Saturday, 21 November 2009

Presents and ponderings.

Well, it's not my birthday for a couple of weeks yet, but you know what it's like on Amazon, sometimes the prices of books goes up as well as down, a bit like the value of investments if you have any, and so I tend to look at books I want, and then buy them, just in case. Hence the delicious mixed bag below. And, it goes without saying that there will be a few more treats on the day itself - this is a warning as much of a hint to Himself who will be reading this I know.
Now for a closer look at some of them, well most of them really, I've left the ordinary modern fiction out of the closer look.
I loved the film '84 Charing Cross Road' with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, and after seeing the film got the book, which led me to more books by Helene Hanff. But as someone who has been penpalling for decades, I am attracted to books like the Helene Hanff, and the above, 'Dear Mr Bigelow' by Frances Woodford. This latter is a selection of penpal letters written in the years 1949 to 1961, between Frances, an unmarried woman living and working in Bournemouth, and a wealthy widower living on Long Island, an unlikely couple on the face of it.

And isn't the cover of this book just gorgeous? I know a lot of you are attracted to books by their covers initially, and had I seen this on a shelf in a bookshop, it would have caught my attention, for the cover and the author. One day Susan Hill was looking on her landing bookshelves, for a book to read, when she discovered quite a number of books she had either read and forgotten, or not read at all, and that was the prompt for this book. I did think it would be an interesting exercise to do the same myself in a journal; then I realised that I do keep notes of the books I have read in my daily journal, as I have read them, a brief resume of the book, and what I thought of it, not going into too much detail or writing an in-depth critique you understand, just enough to act as a reminder.
One day I will get an old copy of REBECCA, I know they are available from various online sellers, but I prefer, when buying old books, to look at, to handle them, rather than just going by a small thumbnail on a bookseller's site. I have a few old Daphne du Maurier books, 'Rebecca' is the one I want next, but for now, as I didn't have a copy of it, this new imprint will suffice. The Virginia Woolf diaries I filched from another blog, someone else I had been meaning to read for years and yet never got around to, now I have no excuse. The print is very small though, so it will be slow going...

A couple of new craft books caught my eye... actually about half a dozen caught my eye but I restricted myself to these two, for now. Looking forward to sitting snuggled in my chair with a mug of tea and a piece of home made cake to browse through these, leisurely.
And there you have it, my birthday books. Now for the pondering.
I was prompted into a train of thought on this subject after reading Mark's latest posting over at and the subject is FRIENDSHIP, or more to the point, FRIENDS, or even more to the point, what makes a FRIEND?
Youngsters these days seem to have friends by the score, people they meet on Twitter and Facebook apparently. Whatever these two are I have no idea, having only just come to terms with how to use a mobile telephone that has now been discarded, sits on a shelf, only to be used in times of emergency, when I may well discover the battery is flat, which won't be as much of a surprise as it might have been, as the thought it used batteries never entered my mind until my other half pointed it out to me. Anyway my mind is so full of STUFF that there's hardly room for anything that isn't absolutely Essential.
Right, off the rambling track and back onto the original ponder. These youngsters all consider these people, many of whom they have never met, and may never ever meet, as friends, people they know personally. Now had these inventions been around in my teenage years I doubt I would have had the same take on what makes a personal friend. I had penfriends, one a DJ on a pirate radio station and one a girl my age in California, but although the term used for them was 'penfriends' I am not sure I would class them as friends in the same way I use the word these days.
People I meet via blogging, people who leave comments on mine and who visit regularly, those who visit occasionally; people who write blogs I follow or visit occasionally; I don't actually consider them 'friends'. More acquaintances. How can they be real friends when I don't actually know them, don't know anything more than that they reveal via blogs and comments? Plus there is a certain amount of anonymity isn't there? Whilst we may know where each other lives roughly speaking, we don't share addresses for the most part, and if they were real friends, then you'd have addresses, birthdays, swap cards at Christmas and so on, wouldn't you?
Surely a REAL FRIEND is someone you know quite well? Your BEST FRIEND is someone you know intimately, someone who knows you inside and out, loves you warts and all, is there through the bad times and the good, always there when needed, and not there when you want to be left alone. A blogging acquaintance doesn't fall into that category, that's for sure... well, not in my case anyway, but as close friends will tell you, I am not the easiest person to get along with. (I can see you all now with a wry smile... and you know who you are!) So maybe I don't get as close to blogging companions/acquaintances as others?If they all stopped writing, I would miss them, but maybe I would miss them more for the approbation, admiration, support that their comments have brought, still bring, than for the person behind the blogging. Because do I really know the person behind the blog? In most cases, no.
There are exceptions, and I won't name them. But a few are actually what I would call close friends, either through longevity, or because somehow we just clicked and the blogging is only a small part of our friendship, certainly not the main part. But the majority I only know basic, surface stuff about them. And that's fine by me. But does that make them friends in the real sense of the word? And what is the real sense of the word, for you?
OK, end of rambling ponder. Enjoy your week, and thanks for dropping by, and a big Hello to the new followers, thank you for joining me!


ChrisH said...

Gosh, you do have some ravishing books, both in terms of appearance and titles. When I see the photos on your blog I always feel like buying a few myself.

Your thoughts about online friendships were honest and refreshing too; it's a curious business to have so many insights into the lives of people we may never met. I'm sure your friends wouldn't change a thing about you.

Mark said...

Some great books - though I hate small print; makes my eyes hurt.

And of course I've been writing about blogging followers too, but then you know that because you left a comment.

marigold jam said...

What a great variety of books you have chosen for your birthday.

Friends - well I guess the word covers a lot of different people in one's life - there are friends for a reason, friends for a season and freinds for life, there are workmate friends, penfriends (who can become real friends when you actually meet) friends from various courses you may do ... etc. I agree with you that blogging friends are not quite the same since we don't truly know each other but then do we truly know anybody even if we have "known" them for years. People often surprise me and I realise that perhaps I never really "knew" them as I thought I did. So in answwer to your question what is a friend I'd say a friend is someone who meets a need in you at that time and whether they be fellow bloggers or someone you have known for years is perhaps immaterial. Sorry to have rabbited on so!


pinkfairygran said...

Jane I agree with your last comment. And would add that friends come and go, someone you think is a really close friend may not provide a lasting friendship, contrary to what you thought. But friendships are all valuable, be they long term or short, and some friends, as I know too well, are 'sent to us' at a time when we need them, or just prior to a time when we will need them. Then they leave.... doesn't mean it wasn't important as a friendship, that they weren't... and see, you're not alone in rabbiting!

Jenny said...

Lucky you, all those books. Yes, our online relationships are strange. After all we can be who we want to be on our blogs and reveal as much or as little about ourselves as we wish. Whilst I feel some loyalty to the blogs I read I don't think I'd ever want to meet any of the authors. Bit like the Archers really, enjoy the story but the characters are best left to the imagination.

Calico Kate said...

Looking forward to hearing about the Glass Painters Daughter. So pleased that you have photoed the Sew Pretty book - now I won't send another copy to you for your birthday!!

You've opened up an interesting debate about friendships here. Just don't FRI them or they will END....

....Petty Witter said...

What a wonderful selection of books, such variety.

Interesting thoughts on the nature of on-line friendship - something for me to think about.

Quilting Cat said...

Lovely selection of books, we have Frenchmen's Creek for our Jan. Book Club read at WI, really looking forward to that. If you want a good patchwork book try Lise Bergene, inspirational stuff.

pinkfairygran said...

Yes, seen her book QC, but not into patchwork that much that I would buy another book to be honest.

Calico Kate said...

Sorry to have caused confusion with my FRI-ing friends comment.
I was taught to spell friend by using the rhyme ~
"if you FRI your friend your friend will END",
~ it was to remind you to put an 'i' in it and not to write 'frend'. I have a raft of these ridiculous but very helpful nemonics!

Vista Gal said...

I have found that through the blogs that I read, I am drawn to the personality of the blogger, the
ideas that they put forth and their liking of the same arts and crafts, photography,etc.Someone who inspires me and makes me want to get down to business, and create!
If they show intrest and answer or turn to my blog and leave a message, they have dropped by "Beverly Cottage", and are therefore "my guest".

Vista Gal said...

I love the books!
I'm so glad that you have started the Birthday early. Shopping for those things that are just right for you!
Your wanderings through the boksellers gives me the desire to go wandering and see what I might find.
I love shopping on Amazon!
I have several books that have sat on the book shelf for over 10 years ,yet, I cannot bring myself to send them to the used book store.
Have you ever heard of Rosamunde Pilcher?

A Bun Can Dance said...

Oooh, Hello there PFG !
Firstly, I am intrigued by the birthday mention as mine is coming up too - I'm on 15th, how about you?
Secondly, this friendship thingy. Well, the older I get the less I understand such things. And the less likely I am to name X as my best friend in the way that I would have known for sure who was my best friend twenty years ago. Does that make sense? I have half a dozen or so very good friends who I love for different reasons/qualities. And they bring out different aspects of my personality too. Now when it comes to blog friends, I guess these are the ones who seem to be 'singing from the same hymn sheet'. I'm sure I would get along just dandy with many of them if we met face to face. And I do LOVE meeting people! The other thing I notice about blogging is that people leave comments saying the most lovely and generous things which very rarely is said by other people face to face. And of course, we all know that cyber space is a great vehicle for opening up to people. Hmmmm. So much to think about in your post....!
Have a fab week
Denise x

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

We love books around here too, and you got some that look wonderful. You're right about friends too, we are blessed with a few dear ones, different ones at different times in our lives. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit me.

Jackie said...

I regret that my blog reading seems to have taken over from book reading. I have a cupboard full of books unread, all recent buys.