the book doctor

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

of tea bags and rare books

Tea Time: Tradition, Presentation, And Recipes (Running Press Miniature Editions) - M. Dalton King

I spent some time at the UTPA Special Collections department today. I don't think I've been this excited for weeks!


The librarian, Janette Garcia, opened up the collection of rare miniature books and laid them down on the table in front of me. I squealed over a rare copy (one of thirty--one of THIRTY!) of a work by Lewis Carroll (in my excitement I forgot to actually read it! /sad face).


With trembling fingers, I took these books out of their plastic wrapping one by one by one and sat with them for a long time.


One of the books I did read cover to cover was a short booklet called The 2nd Course in Correct Cataloging or Further Notes to the Neophyte, compiled by David Magee. It was hilarious. It was laugh-out-loud funny. Good old library humor anyone would enjoy.


Parting at the end of the afternoon would have been much more emotional if I didn't remember that the Special Collections exists at my University's library. Gosh. If you're a book lover at UTPA, have an affinity for old, rare books, and haven't browsed Special Collections yet, you're missing out on so much.


Let me know if you ever march there. I might go along with you and we'll fawn over perfect binding and the flawless antiquity of old books together.


(P.S. The image linked to this post is a miniature book called "Tea Time: Tradition, Presentation, And Recipes" and--here's the cute part--the bookmark is a little tea bag label. Janette is especially fond of that one!)

Era ... gone.

Eragon (Inheritance, #1) - Christopher Paolini

I'm having my first international book club Skype meeting tomorrow. Super excited! Okay, so it's just my best friend and me talking about Eragon, which you may or may not have read. I've gone through about the first thirty pages of the book, and I have to say--it's not bad.


I've picked it up before and never really got into it. But Amna and I decided to read it together because her brother and my sister have really been pushing us to get a move on already.


So I'll let you guys know how it plays out. Hopefully I'll have some time to read today--I've been swamped with a couple of quizzes and a lot of homework, but you know--if you love something, you always end up making time for it.



Down Memory Lane~

Memory - Alan Baddeley, Michael W. Eysenck, Michael C. Anderson

Not your average bookish post: I'm reading a textbook. Memory by Baddeley, Eysenck, and Anderson. It's pretty good, actually. Okay, so yeah--I'm reading it for a class. And yes--it's not my first choice of book to read.


But come on. Knowledge of the workings of the human mind? Awesome experimental cases? And potentially learning how to increase my memory span?


Ch~yeah, I don't mind reading it if I have to.

Free books!? FREE BOOKS!


No, it's not a hoax. I really didn't pay anything for these books, in a manner of speaking. Paperback Swap is an amazing website I've joined for free. It works like this:


1. You add books (the ones you don't mind parting with) to your "shelf."

2. People request the books from you.

3. You mail them off (media mail costs $2.98 up to 5 lbs).

4. People receive your book, mark it as received in their system, and you get one credit for each book you sent them.

5. You then go cruising for books with those newfound credits! :)


Some helpful tips/advice:


Postage isn't expensive. Only a few dollars. And you can even send out up to three or four books with $3 worth of postage--which will get you four books in return! I think it's a pretty neat bargain.


Sometimes the best books won't be available. Add them to your wishlist! When you do, Paperback Swap immediately e-mails you as soon as someone puts up the book and makes it available. Then all you have to do is head on over to that person's shelf and place the order. Voila! It's very simple.


I've been using this service for almost a year now. It's pretty brilliant.


So--go ahead and join! And if you do, be sure to fell them I referred you to PBS!


(The books in the image are some free books I received today. I've been looking for a hard copy of Life of Pi since FOREVER!)

saturday reads

Pride and Prejudice - Jessica Hische, Jane Austen

I'm going to be re-reading The Final Descent and then going to be interviewed on book culture by a friend. Can you believe book culture is actually a thing? And I don't only mean hipster book culture--which harbors the image of a lonely, white girl sitting next to her windowsill, sipping herbal tea and flipping through the pages of Pride and Prejudice.


No, I actually mean the local culture which exists in regards to literacy and the pursuit of knowledge. I call it book culture because I associate books with knowledge--others may call it a literacy initiative, or internet culture--whatever works for you.


In my experience, book culture includes reading, active in-person book discussions, reaching out to the community and helping them out when they are hunting for a certain type of knowledge, and--of course--binding books. That's just me, though.


The image I've picked for this post is Pride and Prejudice because I mention it--and also because I don't diss it as "high" or "hipster" literature. It really is a good book. My copy from 1920 is falling apart (I found it at an antique bookstore in London!), but I'll get a new one soon. If you haven't read it, I'm sure it on your to-read list. I'm not sure any book lover can feel content without knowing Mr. Darcy to some extent.

The Final Descent - Rick Yancey

I think one of the greatest things about Yancey’s writing is that it’s so general and yet very precise at the same time. The concepts are universal—and so are the monsters—but they are universal in their precision. The anthropophagi are my favorite. I saw them clearly in my mind’s eye—so clearly that I was not in the least shocked to see fan art of the monster—and it looked exactly like I had imagined it to be.


(Perhaps that is because these monsters live in all of us and we have suppressed memories of our own selves in an alternate light.)


Minor spoilers ahead for The Final Descent.


He really is an excellent writer. I was not expecting Pellinore’s story to end like this—and the drastic changes in Will Henry’s personality! Could he have, at least, kept some shred of his personality? His kindness? His innocence?


I guess man is what you make him—his environment, and his nurturing (or lack of).

There is some excellent psychology in these books, and I am up for another re-reading of the series from that point of view.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - A real eye-opener for me. Brilliantly written, it had me laughing one moment and crying the next. If you are looking for a good read for young adults, this is definitely one of them. Thumbs up.


Graceling - Kristin Cashore I just re-read Graceling, and by God, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Brilliantly developed characters fall seamlessly into a well-woven plot ... or is the plot woven well by the characters?Whatever your take on plot/character theory, this is an amazing book about self-identity, love and empowerment.I really, strongly recommend it to you if you are looking for something amazing and well-written to read.

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith Spoiler-free review: This is a highly entertaining read. Strike is a detective with a personality and background I haven't been familiar with--which is to say, he's not very cliche. There are, of course, elements which every crime mystery novel has within them--and the author sticks to those, but adds personality and flair and excitement on their own behalf.It is a pretty good crime mystery debut, and I'm looking forward to reading more about Strike's adventures.P.S Robin was absolutely one of my favorite characters. I love her.

And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini A wonderful, wonderful book. A multigenerational tale told in layers of love, loyalty and family. Poignant and mesmerizing. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys well-written fiction and stories well-told.

The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles Series #2)

The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles Series #2) - Gorgeously written. As good as the first one, if not better. Kvothe's adventures are vivid & real, and Ambrose Jekis is a moron.

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn Series #2)



Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson Holy shiznets, Sanderson, holy shiznets.Let me just tell you: if you started reading this book and were confused and lost and discouraged in the beginning, you probably want to keep going because this is an oh-my-gods-what-beautiful-perfection book.It drags you into the plot and the perfectly real, real, REAL characters and is just a wonderful book overall.I'm going to need some time out now. I've just lived in another world and invested my emotions into characters from a book and oh my gosh--if you love well-written fantasy, go for it.


Elantris - Brandon Sanderson Elantris is beautiful and vile and real and lovey--all at the same time. It took me a while to finish because sometimes it weighed down on me: royal politics and unfamiliar names I had to get used to. It's been a while since I've read a good fantasy book, but this is one world I would definitely like to know more about.
Invisible - Pete Hautman A stunning novel about the fragility of reality. I loved every bit of it. Great characterization, and an amazing story. Hautman is one of the best YA authors out there: he connects with the minds of his readers and audience.
Matched - Ally Condie This is a really, really interesting book. For a while I couldn't pick up any future-dystopia books after The Hunger Games, but this has good elements to the story and an underlying suspense you want to get to the bottom of.I recommend it if you like dystopian YA lit. It's definitely a good read.

Currently reading

Brave New World/Brave New World Revisited
Aldous Huxley, Christopher Hitchens
The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing
Kevin Young
Neal Stephenson
Computational Fairy Tales
Jeremy Kubica
Sonya Hartnett
The Hero of Ages
Brandon Sanderson