Great Bookends Friday (Part 2)

Following up on last week's post on great bookends, here are a few more ways to decorate your (already overcrowded) shelves...

I used to have much cooler HP bookends (still do, back at Mom's house!), but these were the only ones I could find still available. Oh well, they are still certainly very fun.
Available from Mookie Gifts, $49.99

The perfect way to keep your Beta Fish from seeing each other!
Available from Urban Outfitters, $58

Birds on branches. Like I said in my post on bookcovers, I just have a thing for birds.
Available from Barnes and Noble, $49.95

Love this little pup!
Available from Barnes and Noble, $39.95

Bacon beat iPad in Unofficial Polls

Some clever soul decided to purchase as many iPad-related domains as possible back when the iPad was announced... meaning that one lucky individual now owns a bunch of domains with little to nothing to put on them. What to do? What to do?


As of this posting, bacon was overwhelming the iPad with a whopping 91% of votes. And people thought the iPad would kill the Kindle. Clearly bacon has been the unknown threat to e-readers the whole time.

Also, in unrelated news, today is 31-cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins... yep, just 31 cents a scoop (plus tax, of course).

Happy Wednesday!

Book Marc?

According to Forbes article last week, Marc Jacobs is a closet bookworm. Rumor has it he is now throwing his retail-savvy behind a new venture: a bookstore located in the West Village, across from Magnolia Bakery. Here's the picture Forbes featured of the potential-future storefront:

The official word from the Marc Jacobs company confirms and denies nothing useful; ""We are indeed opening a new store, but do not have details--even a name--to share at this time," a representative said. Still, it sounds like an interesting venture, and it will be neat to see how fashion-guru Jacobs merges his style sense with book sales.

Sadly, I won't be a resident of New York by the time it opens - but I'll definitely add it to my to-visit list when I return!

Some Changes & An Advance Apology

For those that haven't heard yet, I'm moving! My fiancé has accepted a position in Baltimore, so he and I are relocating out of NYC and into to the lovely suburbs of Maryland. I grew up in Annapolis - see my gushing post on Michener's Chesapeake for more Maryland love - so I'm thrilled, although sad to be leaving New York (and with it my friends and my job).

This means that in the next three months, I will be job hunting, car purchasing and house hunting... while planning an October wedding. So posts and reviews may start to peter off a bit, though I will certainly do my best. Apologies in advance for any slow weeks.

That's all for today (see, the craze has already begun), but I will be back this week with a review of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, some thoughts on the Wheel of Time (this re-read is taking up most of my reading efforts at the moment), and hopefully another review, this one of The Swan Thieves (audiobook).

Happy Monday!

The Heart and Core (Quote of the Day)

"For books are more than books, they are the life,
the very heart and core of ages past,
the reason why men lived and worked and died,
the essence and quintessence of their lives."
- Amy Lowell (American poet, posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1986)

Great Bookends Friday (Part 1)

I'm starting a new unintentional trend of Great Fridays. I can't help it... I love Fridays. Today I am featuring some really spectacular bookends (to decorate those really awesome bookshelves from Great Bookcase Friday Part 1 and Part 2). Personally, I rarely need bookends, as my shelves are crammed one end to the other with books (and often have slanty books propped atop those), but I love the idea of enough shelf space to warrant fancy bookends...

High five for books! Round of applause!
Available from Daily Planner, $27.50 (I've seen these elsewhere, too)

Quotation marks. What could be better to frame our favorite words?
Available from Barnes & Noble, $89.95

Rosie the Riveter Bookends. Girl Power!
Available from Uncommon Goods, $34.

Leaning men bookends. Holding each other up?
Available from Amazon, $27.

Does anyone else think it odd that the bookends are only shown with 2-3 titles in between? Wouldn't most people actually using bookends have more than that? I'd call that missing your target audience, myself...

Happy Earth Day! Celebrate with a book bike?

Happy Earth Day! Got any big tree-planting plans?

One article in today's Shelf Awareness caught my attention as a particularly earth-friendly (and book-friendly!) idea: a Book Bike! Gabriel Levinson is the proud owner of this crafty, custom-built transportation and book-sharing device, riding around public parks in the Chicago area. Levinson was also featured in a Shareable article earlier this week.

Here's three cheers to the Earth and creative ideas like this one!

Book Review: Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper on Bookgasm

New review of Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper up on Bookgasm.

Actually, this went up last week... but I'm a bit behind in my blogging! Update and catch-up to come this week.

Great Bookcovers Friday

I've done Great Bookcases, so how about great book covers? Check out these awesome ways to spruce up your literature - or hide that shameful cover.

Make them think you're reading the great classics... or maybe you really are?
(Available at Book City Jackets)

Great bird frame, and other artwork.
(Also available at Book City Jackets)

Another great bird cover. I like birds.*
(Available from the HideABook Etsy Shop in multiple patterns)

The Vera Bradley option. Most likely available with matching purse, eyeglass case, mirror, wallet, etc. You know the drill.
(Available from Barnes and Noble)

Any other great book covers out there? There are a plethora of e-book reader covers, but surprisingly fewer book covers...


* So much so that I have a tattoo of one's silhouette. Mostly so I can say/write/type the word silhouette more often.

Giveaway Winners: Girl in Translation ARC

Congratulations to Mary from Bookfan, who won the ARC of Girl in Translation.

Thanks to everyone for entering. If you didn't win, I still definitely recommend picking up a copy of the book. My review is here, if anyone missed it!

Book Review: Day for Night by Frederick Reiken

Day for Night book popped onto my radar following Boswell and Book's glowing review a few months ago. At first glance, it didn't sound like something I'd necessarily pick up: a family vacationing in Florida meets a boat guide who takes them to swim with manatees. I have a weird bias against Florida-based novels, but I am ever-so-glad that I got over it for this stunning novel.

Reiken's novel opens with this family, as mentioned, but the focus quickly shifts to their boat guide... who loves a girl who has a brother who falls in love with a woman who has a co-worker... you get the idea. I really can't sum up too much more of the plot without giving away the subtle genius of Reiken's novel (his third), but hopefully this is enough to have you hooked.

In Day for Night, we are never given the same perspective twice - each chapter focuses on a different character in a carefully woven net of stories. Such an impressively diverse list of characters and perspectives seems guaranteed to lead to confusion and ultimately frustration, but Reiken carries it off flawlessly. Each character's time in the spotlight serves to introduce or revisit characters that narrate or have narrated in other chapters, and in the end, we are left with a finely enmeshed cast of characters that are all related and yet not, observed by others and yet explored in their own words. Each character is given his or her due time, and then their chapter - both literally and figuratively - is at an end.

In finishing the novel, it is clear that this choice of construct is no mere happenstance - Reiken's method of relaying his story only serves to drive the story further home. Each ending is a beginning, and each beginning an end. Those characters that present themselves in the first person are also explored as they are observed by others, marking a stark contrast between how we see ourselves and how others perceive us.

Bottom line: Any review can only begin to touch on the beauty of Reiken's novel. What he has crafted here is a brilliantly constructed collection of stories that are all carefully related to the others, bringing us a novel that borders on short story collection and story collection that borders on novel. With a perfectly presented and expansive cast of characters, excellent writing and a gripping storyline, Reiken's stor(y/ies) come(s) to life, making this a novel that will linger in the minds of readers for days to come.


Details: Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Little, Brown. On sale April 26, 2010. Hardcover.

Disclosure: Thanks to Marlena Bittner at Reagan Arthur Books for the review copy.

Note: This book qualifies for the Reagan Arthur Books Challenge.

Giveaway: Girl in Translation Giveaway Ends Tonight!

Reminder! The giveaway for an ARC of Girl in Translation ends tonight at midnight. To enter, just leave a comment here on the original giveaway post. Extra entries for followers and sharing this contest.

You can also read my review of Girl in Translation. What a wonderful book... and a great cover, too.

Book Review: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines (on Bookgasm)

And a second review up on Bookgasm (this is why posts have been sparse this week - I've been busy reading!). This one is of Ex-Heroes, a post-Zombie-apocalypse novel set in L.A. Interesting premise, not necessarily such a wonderful book. But not terrible, if you're into zombies...

Book Review: The Black Cat by Martha Grimes (on Bookgasm)

New review of The Black Cat up on Bookgasm. Great read, especially for fans of Agatha Christie and classic British mystery novels.

Great Book Purses Friday

Ok, book-loving ladies. Are you sitting down? I'm not much of a purse-fanatic myself, but these are just too cool to not pass on to all the lovely booklovers out there in the blogosphere. From Rebound Designs:Yes, that's a purse. Made out of a book. I'm torn between loving this nifty little bags and hating them for what they are. The concept is really interesting, but the thought of tearing a book apart to make it... well that just breaks my heart a little. Thoughts? Are these cool enough to overcome the standard booklover's hatred of book destruction?

To be fair, the website states, "Most of these books were damaged or being thrown away to begin with, I don't cut up valuable books or books in fantastic condition. I take great care to find books that are already falling apart or are unwanted, like out of date textbooks." They also offer to send the interior pages along with the purse when purchased, if interested.

This is just a small sampling of what's available - see the full listing of products at Rebound Designs! Featuring everything from Doctor Zhivago to The Original White House Cookbook to Nancy Drew... and much more.

I'm wondering if I could fit my standard never-leave-the-house-without-it supplies - book, iPod, phone, wallet, planner, pen, etc - into one of these. Maybe the Shakespeare one? If only I had a spare $155 lying around to find out...

Because you don't already have enough books...

... I thought I'd recommend some boxes that just look like books! Aren't these neat?

From Booxstore.

Giveaway: Girl in Translation ARC

If you didn't already read my review of Jean Kwok's astounding new novel, Girl in Translation, hop to it. Once you have, get ready for a giveaway.

I have one advance reader's copy available of Girl in Translation up for grabs, pseudo-courtesy of Riverhead Books.*

To enter, just leave a comment on this post!

Extra entries: + 2 for following (via Friend Connect in the sidebar or RSS feed), + 1 for becoming a fan on Facebook or following on Twitter, +1 for tweeting/posting/sharing this giveaway.

Please leave your email address and the number of entries you have in your comment. No need for separate comments. Contest is open for one week; entries must be in by Wednesday, April 14th. Winner will be contacted via email for a mailing address.

Open to US and Canada only, please - sorry, but I'm paying for this postage myself!


*I seem to have been double-shipped the ARC for this title, so while the publisher is in no way officially hosting this giveaway, I'd like to thank them for sending me the ARCs in the first place. Great book!

Well, it's no wonder people read less these days...

People will have you believe that the numbers of avid readers are in steady decline. Myself, I'd choose to argue that point, but a recent article on Huffington Post has me questioning my own position. After all, I wouldn't read as much if these had been the first titles I'd been shown:

See these and more on the Huffington Post's article on the Creepiest Children's Books EVER.

And no, this is not an April Fools' Joke. These are real book covers.

Book Review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Jean Kwok's new novel from Riverhead Press, Girl in Translation, tells the story of an immigrant mother and daughter struggling to survive in the harsh realities of New York. They come to America seeking a better life under the care of a relative, Aunt Paula, who sets them up with an apartment of questionable legal status, no heat and a full supply of cockroaches. With an entirely illegal pay-per-piece factory job and limited knowledge of English, 10-year old Kimberly and her mother struggle to make the best of a terrible situation, one foot mired in traditional Chinese family values and the other struggling to keep pace with the harsh, fast-paced reality of poverty.

Girl in Translation is an incredibly fitting title for this somewhat traditional coming-of-age immigrant tale. As Kimberly grows older, she grapples with love and romance in the face of her own aspirations and her desire to make a better life for both herself and her mother. Refusing to submit to the circle of factory life and the poverty to which she has begun to grow accustomed, she draws on her "talent for school" to go further than any thought possible, amazing and often frustrating her teachers, Aunt Paula, and so on.

Kwok's strength as a writer shines through in her presentation of language, whether it be Kimberly's often amusing misunderstandings of English words or Kwok's careful definition of odd Chinese phrases (presented in English, but understood to be communicated in Cantonese). "Small-hearted" translates to humble, "eyes red" is jealousy, and so on. In this careful combination, Kwok presents a true girl in translation, steadily improving her grasp of the English language, and all of its odd slangs and sayings while simultaneously translating her Cantonese language into contemporary English. This clever use of language brings forth the idiomatic nature of both languages that any lover of language and translation is sure to enjoy.

Bottom line: As Kimberly and her mother fight to get out from under the grasp of their jealous and somewhat despotic relative, Aunt Paula, readers are taken along on Kimberly's journey of growth and discovery. Through the use of subtle and clever language translations, Kwok brings to life the difficulties of reconciling one's heritage with modern American life; through stark descriptions of the poverty of the Chang family, Kwok reveals the startling realities of meager living. The novel moves somewhat slowly through the beginning, but Kwok really finds her feet on the ground by the last few chapters, giving readers a fascinating and heartbreaking tale of immigration, poverty, aspirations, friendship, love and sacrifice. Definitely recommend.


Sound like something you'd like to read? Don't want to wait until it comes out in May? Stay tuned for a giveaway...


Disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher.

Epitaph for Benjamin Franklin (Quote of the Day)

Given that I posted about my desired tombstone earlier this week, I thought it would be fitting to continue the theme with this week's quote. Below is the epitaph for Benjamin Franklin, which, like the man himself, proves witty in its prose:
"The body of Benjamin Franklin
Like the covering
Of an old book
Its contents torn out
And stript of its lettering
And gilding
Lies here, food for worms;
But the work
Shall not be lost,
It will (as he believed)
Appear once more,
In a new
And more beautiful edition,
Corrected and amended
By the author." -Epitaph for Benjamin Franklin
Want more epitaphs? Discovering Epitaphs, published by Shire (yes, I work there), is out next month. I just saw copies this week, it's a neat little book. Maybe that's why I keep posting about graveyards...

Book Plant Potters: A DIY Project

Fellow bookworms and plant lovers, rejoice! The geniuses over at Mother Nature Network have found a way to combine our two passions:

You can see the directions on the original Mother Nature post. Happy potting, friends! Just in time for spring, too. Now if only I didn't always manage to kill my plants...

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! Since 1996, the Academy of American Poets has teamed up with publishers, booksellers, literary groups, libraries, schools, writers an poets across the country to "celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture."

To celebrate, I'm sharing with you the inscription that I found on the inside front cover of an old copy of Modern American Poetry, c. 1930 (purchased with one Emily Ramey at the Argosy Bookstore in New York, which I highly recommend to all you booklovers out there).

"Words of My Own

Poetry is what you thought about when you were a child, somehow not forgotten in the business of growing up, and discovered to be true, and valuable, and possible, just as you always thought it was...

Poetry is the language of a hoped-for country of light, overheard when the road you walk on brings you nearer the unknown border than ever before...

Poetry is that amazement you feel when you understand that light can be like a sword, the voice like a hand caressing you, thought like a flower bursting into bloom, or joy like a star falling through the sky...

Poetry is the coin, out of the full and leaden handful we throw down in payment for the hours of life, that rings true and clear, and lies glittering where it falls...

Poetry is the tree of life packed in a seed and planted in the heart and mind where it takes root, and grows green and flowers, and is the tree again...

Poetry is what sight would be to the blind, speech to the dumb, walking to the crippled and life to the condemned; but you and I see, speak, walk, live and we have poetry."

-John Holmes