Sunday, 26 November 2017

Making a Personal Library

I love books and reading. I have recently been looking into ideas on having to grow my own library. Here are suggestions/ideas that I have found to grow your own personal library. Hopefully, both you and I learn ways to get books and build our own library.

Here are some recommendations to consider:
Know what you want and keep a record/catalog of the books you already own. There are apps and other systems that you can put in place to know what books you have and even the ones you loan to others. If anything were to happen, you have that list to rebuild or get any type of money back. As well as a record to show family and friends what you have.
Build Sturdy Bookshelves. Consider what you are using /as shelves. Make sure that the word or other material will last awhile.
Read a good book on the subject. Many such exist. But don’t get overwhelmed. If no definitive list exists. Create your own.
Define and Prepare a Space – Decide on a size, Big or Small? This depends upon the physical space available to you. And the patience of your spouse. Determine where and how you will store your library. Do you have a free wall? Or a spare room that you don’t use very often? What about creating a room just as a library room. That’s what I did in our dining room. We eat instead in the Kitchen/Great room.
Make sure that it’s comfortably appointed as well. Big stuffed chairs, a library table, warm lighting, favorite photos, paintings, or sculptures all make it your special place of beauty and peace.
Build Upon the Core of your Library (of what you already have). How? Answer a couple of questions:
  • What am I passionate about? The answer will give you a prime section of your collection. That’s probably what your core already consists of.
  • What would I love to learn or know more about? You’ve got your second section.
  • What has always fascinated me? You’ll need a section of good books on the subject.
  • What might give me some insight into . . . ? (people, places, ideas, occupations)
  • If you are like me, you’ll want a section just for leisure reading as well.
Begin modestly. You don’t need a ton of books of all kinds unless you’re a hoarder vs. a collector. Locate and purchase the very best three to five books in each field of interest or passion. You might like to begin with an anthology or bibliography. This will lead you to recommended reading which comes from a variety of authors who have all weighed in on that subject. I read an autobiography of The Beach Boys’, Brain Wilson. In the back was a bibliography. From there I collected several more books including their discography (I wanted a history of their recording career along with the background history of their recordings). Bibliographies and Recommended Readings in the back or appendices of a book often provide you with exactly what you need to build your core.
Hardback or Paperback? What is the goal for your library? How much do you have to spend? Will you read your books more than once? If not, you don’t need a library. You can borrow from the public free library. But if you plan on the long term to read them and refer to them frequently, or to dialog in the margins (write in them) then you may want to consider hardbound for the majority of your books.
Look for bargains. Most libraries cull their stacks often. You can usually find hardcovers for $1. And paperbacks for .25-.50 each. It doesn’t take long to build a library at these prices. But be selective by sticking close to your plan. Otherwise, you precious space will fill up with junk that doesn’t further your goals and overall plan.
Stick to your Core plan. Once you’ve decided on a plan of collecting, stick with it! Enough said.
Adopt your own set of “Simple Rules.” Mine is below as an illustration of the point.
Love beauty. Certainly, a person who does not love beauty can build a library. One who values ugliness, falsehood, destruction, and banality could collect books, but who but the base and lifeless would want to read them? Or write them?
Love of beauty forms character and generosity of spirit. These will, therefore, affect the character of what you will collect and share. One character is in place my other two rules apply.
Collect what you enjoy. You must allow your library to evolve according to your interests and passions. Your interests have probably guided you this far. Your passions will form the core of your collection.
Choose carefully only the books you KNOW you care enough about to read.
Read what you collect. No matter how long it takes, read your books. They will teach you and speak to you. They will inform and expand your thinking and experience.
Share what you read. Let others enjoy what you have enjoyed. Share your library. Then be a lender to the people in your life who you know share your love of books or your core passion. Of course, make sure that those who borrow appreciate some understanding of the care and collecting of books.
QUESTION: What is the core of your personal library? Are you working a “plan”?

Ways to Collect Books
Below are some tips on keeping and maintaining your own library. I hope they help:
-First, you have to read a lot. A lot. Read when you fly, read when you wait for doctors appointments, read when you’re eating, read before bed, take breaks from work and read. Every chance you get, read.
-Buy, buy buy. Books are an investment. I understand they cost money upfront…but that’s how an investment works. You gotta spend money to make money.
-Oh, that sounds like a lot? Average student loan debt for the same period was about $30k. If you don’t like that equivalency, what’d you spend on cable, movies and bar tabs? What are the chances of that ever turning a profit? The books have more than paid for themselves (if only in improving my life and outlook and providing pure enjoyment, to say nothing of their ideas, inspiration, and lessons).
-I’ll be real clear about the benefits of owning physical books: You own them. They are there, physically, in your house. You cannot forget about them. A different app is not one click away. You can see patterns. You can gauge your progress. You can show off your efforts (and you should–reading is something to be proud of). You can look for what you need, find it on the shelf and satisfyingly say “Ah, here it is” and find the exact passage you marked for this purpose.
-The books on your shelves represent literally thousands of years of cumulative human wisdom. This is wisdom that you can reach out and access at any second. It also stands there, also, as a reminder of the pettiness of so many of our problems and complaints.
-Organize, organize, organize. I do themes (moving messed them all up, but it was fun to start over).
-Have a “LIFE” section – for books that changed your life or books to live your life by. Return to these often.
-Aesthetically, I prefer to have them arranged in order descending by height. The height gives it a sense of order and symmetry which you notice only when it is not there.
-Pick one off the shelf every now and then and flip back through it.
-Having a personal library in your house functions as a good litmus test for people who come over. If their first question is “WOW, have you read all these?” it says something about them. If they immediately start looking for books they like, or start inspecting the titles like it’s a bookstore and they’re looking for something to pick up, that says something too. You can tell a lot about a person based on their relationship to reading.
-But it takes up so much space! Just wall space, really. We fill up our living spaces with so much crap, I have to think books are maybe the least bad thing.
-I understand that keeping a library of books puts you the minority or at least part of a dying breed (like someone who started a record collection in 1998). Whatever. Of all the “old” traditions to stick to, a three- or four-thousand-year-old one strictly observed by basically every smart and accomplished person ever seems like a good one to go down with.
-Treat them like shit. Books are made to be broken–literally or figuratively.
-The author signed it? Cool, it’s still for reading.
-We all know that public libraries are calming and quiet. Having books displayed–or better, a room dedicated to it–brings a little of that effect into your home.
-Become a resource for others. Recommend books to others. Nothing builds a connection with a shared book or author.
-Refer back to them! If you’re writing a memo, see if you can’t include an anecdote from a business book. If you’re working on a blog post, citing a book you’ve read. If someone you know is going through something, try to track down that quote you vaguely remember. The more you do this, the better your recall will get.
-The point of owning the books is to use them. Make sure you take notes and keep a commonplace book. It will change your life.
-Books are no substitute for human contact, but it is still beneficial, to be in the physical company of the greats.
-Don’t be afraid to quit books that suck. Our lives are too short to suffer through crappy books. There are too many good ones out there–put it down if you stop getting something out of it. If they really suck, sell them back to Amazon, donate to charity or throw them away.
-Don’t collect for the sake of collecting. Leave that for hoarders. Get rid of the stuff you don’t like or have no real use for. When I moved I got rid of two full boxes…which I have subsequently replaced with better stuff.
-Don’t loan. If you love a book, you can buy the book for another to read ... or just bother person until you get it back and they buy their own copy.
-If you need ever a reminder to read, the constant physical presence of books near you in your own home is quite helpful.
-It’s all about the IKEA shelves. Why? Easy, cheap and you can get rid of them if you need ‘em. Higher is better (so if they have the extenders), put the books you need the least at the top and you’ll save room.
-Collect the unusual.
-If you want a cheesy library joke, refer to your books as the “[Insert Your Name] Memorial Library”
-Is it really that much of a pain to carry books around? I never got this argument. Only once in my life after like a month on the road was I so overloaded that I had to mail some home (and I read way more than the average person). Suck it up, the benefits are worth a heavy suitcase.
-Go through other people’s libraries.
-Having a library keeps the information fresh in your head.
-Try to find those books you remember as a kid. It’s nice to have and every once in awhile it will make you think or smile.
-List Your Favorites. Sit down and make a list of the best books you have ever read. Pick the ones that you love to read again and again. The classics that changed your view of the world, the romance novels that made your heart pound and the definitive works on your favorite hobby. Once you have an idea of which books you want the most, you can shop for exactly what you need.
-Pick a Number. How much can you afford per month on books? $200?$25? Whatever it is, stick to it. Knowing how much you want to spend keeps you from overspending.
-Pace Yourself. Don't try to get your whole list in one sitting. If your budget is $20, don't sneak in an extra $7.50 for your favorite Hemingway novel. There are other (probably cheaper) copies of The Old Man and the Sea in the world, you don't need to overspend for anything.

“Modern Tarot,” Michelle Tea

The book has an introduction, but no conclusion which for some could be put off if you are one for conclusions. It is the first person written for those who like third person writing. The illustrations are done by Amanda Verway and for myself, I did not really like the imagery. For some readers, they may feel the same and would be put off looking at the images. The content itself in the book is good information. After she talks about the card, there is an exercise(s) relating to the card.
If you have read many tarot books, you may not find the information useful. The information at times is repeated and nothing new is put forth. But I was not engaged in her telling/view of the cards and description of them. She gives examples of situations of how you would be that card – example: Justice, if been a victim of a crime, you probably feel tons of righteous anger. The Justice card recommends to move it into activities that are healing for you and for others.

“99 Keys to a Creative Life,” Melissa Harris

This is a Llewellyn book, so in some store, it may be in the new age section. The book is small and so easily can be placed in a purse or bad and be read on the go. It is a book that has different ways to embrace, emerge or jump-start your creativity. You do not have to use all of the ninety-nine ideas. These are ideas of what you could do. The book is divided into three sections – awareness, intuitive or heart based and spiritual or soul-based keys. Each trying to help you out in some way that relates to the section. The ideas are about two pages in length, and are not on there own pages – she just continues on to the next key when ended the one before. There are a few brief personal examples of the key but are quick to relate to the key and does not go on a tangent. There is a short conclusion and then there are three pages of recommended reading for those who want it.
It is quick to read and you do not have to read all keys in one go. If you want you could or maybe on a section at a time and jot down what keys you want to or mark the page with a post-it note like I did.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Travel Bucket List

These are only five places I would love to go to in the coming years. I want to travel and would love the opportunity to go to theses places and more. For me, I would love to travel the world.

Bavaria, Germany
            Because I want to tour the sites of King Ludwig II (castles and death site). I would like to visit other areas of this region of Germany. I would like to be there for Oktoberfest, as I have lived in a city that has had celebrated it for many years as well. Like where I live, I would also like to see the Christmas Markets that are put up in this area. The ones there last a month or more, where here it is only four days. Yes I may go north to the rest of Germany but the main focus for me is the southern part of Germany.


            I would like to see Kildare and sites of Goddess Brigid and those connected to her as a Saint – which many be that of that. For me Ireland would be the first place for me to see in the United Kingdom. It would be fun to almost go counter clockwise visiting that part of Europe. Ireland looks nice and fun to go to. I would like to visit other areas of Ireland as well.


            It would just be interesting to see the natural world that the country has to offer. As well as the history it has to different composers and the country as a whole. It would be interesting to compare what Germany and Austria are like. Yes there are going to be obvious and other differences between them. But how they treat the people, nature and other aspects of life.


Australia and New Zealand
            For me I would like to give both countries a go in one trip. But I know that is doubtful due to the fact both countries have a lot to offer. I may not cover all of Australia but seeing some of it would be a delight to see. The nature and sites to see in both countries would be great to see with my younger sister. Also the attraction of being near the coast and beaches would attract her anyway.

Personal Library - Where to Get Books

Places to get books

Yes, you can go to chain bookstores like physically in stores – Chapters or Barnes & Nobles or electronically through sites like Kobo or Kindle. But there are other ways to get books cheaper. Here are ways to get them. If you have any other places to get books comment below and I have a list of websites where you can go to get books.


Where to Find Free Books

Books from these sources won’t cost you a cent, but will require some of your time. You’ll need to request books, write short reviews or earn points to convert to gift cards.

1. Review Copies From Publishers

Bloggers in any niche can get free copies of soon-to-be-released books from major publishers in exchange for reviews on your blog or social media.

For example, Book Look Bloggers requests a 200-word review posted to a book retailer’s website before you can request your next book. Library Thing, First Reads, Bethany House, and Tyndale House Publishers also have programs that offer free books in exchange for honest reviews.

2. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Children in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia can get a free book every month from the Dolly Parton Foundation. You must live in an area that offers the program; click the “register my child” link to see if your child is eligible. If you don’t qualify — or you don’t have kids — why not share this opportunity with friends or family members who might?

3. Swagbucks

This isn’t exclusively a way to get books, but as a member of Swagbucks, you can earn virtual cash doing simple everyday things like searching the web, checking your credit report and shopping online.

Redeem your Swagbucks for genuine $5 gift card codes on Amazon. Once you’ve built up a few of these cards, you’ll be able to pre-order your favorite author’s latest release, instead of joining a waiting list with 29 other library patrons.


Where to Get Nearly Free Books

For just the cost of postage or fuel, trade an unwanted book — or one you’ve finished reading — for one that you’d really like.

4. Little Free Libraries

The premise is simple: take a book and leave a book in one of the small boxes in various locations around the world. If you haven’t seen Little Free Libraries’ book houses around your town, check out their website to see if there’s one in your community — or even start one.

5. Paperback Swap

This online community boasts an ever-changing inventory of more than 4 million books with more being added every minute. When you join and list 10 books you’re willing to give away, you get two credits to request books from other members. Each time you send a book and the recipient marks it as received, you get a credit.

6. BookBub. This site shows discounted or free ebooks. With an email address you can choose to download your chosen book through Kobo or Amazon.

7. Craigslist

The advantage of Craigslist is that you can find rarer books, like first editions, sometimes cheaper than regular books. The price often depends on the urgency of the buyer. Since it is more or less a kind of modern-day trade post, the price isn’t necessarily fixed, which gives you the ability to possibly lower it if the seller can’t find another buyer.

You can also check the “free” section of the site to see if anyone is trying to just get rid of books.

Lastly, this isn’t necessarily a tip, but you can also ask for gift cards to bookstores or specific books for birthdays, Christmas, etc.


Finding Cheap Books

To maximize your ability to participate in the Little Free Library and Paperback Swap programs, invest a few dollars in bargain-priced books by popular authors or bestsellers so that you can trade them for books you do want to read and keep long-term.

8. Scholastic Reading Clubs

Scholastic Reading Club. Check with your child’s teacher to see if they’ll make the book orders available, or sign up if you’re a teacher in a public, private or home school. As a bonus, teachers who organize reading clubs earn points to redeem for free books.

9. Thrift Stores

The kind and quality of books you’ll find in local thrift stores vary by the store and region. I find that the best books are at thrift stores in more affluent neighborhoods or towns. Goodwill and Value Village are examples of great stores to look for books – they are relatively cheap. Most of their paperbacks run in the $1-3 range. Hardcovers are around $5-6, though you’ll want to check individual store prices when you go in. Often times you can find real treasures there, since unlike a book store they don’t price the book based on its print edition or age.

Almost all thrift stores sell used books, but the selection varies from a few good choices to a goldmine. Prices vary by store. For example, Goodwill sells books from 50 cents to a few bucks each depending on the location. Go to and, find some local stores, and take a Sunday or two finding the best spot.

10. Garage Sales

Again, you’re not guaranteed to find anything you like, but if you’re looking for children’s books, keep your eyes open for garage sales held by retiring teachers. They usually have immense classroom libraries and often just want to pass on their books to eager readers as they downsize and enter retirement. A bonus is that there is no tax to them.

11. Library Sales

To make room for all their new books and generate money to pay for guest lectures and programs, most libraries have book sales once or twice a year. For the best selection, be there when the doors open on the first day. On the last day of the sale, prices are usually slashed even further, allowing you to get a bag full of books for just a few dollars. These are another great place to go because libraries generally sell their books for a lower price.

Local libraries clear out their inventory at least once a year, offering hundreds — sometimes thousands — of books at cheap prices. The library may price books individually at first, but as the sale days run out, they often begin selling them by the box or bag. Go early in the beginning so you get first dibs and pick up any must-haves. Then go at the end and pick up more at bargain-bin prices.

12. Online Stores. Amazon and Ebay being two, there are other websites that offer discounted books. routinely offers 10 percent off $30 and $50 orders via its newsletter coupon.

13. Used Bookstores

Stores like Half Price Books usually have a value rack in each book section with novels for one dollar.

Sometimes you can find literary gems at stores, too, if you are willing to invest the time to look for them. These stores also have sales, so you can always check out their website to see if there’s one going on.


Other ways to get books

14. Ask smart people for recommendations. Smart people read, people who read become smart. End of story. Find out what worked for other people. It’s a great conversation starter too.

15. For your next birthday or gift giving situation ask for the givers favourite book to be the gift. Or maybe just ask for a gift card to your favourite bookstore or online site.

16. When you read a book, mark down the other books it cites either in the text or in the bibliography.

17. Walk into bookstores – pretty obvious. Whether you’re in an airport, walking down the street, traveling in a foreign country–try to find bookstores and poke your head in. Even if you use Kindle or iBooks, do this. Discovery is important.

18. Books to never buy new

Books by Stephen King, Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James, Augusten Burroughs, and John Grisham — in other words, popular authors — always seem to end up in thrift shops, so don’t buy them at full price.

19. Buy cheap “placeholder” books

In some instances, you might want to get a crummy edition of a book you can’t wait to read, and keep an eye out for a better copy later.

20. No more teachers means more books for you

When school lets out, student books get donated. I stacked my sections of plays, literary theory, and classics by scoping out thrift stores at the end of the school year. The thrift stores there always had a better selection and a higher turnover rate. Even better: Duplicate copies are more common, allowing you to pick the one in the best condition.

21. Expand your interests

Think of subjects you’d like to know more about and keep an eye open for a book. You’ll cheaply add sections to your library and enrich your mind.

22. Compare prices and editions

Used bookstores’ finer selections will include some gems, but comparison shop before you check out. If you have a smartphone, download an app like Shop Savvy to scan the barcode and compare prices.

Favourite Songs

Here are a few of my favourite songs. I am going to share five with you.

Here I Am – Bryan Adams
            This song introduced me to Bryan Adams. It is a song in the film “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.” I would after that try and listen for it on the radio. Then I received the soundtrack as a gift and I was so happy.

Straight From the Heart – Bryan Adams
            It is hard for me choose a favourite Bryan Adams song but this is a song that is up there. For some reason I like it. To me it is saying, say the things you want to say now or you may not get a chance later on. If you do are you willing to still say those things and still mean them. Or on the other hand find new meaning in that situation or relationship and say it if you get the chance to vocalize it and not keep it hidden.

Imbolc – Lisa Thiel
            This one really connected me to Brigid. It might not be for others, and other songs might be for them. But it connects me to her and what that day could be about.

Mary Did You Know – Kalan Porter
            It is his version of this song that I heard first. But after that I heard a few other versions, but only liked one or two more. Never thought I would really like a Christian/Christmas song but again I like his version. It is a nice soothing and meaningful song.

Ross Roy -  Jacob de Haan
            I had my first solo in honour band in this song, one person who did not come to practice and class that it came to me. The song is up beat and so much fun. If you are one to play it, it may look scary or not possible but it is possible and so much fun.