Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts


Sunny joy in Regent’s Park on Saturday

This is a weekly thing I’ve just found that’s hosted by Christine on Bookishly Boisterous, and I really like it. I don’t write much here about my life, at least not in a casual yet consistent sort of way; you poor guys tend to either get 1,000+-word essays on Traumas Of Elle’s Past or straight book reviews. The idea of sharing a bit is weirdly appealing. Although, who knows, maybe I’m just feeling generous, what with all the new light in the air.

  1. I’ve been working on collating a database of all my own books (at least those ones which are in the flat) for a while. I’m using software called PortaBase, which is not going to win any beauty contests but which is extremely good at doing what I want it to do. This weekend I got through a huge chunk of the remaining books. All that’s left now are the three shelves of books bought for my degree. Inconveniently, they’re the shelves closest to the wall and therefore hardest to get at.
  2. The Chaos and I saw Lydia and Rob (formerly known, when this blog was Oxford-based, as Princi and Casanova) for dinner last week. Odd that, living in London, it isn’t easier to get together with one’s friends, but I hadn’t seen either of them for nearly a month. I suppose Lydia’s erratic shifts (she’s a police officer at the Met) don’t help. It felt like ye olden times, with Lydia making stir fry, us bringing a random bottle that didn’t quite go with the food (prosecco, so could have been worse), and a general feeling of laziness assisted by the sun streaming in through their enormous sitting room bay window.
  3. Last weekend was gorgeous. Determined to do something London-y, I organised a picnic excursion to Regent’s Park on Saturday, where we sat on a sunny bank near the rose garden (where there were no roses as yet) and ate a big tomato and olive salad, sausages with pear chutney, apples, and some Creme Eggs that were 25 p at Tesco. (Such are the joys of the week after Easter. Seriously, what a wonderful thing.) I worked on competency questions while the Chaos dozed and offered advice. Sunday was similarly full of sun and food and reading and writing/reviewing, plus house admin that had been put off for weeks. It was just all so bloody nice.
  4. I’ve been thinking about the systems I use to organise myself. At the moment, I use a to-do app on my phone called Clear, and my iCal to keep track of events I’m attending. I keep a regular notebook on my desk at work, and use that as a work diary, and I do personal journaling on an iPhone app called Chronicle. I’ve only been using phone apps for stuff like this since last fall, and some of the glamour is starting to wear off. I spent an hour last week noodling around the Paperchase website. ARGH.
  5. I finally got my shit together and ordered some business cards from Moo. They’re beautiful and inexpensive – highly recommended. Mine are made of normal cheap card stock, but the backs are marbled: a quarter of them are dark blue, a quarter of them are pink, a quarter are light blue and a quarter are yellow. (I also took a deep breath and put “Writer” on them, under my name. Taking myself seriously is one step closer to being taken seriously by everyone else.)

21 thoughts on “Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

    • Have never used Librarything; PortaBase is just a generic database program, so my boyfriend used it to catalogue his grandparents’ ceramics collection, for instance. It works very well for collections of any sort, which is why I thought it would be a good way to track my library.

      • Interesting! I use Librarything ( its interface could be more user-friendly, I admit) for my books, though I have stalled about those 3–no, 4–shelves I’ve been meaning to get to . . .

      • Yeah, inputting isn’t exactly sooooper fun. I’ve always assumed Librarything was like an older, creakier version of Goodreads. I didn’t realize it was a database!

  1. Your picnic sounds delicious! Not quite picnic weather around here yet (it’s still below zero these last dew days), but it’s coming soon…
    Your business cards sound just right – especially the ‘writer’ bit. 🙂

    • Yes, definitely! So far they seem to be working okay, I’m just getting itchy feet looking at all the pretty notebooks. They’re all much more attractive than the apps.

  2. I love Librarything – so much easier to catalogue than with Goodreads. I’ve used it for years, and I have a bar-code scanner that works with it if I have lots of items to add. LT also has some fun features – it can list all your series, and how high your books would stretch compared to skyscrapers etc.

  3. When you mentioned the stir-fry, my mind flew backwards to a time when my eldest son was in college, and had a friend of his over to do stir-fry for us. He then went off to his “London semester”, something associated with his college here…and he has basically been an expatriate ever since, living in London, Ireland, Prague, Berlin, and Prague again, with only occasional visits back to the states. I envy but miss him. Should I blame the stir-fry? LOL

    I love the idea of something to organize all of my books. I enter the titles of books I purchase onto one of my blogs, and have been doing this since 2010. Then there’s Goodreads. But…nothing that would organize the books I already had. Hmm.

    Enjoy your week, and here’s MY BOOKISH THURSDAY POST

    • Well, do consider PortaBase. It’s free and open software (means you can see the code, change the code at will if you want, and distribute it without a license). Simpler than Excel, too! Thanks for commenting.

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