Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Bookworm Delights

Top Ten Tuesday is the brainchild of The Broke & the Bookish. Every Tuesday, we compile a list of our literary Top 10, and then add it to the blog hop.

This week is all about our Top 10 Bookworm Delights.

1.) Finding that perfect reading spot
You know the one. That perfect place to relax and put your feet up while reading your books and sipping tea during the day and wine in the evening. My perfect reading spot – which I haven’t actually found yet – looks like this: One of those old sofas covered in afghans and pillows, on a sunlit, wide porch or wrap-around verandah on a secluded house in the bush. It’s nice and sunny and warm in the sunlight, but so sheltered through the wide porch that you can even sit there in the rain or even snow and watch the elements while you get cosy under the blankets with the book. There’s a coffee table nearby to hold cups of tea and coffee, and glasses of wine and a notebook to hold all your thoughts.

2.) That Old Book Smell
If Old Book Smell came as an air freshener, I’d buy it! I love that smell old-fashioned libraries have, of paper, ink, and knowledge. It’s a comforting smell, a calming smell and a grounding smell.

3.) Second-hand Bookstores
There’s something special about shelves upon shelves of pre-loved books looking for a new forever home. With a bit of luck and by really reading the spines and not just glancing over the titles, you can find real treasures. Many second-hand bookstores also have comfy reading nooks, and a whole, loyal community. To me, heaven is a second-hand bookstore, like Shakespeare & Co, or Abbey Books in Paris.

4.) Finding books at a flea market
Not only will the books be cheap, there may be unexpected treasures among the offers. By now I know which of the stalls at my local, annual city-wide flea market Zöppkesmarkt has English-language books, who has the best preserved, who is cheapest and who might have the volumes of collections I’ve been after.

5.) Bookish merchandise
Let’s face it: I love bookish merchandise, though my family has not really caught on yet. My bestie has, however. For example, this Christmas just gone, she surprised me with a Dewey System Scarf, a typewriter-print handbag and a huge mug with the opening lines of famous novels. Back in 2014, I even put together a Gift List for Booklovers on my other blog (just ignore it says Christmas).

6.) Signed copies
I love meeting authors and getting books signed. Especially if the signing includes a personal message or dedication. What I love even more, is finding  a copy signed by a favourite author or one who is dead. Imagine finding a second-hand copy of the Hobbit, just to find it’s a signed first edition!! And sneaky authors are the best – like Neil Gaiman, who had time to kill at the airport somewhere and stealthily signed as many of his books as he could. Didn’t tell the staff, didn’t tell anyone at the time. Then he took to social media and said “by the way, I signed a few copies, and here’s where to find them. Thought it’d be a nice surprise” (or something to that extent).

7.) Book Fandoms
People who love your favourite book just as much as you are automatically your friends. Unlike real-life friends, fandom friends won’t think you’re crazy if you spend hours analysing a scene or writing fanfiction.

8.) Seeing someone read your favourite book in public
It’s really the case of the book recommending a person. You’ll know the story and what they *should* be feeling if they are as immersed in the book as you were. When you try and catch their eye just to give them that knowing look.

9.) Discovering a new favourite author
Sometimes there are authors you simply *get*. You love their style, their humour, the imagery in their writing, the characters they bring to life. And then you soak up everything they’ve ever written. The latest author  I had this feeling with was Neil Gaiman.

10.) Beautiful collections and editions
Only today I found out about the Penguin Drop Caps collection with their gorgeous, colourful cover designs. And I’m still trying to get my hands on the Penguin Clothbound Classics.

Voss by Patrick White #AtoZ #60Books

This post is part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge. Also part of my 60 Books Challenge: Based on a true story.

Based on a true story of exploration in the Australian Outback, Voss, by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Patrick White,  epitomises nineteenth-century Australian society and explorer mentality.

Johann Ulrich Voss is a German explorer who is set on being the first to cross Australia, based on Ludwig Leichhardt, who famously got lost in the Australian Outback.

It’s as much a story about passion as it is about exploration. Voss meets a young woman called Laura, who is new to New South Wales and who is the – slightly naive – niece of Voss’ expedition sponsor. Laura and Voss connect on a deep level and share an almost spiritual bond as he leaves on his ill-fated expedition into Australia’s red centre.

Why a character like Voss, who although being enigmatic is also quite arrogant and introverted, would choose to lead an expedition is a bit of a mystery. His sponsors insist on him taking a whole entourage of characters with him, even though it is obvious that Voss would prefer to travel solo. Keeping in contact with Laura as far as possible as many letters do get lost, they come to see each other as husband and wife, even though most of their relationship exists and progresses only in their dreams and imaginations.

Though it is not the main character who is the most interesting figure in this story. Voss’ team consists of a handful of men, all distinct and all misfits, even in their own small group of misfits. Their interactions are what moves the plot along, and they are fascinating to observe. Once the group of explorers encounters aboriginal folk in the Outback, the story becomes infused with their spiritualism as well. Aboriginal people come across as completely “other” and strange, compared to the colonial explorers, and their interactions with Voss’ band of people are rife with communication problems and cultural misunderstandings which are nevertheless crucial to the story.

Patrick White’s writing is simultaneously strange and beautiful. He creates characters and paints landscapes the descriptions of which will stay with readers.White’s story is littered with observations and psychology, and sentences are sometimes designed to be tripping people up while reading.

A story of love, loss, and the dangers of the Outback. Voss truly is the quintessential, modernist Australian novel.

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Title: Voss
Author: Patrick White
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Release Date: 1994 (originally published in 1957)
Pages: 464
ISBN:  978-0099324713