What’s On Your Bookshelf? – June, 2022.

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Well, today’s question isn’t so much what’s on my bookshelf, but what’s in the green shopping bag beside my reading chair and what’s in the car boot, which I haven’t quite owned up to yet?

Confession time…again!!!

My last confession came after I brought 38 books at the Pearl Beach Books Sale.

This confession comes after raiding the local PCYC Book Sale, which included leftovers from the Pearl Beach Book Sale. For a book addict like myself, I was in seventh heaven fossicking through a hall full of books.

I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you how tempting it was, especially as the books were only $2.50 each and my stash came under the “bulk deals” category. I paid $30.00 for my two bags full including ($5.00 worth of home made slice and rather tempting chocolate cupcakes. Yum!!)

A selfie with my new book stash today and the dog’s ear in the foreground. I think Zac was beside the book pile not underneath it.

I haven’t done a head count yet, and am still in denial. (I’ve been doing such a good job of clearing out at home and like a true addict, I’ve gone and undone it all again. However, I am still sticking to what I said after raiding the last book sale. I’m going to read them and pass them on.)

Here are just some of the titles I’ve bought home:

Frank Reid: The Romance of the Great Barrier Reef (1954), David Lodge: Thinks, Margaret Atwood: The Edible Woman; Antoine de Saint-Exupery: Le Petit Prince (in French), DH Lawrence’s: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Harold Lewis: Crow On A Barbed Wire Fence; Simon Tolkein: The Inheritance; Elizabeth Jolly: Cabin Fever; and My Father’s Moon; Rosie Batty: A Mother’s Story; Wendy McCarthy: Don’t Fence Me In; Michael Caulfield: The Vietnam Years; New York New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The City in Art and Literature; Mark Marix Evans: Over The Top: Great Battles of The First World War; Alice Pung: Unpolished Gem.

As you might appreciate, there’s quite an eclectic selection there which is one of the beauties of second-hand book sales. They’re so stimulating taking your thoughts all sorts of directions across the globe and through time. I also appreciate picking up quite a few Australian works. As much as I love to discover the world, I also love seeing my world reflected back at me in print.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Kerri Maher’s: The Paris Bookseller. It’s essentially based on the life story of Sylvia Beach who founded the original Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris. However, it also follows James Joyce very closing, especially the banning of Ulysses. It’s a wonderful read, especially for anyone who has been to Paris and visited Shakespeare and Company. I went there when I was in Paris in July 1992, and had heard they held poetry readings there. I mustn’t have known too much about the legendary status of the place because I went and approached the legendary George Whitman whether I could do a reading and blow me down after reading my self-published anthology, he agreed. I didn’t know that at age 23 I was reaching the pinnacle of my performance poetry career. I went corporate when I came home, because while it was okay to take one year off and wander through the nooks and crannies of Europe, it wasn’t meant to become a way of life. As it turned out, my health went pear-shaped and we’ve also decided/needed to focus on our kids, but this has also given me the space and freedom to write which I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Humph! I am getting a better understanding why I’m such a slow reader. I keep writing instead.

So, what have you been reading lately and what’s on your bookshelf? I’d love to hear from you!

This has been a contribution to What’s On Your Bookshelf?

Best wishes,


12 thoughts on “What’s On Your Bookshelf? – June, 2022.

  1. Retirement Reflections

    I love book sales and never have much restraint there either. I am getting better at reading and releasing so baby steps!
    I am super impressed by yourpoetry reading in Paris and your writing over reading! 🙂

  2. pfiddlergal

    Today was book day for me as well. My favorite finds: a history / picture book on America’s national parks and a book of James Audubon’s illustrations of quadrupeds. Ver American both. I also had to look up the word fossicking. I’d never seen the word before. Is that an Australian colloquialism?

  3. Jo

    I have absolutely no self control when it comes to buying books. Every so often I do a shelf cleanout & then before you know it, it’s full again. I really enjoyed The Paris Bookseller. Having been to the shop really made it come to life for me, but wow to the poetry reading there! Thanks for linking up.

  4. Gary A Wilson

    You and I should learn to avoid used book sales. We have no sense of reality with a stack within reach.
    It might be worse I guess. What might happen if we were there together?
    A great friendship might be at risk. . .

  5. Rowena Post author

    I gave my husband the option of coming with me but he declined. So, I say I gave him a chance to reign me in.
    As long as we didn’t go for the same books, we’d only encourage each other to greater acquisition I suspect. A truck each required to get home perhaps.

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Jo. I have a friend who has an empty bookshelf behind them in zoom. It really baffled me. How could anybody have an empty bookshelf? Mine are all exploding unable to contain what’s expected of them. Mind you, our son has evicted all his books out of his room. How could he? How could all my years of reading to him and even writing stories for and about my kids go so wrong?
    It was incredible to do the poetry reading at the Shakespeare. I went through quite an interview with George Whitman. I thought he had rather high expectations of me at the time, because I didn’t know what a scene it was. He grilled me about my anthology and who’d published me. I was only 23. Then, once he said I had a spot, he asked if I could draw. I was incredulous. What else did he expect of me? To tap dance on the table? Well, e drawing came in because I needed to draw up my promotional poster to go in the window. I started my reading with Dorothea McKellar’s poem: “My Country”. There was this guy there from The Bronx who really got stuck into her poem and said it was nationalist jingoistic rubbish. Well, I almost had the boxing gloves on then. The reading went really well. I don’t think George was there and there were only a 10-20 people there, but certainly special. Unbeatable so far at any rate.
    Best wishes,

  7. Julie

    There is a bookstore I pass by every SAturday on my way to kid’s dance class where they sell books for less than $10. Right now I am on a no-buy this year but I get so tempted each time I pass by! At least there is the library and I fill however much my tote can hold :-).

  8. Rowena Post author

    Julie, you’re stronger willed than I. However, I usually resist going to the library because I struggle to get them back in time. That said, I’m heading to the local library tomorrow to check out their magazines. I’m doing a freelance journalism course and need to analyse them and identify some potentials. It’s been years since I’ve been inside, which is ironic given how many books we have at home but I like to keep books, not return them and I also write in them as I read which doesn’t go down well at the library either.

  9. Janet Alcorn

    I love your poetry reading story! The boldness of youth… sigh.

    I have trouble restraining myself at book sales. We have a Little Free Library now, and it makes a great excuse for buying more books. “The prices are great, and we’ll have a backlog of stock for our library.” LOL.

  10. Rowena Post author

    I look at that girl and I shudder in my boots. “What was she thinking?!!”
    It’s funny because my son has the same gift. He went round dropping CVs off at car dealerships. We have two Alfa Romeos and my husband does all the work on them. Alfa’s re renowned for being beastly to work on and require six different tools to do the job that one would do in an ordinary car. Well, he talks to the service manager like he was working alongside my husband covered in grease when he was inside and probably gaming. He didn’t even realise what he was doing and I thought the dealership missed their opportunity but in the sales dept.

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