Category Archives: Giveaways

How to save a wet book

I had an interesting weekend. We were supposed to go to the beach but due to car problems we had to put that on hold. Saturday evening, when I came home from the city, I saw something that filled me with joy and horror in equal parts. A book, lying just inside the yard, soaking wet because it’s the rainy season and it’s now pouring daily, even twice a day; near the book, scattered white bits of paper – the remains of a torn envelope – with a bookmark and a note from Book Depository.
The book was a gift from my blogger friend Priya, one that I’d won in a giveaway (second book I’ve won this year, that’s something) and one I had been wondering about for days. Well, I wondered no more. I picked up the book which was now so wet I was able to squeeze water out of it, then proceeded to think about how to restore it to a readable shape. This is something I hoped I never had to learn – how to dry a wet book.


About 80% of it was as wet as it could be, while the remaining pages were by some miracle only partially wet. It’s a good thing it’s a thick book, otherwise I may have had to peel it from the tiles. I stood it up in front of a fan, trying to see if I could separate the pages. I was afraid they would be stuck together dry and I would never be able to pull them apart without ripping. Needless to say, I gave up on that pretty soon. After a few hours, when it wasn’t that soggy anymore, I used my hairdryer. The book spent the night in front of the fan.


The next day I checked on it from time to time, rifling through the pages, which to my joy and eternal gratitude did not stick together, then put it on the balcony to get some sun, while keeping an eye on it. I wasn’t going to let a second downpour ruin my efforts and I was able to take it away before the next sudden storm made a mess of it. The book spent a second night in front of the fan.


By now it’s pretty much dry. It’s been raining on and off these days and the humidity is giving me curly hair, not to mention giving the book curly pages. I am relieved and happy that I was able to save the book. I’m going to need to use some glue on the back cover but I’m waiting a couple more days before I do that.

How did the book get to be on the ground instead of in my mailbox? And why was the envelope shredded so thoroughly only a few pieces remained? That mystery was solved upon closer inspection of the book. I found teeth marks, courtesy of my dogs who love chewing on paper. Fortunately the marks are in the upper area of the book and not on the text. I guess they got bored pretty easily once they saw it wasn’t edible. My guess is that the postman stuck the book in the iron-wrought gate, then the storm came and the book fell. My dogs took over from there and disposed of the envelope in a very efficient way.

I am not mad at the dogs but I am mad at the postman. How do you leave a paper package stuck in a gate during the rainy season? Why didn’t you leave me a note in the mailbox so I could go pick up the book at the post office like I’ve done before?
Well, no point in dwelling on the why’s now. I have a new book to read. And this one’s been through a lot, which makes me love it even more.
Many thanks to Priya for her lovely gift. This will be my first Salman Rushdie book and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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Giveaway winner

I’m very happy to announce the winner of my giveaway: Priya from Tabula Rasa!
Congratulations Priya, I hope you enjoy the book!

Giveaway - Letters from Thailand

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Blog anniversary – thoughts & giveaway

Four years ago when I started this blog I thought I’d do a blog anniversary post every year. To my surprise however, I realized this is only my second such post. What happened to the other years, I have no idea. Most likely I was too caught up in something else and just forgot about it.
Photo source

Four years feels to me like a really long time. I have met some interesting people, made friends I regularly talk to, and discovered amazing books I would probably never have come to on my own. And I learned a lot – about sharing a reading experience, and about blogging, which brings me to my next idea. The other day I was reading a post on Lynn’s Book Blog, To comment or not to comment and I thought about it for a while because this is an idea I’ve had for a while but never actually put down in writing.

What is the etiquette of blogging?

Now internet has given us this amazing space to play in and we don’t even have to leave our homes. Our blogs have become our living rooms if you will, and strangers come by to see what’s new, what books we’ve added to that shelf and what bookish adventures got us all excited. Most people read, some even leave a comment. I’d like to think I was a good host – maybe not that fast in replying (life and time difference can get in the way) but definitely trying to answer every comment and being grateful to the people who took their time to leave one. And part of being a good host and blogger is to visit and leave a comment in return. Not every blogger I’ve visited has done the same, and for a while it bothered me. Don’t I deserve the same courtesy? Are the books I write about so uninteresting that people don’t have anything to say? I’d like to think not.
I know some people are shy, some think everything’s been already said so why leave another similar comment, and some just can’t be bothered. I know I read blogs I rarely comment on but if a blogger comes and leaves a comment on my blog I definitely try to return the favour. I don’t see it as an obligation. I see it as being polite. It’s all part of the blogging experience.

It is true that some blogs get 30-40, maybe even more comments a day, and to answer each one and visit every blogger would probably take hours. I don’t expect that to happen, as I’d rather have that blogger writing a new post rather than answer my comment. This I understand. But most of the blogs I’ve been to are not like that. Do I return to those blogs? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. And sometimes I leave a comment and sometimes I don’t. One thing I’ve learned, though, is that if you want people to come visit your corner of cyberspace, you have to be prepared to do the same and sometimes you might have to make the first step.

Giveaway - Letters from Thailand On a slightly different topic, I decided to celebrate my blog anniversary with a giveaway. Choosing a book for this purpose was not easy. If you’ve been a regular visitor you know I love horror but maybe that’s not something everybody enjoys so while I was at the bookstore perusing the shelves, I remembered a book I read years ago and loved. You can read my review of it here.

From the back cover:

When the original Thai version of Letters from Thailand appeared in Bangkok in 1969, it was promptly awarded the SEATO prize for Thai Literature. Thirteen years later, it was translated into English to reach a much wider readership. Today, the book is still considered one of Thailand’s most entertaining and enduring modern novels, and one of the few portrayals of the immigrant Chinese experience in urban Thailand.

About the giveaway:

– It runs from today, 15th January, until Monday, the 19th (midnight Bangkok time).
– Leave a comment with your name and email address.
– Recommend a book.
– The winner must respond to email within 24 hours. If not, I will choose a new winner.

A big thank you to all who have made a regular stop here and also to new visitors. Every comment is important and I appreciate your time and your ideas.

Good luck in the giveaway!

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Dickens in December – A giveaway of “Dickens at Christmas”

DaC For the second give-away of Dickens in December, Caroline and I have decided to offer two different books. For a chance to win make sure you visit her blog to see what book she is giving away.

It took me a long time to pick the book for the second give-away – so many to choose from! – but the moment I saw it in the bookstore I knew this was the one. I am giving away a copy of “Dickens at Christmas”, which is a collection of short stories written especially for the festive season.
For those of you who enjoy short stories, this might be the perfect choice. I have read two stories from it, The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton and A Christmas Carol and liked them both. From the blurb:

“It is said that Charles Dickens invented Christmas, and within these pages you’ll certainly find all the elements of a traditional Christmas brought to vivid life: snowy rooftops, gleaming shop windows, steaming bowls of punch, plum puddings like speckled cannon balls, sage and onion stuffing, miracles, magic, charity and goodwill.

This beautifully produced Vintage Classics edition gathers together not only Dickens’ Christmas Books (A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Battle of Life, The Cricket on the Hearth and The Haunted Man) but also stories that Dickens wrote for the special seasonal editions of his periodicals All the Year Round and Household Words and a festive tale from The Pickwick Papers.”

The giveaway is open internationally. To sign up for it, just leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite Christmas food is. I look forward to the answers. 🙂
The winner will be announced on the 26th.


Coming up: A discussion of “A Christmas Carol” on Friday the 21st. For the participants in this read-along, Caroline and I have prepared a list of questions which we have sent to those who signed up. If you haven’t got them but would like to, just send me an email and I will gladly forward them to you.

The wrap up post for “Dickens in December” will be on Sunday the 30th. Until then you can visit Caroline’s blog for a list of the participants and their reviews. Please let us know if we have missed your review so we can add you to the list. I am really happy to see how many people have participated so far, I know it’s a busy time of the year (probably the busiest for some) and this makes your contribution even more appreciated.

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​Dickens in December – The first giveaway

I had no idea this book existed until I read a review on Caroline’s blog. It’s one of those books I’d love to read someday, (the fact that it has illustrations made me want to read it even more) but until then, this will be the book for our first giveaway.
Many thanks to Icon Books who have offered us two copies for this event. We are giving away one book per blog. Here’s the blurb:

For fans old and new, a fascinating tour through Charles Dickens’ novels in the hands of a master critic.

Oliver Twist…Great Expectations…David Copperfield – all contain a riotous fictional world that still leaves and breathes for readers the world over today. But how much do we really know about Charles Dickens’ dazzling imagination, which has brought this all into being?
To celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Dickens – 2012 – Victorian literature expert John Sutherland has created a gloriously wide-ranging alphabetical companion to Dickens’ novels, excavating the hidden links between his characters, themes, and preoccupations, and the minutiae of his endlessly inventive wordplay.
Covering America, Bastards, Childhood, Christmas, Empire, Fog, Larks, London, Madness, Murder, Orphans, Pubs, Punishment, Smells, Spontaneous Combustion and Zoo to name but a few – John Sutherland gives us a uniquely personal guide to Charles Dickens’ books.

If you’d like to win a copy of this book, just leave a comment. If you want to improve your chances of winning you can leave a comment here and one on Caroline’s blog. That way your name will be in both draws but you can only win once.
The giveaway is open internationally. The winners will be announced on Tuesday 11 December.

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And the winners are…

Vishy and Kenisha!

The Gargoyle will travel to Madras, India, which is not that far away but to compensate for that, Little Bee (or The Other Hand, whichever name you prefer) will go all the way to Atlanta, U.S.!
It didn’t occur to me until now that both books have names of creatures that can fly. Go figure.
A big thank you to everyone who participated.

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Blog anniversay and giveaway

It’s been a little over a year since I started this book-blog. A year filled with wonderful discoveries in the realm of books, and attempts at writing my thoughts on them in the form of reviews. Every trip to the bookstore was like a journey into the world of magic. It’s true that not all the books I bought were to my liking, just like it’s true that the books I did like outnumbered by far those I didn’t. Sometimes even magic has its limits.
I am grateful to everyone who has visited this corner of the virtual world and especially to those who have taken a few minutes of their time to leave a comment. Your input was (and continues to be) greatly appreciated.

The books to be given away are
The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson and
Little Bee – Chris Cleave (also published under the name “The Other Hand”). I read them last year and loved them both. I hope you will, too.

To enter the giveaway you must:

1. Write a comment here saying which book you’d like to receive
2. Leave a valid email address in your comment
3. Write the name and author of your favorite book and a few words about it. I’m always looking for books to read and I’m always interested in what other people recommend.

You can also tell me a bit about yourself; I’m not asking for your birthday but it would be nice to know where you live, what your favorite color is and which ice-cream flavor you prefer. This may, or may not influence my decision. Don’t worry, I won’t send you ice-cream. I’m just curious about little things like that.

This giveaway runs from January 28th – February 4th , 2012 and is open internationally. The winners (one for each book) will be notified through an email and will have 48 hours to answer. I’m not sure yet how I will choose who gets the books. Maybe I’ll toss a coin or maybe I’ll have a raffle. Comments are still moderated.
Good luck!

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