Friday Reading Update #5

What I read:
None. I swear, three people have already asked me whether I’m reading hundreds of books in my free time now that I have so much of it. Nope, it’s almost the opposite. I am reading – just slowly in short sections.

What I’m reading now:

  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott: Actually started this one back in March (or was it February? I think it was March.). Current progress: 46% on Kindle
  • Work: A Story of Experience by Louisa May Alcott: So different from her Little Women series, but still enjoying it (so far), more or less. Current progress: 20% on Kindle
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (re-read): Noticing much more than just from watching the BBC serialization. Current progress: page 95 in my Wordsworth Editions copy or, Chapter 25
  • 50 Literature Ideas You Really Need to Know by John Sutherland: This book is really useful and interesting! A lot of refrences to classic works and their authors; a must-read if you are a classic-fan and want to know more about each aspect that has to do with books, reading and intepreting. Current progress: 21% on my Kindle
  • Hunger (Gone #2) by Michael Grant: Haven’t touched this one this week, I have to confess. I will pick this up as soon as I’m done with one of those three classics. Current progress: on page 189 of the American edition or, Chapter 14.
  • Violet on the Runway (Violet #1) by Melissa Walker: Also put on halt. I feel so bad *no sarcasm intended*. Current progess: page 116 of my copy (Chapter 14)

What I got since last Friday:

  • 50 Literature Ideas You Really Need to Know by John Sutherland: I’ve wanted to read this one for some time, and I downloaded it on my Kindle on a whim. Also currently reading.
  • Red Glove (Curse Worker #2) by Holly Black
  • My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
  • Ashfall (Ashfall #1) by Mike Mullin

Wednesday Reading Wishlist #1: The Classics

Because I obviously don’t own enough books that I have yet to read, I have a wish list of books I want to get my little greedy hands on. The grand list opens with…

#1 The Wordsworth Collection of Classic Short Stories (ISBN: 9781840222708)  Did I mention I love the family company Wordsworth Editions?
I first came across this publisher by a faithful encounter (which I at that time thought was just a nice incident) almost four years ago (August 12th 2009, to be exact), when I picked up my (now-re-reading) copy of Pride and Prejudice for 2.99 EUR from a bargain bin. I thought the cover was pretty, the layout and the color pleasing; and it was cheap and smelled very good. Two days later, I bought Wordsworth Editions’ Jane Eyre and Sense and Sensibility. I loved leafing through the huge container full of Wordsworth books (the company’s, not the poet’s). Sadly, heartbreakingly sadly, the book store closed two or three years ago, and those three books were all that I bought from the “Wohlthat’sche Buchhandlung” in Tiergarten, Berlin. The same year I bought Emma by Jane Austen.
Then nothing for a long, long time because my English -and my interest in classics- wasn’t deep enough for me to buy any. The book that broke this spell was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. It was given to me as a gift from an acquaintance of my father’s (a very nice lady, I might add) when I was in Dublin, Ireland. I remember being pleased about the book because, well, Wordsworth.
Last year I started collecting a few classics from Wordsworth Editions; my first batch contained Northanger Abbey, Wuthering Heights (I had already read this by that time but in German), Agnes Grey and The House of Mirth. With the next order I became more adventurous and chose authors I have never heard of before, with the exception of Frances Hodgson Burnett, whose The Secret Garden I’d read in Korean as a child and loved the story and the setting so much. The two authors I took a chance on were John Galsworthy with his The Forsyte Saga and Elizabeth Gaskell, whose Wives and Daughters and Cranford & Selected Stories caught my fancy. Somewhere between those two orders I bought Shirley and Villette by Charlotte Brontë because I was so fascinated by her life.
This year’s addition include Bleak House, Persuasion, Madame Bovary, and soon-to-be-added Mary Barton and North and South.

I just can’t get enough of books by Wordsworth Editions, especially because the introductions written by different scholars for different books are insightful, and help me understand the novel better, whose foreign proverbs and customs leave me feeling lost. (I kind of regret having bought this Complete Plays of Shakespeare ebook because mere words can’t enlighten me on the brilliance of William Shakespeare; I need contexts. I’m thinking of collecting them in Wordsworth fashion, especially since they claim to be “[p]robably the best Shakespeare in the world.“)
So this Short Story Collection is another wishful thinking on my part, hopefully soon to be added.

#2 Lady Susan and Other Works by Jane Austen (ISBN: 9781840226966) Moving right on, my bony finger points at the only Austen works I do not own yet. I’m not sure why I am so fascinated by the lady’s works; probably because Austen was pretty much the only Victorian (Edit: Georgian – thanks Phoebe!) author who interested me for a long time.

#3 The Brontës by Juliet Barker (ISBN: 9780349122427) Since The Mist on the Brontë Moor by Aviva Orr, my nosy curiosity about the Brontë sisters has extended to their brother, Branwell Brontë. In the book The Mist on the Brontë Moor, the protagonist lands in 19th century England – smack in the middle of the young Brontë siblings! The fact that the book is self-published removed also some of my prejudice against self-published books, by the way.
Anyway, the back cover of Juliet Barker’s The Brontës claims that the book shines a different light on the Brontë family, so I’m game. The book is insanely expensive -about 20 EUR- but I will get this book. Sometime.

Little Men: Chapters 6 – 10

Part I: Chapters 1 ~ 5

Little Men: Part II (Chapters 6 ~ 10)

I realized that it is impossible to review a classic chapter by chapter (almost) without spoiling anything. So read on your own risk.

In the sixth chapter, we meet a troubled boy of 14 years, Dan. He is a sullen boy with a hard past, I reckon, and his rough, street side of him comes out every now and then. He means well, even though he will let no one hear him say so. He’s used to scoffing at authority and ignoring rules, and after a prank too many, he is sent away, which troubles Jo much.
My heart breaks for Dan, for he is a good boy deep down, and he was so good and tender with Teddy! Anyone who loves a baby like he does can’t be a bad person within. I do understand Mr. Bhaer’s concern, though, that he is a “bad” influence for other, especially younger, boys. I do wish he will come back, like Jo believes in it.

In the chapter 7, we meet yet another new character, Annie Harding aka “Naughty Nan”. At Mrs. Bhaer’s suggestion, Plumfield welcomes her. Nan tries to be equal to the boys and does everything they dare her to. She’s wild and sassy, and also smart. I initially had trouble getting used to Nan, she’s so loud and quick!

In the next two chapters all sort of plays the children cooked up are displayed. As far as I know, Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Men (as well as Little Women) with an audience of young children (similarly aged as the young protagonists of this book) in mind, which especially shines through in these two chapters. (Personally, I found them a little bit boring and distracting. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.) You can also see that in the way Alcott writes: in easy, simple sentences that manage to pierce through your head and heart at the same time.

In the tenth chapter one of my favorite lads “comes home” (he says so) and finally a spot on his heart not yet smudged by the ugliness of the world has opened to the place he feels peaceful at. You can really see him (Dan, if it wasn’t clear) going through the changes this time, and it touched my heart. I can’t wait to see how it goes on.

Little Men is a very moral book; while there is no preacher preaching the Ten Commandments, Mrs. Jo and Mr. Fritz manage to tend to the children’s body, soul and mind so well that they integrate respectful behavior, diligence, religion, hard work and good play into their subconscious beings. I admire Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer for being so patient, kind and loving – they were meant to open a school like Plumfield, and how fortunate for them and the children that they did!

Work: Chapters 1 – 4

Work: A Story of Experience: Part I (Chapters 1 ~ 4)

Summary

In Louisa May Alcott’s Work, we meet a young woman of twenty-one called Christie Devon, who lives with her Uncle Enos and Aunty Betsey. Her parents married for love and died early, leaving Christie in her uncle’s care.
Our protagonist longs to be independent – financially and socially. So one day while baking with her aunt, Christie declares that she will move out soon. As predicted, she gets no objection from her uncle and plenty of worry from her aunt. Christie has this fiery passion and endless dreams; she wants to “earn … the best success this world can give us, the possession of a brave and cheerful spirit, rich in self-knowledge, self-control, self-help.” (Work: A Story of Experience, Chapter 1) She can’t hold it out any longer in a town filled with girls whose biggest aspirations are getting married and owning pretty dresses.

After moving out, Christie stays at a what we’d call now a motel, I guess, (with the 100$ given to her by uncle Enos) and tries to find a work. At last she is hired by a Mrs. Stuart and befriends the black cook, Hepsey Johnson, who has been shunned by other maids because of her race. While being a swift, hard-working and cheery maid to the Stuarts, Christie starts to observe the master and the mistress of the house and their guests and point out their tedious repeating rituals. She also helps Hepsey learn to read and count.

A year passes while Christie is at service. Due to a fiery accident (that’s when the famous -is it famous? I’ve often seen it on GR- quote: “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”) she is dismissed by Mrs. Stuart. When Christie stumbles on an actress Lucy, who encourages her to audition for a vacant role, and Christie hesitantly accepts, and soon pours her heart and mind into her new-found passion.

In the fourth chapter Christie leaves the theater behind and becomes a governess. I enjoyed this longer chapter more than the previous one; perhaps because I am less interested in the world of acting. I also found Christie’s answer to Mr. Fletcher’s proposal highly engaging, as her opinion about Jane from Jane Eyre already shows that she has no intention of accepting even though she herself realizes it later. I would have wished to read more about how Christie got acquainted with children and what she did to make them like her!

My impression so far

Work: A Story of Experience is quite different from what I’ve read so far from Louisa May Alcott and also from what I’d expected. I don’t know whether the Experience in the title refers to Alcott herself or Christie’s life (perhaps a little bit of both), but this novel is turning out to be the life story of the protagonist.
The pacing is fast; a year passes in one chapter, and in one page we learn the world is now three years older than in the page before. I had a trouble with that, as the effects of this furious pacing were that we as readers got only the result, not the process. For example, we read that Christie is having quite a bit of success in acting. And she and Lucy have become awkward with each other. It’s an statement. We don’t actually get to see how it started or whether Christie ignored the signs. The last chapter, titled “At Forty”, takes place when she’s 40, I assume, so we have to pack 20 years into one volume, so on average every chapter has to take on one year of Christie’s life.

My second -and bigger, and related to the first- problem was Christie itself. That girl (actually a woman a couple of years older than me) is cheerful, optimistic, strong-willed and open-minded, almost to the point of being robotic in her sunshine-ness. I find it hard to find faults in her, which normally would make a great book with an impeccable heroine, Christie almost doesn’t feel human because her moral and conscience are spotless. There is no anxious despair after being fired; there is no tearful goodbye to Hepsey. No, after nearly burning her room down (and getting suffocated in sleep by the smoke), she starts to laugh at the absurd dance Mr. Stuart is having in order put the fire out. Yeah, I was bewildered.
Only her indignation at having to polish shoes (a job which a boy should do, in Christie’s opinion) and her quiet horror at seeing what a selfish and fame-seeking actress she has become are indicators that Christie is, thank goodness, a human. Still, she feels so… wooden to me. In chapter 4 she becomes a governess, which suits her character most well and made her come to life with more credibility.
I also found her idea of “independence” a queer one. For example, she thinks caring for an invalid as a job would be stealing her independence as she has to tend to the invalid day and night. But if that work gets her money and a sense of satisfaction, isn’t sacrificing one’s free hours a mean to achieve the ultimate independence? I think Christie and I have a different definition of “independence”.

Part II: Chapters 5 ~ 8

Pride and Prejudice: Chapters 1 – 10

I'm reading this wonderful Wordsworth edition
I’m reading this wonderful Wordsworth edition

Pride and Prejudice, Part I: Chapters 1 ~ 10

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

With this famous sentence the book opens – and if you are like me, you are sick of hearing this one sentence over and over as if it is the most profound sentence in the book.
I actually don’t understand why that phrase is so popular other than the fact that it is a pretty funny mockery. And it’s an example of Austen’s sense of humor.

I watched the BBC serialization (with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) before I “read” the book. I say “read” because I didn’t really read the book; I just attempted to. Even now I have some struggles understanding a sentence here and an expression there, and I have quite a few vocab problems. Well. And I first “read” the book about four years ago when my English wasn’t fluent at all.

Anyway, back (did we even start?) to the story: The third paragraph already introduces us to the unpleasant chatter of Mrs. Bennet. (I say ‘unpleasant’ because I always have Ms. Alison Steadman’s voice in my head whenever I read Mrs. Bennet’s dialogue. She [Ms. Steadman] is an amazing actress, though.) In the course of the next few chapters, we meet the whole Bennet family: Mr. Bennet (who, for the life of me, I can’t fathom why he married Mrs. Bennet), the head of the house and already used to Mrs. Bennet’s chatter (he prefers his quiet library, though); Mrs. Bennet, who is quite silly; Jane, the eldest daughter and the most beautiful, who is of a gentle and rather timid nature when it comes to expressing her feelings; Elizabeth “Lizzy”, father’s favorite and a young woman of a lively spirit who likes to make fun of many things; Mary, the most plain sister who turns to knowledge and musical accomplishments to make up for her lack of beauty; Catherine “Kitty”, who is quite influenced by Lydia and thus equally silly even though her nature is less daring; Lydia, the youngest and the tallest (“… for though I am the youngest, I’m the tallest.”) who acts without any thought spent on its consequence, and the silliest of all, in my opinion.

We also soon meet up with the heroes of the story, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. (We also meet less-than-nice Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst.)
Mr. Darcy, who made the famous remark “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me” (“… he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, ‘She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other man. …'”, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3) soon changes his mind at the next opportunity he sees her: “But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. …”, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6)

Elizabeth, who overheard Mr. Darcy’s first opinion of her, immediately finds him disagreeable (Jane, for example, would have given him the benefit of doubt) and makes her opinion of him very clear to other ladies. She is irritated when Mr. Darcy attempts to listen in to her conversation with others and stare at her because she can’t understand why Mr. Darcy, who finds her just so tolerable, doesn’t ignore her like she does him. And Lizzy can’t understand that because she isn’t allowing him the room to change. People change, and people’s opinions change. Yet her first impression of him was so strongly negative – supported by the fact that he made it clear that he did not wish to mingle with the people in the ballroom – that she has already made up her mind: Mr. Darcy is a proud, standoffish gentleman she shouldn’t pay a single thought on.
She’s not offended, per se. I think it’s because she doesn’t know him well enough to let his opinion affect her. That’s admirable because I care what a stranger thinks of me. Speaking of which, I’m reminded by Mary’s observation:

“Pride … is a very common failing I believe. … [H]uman nature is very prone to it, and … there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. … Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 5)

Mary also says it is possible to be proud without being vain. So is it also possible to be vain without being proud? Oh dear, I’m afraid that would be me. I care too much about what others think of me while I try not to sound like a show-off.
It is most peculiar. Our society teaches us (at least mine did) that we should not down-play our abilities, that we should showcase them and even exaggerate them (on a CV/résumé for example) but at the same time, it is frowned upon to be boastful. Not exactly ‘frowned upon’, perhaps, but nobody likes a boaster. Such a person just sounds so full of oneself.

I have digressed yet again. Back to the story, in which our heroine judges Miss Caroline Bingley and Mrs Louisa Hurst to be not very agreeable persons. Their affection towards Jane, however, seems genuine, which softens Lizzy’s judgment a bit. When Jane gets a nasty cold thanks to her mother and has to remain at Netherfield and Lizzy makes her way to Bingley’s estate, she later observes that Miss Caroline’s and Mrs Hurst’s concerns for Jane seem to be coming from their heart. Of course, it does not escape her notice that Caroline becomes anxious to remove Jane – and thus Lizzy – from Netherfield and from Mr. Darcy’s attentions. Because it is obvious to anyone how hard Caroline Bingley is trying to impress Mr. Darcy.

During her stay, Lizzy does not seem to have become any better acquaintance of Mr. Darcy’s. Whenever he does something thoughtful, she waves if off as him being pretentious or half-hearted. She is puzzled when Darcy does not say what she expected him to but that does not seem to change her opinion of him – not one iota. Oh, Lizzy! We wish you were less stubborn!

Part II: Chapters 11 ~ 20

Little Men: Chapters 1 – 5

Little Men: Part I (Chapters 1 ~ 5)

In the first chapter, we meet a new boy, Nat Blake, for Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer’s Plumfield (Demi and Daisy also live there). He’s a bit shy and plays fiddle (and was sent by Teddy Laurence). He seems to be a good boy to me.
We also meet other boys who live and learn at Plumfield:
-Tommy Bangs, the “scrapegrace of the school”, a mischievious yet good-natured lad
-Franz, Mr. Bhaer’s nephew,  a young and reliable man, who loves “his merry aunt like a mother, for such she […] tried to be to him.”
-Emil, also Mr. Bhaer’s nephew (I forget – are he and Franz brothers?); he wants to go to the sea, which he can’t do till he’s sixteen. He’s called “Commodore” by other boys.
-Rob Bhaer, Jo’s son; always in motion, and a “chatterbox”
-Teddy Bhaer, Jo’s second son; a toddler still and always there for cuddling
-Dick Brown, an 8-year-old with a crooked back and cheery spirit (the latter thanks to Plumfield)
-Adolphus “Dolly” Pettingill,another 8-year-old with bad stutter that is getting better
-Jack Ford, a smart yet “money-loving” boy (Mr. Bhaer calls it an affliction)
-Ned Baker, a fourteen-year-old boy who is clumsy and who bullies younger boys and looks up to bigger ones
-George Cole aka “Stuffy”, an over-indulged boy whose mother spoilt him by giving him lots of sweets; his overstuffed and lazy body became much healthier after coming to Plumfield
-Billy Ward, a thirteen-year-old whose father overworked his brilliant young mind; after suffering from fever, Billy woke up with a blank mental slate that refuses to be filled.

After the introduction of boys (and girl – let’s not forget Daisy!), we follow Nat as he -and by default the readers- get to know the place and the people who run it.

Little Men is of a quite different nature than Little Women, yet they have similarities. Instead of one family, Little Men focuses on many little boys -well, more on some than others- as they play pillow fights, take care of animals, talk about the “Good Man” and fight and bond with one another. Yet both books are quite pious as there is a great deal of talks about God, especially to turn to in cases of hardship and faults. Pedagogically, though, Father Bhaer’s methods work better, I think. The scene in which he tries to help Nat curing his habit of lying was heart-tearing and sobering.

So far, the main focus has been on Nat for the first four chapters. In the fifth chapter, the only girl at Plumfield, Daisy, masters her own play as the boys won’t let her play football with them.

Part II: Chapters 6 ~ 10

Review: Little Women

I first read Part One of Little Women when I was much younger. I’m not sure whether it was in Korea or already in Germany, but I do remember reading it in Korean. It is a beautiful edition with little illustrations and tidbits of information on the sides. Anyway, I loved it, and have read it many times.

Last year, upon discovering the Kindle App on my tablet PC, I downloaded Little Women for free and read the first and the second part. Admittedly, it was surreal to read the dialogues I’d memorized in Korean in English. After the happy and quiet Christmas engagement and much more, I was nervous to start the second part.
I know many people -including my mom- were disappointed with the second part of the book, titled Good Wives. The story takes place three years later and follows Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy as they navigate through their adult years.
Well.
Personally, I liked the second part more than I’d expected, and certainly more than other readers did. Okay, I know, I know why you (assuming you read and disliked Good Wives) were/are upset, why you felt like Alcott has sold herself short, why you were frustrated with Meg for being so docile and obedient.

Thesis: So these four young girls, who were much more independent and of livelier spirits in Little Women, succumb to the expectations of the society and become good young women and young mothers, who do nothing but sit around at home and look pretty for their husbands…

Wait, wait. That’s not true. Here are reasons why the thesis above is not true:

1. Jo is independent – this time even financially as she earns money selling her stories. Yes, she does get married, but her marriage to Professor Bhaer is not what I’d call conventional – he treats her as equal (“Mother Bhaer” and “Father Bhaer” have different roles to play – roles each wanted to be) and is very much in love with her. I personally believe he couldn’t care less if she dressed herself with more regard to comfort than fashion.  Jo, as is shown in the last chapter of Good Wives, has maintained her lively spirit and is very happy with her life.

2. In my humble opinion, Beth stays the same person she was in the first part of the book: quiet, happy, cheerful and satisfied with what she has. After the illness, she is never the same healthy and rosy girl she was, but inside she’s the same Beth she has always been.

3. Amy has always strived to be an elegant lady who is loved by others. Well, now she has become exactly the person she has envisioned. She also learns to be more, let’s say, discreet in her opinions and she’s more mild-tempered. She still has traces of vanity but I think she has grown into a beautiful (not just physical beauty), mature woman. Yes, she does get engaged and later married to Laurie (which many readers were upset about, I gather) and yes, Laurie is rich, so Amy now can afford to devote her hours to young, talented artists who might be in need of their (Amy and Laurie’s) help. Amy also becomes a mother but from my point of view, Laurie and Amy both depend on each other. He needs her to smooth over his temper so he doesn’t act irrationally. It is through his love that she can survive the heartache of seeing their daughter so weak.

4. Now we come to Meg. First, I’d like to point out that in Little Women, she says: “I should like a lovely house, full of all sorts of luxurious things – nice food, pretty clothes, handsome furniture, pleasant people, and heaps of money. I am to be mistress of it, and manage it as I like, with plenty of servants, so I never need work a bit. How I should enjoy it! For I wouldn’t be idle, but do good, and make everyone love me dearly.” (Little Women, Chapter 13 “Castles in the Air”)
In the end, she marries John Brooke for love, not money. So her dreams of “luxurious things” and “heaps of money” went nowhere, but during her first years of marriage, Meg is and learns to be happy with her life. (The contrary example is shown by Sallie Gardiner, who marries Ned Moffat and is rich yet unhappy.
The thing is, Meg never had any big ambition like Jo or Amy. She just wanted to marry well and become a wife and a mother. And that is a fine goal for some – not everyone has the same destination for one’s life. So Meg does exactly what she has envisioned all those years long… she becomes a wife and a mother! That’s her “job”, not because she was forced to, but because she wanted to! In today’s society, young girls exist who don’t want a career but are just content being wives and mothers. That’s their choice. That was Meg’s choice. And if she wants to be a pretty wife who makes her husband happy, who can blame her? The point here lies in the fact that no one has forced her to do anything she does. Not the society, not her husband, and not herself.

All in all, I was happy to see the characters grow and change. I loved them when they were young and uncertain about their futures, and I love them now that they are leading happy lives.

Reviewing Classics in Parts

Right now, I’m reading three classic books: Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Work: A Story of Experience by Louisa May Alcott. I divided these books in several parts (chop ’em up!) because while I love reading classics, I often get distracted and forget about the chapters I read before.

Little Men (Little Women #2)
Part I: Chapters 1 – 5
Part II: Chapters 6 – 10
Part III: Chapters 11 – 15
Part IV: Chapters 16 – 21

Pride and Prejudice
Part I: Chapters 1 – 10
Part II: Chapters 11 – 20
Part III: Chapters 21 – 30
Part IV: Chapters 31 – 40
Part V: Chapters 41 – 50
Part VI: Chapters 51 – 61

Work: A Story of Experience
Part I: Chapters 1 – 4
Part II: Chapters 5 – 8
Part III: Chapters 9 – 12
Part IV: Chapters 13 – 16
Part V: Chapters 17 – 20

Friday Reading Update #4

What I read:

  • Bogus to Bubbly: An Insider’s Guide to the World of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld: review here
  • Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg: So cute and funny and heart-warming!

What I’m currently reading:

  • Hunger (Gone #2)
  • Pride and Prejudice (re-read): this time the original
  • Violet on the Runway (re-read): I’m making progress, I swear!

What I got:

  • The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
  • Touch of Power (Healer #1) by Maria V. Snyder
  • Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg: So thin! I didn’t know it had only 225 pages!
  • Bogus to Bubbly (Uglies series guide) by Scott Westerfeld: Oddly excited for this one. Also thin – not even 200 pages.
  • Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
  • Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
  • Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore

Meine erste Erfahrung mit Medimops

Wie bereits erwähnt hatte ich sechs gebrauchte Bücher von Medimops bestellt. Heute sind die Bücher angekommen und klopfenden Herzens machte ich das Paket auf…

Bevor ich mit der Auswertung meiner ersten Erfahrung mit Medimops anfange, würde ich gerne ausdrücklich betonen, dass ich nur ein einziges Mal bei Medimops bestellt habe.

  • Preis/Qualität Verhältnis
    Der Preis (3 EUR für meisten englischen Taschenbücher und 5 EUR für englische Hardcovers; für genaueres, siehe den Link oben) ist auf jeden Fall günstig. Ich würde sogar verstehen, wenn die Qualität der Bücher nicht so toll wären (leicht kaputte Buchrücken, deutlich vergilbte Seiten, usw.). Tatsächlich war die Qualität gar nicht so gut wie auf der Seite angegeben, meiner Meinung nach.
    Zwei Hardcovers, Fire von Kristin Cashore und Five Complete Miss Marple Novels von Agatha Christie, und ein Taschenbuch, Graceling von Kristin Cashore, entsprachen der Qualitätsangabe auf der Medimops-Webseite. Fire (sehr gut) hatte einen leicht am Rand zerknitterten Buchumschlag und der Buchrücken von Graceling (sehr gut) war leicht gebogen, als hätte man einmal vorsichtig das Buch durchgelesen. Das Agatha Christie Buch (gut) war zwar schon ziemlich vergilbt und roch bisschen muffig, aber ansonsten war alles in Ordnung, so dass man die Qualität des Buches als “gut” bezeichnen konnte.
    Die restlichen drei Taschenbücher – Vanishing Acts und Salem Falls von Jodi Picoult und Secret Hour von Scott Westerfeld – hatten geschädigte Buchrücken und vergilbte Seiten, und zwar in dem Maße, dass ich sie als “gut” beschreiben würde, aber auf keinen Fall “sehr gut”. Zwar war es nicht so, dass die Seiten bald auseinandergefallen wären oder so, aber man konnte schon die Knicke im Buchrücken sehr deutlich sehen konnte und einmal war der Buchrücken sogar verschoben, so dass wenn man das Buch horizontal auf den Tisch legt, der “obere Teil” (also die erste Hälfte des Buches) mehr nach links verschoben war als der “untere Teil” (die letzte Hälfte des Buches). Falls meine Erklärung zu lausig ist, um ein klares Bild zu bekommen, stellt euch einfach so einen leicht bogenhaften Buchrücken vor – und das bei einem Taschenbuch!
    Zusammenfassend würde ich sagen, dass der Preis für die Qualität relativ gut ist, bloß traut nicht immer der Qualitätsbeschreibung der Bücher!
  • Versand/BearbeitungszeitMein Paket kam heute, drei Tage nach der Abgabe der Bestellung. Ich würde sagen, das entspricht der durchschnittlichen Bearbeitungs- und Versandzeit der anderen Buchhandlungen.
  • Zahlungsart
    Man kann schon beim ersten Mal auf Rechnung bezahlen. Ich hab die Option der Amazon Payments gewählt, da ich schon ein Amazonkonto hatte, was für mich praktischer ist, da ich nicht extra auf Medimops einloggen bzw. mich registrieren muss.
  • Gutschein
    Nachdem ich mit der Bestellung fertig war, konnte ich mir ein Gutschein aussuchen von allen möglichen Firmen. Ich hab´s einfach gelassen, weil für mich nichts Brauchbares gab, und Medimops hat jetzt einfach einen 5 EUR-Gutschein für Momox.de mit hineingelegt. Dank dem Gutschein überlege ich jetzt ernsthaft etwas, was ich vorher noch nie getan habe: Verkauf von Büchern.

Fazit:
Gebrauchte Bücher sind nichts für mich. Ich bin da ganz komisch, aber ich mag es nicht, wenn ein Buch, das ich kaufe, schon eine “Beziehung” zu einem anderen Menschen etabliert hat (deutlich erkennbar an Gebrauchsspuren). Es gibt ja auch Menschen, die so was nicht stören, aber ich bin (leider) nicht eine von ihnen. Ich mag es auch nicht, Freunden meine Bücher auszuleihen, was mich mit schlechtem Gewissen plagt.
Ich werde die fünf Bücher (eins ist für meine Schwester) irgendwann lesen, aber wahrscheinlich werde ich immer das Gefühl haben, als wären sie Büchereibücher.