Friday, February 05, 2010

A Ladder of Books

Suddenly I have a lot of books to read. Good thing I have a new bookshelf. Martin found this ladder on the hard rubbish and did it up for me for my birthday. It sits next to my bed, in arm's reach, I don't even have to sit up.
The books are sort of sorted. The top pile are books I am planning to read for pleasure. This is the pile I will go to if we have a weekend away or I have a day to kick my heels and read. I am reading Home at the moment. I am actually really enjoying taking it slow, I seem to have turned into the kind of person who reads more than one book at a time. In case you can't read the titles there's: Bloodflower (which I wrote a reader's report on an early draft of), Noah's Compass (which I am saving up for special), The Children's Book (which I am a bit scared of, it's so long!), Olive Kitteridge, and Home.
The next pile are some of the books I will be teaching this semester. I have already read Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett (she's SUCH an impressive author) and The Tall Man, which I wholeheartedly recommend - beautifully written, compulsive reading, and I felt like a better human being for reading it. The other books on the pile are The Lost Dog, Reunion (which I am reading now) and New Australian Stories.
This next pile is some of the best bit of my job. The below are 'for work': Saving Franscesca and The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta, Liar by Justine Larbalestier and Riding the Black Cockatoo by John Danalis. I am doing an 'in conversation with Melina Marchetta in March, mostly discussing The Piper's Son, which is a follow on from (but not sequel to) Saving Franscesca. Isn't the cover beautiful?
The following is a critical text by Susan Stewart about objects: On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir and the Collection. I am fascinating by collecting, and it forms the basis of a work in progress (which mostly exists in my head) about a miniature girl. I have also often thought that I would quite like to explore why children are so fascinated with dinosaurs (and why adults encourage and build on this fascination). I dip in and out of this.
And I don't have to read the books on the bottom shelf, since I wrote them all. But perhaps you, dear reader, would like to put this one in your reading pile?
Where do you keep your books to read? What's on your pile?


  1. I have a special bookcase in the lounge room for books to be read and for books that I have read and might give away or loan, or read again.

    Liar is also in my to read pile (I found it in the opshop, score! and remembered you mentioning the author). Reading at the moment - Joe Cinque's consolation by Helen Garner - picked it up to see if I would like it and haven't been able to stop reading it. Have just abandoned Wild Decembers by Edna O'Brien, yawn. Itching to read more Janet Evanovich to re-capture that trashy holiday feeling.... I love reading all over again.

  2. i love your ladder. I might copy you - would that be ok? I also loved olive kitteridge though it's sad and made me think deeply about life, being human, growing old, the whole bit ...

  3. A couple of months back I saw a gorgeous old wooden ladder on a hard rubbish pile. By the time I did a u-turn to go back and get it, my neighbour was loading it in to the back of her station wagon. So close!

    I have just finished Bryce Courtney's "The Story of Danny Dunn". Quite a good read, but not earth shattering. Just a good January holiday read.

  4. I love Joe Cinque's Consolation. I love her own existential dilemma at the heart of it, her struggle to understand her place in the story. I know a lot of people were cross with Helen Garner over the First Stone.

    Simmone, everyone should have a ladder! I am looking forward to Olive Kitteridge but my copy has miniscule print. I might need a magnifying glass.

    Curses, Jo. I hope your neighbour has put it to good use.

  5. lovely ladder of books! Jealous!

    When were on holidays recently I put kindle on my iPhone and *shhhh* read Twilight. It was amazingly easy to read on my phone.

    The only problem I have is that my kids don't realise I am reading a book, they probably think I'm working or playing games.

    Anyhoo, I thought it was a fun,even enjoyable flippant little read. Then I read New Moon and it was like "blah blah blah - oh something interesting - blah blah blah - flip flip - how does this end? silly addictive thing - blah blah - interesting - I love you - the end"

    I really must read more though. Love it when my imagination is stirred up! Suggestions for me please? I am in need of a fiction fix. Neglected it for far too long.

  6. Oh that was a rather unfinished thought about Helen Garner. I was going to say, but I felt I understood very much what she was saying about the court and procedure and bureaucracy being disempowering for women. I understand people involved in the case feeling betrayed by her use of fictional devices and found it very poignant that she was so careful to avoid them in JCC. Apparently she's currently writing a book about Robert Farquarson.

  7. Jasmine - try The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, if you haven't read it. DOn't be put off by its fatness, it's an easy read and I think you'd find a lot of elements very identifiable, especially the territories of Melbourne it covers. And the bonus is HEAPS of people have read it so you can have lots of conversations about it.

    I am enjoying The Reunion so far.

    I just read Water for Elephants. It was eminently readable, not brilliantly written, but very deft and page-turnery, and the historical detail was fabulous.

  8. Hi Penni,
    Thank you for your lovely comment on Ned's birthday!
    The ladder is gorgeous, what a beautiful and practical present.
    I totally agree about Sonya Hartnett - she is one of my all time favourites and none of her books that I have read have ever left me.
    I loved Liar and it was definetely one of my favourites of 2009. I saw Justine at the writers festival and thought she was ace.

    On my pile I also have The Piper's Son. I am reading Dance, Dance, Dance by Murakami and still struggling to get through Myer's Breaking Dawn - it's hard work but I've come this far!

  9. Thanks Penni:)
    I was thinking about reading The Slap but wasn't sure. Will check out my local library :)

    Cheers x

  10. book porn! thank you!

    My TBR books live inpiles next to my bed, on the nightstand, on the nightstand's bottom shelf, on the floor under the bed...they get a little out of hand.

    I too have The Children's Book sitting in my pile. Also the new Elizabeth Kostova, Diane Ackerman's book about the zookeepers, Ahab's Wife, a pile of YA review copies, The Help and a thriller by Dan Simmons whose name escapes me. That's just on my nightstand.

  11. Do read the Slap Jazz .. you will love it (I did).
    Pen I loved Water for Elephants, Matt just read it and loved it too.
    My books sit on my bedside table (how unique!).

  12. There's so much on my bookshelf, but always there is my own journal. I can leave it for months without writing a thing and then it's all scrawls and snippets of ideas and plans and a written downloading of what's in my head.

  13. oh i nearly bought 'home' when i was in adelaide recently, but i wasn't sure i'd have space in my bag to carry it back with me. i'm currently reading a passage to india and waiting for the barbarians... both for teaching purposes. also recently read robinson crusoe for the same reason. (that was an eye opener.)

    also recently read some amazing australian short stories mum gave me for christmas, but i really didn't have space in my bag for those, and now i can't remember who wrote them!

  14. I keep my books from when I was young. It smells abit but there's something about the smell of old books, rather Proustian

  15. I've been re-reading Undine, so that is on my bedside table at the moment but it is finished, not a potential pleasure. A retrospective pleasure, twice. And a Jasper Fforde, which I am decidedly not loving.

    I love your bookladder. I wants one.

  16. Anonymous9:56 PM

    I will have to keep an eye out for a ladder, at the moment my books in progress or in anticipation are beside and under my bed. So when I finish a book I have to go fishing under the bed for the next one.

    At the moment the pile includes Black Dust Dancing by Tracy Crisp (re-reading for book group), several St Trinians books I found in Echuca at the second hand shop, some Australian history books from the library and several Anne of Green Gables books. I retrieved the Anne books from my Mum's and discovered two of them actually belong to a friend and I've probably had them 15 years. Must re-read and return.

  17. i'm reading the children's book right now!

    not much room on the pile with that one, but i'm working my way through the paris review interviews; i'm on vol. 2 currently.

    i have a pile of books by the bed, another pile by my favorite reading chair in the living room. i usually am reading at least 3 concurrently, a mix of fiction and nonfiction.

    i like your ladder. i have an old-fashioned heavy pot stand (to hold kitchen pots) by my bed!

  18. I have a teetering pile on my bedside table. And bookshelves in every available spot through the house. Currently reading The Wind Up Bird Chronicles, Haruki MUrakami. Today is library day so the pile will grow again tonight.

  19. Anonymous5:29 PM

    ooooooh a stairway to heaven? Or is it "Jacob's ladder"? ;-)

  20. 我們不是因為快樂而歌唱,而是唱歌使我們快樂 ..................................................

  21. Great ladder idea - but I think you should reverse the positions of the books on the top and bottom rungs. Important for your self-esteem. :)