oliviasbooks's Reviews > The Catalogue Of The Universe

The Catalogue Of The Universe by Margaret Mahy
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I remember exactly that moment over 21 years ago when I picked up the German edition with its drab, blue, stars-and-moon-clad cover. I proceeded to read the longish, rambling blurb and felt a fascinated tingle run down my back: The plot description sounded so deliciously wacky but did not reveal much concerning what the book really would be about that I wrote down the bibliographic details and determined to buy the book as soon as I managed to save the right amount of money.

Well, I saved my money, I ordered the book, I read it fired up with anticipation and I was disappointed and a little angry although the ephemeral, liquid prose did resonate within me. The blurb had promised the entrance to a glittering treasure chest full of strange people and coincidences, but the book did not really cover much mysterious plot or pushed me off my rocker by astonishing turns. But since I spent so much pocket money on it and had to go without sweets for a while to afford it, I did not pass it on to my friends but kept it.

About a year later I picked it up again (having re-read everything else too often, I suppose), unconsciously geared up my page-turning pace, shook my head in wonder that I had been in fact devouring it and declared myself utterly enchanted. I was extremly puzzled about my own reaction and thought about it quite a lot, re-reading it a second time. I concluded that since the book stayed exactly the same I must have changed. Maybe at 13/14 I was still a bit embarrassed/shocked by Angela's brazen, self-confident attitude towards her body, that breathless, sexy encounter in the dark and the morning-after giddyness the lovers let shine through. Scenes of the book I came to love fiercely and look forward to as an older teen. And although I remember feeling sympathy for Tycho on the first go, I did not get his attractivenes, his beauty, at all. But when I was re-reading it for the first time, I already was 100% with Angela, when she says "I'm sick of this." [...]"I don't know everything I feel, but I do know this. You mustn't ever want anyone but me, Big Science. If you look at any other girl I'll kill her."

Now I've consumed the book for maybe the sixth time and I still love it. And I love the cover of the 2002-Collins-edition. It's perfect and it fits the mood I am in after closing the book. It won't be the last time I savored the story of the girl who went to look for her parents' love and found her own and the guy who had to let his science book drop and step upon the Catalogue of the Universe to see himself in a new perspective because "The Ionians Rule!".

TBR Pile Reduction Challenge 2011, Book #14 (challenger: Nomes)
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Quotes oliviasbooks Liked

Margaret Mahy
“For in some ways the world was like a shopping centre, and he himself was a doubtful customer, often ineffectual, being talked into buying things he didn't want, things indeed which nobody in their right mind would want to buy.”
Margaret Mahy, The Catalogue of the Universe


Reading Progress

04/11/2011 page 1
1.0% "Nomes, how about tomorrow? I won't be reading fast, because I should do somthing elese in my evenings this week."
04/12/2011 page 26
14.0% "This is my fifth reread or so and I still like it. I have to admit when I read it first at 14 or so I didn't get it so much. Don't know why. But I was pulled back magically to re-read it a year later and it was suddenly great."
04/15/2011 page 85
44.0% 1 comment
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Nomes i don't know the time diff, haha, between you and me. i can start from now. well, actually, it's 2:30am so I will go to bed and have a sleep and can start it during the day/afternoon (am on school hols)


message 2: by Nomes (last edited Apr 12, 2011 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nomes i read the blurb and skimmed a few reviews and still have no idea what this is about :D

also ~ i spruced up my copy which is a hard cover, 1st edition (so 26 years old).

i carefully shaved all the edges of the pages (so they are now white instead of yellowed) and stripped the tatty cover off and chucked it (it is a dark burgundy cover) and I cleaned it carefully with this vanilla essense and water solution I made.

it smells and looks like new :) and the pages have this kinds of ragged ruffled effect from the shaving ~ which i really like :D

oh ~ and I put it out in the sun for 2 days to make it not so musty and to purify it (prob did nothing, but now it feels fresh) not that it was that bad before...


oliviasbooks Wow. Nomes, don't you worry. I haven't started yet. Too much to do.


oliviasbooks vanilla essence. What a great idea.


Nomes i read the first two chapters in bed last night.

the vanilla essence was so i felt like i wasn't reading such an old second hand thingy :) it's was quite therapeutic spending time making the book sparkle...


Nomes oh ~ this review is just so perfect that i dont know what to say in mine now :(

beautiful book and awesome job in talking about it.

I loved hearing about your history with this one. cute :D


oliviasbooks Thank you!!!!


message 8: by oliviasbooks (last edited Apr 16, 2011 05:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

oliviasbooks I have to copy the enticing blurb on my German cover. It's strange really what time does to books that do not turn into classics: The edition is only available in used condition now and since the publisher has already perished from the market, there isn't even an official German blurb to be found for this edition on the net. The book simply disappears and the the blue cover picture here on Goodreads is in fact my own scan.


Nomes i like the scan of your cover :) (I checked it out on the link in your review)

i do like the newest cover but coupled with the title i was sure it was going to be speculative sci-fi or fantasy or something...


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