Showing posts with label bookmarking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bookmarking. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ireland, in bookstores

So Marie (the Boston Bibliophile) kindly requested I post about my recent trip to Ireland. Simply put: it was fun. But more than the vacation itself, I had the opportunity to visit a few Irish bookstores, get some bookmarks, and experience the general Irish bookish-ness. A nice vacation, in other words.

Unsurprisingly, the big chain Eason was the most common bookstore (that I saw), and to be honest it was fairly disappointing in all its forms. Big and shiny like the best of them, the collections were fairly limited, predictable and oddly American*. The only interesting aspect in the Eason stores I encountered was their support of Sony Readers - a rare sight indeed.

Next up was Dubray, which was a significant improvement. Also a chain, Dubray actually had a lot of books (and much less noise) as compared to Eason. I visited one in Dublin and one in Galway, and both impressed me with the amount of books they managed to fit into their relatively smaller space. The Galway one (where I spent significantly more time) also had a dedicated Irish fiction bookcase that went beyond the expected hits and included several poetry collections and independently published Irish books. And though their fiction section was very Anglo-centric (little translated literature, a lot of American books), their sci-fi/fantasy section was overflowing with classics and newer titles. Quite impressive.

Lastly, I had hoped to visit the recommended Kennys Books (also in Galway). What ended up happening, however, was that I noticed a young man (reading a graphic novel, by the way - V for Vendetta, I believe? I might be mis-remembering) wearing a sign with an arrow towards Charlie Byrne's Bookshop. I followed it rather on a whim, and discovered one of those rare, astonishing bookstores. We're talking big collection - an incredibly packed bookcase lining the outer wall of the store, as well as shelves upon shelves of used and new books inside. The staff recommendations shelf came as a particular surprise, containing all sorts of unexpected and exciting books - I picked up a Peirene novella off the shelf, and in addition to my used purchases, I also snagged a new, ridiculously cheap copy of Matterhorn. I spent a long time in the store, and could have easily kept browsing for several more hours. I never did make it to Kennys (I had apparently used up my "bookstore quota" for the vacation. As if.). Next time, I suppose. But I'll definitely be returning to Charlie Byrne's as well.

As for bookmarks: I got extraordinarily lucky this trip. Rather than hunting down tacky souvenir bookmarks for purchase, lovely bookmarks kept finding me - I got two handmade bookmarks at the Celtic and Prehistoric Museum in Dingle, as well as a couple gifts from family friends. All in all, a successfully trip, both for the traveling itself and the general book buying and book appreciation. Too bad I hardly got any reading done.

* Though for the most part I'm referring to books originating in the U.S., American in this case also includes Canada... yes, I am well aware of how inaccurate a name it is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bookmarking 17 - Kokopelli

Kokopelli is not a very old god, but he's quickly grown to be one of the most special and beloved bookmarks I have in my collection.

The myth of Kokopelli has followed me since childhood, when my 3rd grade class was taught the myth and a teacher I quite admired came dressed in funny clothes tooting away (terribly) on a cheap plastic recorder. The myth reemerged later that year, as I delved deeper into Native American mythology, and once again in later years when I found myself getting into music.

Last summer, crossing the U.S. from coast to coast, I found Kokopelli in the Mount Rushmore gift shop. Like all items in said store, Kokepelli was not... economical. Still, the beautiful colors, the texture, the sturdiness, the comfortable design, and even the informative accompanying description made splurging almost necessary.

Kokopelli has since gone on to reside in several interesting (good and bad) reads including a serious stint with Blood Meridian. He is currently on an enjoyable ride with a young adult adventure epic.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bookmarking 15 - History

If I remembered the story behind this bookmark, this post would sound a little different. But I don't remember that, and the stories behind this bookmark have nothing to do with the long-forgotten day I got this clip. But there are other stories, quiet and almost insignificant, but they build a small history.

There's the story of the time I left this bookmark sideways in a book, keeping tab of the exact line I was at. The book ended up forgotten at the bottom of a bag, tossed around for several weeks until I found it. The page with the clipped on bookmark had a fine tear and the line I had so wanted to preserve was suddenly the most difficult to read, crumpled and ruined.

There's the story of how this used to serve as the "long-term" bookmark - books that I expected would take a while got this one because it was least embarrassing and, with its fairly sturdy plastic, didn't run as high a risk as breaking or getting ruined such as most of the other bookmarks.

And then there's the story of how this bookmark used to be part of an unofficial set - I owned several bookmarks with similar black clip bottoms, and yet years later I find that only this one has remained in my collection. The others have disappeared with time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bookmarking 14 - Beijing 08

In early 2008, this stiff multi-layered bookmark came in the mail. The bookmark served partially as an informational tool for the Beijing 08 Olympics - dates, number of counties, etc. - while also sporting facts to encourage U.S. athletes - "Team USA Athletes: 600+"! The Olympic symbol and "Team USA" symbol are hard to catch among the athletes, but they're there behind the volleyball player and the fencers. A very nice way to promote the Olympics.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bookmarking 13 - Crocheted

Sometimes all that's needed for a great bookmark is a little talent with your hands. Unfortunately, I entirely lack such talent. Luckily, lots of other people out there don't have my talent handicap. Check out these crocheted bookmarks - creativity mixed with practicality.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bookmarking 12 - Cars

This is one of the oldest bookmarks I own for one simple reason - it isn't really mine. This somehow passed hands enough time to make the shiny gold crack, make the back peel and make the bookmark soft and worn throughout, from the slightly shrunken top to the frayed ruffled bottom. The bookmark reads "British Veteran Cars", and true to their description, these cars are not very young. Lanchester - 1897; Vaughall, 1903... Five cars, elegantly displayed.

Quite classy, indeed.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book-doh!-marking 11 - Homer

I bought this angry head maybe six years ago, intending to give it as a gift. I am not really certain who I intended to give it to, though. I kept it in the plastic case, constantly tucked away, knowing it would one day go to someone more deserving. Or so I thought.

Except years later, it's still in the plastic case, still glaring at me and wondering why I'm constantly shoving away old stuff from my brain. Books! Can't trust 'em.

And, interestingly enough, I think this is the only bookmark I own that I have never once used. I suppose Homer is just waiting for the appropriate occasion...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bookmarking 10 - Dolphins

One of my oldest bookmarks, this was purchased for the two leaping dolphins. This bookmark has not had an easy lifetime. Purchased 10 years ago, it has since lost the lacquered nut that hung from the top, much of the wood's shine, and the bottom part of the bookmark has broken off (the jagged edge at the bottom of the photo used to lead to a complete circle around the dolphins). Though slightly impractical (it is fairly thick), this is perhaps one of my favorite bookmarks. No other, I don't think, has quite as good a smell.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bookmarking 9 - Tassels

Sometimes I find myself wondering at how almost all my bookmarks seem to be strips of paper (and, most often, boarding passes). Then I go online and find these elegant, stylish bookmarks to make me even more jealous about not having them in my collection.

Nice designs and a tassel? I should splurge more often. Very nice indeed.

There are a lot of cool bookmarks out there.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lesezeichen 8 - Rhineland

Maybe six months after traveling Poland with a group, I found myself in a similar (but slightly cheerier) situation with Germany, going along the Rhine.

Friday, on our way to Köln, past the Loreley, the group was given free time to walk around the tourist town of Rüdesheim. Free time to get lunch, enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful day, and spend some money. The small tourist shops displayed many t-shirts, beer mugs, and other novelty souvenirs. "I'll get this as a gift for a friend," I told my travel companions, spotting a display of surprisingly tall, stiff ruffle-edged bookmarks. They laughed. "Yeah right."

Good intentions always go afoul. At least it's a great addition to my collection.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bookmarking 7 - Knopf

Have an opinion on this ARC? Probably, and if the book you're reading is a Knopf edition, you might have even encountered this bookmark before, tucked in an ARC of some kind. There's some logic in this kind of advertising, though. It's just one more way Knopf can remind you that they understand books and readers (by offering them the one thing bound to come in handy), that they care what the reviewers' thoughts are, and that they're totally awesome. Right? I have to wonder why other publishers don't follow their lead...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bookmarking 6 - Finally!

In honor of the big day, a local chain decided to give their customers a little treat. "This is a fat book," they told us. "While you're probably not going to want to stop very frequently, at least you'll have a matching bookmark for bedtime."

Who can argue with that?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

B (5) O2 K (19) ... Mg (12) Ar (18) K (19) In (49) 5 - Science

Sadly, this isn't one of mine. It is, however, a bookmark I found rather randomly on the internet thanks to boredom (Google: bookmark chemistry).

The cool thing about Mr "I Love Science" (other than everything) is that I often like to match bookmarks with the content of the book I'm reading. For instance, I might have a bookmark from a certain country live in a book that takes place in said country. I often plan months in advance what bookmark will go where.

Too bad I couldn't have had this one when I read "The Periodic Table"...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bookmarking 4 - Egypt

In sixth grade, my homeroom teacher was also my English and history teacher. At the start of the year, she presented every student in the class with a bookmark. On one side, she had printed our names in fancy calligraphy. On the other was a stamped illustration - mine happened to be of a pile of books. Attached at the top was a small carved scarab beetle. A student asked, curious, "Mrs R, what's this?"

She smiled. "Wait until we start studying about Egypt."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bookmarkeng 3 - Kindergarten

Many might remember those times in kindergarten where the teachers assign "art projects". For my young cousin, one such art project was to make a bookmark, and then to laminate it. On one side, he drew the charming above display. On the other, he drew several colored boxes and attempted to write the name of this humble correspondent. He did not succeed entirely.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zakładka w książce 2 - Zakopane

This week's addition to the Bookmarking series comes from the lovely town of Zakopane, Poland. Even in early autumn, the mountains were snow-capped and the atmosphere quaint. While visiting Poland with a group, it was decided everybody would, in addition to buying gifts for family and friends, get a small trinket for themselves. With ten minutes to go before rendezvous, I found myself darting in and out of the shops, trying to find the one "self gift". About 2 minutes before needing to board the buses, I saw a small display at the front of one of the stores with a series of bookmarks sticking out.

"A message from above," joked one of my fellow travelers, knowing my, ahem, fondness for reading. "1 złoty," the woman behind the counter said. I paid hurriedly and grabbed the first one I saw, a soft, dark green bookmark adorned with flowers and the name of the town: Zakopane. Once aboard the bus, a fellow traveler asked, "So what did you buy yourself?" "A bookmark," I answered plainly.

The fellow traveler raised one eyebrow. "How am I not surprised?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bookmarking 1 - Banned

The bookmarking feature starts out with a free addition to the bookmark collection, courtesy of the ALA:

I picked these up for free this year during Banned Books Week, liking the variety in the colors and style. And what a good bookish motto: Speak. Know. Read.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bookmarking - an introduction

One thing I prefer in visiting physical bookstores over the internet variety are the bookmarks. Enter a random store in a random country in a random town and you can find the official store bookmark, either advertising local events, providing information (store hours, locations, etc.), or just random words of wisdom. Even my favorite of booksellers on the internet have so far failed to indulge my obsession.

No longer. The Book Depository is calling for my money for numerous reasons (free international shipping, anyone?), but now there's one more reason on the list urging me to take advantage of their deals - the bookmark competition. Hundreds of very cool looking bookmarks were submitted, with twenty intriguing and varied winners. Of the winners, my favorites are probably Ricardo Reis' and Damien Kavanagh's - both bookmarks would be excellent additions to my collection. Among those that didn't win, a few other great ones (and some other ones):

As a longtime appreciator of bookmarks and a more recent active collector, looking at these charming artistic displays made me ponder the bookmarks I already have, culminating in the following: next week will start a running feature of various bookmarks in my possession (or ones I encounter). While I know mine won't have the charm the Book Depository's entries have, I know there are some funny stories behind them and a couple of real beauties. And even though the Book Depository doesn't exist in the "real" world, it's going to be providing me with tangible evidence of my purchases there, via my collection. Kudos for that.