Aw hell, I forgot all these books

I read seven more books in April than I reviewed here (oops).  To wit:

I read all the rest of the Company books, and at the end I was probably about 85% satisfied, the remaining 15% belonging to Mendoza and her lot, because that was a bit too weird for me.  Oh, and at least 1% of my dissatisfaction was down to Kage Baker’s suggesting that there would have been 315 Doctors on Doctor Who by 2351 (though I do appreciate the implication it’s got that kind of staying power).  That would necessitate a majority of the Doctors doing one year in the part; and come on, it’s the best acting gig in the world, why would anyone do just one year, let alone most of them?  (Paul McGann was in a film, and Christopher Eccleston was lending credibility, so that’s them explained away.)

Really, trapunto, thanks for the recommendation.  I had a ball with them.

Then I read this book called Reading the OED, which was, you know, about reading the whole of the OED, in the vein of A.J. Jacobs’s The Know-It-All, when he chronicles his time reading the whole of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  Reading the OED was fun in the sense that I like learning new words, but there wasn’t much to it.

I also read Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, which was about how people act contrary to how they think they’ll act, irrational but irrational in ways that studies can predict fairly reliably.  It was interesting, and I think people are irrational, and probably predictably so, but I didn’t always feel Ariely was making a strong case.  Most of his experiments were smallish, and most of them used students as subjects, which isn’t a representative sample of the population.  I also was sometimes bothered by his tone when he talked about women, and that put me off.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, that and cataloguing all my books on LibraryThing.  I’m moving soon, so as I catalogue them, I stack them all up in stacks in the living and dining room in my apartment.  This makes it difficult to find any individual book.  It took me ten minutes to find The Dud Avocado, which I’m reading for the Spotlight Series tour of NYRP Classics in mid-May.  Up with independent publishers!

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35 thoughts on “Aw hell, I forgot all these books

    • I liked the concept, definitely! But I guess I wanted to see more of the author’s life. I may have been a victim of expectations in that I did expect it to be a lot like Jacobs’s similar book on the Encyclopedia Britannica.

  1. For me, the whole point of LibraryThing was to designate locations for my books. Are you just cataloging for the fun of it? (I can also see this motivation)

    • Not for the fun of it, exactly. I am afraid of a hurricane! Striking my someday insured house and its someday insured contents, and then all my books being ruined, and I will have no record of what books I had, so the insurance won’t pay for them, plus I’ll never ever remember what all books they were, to replace them! Plus I would like to know how many books I have, so I can judge my future book acquisitions accordingly.

    • My books are not cataloged, but I understand the impulse. I lost a lot of my own books to mold (also all my saved toys, my husband’s sketchbooks, and a ton of furniture). We were renting a terrible, terrible old farmhouse. When we moved, I found that the shelf I thought was in a safe zone wasn’t. Mold had attacked from the wall behind the shelf, invisible from the front. At the time I was selling used and antiquarian books on the internet, so I already had a sense that no edition is irreplaceable. I sat down and wrote down the publication information on each book I had to throw away, so I could replace them all via abebooks or amazon, if I wanted to some day. And I haven’t wanted to. But I liked having the list.

  2. I know what you mean about Mendoza and her lot. An colonial style island plantation and a bunch of bossy men isn’t paradise, to me. (Or any of the other situations that came her way after her escape from I-will-not-say-where.) I don’t want to talk too much about it for fear of dropping a spoiler on your readers, but I had a lot of thoughts about why Baker ended up doing the whole Mendoza thing that way, and the boy issues. For me, though, it was all about finding out what happened to Lewis, and I thought she wrapped that up satisfactorily. It was more than I had hoped for after such a long wait. In fact, it was one of her best treatments. I loved it when the talking caligraphy competition pen was procured. I was proud of future Ireland.

    Also, what better way to end things with a bang than a Roman feast!

    Now that you’ve had some time to digest: Did you have a favorite book in the series? And are you going to try any of the short stories in the Company world?

    • For me, it was all about Lewis and Joseph, and then I also wanted to know whether the Company would be satisfactorily Brought Down. My favorite book in the series as I was reading through them was The Graveyard Game. I’m wondering if that will change now that I’m not hungry for information about the Company, though. What’s your favorite one?

      (She lost me on Mendoza when Edward started being so bossy and controlling, and Mendoza was all, oh, but I love him so much I can’t resist him. Blech. I really don’t appreciate bossy controlling people, particularly when they are called Edward.)

      • The Graveyard Game was my favorite too! I don’t know if it was less episodic than some of the others, but the episodes seemed to tie together in a way I particularly appreciated. Joseph’s Day of the Dead and his family story is one of those things that stays and stays in my head. I would think of it every time we passed an old cemetery where we used to live.

        And the bicycle cop at Gihardelli! And is that the one where Hurst shows up? And Budu? My memory is terrible. Scenes fade, but the remembered delight persists. Pretty soon I could go back to the beginning and these will be like new books to me. I always thought that would be a nice feature of amnesia. Getting to read all my favorite books again for the first time. I should make a list of them and put it in a sealed envelope in a prominent place.

  3. Not to be a complete nerd or anything but The Doctor can only regenerate 12 times … so technically only two more to go and then they are going to have to move forward with The Doctor/Donna or something. 🙂

    And I’m looking you up on LT – I want to see your books!

    • I’m ltjennysbooks on there – I should really link to it from this blog somewhere.

      Not to be a complete nerd back, but he can really only have one more nice regeneration, and then doesn’t he turn evil? My recollection is that there was a Colin Baker story where it’s revealed that the Time Lord who’s been persecuting the Doctor all through the story is actually the final incarnation of the Doctor himself.

      However, I have faith in the writers’ ability to get around that, and I have faith that they will find a way around the 12 regenerations rule, if the show’s still popular and doing well three Doctors from now. I’m just hoping it’s a good work-around, not some lame hand-wave.

  4. ‘Reading the OED’ made me think – you may find this book worth your while:

    The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

    • P.S. I don’t review *any* of the books I read, so don’t feel too bad about missing one or two (or seven) 😉

    • I love that book! And I really enjoyed the other one Simon Winchester wrote about the OED as well. That’s the book that put me onto dictionaries in the first place, and I’ve been meaning to read more books-about-dictionaries ever since.

  5. I’ve got a lot of books that I read last month that I haven’t reviewed yet too. I’m very new to the Doctor Who phenomenon, so I’ve only seen a few episodes of the first season. I’m still trying to figure out why there’s a different actor each season. 🙂 I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

    • Are you watching the very very first season (the one that aired in 1963), or the first season of the new series? If it’s the latter, lucky you, my most favorite Doctor of all the Doctors is going to show up at the end of this season. 🙂

      They don’t replace the Doctor every season, but they do replace him fairly regularly. The idea is that when the Doctor “dies”, he can regenerate, so the whole body vanishes and he gets a whole new body. It’s something they made up to keep the program going after the original Doctor decided to leave. The rule they’ve always given us was that the Doctor can regenerate 12 times (for a total of 13 bodies), but they’ve just had the tenth regeneration, so like I said to Kristen, they’re going to have to start thinking of a way to get around that within the next few years.

      End dorky explanations. 😛

      • I’m watching the first season of the new series. My husband found them on Netflix and they are such a blast! Thanks for your explanation! I’ll have to tell my husband tonight because we had been wondering what the reason for the different actors was.

  6. …I tried to categorize my books, but they wouldn’t let me do more than 200. it sucked, I did all that work and was denied the satisfaction of getting to finish.

    • Oh, yeah, after 200 you have to pay for it. Mumsy bought me a LibraryThing subscription in return for a few hours of cataloging books for her. I did one of the shelves of picture books from the hall.

      • And if you want, Anna darling, I will do the same deal for you. I still have an uncatalogued shelf. You can upgrade your 200-book catalog.

  7. I cataloged my books on LThing just for fun, never thought of doing it for insurance! What a great idea, to have proof of all the books I owned. Although, I suppose they would only replace the bought-new ones? or value them differently than me…

    • I’m not sure how the insurance companies work exactly. When my aunt’s house was destroyed, I remember they wanted her to give them an inventory of all her books and when she got them. It made me nervous because I wouldn’t be able to give anything like a complete list without having – you know. A complete list.

  8. Wow. I have a complete list now, but I don’t know when I bought or acquired them all. I bet they’d want to know that in order to give a value- if the books depreciate? Interesting.

  9. Ooh, you’re reading The Dud Avocado! So far, it’s my favorite book of the books I’ve read this year. Love it. I’m also participating in the Spotlight Series. It was hard to choose a book, as there were so many NYRB books that looked great. I ended up with The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.

    • Your favorite of the year? Impressive recommendation! I am enjoying it so far and keep wanting to mark passages that are particularly witty or incisive. I love the narrator’s voice!

  10. Holy Cow, Jenny!
    It sounds like my house. I have to devise an Excel sheet to know which room the book is. I really need to do it; but, I have better things to do. Like reading… Is the guy that read the encyclopedia the same one that also lived out the whole Bible, day by day?

    My wife read the one he wrote about living out the Bible? I was a hoot!

    • That is the same guy, yes. I read both books, and I think I slightly preferred the encyclopedia one – I think because I can understand the impulse to read a whole encyclopedia. But I’d never ever do all the commands of the Bible.

  11. You were quite the successful reader in April! I am glad to know I am not the only one who has to hunt for a while to find a book. Sometimes I feel like fool just standing there staring at my shelves thinking, “I know it’s here somewhere!”. Good luck with the move!

    • It is a lot of work. My advice is to check out a DVD box set of some really good TV show, and watch the entire thing while you are doing the cataloging. That makes the time fly by. 🙂

  12. I want The Dud Avocado! Someone reviewed that not too long ago and it sounded so so good.

    I had so much fun cataloguing all my books when I first joined LibraryThing (I did it before moving to the UK to study, so it sounds like moves are a great motivator :P). The insurance idea is an excellent one!

    • My original motivator was Hurricane Gustav, but I quickly got bored and stopped after three shelves or something like that. Whereas with the move, I knew I had to get everything from the upstairs bookshelves to boxes downstairs, and I thought I might as well take note of them all as they were going into stacks.

      The Dud Avocado was pretty good. It’s the terrible thing of expectations that causes all my problems! I bought it because someone compared it to Joan Wyndham, whose diaries I read last year, and it’s nothing like as charming as Joan Wyndham. But still good though, well worth a read.

  13. Pingback: Wrapping up 2010 « Jenny's Books

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