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Showing posts from January, 2006

Bibliophile reviews Geisha (memoir, anthropology)

There are books I like to gobble up like candy, and then there are books I like to savour, like a long-drawn out meal where the food is so delicious you don’t want to stop eating. This is one of the latter type of book. It has taken me nearly a whole month to read, and I have therefore had ample time to digest it.



Author: Liza Crihfield Dalby
Year published: 1983
Genre: Anthropology, memoir

In the 1970s, anthropology student Liza Crihfield went to Japan to conduct a study of geisha for her Ph.D. thesis. The book is part anthropological study, part memoir, of Crihfield’s year among the geisha, who invited her to join their ranks, which she did, working as a geisha for about six months. She discusses geisha culture and historical fluctuations and changes in their fortunes, their private lives and their education, dress, social status and standards of conduct. It is a fascinating subject, and written in a very readable style, often with sly humour coming through.

One of the things Dalby trie…

Bibliophile reviews The Rule of Four (mystery, suspense)

Well, finally I have had time to sit down and write a book review, which is pretty good considering I have only been able to read a handful of books this month.


Authors: Ian Caldwell & Justin Thomasson
Year published: 2004

Two undergraduate students at Princeton University, Tom and Paul, get sucked into a mystery when another student who has been helping Paul with his thesis research is murdered, and it appears that his death has a link to the thesis, which is about an obscure and strange novel from the Renaissance period, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (a real book, BTW). Prior to Paul’s taking on this assistant, Tom had been helping him solve the riddle of the book, which (in the novel) is one big cryptogram. Tom had become nearly as obsessed with it as his father, a Hypnerotomachia scholar, had been, but pulled out in time before his obsession could ruin his relationship with his girlfriend. What follows is an investigation into the dead man’s connection to the Hypnerotomachia, an…

More bookmarks online: printables

Printables for everyone:

Free Printable Bookmarks. Cute bookmarks with motivational sayings. Includes some for Mother’s Day.
More free printable bookmarks. Designed by children’s book author and illustrator Jan Brett. All bookmarks include her name (OK, I know I said I tried to avoid promotional stuff, but these are really lovely).
Free bookmarks from Graphic Garden. Really cute bookmarks, some in horizontal (landscape) format.


Printables for kids:

Bookmarks from abcteach. Loads of bookmarks, mostly with educational themes.
DLTK's Crafts for Kids. Create personalised bookmarks online.



I think I'm going overboard with this bookmark mania. Now I've bought a laminating machine...

Bookmarks online

After I wrote the bookmark post, I though it would be fun to see what the web has to offer in the way of bookmarks. I googled “bookmarks” combined with all the methods I could think of for making them and found oodles of websites offering either printable bookmarks or instructions on how to make them from various materials. I found so many that I decided to make a separate post with just links.

I even found sewn, crocheted and knitted bookmarks. While I think such bookmarks are beautiful to look at, they do tend to be a bit too thick and slippery to stay inside a book that’s being carried around, so they are best reserved for books that will stay in one place, and should not be left in for long, as they could leave marks.

The printable bookmarks should be printed on heavy paper, cardstock or photo paper, and laminated for durability and to protext the books from possible stains or chemicals from the printer ink.

I have tried to avoid advertising bookmarks as much as possible.

First the …

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark:

Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines.


Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds.



Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap.



Fold the square diagonally in two. You…

Bookmarks

After the book came along, the bookmark was an inevitable invention, and is probably as or almost as old as bound books. I don’t know how the ancients who wrote on scrolls remembered their place, but surely they had some equivalent of the bookmark. Many older, bound books, and some new quality editions have a built-in bookmark, a fabric ribbon that is sewn or glued into the binding. Very handy and not likely to get lost even if it falls out between the pages.

Like bookplates, bookmarks are a collector’s item, and while some collectors use their bookmarks, others just collect them. You can get them in most bookshops and many souvenir shops. Some are plastic or laminated and will last for ages, while others are made from thick paper and will age along with your books.

For some, the joy is in making and owning or giving one-of-a-kind bookmarks, for others, it’s having as many different ones as possible. Some prefer to use impromptu bookmarks. I have found several such improvised bookmark…

Ex libris

I love books. Anyone who visits this blog can see that. But this is not about books. Rather, I would like to discuss book paraphernalia, namely two items that were created for the ease of book owners and readers: ex libris and bookmarks. Today it’s ex libris.

Ex libris is a Latin phrase meaning, literally from books, but over time it has become a fancy name for bookplates or book labels because it is a common inscription on bookplates, there used to mean from the library/books of.... When books were rare and expensive commodities, their owners would declare their ownership by pasting an ex libris on the inside of the cover. These early bookplates would be specially designed for that owner alone. Typically, the bookplate would include the owner’s name, plus a crest or even a full coat of arms and a motto, and sometimes an admonition to potential thieves, books being precious and valued property.

Bookplates developed over time and heraldic content became rarer and was often replaced by…

Bibliophile’s reading report for 2005

I finally found time to sit down and finish my reading report. In addition to the books reported here, I started but did not finish several books, and read chapters and parts of about 15 school and academic books (required reading and research for assignments).

Off we go:

Total books read in 2005: 282
Fiction: 202, or 71,6 %
Non-fiction: 80, or 28,4%

Total no. of pages: 60355
Re-reads: 15
Library and loan books: 156
E-books: 50
Audio books: 8
Translated books: 14
Average number of stars per book (out of a possible 5): 3,6

Languages: Danish (2), English (265), Icelandic (14)


Breakdown by genre:
Crime, mystery and action: 86, or 30,5%
Romance and chick-lit: 29, or 10,3%
Fantasy and sci-fi, supernatural horror included: 28, or 9,9%
Teen and children’s literature: 22, or 7,8%
Novels that defy genre classification (also known as literature): 16, or 5,7%
Books about books and reading: 12, or 4,2%
Biographies, autobiographies and memoirs: 12, or 4,2%
Travel: 11, or 3,9%
Other: 66, or 23,4 %

I will …

Bibliophile’s reading resolution for 2006

I’m not much for making new year’s resolutions in general (hence the “try to”), but here are my reading resolutions for 2006:

1. I will try to read more of my own books and fewer library books.
2. I will try not to buy any more books until I have cleared some space in my TBR bookcase.
3. I will try to read more Icelandic books this year.
4. I will get rid of books I do not intend to read again, ASAP.