Book-ify your office!

Perhaps you, like me, love to be surrounded by books? And perhaps you also work in a place devoid of those articles which inspire, entertain, educate and delight. Did you know that without brining a stack of your own books to work and piling them on your desk, you can bring the books to you? It’s true! There are many ways to make your workspace more bookish, if need be.

  1. Library or bookish computer wallpaper. It’s true that this will be covered up for most of the day with various open and functioning apps, but to me it brings a smile every day when I log in and just before I log off.
  2. There’s always room for a book-themed poster or two (to three) on cubicle walls, so don’t be afraid to get something affordable from Art.com or Allposters.com and give yourself something to smile at all day long. This is what I have up in my workspace:
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  3. What about a library mousepad? Or a literary-themed calendar? I find that these little touches enable me to keep my inner book-lover alive and at peace while I spend my days away from actual books. And if you’re in my shoes, I hope these ideas will brighten your days as well.

Girl Power!

Lately there have been some very exciting news articles about young girls effecting positive change in the lives of their communities, and abroad.

#1000blackgirlbooks reached international news with the inspiring story of a young girl from New Jersey who started a movement to gather books that weren’t just about ‘white boys and their dogs.’ She wanted to collect 1,000 books and surpassed her goal with the help of many generous donors:
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*image retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/09/marley-dias-1000-black-girl-books-hits-target-with-outpouring-of-donations

Also in February, we learned of two teens in India who saved their district library from decay. They formed a girl-power coalition, and approached the district’s administration about not only saving it, but giving it a facelift. Read more about it from the Times of India’s article, “Girl power puts district library in revamp mode.”

Recently, more good news from India reached us about a girl who sets up a small library at her home every day after school so the children nearby can access books they would not otherwise have access to. Read more on this amazing story here.
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*image retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/andreborges/a-9-year-old-girl-is-running-a-library-for-underprivileged-c#.djvQNkz3w

What amazing, fearless, inspirational stories!

I Never Would’ve Read That!

Over the years, friends and family have broadened my reading horizons considerably. Gifts and reading recommendations have influenced me to read things that I never would have read on my own. Some examples of recommendations are: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, Headhunters by Jo Nesbø, and Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Each of these are books that did not catch my eye in the bookstore or library, but came with such persuasive insistence that I would enjoy them, that I felt I should at least give them the 50-page trial. And while each of them are totally different genres, they were all page-turners that I thoroughly enjoyed (and now recommend to others).
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My parents gave me the adorable, heart-warming story of Dewey the Library Cat by Vicki Myron for my birthday and I was unfamiliar with this amazing true story. I would never have picked it up if I’d seen it on the shelf at a bookstore, but after I unwrapped it and read about the poor kitten who was left for dead in the library’s book return and lived to brighten countless lives, I couldn’t resist it!

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King was a birthday present some years ago now, and as with Dewey, I was a little surprised when I unwrapped it. But, I had such a high regard for the friend who gave it to me, that when they told me that they had not only enjoyed it, but thought of me when reading it, I gave it a go. And I did love it! They were right – Ross King brings the history of the Sistine Chapel ceiling to life in an unforgettable, intriguing way.

Yet another birthday brought me Secret Sanction, the first in a series by Brian Haig, and I thought, “Hm..” when I opened it. Military suspense/thrillers are okay, but once again, not something I look for. I enjoyed it so much that I bought all the others in the series. Haig’s dry wit actually had me chuckling out loud throughout the books while I also enjoyed the action and suspense.
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In fact, the bookmark pictured here in Dewey, and that fun mug are gifts too. 🙂 Have you received gifts or recommendations that prompted you to read something you would otherwise not have considered? It’s always such a nice surprise to have your horizons broadened enjoyably!

I heart Little Free Libraries

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? I’ve never seen one in real life, but I love the concept of them!

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Photo retrieved from http://www.shareable.net /blog/ever-wondered-how-little-free-libraries-change-neighborhoods

In December 2014, the Globe and Mail published an article about them entitled, When your neighbor’s yard is a library. The article paints an appealing picture of neighbors getting to know each other and swapping books they never guessed would appear in these impromptu libraries.

If you don’t have one near you, and you’d like to put one up, there is a fantastic website called LittleFreeLibrary.org that has absolutely everything you need to start your own. You can learn about the movement’s history, you can buy supplies and/or accessories to make your own Little Free Library, you can register it, you can also buy The Little Free Library Book – a volume I would like to add to my own collection. There are marketing materials to help spread awareness of your new Little Free Library, and many more useful resources. This website is a great resource to anyone who wants to start one or who just wants to find out more about them.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not), not everyone in the world loves Little Free Libraries. Last February, The Atlantic published, The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit and I think you can guess what that article is about (sad face). NOW Toronto also released an article in August 2015 about the under belly of Little Free Libraries – that people were putting garbagey books in them just so they didn’t have to throw the books away: Little Free Libraries have sprouted across Toronto, but yield few treasures.

Little Free Libraries are, in my opinion, a wonderful idea and I would definitely put one out if I could. But what do you think? Do you like the idea, or do you think they should require a permit and are just a way for people to throw out books they don’t like with a clear conscience?

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

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Hello! Today marks Day One of #BBAW (book blogger appreciation week) and it’s off to a good start: choosing a mere five books with which to represent ourselves. Thank you, Estella Society! I love a good challenge as much as anyone, so I thought I’d go for it.

Book #1: This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
I read this book when I was 13 and will never forget how it painted such a clear picture of spiritual warfare. This book illustrates my beliefs as a Christian, as well as my appreciation for a gripping story.

Book #2: A book of bees by Sue Hubbell
I am a honeybee enthusiast and this book provides an idyllic portrayal of the life of a beekeeper. It was written in the 1980s, before many of the pests which plague honeybees today came to North America, so it really is an idyll now. But it still encourages me in my dream to one day keep bees.

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Book #3: The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley
This book was thoroughly enjoyable to read because most of it takes place *in* a bookshop. For a bibliophile, that right there was enough to make this book part of the ones which represent me. However, there is the added delight of it being set in the past (actually, it was written in the past – even better), another of the things I love in a book. So this selection sums up nicely my affinity for books and reading about the past.

Book #4: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Another thing about me: I love children’s books. I have all the Berenstein Bears books from before 1990 (what I really learned to read on), the Noddy books, some Bill Peet classics, a select few YA books from the 1950s (Minnow on the Say, Gone-Away Lake, Tom’s Midnight Garden) and most of the books from my childhood (Father Fox’s Penny Rhymes, What’s the Matter With Caruthers? and many, many more). The Phantom Tollbooth warms my heart every time I read it and I think it’s the perfect book to describe that part of me.

Book #5: The Earth Moved by Amy Stewart
Trees, flowers, worms, bugs, animals, I love them all. I’m a softie. When I was young, many rainy days saw me getting to school late because I was saving so many worms from puddles along the way. So this book was not only fascinating (there is more in it than just facts about worms!), but also comforting to know there are others out there who appreciate our subterranean friends.

So there you have it! That sums me up a fair amount. Not completely, of course, but it’s a good start.

Books in the News

There have been some interesting news stories about books lately, and even though I’ve Tweeted about them (@bookideasblog), I wanted to share some of the highlights here:

  1. Seattle’s First Private Library Open Not Just To Members, But All Who Love Books – from KPLU.org. I found this article very interesting, since I love books and the idea of a quiet, friendly place for bibliophiles to gather is always something I want to know about! If you’re interested, here is the library’s website: Folio

  2. Beatrix Potter story Kitty-in-Boots discovered after 100 years – from BBC.com. Who didn’t read Beatrix Potter stories growing up? We all did! And we love them still. I have to admit, I am a tiny bit disappointed that the illustrations will be in a style that is so different from the rest of the stories… but at least it’s another new Beatrix tale!

  3. Teen Starts #1000BlackGirlBooks Drive – from Bustle.com. This is an inspiring story that’s helping to bring about some much-needed change.

  4. How a City in France Got the World’s First Short-Story Vending Machines – from NewYorker.com. This is the coolest thing since ice! Choosing from 1, 3 or 5 – the number of minutes it will take to read the story. And they’re free! Thank you, France.

I hope you enjoy these interesting and bookish news stories as much as I did!

 

Beautiful, delicious, French mysteries

Thanks to a very positive review by Dolce Bellezza, I discovered a wonderful series that fits perfectly into my ‘quirky and unusual fiction’ category for book recommendations. The author is M. L. Longworth, and the books take place in the south of France. One of the protagonists loves good food and wine, so along with vivid descriptions of one of the world’s most beautiful areas, we are treated to delicious menus and vintages as well.
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The first book in the series is Death at the Château Bremont and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read from cover to cover. Cafés in Aix-en-Provence, two murders, a chateau in the country, a vineyard, and a trip to Cannes give the reader a literary vacation and a refreshing break from everyday life. I can’t wait to read the next ones!

So. Many. Challenges.

Is reading a competition? With so many reading challenges out there, I feel like it’s becoming a competition, or at least a means of putting one’s self on a pedestal. But maybe that’s because I haven’t done one yet 😉 I honestly don’t have the time – or maybe I do?

Have you noticed how many reading challenges there are out there? Some of them definitely pique my interest, and I find myself tempted to participate. Like this one from Modern Mrs. Darcy: 12 Books, 12 Categories, 12 Months. Now that, I could do.
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Then there are the incremental challenges that I see and think, “I could do that.. I could do that one too, probably.. Nope, couldn’t do that… Do these people read for a living?!” Like this set of challenges on challies.com. The Light Reader does 13 books in a year. No problem! Easy. Definitely doable. The Avid Reader does 26 books a year. Also possible. I consider myself around (if not technically in) the Avid Reader category, so 26 books in one year should be fine. But then comes The Committed Reader, with an entire book in each week. I have to ask myself, are we reading books that are 100 pages long? Are we speed reading? I begin getting skeptical at this point. But, there is yet another category: The Obsessed Reader. This category reads 2 whole books each and every week for an entire year. Really? Is that possible? Again, the skepticism; but, maybe it can be done – after all, I’ve never tried (or kept track)! If you are looking for a reading challenge for 2016, I hope you clicked on the link because there is a wonderful chart for keeping tack of your books for each level (Light, Avid, Committed and Obsessed) on Challies.com.

When looking for some fun reading challenges for this post, I came across You, Me, and a Cup of Tea which has a wonderful assortment of themed reading challenges and links to the websites/blogs that host them. Like the audiobook challenge by HotListens.com and the Back to the Classics challenge by Books and Chocolate, and even the Hard Core Re-Reading challenge hosted by You, Me, and a Cup of Tea! So if you’re looking for a challenge to guide your reading this year, please check these out. And happy reading! Maybe next year I will be posting about a challenge I completed…

 

 

A Delightful Read for the Holidays

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday, whether it was relaxing at home after stressful holiday build-up, or whether it was a full day with family and friends. And of course, I hope your Christmas was full of new books!

Do your holidays have time for reading? If so, I would like to suggest that you check out Attachments by Rainbow Rowell if you haven’t already.
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This was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in quite a while. The story is adorable and well-told. It’s a romantic tale about an IT guy who falls in love with the girl whose flagged emails he has to read. The dialog is really witty and there are some references to grammar, due to the cast of characters working at a newspaper. So if you are a grammar nerd this will appeal to you on that level as well. For anyone looking for something to read that is light and heart-warming, this book is for you!

Christmas Books at Christmas time

Do you have books on your wish list? I sure do, and some of them are Christmas-themed, so I thought I would share them with you on this very special day, Christmas Eve.

First, Dear Santa published by Chronicle Books. ‘Children’s Christmas Letters and Wish Lists, 1870-1920’ how cool does that sound? Amazon’s link to the book shows a couple of sample pages with letters from 1896 and 1907, and they are adorable. It looks like the perfect addition to any Christmas enthusiast’s book collection:
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Next, A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book by Chuck Fischer. Reviewers rave about the amazing detail and intricacies of the pop-ups, and frankly, I am desperately hoping to add this to my collection soon! It looks absolutely beautiful and also deserves a place in the Christmas Book aficionado’s library:
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*both images from the same link

Another version of Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol that I have on my wish list is the one illustrated by P.J. Lynch. The illustrations are lovely, and really bring the story to life. This book is could easily become a family heirloom.
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I wish all of you a happy, blessed Christmas! And may you read all the books you hope to in the New Year 😉