Skip to main content

What I found inside Marco Polo's Silk Road

I've mentioned this book in my last two Monday reading reports, and commenters have been showing some interest in it, so I figured I would review it. First, however, I thought I'd mention what I found inside it. The review will come once I have finished reading it.

I buy most of my books second hand, at a rather marvellous charity shop not far from where I live. Since the shop lies between my home and the two supermarkets where I do most of my grocery shopping, I often stop by there on my way to buy groceries.

Sometimes I come out empty handed, but occasionally I emerge with a stack of books, or a bag of yarn, a new-old handbag or some other "necessity" of life.

Because most of the books are second hand, I often find stuff inside them. Most often it's a bookshop receipt, but sometimes I'll find a boarding pass or a handwritten note, a postcard or a purpose-made bookmark. On this particular occasion I found three items inside: a bookmark, a paper tag and a printout of an email with a content list for what I assume to be a home-made cosmetic. Here are the bookmark and the tag:

 The tag reads: "A Christmas book" and was given away with books at a local bookshop around Christmas a few years back. You can also see one of sumptuous background graphics that grace many pages of the book.

I like the cheekiness of this label. I think it came from a handbag rather than an item of clothing. I intend to add a ribbon to it and use it as a bookmark to remind myself that sometimes there is no shame in buying what you want.

It turns out that three place-markers are actually necessary when reading this book if one intends to get the most out of the experience, as the text is heavily peppered with endnote references. There are also photographs on many of the pages but none of the photos are labelled, so if you want to know what you're looking at, you need to refer to a list at the back of the book. Bookmarks are useful for this when the book is resting, but I use my fingers to keep my place in the endnotes while I am reading, and have decided to just enjoy the photos as they come for now and check up on the references later.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading report for January 2014

Here it is, finally: the reading report for January. (February‘s report is in the works: I have it entered into Excel and I just need to transfer it into Word, edit the layout and write the preface. It will either take a couple of days or a couple of months).

I finished 26 books in January, although admittedly a number of them were novellas. As I mentioned in my previous post, I delved into a new(ish) type of genre: gay (or M/M) romance. I found everything from genuinely sweet romance to hardcore BDSM, in sub-genres like fantasy, suspense and mystery and even a quartet of entertaining (and unlikely) rock star romances. Other books I read in January include the highly enjoyable memoir of cooking doyenne Julia Child, two straight romances, and Jennifer Worth‘s trilogy of memoirs about her experiences as a midwife in a London slum in the 1950s. I also watched the first season of the TV series based on these books and may (I say 'may') write something about this when I have finis…

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…

List love: A growing list of recommended books with elderly protagonists or significant elderly characters

I think it's about time I posted this, as I have been working on it for a couple of months.
I feel there isn’t enough fiction written about the elderly, or at least about the elderly as protagonists. The elderly in fiction tend to be supporting characters, often wise elders (such as  Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books) or cranky old neighbour types (e.g. the faculty of Unseen University in the Discworld series) or helpless oldsters (any number of books, especially children’s books) for the protagonist to either help or abuse (depending on whether they’re a hero or not).
Terry Pratchett has written several of my favourite elderly protagonists and they always kick ass in one way or another, so you will see several of his books on this list, either as listed items or ‘also’ mentions.
Without further ado: Here is a list of books with elderly protagonists or significant, important elderly characters. I leave it up to you to decide if you’re interested or not, but I certainly enjoyed…