So here we are, the end of the week, and time for another Links and Stuff. Social media has been buzzing about the Republican National Convention this week. In a not-quite-as-packed-as-it-could-have-been auditorium (many stayed home to leave plenty of room for the nominee’s ego), Donald Trump was officially crowned Miss Republican U.S. Presidential Candidate 2016–for the sake of “unity” (the sash looked delightful). Also, the current Mrs. Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democrat Convention speech (it seems she’s a big fan of the current opposition), and former candidate Ted Cruz was booed for telling people to vote their conscience. I think that about speaks for itself. Now on to other business…
In house-hunting news, we paid a visit to the bank this week to see if we can actually afford to move. Thankfully, they said yes, we can. So now we know how much spending money we have (at least in theory–it’s a pre-approval, so it’s all theoretical money. Can we buy a theoretical house with it?). Our prayer is that there are some nice choices within our price range. We’ve sent some options to our realtor, so hopefully we’ll go looking again very soon.
The other main moving activity happening in the Smith household is, of course, packing and cleaning. My wife’s mom and sister have pledged to visit one day a week until we move to help, and they have been a great help so far. A bunch of things we thought we needed have been carted off to the dump, or to Goodwill. I have yet to even begin packing my books. The thought fills me with dread. “At least pack the ones you’re not using,” my beloved says to me. But what if it’s two months before we move? I might need… all of them!! To encourage my efforts, she brought home some special boxes:
Unfortunately, they’re empty. But it’s the thought that counts, I suppose.
Let’s do some links. First, Barnes and Noble. We’ve all heard about how hard it is to be a brick-and-mortar book store in an Amazon-dominated universe. And as large as B&N is in the U.S., they have been closing stores and struggling to figure out their place in the online retailing world as much as the local independents. Their latest strategy is to offer self-published books for sale in their stores. Usually, these books are only available electronically, or from BN.com. To be able to go into a national chain and pick up a paper copy of someone’s self-pubbed novel is a bit of a novelty. There are, of course, restrictions. You have to be a Nook Press author (Nook being B&N’s brand), and have ebook sales of 1,000 or more. But I suppose that’s fair enough, or you’ll have every self-pubbed Tom, Dick, and Harry Harrison wanting to have their books on the shelves. And while there are a lot of good self-published novels available online, there are also a lot of… well… not so good ones. 🙂
I have just one more link to share with you this week. It seems Ladybird books are still going strong in the UK, to the point where there is now a line of parody “adult” Ladybird books on subjects such as “The Meeting,” “The People Next Door,” “The Hangover,” “The Hipster,” and “The Zombie Apocalypse.”
Can you get Ladybird books outside the UK? In the event the answer to that question is “No–what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks are you talking about, Brit boy?” let me explain. Ladybird books are colorful, usually beautifully illustrated hard cover books for children that started way before I was born. They cover a wide range of genres and ages (I think they are aimed between 5 and 11 years old). There’s a line of story books, but also there are history books, books on science, architecture, crafts, cooking, even religion. Here’s a sampling from my archive (soon to be boxed for the upcoming move *sniff*):
See the “Kings and Queens of England” books, up there on the top left? I LOVED those. They were among my first history books when I was but a wee laddie. My mum bought me one of them to keep me pacified on a visit to the dentist. Here’s the story of Harold II (the one who lost the Battle of Hastings):
And here’s a page from “The Lord’s Prayer,” intended for a younger audience:
… or maybe not. 🙂
Ahh… nostalgia! Now, compare that to the new parody version, and you’ll see how remarkably clever they are:
If you’re outside the UK and want to get hold of these, you can order from Amazon.co.uk. And with the current pound to dollar exchange at the lowest it’s been for decades, now’s a good time to buy!
That’s all from me for this week. How’s your week been?