that such a stunning publication is free, thanks to all - it's worth it to completely run dry my home printer's ink.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2230 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    A very handsomely done PDF it is too.

    That is one reason I like working with Intellect Books. They provide free access to their publications in this way (the Japan collection may still be available) and have a policy of providing all their publications available without charge to over 20 of the world's poorest countries. Probably not that great for booksellers but they are driven by a social agenda.

    Incidentally, I am starting to look for prospective writers for volume II, to be published in 2012. I intend to boost the NZ content, so contact me if you are interested, with your ideas (on NZ genres, specific NZ films/film-makers), at lealand@waikato.ac.nz

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2307 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I totally do this before deciding how much closer I want to get to a person.

    This, this, this. I picked the twelve books I did get to take very, very carefully based not only on what I would re-read but what they would say to fellow bookshelf scanners. Of course, the message ended up being a little confusing, but oh well.

    I am enjoying, however, access to the second-largest science-fiction and fantasy library on the East Coast, hidden in a campus basement. It doesn't quite make up for what I had to leave behind, but...it helps.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Don't know if I entirely trust people who don't have a book in the house.

    Amen. They are of another planet. Sometimes I look around these families and wonder what the hell the kids do at night or in the weekends. Usually the house does not look lived in either. "Surfaces surfaces - I MUST have surfaces." Those kind of poor folk.

    I can live with messy.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1494 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kinda makes sense though I'm not sure anything on my book shelf balances my remixed CD of Kylie

    Someone revoke this man's kiwi passport.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I never bloody get past chapter three of any Dickens

    Danielle: Seeing you have such impeccable taste in music, you should persist with CD. Have a go at The Pickwick Papers for a barrel of laughs. Dickens and Greene are the writers I turn to, when I yearn to spurn the fashionable and the contemporary.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2307 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Someone revoke this man's kiwi passport.

    I bought it for the remix of Can't Get You Out of My Head with Blue Monday - well cool (unless you're a die-hard Joy Division fan in which case... I'll get my hat).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2230 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Spineless bastards...

    Don't know if I entirely trust people who don't have a book in the house....

    ...but you can't really ask to browse their Kindle
    or scan their iPad or hard drives...
    ...perhaps these devices should have a holographic projector that throws up a mock book case...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4847 posts Report Reply

  • Lara,

    I am a compulsive bookshelf peruser. Not very subtle either..... I love books, what more can I say.

    I have what is probably termed an 'aspirational bookshelf'. It's a bit misleading to people if they want to hold a book-specific conversation, but it does show what many of my interests are.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2009 • 75 posts Report Reply

  • Knowledge Bro,

    The more impressive a library is the more likely it is to have been bought by the foot

    Behind the fridge • Since Mar 2009 • 58 posts Report Reply

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