Saturday, 9 January 2010

A Weekend Reflection: Ma read to me

Reflection (n): the return of light after striking a surface; an image; representation; counterpart
The foyer next to the main Dymocks bookstore in George Street, City
Reflection (n.): a thought occurring in consideration or meditation
There is a physicality to books that is hard to best: the texture as it lies in the hand, the font, be it serif or san, the shape of words and the relationship with that feint mid-line that has not been visible since primary school. Lift the book from the shelf, permit a thumb to riffle the pages, then bury your nose deep within. Know that rush of bliss? Now, combine that with an anticipated grandchild.

As amazing as Amazon is, there is not a button for physicality. For this bricks and mortar, real people and real shelves stocked with books is a good move. Having a range to choose from, like Borders, Kinokuniya, Abbeys, Angus & Robertson, Gleebooks, and Shearers, I stuck with that good old faithful, Dymocks. I had five books in mind, all Australian (“My place” by Nadia Wheatley, “The Tram to Bondi Beach” by Libby Hathorn, “The Adventures of Blinky Bill” by Dorothy Wall, “The Magic Pudding” by Norman Lindsay and “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” by May Gibbs), and I did not any one of them. Not only did the book need to be physical, but so did the child! What if this baby did not match that book?

My last century sensibilities came with a rush. The current batch of books are hip: fonts are mixed, sizes are mixed, colours are mixed, orientations are mixed! The illustrators have dumbed-down individuality and are churning out a quasi Disney come Japanese anime drawing. Oh, for a Julie Vivas or a Graeme Base. After much angst, I bought “The Waterhole” by Graeme Base, “Peepo” by Janet & Allan Ahlberg and “Each Peach Pear Plum” once again by the Ahlbergs. Simple and repetitive language, teamed with illustrations of immense detail with depth and sincerity.
Contemplate the contribution of others at Weekend Reflections

33 comments:

Lois said...

There is nothing like a good book, except maybe a grandchild. I sure do enjoy mine!

myletterstoemily said...

i was so impressed by your pithy comments on joan elizabeth's blog that i was compelled to visit yours!

not one bit disappointed! will be back!

few things have brought me more joy than a beautifully bound book with a lovely story inside.

blessings,
lea

In Three Rivers, Michigan said...

Beautiful photo and text, causing me to "reflect" on the scent of bookstores and the feel of running my fingers down a line of books on the shelf. May you find just the right books to share with the anticipated grandchild!
Three Rivers Daily Photo

James said...

I seem to get much more from a solid book than I do from reading on the internet.
Great reflection I like the old fashioned look to this reflected interior.

Olivier said...

belle photo et un tres beau reflet. cela rend bien

TheChieftess said...

You just can't browse through Amazon...

I've gotten tired of the same ol' same ol' of contemporary authors like James Patterson and the like...all the extreme gore, outlandish plots and special effects if it ever gets to the movies...

Sooo, I've started to pick up authors like Graham Greene...sort of like choosing to watch a Hitchcock movie instead of "Matrix"...

Bonnie Bonsai said...

There is no better way than to lie down comfortably in bed, turn the headlight on and read .... the best sedative ever perfect substitute to sleeping pills.

Australian writers have lots to offer. They bring out all the elements in a book to what is called life and their down to earth honesty of telling Readers about Living, Imagining, Creating and Entertaining.

Great contemplative post Julie. I always adore your blog.

Hey, I am your number one FAN. Will you sign my Autograph?

See you in person one day!

awarewriter said...

The feel of a book. Ahhh

The feel of your photo. Ahhh

The colors are perfection.

brattcat said...

You made very good choices. I think this grandchild will love them because you will be reading them, you will be sharing the experience of them.

Stine in Ontario said...

How wonderful that you will share the joy of reading with your grandchild. It's hard to beat a gift as wonderful as that!

Joan Elizabeth said...

As I was reading along I was going to suggest books by the Ahlbergs ... I have enjoyed many an hour reading to nieces and nephews such stories. As you know I am a book lover and still have the ones I received as Sunday School prizes (from as young as 2 years old) on my bookshelf.

But let's not forget the reflection images ... lovely, speaks of yesterday, tall walls of volumes and and the musty smell of leather bound adventures ... bliss.

Thérèse said...

Such a joy to be sharing readings and reflections...
Nice!

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

Children who have books red to them from a young age usually become bookworms, I know I did. Reading is one of those pastimes that can take you anywhere in the world, through hundreds of years without ever having left the comfort of your reading spot.

I like old buildings - plenty of light through those windows. Congrats on the grandchild.
Cheers.
Melbourne Daily Photo

Vicki said...

Stunning photo, Julie. The clarity of the reflection is quite remarkable.

I adore Graeme Base’s work. I left childhood behind a long time ago, but I continue to add to my collection of Graeme Base books.

When it comes to reading novels, though, I’m an ebook convert from way back. As much as I love the sensory pleasures of a paper book, I love being able to read in peace more. No more “When are you going to turn the light off?” – I can read to my heart’s content without disturbing my man. I can carry a library of books with me wherever I go, especially handy when you’re sitting in a waiting room.

However, I can’t stand reading a large amount of text on a computer screen. I even convert my own books to ebooks for proofing. My ebook software allows me to highlight text and add notes. Imagine the boon this must be to students.

J Bar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Bar said...

An interesting way to photograph this Julie.

Regarding St Benedicts church on my blog today. I believe Blackfriars is on the right of my photo and the building seen on the left is the old St Benedicts Hall which is part of Notre Dame.

I also got some anonymous feedback on the lettering that appeared on the State Library, as part of Macquarie Night Lights and a link to a website. http://www.onehundred.sl.nsw.gov.au/100-days/Our-OWN-Alphabet.aspx

Serendipity said...

Each peach pear plum is an old favourite of mine! Nice reflection.

Ebie said...

Your reflection, a perfect twin! I agree that reading at bed time is a substitute for a sedative.

Nice photo you have shared Julie!

Rinkly Rimes said...

Very elegant symmetry!

Carletta said...

A lovely reflection!
I'm a book lover from way back.
My little granddaughter loves books. You will so enjoy a grandchild to read to.
I don't think I would enjoy a Kindle - not the same as feeling those pages between your fingers. :)

Regina said...

Beautiful reflections!

diane said...

Great shot of the book store. Just makes you want to enter and browse. I love books even though I read fairly slowly...can't miss a word. I love Australian stories. At the moment I'm reading Mary Durack's Grass Castles because I got interested in the Duracks when touring in the Kimberley. I am looking forward to reading to a grandchild. How about Mem Fox books illustrated by Julie Vivas. "Possum Magic" is a favourite of most children. Eric Carle's "Very Hungry Caterpillar" is a good one too.

raf said...

Excellent post for Weekend Reflections, Julie. An image where symmetry works beautifully to support your reflections on the worth of traditional books.

Gena said...

Great post!! Books are the greatest, I'm always surroudned by them!! and what a great reflection picture too!
have a great weekend!
Gena

cieldequimper said...

Since I am the proud owner of around 2000 books, I cannot agree more! Beautiful and thoughtful tribute to paper, prose and poem.

Hilda said...

I completely agree with you. My husband and I are addicted to bookstores, and we cannot help but go inside any that we pass by.

Your horizontal alignment of the sign is amazing, Julie. Good job. ;)

Woody said...

Superb composition! I agree on the bookstore comments. There's nothing like getting lost in a bookstore!

storyteller said...

I confess there's nothing quite like wandering through a bookstore and holding the real thing in my hands. Sad to see so many brick and mortor shops close their doors, but there's no 'electronic reader' for me (at least not yet). Loved your visual and verbal reflections this week ;-)
Hugs and blessings,

Icy BC said...

I too love to get lost in the bookstore, but our local one is closed now..

Lovely the reflection in the picture and your thought.

mbkatc230 said...

I love this photo. It's a great shot, and I love the mood it creates. Bookstores and libraries are my favorite places in the world. I have a kindle, and I love it's convenience when waiting for an appt, etc, but at home I want the feel of a real book in my hands. Great post. Kathy

BaysideLife said...

A lovely reflection and a thoughtful musing. Iris Murdock said "...words are so important to our lives. Without them we cannot think." I love words well spoken, but most of all I love words well written. The heft of a book in one's hands connects the writer and the reader.

Tulsa Gentleman said...

This is wonderful. The soft warm golden light falling out of the upper windows down into the room below. The delicate muntins tracing their lines on the glass. It could have been painted by Andrew Wyeth.

The first time I went to visit my son's primary school classroom it was the smell of the place that brought back a flood of memories. Not a specific memory but the sense of being there at a much earlier time. It was and is the smell of cedar pencils, chalk dust, old books, and sweaty children.

Shelle said...

love this photo, I used to spend hours here....can never leave a bookstore...it's the only place I read.