Thursday, 30 January 2014

Travelling...Via books

Whenever someone gets asked a question on what their hobbies are, the stock set of answers are: I love reading, I love music, I love travel and so on. I am not going to comment on the reading bit, because hello, this is a blog where I talk about books (and movies and other things, but mainly books). And I will maybe tackle music another day but I would like to talk about traveling as a hobby.

Someone recently asked me if I liked to travel, and I answered saying yes. And I do like traveling, especially with friends and family (right now more with friends than with family - a deliberate shout out to my family, who have gone on trips with out me :P ). But what with a busy work schedule that my friends and I have we are unable to really travel as much as we would like. So even though I answered with a yes I added a caveat saying: 'I like traveling, but I use books to travel'.

Now when I said this to this particular person, and to a lot of other people, he looked at me weirdly. Like I was the most crazy and laziest person on earth. And that offends me, even though it is true that I am lazy and I am definitely certifiably crazy, that they assume I must just not like traveling and am finding a lame alternate.

It is not true that I would not like to travel if given a chance. Come to think of it, I have traveled quite a bit. I've not gone overseas but my father loves traveling so he has taken me and the rest of the family on quite a few trips (near or otherwise). But traveling within the world that is created by a book is just amazing. And I am not bound by boundaries at all. Not just physical boundaries but the boundaries of space and time are of no match to me when I am reading a book. If a book is well written then it can take you to different locations like America (almost every YA book and various other adult books that I have read), Sweden (the Patrik Hedstrom series), Egypt (Sphinx  by Robin Cook), Russia, France, Brussels (Bourne trilogy) and it can even let me travel backwards and forward through time. And I didn't even need any documentation.

I have also traveled to distant planets, parallel universes (where I am just as lazy as I am now but either super rich and intelligent or super poor :P) and to Middle Earth of course. It might seem lame to some but I think of this kind of travel as preparation for actual travel. I know of a few places to visit in the countries I mentioned above and what is generally accepted or not accepted there. I also learn a bit of their culture and laws.

And if I ever meet a troll I know that I should keep them talking till the sun comes up (LOTR) or that I should be wary of black monoliths on unknown planets (2001: A Space Odyssey). I will always travel with a towel as that would be my best friend (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and to keep garlic and silver on my person while I travel if I ever meet pesky vampires or werewolves.

All in all I would say traveling via books has actually made me more prepared than anyone else who has not read. So take that all you doubters and travel snobs. I, I mean my imagination, has clocked more kilometers than any of you. And to all you readers out there, Have a happy journey!!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

My Book Habits and Pet Peeves

I have been in the habit of reading ever since I can remember. I attribute this part of my character to my parents. My mother encouraged me by teaching me shlokas (poems), telling me their meanings and telling me stories. My father encouraged me while leading by example. We have always had a lot of books at home. Cultivating the habit of reading from such a young age has resulted in me having a few book habits and pet peeves.

My pet peeves are:
  1. When people mark their places in a book by dog earing the pages. 
  2. When people write in the margins of my book. I'm fine with people writing in their own books. I actually like owning second hand books that have notes in them, as long as I have a pristine copy for myself.
  3. One of my other pet peeves is when someone opens a book really wide and cracks the spine beyond recognition
  4. Licking a finger and then turning a page
  5. People blurting out spoilers from the movie version in front of me when they know I haven't read the book or watched the series. (Though I have to mention here that I did this to my sister once, and I am extremely sorry that I did.)
My book habits are :
  1. If I love a particular book I tend to keep reading books from the same genre for the next 3-4 books. I have done this quite a few times. Last year I read Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and I liked it. This lead me to read Feed by Mira Grant, World War Z and Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.
  2. When I am reading a book I'm falling in love with I imagine myself in the world created by the author. I do not necessarily imagine myself as one of the main characters but I start creating a character of my own that I think would fit in to this world. 
  3. I not just start living in the world but start to make up stories for the characters even after the book has ended. I am great at imagining these things but really bad at writing them down.
These are only some of my pet peeves and book habits. I cannot seem to think of more but I am quite sure I have a few more of both. Maybe I'll update the list whenever I do remember. So what are your pet peeves and habits when it comes to books?

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Effects of Book Hauls on life in general & TBR Shelves

I just ordered 9 books off of the internet. I do not know why I do this to myself. Though in my defense I have been holding off on buying books for a few months now. And then someone told me about the clearance sale on Flipkart and I just freaked out. I got two, that's right TWO hardcover books for less than 700 rupees. That's less than 10 USD, which is rare in India.

It is a good thing that we are now able to get a lot of books in India that were not really available to us before. But there is a problem that arises when there are addicts like me around. I allude to my addiction to books. The minute I hear of a good book, I need to read it.

I do read e-books but somehow its not the same. So when I read a book and love it enough, I buy the physical book. And sales like the ones this past weekend encourage me to buy books I've not yet read but have heard a lot of. My family might be horrified to learn that I ordered NINE books but what they do not know is that I passed over buying double that number of books. They would not understand that this is actually shopping in moderation for me.

I justify my buying of books by saying that I do not buy high ticket items like clothes or jewellery. But that actually pisses my mother off more I think. She would actually prefer me wearing better clothes. So buying books gets me into trouble with my Mother and also my Grandmother.

Another problem that arises is that of space. I am have stacked my books in boxes, in my closet, in shelf space behind a mirror and at my home in Karimnagar. I have close to 200-250 books that I bought with my own money or received as gifts. Now, when I have to move out and go to a place of my own I'll have to search for a place that can accommodate my existing collection of books and the future books that I will buy.

The major problem with me buying books is that my To Be Read shelf increases by those many books. One of the things I do to offset this is that I first read the e-book version and if I really love it I get the physical book. This helps me keep my TBR shelf in check. This would be a great solution if I didn't discover new books that I would just love to read every other day.

Anyway, no matter how much I think I'm going to curb on my spending when it comes to books, it ain't gonna happen. I'll just have to be very careful and save before I splurge. I will try and spend money on books when there are sales like the one Flipkart had just a few days ago.

If anyone is curious as to the books I got this time around, they are:
  1. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
  2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa
  3. Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen (Hard Cover)
  4. There is no Dog by Meg Rosoff (Hard Cover)
  5. Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning
  6. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
  7. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  9. The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherine Valente

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy New Year !

Hello Everyone! Happy New Year! I know, I know... I've been away a long while - 3 months to be exact. I'm not going to make an excuse saying I was too busy, which I was, but I was not busy enough to binge read. The truth of the matter is I was lazy and I just could not bring myself to write. I was just in a writing slump. But I was not in a reading slump, not by a long shot.

I have read quite a lot of books that I tremendously enjoyed. Like the Maria Snyder books, Cinder, Feed by Mira Grant Wonder, Throne of Glass, The Rosie Project, A Monster Calls, Fangirl, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, A Fault in our Stars and I got to reread the first 3 books in the Potter series. 2013 was a great year for a book lover for me. The books I mentioned above are one of my favorite books I read.

There were other books I loved but just was not in the mindset to finish. I loved whatever I read of The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss but at that point in time I just did wanted some time to just marathon through the whole book and I did not have that time. So I put it on hold.

So I plan on reading the Kingkiller chronicles this year along with a few other series. I will hold off on reading a series unless the end of that particular series is near. And I will try and make a dent in my TBR. I have quite a few books on my shelves I've read so I need to read those. I am not saying I'll curb my buying of books. I'm not delusional enough to think I can stop but I've already curbed my book buying just a little.

I've set myself a conservative target when it comes to the number of books I plan on reading this year. I've already made a good start. I've read 5 books and loved all of them except one.The previous year I started with Zombie books and this year I started with Mystery novels.

I might do a joint review for all of them or just a few. But I can promise you that I will try to be consistent in writing posts. So here's to a great year ahead. I hope you find great books to read whose stories will stay with you forever.