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text 2018-02-01 05:11
January is over already! Reading summary.
The Diary of a Bookseller - Shaun Bythell
The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford
The Peach Keeper - Sarah Addison Allen
The Mayor's Wife - Anna Katharine Green
A Short History of Drunkenness - Mark Forsyth
Pomfret Towers - Angela Thirkell
The One-Cent Magenta - James Barron
The Bee Friendly Garden: Easy Ways to Help the Bees and Make Your Garden Grow - Doug Purdie
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg

I don't want to go back to work!

 

I read 33 books in January.  It's always by far my biggest reading month.  I work in schools, which means I get the summer holidays off.  December is crazy with holidays and MT being off work, but January I'm on my own all day and can read and read and read.

 

Of the 33 books, only 1 wasn't on my TBR pile when the month started.  I had 2 five-star reads, and 7 four-and-a-half star reads, so on average an excellent month.  My least favourite was a 2 star read; a collection of essays about libraries that I found repetitive.

 

Since the woman-author reading challenge is taking place this year, here are my "gender" stats:

Women authors:  15

Male authors: 17

Mixed: 1

 

A whopping 23 were non-fiction, compared to 10 fiction.

 

As for my TBR Challenge of only allowing myself to buy half as many books as I've read, I actually did o.k.  I did have a small cheat, because on New Year's Day, my neighbour came over and offered me 6 boxes of books she was getting rid of.  Karma was rigging the system for failure!!  After going through the boxes I chose 6, but didn't count them against my book budget; I categorised them as 'gifts' and I'd said from the start gifts didn't count.

 

So:

January's book buying budget: 12 books.

Bought:  9

Balance: 3 

Total TBR: 322

 

For February, my book budget is 16 books (January's 33 rounded down and divided by 2).

 

Go me!  ;)

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review 2018-01-21 08:24
The One-Cent Magenta
The One-Cent Magenta - James Barron

I have always thought postage stamps were neat.  I admit I'm the ass in the post office line asking if I can see all the current stamps when I get to the counter, so I can pick out the coolest ones.  (This, by the way, is unheard of in Australia; I've only found one post office where the lady is nice enough to let me pick my own stamps.)

 

But I have never collected stamps.  The hobby holds no appeal for me and never has. What I am hooked on, is rarity.  The idea that there are only x number of something in the world sucks me in, no matter what x is.  I understand the collectors that want to own what no one else owns; I don't have the ego for it, but the idea of owning something that is completely unique is a seductive one.

 

That's why I bought this book on a whim.  That and the cover.  James Barron is a New York Times journalist, who stumbled on the story of the one-cent magenta stamp at a cocktail party; the article he wrote about it led to this book, where he chronicles the path this odd-looking stamp took on it's way to becoming the world's most valuable stamp, selling at auction in 2014 for 9.5 million USD, to Stuart Weitzman, he of the red-soled shoe empire.

 

This is where journalists who write books shine, especially for someone like me, who knows almost nothing about stamps or philately.  Let's face it, stamps do not lend themselves to page-turning drama, and philately needs all the help it can get if it's to appeal to those outside the bubble.  Barron succeeded beyond my expectations.  I completely enjoyed this book and spent all day reading it.  His journalistic style brought the stamp's history to life, and even though he has a bit of fun with the eccentricities of "Stamp World" as he calls it, I thought he did a brilliant job describing the passion and dedication of the hobby in a sympathetic way.

 

I'm thoroughly surprised and delighted at how much I enjoyed this book.  

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review 2017-03-25 20:30
The One-Cent Magenta
The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World - James Barron

What is it about a not-very-pretty-looking piece of paper not even an inch in size that could make it worth almost $9.5 million? I know very little about the hobby or business of stamp collecting, but even I recognize some of the names who have played a role in the history of The One-Cent Magenta. The book by journalist James Barron tells the journey of this stamp and the story of each of its owners in a light, easy to read narrative, that is almost gossipy in tone.

 

Reviewed for NetGalley

 

Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-one-cent-magenta.html
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