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 viewsfromthebikeshed.blogspot.com 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!