Archive | books

a year of comfort reading

In 2015 I started adding audiobooks to the podcasts what I listen to at work ….The day job was logistics/order tracking, I needed to keep part of my mind busy so I could concentrate…go figure. I had to change that sentence to past tense, since I got laid off on my birthday the week before Christmas -(fuck 2016, i mean seriously, what the hell 2016?)  I was happily lost in reading techno and futuristic thrillers.  But after the ‘day the earth stood stupid’ came and went I had to avoid most of my favorite podcasts and retreat into rereading comfort books.   R means a reread…a number of R’s means I’ve read it a LOT.

I’m poking around the place these days finishing up any projects that are underfoot and waiting to hear about other job prospects I have on the backburner. The job I think I am most likely to get, and the one I really HOPE to get, doesn’t sound like one where I will have an audiobook streaming in my left ear. So I may have to ratchet back my book consumption for the new year.

The Accidental Alchemist, Gigi Pandian
Agent to the Stars, John Scalzi
Altered Carbon #1, Robert K Morgan
The Ascent of Rum Doodle, W Bowman (RR)
The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files #1), Charles Stross
Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)
Bloody Jack #1, L .A Meyer
Carpe Jugulum (Discworld #23) (RR)
Clammed Up, Barbara Ross
Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1), Kerry Greenwood
Crooked Little Vein, Warren Ellis
Daemon, Daniel Suarez
The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2), Liu Cixin
Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)
The Design of Everyday Things
Dinosaur Summer, Greg Bear
Embedded, Daniel Abnett
Equal Rites (Discworld 33) (RRR)
The Everything Box, Richard Kadrey
Feet of Clay (Discworld #19)
The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24;) (RR)
Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2)
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Freedom™, Daniel Suarez
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, David Wong
Going Postal (Discworld) (R)
Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (R)
Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (RR)
The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)
Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) (R)
A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld #32) (R)
Hogfather (Discworld, #20)  (RR)
Horrorstör, Hendrix, Grady
I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld, #38; Tiffany Aching, #4)
Inferno, Niven & Pournelle
Island in the Sea of Time, S. M. Stirling, (R)
The Jennifer Morgue Laundry Files #2, Charles Stross
Jingo (Discworld, #21)
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary’s, #1) Taylor, Jodi (R)
Killing Pretty- Sandman Slim #7, Richard Kadrey (R)
Kraken, China Miéville
Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1), James S.A. Corey
Lies, Damned Lies, and History: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #7, Jodi Taylor (R)
The Light Fantastic (Discworld #2)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
Lords and Ladies (Discworld #14) (R)
The Magicians, Len Grossman
Making Money (Discworld, #36)
The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance
The Martian, Andy Weir (RRRR)
Maskerade (Discworld, #18) (RR)
Men at Arms (Discworld, #15) (RR)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
Mort (Discworld #4) (RR)
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)
Night Watch (Discworld, #29) (RR)
No Time Like the Past (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #5) (R)
The Perdition Score Sandman Slim #8, Kadrey, Richard
The Precipice (Mike Bowditch, #6), Paul Doiron
Presto: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Magically Disappear. Penn Jillette
Raising Steam (Discworld, #40)
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (RRRR)
Reaper Man (Discworld) (R)
Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
Ruddy Gore: A Phryne Fisher Mystery.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss
A Second Chance (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #3) Taylor, Jodi (RR)
The Shepherd’s Crown (Discworld #41)
A Simple Murder, Kuhns
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (R)
Snuff (Discworld #39) (R)
Soul Music (Discworld, #16) (R)
Sourcery (Discworld, #5)
Spinster, Kate Bolick
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off (knitting)
The Stupidest Angel, Christopher Moore (RRR)
A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #2) (RR)
Ted Talks: The Official Ted Guide to Public Speaking
The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield
The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1), Liu Cixin
Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome (RRRR)
Thud! (Discworld, #34) (RR)
A Trail Through Time (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #4) (RR)
The Truth (Discworld, #25)
Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37)
The View from the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman
The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Wee Free Men (Discworld) (RR)
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, The Chronicles of St Mary’s, #6 (RR)
Where’s My Cow? (Discworld, #34.5)
Witches Abroad (Discworld #12) (RR)
Worst. Person. Ever., Douglas Coupland
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engel
Wyrd Sisters (Discworld #6) (RR)
Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

Just One Damned thing After Another

2015-11-28 08_44_25-Just One Damned ThingI am on my SECOND run through this series by Jodi Taylor...the english writer not the american porn star.   Right now I am doing audio only for fiction so it makes it way easier to just revisit an entire series.

The Chronicles of St Mary’s starting with Just One Damn Thing After Another is a humorous science fiction adventure series in the vein of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next.

As I have described it to anyone who will’s as if Bridget Jones and Thursday Next had a baby and left it on Connie Willis’s doorstep to raise.   The series, told in the first person  a la Bridget Jones is very tea-swillingly British, the St Mary’s folks are a collegiate bunch running hell bent for leather through history with some romance, sex, betrayal and dinosaurs all mashed together like Oreo-cookie flavored ice cream.   It has all the best features of all the series I loved, and a timeless element that doesn’t tie it down to any one era.  I can see myself rereading these quite often.

The books…six so far since 2013….are from what is apparently a print on demand publisher. I have been buying the Kindle version allowing me to add the audio for a pittance making my outlay very small.  I am hoping that the author is probably getting a little more than she would from a trade publisher.  I feel I must proselytize about this series because I am getting way way way more enjoyment from it,  than I feel I have rightly paid for.

What I do feel bad is that I don’t yet own hard copies of these books. I tell people I buy a lot on Amazon but I don’t buy books…but I am kinda excluding audio versions.  After downsizing so much these last few years I don’t BUY very many hardcopies but when I find a book I really want, I use the search engine and find a REAL bookseller who has a copy of it.  Especially since I am particular about the actual editions I want to buy, and you can’t be all that particular when buying from Amazon.

51iqvRSqojL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_My normal procedure would be to acquire a ‘NICE’ shelf copy, a First edition or an ARC of any books that I really love. I have those of The Martian and Ready Player One and Silver Pigs and Eyre Affair and so forth…. but the publisher being what it is, the books are not attractive, there’s no 1st edition, there’s no ARC and the cover art of the paper edition is FUGLY…let me reiterate ….very FUGLY, and I really just don’t want to dedicate a half a shelf to books i won’t open and don’t enjoy looking at. < so sad >

I really don’t understand why a trade publisher hasn’t come knocking on Ms. Taylor’s door, these books are as enjoyable AS the Thursday Next series and  IMHO I like them way way better than Harry Potter.  The author has created an entire universe, with time travel pods, lunch ladies, bad smells , romance, betrayal, sex and dinosaurs.  It would make a kick ass Doctor Whovian television series.

One really excellent marketing device is that the author issues free short stories …so for every book there is a free short story that occurs IN BETWEEN..except for the last one which was numbered 0.5 and was technically novella length.

The series is most definitely a genre mashup.  Not as technically detailed as a Michael Crichton’s TimeLine, though every bit as detail oriented as a J K Rowling that inspires you to curl up with a cuppa and a chocolate frog,  I am calling it  time travel adventure cozy. And I am recommending them wholeheartedly.


shelf life

2014-07-19 10.22.25You know how you are supposed to have 4 boxes when you clean? keep, save, donate and throw? how come i end up with like 9?…  Nearly all the books in the house have been boxed…the last batch will be the expensive ones, that will take longer as i need to bubble wrap them…and i actually just ordered two more..investment grade..i won’t be able to spend that kind of money after i buy the house..i shouldn’t be spending it now..but i got a good deal on them a couple of nice modern firsts Ready Player One and RedShirts, that will only go up in value- i should have bought them years ago when they were cheaper…i really need to start looking for more investment grade books…

hemnes-glass-door-cabinet__0177354_PE330330_S4I have packed about 4 boxes to sell off… and that’s without opening any of the boxes i packed up last fall.   If i can get the bulk of the kitchen packed pack up this week..and the food pantry…then i will go back and revisit those boxes one at a time.   It doesn’t matter really but it gives me something to do…I also need to break down all the bookcases, but i will wait on that… most of the wood will be repurposed in the new house…..mostly in the basement… right now i am toying with a couple of ikea pieces for the nicer books in the living room.  Glass fronted is pretty mandatory, and the only USED options i have are barristers bookcases…their problem is that they are usually for bigger houses so just getting them in place will be problematic and they take up a certain amount of real estate.    The least amount of real estate would be taken up by built in bookshelves..but i can’t use every flat wall in the place for shelves..there aren’t that many of them… and investiment grade books deserve need glass doors.

I am going to TRY to get exact measurements of the ceiling and walls Tuesday.. so far i just haven’t had the time. I’m not exactly sure if these Ikea Cabinets will give me the most volume – but they are inexpensive enough to make a mistake with. I will be making a big drive down there anyway to collect a platform bed, it’s the ony way i can GET a bed up to the second floor. in a flat pack box assembled in place and with a mattress rolled and tied. Second floor shelving, on the other hand, will be built out of 1″ x 6″ as much as I can. Under the eaves and around the door frames etc.. I can get pieces up the stairs and then cut and assemble them in place. The built in bookcases i have now I cut and built out of 1 x 8″ and then attached to the walls – the last house I built them with 1 x 12s…my libraries are getting progressively smaller. But nothing goes to waste…the shelves i have now will be reconstructed as a pantry in the basement and i have an eye to hanging them from the rafters against the walls, so that the condensation about the floor will never be an issue… well that and the $200 dehumidifier should do the trick.

Pine board isn’t the kind of shelving i want in my living room, not even in the office..for the office i am really leaning towards white laminate that should make the room feel a smidgen bigger, and if i get some white laminate cabinets from the big box stores, i can hopefully hide the clutter and try to keep the shelves neat. I had hoped to find a house with a lot more walls… i hadn’t planned on covering the entire living room with shelving, and i still can’t get away with it – there’s not much ROOM in the ROOM. I need to find a balance perhaps hanging SOME shelving on half of one wall, and then on the opposite wall using the far side of the room. I’m just moving all the pieces around in my head trying to get a feeling that’s only half bookcases….it saves moving bookcases around the room when they are filled with meat.

2014-07-20 12.44.00 I thought the solution i had in THIS office was clever, i just mounted boxes on the walls…boxes are getting pretty damn pricey these days… i’d love to get away with it in the new place…they can be moved around odd shaped areas. Dear god, am i just planning to fill my house with nicely organized clutter? what if i DON”T put shelves everwhere? will that just mean the clutter is on the floor or things stay in boxes a lot longer? Wasn’t i supposed to be getting RID of the stuff that needs to be shelved? at last count i had about 40 boxes of books…if i cull from the closed boxes I probably can get it down to 35 boxes…and if i leave some boxes of research materials boxed in the basement…i will still need to properly store at least 30 boxes of books in a house that is smaller than most people’s rec rooms. oy vey.

I haven’t even BEGUN to think about the kitchen…it DOES have a little more cabinet space than the one i have now…well it has more space period..but nearly no wall space that would be appropriate for 3 boxes of cookbooks. The only place i have for those is off the kitchen in the stair well..perhaps if i line the skinny staircase with bookshelves, when i take my inevitable tumble down in the dead of night…my fall will be cushioned by some fat James Beards.


erasergirl rides again

I am still pretty busy in a good way, and i am not sure if that’s just the universe being nice to me, or is just what’s going on  inside my head. The wordpress plugin i bought to sync the woocommerce orders and inventory with quickbooks on my PC took at least 4 days for ME to configure. To be fair the support guys for the app, did all the work, i just whined and sent them screen grabs of what i broke and they told me what i did wrong. Mostly it was the mapping of the inventory from online to quickbooks….all the products had different skus and variations had to be tweaked to be their own products etc… it was tedious and still not done. But the big picture is that i am getting more adept at quickbooks that i have ever been in the last 10 years. There’s still vast chasms of it, that i have never even tried to understand and have always felt that i should. In the same way you know that if your pantry was labeled and organized your life would be a thousand percent better. But I figure i will figure it out when i get around to it.

So when i got sick of massaging the database and trying to get all of last years orders into quickbooks, I set up a little experiment I have been thinking about. I was wondering how the task of actually erasing could be filmed in an interesting way. Since all my digital cameras are in various states of disrepair I had to use the Iphone which does have a pretty decent camera if you can work the logistics. Using the cellpone tripod adapter i bought ages and and never used, and the gorilla pod i bought years ago and never used, i jerry-rigged a little workspace to shoot this video. Mind you I did have to flip the film 180 degrees, so it looks a little wonky.

Ideally i would like to go back to doing demonstration videos. In a new location, i will set up a camera and lighting in a permanent cat free spot.

here’s a very short section where i refresh the eraser edges so i can keep using it without smudging.  (Youtube is supposed to be adding music to it…but it’s slow)

data massage

sacomap.jpgI am not going to say “when it rains it pours” too trite for me…but shit…. after weeks of sitting on my hands trying not to go completely mental, i now have a little more ‘work’ than i am comfortable with. JUST when I finally figured out what sort of website I need to create to hang my book publishing empire on, a friend calls up with a data massaging job.

I did start fiddling with my new website, just to get that off the ground, but then i spent most of the day pecking away at the data massaging…it’s the sort of work that seems boring and tedious but it turns out to be exhausting since you have to concentrate on what you are doing, mistakes get lost and you can’t go back and find them….it’s like knitting big piles of data…if you make a fuckup, you have to unravel practicaly to the beginning…for that i have to keep myself well caffinated but i have knock off when i loose the light in the office…..gone are the days when i could do 15 hour stretches…oh i can sit there and screw around with a manuscript for hours and hours…but the work product those last hours is pretty fucking bad, it’s not worth it. I will finish the 1st batch of work tomorrow, and then if i didn’t fuck it up, they will toss me more….just a nice little short term packet of work to keep me going…that was quite nice of them to remember me when it comes to shit like this.

Back to the …the website…’s another WordPress based ecommerce website, it will be an amazon affiliates site which flogs just Maine books and Maine authors. The great thing is that I already own all the software to put it together and had given myself some practice last summer building an experimental website. So the site went up in a couple of hours…still looks like shit, as i need to sculpt it into something that really really looks professional…or at least looks good until i can hire an actual professional. I already own the $50 plugin that will import the amazon products i want into local products. Using WordPress with its Static pages and dynamic posts, AND the products, i can have a full database of Maine books available on Amazon including the Out of print stuff that is still in copyright that I can’t publish. But i can show off all the books i haven’t yet published when i finally publish them. I will have dedicated pages with reading lists and collections and recommendations…and then I can use dynamic blog posts to write about events and local authors and such so that the Google AutoBots will be very busy. There is a good number of authors up there, but without any sort of SHOP venue…Hopefully I will have a good looking website, that they can link to.

It may seem damned odd i hadn’t settled on this idea months ago, it seems a natural fit. I did think actually think about it, but I was still doing book research and getting to know the place. I guess i had to consider everything else before i came around full circle back to it and say…yes this is the right concept. I looked at all the sites that are available and realized that there was a definitel hole in the universe.

I splurged a little today…i guess i am on an UP swing….This little 1880s map of the area i am moving to came up on Ebay and I just couldn’t pass it up for $30. I can get a nice high res scan and perhaps a couple of book covers and a website background. So the expense is well worth it. I also blew some on a take out pizza…really i just wanted the two liters of coke that i got with it. The Pizza will mostly be breakfast

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and lunch tomorrow, so i can start early on the data massaging…now that i have a project I WANT to work on, the paid work is an inconvenience and I want to get it over with. Then I can get back to work on the new site.

queer looks

photo (6) I ran into an old family friend today and as we were catching up, i let slip that i had been doing rescues for 10 years, and that i had some  cats…that was after she tried to convince me that i didn’t actually WANT to buy a house and we all know i NEED a house, cause….i have cats… that was the point in the conversation she made a face like a poodle hearing a weird noise and started talking to me like i was a simple minded crazy person… i stopped in mid conversation and tried to back her out of the expression. I don’t think she believed me.

Folks society CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! you can classify folks who do rescue, whether its cats, dogs, wolves or laboradoodles as crazy hoarding folks to mock and pity and then USE us to dispose of loose animals you just don’t want on your property… i’m still here, still have two cages with  kittens in my living room that I didn’t magically create because i got bored. My personal rule is that i don’t take animals into my home unless what’s going to happen to them is worse, and NO one stays.   I am not a hoarder,  I am not ashamed of my house, some days i am not happy about it, but ‘I‘ – cant’ figure out how to really emphasize the litter ‘I‘ –  am one of the people who gets called INTO deal with the crazy hoarding house people with more pets than they can handle. ‘I‘ am one of the responsible ones. ‘I’ am one of the people who cleans up other people’s MESSES… DON’T YOU LOOK AT ME WITH THAT QUEER AS FUCK SURPRISED POODLE EXPRESSION.. oh fuck you I’m getting a house.

I don’t just need a house, cause i’d make a sucky tenant.  I WANT a house.  unlike all those little girls who dreamed of being married and having kids and a life, I wanted a house.  My mother was bipolar and i wanted my own house where should couldn’t fuck with my thinks or bang pots and pans around if she thinks i was sleeping,  or find out she unplugged all my electronics and killed my fish.  The house I had when i got married wasn’t mine either, it was mostly the banks, and my ex was basically a large hamster, littering his cage with 9 different newspapers every week.  When the banks came in and reclaimed it because my ex wasn’t paying any bills and the money i was making selling all the antiques and furniture i had collected to decorate MY house, wasn’t really enough to keep body and soul together, i didn’t really feel like that house was ever mine to begin with.

If lets just say IF a miracle should happen and i could find rescue groups to TAKE the bulk of the cat volume and i could rent someplace, and 250k will pay an awful lot of rent….i wouldnt’ be any happier, i’d be in the same shit i am in now…just with a little money.  I WANT my own space, where i can knock a hole in a wall if it displeases me, if i drop a can of wood stain on the floor, i can shrug my shoulders and just stain the entire thing the same color, i WANT the chance to have chickens and fresh eggs, i want a garage where i can restore Ralegh three speeds, i want MORE than the three fucking rooms i have now.  I want an office with a door that closes, I want a guest room i can struggle every day to keep the cats out of, because we all know they will want the be in there more than any place else, i want to decorate or NOT decorate as i see fit, i don’t want to hear the neighbors through the walls and have to wait three days for a plumber, I WANT what i have been wanting since i was ELEVEN.  I want my own fucking house.

I WANT what i have been planning, to buy a house for about 110-130K, put 30K of Solar electric and other energy saving systems into it, populate it with furniture and appliances that i didn’t get off the curb.  I want to build bookcases and have all of my books on shelves at the same time.  I don’t want to OWE anyone my rent, or a utility payment, i don’t want anyone to ever have THAT kind of power over me.  I want to put some of this money INTO my business and make the money i need to pay my bills, without feeling like a useless slacker cause i can’t make ends meet.  I finally want the power over my own life.  and my brother can go fuck himself.

I emptied another bookcases out onto the work table, when i get home from the Boston Book fair tomorrow, i will dust them and sort them into boxes and i used the empty bookcase to hold all the loose books from the non bookcases nooks and crannies.. there isn’t a foreseeable end to the book boxing… because of the lack of space they are popping up all over the place.  I feel bad that my apartment doesn’t LOOK nicer, it will NEVER look nicer, it will just keep looking more and more like a monthly storage unit.  I’m sorry but it’s three rooms and I have been here for 20 years, it’s not like i have a lot of options.  Neatening up around here is the equivalent of just moving things from one side of the room to the other.   When i have my OWN house,  if things don’t have a place, then they will go onto the curb and they can end up decorating someone elses apartment.


long term storage

IMG_8354 It’s not that an empty bookcase is a scary sight…the scary sight for me are sealed boxes of books. I’ve been pretending to be a book dealer for about 35 years now and i know a LOT of book dealers with sealed books of boxes. A friend of mine who just passed has sealed boxes of books decades old and even some from HIS father’s bookstore older than that. I suppose if you have a big enough going concern, than a few dozen boxes of books don’t matter. But over the last 15plus years in this apartment i have slowly whittled away at my collection both personal and for sale until i have only a fraction of what i used to. Anything that for sale isn’t even IN the apartment, its down in the workroom along with the Sicpress supplies.


What’s freaking me out about packing to move isn’t the idea of packing the books in my apartment away…it’s the idea of doing it so far in advance knowing that the LONGER books stay in boxes the greater the chance they may never be released again. In my head i know i am working towards a goal of moving into a larger location, one with more built in bookcases and space for not only the books i have kept after many many culls over the years, but hopefully room for MORE books.

The bookcases i CAN make with my eyes closed is the standard unfrills unfinished pine with 2″ wood screws, backs are optional depending on whether i have access to a table saw.   Essentially once i have a space painted, papered, or plaster stabilized…as long as i have a wall to attach it to, it can go up in an evenings worth of television.  So once i relocate i can unbox fairly quickly.

In the meantime, once i make boxes of books, where do they go? out of the apartment? into the basement? into the carriage house?  Knowing what i know about books and boxes…and about that i am an expert…i can say with certainty, once the books are in storage, bad things can happen and usually do.    I sell book deodorizer for a reason…because books and boxes absorb odors…and moisture when its available.   In my apartment that’s never going to happen but moved into a NON living space, even one considered secure, adds to the risk.  And I just can’t get over that feeling that something bad will happen to them if i look away.

When i moved into the apartment i came from a larger space and for a lot of years i had boxes of books and vhs tapes… in the end the vhs tapes got thrown en masse. As i whittled away at the boxes of books, i learned a lesson that cardboard boxes are evil.  They become damaged when used in a living space, not just absorbing all the moisture out of your air and causing your skin to dry out, but they unless they are fully packed they dent and collapse and make excellent scratching posts.  I don’t want them to be in boxes longer than they have to be.

If i thought they would stay in boxes for many years, i would cull the collection over and over again until it was down to the books i wouldn’t be able to replace.  I would sell or give them away and they replace them when i wanted to see the book again.  When i culled the books the 1st time after i moved, that was a rule, if the book was common as dirt and i didn’t NEED to have it in the house.. like Moby Dick and the dictionary, then out it could go..i fact i don’t think i have a dictionary younger than 1780.

As the internet has grown and the value of books has dropped, i am certain i could cull my collection down to a couple of bookcases.  Even though comparatively i own very few compared to other book people…like the rest of my possessions, when i thought i would spend the rest of my days in these three rooms i cut everything down to what would FIT neatly in this apartment. And even then all the books are neatly in shelves in the bedroom and the 2 glass bookcases in the living room.  If i didn’t have my roommates, i would probably have a lot more open bookcases in the living room, but i found it was cleaner and easier to just keep culling the books i didnt need to own.

In a new space, the same rules would apply, everything for sale would be in a pet free room and not exceed that space.  Instead of keeping books for decades hoping they will sell, i prefer to rotate the stock out. reduce the price to $5 and after a year donate it.  I’d rather sell a small number of GOOD books than a barn full of five dollar books.  I suppose if that was the only thing that provided income i would feel differently, but like a lot of us, i have learned not to rely on books to make my living.  i have to bring in money from many sources.  When i buy a book for resale NOW, which is rare, it’s something i know will sell for at least $20 more than i paid for it.  If its a 10 dollar book worth 20 dollars, it’s not worth my time to bring it home and enter it in the computer.  I say that now, but i haven’t actively bookshopped for years, where i live there is nothing to buy and most of the books in shops are already listed online.   If i buy something to resell its usually off the internet.  And i look forward to having a small fund dedicated to doing just that.   Another starving child  the house sale will have to feed.

IMG_8356Watching either of the hoarding shows on television is a great motivator to cause you to tackle something you don’t want to do.  I understand the schadenfreude in america which makes us watch Hoarders, and Hoarding! and even Extreme Couponing which is just another puppy in that litter.  It makes us feel better about our own nests.  But on the flip side it also gives us a scale that homes with a normal amount of stuff in their living space don’t look all that bad.

Many folks have the assumption that if you do any sort of rescue that your home must be unhabitable.  Which is not the case, i know a lot of rescuers, dogs, cats, wolves,’s about evenly split between homes you want to visit and those that are shelters people live in.  It always comes as a shock when people do visit and find this particular hobbit hole is not like that. It takes a lot of planning and daily maintenance but you can keep them in their place.

Books on the other hand will self replicate and take over your house if you let them…i can’t say just like cats, you can actually control the cats.  Inky and Buttons, like all the kittens before them are NOT here for long term storage.  They are here until they are ready for adoption. Right now they are shy and  need to come out of their shell, they live in a cage i just handle them as much as I can.  I devised a fabric sling so that i can type while they are being against my chest.   The rescue group gets them back, they don’t STAY.


I didnt want to post this part i deleted it once already.

Cats in long term storage are ones that aren’t adoptable, of those i have three ferals who have a place elsewhere, aside from them i have 3 that are semi feral, which means they aren’t lap kittys but don’t want to live outside and would not do well.  These guys just need a warm safe place to live.  I’d love to get them into a sanctuary and perhaps once i have some money to throw around I can buy them into one.  At least three of the others  are suitable for adoption, two guys whose owner moved to another country and left them with me intending to send for them and one whose kittens all got adopted but she was passed over. That brings me down to 5 – yes i have five personal cats, get over it.   Folks who come in won’t see more than two or three at any one time. And if i didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know who was here at all.  When i move i will be moving with 10, but that’s not a permanent state. And those that do make the trip won’t have an all access pass to the entire place.  The office and the guest room will be pet free and they will have their own cat porch where i am sure most of them will hang out, especially if i give them some chickens to watch.

There, now if you can add…the four of you know how many cats are in my house.  Right now they are all asleep in their respective sun spots.  And when covered with towels the cardboard boxes make excellent cat beds.






homemade storage units

homedepotwoodencrate I have been thinking about these plain style crates for a long time…well i guess if it has slats its a crate, if it’s a solid board its a box. Either way, I have always wanted a LOT of them. one or two is nice but they vary between 10 and 20 dollars depending on quality and source. So a stack of a dozen can get pricey.

I have had a couple of ideas for mass storage that involve them, and i think the move to a new house may be my chance to try them out. As I am making plans for a location yet to be decided, it seems that BUILDING storage out of smaller units is the most adaptable method.

The drawback common to BOTH designs is that when purchased they are made with STAPLES not nails or screws. Using staples they have strength going in certain directions, but not in all directions. I use one of the crates in the car as a dog seat, with large hooks to secure the box to the back of the truck seat. Very quickly the weight of the box yanked the staples out, so i reinforced the slats with metal strapping. As any book person will tell you books are heavy. Decorative shelving is designed to be placed and not moved while holding weight. HOWEVER many booksellers use wooden boxes to store and transport books to book fairs. These boxes are longer and thinner than the storebought variety and they are also much better constructed so they can easily carry many pounds of books safely. I’m not getting any younger, I don’t want a box i can’t lift.


Bookstores use crates a lot for stacking and displays and there are a TON of do it yourself decorating ideas on the net especially for kids room storage.  In my house I have been using VINTAGE woodenboxes to add storage on walls where i can’t fit other shelving. I attach the boxes with angle brackets and then screw them directly into the wall for support. If I were to create a stack, a stack that when toppled over could crush someone, I would not only attach the top ones to the wall, but them to each other, or to a 1×3 run up the backside.  Stability is good, and boxes packed tightly with books are stable, but one can never be sure. Vintage boxes though attractive are never the same size besides, right now i am interested in mass storage, not just a decorative shelf here and there.

IMG_8059 I have some ideas for designing three standard sizes..the more standardized the cheaper they will be to manufacture as well as purchase the boards…and i have quite a number to recycle that i will be bringing from my house and barn.  Then i can apply the template and cut them, add the hand holds on the sides…..BELIEVE me, you need hand holds for heavy boxes.

Which brings me to some more additions to my MUST by list… new tools. I have hand tools for building one or two things but not for anything in bulk. I am also hoping to save a lot of money by doing a lot of the work on my house myself. I will hire people do do what needs a certification, plumbers, electricians etc..and of course things that need a strong back, but i am competent enough to do much of everything else. I have been looking at buying a set of rechargable power tools like the Ryobi Nail Gun and a circular saw and i will need a jig saw to cut the hand holds. This is all about $300 including the batteries and chargers and such. But i think i can save that pretty quickly. nailgun

I have in mind three sizes thus far…one for paperback and trade sized books, about 8″ tall (inside) and either 18″ or 24″ wide…then the traditional 12″ tall …and then a cube i think. and a couple of specials for photography books.

I am not mad about the CRATE design for books, as it lets DUST inside, but the slats make it easy to snake cables and power cords for devices and lights, so the crates are good for other things. When i measure the available wall space in the new place i can create the custom shelves into the corners and around things like windows and doors, it is  a way to save space and NOT HOG up the large wall spaces where i can hang my photographs.

Now that I have the BOX design in my head, i am thinking of adaptive designs… i can add clear plexiglass door to some of them by cutting the plexi to fix and then using epoxy to attach the hinges to the plexi and adding pull knobs. perhaps i wont need to buy more barrister cases. it will also keep the cats from climbing into shelves not meant for them.
bookbox3 Speaking of cats…my ORIGINAL idea to use store bought crates,  When i move the cats  i will designate one room for them until all the Solar Energy and other construction is done on the house, i don’t want them to get in the way of the workmen, and i don’t want the workmen letting them out in a new city. My IDEA was to buy twelve of these crates and then stack and screw them together sideways in a offset pyramid design, then attach squares of carpeting to provide beds and scratch post area. i can even screw on toys and distractions etc.. I have examined every store bought cat TREE on the market, none of them are designed to be repaired. By using my method, they can destroy it to their hearts content, then i can unscrew and rebuild the entire thing, and replace the carpet squares. You can’t do that with the storebought ones. As things are going i will have a lot fewer cats when i move so this tower isn’t a priority now.

I like my idea for the crates and boxes instead of store bought furniture, and I would have bought the tools anyway when i started working on my house. I can see them in my head, some with doors, some with lights and some with cats sprinkled in between. The key to keeping them from fucking up your stuff is to accomodate them IN YOUR DESIGN, if i leave a few open with carpeting they should stay away from the breakables. At least that’s my theory.

the due diligence of avoiding piracy

Ann Bonny and Mary Read
I’m always on the lookout for something i can slap between a couple of covers and push out the door while avoiding piracy,, in the hopes someone somewhere will buy a copy and send me a few shekels.. and trust me there is no money in creating NEW editions of old books. There seems to be money in REPRODUCING Old editions of old books, but only if you cut corners and hire guys in India to slap together PDFs and do a LOT of them. At least that’s what it looks like on the ground.

I stumbled upon this last title I produced by accident. it has nothing to do with the Merrimack Valley, and practically nothing to do with the colonies at all. A friend of mine was flogging a copy of Frank Shay’s My Pious Companions, a book of drinking songs..that happens to be out of print and from what i can tell in public domain…so while i was researching THAT, I found that he wrote a number of things that had their copyrights renewed by whom I can only guess is his heir…but not My Pious Companions and not More My Pious Companions… both published in the 20s…oddly his novel PIRATE WENCH 1934 about Mary Read the pirate was never renewed…. i managed to find a 1936 UK copy for a moderate amount.


When I find titles that haven’t had their copyrights renewed…my first instinct is …i must have researched that wrong, let me go back to the beginning and start over..i mean if it was in public domain, there would be a thousand print on demand titles right?… but nope after researching those three titles for a few weeks, I am confident enough to produce new editions. Who knows if anyone will BUY one, but i may as well do it, i want to have a nice fluffy backlist, it makes my front list look more legitimate. Backlist means old titles you don’t spend advertising money on, Frontlist, are new or best selling titles, you actually market and spend money on. Besides what else have I got to do with my time?

Nearly every book published IN the US before 1923 is in public domain… i haven’t found anything that isn’t but it’s a safe bet to say NEARLY. Material produced AFTER 1964 has its copyright renewed automatically on a schedule by law…this is the thing that the CONGRESS keeps pushing out the deadline on, so that nothing ever reaches public domain again. MATERIAL published BETWEEN those two dates goes by a set of rules, they HAD to have their copyrights renewed ON SCHEDULE after 28 years. So a book published in 1934 HAD to have its copyright renewed in 1962. According to the Stanford Copyright Renewal Database, it ain’t there. HOWEVER, I did see a low grade paperback published in 1950..i am not exactly sure how that counts towards copyright renewal, i am looking for clarification…but even if it did, the title would have to be renewed 28 years after that in 1978, but neither of those things happened as far as i can tell.

The period from 1923-1963 is of special interest for US copyrights, as works published after January 1, 1964 had their copyrights automatically renewed by statute, and works published before 1923 have generally fallen into the public domain. Between those dates, a renewal registration was required to prevent the expiration of copyright, however determining whether a work’s registration has been renewed is a challenge. Renewals received by the Copyright Office after 1977 are searchable in an online database, but renewals received between 1950 and 1977 were announced and distributed only in a semi-annual print publication. The Copyright Office does not have a machine-searchable source for this renewal information, and the only public access is through the card catalog in their DC offices. In order to make these renewal records more accessible, Stanford has created this searchable database.

Now if you want to research copyrights renewed AFTER 1977, the US GOV has made those available online.. United States Copyright Office. and if you REALLY want to lose your mind you can read the entire US Copyright Act – which i try to do from time to time, each time absorbing just a little more.. Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code Circular 92

Once you go through all that, there’s a good chance you are in the clear. Run of the mill titles should pop up where they are supposed to, either on the list or not on the list. I have done the research and figure i can go ahead. I think this may be WHY more of these mid range titles aren’t being reprinted…there is LABOR involved..its one thing to pay someone in the third world to clean up a PDF for a paperback reprint, its quite another to pay someone to do all the research needed for a title practically no one will buy. But Like I said I have nothing better to do.

That 1724 image of READ will be the cover art for my edition of PIRATE WENCH…which will be Mary Read: Pirate Wench as the UK edition was titled… I just think it’s HYSTERICAL to include that dowdy image with the word WENCH. The above engraving is the frontispiece of A general history of the pyrates, : from their first rise and settlement in the Island of Providence, to the present time. With the remarkable actions and adventures of the two female pyrates Mary Read and Anne Bonny … To which is added. A short abstract of the statute and civil law, in relation to pyracy… (1724) by Captain Charles Johnson Captain Charles Johnson is generally considered a pseudonym, the real identity of the author was thought by some scholars to be Daniel Defoe, although this has since been much disputed.

Using OLD art, also in public domain keeps me out of trouble as well. In the US artworks where the author has been dead for over 90 years is pretty safe…even if you see a copyright claimed by the museum that owns the original, indeed they own the photographic image, but not the image of the art. did that make sense? Because if every museum owned the images in its own collection, we’d never see the Mona Lisa on anything ever. By checking the death date on my artists I only looking at art by the long dead, I never have that moment where I even have the debate about using unsourced material.


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Dead Pet: Send Your Best Little Buddy Off in Style

dead pet

This entire post is an experiment. I went through a number of wordpress plugins trying to find a simple one which attaches amazon affiliate links to posts  and then I just threw in the towel. I already spent money on the WpZonBuilder plugin…$66 in fact. So i think i am going to use it. If you see something you like, click through to amazon. I am not sure if i get a cut if you buy the used copy, but hell, that’s what I always do.

I stumbled on this Dead Pet book by accident killing time at a comic book shop… a REAL one..a big one with lots of toys and other things created for people with disposable incomes. Anyway i was there for an hour and i was determined to find something I could genuinely say I needed.

At first blush this seems ghoulish and creepy…but seeing as how my backyard is filled with dead pets…when they dig it up in future they are going to label me a serial killer… a lot of the chapters in here are quite sentimental and honorable. Granted a chapter on taxidermy sounds tasteless…but there are plenty of people for whom having their pet stuffed helps them heal. personally I find that i MUST DIG THE HOLE MYSELF, i dig the hole and i bury them with all their toys etc. I just wish i had remembered to mark all the graves or at least make a map. 35 years of dead pets? There are chapters on grave markers, hearses, coffins, well of course snake coffins should be lengthwise, even cremation and then attaching those cremains to hobby rockets and shooting them into the sky…

Alas a friend of mine just lost a much beloved pet, and now is NOT the appropriate time to whip out this book…I should have shown it to her months ago when it would have been funny and potentially helpful.

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