November 21, 2008

Twilight: The Movie

The local paper we have delivered always provides major spoilers and harshly criticises and bashes the movies I read about. I only read them because I am interested in seeing them, so it's kind of an upsetting situation. I know to ignore my newspaper. Can we ignore the internet in this day, though? It's tough to ignore the information that you know is a mouse click away. It's harder yet to ignore the bold print article headlines that come on your e-mail provider's homepage provided for you. I value those places that are free of spoilers and that do not slam down movies I am interested it, and because one of the books I really love was made into a movie and just released in theaters today, I am going to write about it here. It is my goal to provide as little in the way of spoilers as possible.

This is the poster we see everywhere. It's on bookcovers, calenders, t-shirts, and desktops. It's on bookmarks, buttons, and, until last night, countdowns. It's in the hall of the movie theaters where some of us passed it staring in excitment hardly able to believe another book we really enjoyed has been made into a movie.




November 20, 2008

BookMooch 101

Since I'm having trouble reading lately, I decided I would write a little about how the book swapping sites I use work starting with BookMooch. I'm very fond of these sites. I think I may have looked at both sites before first choosing BookMooch. I've been a member since March of 2007. The site is free save for paying to send books away, which you only pay as you send them out.

Starting Your Account: Adding Books

Something that automatically got my vote on this site were the cute little book bugs on their homepage. Once you create your account, you can begin entering books into your inventory that you are willing to give away to people who want them. I like entering books by ISBN number because that way you ensure that it is the same copy of the book in your account as the one you have. Having the correct book edition is sometimes very important so whoever requests a book from you knows exactly what they're getting. It also avoids most issues later on if it turns out a person who requests a book wanted a different or specific edition. It's a good idea to start out with ten books since entering each book gives you 1/10th of a point, just enough to request one book from another member in your country. It's okay to start by entering fewer books, though.

Condition Notes

After you've entered each book, you are given 1/10th of a point. It will show you if the book is on anyone's wishlist. Also after you add each book, you have the option to record condition notes. This is a wonderful feature that not all book swapping sites have. Here is where you may say your book is never read, new, like new, good, okay, fine, or perhaps a poor copy simply needing a good home. You can also say if the book has any stains, creases, tears, and odors. Some people are very bad at entering condition notes while others are very detailed. As a BookMoocher I would like to say that some of us really appreciate these condition notes. I try to leave one of these notes for every book I enter. I typically examine the spine of a book since I am very perturbed about how they look. I take note of the front and back side of the cover, go through the pages once or twice to see if there's any writing or highlighting inside, and make sure to include a note for if the book smells particularly like smoke. You can do a lot with the space for condition notes. It's a great place to say if the cover of your book looks different than the one featured. I like to go a step beyond that by providing a link to the actual cover of my own book. Book covers are very easy to find just by using google images or Amazon.


By clicking on the 'browse' tab, you may enter the title, author, or ISBN of a book you would like to request. After clicking the search button, you will be lead to a page that either lists books as available, unavailable, or perhaps says something that indicates the book has not yet been in the system. (In most cases, simply check your spelling. It's rare for a book to not have been on the site.) Sometimes you will see a book title multiple times on the search results page. Each of these is a different edition. Click each title to be linked to each copy's page where you may view where the type of book (see 'binding'), the publisher, year of publication, size of the book, and other information. It will also tell you where this copy / these copies reside if there are any available. Click 'Wishlist add' to add the book to your wishlist. If you think you are interested in a book but are not sure, you can also use the 'Save for Later' feature. Your BookMooch wishlist is easily accessible by selecting the 'wishlist' tab on the top of the screen. From that page you may select the 'Save for Later' button to view a list of those book.

Requesting Books

After adding ten books to your inventory (books you are willing to give away), you will have a full point. This enables you to request (aka mooch) a book from another BookMooch member so long as the book is from your country. Never fear if the copy of a book you want is owned by someone outside your own country: you may still request it so long as the owner is willing to send books outside their country. However, keep in mind that books from outside your own country cost two full points. I myself have sent and received books from outside my country and love the unique packaging I sometimes receive from those outside my country. To request a book, go to the book's page for any edition (but specifically the edition you desire) and click the button on the top of the page and to the right that says 'Mooch this Book.' You will find that BookMooch always uses the word mooch so it's good to remember what it means. After clicking the button, you are lead to a new page but have not mooched the book just yet. You will need to enter the security name at the top of the screen as well as select who you would like to receive the book from as well as perhaps leave an additional comment. Most people on BookMooch leave a thank you comment. They also might include a reply to anything included in the BookMooch member's status or condition notes. All that is left to do after this is to click the button 'Mooch Book Now.'

Pending Books: Books Requested by You

On the Pending Books tab, you will be able to view books you mooched from others and books mooched from you. Each are placed in a category such as 'Books Accepted to Send,' 'Books Delayed,' and 'Books Sent.' Once you have mooched a book and it arrives to your address, the next step is to go to your Pending Books page and mark the book as received. Sometimes but rarely there are problems with receiving books. This is typically the case for books that have been lost or damaged along the way. If a book has arrived damaged, I might consider contacting BookMooch staff and asking how to go about the situation. It is likely that you will get your point(s) for the book back. For lost books, there is a standard of perhaps six weeks to be sure the book is indeed lost. Once this time passes, you may mark it as lost and receive your point(s) back. If there is not a problem with the book you have received, you should leave a feedback score and optional comment. I have never been in the receiving end of this, but some people will cruelly mark the feedback as 0 or -1 when the book they received did not have any problems. Please be a kind and do the right thing. No one likes rude people. You will receive 1/10th of a point as a bonus for leaving a feedback score.

Pending Books: Books Requested by Others

When a person mooches a book from you, the first thing you do is click on any of the options beside the book and to the right. These options are 'Accept,' 'Delay,' and 'Reject.' There is also a button to view how much postage might cost to send the book. The typical response to a book request is 'accept' or 'delay.' A reason to request a book might be if the BookMooch member has been abusing the site (more below). Another reason might be if the book they requested costs more money than you are willing to spend to send the book to them, however, only if they live outside your country. Rejecting to members of your own country based on price of sending a book is not an acceptable reason to reject a mooch. After selecting 'Accept' for a book mooched by you, you will have the option of selecting how long till you send the book as well as a message. Most people send books within a matter of days to two weeks. The automatic message is "Thank you for mooching from me! I will send the book soon," unless you choose to edit it. It's good to be up front about how much time will pass before you send a book. If you are new to BookMooch and are accepting mooches for delay keep in mind it doesn't look good on your part if you are using the points you earn from the delayed books to mooch some yourself before sending those books. It's a good way to accidentally fall in the hole if anyone cancels their mooches before you send them. For every book requested by someone in your country, you will receive one full point. For every book requested by someone outside your country, you will receive three full points.

Sending Books

Once you have sent mooched books out, return to your Pending page to select each book as 'Sent.' When it comes to books within your country, many Americans send by media mail. Sometimes First Class is cheaper if the book is light weight. When it comes sending books outside the U.S. to another country, Americans usually spend $7 - $25. The book is sent quickly and should arrive soon. This fee might seem high, but it is good considering you earn three full points from every book mooched from someone outside your country. One of the three points you're given comes from BookMooch itself to help pay for the cost of sending books outside your country and possibly overseas. I am someone who is usually happy to send books outside my own country because of the bonus of an extra two points. I am unhappy that other countries sometimes take a very long time because they may send books 'the slow way' if they please whereas Americans do not have that option. Still, I try to be a good person.

BookMooch Abuse

Every so often you may make a book transaction with a person who you may have trouble with. The person may request lots of books, including one or multiple books from you, and then disappear from the site without giving any away themselves nor marking books as received. This is the kind of person who needs to be reported when you are in one a situation like that. Another form of BookMooch abuse is only sending books that are 'lost.' It most cases, it means that the person did not actually send books at all, but marked them as sent. They are looking for a way of getting books for free. You can always view a member's history on their profile page if you want to be sure you are requesting a book from a good person to request from. Always keep in mind that BookMooch staff is there to help you. Be watchful of your BookMooch ratio on your BookMooch homepage. A ration of 5:1 is the highest you may have, I think. This interprets as five books received for one book sent. Many BookMoochers send just as many books as they give away, which is a good way to go about it. I have a score of 1.05:1. This translates as receiving one point five books for every book I have sent.

Have Fun!

I enjoy keeping track of where I send books to and where I receive them from. This is every state in the US I have sent or received books to as well as by country:

visited 38 states (76%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or try another Douwe Osinga project

visited 11 states (4.88%)
Create your own visited map of The World or try another Douwe Osinga project

November 11, 2008

The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People

A few months ago while online, I stumbled on something that divides people into nine different types of people. It has a few questions and then proceeds to tell you a little about yourself. Some of the things were obvious, but some were interesting things that we may not know about ourselves. What I found more interesting however was the matter of applying it to others to learn more about them. I had been going through a few arguments and lots of times of being misunderstood so I thought it would be a good way to learn to communicate better with others. It mentioned a link to the book this was based from, and I requested it once it was available on PaperBackSwap.

Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele's The Enneagram Made Easy starts out by explaining basic information about the enneagram and goes on to talk about each type of person with a full chapter for each type. There are twenty questions at the start of each chapter describing the different types of people. It explains many things for each type:

  • How to get along better with them,

  • their strengths and weaknesses,

  • how they are as children, in relationships, and as parents,

  • about careers they're most successful at as well as how they spend their free time,

  • compliments people usually give them,

  • each types' negative and positive side as they move around the enneagram and about the types they draw from as their wings,

  • and has positive suggestions and exercises for each type.

  • You could answer the one hundred and eighty questions to search for the type that best describes you or someone else, but it's useful to remember that the nine types have three categories: heart, head, and gut instinct. Most enneagram tests I viewed online did not discuss these. The heart is made up of types 2, 3, and 4; the head of types 5, 6, and 7; and gut instincts of types 1, 8, and 9. These are the types of people, taking in consideration some of the different titles some references give the types of people:

  • 1 The Perfectionist/Reformer

  • 2 The Helper/Giver

  • 3 The Achiever/Motivator

  • 4 The Romantic/Individualist/Artist

  • 5 The Observer/Investigator/Thinker

  • 6 The Questioner/Loyalist/Skeptic

  • 7 The Adventurer/Enthusiast/Generalist

  • 8 The Asserter/Challenger/Leader

  • 9 The Peacemaker

  • When answering the questions, my book says it's best to answer as you would when you were under twenty-five years old. I'm one week shy of reaching my twenty-fifth birthday so I answered as I would currently, trying to answer for the past as well. However, I suspect some of my answers to the questions would have been very different even one or two years ago. It was really hard to determine some of my types because a few of my results were so close together. Also, our results will vary by what mood we are in. This is how to better get along with my top two types:

    Heart: Type 2
    "Take your share of the responsibility so I don't end up with all the work. Acknowledge my achievements. I'm hard on myself - reassure me that I'm fine the way I am. Tell me that you value my advice. Be fair and considerate, as I am. Apologize if you have been unthoughtful - It will help me to forgive you. Gently encourage me to lighten up and to laugh at myself when I get uptight, but hear my worries first."

    Head: Type 6
    "Be direct and clear. Listen to me carefully. Don't judge me for my anxiety. Work things through with me. Reassure me that everything is okay between us. Laugh and make jokes with me. Gently push me toward new experiences. Try not to overreact to my overreacting."

    The link above is to the best enneagram test I can find that matches with questions from my book. If you would like to take it and feel open about sharing your results, feel free to leave a comment.

    56 / 70 books. 80% done!

    November 3, 2008

    Sarah Waters: Fingersmith

    It was such a busy weekend I missed posting about a book. I finished this one still in October. This is not a Young Adult book, but an adult novel. I read Young Adult books pretty frequently as anyone can see but reading something more mature and of better vocabulary has made me see how I miss books written for the general or adult audience. With a partial learning disability I always notice how what I read effects the words I use when I speak and write. I was happily buried in beautiful words not so commonly used in modern time for a few days.

    With the last book I finished reading, I was still in the mood for Victorian books. A friend from LibraryThing recently reminded me that I had one still unread, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. You always intend to read books and especially when you first purchase or receive them, but it can take a while when you have so very many books. I bought this one in April the day I met another LibraryThinger for the first time. We got in two bookstores, which left me about $80 shorter and buried under about five more books in my TBR pile.

    Right away while reading this book, I noticed like last time how very different the main character was to what I was used to reading. The main character, Susan Trinder, is an orphan girl living and growing up amongst thieves. Still, when something stumbles along that changes her future, she isn't at complete ease for the reason that her journey is set out for: to help a friend make his fortune by tricking a girl, Maud Lilly, who is inherit a great sum of money upon her marriage, into marrying him. The plan after this is for Gentleman, also known as Mr. Rivers, to then dump his wife in a mad house, Susan then awarded a small portion of the funds. She is eager to make the woman she considers to be her mother proud and to provide her with a fortune.

    Susan learns new life skills such as how to be more of a lady as she prepares to leave home for a place where she will be known as Susan Smith. She is to be a maid for Ms. Lilly with a complete and false history as the maid of Mr. River's aunt. Susan has weeks for Ms. Lilly to adjust to Susan, to gain her trust and even befriend her before Mr. Rivers returns to the Lilly's. She prepares Ms. Lilly for each day, dressing her and attending to her needs, accompanying her and spending time with her whenever Ms. Lilly is not with her uncle to read in the library or in the dining room for meals. When Mr. Rivers appears and begins to make his moves on Ms. Lilly, Ms. Lilly is slow to give her confidence to Susan, but shyly does so.

    The story goes on and I wish to not give it away. It is extraordinarily plot twisting and always surprising. It is typical to guess what will come in books as you read and to make correct predictions but this simply seems impossible in this book. As the tale goes on, it only gets better and there were most certainly parts that made me cry. Everything I thought as I read for what would come to be was wrong. I would read this book again. Thank you to my friends from LibraryThing for a wonderful book suggestion!

    55 / 70 books. 79% done!