May 3, 2009

The Sunday Salon - Returns, Bookshelves and Diversity

The Sunday Salon.comHello everyone! I'm back. Even though I missed you all, these past two weeks were relaxing and productive. I managed to reshelf my books and put my new place (mostly) in order. And I read! There are many books I just can't wait to tell you about: The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson, Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley, The Savage by David Almond & Dave McKean (I had no idea they'd collaborated until very recently), Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs, etc.

Let me start by showing you pictures of some of my rearranged shelves. I was going to take some pictures that showed what my new place looks like a little better, but my camera's battery died and I have no idea where the recharger is. (Hey, I said "mostly" in order!)

Inspired by Chris, the Neil Gaiman shelf:


This is going to be the shelf where my YA books that don't belong on the fantasy/fairy tales/Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett/Diana Wynne Jones/Ursula Le Guin shelves go. I'd call it the YA - realistic fiction shelf, but Hero, Life as We Knew It and The Book Thief defy that notion. Ah well, who cares about labels anyway.

My new reading chair:

& then the battery died, I'm afraid.

Stolen from Joanna, Iliana, Renay, Paperback Reader and probably others, a Diversity Reading Meme:

1. Name the last book by a female author that you’ve read.
The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson

2. Name the last book by an African or African-American author that you’ve read.

None so far this year. This will have to change. The last was Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston in September 2008.

3. Name one from a Latino/a author.

Human Diastrophism by Gilbert Hernandez. So good!

4. How about one from an Asian country or Asian-American?
There's Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley, who is a Canadian author of Korean descent, and Emma Vol 8 by Kaoru Mori, who is Japanese.

5. What about a GLBT writer?
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. I won't tell you yet again how much I loved it, though it seems I just did.

6. Why not name an Israeli/Arab/Turk/Persian writer, if you’re feeling lucky?
I read Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, who is Iranian, in December 2008. In April I read The Tygrine Cat by Inbali Iserles, who is Israeli.

7. Any other “marginalized” authors you’ve read lately?
I read quite a few books by First Nations writers in early 2008, but nothing since then.

A brief note on why I think this matters: First, because I want to read books by minority writers. This for several reasons, like the fact that I want to try and expand my understanding of the world, and having access to different perspectives through literature helps with that. Secondly, these books are often underexposed, so if I don't go out of my way to seek minority writers deliberately, I'm sadly not very likely to come across them.

And finally, time to wrap up Maree's Catch Up on Challenges Mini-Challenge. I feel like a bit of a cheat: I signed up for this, forgot about it, and then completed it accidentally. I'm so sorry, Maree! The books I read that qualify are:
  1. Skellig by David Almond (Herding Cats Challenge)
  2. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson (Once Upon a Time III)
  3. An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks (Science Books Challenge)
  4. Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess (Dream King Challenge)
You know, it saddens me to say this, but I think reading challenges are starting to lose some of their hold on me. I still love a good reading list, but I find myself not paying all that much attention to them this year. Maybe it's just a phase. Does anyone else feel the same?

It's good to be back. Off to catch up on blog reading!


  1. Glad you have you back :) I love that your doll is reading The Gashlycrumb Tinies. One of my favorite books EVER!

  2. Nymeth! It's good to have you back.

    I love the little cat knickknack on your Gaiman shelf! Too cute.

    My goal this summer is to reorganize my shelves. I used to have them in some sort of order, but that just went to the wayside. Oops. :)

    BTW - How did you like Black Hole? It's on my amazon wishlist. Was going to put in an order soon. (Chris gave me a couple of great suggestions. I've decided that you two are my GN experts! *smile*)

  3. Welcome Back!! Love the shelves and your reading chair! My goal this summer, while I'm out of school, is to get some bookshelves and get organized. I feel like you about the challenges...they interest me, but I'm not paying them much attention, just enjoying the reading.

  4. Yay! You're back!

    Good to see you found the last two weeks productive and more importantly relaxing! :D

  5. It's funny seeing Chloe pop up all over the internets. I'm glad you're back. :)

  6. Yay you're back! Reading challenges are losing their hold on me too. It's fun signing up for them but that's about it right now. I've been thinking about doing a Dewey and quitting them all. =) We'll see.

    I love your shelves but I love your books more! I need a comics section. I usually just check graphic novels out from the library but haven't bought any yet. That has to change soon!

    You're so right about minority writers, if we don't seek them out, we'll probably won't read them. I'm trying to do better this year.

    Glad to have you back.

  7. It really is good to see you posting again!! I've missed you, even though I tweeted you this morning! Glad to see there was someone else awake in the world!

    I'm not paying all that much attention to my challenges either...although it hasn't stopped me from signing up! I'm telling you, it's all about the lists!!

  8. Welcome back Nymeth! We missed you!

  9. You're back! And so am I...I didn't mean to take a break, though I guess I needed it. I love your shelves! And all the reading you did. I only read on my break, so I'm glad I almost caught up to where I should be. Sadly no fairies came to clean my house though, so that's next. And I love your reading chair!!! with the skeleton (is that Jack from A Nightmare Before Christmas?) :-D

    As for challenges, I think Stephanie is right: its' all about the signing up and the lists! Although, I am determined to get to 100 books this year, so that is my real one goal, and everything else hopefully fits in.

    It's so good to have you back, and even better that your move went so well and you are finally home again! how do the animals like it?

  10. Welcome back, Nymeth! I'm glad you had a relaxing break from blogging. I love your chair, I see someone else does too. =)

    I always halfway ignore reading challenges. I almost never complete them - I really shouldn't sign up! I think I just like making the list, but when it comes down to having more designated reading besides ARCs, I rebel. =(

  11. Welcome back! Its lovely to see you. And it's lovely to see that copy of Gashlycrumbs! YAY! I love Edward Gorey.

    I love the diversity meme. That's a really interesting idea. I might steal it at some point.

  12. So happy to see you back, Nymeth! I had a huge smile on my face when I saw your comments in my posts. :D

    We did major shelf arranging at home, too, the past week. And, yes, I too am losing interest in reading challenges, although, being a perfectionist I won't back out. I will finish them all, I hope. But next year I might not sign up for any.

  13. Love the the chair....It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to reorganize my shelves. Must put that on the list for this summer.

  14. LOVE the Neil Gaiman shelf - I really want to rearrange my books, but I have a bookshelf at the office that I haven't had a chance to move home yet. Once I get that thing home, it's going to be a book rearranging party!

  15. Great to see you back. The book blogging world has not been the same without you. I love the shelves they are just so organised. I am glad your move into your new place went well and can't wait to hear about all the fabulous books you have read.

  16. I'm glad your back and that you had a great time organizing things. I can not believe we did the same meme..this is getting spooky!

  17. :D How wonderful that you're back! I can't begin to tell you how much I've missed you!

    Your shelves look wonderful. Makes me feel like I should go organize. Or at least dust. ;)

    Reading challenges: I've found that I've signed up for so damn many of them that just about anything I read fits in somewhere. Seriously. I haven't been paying much attention to them when it comes to picking out what I'm going to read, but afterward, I have great fun checking out where I can fit it in. Guess that's not really the point of a challenge, but at least I'm amusing myself.

    Can't wait to her about all these awesome books you're going to make me add to my wish list. :)

  18. Welcome back! Can't wait to see more pics of your new place! I've been ridiculously out of the blog-reading loop lately, but it's good to catch up with you! I can't wait to read more about your latest books!

  19. Well, here's hoping you doing the meme doesn't explode like me doing the meme did. Another hidden side of doing it: awesome recs! I'll have to look up the books you listed. :D

    (Glad to have you back!)

  20. Love the bookshelf pics!

    I still find reading challenges satisfying, but lately I kind of forget to update them. I'll read something, then realize that it qualified for a particular challenge. (I only join the really loose ones, because I suck at sticking to preset reading lists). I've also been pretty bad about adding my reviews to the various Mr. Linkies out there.

  21. So glad you're back! I love that you have an entire shelf devoted to Gaiman. I always think it's really interesting to see how folks arrange their books. I think you won my heart over with the cute little troll on top of the comic books :)

    I'm completely with you on the challenges. I'm only finishing them accidentally. I've consciously stopped taking them into consideration!

    I hope you're refreshed and ready to get back into blogging! It seems like everyone is taking a break lately (including me).

  22. Moving is so much work. Glad to hear you're pretty settled already. It always takes me longer than 2 weeks.

  23. Love your bookshelf photos :) and congrats on accidentally (I did this too on a few challenges) completing your challenge!

  24. YayYAYYAY!! Nymeth is back :D Missed you! I LOVE your bookshelves :) It makes me want to go rearrange all of my bookshelves now :p The only reason I have a "Neil Gaiman Shelf" is because his books just take up an entire shelf, lol. But I love it! And I love your comics shelf!! I want it! lol. You still need to send me your new address!! Oh, and by the way..I love that picture of Jack reading Gorey on your reading chair :)

    I'm with you on challenges this year. I've not been paying much attention to them. And frankly, I'm enjoying it :/ It's allowing me to read what I want and to read on a whim and I've read so much more than I have in past years! It's working for me...I'm still having fun with challenges though, I'm just doing it the "fill in the blanks" way now :)

  25. Welcome back! It's good to have you back-you were missed. Your shelves look so neat; I am jealous. lol. Mine are a disaster. Love the chair and your cute little friend sitting in it.

    Reading challenges-I was so excited at first and now it just seems as though I don't have much interest. I'm kind of disappointed but on the upside I'm reading some really good books.

  26. I'm loving your new rearranged shelves. It's one of my long-term projects to have such an organised library one day:)
    Do you usually read on a chair? Is it comfortable enough? When I'm at home I normally read on the couch or on the bed, but it's probably not that healthy for my back:P

    hope you feel refreshed after a blogging break, I think everyone should take one once in a while!

    And about challenges. I was thinking about it recently. I'll see how it goes this year, but next year I think I'm going to keep it to the minimum (Once upon a time for sure and probably Herding Cats too). I feel they control my reading too much, even though it's great to join them!

  27. I love your chair! I sign up for challenges and I usually meet them. But I don't stress about it. So what if I fail? But I agree that they eventually seem confining.

  28. I'm glad you had a productive and enjoyable two weeks. Your bookcases and chairs are lovely.

    When I first started blogging I signed up for loads of challenges and didn;t complete any. I just can't seem to read to a structure programme.

  29. Lenore: One of my favs too! And it's good to be back :)

    Christina: Aww, thanks! The cat is meant to be Bast, so I thought it was only right to have her near American Gods. And next to her is Anubis! I liked Black Hole a lot, but it has to be one of the strangest books I have ever read. It's also very dark, but it's a great story about growing up. I'm not really an expert, but if you need are more recs, I'd be very happy to help!

    Shelburns: Thank you! It felt so good to reorganize my shelves. Now the question is, how long until they're chaotic again? :P

    Bart: They were! I missed you all, though.

    Maree: She's a star :D

    Vasilly: Yeah, signing up is the fun part, lol. When Dewey de-challenged I wasn't at that stage yet, but I'm getting there now. It was only recently that I began to invest in comics more. They're still to pricey for me to be able to get all the ones I'd like to own, but I just love having my own copies.

    Stephanie, thank you! I love how I was able to keep in touch with so many of you via Twitter these past few weeks. And lol, it really is about the lists :P

    Heather: I missed you too!

    Susan: I was wondering where you'd been! And yep, that's Jack indeed. I got him at Forbidden Planet in London, which makes him extra special <3 Good luck reaching your 100 books goals! And the animals are adjusting better than expected. The cats are still a wee bit nervous, but they're starting to settle in.

    Meghan: you and Stephanie and Susan are so right! There's just something so appealing about making a list of books. Sticking to it is a whole other story, though.

    Amanda, thank you! I love Gorey too. And I'd be interested to see your answers to the meme!

    Claire: That's very good to hear :D I was a wee bit worried that commenting on all those posts at once would make me look like a stalker :P I'm too much of a perfectionist too quit too! But I doubt I'll sign up for many more in the near future.

    Debnance: Me too! It's so much fun. This is a further sign that I should become a librarian :P

    Jenny: I love rearranging books. And I've been meaning to put all my Neil Gaimans together for so long!

    Scrap Girl: Awww, thank you so much! And they are organized now, but give me a couple of months and we'll see :P

  30. Gavin: Going over in a minute to see your answers to the meme!

    Debi: I missed you too! And lol, dust... I got terrible allergies when I was moving everything because of all the dusts I HADN'T cleaned for months and months. The worst part is that I'm not sure if I've learned my lesson :P And you know, as long as we're amusing ourselves, the rest doesn't much matter!

    Andi: I've missed you lately! It's so good to hear from you.

    Renay: I thought I'd include a brief explanation just in case :P I also really don't think it's meant to be about shame/guilt/whatever. Just about stopping for a moment to think about our reading habits and, like you said, getting awesome recs!

    Memory: That's what's been happening to me too. I was so much more on top of things last year.

    Lena: And I have TWO devoted to Terry Pratchett! He's published a lot of books, that's why :P And I'm glad you like my little troll :D

    Bermudaonion: The reason why I'm mostly settled is that the move began in February! There were so many delays it's not even funny.

    Ladytink: hehehe, thanks!

    Chris: I am! :D Thank you so much for the warm welcome. His books do take an entire shelf! And pTerry's take two! But it's so nice to have them all together. And thanks! I'm glad you like the pic. Re: address - I do indeed! Thanks for the reminder. I'm mostly using the fill in the blanks method this year too. It makes me feel less on top of things, but all in all it works well for me.

    Dar: They do for now...for now :P And about challenges, I guess it's inevitable to lose interest after a while. Maybe it'll come back!

    Valentina: I'm really not sure if it will stay organized for long, lol. I didn't use to read on a chair, but that one is really comfy and it helps lots with my posture! I have back pains quite often, so I really have to watch out. And I think I'll do the same next year regarding challenges.

    Beth F: You make a good point! There is no challenge police, after all.

    Alexa: Thank you! I normally manage to complete them, but I'm in the mood to read in a more spontaneous way this year.

  31. Great to see you back. And I love your book shelves. :-)

    I made a conscious decision this year to limit the amount of challenges I do to a small handful. And those had to be ones I *really* want to do and that fit in with what I tend to read anyway. So far it's worked really well, but I am quite glad that two of them will finish in June and I can get back to following my nose a bit with reading choices.

  32. Yay! So glad you're back! Love your shelves. Love your reasons for reading diversity.

  33. Welcome Back Nymeth!! Hope these past two weeks have refueled your soul and given you some much needed rest!! Jack Skeleton looks like he's really enjoying your chair..hope you get it back from him!!! I want to browse your shelves!!!

  34. Welcome back, Nymeth!! I love your shelves... they're so much organized than mine. ;P Nowadays, mine are stacked accordingly to read or unread!

    As for reading challenges, I know I can't go accordingly to list so starting from this year, I'm leaving it open so I'm hoping whoever who hosts the challenges are okay with it.

  35. I'm glad you're back. Love the pictures of your shelves and the picture of the doll reading the tiny book.

  36. Welcome back, Nymeth! I'm glad to hear that the weeks off were so wonderfully relaxing for you and that you got your new home in (some semblance of) order!

    Your reading chair certainly looks like it'll see a lot of use. ^-~ Pretty thing!

  37. Great to have you back Nymeth, and thrilled that you had a relaxing and productive break.

  38. your new home is shaping up nicely! (of course I would say that when you show book shelves! hehe)
    I am glad you are back! I may not comment all the time but your blog is one I stop at everyday without fail.

  39. Nymeth lives! Glad to have you back.

  40. Hey! Welcome Back! You deserved the rest, but great to see you blogging again. And your bookshelf looks great: nice, sparkly and welcoming.

  41. My God, that's a lot of comments! lol I think you were missed. :)

    Welcome back. I will email you back later today!

  42. Glad to see you back Nymeth!

    Looks like your chair is already occupied ... and by a reader no less.

    Your question about challenges: I've been very careful this year to only join a few challenges, and even those are limited to several months and 3 or less books each. I've found that I want to read what I want to read when I want to read it! I don't want to feel pressured with my reading ... I want it to remain something enjoyable. I must say that I particularly enjoy the Once Upon a Time, the RIP, and the Japanese Lit challenges; but then, I would probably be reading those books anyway and these particular challenges fill a bit of that "reading group" need.

  43. Cath: Thank you! It's great to be back! I've been feeling the need to follow my nose too lately. I've let reading challenges structure my reading for the past two years. It's time for a little chaos :P

    Amy: It's great to be back :D

    Staci: Thank you! And yeah, I need to kick Jack off my chair before he gets too used to it ;)

    Melody, thanks! They're organized because they're new, but we'll see if it lasts, lol. I thought of having a tbr shelf, but I confess I was scared of the mental pressure :P

    Bybee, thank you! I'm glad you like them.

    Shanra, thanks! It definitely will! Not only from me but also from the cats, who are trying to claim it as a sleeping spot :P

    Brideofthebookgod: Thank you!

    Deslily: Awww, thank you and likewise!

    Loren Eaton: I do! It's great to be back.

    A Hazra, thanks! I'm glad you like my shelves :D

    Kailana: the warm welcomes totally made my day :D

    Terri B, thanks! We feel similarly about challenges. The ones you mentioned are among my favourites too. They focus on books I love and they're too much fun to pass up!

  44. welcome back! Looks like you've been busy! I love the new reading chair, but it seems to be occupied.

  45. Yay, you are back! Love the pics, especially the one of the chair. Too cute.

    Looks like you did great on the diversity meme. I didn't really know what to add for marginalized authors but you've given me some ideas as to where to look.

    And, yea, I'm still all excited about challenges although it might be more the list making than the finishing aspect of them - ha :)

  46. Hi! I was happily looking at the books and had to laugh out loud when you said the camera battery died. But now you inspired me to arrange my books according to genre. Currently my books are arranged according to size and also author.

  47. I noticed you have Watchmen on your shelf - did you like it? I just read it earlier this year, because someone at work told me it would change my life and make the sun shine sideways, but I don't think I 'got it'...
    Doesn't it feel to lay out your bookshelves? It's lik having a little party where you get to catch up with all your old friends... :)

  48. I keep seeing The Fox Woman at the library... maybe I will have to pick it up. So glad you're back! I only do one or two challenges a year and I really don't pay any attention to the rules, so I'm a bad one to comment, but I think challenges are great for building your TBR list but like anything, can be tiring and get repetitive. I think it's totally okay to 'go casual' and just sort of follow along. Who keeps track of this stuff anyway? :)

  49. I'm moving later this summer, and I have to say, I am seriously looking forward to pulling all of my books down and re-organizing them (and checking them against my LT catalog, etc.) Your new shelves look lovely!

  50. I always love looking at peoples books. I can't remember if you have read Gloom Cookie, let me know your thoughts if you have. I'm enjoying my challenges this year but have been focusing on one and not reading too much outside of it yet. I am really enjoying the 999 challenge, maybe because I had so much control over the categories. Also I have really enjoyed not setting all of my challenge books ahead of time so this year is much more flexibile. I hope you are enjoying our challenge, you have made really good progress on it :)

  51. Good to have you back! :)
    Love your new shelves! We're probably going to move sometime in the next couple of months and as much as I dread the packing and moving, I'm hoping we can find a slightly bigger place so I can have more shelves! LOL.
    I'm looking forward to hearing what you thought of The Fox Woman.

  52. Ohhh the shelves are looking awesome! It's so great to see that you place mementos and figures amongst your books - I do that too - I like the personal touch it adds :)
    And the reading chair - zomg too cute :P

  53. So glad you're back, Nymeth. You sound really refreshed.

    I think the last book I read by an African-American was Their Eyes Were Watching God. My last GLBT auther was Alison Bechdel. Still need to write my Fun Home review. :( Great note on why you think these authors and their writing is important. I think I read more than I think I do, but I don't always seek them out deliberately. I'm sadly lacking in Latino/a authors--probably nothing since The House on Mango Street early last year?

  54. hi miss nymeth, glad you are back :O)
    glad to ehar you got some good reading time in, the shelves look great, and the chair too. it's jack!
    I get all excited to join reading challenges, but then I do kind of lose a bit of interest. I do try to complete them though.

  55. Welcome back! I'm a bit behind in my blog reading so I see you've posted several reviews I'll have to check out this week, too :-)

    Hope you enjoyed your time "off."

  56. Serena: Yep, Jack has certainly made himself comfortable :P

    Iliana: I guess the concept of "marginalized" can be hard to define, but I do think these are examples of authors from backgrounds that tend to be overlooked. And yep, making lists is definitely the most fun bit :P

    Josette: You have no idea the amount of time I have spent thinking about how to organize my shelves, lol :P Alphabetical order has its appeal, but in the end I thought I'd be happier with a looser organization by genre/theme.

    Jason: I did like it, but I bet I missed a lot of the details/symbols/references. It seems to me that this is the kind of book you appreciate more and more with each re-read. I'll be clicking over to read your full review in a minute. And lol, it does feel like that!

    Miss D: Exactly, no one keeps track but ourselves. I think that more than anything else, it's the fact that I'm such a completist that stresses me out.

    Fyrefly: Doing that definitely helps give the hassle of moving a brighter side!

    Rhinoa: I have, but it was in my pre-blogging days. I liked it, but for some reason I've yet to continue with the series...I must amend that. And don't worry, our challenge is one I can't imagine getting tired of. You always pick awesome books for me to read :D

    tanabata: Are you moving within Japan? It's really nice to be able to move around without bumping into piles of books, I have to say :P

    Joanne: I love decorating my bookshelves :D I think of the poppets, action figures, etc as my Book Guardians :P (Yes, I AM a dork :P)

    Trish: I think he would! To be honest I had to go to Wikipedia to try and understand just what "latino/a"'s not a term that is used much in Europe. It can be a bit confusing, because in some places it says that it refers to people from Spanish-speaking countries in the "new world", but other times I see Portuguese people included. So I'm not completely sure what to make of it. Anyway, I did see the Dominican Republic listed :P

    Naida: Thank you :D And reason why I prefer shorter challenges to year-long ones is that my initial enthusiasm does tend to wear off.

    Melissa, thank you!

  57. Hi,

    I got here via Lenore. I can't tell you what it meant reading why broadening your reading habits matters to you. May I quote you? Adding you to my blog. Your response alone tells me I should visit here regularly.

    Thank you,

  58. Hi Susan,

    You are more than welcome to! I love the meme you do with Ali. I've been meaning to participate since it started, but something always gets in the way. I will change that, though!

  59. Yes, we're moving to a different area of Tokyo. I just posted about it in my Sunday Salon actually. We found a place on the weekend and are just waiting for approval. It's actually about the same size as the one we're in now so I'm not sure whether I'll be able to get another shelf in or not. The layout is quite different though so I'll have to see where I can squeeze one in. I wish we could move to Canada sooner rather than later. I'm kind of tired of small Japanese apartments, but oh well. :P

  60. Hi Nymeth!
    Wow, how organised, all your different shelves! Mine are all mixed up, but I like it that way. :-)
    Re challenges - I feel that way too! I like all my lists but I'm not trying as hard to complete the challenges. I'll still sign up for everything going next year though, I'm sure! :-)

  61. So good to see you back, Ana! {{HUGS}}

    Love the bookshelves and the new reading chair too!

  62. Cool for you! Every Neil fan needs a Neil shelf. Mine has been on the top two shelves of my work bookshelves for about 6 or 7 years. It gets added to little by little. Just the other day a colleague mentioned that I only had fiction on my work bookshelf and I pointed out that I had to have my Gaiman and my Tolkien with me at work to make me feel more relaxed there. It keeps me sane!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.