#DailyBookPic Photo-a-Day Project, Week 4

Okay, I admit it. I slipped this week. I had to double (or triple) up a few times on some days. Blame my busy schedule and my slight disinterest in this week's prompts.

Day 22- Comfort Reads: Anne, Jo, and Elizabeth never fail to comfort me. Classic heroines to the rescue!

Day 23- Learning to Read: ...deeply and analytically. I could have used the textbooks from my Spanish course, or I could have used some children's books from my childhood, but I decided to go this route.

Day 24- Book Quotes: Who didn't love the quotes in the beginning of the chapters in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series? This quote is one of my favorites.

Day 25- Book Bag: One of many bags I used to transport my books. Pretty much any bag big enough will house a book of mine at one time or other.

Day 26- Re-purposed Books: My R & J Book Page Monogram from the Summer Pinterest Challenge. Every time I look at this frame, I fall in love all over again.

Day 27- Outdoor Reading Spot: I posted a similar picture of my favorite reading spot previously, but it still remains my favorite place to read, so why not post again?

Day 28- Well-Worn Book: Some of my grandfather's books that were passed down to me. They are incredibly precious to me.

Only three more days till the end of the photo-a-day project! Sadness. Check out my recaps of Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

Some Bookish Desires

Yes, I have a Book Wish List. No, I have no business wishing for more books until I make a dent in the To-Be-Read piles I already have. I know this, yet my bookish heart won't listen to reason. Hence, this list:

  •  Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov- When it comes to Russian literature, I am woefully under-read. I'm not totally sure if this is the best place to begin, but I know this particular book is a favorite among several friends of mine.
  • Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind- Another genre I barley touch is historical fiction. I don't have a real reason why I stay away being as I've enjoyed the few I have read. I figure, why not put my money where my mouth is and tackle this epic mother?
  • James Dashner's The Maze Runner- Okay, so here is a genre I may actually be over-read in: Young Adult Dystopian. But so what? I love it. I could gobble up Dystopian books like BLTs with extra-crispy bacon.
  • John Irving's The World According to Garp- I honestly don't know what this one is even about. What I do know is that one of my favorite college professors uses this book in one of the courses I didn't get to take.
  • Audrey Niffenegger's The Adventuress- I was blown away by The Time Traveler's Wife. I sort-of liked The Three Incestuous Sisters. I am intrigued by the title. And that explains that.
  • Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes- This book was really popular when it debuted in the late 90s. I remember my Uncle talking about reading it on the train to work when it was first published. I don't know much else about it, but I've been curious about it ever since then.
I'm sure I'll get my hands on these books eventually. For now, I'll just stick to my current bounty and try not to get too intimidated by the mountains of books forming in each room.

#DailyBookPic Photo-a-Day Project, Week 3

Another week down, a week and a half to go. Yes, I am still holding strong with the fun and challenging #DailyBookPic project. If you couldn't tell I was a bibliophile before, at this point my dedication to the project might be all the proof I need.

Day 15- Marginalia: Some margin notes in a Norton Reader from my college days. I never write in my books; I only use sticky-notes if I ever feel compelled to scrawl.

Day 16- Cover Art: Folio Society's edition of Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate. Not only are Folio books beautifully cloth-bound, but they have the most amazing cover art as well.

Day 17- Favorite Bookstore: The great and glorious Mr. K's Used Books. By far my favorite local indie bookstore.

Day 18- Book Club: ...get it? haha. I'm currently not in a club, but this is a popular book club pick.

Day 19- Reading Glasses: This pair may be my all time favorite of all the pairs I've ever owned. Not only does it have little gems embedded into the sides, but it sports a G, my second favorite letter (R being the first, guess why).

Day 20- Book Pusher: This was a tough prompt. Its intent is to depict who or what pushes you to read. I originally wanted to photograph Jeff because he is probably my greatest reading supporter, but he thought I should take a picture of GoodReads or a recent mail-order of books. I ran with that and decided that the Mail Woman was my book pusher as she faithfully delivers me my beloved book packages.

Day 21- Books in the Wild: "Crikey! An elusive Borders Classic in its natural habitat!" said in my best Steve Irwin voice. Yes, the selection of The Jungle Books was deliberate, if you didn't already connect those dots.

Getting down to the final #DailyBookPic days. What will I do with myself when the challenge ends? Check out Week 1 here and Week 2 here for my previous prompt submissions.

The Best Kind of Mail

In my continuous and steadfast crusade against the downfall of paper media, I do solemnly swear that I will only buy print books; however, sometimes this must be accomplished via the internets as opposed to going to a brick and mortar bookstore. I do my very best to support my local bookstores, though I can't deny it's fun to receive packages full of books on my doorstep.

In the past week, I've received three of said book packages from W.W. Norton, Gray Wolf Press, and Hachette Books respectively.

I was lucky enough to win both Don Lee's The Collective from W.W. Norton and Ted Sanders' No Animals We Could Name from Gray Wolf Press in two Good Reads First Reads giveaways.

Major bonus that they aren't ARCs or Galleys, which is usually what a person wins in a First Reads giveaway. No Animals We Could Name is a shiny perfect-bound paperback, and The Collective is a hardcover! Both have beautiful cover art, too. I can't wait to feast on these two books. I just have to finish my Random Reads challenge first, but I'm halfway there.

The third package I got in the mail from Hachette Book Group contained the three items I've been drooling over admiring from afar on Chronicle Books' website. I finally bit the bullet and bought them thanks to the incredible sale they were having for Family and Friends: 35% off and free shipping. The sale is going on until July 24th, so you have a few more days to check it out.

I have been pining away for years over Grady McFerrin's This Book Belongs To bookplates and labels. And, I can officially say that they are everything I imagined them to be. Hmm.. that sounded pretty dramatic, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Being the Shakespeare lover that I am, I jumped all over this gorgeous specimen. Feast your eyes on the beautiful, modern illustrations by Caitlin Keegan.

And lastly, I bought the Carpe Diem Journal. I figured it could possibly motivate me to meet all those small goals I set for myself and then promptly forget about because life gets in the way. Plus, it's pretty.

Look at them all together in perfect harmony. It's a sweet coincidence that their colors all complement each other so nicely.

Now to find the perfect bookshelf to place my spoils. That's always half the fun, at least if your name is Rosie. So, how about you? Get any new books lately?

Linked up here and here.

Book Journal: Sharon Creech's Bloomability

By Sharon Creech

Mini-Summary: Domenica Santolina Doone, Dinnie for short, grew up traveling from place to place with her poverty-stricken family, so her father could find new job opportunities. When Dinnie’s brother is put in jail and her older sister eloped with a marine and got pregnant, her mother ships Dinnie off to Switzerland to live with her aunt and uncle in the hopes that Dinnie would have a better life. There, Dinnie attends a multi-cultural school and learns valuable life lessons about acceptance, friendship, and family.

Some themes at play within the novel: Multiculturalism, Poverty, Friendship, Acceptance, Coming-of-Age, Family, Identity, Optimism, Discovery

Some Thoughts (Spoiler-ish, fair warning):
I bought this book merely because it was written by Sharon Creech, one of my favorite YA authors [as I've probably said too many times here already]. I knew nothing about it except that it fell somewhere in between Children’s and Young Adult Lit, and I thought the title was cute. I started reading it with very high-hopes, but only ended up struggling through a story I had a difficult time staying interested in.

Though it took me a few weeks to plow through it, it was actually a very charming story, useful for teaching pre-teens about tolerance of other cultures and adapting to new living situations. It did come off a bit preachy at some points, which was what turned me off of picking the book back up for a while. There are one or two chapters about when the students at Dinnie’s academy learn about “disaster” for Global Awareness Month.  They talked about AIDS epidemics, war, and child abuse. And all the students in Dinnie’s class collectively became activists, going on hunger strikes and going on tirades guilting all the adults in their lives to do something about war-torn Rwanda and global warming. They all had nightmares en masse and couldn’t function anymore. Now, as important as these issues are, and as critical it is for people to be aware of them in order to help do something about them, I was very annoyed by the way Creech sermonized over it. The students’ extreme reactions felt forced because Creech was trying to make a very transparent point. I’m definitely not saying that these issues should not be addressed in YA lit, but they should not be squeezed into one or two chapters of collective rage with such obvious intent by the author.

The rest of the book was pretty sweet; Dinnie made strong friendships with people of other ethnicities, learning that race or language doesn’t make a person alien from you. She missed her family in America, but embraced her new, extended family in Switzerland.  By the end of the school year, she adjusted to her new surroundings without too much heartache. Her friend Lila “the Pistol” actually underwent the most realistic adjustment period, disliking the food and assuming the worst about her classmates because she felt like an outsider. Creech uses Lila as an example of how not to behave when moving somewhere new, but in my eyes Lila reacts like most of the people I met my freshman year in college. Overall, it was an okay read. I wouldn’t consider this one of Creech’s best, and now I understand why it’s one of her lesser-known titles.

Favorite Quotes:
“I was still pretty much in bubble mode. It seemed that all around me was a smooth bubble, clear enough to see through, but strong enough to keep me inside. It was like a huge transparent beach ball. I imagined pores in this bubble ball that could let in streams of things from the outside, so I could examine them and poke them back out again if I didn’t like them” (10).

“In New Mexico, I’d heard my mother tell Aunt Sandy, ‘Dinnie will be fine, just fine. She’s very adaptable.’ As I stood there in that busy Zurich train station, I was sorry I was so adaptable, and I promised myself that I was going to stop being adaptable” (17).

“When we’d get home, my mother would always say, ‘Catch anything?’ Sometimes we had caught a few fish, but mostly we hadn’t, and at those times, my father would say, ‘Caught the sun! Caught the day!’ My mother loved that; she loved it to pieces. She’d kiss his cheek and say, ‘You are a prince among men’” (20).

“At that moment, I loved Switzerland completely. I loved it with every hair on my head and every eyelash and cell. I felt as if this was my home, and I was no longer a stranger. Instead, I was like the snail who carts his home along with me, but also my family, too” (261).

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Information about my copy for my own records:
Publication:  Paperback, Scholastic Inc., First Scholastic Printing, 1999
Genre: Young Adult Lit., Coming-of-Age, Children’s
ISBN: 9780439133067

#DailyBookPic Photo-a-Day Project, Week 2

Week 2 of #DailyBookPic was just as fun as Week 1 if not more so. Can I just mention how proud I am of myself for keeping up with this photo-a-day project? Usually these things become one more thing to cross of the daily to-do list, but I actually really look forward to participating. I make sure I take my picture for the daily prompt before midnight, and I only came close to missing a day once. It must be because the subject matter is so near and dear to my heart that I've stayed this interested and dedicated.

Day 8- Book Fetish: My feather and handcrafted fountain pen obsession. Not precisely book related, but I have a strong feeling that all the greatest books ever printed were initially written with these kinds of pens.

Day 9- Not-a-Book: ...but it used to be! My bookpage candle. This was one of the resulting creations from the Summer Pinterest Challenge. I just took some twine, Mod Podge, and a book page! It was very easy and quick to whip up.

Day 10- Page Count: Chapter one of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Too bad I haven't gotten any farther than that. I really don't want to come short of my Random Reads goal.

Day 11- New Release: The books I've won in First Reads giveaways. I've already journaled about Gaiman's Black Orchid and Moore's So Far Away. I'm still waiting to receive the other two books. Picture me opening up the mail box each day with increasing disappointment that they haven't arrived yet.

Day 12- "I Keep Meaning to Read...": All of my leather bound books. I don't mean to brag [or maybe I do, a little], but I have an impressive leather bound collection for a twenty-something year old. Some of them are the affordable Barnes and Noble leathers, but many of them are gifts from my parents from Easton Press, the leather bound book mecca... though they aren't photographed here. Just take my word for it: I have 'em, I gaze lovingly at 'em. I just need to read them.

Day 13- Library Card: To be quite honest, I haven't had a library card in years. Sure, I had plenty of them growing up. I also rarely remembered to return any of the books I borrowed growing up. I learned from a young age that I prefer to buy rather than rent. So, I was in a pickle as to what to photograph for this prompt. Did I posses any book related cards? Why yes, yes I did. My trusty ole' Borders Rewards card. R.I.P. Borders; I still pine for you and will always be a Borders loyalist at heart.

Day 14- Picture Book: Nancy Butler's Pride & Prejudice the Graphic Novel. The second I laid eyes on this book I had to have it. It's a really beautiful and clever adaptation, and I thought it would be perfect for the picture book prompt.

Some of the prompts this week were a bit tricky, but I got creative with them and used my poetic license [shout out to my second grade teacher who taught me that phrase and made it stick, apparently]. Here's hoping I keep up just as well for Week 3!

Summer Pinterest Challenge: Repurposed Book Pages

Since I still seem to be on a bookish crafting roll, I thought I would embrace it and participate in YHL's Summer Pinterest Challenge this season. I've been following John and Sherry Petersik's blog for well over a year now, drooling over their DIY projects and house renovations, and now that I have a blog to display my own creative endeavors, I thought I'd jump in on this challenge.

I was very inspired by Crafty Texas Girls' Bookpage Monogram, Arrow & Apple's Bookpage Jars, and the Vintage Votives at Annaboo's House. Unable to settle on just one of these projects, I did one of each.

Each one took about 10 minutes or less. I have to say the most fun to do was my Bookpage Monogram. I loved picking out the font for the R & J. I might have even loved picking out the page to print on more [I chose a romantic scene, to keep the sentiment consistent, of course, haha.]

I'll be linking this project with the Summer Pinterest Challenge link-up over at Young House Love, Bower Power, Centsational Girl, and Ten June!

#DailyBookPic Photo-a-Day Project, Week 1

Book Riot is one of my all-time favorite literary websites, and I'm an avid follower of their Twitter. So when I came across the #DailyBookPic photo-a-day project, created by Cassandra Neace of Indie Reader Houston, I really wanted to join in on the fun. So, without any further ado, here are my photos from Week 1: July 1-7, 2012.

Day 1- Favorite Reading Spot: My Swingasan Hanging Chair from Pier 1 Imports. If I could, I would sit here and gently rock and read all day long. I especially love the built-in cup-holders and bookshelves. It was as if some genius designer created this chair with me specifically in mind.

Day 2- Current Read: The Fall 2012 issue of Do It Yourself Magazine [Hey, it's not a book, but it's print media]. So many ideas, so little time. This issue actually had a few pages of inspiring ideas just for home libraries. Can't wait to start tackling some of those projects!

Day 3- Book Browsing: Browsing my Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic shelf. I've read about 70% of the books on this shelf so far. Allow me to be *that girl* and clarify that I was obsessed with this genre way before The Hunger Games craze. In other words, not a bandwagoner, though I am okay with reading the authors who are trying to bank on this surge of interest in the genre.

Day 4- Bookshelf: My pseudo-philosophical bookshelf. I took this picture in a hurry. One of the benefits of using Instagram on my phone.

Day 5- Bookmark: I've already blogged about my bookmark making spree, so I will spare the details here.

Day 6- Book and Beverage: Embarking on my fulfillment of the Random Reads challenge with John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces and a can of Orange San Pellegrino.

Day 7- Book and Breakfast: Fruit juice, hamsteak, eggs, and toast while finishing up Creech's Bloomability.

Gotta admit I am thoroughly enjoying myself with this photo project. Though I could have used my Nikon, I opted to take the pressure of being perfect off myself and started my own Instagram account to keep up. All my fellow bookworms out there should join in on the fun.

Random Reads: July Edition

After getting lost in book blogs the other night, as I am often wont to do, I stumbled upon this really great self-motivational project called Random Reads. It's about finally tackling the TBR pile by randomly selecting and reading a book from what is, in my case, an ever growing list. This project is especially perfect for me right now because I basically have zero inkling to read these days.

So, I went through the steps by numbering my to-read shelf on GoodReads and then using random.org to randomly select my book. Here's my results:

Lucky number 7 ...which means:

John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces! Needless to say, I am thrilled by this selection. I have been meaning to read this Pulitzer Prize winner for almost four years. It was highly recommended to me by a friend, and I love me a good anti-hero story. I still need to finish Sharon Creech's Bloomability, but once I do, I am moving on to fulfill this month's Random Reads, no excuses.

Favorite Books A-Z

Being as I haven't felt like reading deeply or writing about what I've read in a while, I thought I'd dip a toe into one of the "book meme" pools. There are tons out there, and this one looked like a fun, easy one to start with. Turns out, a few of the letters were not so easy. I took some liberties with d, q, x, y, and z.

A: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
B: The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
C: The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
D: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
E: Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
F: The Far Side Gallery, Gary Larsen
G: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
H: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I: Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
J: Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton
K: To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
L: Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
M: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
N: Night, Elie Wiesel
O: The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
P: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Q: Washington SQuare, Henry James
R: Robot Dreams, Sara Varon
S: The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
T: Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
U: Unearthly, Cynthia Hand
V: The Virgin’s Lover, Philippa Gregory
W: Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech
X: Songs of Innocence and Songs of EXperience, William Blake
Y: A Tree Grows in BrooklYn, Betty Smith
Z: The Prisoner of AZkaban, J.K. Rowling
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