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text 2019-01-14 08:27
Voici! or, Mischief Managed.

From atop a ladder, just after I finished putting the last of MT's books up.

 

The view from ground level.  Not as invisible as I thought it would be, but not unpleasingly overpowering at all either.  Very happy with the result, if also a tad depressed about how little shelf space this actually freed up for me.  

 

I swear the books expand to fill the space without any help from me.

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text 2019-01-13 03:22
Notes from a desperate bibliophile: the 2019 edition

Yesterday, I posted a teaser photo of a project I'd tackled:

 

 

Like any self-respecting bibliophile, I lie awake at night (ok, mornings) and contemplate how I can manipulate time and space to create more room for books.  Several weeks ago, as I lie contemplating, and imagining someday turning my room into a library (were we to ever renovate), I noticed the space above my wardrobes:

 

  

 

I'm thinking to myself: that's a lot of wasted space ... I could pile books up there, but that would look messy.  And desperate; maybe a tiny bit hoarder-ish.  But if I put shelves up there...

 

So I started looking around, and found nothing that wasn't cheap particleboard/MDF, and it wasn't actually cheap.  Nor anything that would look right.  Then I started imagining what "right" would look like, and I realised it didn't have to be complicated.  Sturdy, yes, but otherwise, the simpler the better.

 

I am a crap carpenter, but I can do simple.  Especially if I can get cut to measure lumber.  A quick bit of searching and I found a place 10 minutes away that would cut anything except plywood for free.  (The big box hardware store - a store I hate on principle - only does it in certain locations, though they don't tell you which ones, and charge you for each cut.)

 

I measured, then sketched out what I wanted/needed, and headed to the lumber/timber store.  An incredibly nice, patient staff member helped me out, showing me the pine posts I'd planned to use.  He got called away just long enough for me to spot the Cypress posts they had in stock, and when he returned saw me admiring them. He made the off-hand comment that they were much cheaper than the pine, which was pressure treated; something I'd wanted to avoid.  Then he helped me decide how to do the tops and fronts without using plywood, pick out all the wood, and then he cut it all to size for me.  Total cost for all the wood, some L-brackets and a packet of self-drilling screws (best. invention. ever):  less than $250AU (about$180US).

 

MT was on the sidelines due to a painful rheumatism flare-up, which he was not happy about, but while I was out running around the lumber-yard, he was using the time wisely.  He pulled all his books off the top of the bookcase they'd been piled on precariously, in preparation for their new home. 

 

 

He refused to take a picture of what they'd looked like before on the grounds that he wasn't sure he couldn't be charged with reckless endangerment after the fact.  But to give you an idea: he had 151 books piled on top of an extended IKEA Billy Bookcase (the wide one).

 

I got home and sealed it all up with a clear acrylic; cypress has to be sealed but the grain was too beautiful to hide.  At the same time, MT painted the top boards black - they were untreated pine and soooo did not match the cypress.  Not even in a funky, eclectic, non-matchy way.

 

 

That was all yesterday.  This morning, I marked everything up and stared putting it all together:

 

 

 

There are two sizes:  25cm (~10 inches) and 50cm (~20 inches).  There's a hardwood cross-bar in the front of each one to act as a back-stop for the books that sit in front.  16 screws hold each unit together.  Since they're sitting on wardrobes that are a bit over 3 meters (just over 12 feet) high, I did not stress the finishing touches, like covering the screws.

 

The hardest part was getting them up on top of the 'robes - they're HEAVY.  But once we did:

 

They fit just as I'd hoped they would, and now give us three tiers of space for the books we want to keep, but likely won't need to access more than a couple of times a year, if that.

 

We're in the process of combing through the library for the books to add, but here's what it looks like so far.  

 

 

I'll post a final picture once all the books are up there (we had to take a break; it's like the stairmaster from hell hauling the books up the ladder). 

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text 2019-01-12 09:00
There's an air of desperation at la casa de los libros

 

Stay tuned... hopefully this is going to work...

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review 2018-10-16 15:36
A Wonderful Pick for Book Lovers
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany - Jane Mount

Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount is a beautifully crafted and charming tribute to the printed book as both a physical object and an enduring cultural contribution.  Mount’s delightful illustrations fill every page and are inspired by her prior experience as an artist painting clients’ “Ideal Bookshelves.”  This book provides informative and entertaining descriptions of a wide variety of titles, with chapters organized by familiar genres or quirky subjects (e.g.: “Unhappy Families Each in Their Own Way”).  Bibliophile focuses primarily on fiction, but some popular nonfiction categories are also presented.  Interspersed throughout the book are profiles on bookstores and libraries throughout the world known for their interesting origins, architecture or collections.  Author profiles and depictions of their writing spaces give insight into the creative surroundings and inspirations of well-loved classics.  Mount steps aside to give plenty of space to include recommendations by other book experts such as librarians, booksellers, editors, and artists.  Packed with the advertised “miscellany,” fun trivia and quizzes, this homage would make a wonderful addition to any book aficionado’s shelves, and a great gift for those who still revere the look and feel of this timeless media.

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text 2018-07-31 03:46
Good-bye July!
Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World - Rachel Swaby
Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders
A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile's Compendium - Alex Johnson
100 Books That Changed The World - Scott Christianson,Colin Salter
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

Well, I needed to read 22 books this month if I was going to pull myself out of the TBR-reducing-hole I'd dug for myself in June, and thanks to a reading binge, I pulled it off.  My total this month was 28 books.  6 of those were re-reads, but either way you interpret the parameters of my challenge, I still pulled it off.

 

I had 1 5-star read this month: Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby and I recommend it to anyone - in either print or audio - that has an interest in women, history or science.  The bios are brief, but 90% of these scientists are ones you're likely to have never heard of before, so it's all new stuff and well-written.

 

I had 4 4.5-star reads too, including one Man Booker Prize winner; a first for me.  Lincoln in the Bardo was also the only fiction to make the cut this month.  

 

For July, since I was feeling chart-y this month:

 

 

  

 

(I just realised that second chart is mis-labeled; it should read "fiction/non-fiction" but I can't be bothered opening the program back up and fixing it.)

 

 

TBR Challenge update: 

 

July budget: -11

Books bought in July: 3

Books read in July: 28

Deficit brought forward to August: 0

# of books pre-ordered for August: 6

August budget: 7*

 

*: by my admittedly dodgy mental rules, because I went into July at a deficit, clearing it should start me back at zero, as though I'm starting over. So this month's budget is based on half the number of books I read in July *after* clearing that deficit.

 

So it would appear I have 1 book left to buy in August, except I don't.  I've placed an order for 5 books from Mysterious Books, which means I'm in the hole again by 4 books.  So far.  Hopefully it'll stay at 4; Halloween Bingo is coming up, but I have loads of books on my TBR I should be able to make work, so I'm semi-confident I won't need to buy any - at least until September.

 

How was your month?  :)

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