Friday, 19 June 2015

The Sheer Joy Of Books

Disclaimer: I have not been paid, or given products to promote any bookstore.  I am a life long book worm and just wanted to share my latest purchases.  Books make me smile :)

Hi honeys
Picture this.  Early last Saturday morning there was a tremendous din at our front door, seriously honeys, someone banged not knocked our door so hard it sounded like the door would come in.  Hubby opens the front door to see a rapidly leaving delivery driver, and a brown cardboard box which had been left on our doorstep :)  Er, thank you delivery driver, you have a good day too :)

A mystery!  Well, as it turns out not such a mystery after all :) it was a delivery from my latest happy place (sorry Ikea, don't feel jealous, I still adore you too!) Years ago, while at college, I used to just about haunt a shop called "Bargain Books" It was a fabulous place where there was just no telling what you'd find.  I spent many a happy hour there, and in lots of little second hand book shops around campus.  I digress, as is usual for me :)

The very heavy brown box contained an order I'd placed with a shop called "The Works."  Much like Bargain Books, The Works is a discount book store.  They don't just sell books though, they sell arts & crafts supplies, CDs & DVDs too and all at a great discount.
Well, it turns out they have an online store now and since I don't go anywhere near the city centre, too busy, too far away, too noisy, too scary, well it's as if I can still wander in and browse around and they'll even deliver!  Even if it is a very scary delivery person who just about breaks the door down and then runs away :)

I've always, always loved books.  As a child they were my best friends.  At the age of 9 I got my own library card and every Saturday morning I would go to the library.  I didn't read books, I disappeared into them. Transported away and it continues to this day.

Both Hubby and I each have an ereader.  They're great and absolutely have their place in the world, but there is something about holding a book in your hands, about the smell of the ink on the pages that simply can't be replaced. 

If we were ever in a position to be able to plan & build our dream home (it's ok to dream honeys) up there with a walk in pantry, a dream closet and en suites for each bedroom would be a home library.  Can you imagine having a room whose sole purpose is to be home to all of your books. Joy!

You know the old saying "use it or lose it?"  I'm a great believer that this applies to the brain too.  I do believe that the brain needs to be constantly challenged.  I've mentioned before on this blog the unpleasantness and downright nuisance caused by "fibro fog" which can make focussing on anything difficult and so can play havoc with a lassie's love of reading!  I've had days when I start to read and haven't reached the end of the page before I'm struggling to remember what happened on the page before. Audio books are a great blessing on days like this honeys, but I simply refuse to sit back and allow my brain to turn to mush without at least trying to do something about it.

If we think of the brain as a muscle, like any other in the body it needs exercise to stay healthy. So I thought I'd give mine a little workout.  Shall I share what is in the box dear ones? 
Have you seen any of the "I used to know that" titles? They focus on information we'd have been taught in our schooldays and possibly long since forgotten. The perfect thing to give the brain a little workout and if the subject matter is a topic you enjoyed, all the better :)  So, in the box there is.....
I think therefore I am: I studied philosophy at University and I adore it.  For me, reading philosophy is almost as if someone somehow opens up your head and blows all the dust and cobwebs out :) Truly, that's how it felt when I took that first class all those years ago :) "I think therefore I am"  provides a wonderful journey into the world of philosophical thinking, rather like a taster if you will.  I've leafed through quickly and it does seem very accessible and a couple of the examples the author, Lesley Levene, has used made me smile at happy memories of past studying. I think I'll enjoy reading it.

A Classical Education: This author of this book is Caroline Taggart, author of the original best selling "I Used to Know that" book.  This volume covers all of the wonderful subjects certainly not covered in my state school curriculum such as Greek & Roman mythology, Logic & Philosophy, Latin and Classical Literature. Just a quick look through this wonderful book and I think I can safely safe it will live on my bedside cabinet for quite some time, it's fabulous!

Lateral Thinking Posers: Hubby and I have already had such fun with this book.  As it says on the front cover "more than a hundred brainteasers to solve with logical reasoning" and what fun they are!  Basically lots of scenarios which seem impossible to solve, but when examined carefully, or by reading the solution if you're really stuck as I was on a few :) the answers are so sensible it's difficult not to feel rather silly for not "getting it" straight away :) Definitely a book for fans of the wonderful TV series "Jonathan Creek."  Fellow fans will understand :)

The I used To Know That Activity Book:  Back again to the wonderful Caroline Taggart. This book though is different in that it isn't in text book form.  Instead it sets out questions covering subjects including, but not limited to, mathematics, science, English, physics, history and many more.  The answers are included and can be found in the back of the book but this is an incredible (and fun) way to test yourself on what you remember from your school days or even, when used in conjunction with the original book perhaps, to learn or re-learn anything you missed.

As a teenager, during my first year at secondary school (ages 12-13) I read the complete Sherlock Holmes canon (4 novels & 56 short stories) having fallen in love with Basil Rathbone's movies but I never would have (willingly) picked up Shakespeare. If I could only go back in time and give myself a smack :) At the age of 15 though my then English teacher appeared in our classroom and threw everyone a paperback copy of Macbeth which we were going to study for O Level.  Thank you Mr Allison, you began my passion for all things Shakespeare.

Bard treats included in the box were.... 
Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets by Don Paterson: The author Don Paterson is himself a poet and has written this book in the form of short commentaries which appear along side the sonnets themselves. Acting as a guide to reading and understanding these beautiful, timeless pieces, I'm sure this will become a much loved, favourite book.

Hamlet: Shakespeare In Performance: I've already listened to the cd which is supplied with this book and it is beyond wonderful.  There are readings from Sir Laurence Olivier, John Barrymore and Richard Burton among many others.  The book itself is packed with beautiful images from the movie & stage versions of Hamlet, including my own favourite version, the 1996 film directed by & starring Sir Kenneth Branagh.  There are reproductions of set designs, costume designs, and so much more to see and read.  This is one of a series of these sourcebooks and if the others are anywhere nears this quality they'd certainly be worthwhile collecting.

To Be Or Not To Be.... And Everything Else You Should Know From Shakespeare: This book is a fabulous little collection of facts plucked from Shakespeare's works.  Want to know what famous quotes actually mean or why characters did what they did, this is the book for you.  I love how it's arranged too, making it a perfect book to dip into when you have a spare few minutes.  Not connected with its contents I know but it really is a beautifully designed book too, it's lovely to look at :)     

Heads Up Psychology: Both this, and its companion volume "Heads Up Philosophy" are published by the wonderful Dorling Kindersley (DK) Publishing Company.  This alone made me click on them.  I've never studied Psychology but I've always been incredibly interested in people.  Why we all behave the way we do, why some people don't seem to have a moral compass. For example, law breaking or living lives which break the social contract everyone else at least attempts to live by.  I've always wondered if our dreams could actually give an insight into our thought processes?  When we dream is this our brain trying to solve some problem we're not consciously aware of? I do think this book will make for interesting reading.

Heads Up Philosophy: These books were both such a bargain, having added the Psychology volume to my cart, and adoring philosophy as I do, how could I not also add this volume?  Having had a flip through these books they're both beautifully arranged and illustrated.  Perfect coffee table books because they'll always be interesting to glance through.

The Clutter Clinic: Now ordinarily I wouldn't think about buying a book on how to de-clutter.  We have a plan to organize our home and (for the most part) it appears to be working. So, when trying to de-clutter your home, isn't buying a book on how to de-clutter just, well, adding more clutter?   I swear though, I couldn't help it! It was such a bargain and the photos are so beautiful and inspiring and it is a very good book and.... ok, there's no hope for me.  I'm a lost cause.  I'm addicted to books :)

Last then, but certainly not least are:
500 Words You Should Know: Yet another book by the wonderful Caroline Taggart, this book is sheer printed joy for anyone who adores the English language. I scanned through this book smiling.  Sheer. Printed. Joy. I love it :)

Know It All: Another wonderful book chock full of fun general knowledge facts, and tests on all of them.  This is the kind of book that would be perfect for anyone who runs pub quizzes. Definitely a fun read.

Well, that's it honeys. Any thoughts?  You might have noticed that all of the books I ordered have one thing in common.  They are the sort of books that can be read in short bursts or dipped into at random.  As I said earlier, I do believe the brain needs to be exercised in order to keep it functioning at its best.  Use it or lose it.  I'm hoping to keep my brain at least ticking over for a while yet :)

Thank you for keeping me company honeys, I hope you have a fabulous weekend full of fun and smiles :) Till next time dear ones, hugs always xx


  1. Oh, I *adore* The Works...we were there every week, me and the littles, when we were in the UK a few years ago. There's always something very very interesting that catches your eye and my littlest little (5.5) was over the moon with all the craft supplies. I would have been in heaven rifling through all these books! [And would definitely have dived in to the Shakespeare ones first].....thanks so much for this post! I absolutely loved it....can't imagine your excitement when it arrived (after the shock had worn off (from the loud banging)!).....I wonder if The Works might deliver to us where we are? [Off to find out...!]....Helen xx

    1. Hi Helen, The Works are just such a little treasure trove :) I so hope you can get deliveries from them! They're fabulous for crafting, lots of supplies and even crafting kits for the little ones. I'm a complete book addict, really there's no hope for me :) Thank you so much for visiting, it means a great deal to me, sending heaps of hugs xx