I used to whine that i didn’t have time to read, but actually, if truth be known, if i had spent half as much time reading books as i did blogging/blog reading i could have read at least one book a week for every one of the 4+ years i’ve been blogging.

(not that the blog reading hasn’t been great though!)

I’ve always been fond of reading, but i’d become something of a slothful bookworm over the years. The most challenging thing i had read in recent years (and boy oh boy was it challenging!) was when Lorna and Eija invited me to read The Holy Bible in a three month time frame. That was about 2 years ago i think.

I didn’t really expect that it would reignite my passion for the written word as well as my passion for the Word…but it kind of did, and since then, i’ve endeavoured to read at least one book every couple of months and if possible, every month.

Of late,with things as they are i’ve found the escapism afforded by a good read, just to much of a good thing to pass up.

Before we went away I had just finished reading Enduring Love, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. A couple of days before we went, I started reading Emma ….i finished reading that within the first day of two of being in Wales.

Even though we were out sigh- seeing ( yes, ‘sigh’ because it was fabulous….mountains, castles, bookshops) and marauding all over the menai straits, the north of Wales and throughout Snowdonia… i still managed to find the time to read a good few books before i came back home, these were: Animal Farm, Life of Pi and Sense and Sensibility.

I did try very hard to read Mansfield Park.

But i got half way through it and was so thoroughly bored rigid and frustrated with it that after hearing me groan aloud over reading yet another nullifying page, Wondergirl walked over to where i was sitting, took the book out of myunsuspecting hands, and promptly went off and hid it.

I didn’t beg it back.

Mansfield Park is the only novel by Jane Austen that i haven’t read.

Sorry Jane, if you are reading this, but I have to be honest with ya’, if that had been the first of your books i’d have read, i would probably never had picked up another.


With all the stuff to be done on my return from holiday, i hadn’t got back into reading mode until a couple of nights ago when i picked up the delightfully short but brilliant read, ‘Of Mice and Men’. I read it well within the space of 2 hours, but then my mind was alive and on hyper mode so i couldn’t get to sleep when i finally put the book down at about 1.30am.

We have the DVD of the same film so it wasn’t hard for the story to really come to life for me…in fact i couldn’t get the images of John Malkovich and Gary Sinise (CSI New York) out of my head as i was reading (am i the only person who doesn’t like Horatio from CSI Miami?)….i guess that means they portrayed the story well, i believe they did.

I’ve now begun my next read, ‘Little Women’.

I love. Love. love the book

And I really enjoy watching the film.

Though i have read it before, my daughter, who fortunately for me has inherited the gene for digging out book gems in charity shops like Oxfam – though wow, wow, wow, they are getting seriously expensive in there 😦 and Help the Aged, British Heart Foundation and Barnardos – stumbled across an absolutely beautiful edition of this novel.

The inscription on the inside cover (oh i DO love inscriptions!) is dated either 1940, 1946 or 1948 (whoever wrote the date went over the numbers to alter them and i can’t quite make out the finally decided date) and although we have more modern versions of Little Women on our bookshelves here, this is the one i have started to read.

While away we did the usual round of second hand bookshops and charity shops, discovered a few very good book bargains too… a charming little C of E prayer book and a matching tiny hymn book, both containing inscriptions/Sunday School book stamps (anyone old enough on here to remember those?) along with a whole slew of Classics at knock down prices.

As an aside, i must share this hideously petty and arrogant article about the repulsion with which the writer views second hand books, libraries and other means of attaining germ infested, bogey encrusted tomes.

The article was written to make a lot of people very cross and to encourage a lively debate in the combox because that’s the way the Guardian Online do things. If they can’t employ decent writers they employ those who can’t and ask them to provoke people into visiting their webpage via links such as the one i have placed here.

The ‘piece’ was written by a man i’ve never heard of but who apparantly writes things that people do actually want to read. He has a book out with Julie Birchall i do believe.

Collaborative genius. No?

That’s right.


Anyway, i link to the article not primarily for the articles sake but because the comments are a darned entertaining read. A word or two of caution though….If you are reading the comments at your computer/laptop etc, please please please do NOT be drinking any refreshments when you do so. They are an absolute scream.


While on the subject of books, you may or may not have seen in my facebook status lately that i have found a brilliantly frugal way of recycling and receiving books.

Since i am a boring old fart who is always the last to know about anything ….you don’t know just how true that is, unless you know me personally, and then you probably do know how true that is.

It was only when the priest at Mass on Friday said ‘as the Olympic Games are about to start, we will pray a Hail Mary, that the Lord may hear us, let us pray for peace…’ that it even registered with me that the OG was already upon us.

Anyway, back to this brilliant new discovery i made….you probably already know about this wonderful site called Bookmooch, but it was news to me when i stumbled across it a few days ago.

The idea is this.

  • You put books online that you no longer want, (add the title and a short description of condition etc).
  • For every book of yours that is ‘mooched’ from you, you get 1 point.
  • With that 1 point, you can then mooch a book from someone else.
  • No money changes hands.
  • The only cost to yourself is the cost of posting a book to someone who wants to mooch it.
  • Any books you mooch are yours to keep, or to list again.
  • To start you off, you upload ten books you don’t want.
  • Then Bookmooch gives you 1 point so you can mooch a book straight away.
  • Joining is free. free. free.
  • Love it.
  • You can mooch a book from overseas but it will cost you 2 points. (because of the extra cost of postage). Alternatively you can choose to send only within your own country (i have opted for this as it’s more economical, but if one of YOU felt passionately about receiving any of my books then i would probably either swap one of my books for yours, or send it to you anyway – i guess it depends how heavy the book is)
  • If you mooch a book from someone within our own country, it will only cost 1 point.
  • Within ten minutes of my listing books, 1 was mooched from me. The next morning i woke up and another book was mooched from me. The cost of sending the heavier book, second class was about £1.68 and the cost of sending the lighter book second class was about .63p.
  • I call that great. Even books in charity shops can average £2-3.
  • Both books had been heavily underlined, highlighted an annotated.
  • These were second hand books, so you see, your books don’t even have to be in perfect condition.
  • Sadly most titles I’ve been interested in moching (thus far) are in the U.S. …I particularly wanted 1984, Rebecca, To kill a Mockingbird etc…so if you have ’em let me know – then become a moocher so i can mooch ’em from you!
  • But despite that, i’m very pleased to have mooched The Catcher in the Rye and The Confessions of St. Augustine from two fellow Brit Moochers, so there is some good stuff to be found even for us U.K’ers.
  • I really don’t have cash to spend on brand new books every month so this is a really practical and inexpensive alternative. I hope you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of the site if it’s all new to you too!

If you are a member of Bookmooch or intend on joining Bookmooch LET ME KNOW!!!!

Would you also please be so kind as to take a look at the books i have listed on my Bookmooch Inventory and see if there is anything you want to mooch from me?

There is a fairly mixed bag. But perhaps as expected, there’s a good share of Christian reading material, so some of the books and booklets might be of interest to some of you. I have only just discovered the site, like i said, therefore i will continue to add titles to my inventory, so please remember to check it out from time to time and see if there is anything you want. Remember. No money transactions occur. This is a points system. Now why not go check out what books you have to put online, who knows, i just might want to mooch some of yours?

For a while now i’ve also been looking into BookcrossingPaperback Book SwapFrugalreader and Read it Swap it….but so far, I think Bookmooch is the one that is right up my street….well, actually it’s global, but same difference in this case.

In fact, it possibly could be right up my street one day….the founder of Bookmooch has a vision for Bookmooch to go global in the physical world at some point. It would be like a huge bookstore, but it would still work on a points system, you would just walk in o the Bookmooch store and mooch a book as long as you had enough points to do so.

Though this would likely happen first in America, the principle behind it could easily be set up throughout the world. No warehouses and minimal outgoings for Bookmooch and win-win, no monetary payments for the moochers. I really like that idea. A little like a library system, but you get to keep your book if you want it, and you also get to get rid of books you neither want nor read anymore.

I’m really enjoying using the Bookmoock site, as you can tell.

Not only because no money changes hands at a time when i am thoroughly brassick, but also because it’s good for the earth (you can’t recycle books like paper because of the book binding glue) and because it spurs me on to get some of my book clutter shifted and to give my bookshelves a new influx of hitherto unread reading material.

So. what about you?

Do you use any mooching/swapping kind of sites that i have or haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to hear about your experiences with them.

And just because I’m a curious soul…what are you reading at the moment ?


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25 Responses to Bookmania

  1. Hidden One says:

    I’m reading Furrow by St. Josemaria Escriva and rereading The Choice: Sacred or Profane Life by SoG Abp. Fulton John Sheen. The first I’m reading online, the second I got for a donation of a dollar [along with a 1970 Rite of Baptism missal/pamphlet] at a bookstore.

  2. Owen says:

    I’m reading the gospels each night, over and over. Other books include: God’s Secret Agents by Alice Hogge (the story of English Catholics fighting to defend their souls in the time of Elizabeth 1) non fiction; The Temptation of Christ; a very old and rare book I was fortunate enough to find in my local used and rare shop called The Catholic Church and Art by Ralph Adams Cram in the The Calvert Series edited by (non other than) Hilaire Belloc; and finally Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’s Catholic Matters. Normally I have some fiction on the go but at present I don’t.

    I love library books and second hand books.

    I also enjoy blogging and the friends made over time via this medium.

  3. Janet says:

    I’m a Book Moocher (jeberkman) and love it. I just received Peter Robinson’s “A Dedicated Man” in the mail today, the second in the Inspector Banks series that I just discovered. The hold list at the library was huge, so I decided to get my own copy!

    I was a member of Paperback Swap when I lived in the US and swapped out about 150 books…it was like getting a whole new home library! Unfortunately, they only operate within the US. BookMooch seems okay, but as you have discovered, it’s a little frustrating to run across those who only want to swap within their own county, and my country doesn’t have that many members!

    I’m a huge library user…whenever I see a book in a review or hear about a great book from someone, I immediately request it (online) at our local public library and then wait to get to the top of the hold list. This way, I’ve always got a few books in my pile ready to dive into.

  4. Rita says:

    I can’t read story books to the end ever….the minute the author starts winding up the story, I put the book down…I seem to really dislike endings.

    I’m currently grazing through things by and about St Paul. I’m determined to get to know the big man better in this his year.

  5. I didn’t really expect that it would reignite my passion for the written word as well as my passion for the Word…but it kind of did,

    It did for me too. 🙂

    I’m reading Mitch Albom’s ‘for one more day’ finished an uncommon reader yesterday (so funny) and last week read a book that I’d really recommend Boy in Striped Pyjamas.

    Oh and I love the charity shops’ bookshelves in the UK. I came homewith 20 books in June -the most expensive of which was £2.50 (though I did buy two for the price of one in Smiths too…) I also found two books in Derby shopping centre. Love it

  6. bookcrossing is free too – and I like it a lot because there are also bookcrossing zones (shelves in public places) where you can pick up books and drop them off – and bookcrossers also arrange meetings which can be fun. (we talk about ALL kinds of things not only books) thre are all kinds of games on the forums with chances to win books – you can also do swaps – or just check a person’s wish list.

    postage is expensive though so in Finland we also operate a courier service. That works amazingly well too.

    and one Christian friend I’ve made has an amazing ministry giving upligting books for women prisioners in Florida.

    What I love most is reading the entries of well-travelled books. Check this one out for example

  7. Mimi says:

    I am a member of Paperback Swap and Book Crossing, but I’ve heard good things about Book Mooch too – I love the ability to read, swap, read, swap…and to pick up such lovely books.

    The only Austen I’ve read is P&P, but I have some her others on my list at PBS. I agree, Little Women is always worth a good re-read. Sniffle, sigh.

    Right now, I’m working on Tess of the d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. It is good, but depressing and I fear not going to end well.

  8. Antonia says:

    that’s a pretty cool idea!

    It’s funny you mentioned Mansfield Park; Chris just read it a month ago and found it unbelievably boring too except for the last 50 pages where apparently everything goes insane!

  9. Rosemary says:

    I don’t use any swapping services right now. but it sounds like a great idea. I’m reading “Native Son” because a friend of mine saw our sons will need to read it this year and she does not think it appropriate for young people. Have you read it? Pretty dark, so far.

  10. Sarah says:

    I just list it at the library – I may have to wait, but it’s free and I seem to find other stuff to read while I wait!!

  11. Sarah says:

    Oh, I’m still trudging through B16’s “Jesus of Nazareth” and reading a book my daughter loved: The Lightning Thief” which is entertaining. I’ve got the third book in the #1 Women’s Detective Agency in queue as well (library). I picked up two books at the library, but they are downstairs and I’m too lazy to go down there and dig them up.

  12. Esther says:

    You have good tastes in books Deb. I recently read Animal Farm for the first time and was quite disturbed by it. Good book though.

  13. If you can get hold of an uncommon reader – (Alan Bennett) – I think you’ll really enjoy it. That said I checked on bookmooch and it wasn’t available but maybe you’ll find it somewhere else.

    Highly recommended (especially for British READERS) and lot of fun 🙂

  14. Jay3GSM says:

    I’ve just signed up 🙂

    I found it problematic going through the books I have, though (I have too many for my bookshelf they are piled up all over at the moment!) I found there are many I don’t want to give up, even though some I bought a while ago, but haven’t yet even read!

    I’ve got a few to list, and I’m gonna be spending some time putting them up now. Of course, this is only gonna work if people want the books I have. If they don’t, I won’t get any points to ‘mooch’ books from others…

  15. AutumnRose says:

    I’m reading:
    Life & Fate by Vasily Grossman
    A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-45
    The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris
    AR xx

  16. Jennifer says:

    I use to read A LOT but then I started working, had 3 kids and an illness that takes up way too much of my time. The only book I routinely read is the bible. (And that often at work :O

    I do keep telling myself I am going to go to the library, I want to get brave new world, animal farm, 1984 and that farenheit book. I’d like to read some Farley Mowat books too. He’s Canadian and I remember reading him in school.

  17. ukok says:

    Hidden One,

    I’ve never read any Arch Fulton Sheen but i have listened to his recordings online, i would imagine he is a very good read.


    Good for you for reading the Gospels each night. That is prrobably something i should reintroduce to my prayer/reading life.

    The Catholic Church and Art sounds interesting. It sounds like it has pictures. I like pictures!


    Well cool. Great to meet a fellow moocher!

    You swapped 150 books on PBS? Oh my goodnes! I am too afraid that if i go on there no one will want any of my books at all!


    until very recently, i was very similar, my inability however, sprung from a deep rooted lack of discipline!

    You’ll probably ‘get more’ out of your perusals about St. Paul, than i will out of my fiction reading anyway, so in the end, i don’t suppose it’s the books or pages read that really matters a jot. I think i’m looking for escapism curently, thats why i’ve been reading so much! When i was happier, more settled spiritually, i didn;t read nearly so much!


    Me and my girl came back from Wales recently with in excess of 20 books we’d purchased in charity shops! I blankly refuse to pay £2.50 for one though. I give all our excess clothes and household goods to charity, so it isn’t that i don’t want to support them, but i think £2.50 is a bit steep. I would want the entire Summa Theologica for that much 😉

    Bookcrossing is an interesting idea. I’ve never yet seen a bookcrossing book left anywhere where i’ve been, i’m sad to say.

    I await finding one!

    Tuesday with Morrie, I’ve just asked to mooch this from someone on Bookmooch but they haven’t got back to me yet about whether they are going to send it to me. I hope they do. i’d like to read it, heard good things of it.

  18. ukok says:


    I read Tess of the Durbs when i was at college. I didn’t really get into it then because it was quite a hard study for me. If i’d have read it for pleasure i think i would have enjoyed it much more. It’s on my bookshelf though so i could do worse than re-read it 🙂


    How’s the pregnancy going?

    That’s funny that Chris read it and found it boring too. Maybe i should just read the lat 50 pages of the book?

    …if i can get my daughter to give it back!


    I haven’t heard of Native Son, what’s the story line about?


    good for you for supporting your library! I haven’t been in our city library for a long time. I used to love going to the library, but nowadays our city centre library is a bit seedy and there’s actually a lot of dogdgy people in there so i think i’ll leave it a bit longer before i return. LOL!


    Thank you for the compliment sweetie! Animal Farm is not the kind of book to read before retiring for a good night’s sleep is it! But that is exactly what silly me did! Well, i couldn’t put the darned thing down and before i knew it i was awake at about 2am as i was finally coming to the end of it. Very deep. Very deep indeed.


    Alan Bennett….read a bit of him years ago, but i do want to read more. My problem is i never know what to go for. Any suggestions of where to start with him? (I love his, what are they called, those one person play thingies..oh monologues…i recall Thora Hird doing one of them and i think Victoria Wood, but i’m not sure if it was her actually).


    Good on yer for signing up. what is your ‘handle’ there and i’ll check out your inventory and see if there is anything i wanna mooch.

    I am giving away only my least favourite books, i am way too attached to the ‘good stuff’.


    Life and Fate sounds like the kind of book title i would be drawn to.Have left a message on your blog, let me know if you want to take me up on my comment.


    I know what you mean.

    It’s probably because I am not a very houseproud person, that is the only way that i can explain having the time to read 😉

    1984 is a very hard book to get on Bookmooch to , my daughter asked me to mooch it for her but no one from the UK has it to give 😦

  19. I am an avid second hand bookshop moocher too, but I might sign up to this online thingie as well – but, I don’t know if I’m ready to get rid of any of my books yet, especially as my lad is such an avid reader too!
    You are so right about the price of the charity shop books – Oxfam are rip-off merchants extraordinaire, in my opinion; I’ve stopped using their shops now anyway, after seeing their advertising campaign last year “Give a condom for Christmas” – how sick can they get!
    I think you just overdosed on Jame Austen. I became addicted to her at one point in my life, and used to read P & P at least once a year. But when I read too many of her novels in a row, I began to think they were all the same, and somehow they lost their charm. Now I’m blessed if I get time to read one every 5 years ha ha!
    I’ve just started reading several books by Dietrich von Hildebrand – “Trojan Horse in the City of God”, and “The Devastated Vineyard”, which hubby and I were both wanting to read but could only find copies advertised on the net for 40 quid or more, well, I didn’t want to read it at that price. Then I’m visiting with my family, and my sister says, “Oh, I’ve got that somewhere on my bookshelves”, and off she goes to find it. Thank goodness we didn’t succumb to the 40 quid copy!!!!
    We’re off to Lisieux at the end of the week, so will keep your intentions in mind when we go to visit St Therese!

  20. Hidden One says:

    @Ukok – The book itself is a collection of Life is Worth Living talks with excellently drawn and humourous illustrations to go with them. Thanks to the talks I’ve heard on the Web and the Youtubes [there are many] I can hear his voice delivering them. It’s fantastic! Particularly outstanding – among gems – are his talks on passions, on “Fig Leaves and Fashions” and on “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson.

    @Maggieclitheroe – Transformation in Christ by von Hildebrand is excellent – very academic-sounding and long, but then, it’s von Hildebrand. I have yet to read any of his other work, but I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity.

  21. AutumnRose says:

    Life and Fate is very much a War and Peace, set in the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII. Pretty eavy going (I’m ploughing through a few pages at a time) but I believe it is a book I should read, and it will be worthy it…

    …thank you for your comment. I often think, we live so close to each other (adjacent counties!) we should one day meet in the middle for coffee 🙂 I don’t msn, but I thank you for the offer of e-mailing xxx

  22. AutumnRose says:

    Sorry for the appalling spel ling mistakes (eavy? worthy it?). Not firing on all cylinders this morning!

  23. Rosemary says:

    Deb, I’m only halfway through “Native Son.” So far, it’s a very unpleasant, dark story of a man who commits a gruesome murder and his efforts to not get caught. He’s a black man in I guess the 1930s or so in the U.S. I don’t know. Not sure how the reader benefits from getting inside the mind of a violent, disturbed individual. I definitely don’t see how my sixteen year old son would benefit.

  24. Moni says:

    For serious reading; The Biblical Truth About Americas Death Penalty, by Dale Recinella. Very well researched and written!
    And for light reading; Knit one, Kill two by Maggie Sefton, a knitting murder mystery and looks like a bit of romance in there too….

  25. ukok says:


    you are so not wrong about my overdosing on Jane Austen. It just happened that they were the books that i bought every time we were looking in charity shops and places.

    You’re also right to point out to me about the Oxfam Condom campaign. I wonder if those dear old ladies working voluntarily behind the counters in Oxfam know about the charity’s campaign.


    Dietrich Von Hildebrand is on my ‘yet to read’ list.

    There just seems so many books to read first.

    Gosh i’m so glad a copy worked out for you. I hate it when i search at amazon for something that would cost about £1.50 in The British Heart Foundation Charity shop and it’s on there for about £30 or more just because it’s been out of circulation for a while.

    Thanks so much for praying for my familys intentions! Wnderboy has an important appointment with the specialist tomorrow.

    Hidden One,

    Life is Worth Living sounds intriguing.


    Life and Fate
    definately sounds more your sort of book than mine then. At this point in time i really wouldn’t be inclined to read about battles, but i think it’s rather fascinating that it is of such interest to you. I agree about the proximity factor of our counties. Perhaps we could get together sometime. How far is Congleton from you? It’s not too far a distance for me to go. Maybe we could have a natter and a cuppa tea or something (Do they have any Christmas things going on there early December, like a Christmas fair or anything, do you know?)

    p.s. I am one of the worlds most appaling typists, so no apologies are necessary, ever!


    A couple of years ago my daughters drama teacher at school gave the class a book to read, and they were going to act some of it. She bought it home and i started to read it…there were explicit sexual references, ‘F’ words littered throughout all of it, it was disgusitng for a 14 year old to be expected to read it and act it out. I went into the high school and demanded to see the head of year who told me that because i had complained they would not go ahead with it. That is a catholic school!

    My daughter, of her own accord, has read things since then with sexual references and swear words, but therv’e been literary classics and i’ve felt that since they were integral to the characters of the book, i really couldn’t ‘tippex’ out the foul words and stuff. I try to raise her right so she knows that speaking like that and that sexual imorality is unacceptable, but you are so right to try and filter as much as you can, out of your son’s reading material. Complain where necessary too!


    That sounds very interesting indeed, it sounds like the kind of book i’d be interested in reading sometime. I’ll have to look it up. The knitting murder sounds hysterical and my, how original!

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