How Many Books Is Too Many Books?

IMG_5579 (004)Nicola here, and today I'm asking the provocative question "how many books is too many books"? And as a follow up to that: "What system do you use to categorise your bookshelves?" You see, I need help and advice. The time has finally come to sort out my “library.” This is rather a grand term for a muddled collection of books on shelves, in boxes and in stacks on the floor all over the house with only a notional system of what is where. For years I’ve been saying I need some sort of cataloguing system, yet each time I sit down with my books to try to categorise them, I either get distracted into reading something I had forgotten was there or I am so overwhelmed by the hugeness of the task that I retreat and close the door on the mess. There are obvious downsides to this, most annoyingly the fact that I can’t find half the books I know are there and when I need them for research – or to re-read a favourite novel – I’ll spend ages huffing around looking for them. Also, I have been known on more than one occasion to buy multiple copies of things just because I didn’t realise/remember they were already in my collection. So a neatly-ordered bookshelf is crucial.

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A Love Letter to Libraries

Old booksAndrea here, musing on libraries—brick and mortar libraries—and how much they have had an influence on my life. The pandemic has made me aware of many everyday pleasures that may be small ones, but are things I have missed very much during the lockdown we’ve all experienced over the past half a year.

Libraries visits are one of them. The access to digital books through my local library’s app and website has been a godsend during the isolation, but the recent progress in my town, allowing the physical libraries (we have three!) to to provide curbside pick-up—and also to open for two hours each day for very limited browsing of the new acquisitions—has made me happier than I expected. The sight of the shelves with all those glorious books, the scent of paper . . . they stir fond memories, going back to my childhood.

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The King’s Library—A Story Within A Story

BM-1 Andrea/Cara, musing today on two of my favorite subjects: libraries and museums. And as it so happens, the British Museum in London—an amazingly wonderful institution that always makes my heart go pitty-pat—has a fascinating story in its history that combines the two!

BM-3It all begins with Sir Hans Sloane, who donated his vast collections of “interesting stuff” (a true cabinet of curiosities of 71,000 items—you can see one of the drawers below) to King George II and the country in return for £20,000, to be given to heirs. The items included books, coins, prints, drawing and ethnographic artifacts. By an act of parliament, the gift was accepted and established as the British Museum in 1753. It was the first national public museum in the world, and admission was free to “all studious and curious persons.”


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Foreign Editions

by Mary Jo

Romance is read around the world in many, many languages.  For a writer, it's a huge benefit if one's native tongue is widely spoken and widely read because that means there's a sizable publishing business: writing groups, editors, publishers, agents. All the 2 LALLsparaphernalia that help aspiring writers learn and grow and become published.

I've often thought how hard it is to be a very talented writer in a small language group where there isn't the structure to support budding talents.  (To the left are two editions of LOVING A LOST LORD, Japanese on the left, Indonesian on the right.)

I give thanks that I'm a native speaker of (American) English, which is spoken and read around the world. Lots and lots of romances are published in English, so many foreign publishers find it more efficient to buy rights to English language books and translate them into their own language because there just aren't as many original titles available in Polish or Korean or whatever.  (Harlequin, the romance giant, does its own translations and distribution.  According to Wikipedia, in a recent year that was 26 languages and 106 countries.  That a LOT of romances!)

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A Library By Any Other Name . . .

10446671_404563269739824_7915614652107686039_nAndrea/Cara here, I am under the gun today, so am invoking the occasionally used Wench Privilege of posting an oldies but goodie. As I've been thinking a lot about research and libraries, I've picked one that talks about what, exactly, IS a library's function these day:

11083650_374960399366778_3208701433575918220_nI recently attended a lecture on the role of a library in today’s world. The first slide was a big graphic that said, “Myth #1: Library = Books” The speaker—having gotten everyone’s attention—went on to explain how in our fast-changing (as in blink of an eye) society, how we preserve knowledge, and how we use the material that we save, is radically changing as well.

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