Notes from a Book Addict

Are you a Librocubicularist?

Librocubicularist by Tomas Hellberg (cropped), Flickr CC licence.

Which of these are you?

  • Abibliophobiac – a person who fears being without a book to read
  • Bibliobibuli – a person who reads too much
  • Biblioclast – a person who rips pages from books
  • Bibliographe – a person who writes about books
  • Bibliolatrist – one given to a superstitious reverence for a book
  • Bibliolestes – a book thief
  • Bibliomaniac – one with a mania for collecting or owning books
  • Bibliophagist – a voracious reader, a devourer of books
  • Bibliopegist – a fancier of book bindings
  • Bibliophile – a lover or collector of books (word dates from 1824)
  • Biblioriptos – a person who throws books
  • Bibliosmiac – one who loves the smell of books
  • Bibliotapbe – a person who hides books
  • Bookish – fond of books
  • Bookworm – a hard reader (word dates from 1580)
  • Book-bosomed – one who can’t go anywhere without a book (word coined by Sir Walter Scott in 1805)
  • Librocubicularist – one who reads in bed
  • Literarian – a person engaged in literary pursuits
  • Logophile – a lover of words
  • Metrophobiac – a person who fears poetry
  • Omnilegent – having read everything
  • Reader – one who reads or reads much
Portrait of Charles Nodier

Portrait of Charles Nodier by Benjamin Roubaud

I hope none of you are metrophobiacs?… read in full - click here ...

How long should a work of fiction be?

Abraham Lincoln Quote, AZ Quotes

Abraham Lincoln, who was a very tall man, was once asked how long a man’s legs should be. His response was “Long enough to reach the ground”. If you ask “How long should a work of fiction be?” and apply the same logic, the answer would be “long enough to reach the end of the story”.… read in full - click here ...

Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf

Vita Sackville West and Virginia Woolf
A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations by Juliet Nicolson

A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations by Juliet Nicolson

Some months ago in a newsletter, I wrote about the Nicolson family of writers, descendants of Vita Sackville-West.

I recently read, and loved, A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson, a book which begins with her great-great grandmother, the Spanish dancer Pepita, and ends with Juliet’s own granddaughters.… read in full - click here ...

Poem of the Month, March 2017 – Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin

I’ve been preparing for my literary tour of Ireland in May and have enjoyed learning more about Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh (1904 – 1967). Kavanagh was born a countryman, in Inniskeen, County Monaghan, but he left the farm and moved to Dublin. In his later years, when he had a serious alcohol problem, he liked to walk by the Grand Canal, or just sit watching the water.… read in full - click here ...

Do You Ditch or Endure?

Book: chapter six. from KaboomPics.

Dr Samuel Johnson once advised his friend Boswell that books, once started, should be read all the way through. Boswell’s view was that “this was surely strange advice; you may as well resolve that whatever men you happen to get acquainted with, you are to keep them for life. A book may be good for nothing; or there may be only one thing in it worth knowing; are we to read it all through?”

Do you favour Dr Johnson’s approach, or Boswell’s?… read in full - click here ...

More Film Adaptations

Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike | Promotional photo via IMDB

I have loved reading the Robert Galbraith series of novels (those are the crime novels written by J.K. Rowling under another name), so was delighted to learn that they have been filming the first one, The Cuckoo’s Calling. It will come out on BBC1 this year, with Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike and Holliday Grainger as Robin.… read in full - click here ...

Of Claire Tomalin and Katherine Mansfield

Claire Tomalin

One of my favourite biographers is Claire Tomalin (pictured above). Her books about famous writers have given me enormous pleasure. She is a measured, intelligent analyst of her subjects and a fine writer.

Her prize-winning Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self is a delightful introduction to Pepys if you have not yet discovered how addictive he can be.… read in full - click here ...

Poem of the Month – February 2017 – Not Waving but Drowning

Waving - not drowning, by Jenny Downing

Not Waving but Drowning, by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.… read in full - click here ...

Top Reads of 2016

Susannah Fullerton's top reads of 2016

It’s fun looking back over a year of reading to see what stands out from the record in my Book Notebook. These are my top 5 reads from 2016 (in alphabetical title order):

Bitch in a Bonnet by Robert Rodi. A book of literary criticism about Jane Austen’s novels that was fun and thought-provoking (please take it for granted that my 6 top reads every year are invariably Jane Austen’s books)

Images and Shadows by Iris Origo, a memoir by a fabulous Anglo / Italian writer showing how she came to be a writer.… read in full - click here ...

Books About Art

Covers of books about art

I’ve had a lovely little run of books about art recently and can recommend the following:

Everything is Happening: Journey into a Painting by Michael Jacobs is about the Velasquez masterpiece ‘Las Meninas’. Sadly the author died before completing the book, which was edited and added to by his friend Ed Vulliamy, but there was a lot of interesting information and it was an intriguing read.… read in full - click here ...

A Book Collector’s Pleasure

A bookshelf

One of the great pleasures of being a book collector is seeing your books on a shelf and mulling over memories of reading them. However, one of the biggest challenges of being a book collector is where to place each book on a shelf. I do sometimes move my books around, dithering over the best place for each one.… read in full - click here ...

Poem of the Month – January 2017 – To a Mouse

Mt Oliphant Farm, nr. Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland

There are few poems I love as much as Robert Burns’s To a Mouse. I know many readers are put off his poetry because of the Scots dialect words, so I’ve provided a glossary to help explain them for you:

To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!… read in full - click here ...

Gift Wrapping

wrapped gifts
Christmas gift

Christmas gift

Harry Potter’s awful relatives gave him a single tissue as a Christmas present. Scrooge thinks giving gifts is all humbug, while in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Christmas has been cancelled altogether.

I’m rather more generous than that and almost always give people books as Christmas presents. Do you?

If so, why not consider shopping from the new gift service on my website?… read in full - click here ...

Mrs Bennet and Me

Closeup portrait of a bride putting white wedding dress
Mr & Mrs Bennet, Pride & Prejudice 1995

Mr & Mrs Bennet, Pride & Prejudice 1995

To my horror, I’ve seen in myself a decided resemblance to Mrs Bennet. This month I have a daughter getting married. My adored Elinor Elizabeth (named of course for two Jane Austen heroines) will be marrying her fabulous fiancé, Craig. And I seem to be growing more like Mrs Bennet by the day – “such flutterings all over me, such spasms, such beatings at heart…” etc.… read in full - click here ...

Little Free Libraries

A Little Free Library

Have you heard of Little Free Libraries?

They are a form of community book exchange which started in the USA with the goal of establishing 2150 little free libraries (which was more than the number of free libraries established by Andrew Carnegie). That goal has been well and truly exceeded and it is thought that well over a million and a half books a year are donated and borrowed through the system.… read in full - click here ...