See my previous post about my eye, UGH, read the comments to see how it was resolved. 🙂
This post is about Library Thing.
I signed up on 9-11-2005. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it, since I’ve wanted a bar-code scanner and software for several years now, since I first read about it so long ago, being available, whenever that was.
So when I signed up I was in that mode of thought. I loaded up a few books, then not many more until the other day. I went berserk and have amassed over 160 books into my account up to this point. 🙂 Not many to go and I’ll have to become a paid subscriber. That’s no big deal though, or rather it is. It’s just $10 for a Lifetime membership. Up to 200 books is the limit for a free account. That’s plenty to see what Library Thing can do for you.
For me it’s like audioscrobbler, only it’s different, it’s books. You don’t digitally listen to books, you have to read them physically. Audioscrobbler aggregates the data from the music you listen to on your computer. It builds a huge database of interactive information on your tastes and gives you suggestions and other options to find other music.
Library Thing is different since it’s a book thing. You have books at home, or you borrow books. Use it how you want, to build a database about what you own, or what you’ve read, or both.
It’s easy to load up your books. Just grab them and type in the ISBN number, if your book has one. In most cases if your book has one and you have the number 😉 the right book information is found by the Library Thing searching function. Just click on the link to the right book to insert it into your Library Thing account. It’s zippety doo dah fast, sometimes you have to wait while it searches, but ususally not long at all, and sometimes you have to wait after clicking on the right book until it finishes inserting into your account, but usually it’s fast, fast, fast.
You can manually add your books in also, if you can’t find your book in the Library of Congress data or Amazon. The initial search is based on either ISBN or words you enter, title, author, whatever might help finding the book. If you have the right ISBN it’s generally spot on easy. Sometimes there are other version of the book with the same ISBN, or sometimes when you put the right ISBN in, you do click on the seemingly right book but then if you go to look at the “card” in your account for the book, it’s not quite right. In those cases I’ve found that the ISBN number isn’t right, for some reason it bait-n-switched on you. So I just edit it right there, easy to do, replace the ISBN and save.
Library Thing gets images of the books, thumbnails, from Amazon. The above ISBN switcheroo thing makes for the right image to load. Like a few times the wrong ISBN, but the right book is there, but there isn’t an image. So editing the ISBN gets the image to come in. 🙂
Sometimes there is no image for a book. I wish there was a way to upload those ourselves. Amazon allows that and does have customer uploaded images for more obscure books or books with no image for whatever reason. BUT those images aren’t pulled into Library Thing … which is too bad.
With Library Thing you can make a Widget. It’s just a fancy techy word for code that does something. You can make it do what you want, within the allowable constraints. On my sidebar, to-date, is the output from a widget I created on Library Thing. It pulls out 5 random books from my account, and lists them with links to my account page for whichever book, and a small image. I have the widget allowing me to style the css how I want. I’m not done, only letting it be there a bit softer in look for now, until I tweak it more.
The thing about the images, not having one for every book, is precisely bothersome about using a widget on your blog. Also, a non-standard size of the images really messes up the layout without enough space between book items.
This though is what is nice about an online service to get your library database into. You can display it online, different facets of it in different ways. Nifty.
Another thing on Library Thing is “Similar Libraries”. You can find others with the same books as you, or “Similar Libraries” as comparing data four different ways produces four lists to look at for each user.
Also when you view someone elses catalog of books, if you have any of the books that the catalog you are looking at has, they’ll be the first books, with noticeable graphics on the side letting you know, you and they have the same book.
When you vist anyone’s profile on the right-side info will display that you have no books that they have, or list the books that they have that you have, right there. Also, there is a short list of users and the number of books they share, in that area. It’s connected to the “Similar Library” function, in a way. It’s just obvious, they are the top 15 or so users that share some number of books with whoever’s profile you are looking at.
For me right now the top number of shared books I have is (21) with one user, the next is (14) and so on down in numbers.
These things all change every day, minute by minute, hour by hour, depending on who is loading up more books into their account.
I have more books, but they are buried in boxes in the garage where I can’t get myself. I’ve manage to drag out as many as I can though 🙂 I’m not loading EVERY book at this point, there are some I have out that I haven’t. I’m just trying to load up the ones I like, or that are books I care about in some fashion or sense. Basically, books of consequence. Usefulness, now or before or future.
What it’s done though is make my book passion just burn brighter and higher. I now want to be sure and read some things over again, make sure some things are out and available at all times, get more shelves that can hold the books. We did buy book cases from Target, a few the other month. They are a Thomasville put together nice variety of bookcase. But hold books they do not. The weight is an issue. You have to be careful. So most of the books we planned on having out got put back into boxes. The shelves bow really fast under the weight of real books. So now I have some books out and reinvented the use of the shelves to be book and nicknack and kitchen items shared. I just have to watch for bowing and flip the shelf in question over if it does. Then it’s humped up high in the middle for awhile until it straightens out then eventually is bowed down again. Vicious cycle.
Don’t buy cheap bookcases. $60 can be a cheap bookcase. Buy real wood. But MDF, but don’t buy pressed put together garbage, looks nice, holds fluff, not real books.
Our true aim has been to build nice pine bookcase built-ins around the fireplace. We are hopefully closer to doing that, this winter at the latest. I have to get a good design though, to go floor to near ceiling and have a lot of space to load up books, display the nice ones on top and load up deep shelves behind doors below mantel height. My thinking is to get shelves below that pull out on smooth rollers, european sort of thingies, so that they can be deep, hold a heavy weight, and pull out to access everything easily. All behind cabinet doors. Up top will be book shelves that are just deep enough to hold any book we can throw at it, or collectibles, with lighting, and opened or behind glass doors. Not exactly sure or all the details yet … those are the rough ones.
So it’s Library Thing that has gotten me jazzed up though to start munching through books more than I had been.
I have several books being juggled right now. A few I’ve been juggling without touching for months, but consider them open on my agenda still. Now that Library Thing has got me gathering my things from the four corners of my world, I have the books in touchable space to actually read for sure now.
I was in the middle of reading all Jane Austens works when my hubby brought home a DVD for the one I was reading. I watched it and couldn’t continue reading. I was struggling in the middle of the book in the first place, and the movie only made that worse for me. I will be smacked for saying it most likely, but I liked the movie. The book I found much more dry and not easy to be drawn into like Pride & Predjudice, Sense and Sensability, etc. Yes, I was reading Mansfield Park, and the movie is the version that most everyone that likes Jane Austen books deplores, and says the book is her best book. I say, whatever. Really, I do. I much loved P & P as a book. I love the A&E adaption of it on DVD too. Book is better. I like the DVD of Sense & Sensability too, but not as much as P & P, but I love the book for S & S, really loved that one much more than the movie. So I’m stuck there, in Manfield Park. Stuck in the rut. And I will try to get out.
Mansfield Park is the book on my plate that’s been there the longest, unfinished.
I started to read the Dirk Pitt novel “Sahara” before we were going to see the movie of it. I read all the Dirk Pitt series back when they first came out in print. So I was only re-reading it to be able to highly critique the movie. Well I got several chapters into it and then put it down and didn’t pick it up again, then Frank got the DVD. So I watched it and was able to super-critique up to the parts I had not long before re-read, but after that I wasn’t in super-critique mode since it’s been a long time since I read that portion. All in all, the movie was horrible. It doesn’t resemble the book in the slightest. Character choice was poor, for starters, and they left out major portions of the story in the beginning, middle, and end. They invented some things that weren’t in the movie, a few were in the true spirit of Pitt, but moreso things were not Pitty, and the other characters were really off-par as well. Really, a southern syrup boy is NOT what Dirk Pitt is, if you know Pitt, you know him well if you read all his books, and Matthew McCaun…whatever-his-name-is-spelled-like just ain’t the man. So I have half a mind NOT to re-read the rest, but it’s nagging me that I’m in the middle of it, so maybe I’ll get to it.
Sahara is a re-read that is on the agenda maybe, partially re-read and need to finish it.
The Hobbit I had planned to re-read now, but after reading the first page I fell asleep and never picked it up again. I read Eragon in a day, and Eldest in a day, but couldn’t stay awake for The Hobbit right before. Oh well. Now I’m reading:
The Golden Compass, by Phillip Pullman. It’s a trilogy, so I’ll finish up them since they are new material, then plug into The Hobbit again.
I also have a few Lemony Snicket books that I was supposed to read before Russell gets them. I’ve not even started them, but htey are on the agenda and should be read, are supposed to be for sure. They are easy enough to do. I read the first few that the movie was based on first, and so did Russell, then we both went and saw the movie. I guess that turned off my reading machine for Lemony Snicket. The movie was good, in the spirit of it, and all that, but changed enough for me to say WHY!?? No need to change the story and timeline and who did what and leave that out and make that up. The books were good and good enough and would have made a wonderful movie if the screenplay could have just stuck to the book logicalness and kept all the pretty stuff in line with it and had a more successful movie, IMVHO. Anyhow, there are scads more books after the 6th one, that’s all that we have. Someday we’ll maybe get to them, maybe.
I have a few other books I was planning on getting into, but I won’t go into that here. It’s just that I have so much to read, and often just stare at the TV instead. Eragon broke that chain for me. I often at night am tired, too tired to read, reading puts me to sleep, then I wake up and can’t sleep and can’t read, just blah zombie awake. I find that I do watch TV either that or a DVD in all night, and sleep more, than if I try to sleep or do go to sleep usually without TV on. Nutsy, yeah, just part of my nightowl wierdo self, and getting older.
I have a task light by my bed, it’s not the best for reading by, but is that good Ott-Lite sort of light, which is true light, like sunlight. It feel glorious and looks good. If I have a good enough book I can stay awake long enough to read it a bit at night, if I try to read using the Ott-Lite, which is curiously hard in the task light sort of form it’s in. In any case, I find that if it’s a good book, as Eragon was, I could read it in the day and get into it deep, and then read a bit in bed at night and fall asleep with that Ott-lite on and sleep soundly all night under the Ott-Lite, and wake up feeling pretty good. It’s weird. That light is like yummy magic to my silly sleepy-lack there ofs.
Anyhow, I sometimes have turned it on and just lay there by it and sleep more right than not under it. It’s better if I had a book that I was really deep into though. So if I use Library Thing, it is inspiring me to try to read at bedtime and to try to read what I meant to, and inspire me to read old friends again, and to take good care of my books, get them where they are useful once again. Long ago we had our books out. But the bookcases were ugly. So I tried to spray paint them, and so they are now in the garage holding tools and junk in a half-painted status. They are a plain cheap sort of bookcase. Anyhow not good quality, just a heftier put together sort than the Thomasville nice looking ones we now have inside. Anyhow, in the day, we had them and most of our books out on them and another bookcase we used to have (but don’t anymore). Book collections do grow though, and so … time marches on. I have more reading to do for myself, and need to do pre-reading for Russell, and have to get back to read-alouds, which have pretty much slipped away, due to allergies all summer, groggy crackly voice after one or two pages, and so I nixed it totally. I was never as good as it as I wanted to be anyhow. I have good ideas and fail miserably at it. My singing voice is great and goes on and on, but my speaking voice for read-alouds just goes froggy fast. Also, that yawn thing, I have. Some others I’ve seen on an email list get it too. Yawning when reading aloud. Not yawning when talking, only “read-aloud” times. It’s annoying, and unkickable for me. I’ve tried different things, and continue to have it less or more but always some.
In all this then is the cost of getting books. I like books and don’t get many due to price of new books and not having the ability to go shop rumbling for used books much. It’s something I’d like to correct. I’ve sometimes been able to get stuff on eBay, but mostly I haven’t gotten many books, that’s better for my Cordwainer Smith collection, or buying music, and other things. I have bought a few lots of picture books. That works. I buy Economy Co. Phonics series there too, old workbooks and teacher tools from the 50’s through the 60’s. I had that in my first grade school year. Dot and Jim and Tag. We moved though and my new school in second grade had nothing notable that I recall. I’ve been highly interested in collecting what I can from the series though, and found an interesting sub-plot to the whole thing. The books look different a bit through the years, colors brighter later on to a degree, and graphics same, but changed in details in later years.
Take a 1952 book and a 1967 book and compare pages, covers … you’ll see a white kid in the ’52 book, but same kid is just turned into a black kid in the ’67 book. It’s not the features, only the “skin” color. It’s really obvious and embarrassing, I think. They’ve changed the color of the skin only, and then changed the names of those children too.
It’s an obvious educational ploy to change race ideas in the young years of classes. All in all, it’s not something done well, it’s something I’ll get here in picture later, I’m planning on scanning a lot of these books into my computer and I’ll post a few examples here soon, if I can get them done.
OK, so now that I’ve changed the subject, I’ll just change it again. I like eBay, but want to get books in bookshops, find old books on the shelves and feel the pages before buying. There’s a store up the road a few miles that Frank goes to to exhange paperbacks, they have mostly used books on the shelves and some new. I’ve been there a few times, but money is tight when I have been there. Gotta change that! So Library Thing has lots of my books in the database now, and it won’t be too many more until I hit my limit for the free account. I’m happy to say I’m sure that $10 won’t be a problem and is well worth the price.