Category: Books

Weight of the Printed Word…

Today was PACKING: DAY 1.  There had been some light pruning around Chez Hedgehog (2-3 shelves worth of books to the library booksale, 1 full trunkload to Goodwill).  But in general, I had holiday knitting to accomplish and work to get through.  Yes, I’m aware Christmas is still another month out, thankfully,  but I had plans for people at work and I had a November 19 deadline on those….

I finished the knitting with, uh, no time to spare.  So when the guy came to survey the apartment Friday a.m. (and was 40 minutes late), I was weaving in final ends and delicate chugging coffee after a mere three hours sleep.  I tend to be a tad more impatient and sharp of tongue when I’ve not had a lot of sleep; starting the day with someone running exceedingly late might have brought out my less chipper side.

I woke this morning to add odd sense of “nothing to do. ” This, of course, is not so.  I have many things to do: paperwork to muddle through, checks to deposit, paperwork to shift, an apartment to pack, a cat to freak out with a million boxes, clothing to launder, plants to deal with….  But I didn’t have work or mandatory knitting.  So I slept in a bit and knitted on a sock that I started when AudioGirl was here two weeks ago.

Then came my most daunting task: the cataloging and packing of books.  I meant to do it when I moved up here three years ago. I’ve been meaning to do it for the past three years. I wanted to get all of my books into LibraryThing.  I own a CueCat, this should not be a difficult process, but it had never gotten done.  Today was the day.  I’m now at 654 books, though that may change as I find a few more spare books around the apartment.

The CueCat barcode reader made life much much easier and I listened to podcasts and logged and packed books, taping up boxes and stacking them high.  The final count is 20 boxes of books now and 4-5 of DVDs.  There’s at least one box that I’m not sure I can lift by myself.  It’s got all of my cartoon strip books in it and those are skinny but hefty.  I scooted it to the current spot and so it shall remain until Tuesday.  I now have 654 books in my LibraryThing account.  I learned that I can easily export from LibraryThing into Ravelry, so my Ravelry bookcase has most of my knitting books (they don’t let you add all knitting books–it’s strange, I don’t understand) and all of my knitting magazine back issues.

Gypsy is confused.  She loves that there are new boxes and hops in and out, in and out, though I noticed she stopped doing that quite so much around box 12.  She’s climbing new towers of boxes and chewing on the corners.  Mostly she’s peeved that I’m home and still on the computer all day as this means I am unavailable to entirely devote myself to petting her.

I’ve spaced the book boxes out around the apartment, much as I did when I moved in when the Incredibly Patient Mother reminded me that putting that much weight in any one spot might not be the best idea.  I have sturdy floors and all but still.

I hope they send very strong men.  And I know I’m going to be giving thanks next Thursday for having a moving company so *I* don’t have to haul all these boxes.

The Case of the Bookcase

It seemed like a fairly typical Sunday midmorning.  Granted, I’d just come back from brunch with My-Friend-the-Lawyer, which was a bit abnormal but still within pattern for our weekend trips together.  As he was headed back across the state via twisty and winding roads, I decided that it seemed like a good day to acquire another bookcase.

This new bookcase would be the seventh of such at Chez Hedgehog.  I have two five-shelf and a three-shelf from IKEA and three low three-shelf ones picked up in a spontaneous afternoon trip to Walmart a couple years ago.

Hmm…weekend afternoons and bookcase shopping. I begin to sense a trend.

I’ve known for a while that I was out of bookcase space.  Piles of books were everywhere; library books were living in an overflowing basket; and I’d started double shelving paperbacks in my bedroom–which always turns into an utter disaster when I’m looking for a specific title.  I have pruned the collection quite a lot. I took another couple of bags in to work two weeks ago and I have two more boxes of Regencies ready to go to the Opera singer.  Still…

I like IKEA, and a friend had mentioned getting a couple of bookcases shipped to her so I moused over to their website to see what was to be found.  I wanted another five shelf bookcase in the light wood color.  And I found one for around$70. That seemed pretty reasonable so I tossed it in my cart and clicked check out.

Now I knew IKEA used to only ship from their Jersey store but I’d hoped that had changed–what with said friend saying she’d ordered stuff.  Apparently not.

Shipping was over $300.  For a single bookcase.

I could have waited and invaded either Chicago or Minneapolis and gone to their IKEAs but it’s going to be a bit before I have a free weekend and I’m not sure if I can fit a 6′ bookcase in my car by myself nor if I would wish to drive with it hanging out the trunk all the way back to La Crosse. I didn’t want to go to Walmart. I didn’t want to go to the antique stores and rummage about either. Whatever I was getting I had to be able to lift and carry myself.  I have a poor relationship with UPS here and wasn’t in the mood to have something shipped (Amazon shipping was over $100 too!) and then still have to haul six foot panels around.

Finally I found something reasonably priced on the Target website that claimed to be available in store.  I set aside my irritation with their recent campaign donation nonsense and was off.

Deceptive packaging, unclear aisles, poor signage, and no sales staff later, I finally located the bookcase! And they had it in the light wood similar to my IKEA shelves.  Only, the box was on a shelf that hit me about chest height–and the bookcase was stored vertically in a 4.5′ box.  With the knowledge that I was going to have to get this thing home alone, I tackled lifting it down.

Okay, that worked, now it’s on the floor, still vertical.

I hefted it up to the cart, picked up a new tea kettle, rejected the water cooker offerings, and checked out.

Nearly dropped the bookcase off the front of the cart in the parking lot and leveraged it into the backseat of the car.  Door shut and yay!

Only…I don’t live on the first floor.  I’m on the second floor and we don’t have an elevator.  And while I could lift the box, the possibility of my actually being able to carry it up the stairs without falling, dropping it, hurting myself, etc was slim.  And so, in a fit of wisdom, I drove home, opened the box in the back seat, and carried the bookcase up in two trips.

Assembly time–adding in the extra help of a feline to supervise and inspect the process.  I put the first pieces together, she hopped in the center of the square.  I muttered things at the screws and said things about alignment and screwdrivers; Gypsy made sure her nose had touched all corners, sides, and edges.  Frame constructed, it was time to nail on the back–which came in two parts.  Laid both on top of the bookcase and immediately there was the cat (small and gray and bright-eyed*).  Only, the backs aren’t secure, so one piece slipped in with cat.  No problem, she hopped to the other back: thud part deux.

I chased her off one half long enough to start hammering in nails–she went and hid under the other piece, pleased with her new hideaway.  Once the first half was nailed down she claimed that as her seat while I hammered the second half down.  At one point I was swinging a hammer about two inches from her paw–she didn’t even twitch, just sniffed the nails.  Nerves of selective steel.

Bookcase assembled it was time to set it up and see if it would stay in the upright and locked position.  I still had a cat on the back on the bookcase but she’s not heavy enough to preclude lifting.  About the time she started actively sliding, she hopped down.

But now! Now there was a new SHELF. She must claim it! I hadn’t even gotten the bookcase leveraged against the wall before she was on it.  At that point, I had a dinner to go to, so I left her enjoying her new perch–though I did throw a couple of boxes on the bottom shelf to try and keep it from tipping when she hopped up and down.

When I got home and found the bookcase still standing, it was time to add shelves. Shelf One went in at the height of “can I fit a DVD in here.”  Shelf Two was “Tall Hardcover Book Height.” Shelf Three is fixed and I figured that was roomy and spacious enough for a small gray one.  Shelf Four went in at “Magazine Height.” This left me “3 Ring Binder Height” for the bottom shelf.

I cleaned out the library basket; I raided all of my piles and caches of books to be read; I gathered my knitting patterns. Gypsy was very disturbed and spent the next hour crying as she tried to figure out why I was making changes in her universe.  I ended up having to put books on her middle shelf, but I left plenty of sitting room for what I am sure will be a favorite spot.  The National Geographics that are being ignored got their own section. I realized I don’t remember reading the last three issues of Vogue Knitting.  The bottom shelf became knitting books and the next box that’s going to the Opera Singer.

It’s done.  The top two shelves are mostly library books.  The third shelf is masses of historical romance.  The fourth shelf magazines and the fifth knitting and box.  I’ve added couple of stuffed animal bookends and moved a couple of favorite hedgehogs to the top.  Gypsy seems to have finally accepted that the cool long box has left for the garbage. I think she’s still upset that I took over “her” shelf.

It’ll have to do until I get my floor to ceiling Beauty-and-the-Beast style library.

*bonus points if you can identify that picture book

Random Wednesday

Silence can be a sign of too much to say rather than the inverse.  Trying to align my thoughts of late has been challenging.  I’m working on a lot of to do lists.  And if it isn’t in my day planner, it is not happening.  That’s the rule. The day planner is final and it’s paper.  Yes I know that means it isn’t backed up and synched to my phone and etc etc etc…the best organization system is the one that works for you and accomplishes what you need it to without infringing on others. (I’m mauling someone’s quote there…)

1.  School started today. HOORAY! Does this mean the library is empty? Well…for about 15 minutes it did.  The school year isn’t necessarily quieter during the school year, but the focus is a little different.  Storytimes start again week after next and we’re swinging back to after school programming. Homeschooling parents are still  in and there are early release days starting next week so we get to play “what school district are you attending and are you truant?”  There are also an increasing number of families taking advantage of online education for the K-12 crowd.  This works to varying degrees, just as all other methods of education.

2. Book 10 of the 39 Clues is out.  I was number 2 on the hold list and I have started reading my copy.

3. Last check of the Mockingjay holds list had us down to 179 in the system with 30 copies. Hopefully readers will continue to turn things over quickly.  Audio is looking a little longer, the Branch Princess and I bought four copies but there’s only 1 other copy in the system so far.

4. I added a widget that shows my knitting projects! I know, I know, knitting was broken out of here and sent off to Hedgehog Knitting. My blog, my rules though, right?  So if you’re inclined you can click over to HL Headquarters and see little images and my progress. This is pulled in from Ravelry, where I’m pretty good about keeping up with admission of how much wool I buy and just how many projects I have going on at present. Feel free to nag about projects you think I should be finishing.

5. I’m going home three weeks from today! I have nearly an entire week in NY and only a few definite plans as yet, though the goal is to relax and get away and just see everyone there in person.  Just found out The Actor is going to be away (sad) so I’ll miss him this round. But I will get to meet my new nephew, Tyler; I can hopefully fit in a trip to  my hairdresser; and, perhaps I can get the Brunette to go with me to the American Museum of Natural History or the National Museum of the American Indian. Haven’t been to the former in 5-6 years, the latter, ever.  He doesn’t want to go yarn shopping with me, I’ll compromise if we can hit a museum instead.  Also, maybe out to the North Fork of LI (assuming Earl doesn’t wash it away) to the wineries. (Gypsy will be staying at home with her usual live-in minion, oops, sitter)

6. I’m reading Domesday: a Search for the Roots of England (Wood) and listening to Dragon Rider (Funke/Fraser). Blameless by Gail Carriger came out TODAY, so that might necessitate a trip up to BN after work.  Because I have copious spare time.

7. I almost have all my long picture books pulled for Wee Reads Part 3. I still haven’t found a chapter book I’m happy with so today will need to be rummaging the shelves again.

Book Review: Ivy’s Ever After

Ivy is a princess in a small southern kingdom with a standard tower/dragon treaty in place: she has to go into the locked tower at 14, be guarded by a dragon from the local flock (clan? herd? flight?), and wait for a prince to show up. Said prince must defeat the dragon to win the kingdom’s throne, the dragon’s hoard, and Ivy’s hand in marriage. If a prince is killed by the dragon, she must wait for the next prince. If she gets too old, let’s hope she has a younger sister to take her place.

Motherless Ivy wasn’t told about this until she turned 12, and she’s not been raised as the most delicate of females, but her father–the absent minded king–has put his foot down.  And when she turns 14, a suitor dutifully shows up from a northern icy kingdom.  He’s a handsome and condescending second son, who wants to use the forests in Ivy’s kingdom to take over his brother’s kingdom.

When her father won’t listen to warnings of her suitor’s intended treachery, Ivy decides to escape the tower the night before the challenge in search of her fairy godmother. On her way down the twisted bedsheets, she runs into Elridge: the dragon. Elridge is smaller than most dragons, can’t blow fire, and isn’t looking forward to being the sacrifice on the following morning.

Ivy and Elridge team up but they only have one night to find Ivy’s fairy godmother and find a solution to their problem before prince will show up to challenge for his right to the throne–can they make it back by dawn?

The Good:

This is a welcome  new addition to the non-insipid  princess stories.  Ivy is a blend of mischief, humor, and confusion as she’s facing a coming of age that she wasn’t prepared to have. Elridge has a wry sense of humor, fully admitting his own comebacks but willing to charge out on a potentially treacherous adventure. He also has a very special but very small hoard. Add in a fierce Dragon Queen and a talking goat with an attitude for a rollicking set of characters.

The Bad:

I had trouble empathizing with Ivy’s fairy godmother, who abandoned Ivy after her mother’s death and couldn’t be bothered to check in on her goddaughter.

Who is it for?

Give it to the girls who look at you funny when you suggest a “princess book.” Give it to parents looking for something girly but not vapid.  Pair it with Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted and hand it to kids looking for a good, quick story with a funny dragon.

About those “Book Reviews”

A recent article suggests that female book bloggers are Faking It–making nice with the reviews for whatever reason one would like to throw out there. I hope you’re aware that’s not the case here. It’s true that I tend to only bother writing up blog reviews for books I’ve enjoyed–and LibraryThing Early Reviewers–but that’s more a personal choice. If I’m not enjoying a book these days, I stop reading at 50 pages–I don’t finish it and write up a snotty review. I don’t get to read enough as it is, let alone want to read books I don’t like. My library basket is overflowing, there are unread book piles all over the apartment and we won’t talk about how long the Google Spreadsheet of “To Read” is. I also have a draft box full of posts I want to finish–why would I add “Books I Didn’t Enjoy” to that pile? Y’all have enough other things to read in your inboxes and RSS feeds I trust. So while you may wish to discount these posts insofar as being formal book reviews, I hope you’ll continue to enjoy insight to what I’ve been reading. I’m still using the Book Review tag so you can find all of the posts together. A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy has a much more thoughtful look at and response to the faking it article. As for me? This is my blog, if I choose to say nice things, that’s my prerogative.