Sunday Salon: 19 and counting

sundaysalonNineteen days into my self-imposed ban on buying new books, and I have succumbed — but only the once and there were exceptional circumstances (I can see you rolling your eyes already).

My nemesis was not a Booker prize winner or a classic or even a novel in translation which are the types of books I’ve decide I want to spend most of my time reading this year. It was actually a work of non fiction: Roman Architecture: A Visual Guide by Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner. She is the tutor on a MOOC (Mass Open Online Course) offered by Coursera and Yale University that I started this week.

Agrigento_temple-of-JuneWe’re just getting started by looking at the origins of the city of Rome and how it grew to became the epicentre of an enormous empire encircling the Mediterranean. Although the course material contains many still and video images of the villas, temples and monuments she’ll be teaching us about over the next 15 weeks, there are scores more in her book. The iBooks version not only contains useful maps and geolocation links, and a list of monuments by location, it comes with pop up image references and embedded flashcards. It’s simply stunning and a bargain at just under 8 UK pounds.

But otherwise I have been very restrained despite the allure of the welter of promotional emails from publishers and booksellers that seem to have come into my in box in ever increasing numbers. They are so seductive it’ s impossible not to open then and browse all the offers. I almost faltered a few times and let my mouse hover the BUY button but stopped in the nick of time. Then there are the temptations of reading about some great sounding books other bloggers are recommending. My wish list is growing to giant beanstalk proportions as a result.

I have however started to make a little progress with the 100 plus books I discovered I owned but had yet to read. I finished Still Life, the first book in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series a week ago and was so sorry to say goodbye to the wonderful community of Three Pines. I’m now slowly working through a rather oddly titled book I bought on a whim at the Hay Literary Festival last summer when I was just starting to read more works in translation: I Killed Scheheradaze: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman by Joumana Haddad, a journalist, activist and poet from the Lebanon. It’s something I can read in small doses in between drooling over the pictures of the Romans.

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on January 19, 2014, in Non fiction, world literature and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. So you saw my eye roll, huh? 😉 Slippery slope, slippery slope! Be careful or next thing you know you will be out on a binge!

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  2. I bought two books yesterday so you have my full sympathy! Good luck with the rest of the ban!

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  3. I would roll my eyes if I hadn’t bought a book each day for the last three days… Anyway, non-fiction books don’t count!

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  4. A visual guide to Roman architecture sounds very cool! And easy to justify when it goes with your course.

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  5. I WAS going to roll my eyes, I admit, but then I read what you got. I think I’ll withhold my eye-rolling for another time…when it’s worth the eyeroll. 🙂

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  6. 19 days, awesome!!! I would never make it. lol Happy Reading!

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  7. Oh there’s always an excuse, Karen, isn’t there!!!!! I think nineteen days in is really good progress.

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  8. Trying to empty the shelves a little before buying any new books is hard. I decided that I would use my library more if I wanted to read any new books coming out instead of buying them, which is putting a different twist on a buying book ban, but at least I’m not filling my shelves more 😉 The book you purchased sounds wonderful! I love art books, art history etc., and tend to overlook them when filling my library, although I did buy a huge Da Vinci art book this past Christmas that was so cheap I couldn’t resist. (all his art for under $20).

    Enjoy your week!
    Suzanne @ Chick with Books

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    • That does sound like a bargain Suzanne. I’m a fan of the library system also but I know if I followed your course, I would get so tempted that my shelves would never be in control. So I need around six months at least of just reading what I have.

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  9. Resisting the temptation to buy new books is very hard. I think you’ve done exceptionally well only to buy one 😉

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