October 22, 2014

How long would it take you to read [insert title of a really huge tome]?

As much as I love to throw in the occasional blog post about bookish quizzes, I will share a different kind of thing today. More precisely, a test to find out just how long it would take you to read, say, Game of Thrones. Sounds daunting? It is, even when you're heavily into epic fantasy novels. So as not to steal too much of your precious reading time (you'll need it, trust me), how about finding out how long it'd take until you could finally close the last page of the last book and release a long deep sigh ...

Take what presumably is an average reading speed and an hour a day and barely 15 weeks later I've shown those tomes who's the boss. And when I'm done I will continue to tick the following books of my list. Just kidding. Seriously. I'm joking. Big tome time.

How long would it take you to plow through Game of Thrones? Are you generally a speedy reader or more the average kind like me?

October 20, 2014

Monday Five's - The (un)fun of working at a bookstore! (Part II)

Last week I shared all the fun that working in a bookstore can be in Part I, but you know how it is, inevitably there is a dark side too. As much as I do think fondly of those book selling days, I never forgot that there were a select few downsides to it as well. Not enough to spoil the whole experience, but still making for cautionary and somewhat entertaining blog post material ...

Empty bank account
Now that might be exaggerating things a little, but being constantly surrounded by book-shaped temptations I left a fair share of my wages right in the store. Not exactly a complaint, more of a fact, really.

Battered hands
As much as hauling around books did for my upper arm muscles, my hands embraced *haha* what I jokingly refer to the well-read construction worker look. I was covered with paper cuts and other book-induced nicks and dents all the time.

The mess
It was all a never ending cycle of people going through the shelves and stacks leaving an incredible chaos behind. My favorite pet peeve was that it was never enough to have one sample copy open to browse through. Nope, some folks had to tear at least three copies out of their original plastic wrapping which consequently no one wanted to buy as they all soon ended up looking as if someone had dragged them across half the continent.

Brain-dead customers
There will always be people who assume that working in retail means you're an idiot. The fact that working at a bookstore requires the ability not just to read but also to have a grasp of books in general has sadly escaped the notice of some customers who'll treat you like imbeciles. They will spell out what to them is a rather complicated book title (erroneously, but don't tell them, because they usually do not appreciate being corrected by someone who they consider to be an idiot) while you've already typed it into the computer and are half way to the correct aisle to fetch a copy for them.

Dreadful fatigues
Many shops will not just put a name-tag on your shirt but require you to dress in company wear. (Un)luck would have it that during five years I progresses from a grey vest to a red one straight to the unspeakably ugly neon-colored shirts we had to wear one summer. Neither option did anything for my complexion.

Have you ever worked in a bookstore? If so, can you relate to some of the things mentioned above? Which of them is the worst downside in your opinion? Please share.

October 17, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Stargazers

Stargazers: Galileo, Copernicus, the Telescope and the Church (Allan Chapman)
October 17th 2014, Lion Hudson

Stargazers presents a comprehensive history of how leading astronomers, such as Galileo and Copernicus, mapped the stars from 1500AD to around 1700AD. Building on the work of the Greek and Arabian astrologers before him, church lawyer Nicholas Copernicus proposed the idea of a sun-centred universe. It was later popularized by Galileo – a brilliant debater whose abrasive style won him many enemies – who presented new evidence, which suggested that the earth moved. This thorough examination of the work of both men explores both their achievements and influences. It then traces the impact of their ideas on those who followed them, including Sir Francis Bacon, Dr John Wilkins, Dr Robert Hooke, Sir Isaac Newton and Reverend Dr James Bradley. Chapman investigates the Church’s role and its intriguing relationship with the astronomers of the day, many of whom were churchgoers. He rebuts the popular view that the Church was opposed to the study of astronomy. In reality, it led the search to discover more. In 1728, Copernicus’s theory of the moving earth was finally proven by the young Reverend Dr James Bradley.

October 15, 2014

Quote Garden - Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them ...

Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness.

If you are a student you should always get a good nights sleep unless you have come to the good part of your book, and then you should stay up all night and let your schoolwork fall by the wayside, a phrase which means 'flunk'.

The burning of a book is a sad, sad sight, for even though a book is nothing but ink and paper, it feels as if the ideas contained in the book are disappearing as the pages turn to ashes and the cover and binding--which is the term for the stitching and glue that holds the pages together--blacken and curl as the flames do their wicked work. When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all of the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all of the trouble that befell the author.

A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.

Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another.

Lemony Snicket

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (Open WW)

Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (October 15th - 31st)

It's the season to, well, not be jolly, obviously, but certainly made for staying inside and indulging in some terrifyingly good books. In case you've run out of spine-tingling reading material, fear not *haha* because, one lucky (and hopefully not easily scared) person can win this set of books by the master of horror himself.

The Shining and Doctor Sleep (Stephen King)
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

Don't forget - you need to leave a comment AND claim your entry in the Rafflecopter form to be in for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 13, 2014

Monday Five's - The fun of working at a bookstore! (Part I)

Once upon a long time ago I used to bump up my meager student's bank account by working part-time at a bookstore. Where else would I have wanted to spend the time I didn't sit at my desk learning for Uni? Looking back now on my years in retail I think of it both fondly and with dread. As with many things in life, there are ups and downs to every job and today I will share some of the fun parts about my book-selling stint ...

Fondling books all day long
All right, maybe just all shift long, but you get the general idea. I guess I don't really need to explain why this is great, do I?

Arm workout
I've never been much into sports, in fact not even remotely. The idea of jogging without an oxygen tent every 100 meters is laughable. But I honestly didn't mind hauling around and arranging books which gave me amazingly toned arms.

Dibs on sale items
Something got marked down and before it even hit the sales floor ... need I really spell it out? First to know, first to buy, or something like that.

Review copies
Granted, working in a big chain bookstore rarely (if ever) translates into foot soldiers at the bottom of the rung receiving any goodies. In my five years there I got my hands on two review copies which I found pretty cool back then (obviously still do).

Window dressing
Come to think of it, being located inside a mall there were no actual windows to dress, yet the entry area and the main dais in the store needed some dress changes nonetheless. Being able to decide on the book arrangements there? Awesome.

Watch out for next week's Part II where I will share the un-fun parts of working at the bookstore.

Have you ever been working at a bookstore? If so, can you relate to my fondly remembered benefits listed above? Maybe there are even more things you'd like to add? Please share.

October 10, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Careers in Serious Leisure

Careers in Serious Leisure: From Dabbler to Devotee in Search of Fulfilment (Robert A. Stebbins)
October 8th 2014, Palgrave Macmillan

Using the framework of the serious leisure perspective, this book explores the concept of career and the question often tackled in mid-life and even upon retirement: 'what to do with the rest of my life?' Apart from the classic economic concerns of pay, health care, fringe benefits, and possible chances for promotion, many people give little careful thought to a career in either work or leisure. In fact, one of the principal themes of this book is that interest in a fulfilment career, even when it leads to deeply attractive work, originates in leisure. If followed, this leads to an efflorescence many years later in amateurism, hobbyism, volunteering, or devotee work. Here participants discover some of the deepest meanings of fulfilment.