Second-Hand Book Hunt

I have this constant decluttering happening in my life. I may take a break for a while but always, always start again at some stage.

My decluttering process does not only cover clothes and shoes I don’t wear anymore or ornaments that I don’t like. I declutter my books, as well.

Here’s how it happens…

I buy second hand books. All the time. At some stage, I stopped buying brand new books and started buying books in Kindle format. I also have a Kobo account but I read their digital books on my computer, using their app. I don’t actually own the device.

Digital books are cheap. Printed books in Australia are quite expensive. To a degree that you stop wondering why people don’t read much in Australia. It’s probably they can’t afford it. But sometimes, what you get from your local Salvation Army shop or even St Vincent de Paul one is still cheaper than a Kindle book on sale. When that happens, I grab them. That’s for sure. There is always a great number of books I’d like to read.

And, once I finish reading the books, I re-donate them to the very same Salvation Army Shop.

I must admit, I have been very lucky with my purchases so far. I sometimes even find books that are first edition or autographed, like Kate Grenville’s Sarah Thornhill –which is the sequel to The Secret River. And this one is autographed.

Recently, I found an old book at our local Salvation Army shop. It’s Oscar Wilde’s House of Pomegranates. This particular edition was published in 1925 and it has the smell of an old book that I love.

What makes this book even more special is the fact that it was inscribed on its cover page and I must admit it is the cutest inscription I have ever seen. It goes like this:

“To My Most Mighty, Puissante, and Powerful Paddy
From her humble, wholehearted and ever hustling lover



x x x x x x—mas”


Isn’t it just cute?

Reading in Two Different Languages Complicates Things – Ask George Eliot

I don’t know about you but I read books in English as well as in Turkish. It has its advantages: I love reading Orhan Pamuk in Turkish —the language his books are originally written in. It’s a privilege. I wouldn’t even dream of reading translated versions of his books. Well, in my case, that would be English because I don’t speak any other foreign language. There are certain things you can do with one language —some call it verbal gymnastics —and translation takes it all away, makes it dull and in some cases; weird. By the same token, I LOVE reading Paul Auster in English although everything he has ever published is translated and published in Turkish, I still prefer his books in English. Don’t tell anybody but I’d kill to be able to read Marquez or Allende in their original language. Sadly, I don’t speak Spanish.

I have been working diligently on my book journal for a few weeks now. Now, my book journal is not a one piece entity: I have it as a blog, there is one version of it on Goodreads (up until last week, I even had it on Shelfari), another version of it is on Scrivener and I have the whole thing backed up on my computer including the cover photos divided into years. They all have the same thing except for Goodreads; I’m still working on it.

Here’s how it works: Every time I finish reading a book, I take notes (especially if the book is a non-fiction one), save the highlights and quotations I like, certain words I need to look up (learning English is an ongoing exercise, Peoples) and lots of information about things I’m interested in. However, I have recently found some duplicates. I’m telling you, they are weird duplicates until you figure out that they are the product of reading in two different languages.

Here’s an example: My book journal tells me that I finished reading Kıyıdaki Değirmen in 2011 which is The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot in Turkish, by the way. It’s an old hardcover book (cover photo below) which I inherited from my father. It has that typical old book smell which I love. On the title page it has our surname, date of purchase (February 1, 1971) and the name of the town where my parents worked as teachers at the time.

kıyıdaki degirmen

Kıyıdaki Değirmen by George Eliot

However, I have another entry of the same book in my book journal. This time in English with another finishing date (February 3, 2012). Now, I sometimes read the same book both in English and Turkish. I happened before: I read The Alchemist in Turkish first and years later, I read it in English too. I certainly don’t remember doing the same thing with this book though.

“What to do?” like Coomi, my Indian neighbour in Melbourne, used to say. Well, I decided to combine the two in 2011 and added my favourite bits and pieces from both in whichever language they are written in. Here they are…

Kıyıdaki Değirmen -George Eliot
“Gördüğünüz gibi Mrs Tulliver kocasının üzerinde etkisi olmayan bir kadın sayılmazdı. Hiç bir kadının kocasını etkilemediği söylenemez zaten. Bir kadın kocasına istediğini ya da bunun tamamıyla aksini yaptırabilir. Mr. Tulliver’i hızla dava açamaya sürükleyen bir sürü etken arasında muhakkak ki Mrs Tulliver’in bu tekdüze yalvarışlarının da rolü olacaktı. Hatta bu bardağı taşıran damla olarak da nitelendirilebilirdi. Fakat duruma tarafsızca bakıldığı zaman asıl kabahatin bardağı o kadar doldurmuş olan suda olduğu anlaşılır.”

The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
This will be the first book that I started reading in Turkish but probably finish reading in English.

The promise was void, like so many other sweet, illusory promises of our childhood; void as promises made in Eden before the seasons were divided, and when the starry blossoms grew side by side with the ripening peach, -impossible to be fulfilled when the golden gates had been passed.

People who live at a distance are naturally less faulty than those immediately under our own eyes; and it seems superfluous, when we consider the remote geographical position of the Ethiopians, and how very little the Greeks had to do with them, to inquire further why Homer calls the “blameless”.

Their religion was of a simple, semi-pagan kind, but there was no heresy in it, -if heresy properly means choice- for they didn’t know there was any other religion, except that of chapel-goers, which appeared to run in families, like asthma. How should they know?

“Because you are a man, Tom, and have the power, and can do something in the world.”
“Then, if you can do nothing, submit to those that can.”

“If you like to swallow him for his sister’s sake, you may; but I’ve no sauce that will make him go down.”

Her brother was the human being of whom she had been most afraid from her childhood upward; afraid with that fear which springs in us when we love one who is inexorable, unbending, unmodifiable, with a mind that we can never mould ourselves upon, and yet that we cannot endure to alienate from us.

In their death they were not divided.

I bought books today!

IMG_2698 (911x1024)

An innocent trip to our local post office ended up in book shopping. It happens, you know. I didn’t plan for it. It’s just that I decided to drop by at Dymocks on the way. I had a few books in my mind that I would have liked to get for Mum but they had none of them. So I bought two books for myself instead. That too happens, you know.

One of the books I bought is The Water Diviner by Andrew Anastasios and Meagan Wilson-Anastasios. The young girl at the desk asked me if I’d seen the movie. I actually prefer reading the book first and then watch the movie so that I can complain about the movie being worse than the book. I told her “Not yet but I’m from Turkey.” A big smile exploded on her face and turned into a very cute smile, almost like Mona Lisa’s. Of course, the reason behind that explosion and the cuteness is that fact that her father is Turkish.

The second book I bought is last year’s Man Booker Prize winner The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. It’s a commemorative edition and looks really cool. Of course, it goes straight to the pool room and no one is allowed to touch it or even read it. There will be a Kindle version for the job. Am I clear?