Monday, 8 August 2011

"There is no friend as loyal as a book": I am a Bibliophile

I love to read. Perhaps it's because I like the escapism that books provide me, or perhaps it's the academic in me. Either way I love to just sit and get lost in a good story, I love to be challenged by something that is complex, and I love that I can always count on books to give me what I need. I can learn anything as long as I can read it. I think that in the extremely technological world of today people have lost their appreciation for books. You will never see me holding a Kindle, iPad, or any other e-reader. There is just something so special and magical about being able to hold a book, to hear the spine crack as it's opened, to smell that musty, papery smell. I love old books. I love when the pages are so old and dry that they crumble to dust in your hands.

Despite the fact that I should really be studying non-stop for the upcoming LSAT test that I am writing in October, I have found myself reading books alongside my LSAT study books. Really I should be playing logic games, or practicing my logical reasoning, but at the end of the day, I need something to take my mind off of the looming monstrosity that is the LSAT. So, I have put together a small list of books that I am currently reading (and yes, I am reading several at once).

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden
This is "a concise guide to making the most of yourself- a pocked 'bible' for the talented and timid to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible". It's amazing. It will change the way you approach projects and jobs, and anything really. I highly recommend this book!

Lunch In Paris by Elizabeth Bard
A memoir about a young American woman who goes to Paris for a weekend visit and never leaves. There are recipes for french food at the end of each chapter. I am particularly excited to practice my non-existent domestic skills and make G√Ęteau au Yaourt (Yogurt Cake: the name sounds kind of gross, but the recipe and description sound delicious).

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
This book celebrates the little things in this world that are awesome. Examples include: popping bubble wrap, hitting every green light in a row, finding money in your pocket, and sweatpants. It's one of those books that you can just pick up every now and again, flip to a random page, and find something, well, awesome. Pasricha also has a website that you should visit,

The Lover's Dictionary: A Novel By David Levithan
A nameless narrator constructs the story of his relationship as a dictionary. It's amazing, and a fast read. It was something that I needed to read right now. If I can't convince you, then this quote will:
"Basis, n:
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you're in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself. If the moment doesn't pass, that's it--you're done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it's even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover's face"

Poverty and Piety in an English Village: Terling, 1525-1700 by Keith Wrightson and David Levine
I have read this book probably about a hundred time throughout the course of my academic career, and I learn something new about early modern English society every time I re-read it. It is one of those books that just grips me! As someone who loves 16th century English social policy, this book provides a unique and influential analysis of poor relief, social structure, economics, the impact of the reformation, and much more, all within the context of a small Essex parish. It is a must read for anyone who wishes to know more about early modern England. Although, I should warn you. It's not popular history, and by popular history, I mean something you can pick up on the book shelves of your local bookstore. It's not an easy read, and it's target audience are academics, and students of history.

The Elizabethan Underworld by Harman, Greene, Dekker & Others, Edited by A.V. Judges
This is probably the most amazing book that I own. I was recently perusing an antique bookstore with my favorite Ginger, when I stumbled upon this. It's an early modern English historians dream come true. And I own it! My excitement further increased when I got it home, opened it up and saw that this collection included works by John Awdeley, Thomas Harman, and Robert Greene (all writing 16th century popular literature). I was so excited that this tome includes The Fraternity of Vagabonds by Awdeley, that I abruptly stopped talking to my mum, mid-sentence, and lost myself in the language of a time long forgotton (but not by me or my history friends). This book is a collection of Tudor and Early Stuart tracts and ballads telling of the lives and misdoings of vagabonds, thieves, rogues and cozeners, and giving some account of the operation of the criminal law. How could I not love and be excited about this!? It's like Christmas!

Also, while I am currently blogging about books, and my love for them, I will also share with you this awesome website, devoted to bringing books and fashion together. It's called Out of Print and their shirts often feature iconic and out of print book covers. Not only is Out of Print devoted to enriching the world of fashion through literature, but with the purchase of any shirt, they will donate a book to a community in need. If you want to know more about Out of Print go to My personal favorite is the Pride and Prejudice woman's v-neck.

I know that reading and books aren't for everyone, and that many people believe that they could be doing better things with their time, but I strongly encourage everyone to find a book, any book and just sit and read. Give reading a chance.



  1. Being awesome at book shopping is only one of the multitude of skills I have as a ginger, although to be honest it's definitely one of the better ones. ;)

  2. You are now my official book shopping friend! I will never antique book shop with anyone ever again Gingey!

  3. Haha I think the thing about books is that they give you access to a collection of minds from around the world, exploring subjects which they are passionate about.

    So while there is the escapism component, there is also the fact that books allow you to find the intellectual peers that may be missing in your life.

    In my experience, you can address this void by raising the competence of your peers, a la books, or lowering the competence of yourself, a la alcohol!

  4. Well Rish,

    I don't drink, and you know that, so I guess I am stuck with "raising the competence of my peers", while watching you "lower your competence" with alcohol! ;)

  5. While the pathos of the situation is not lost on me, I hope that it's at least entertaining!