Posts Tagged ‘books’

Library Lady

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

This weekend I intentionally went to TWO libraries. Not just one. Two. Nerd alert.

Library #1 – Manchester Central Library

Since moving to Manchester I have watched with great interest the redevelopment of the Manchester Central library. A large and commanding building situated behind the Town Hall, it has been surrounded by partitions and scaffolding and I have been eager to get inside and take a look. On Saturday it finally reopened and the public was able to visit the new and improved building. Being the eager book-beaver that I am, I was there with the rest of the nerds keen to see what sort of books I could get out on my library card. (Not that I have one yet. I signed up on Saturday.)

The building is circular and features a large dome in the centre. This is where the main reading room is located and is most definitely the high light of the building. The previous week, a friend had mentioned the whispering wall effect that he remembered being prevalent in this room when he used to go there to study. I was excited to see if this still existed or if the architects had ruined it with soundproofing. I believe it may have been reduced slightly, however as I stood in the middle of the room taking a photograph of the inside of the domed roof, I clearly heard the voice of a man who appeared to be standing right next to me and speaking directly into my ear. But there was no man! In fact, a large pillar in the centre of the room blocked my view of the person speaking as he was located directly across from me. It was fantastic! I spent about ten minutes walking around eaves dropping on conversations that were happening at the opposite end of the room from me. I plan on spending a lot of time here feeding my need to listen to other people’s conversations.

Inside the dome.

Inside the dome.

Family history plays a prominent role in the new development. There is a section dedicated to helping people research their family history and discovering more about Manchester. I plan on using these services to find out more about my own family history and trying to discover why exactly my great grandfather decided to move to Australia. Obviously he was just a wise man, but perhaps there’s more to the story.

I haven’t been a member of a library since I was a kid but wandering around the Central library on Saturday made me realise how useful it will be to me as a wandering traveller. Borrowing books from a library is a much cheaper and lighter way of reading books – I don’t need to pack them into boxes and send them on to my next destination! Yes, this is a bit of a blonde realisation and I’m sure many of you are currently shaking your heads at my ignorance. But it’s the truth. So there you go. So I joined the library on the weekend and hope to get a library card. Then I’ll be a real nerd.

Library #2 – Chetham’s Library

Located in the centre of Manchester next to the Football Museum is Chetham’s School of Music. This prestigious school is hidden quite mysteriously behind gates and a lone security guard and is difficult to infiltrate. However, the Manchester Histories Festival is currently happening throughout the city and a few buildings have been opened to the public. So I took the opportunity to go and visit Chetham’s library that I had seen photographs of and read about on various websites.

Please Ring.

Please Ring.

The school features beautiful old stone buildings that make it look like the set from Harry Potter. The library is located upstairs through a wooden doorway and you are instantly welcomed by dark wood shelves and a high half-timbered roof. It is just spectacular – you can’t help but say “WOW!” as you walk into the space. It oozes history and you can just sense the hundreds of brilliant scholars who have spent hours reading books there.

Beautiful books.

Beautiful books.

As part of the festival, there was a gentleman showcasing a wooden letter press and I stood and had a bit of a chat with him about the processes involved. We were then invited to watch a performance of ballads that had been written in Greater Manchester to spread news and stories about what had been happening in the local area. The girl performing the ballads was great and brought a spark to the ballads. I had previously read some of them as they hung on the walls of the Manchester Art Gallery but it was a completely different experience to listen to them being performed.

I was sad to leave Chetham’s library simply because it was such an enjoyable space to be in. If you get the chance to visit make sure you do.

Catching Up

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Gosh, how time flies when you have an approaching deadline. Four days have past since I last wrote which means I have lots of Fun Time Count Down events to tell you about. Let me see if I can remember…

Monday

Tom and I have decided that now we have been living together relatively successfully for almost a year it is time to take things further. We know it is a big step but we feel we are ready. It is time… to buy a Le Creuset pot. PLUS what better time of the year to do it than during the winter sales! For those of you who haven’t discovered of Le Creuset, step out of your restrictive shell and open your eyes to the world of cast iron cookware. They are beautiful, heavy as hell pots that will last you a life time, once you’ve made the investment. Being that they come from the land of the French, they are significantly cheaper in France. Plus with the current 20-30% discounts we’ve been seeing on them at shops throughout Paris, they’re even MORE of a bargain!

Anyway, on Monday Tom and I walked through Paris in search of a bargain pot but were slightly disappointed. Mostly because at one point we decided to go to Galleries Lafayette which is ALWAYS a mistake. I dislike that place with an ever growing passion. It is hot, it is stuffy, it is full of snooty Parisians and tourists. The staff are rude and I’m clearly not rich enough or touristy enough to be worth serving. Anyway, we didn’t end up buying one. But I have since found the exact pot that I want, in red, at a shop near my house. With 30% off the original price. Excellent.

All of this shopping had made me hungry so we had crêpes. I had my usual Nutella, while Tom went all out and ordered a cheese, ham and egg crêpe from the crêperie that claims to have the best crêpes in Paris. They are good, and they’re freaking huge. Tom spent the rest of the afternoon/evening walking around like a stuffed duck. Good times.

Crepe

It warmed my hands nicely, but then I ate it.

Tuesday

Tuesday wasn’t the greatest day as our friend and fellow Australian who is trying oh-so-hard to stay in Paris next year discovered that her application for a sponsored work visa had been rejected. There were tears, there were profanities directed towards Monsieur Sarkozy and his anti-immigration policies, and there were very early evening drinks at Pip’s bar. There’s still hope for Pip’s visa if she reapplies when she is in Australia (weird French policies about not being able to get a new working visa if she already has one… blah blah blah) but it’s ridiculous really. Anyway, I bought Pip a jasmine flavoured biscuit from a very unique patisserie Tom and I walked past.

Jasmine biscuit

A delicious heart for a broken heart

We also purchased a pistachio galette for ourselves as a “we have to make the most of being in Paris” treat. It did make things slightly better.

Pistachio galette

Mmm... so green.

Wednesday

I have been trying to do some writing and expand my range of writing styles and genres. I figure I should attempt some different forms other than first person narratives about Paris. So I spent the morning attempting to do this, failing mostly but at least I tried. In the afternoon we met some friends for afternoon tea at a café called Rose Bakery. It is very popular in Paris as a BoBo place to be and sells organic and home made food. I had a date slice which was delicious and a long black. The long black was served as an espresso with a jug of hot water. Strange. But it worked.

In the evening Tom and I went and cured my pizza craving at a restaurant on the other side of the canal. Maria Luisa is one of the few places in Paris where you can get a REAL pizza and their toppings are fresh and delicious. The restaurant itself is a bit pretentious, but of the three wait staff who served us, only one was grumpy. A miracle, really.

Pizza

Mmm... pizza... so big it is nearly falling off the table.

Thursday

Thursday was a busy day of washing, shopping and eating lunch with a friend from the Récollets. She is Romanian and made us romanian crêpes which were essentially the same as French crêpes only made by a Romanian. They were gooood. In the afternoon, I went for a walk to burn off my lunch, and attempted to get lost in Paris. Unfortunately I have tried to do this too many times now that I always know where I am. That’s a good thing probably. Anyway, I ended up at the WHSmith bookshop where I purchased three books for under 10 Euros. I was happy. They are all ‘classics’ as I am on a bit of a “I must read must-read books.” So I will soon be literary and knowledgable.

My walk home involved a sprinkling of rain, sunset (well, the sun was going away but it was cloudy so you couldn’t really see much) in the Tuilleries, a sparkling Louvre and turbulent and lively waters of the Seine. It was wonderful. But it also made me realise how much I don’t want to leave this place. But I’ll be back. Just you watch.

Louvre

Sparkly!

Lost in Paris

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Another day wandering aimlessly through Paris – I got slightly lost today (on purpose) and stumbled upon areas that I didn’t know existed. I felt an extreme sense of “I have no idea where I am” and loved it. I found lots of cool cafes and a whole new section of shops to explore with my fellow female travellers at a later date.

Highlights include finding the Movida cook book (a spanish tapas cookbook written by the people who run the restaurant Movida in Melbourne) for the low, low, low price of 5 Euros. It’s a soft cover and has a different image on the front but it is the SAME BOOK. I was stoked. Also, walking through random back streets of Paris in the sunshine wearing just a dress and stockings. No jumpers or jackets required. Most other people on the streets were rugged up for some reason… Couldn’t they see the sunshine?

Lowlights include the intense heating system used in Galleries Lafayette – every time I go into that shop I want to leave immediately due to heat exhaustion. Also, the pathetic scoop of Belgian Chocolate ice cream from Häagen Dazs. I knew it was a bad decision as soon as I walked in there but I was craving ice cream so much and couldn’t find anywhere else. At least the small size means it was a ‘diet ice cream’ and I can eat something else delicious as well!

I had a lovely day today – I went for a seven kilometre run this morning along the canal and to Parc Buttes de Chaumont where I had the lookout and a view towards Sacre Coeur all to myself. Sure, on my way home I may have been somewhat stalked by a Tunisian man who decided we should run together but who just slowed me down, but let’s just forget that.

The sun has been shining all day despite original forecasts for it to be overcast and the park outside my window is blossoming, blooming and bursting with new leaves and flowers. So pretty. The only problem with leaf growth is that our view becomes less and less, but who wouldn’t want to stare at that amazing vibrant, granny-smith green all day?

Park

Look at all the colours!

Magnolias

Look at the flowers! So, who can tell me what these are?

Now I am home after spending the last four hours walking around the city, my back is sore from carrying my bag and my feet are going numb. But Tom just called to ask me what delicious treat I want from the boulangerie for dessert and I am about to whip up something amazing in the kitch (by that I mean I am making up a recipe and am extremely worried about whether or not it will work). Now that’s the good life in Paris.

The Latest

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

So long, grey skies! Hello sunshine and blue! The last few days have brought glorious weather – although the wind is still biting and has a habit of getting through all layers of clothing. It’s bloody cold, really. I’m used to consecutive days of sunshine equalling warmer temperatures but so far this hasn’t happened. They forecast some higher numbers for the rest of the week which is a bit of a relief. Every time I try and put on a skirt the wind suggests otherwise.

But sunshine does bring general happiness – my mood seems to lift greatly when the sun is out. Paris looks so beautiful when it isn’t contending with grey clouds – the buildings shine, the trees seem to instantly fill with new buds, birds flutter and Parisians make out on park benches. The past weekend was particularly glorious. Saturday was Tom and my two-years-and-six-months-versary which we celebrate just for the excuse of going out to eat food. We had had a rather late one the night before (getting home at 3am is apparently early in Paris) so we didn’t get up until almost lunch time. We headed to Les Enfants Perdus – a cosy little restaurant in the next street. We treated ourselves to a fancy lunch – I had lamb, Tom had prawns, we both had chocolate cake. The restaurant was a delight – amazing food beautifully presented, lovely staff and a very cosy place to sit. Definitely one to go back to.

Lamb lunch

My lamb – so good.

Prawns

Tom's prawns – apparently also so good

Chocolate pudding

Chocolate cake with delicious, gooey innards. So so so good - although the menu said it had chilli in it. I couldn't find it... Clearly French "chilli"

After lunch we walked in the sunshine along the canal to Parc de la Villette – a large space with parkland, museums, giant glass domes, kids’ play equipment, concert halls… Tom described a conference hall located in the park as “Like the Perth Convention Centre, but with style and it actually works.” It’s nice to discover new places and to find places we want to go back to. So much to see.

Parc de la Villette

Parc de la Villette

Sunday was the first Sunday of the month so all of the art galleries were open for free. We caught three trains on the metro to get to Musee Rodin and wandered through the gallery and gardens looking at Rodin’s work. I had seen many replicas of The Thinker so it was amazing to finally see the real thing. Sundays are always ‘days out with the family’ for Parisians and they were all out in full swing, enjoying the rays of sunlight. People had clearly come to the Musee Rodin to simply sit in the sun in the garden. Poor French people with their lack of sunshine. That said, France gets heaps of sun compared to England. Give me Paris over London any day.

The Thinker

He's a thinker.

We walked back home through Saint Germain which was completely closed and made me think about everyone complaining about Perth’s lack of Sunday trading. Paris is just as bad. Everything closes on Sundays. Bakeries close at lunch time, just when you want some bread. Tom and I walked for miles trying to find a baguette – we ended up having lebanese.

Today I went shopping with my friend Pip (a fellow Perthian who has moved to Paris at the same time as me) and bought a lot. I went shopping with a list of necessities and came home with some added bonuses. I bought:

  1. Moisturiser for my excessively dry skin due to France’s stupidly cold air (necessity)
  2. Jeans (necessity as I only have one pair and my other pair of pants are too big)
  3. A tshirt (You always need tshirts)
  4. A grey skirt that has cool angles and is just great (it was half price so it would have been wrong not to buy it)
  5. Books (Books are educational (and these are beautiful) which means they are a necessity)
  6. A statue of a pig (added bonus)

The pig needs a name and I am currently undecided. I will post a photo of him soon so that everyone can meet my new pet. Maurice is a possibility – all I know is that he is a French cochon.

Ok well it is my bed time and I am going to post this sans-photos. My internet can’t handle uploading photos at this time of the day so I will add them later. So you can read this post TWICE. Lucky you!

Find It!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Yesterday saw the release of two books into the wild. My UWA colleague, Brendan, and I (and potentially Kylie as well), have set ourselves a little competition with the help of Book Crossing. For those of you who do not know, Book Crossing is a website where you register books, download stickers, put the sticker into the book, and then leave the book somewhere. Then someone finds the book, goes to the Book Crossing website and says they have found it and then, after reading it, drops it somewhere new. The idea is to encourage the sharing of books and to also watch how far your book can travel.

The terms of the competition are: We have each chosen a book and dropped it in the same place within the UWA Business School. We are now waiting anxiously until 1 January 2011 to see whose book has travelled the furthest – if at all. The prize for the book that has travelled the furthest – Lindt 70% chocolate.

So may I encourage you all to visit the UWA Business School, pick up Spike Milligan’s “Adolf Hitler – My Part in His Downfall” and take it far, far away. Preferably overseas somewhere. If you happen to see “Scar Tissue” by Anthony Kiedis, just ignore it. Or hide it somewhere so that no one can find it. Ever.

Spike Milligan

The book to find!!

Bored?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Watch people buy books at the Book Depository’s live view. I’m one of those people who will look at your bookshelf if you invite me into your house, so I could sit and watch what books people are buying for hours… And yes, I did just buy a Stephen Fry autobiography and Yann Martel’s latest book. HOORAY!

Advice for All

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Tonight I have discovered something that I wish I’d known about when I was a teenager. Books of wisdom and worldly advice written by Lorraine Peterson, an American history teacher.

Book of advice

Wow.

I mostly love the fact that I can also read a book called “If God Loves Me, Why Can’t I Get My Locker Open?”. Other titles include “Lord, I Haven’t Talked to You Since the Last Crisis, but…” and “Why isn’t God Giving Cash Prizes?”. Buy them from Amazon.

Note to Self: The Movie is Never as Good as the Book

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I knew it. I have always known it. If you read a book you should never see the movie because it will ALWAYS ruin it. When the hype of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo started I decided to go against my natural instincts of poo-pooing overly-popularised books and I read it. And I enjoyed it. I remember thinking at the time that it was a very long and complicated story and wondering how on earth they would condense it into a movie. I finally saw the movie last night and discovered how they did it – by removing key elements and squidging it to fit. It was a bit like a square plug in a round hole – they shaved off the corners to make it the right shape, at the same time losing all of the elements that made that plug square.

My dad (I went on a movie date with my parents. Romantic.) made the valid point that really it should have been turned into a tv series, and even the filming techniques and style of the film suggested ‘Sunday night on the ABC.’ It was over dramatised and the music just made me cringe and if I hadn’t read the book I think there would have been elements that I would have completely missed. The section of him serving his prison sentence didn’t look like prison at all, and the whole Wennerstrom debacle became insignificant. Also, Blomkvist was against taking on the project in the first place and it wasn’t until he was bribed with information on Wennerstrom that he took interest. Anyway, my point is that a book can provide you with the intricate details and background information that a movie can’t. The complex nature of Stieg Larsson’s story needs to be told in a book form and a movie can’t do it justice.

Over all the movie was reasonable – quite graphic in parts and the scenery was pretty. Noomi Rapace who plays Lisbeth Salander does a great job and I can understand the hype around her performance. I wouldn’t rush back to watch it again. And I think I’ll just read the next two books in the series and skip the movie versions.

Girl with the dragon tattoo

Hooray for the book.

Discount! discount! DISCOUNT!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I received an email this morning from Book Depository offering me 10% discount vouchers for ten of my friends! So I thought I’d open it up as a little prize to my millions of readers. First ten people to email me with “Please, please, I need discount books!” as the subject line gets a voucher!*

*Winners will be notified by email. Offer ends sometime soon.
Books

Hooray for Clipart!

The Final Three…

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

The last three books of my Book Depository order have arrived and with them comes danger and potential distraction. Two of the books are Make-Your-Own sock creature books:

Stray Sock Sewing book

Too Cute!

This is a Taiwanese sock creature book with the cutest animals you can imagine. My room will be full of them soon…

Stupid Sock Creatures book

Hilarious!

These sock creatures remind me of people I know…

Time to get sewing!