Reading Challenges

As a child I was a voracious reader, I’d go to the public library as often as my parents would take me. I read right through the junior section and then the librarian allowed me into the stockroom! I also helped out in the school library as a teenager so even more books to read. Fast forward to 2012 and I hardly read any books at all, frittering away far too much time on the internet.

So in 2013 I set up a Goodreads account and challenged myself to read 50 books that year, I succeeded and read 57 books in 2013. I have carried on using Goodreads and have found it useful to keep challenging myself, fast forward again to 2016 and I read 112 books!

For 2017 I have decided not to challenge myself to read a specific number of books but instead to read more non-fiction, in particular to read some of the many, many books in the to read pile in the house. And yes if you glance at my 2017 shelf it only has fiction in it, but I did have to read my Christmas books first and I am more than half way through Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism with more non-fiction lined up to follow it.

I also find using an app useful for book recommendations, I usually ignore the ones thrown up by the algorithms but I do pay attention to what my friends are reading and giving good reviews to. I also make use of the To Read shelf to list books I want to read and I try to focus on finding these in the library or bookshop. This is only partially successful of course, I usually just end up finding more interesting look books to add to the list!

I definitely have my reading habit back!

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Ingenious Impressions

The Hunterian Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow currently has a fantastic exhibition, Ingenious Impressions, of 15th century books from the University Library’s own collections.

Using the books on display as examples the exhibition charts the development of the early printed book in Europe, looking at the transition from the scribal cultural to print, design and decoration and technology.

Two sections were highlights for me. First the section of mistakes, books where something had gone wrong such as the typesetter getting the spacing wrong and leaving too much blank space on a page, early printing was challenging! The section on decoration and illustration stood out for two reason, first of all the books are beautiful objects; secondly an unexpected discovery related to my own library! The headnote (case summary) in a law report is also known as the rubric, a word that I use but that I’d never really thought about before. I am now educated that rubrication https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubrication was the process by which a scribe added additional information to a book using red ink, this was done for emphasis such as the start of a chapter, you can see an example here. My dictionary defines rubric as a heading or guiding entry showing its link back to the process of rubrication. It’s a shame it’s not in red anymore, law reports could do with some brightening up. I do love learning the roots of words!

The exhibition is worth a visit just to see the beautifully hand decorated pages in some of the books, it’s only on until 21st June so go now!