Tag Archives: Books

Have Book, Will Travel

One of the many joys of travel is that it allows us to break away from our busy schedules and gives us more time to read.  How often have you saved a special book (books, in my case) to read on vacation, on the beach, on the flight?  Reading and travel are a natural go-together.

Author and RVer, Brad Herzog takes the irresistible pairing a step further on his blog You Are Here. In “Great Books, State by State,” Mr. Herzog writes not just about reading on the road, but about “the wonders of reading the right books in the right locales.”

He goes on to list 50 books for 50 states, citing both the obvious (“A River Runs Through It” for Montana, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” for Missouri) and the obscure (“American Pastoral” for New Jersey, “My Sister’s Keeper” for Rhode Island).  Even with the more tenuous links, it’s not much of a stretch to see how location plays a part in the story.  Reading a novel while traveling its setting can only improve the experience of each.

“As long as there have been travelers, there have been attempts to put the experience into words. But sometimes what has already been written can improve the ride,” he writes in the earlier post, “Pages and Places,” which inspired this list.

To see the entire list, please visit: GREAT BOOKS, STATE BY STATE.

Resources: The Daily Post

Old Hardcover Finds New Life Protecting E-Books

This Once A Book project feels sacrilegious.  Desecrating an old hardcover to protect a new e-reader feels irreverent, disrespectful.  So very “Et tu, Brute.”

But it’s a great project, and any self-respecting old hardcover would be honored to be put to such creative use.

How To Make a Kindle Cover from a Hollowed Out Hardback Book comes from WonderHowTo.com, the giant user-generated, free how-to video directory.

Resources:  Once A Book, WonderHowTo.com, Et tu, Brute, The Daily Post

Organizing the Bookcase (Like Never Before!)

The Book Bench posted a link to this video yesterday with the comment, “Finally, a music video starring your bookcase.” Music videos and bookcases?  How could I resist?  I dare you to watch it and not marvel at the creativity (and the snappy tune).

Click on the photo to watch the video on YouTube.

Resources: Rodrigo y Gabriela, You Tube, The Book Bench, The Daily Post

A New Page in Book Arts

In the world of book art, there is art, there is craft, and there is masterpiece.

Take a look at these pictures from OffbeatEarth.com.  Which category do you think they fall under?

Resources: OffbeatEarth.com, The Daily Post

What To Do With a Book (Besides Read It)

After oohing and aahing over Isaac Salazar’s book sculptures earlier this week, I started thinking about the various things I’ve done with old books, besides read, collect, and generally adore them.

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Mostly, I’ve used old books to make new ones, like the journals above, made from miniature Shakespeare collections.  The books were in bad shape when I got them.  The bindings were broken and most of the pages had fallen out, so I was happy to bring them back to life.  I used the few pages that were left to make the papier-mâché bowl.  One Christmas, when I was feeling creative and Hon was feeling industrious, we made this fireplace for the bookstore I was managing.  The fireplace was even featured in the New Yorker’s Book Bench blog (she said proudly).

With a little ingenuity, there are hundreds of things that can be made (re)using books.  This purse by curbly.com is an example, and I’ll be featuring more in future posts tagged “Once a Book.”  If you’ve done any book re-use projects, I’d love to hear about them.

As a book lover, I want need one of these purses, but I can’t even sew a button, so it’s not likely I’ll be making one soon.

For those of you who can sew, here’s the tutorial from curbly.

Resources: curbly.com, The Daily Post.

“The Count” Confirms Publishing’s Gender Bias

What would you think if I told you that in 2010 magazines like Harper’s, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, Granta, The New Yorker, and most of the other big names, published more work written by men than by women?

Would it shock you?  Surprise you?  Raise an eyebrow?

What if I told you that those magazines didn’t publish just three or four more articles by men than by women, they published three or four times more.  It calculates like this:

  • The Atlantic published 154 pieces written by men, 53 by women.
  • The New Yorker: 449 by men, 163 by women.
  • The New York Review of Books: 462 by men, 79 by women.

That raises more than eyebrows, it raises questions and VIDA is doing the asking.

VIDA, a literary group formed last year in response to gender inequality in print, has just published The Count.  I might have called it “The Countess,” but that’s probably too cutesy.  The Count is literally that, a count of male to female writers in the country’s most prestigious magazines, and it is proof positive of just how skewed the ratio is.

As a woman writer, the survey could be depressing.  I could throw up my hands and say, “Why bother, there’s no breaking into the old-boy’s club.”  If it was just a survey, it would be depressing, but it’s not just a survey, it’s the beginning of a conversation and VIDA is leading the way.

“Our count is by no means a blame-game,” says Cate Marvin, VIDA co-founder. “It was time to stop speculating that things didn’t seem entirely fair and find out if we did in fact have reason to be concerned.  The conversation only begins with the numbers.”

More data on submissions and books published by gender is needed for a true picture, but what is included in “The Count” makes it clear that there is a startling imbalance and something needs to be done.  Yes, the conversation has started.  As a woman who writes, it’s now my responsibility to be a part of it.

For more details, read the study by VIDA: “Numbers don’t lie. What counts is the bottom line.”

For an analysis of the numbers, read A new tally by VIDA shows how few female writers appear in magazines from slate.com.

Resources: VIDA, The Daily Post

There is More Than One Way to Make A Book

Mark Twain said,

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage
over the man who can’t read them.”

I wonder what he would say about doing this with books:

Isaac_Salazar_bookart_05.jpg

The New Yorker Book Bench blog posted this picture and a writeup about Isaac Salazar, the artist who created this sculpture by folding and cutting a book.

Looking through a gallery of his work on booooooom.com, I’m amazed and inspired by his creativity and skill.  I once managed a used bookstore (second best job in the world) where thousands of books were discarded every year.  We donated as many books as we could and sent the unwanted ones to recycling, but not all books meet such an eco-friendly end.  A lot of them end up at the dump.  This artist is doing his part to keep old books in circulation and out of the landfills.  As a lover of books and book arts, seeing a book turned into a piece of art as beautiful as this,  just makes me happy.

To read more, visit Page-Turner.

Resources: The New Yorker, The Daily Post.

Making Merry on National Puzzle Day

Clue: What is a six-letter word for a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma?

"Candy Galore," a 1000 piece puzzle by Springbok.

They are often baffling, frequently infuriating, and mostly fun.

They are:
Perplexing
Unnerving
Zany
Zen-like (sometimes)
Acrostic (like this clue).

They come in forms as varied as crosswords, jigsaws, search-a-words, Tangrams, anagrams, cryptograms, Sudoku, spot the difference, and connect the dots.  They can be logical, lateral, mathematical, or mechanical.  They come in books, boxes, cubes, newspapers, on boards, online, or on paper.

Did you guess it yet?

In the spirit of “the holiday,” I’ll give the answer.  It’s a PUZZLE!  And the holiday is today, National Puzzle Day, a day to celebrate all things solvable.

Puzzles are popular around the world.  I don’t know what the attraction is for everyone else, but I love the challenge of figuring out a solution that’s not immediately obvious.  Sometimes it feels like my brain is being ratcheted up; the cogs and wheels that haven’t moved in a while creak and groan into action again.

Working out a puzzle brings me into a meditative mindset similar to the creative zen I experience when I’m engrossed in writing or painting.  It’s not always quite that peaceful, though.  I have thrown crossword puzzle books across the room, (Drama queen? Me? No!) but my obsessive nature rarely allows me to walk away from an unfinished puzzle.  There’s a benefit to that persistence, though.  The joy of finishing a tough puzzle, crossword, jigsaw, Sudoku, even the Hidden Pictures puzzles from Highlights magazine (which I just found out is now available free online!!) is wonderfully satisfying.

In honor of National Puzzle Day, here are two offerings in my favorite puzzle formats:

  1. A huge archive of Literary crossword puzzles from FunTrivia.com.
  2. A link to Springbok Puzzles, my favorite puzzle maker, which is offering a 15% coupon to celebrate the holiday.  There is also a Springbok puzzle giveaway at A Frugal Friend.

Now it’s time for me to make merry.  I’m heading over to Highlights.com.  Oh, Hidden Pictures, how you taunt me!

Resources: The American Jigsaw Puzzle Society, The Official UK Puzzle Club, Springbok, A Frugal Friend, The Daily Post.

99 Y.O. Self-Published Poet’s Mega-Bestseller

Japan’s Toyo Shibata was 92 when she started writing poetry.  Her self-published anthology, “Kujikenaide,” (Don’t Lose Heart) has sold 1.5 million copies in Japan since its publication in 2009.  With sales like that, I’m sure American publishers will take note.  Now that her story has been published in Reuters and is being picked up by mainstream media around the world,  I’m hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before her book hits the shelves in the U.S.  I definitely plan to be in line to buy it.

For more information, here’s “A Little Encouragement” from the blog, From Tokyo to the World.

A Little Encouragement Few people can say they’ve lived as long as Toyo Shibata [柴田トヨ]. At 99, she has seen two world wars, four emperors and 81 prime ministers. Over the span of such a long life, one would hope to acquire valuable wisdom about the world and how to be happy. Ms. Shibata has. She is the author of a bestselling anthology of poetry published early last year with the title “くじけないで,” or “Don’t Be Frustrated” [though I would translate it as more like “Hang i … Read More

Resources: The Daily Post, The Book Bench, From Tokyo to the World

Publisher Not Doing It For You? Self-Promote!

Scholarship donations, iPads, twofers, and an endless assortment of junk drawer schwag.  Authors are turning to non-traditional marketing to boost sales and pick up the slack left by publishers who no longer have the budget.

In How Authors Move Their Own Merchandise on WSJ.com, reporter by Joanne Kaufman looks at a few novel (and successful) approaches.

Resources: wsj.com, Post A Day