Category Archives: Reading Paraphernalia

They’re not real books?

Want to see some authors being goofy and the banter that surrounds their creation of fake titles & covers for the little Hypothetical Library managed by Chuck Orr?  And don’t miss Chuck’s post about an engineering joke that will intrigue some extraterrestrials when they look through our debris on the moon.

eReading: eSharing?

Further implications of digital media & books emerge.  Great networks of people reading the same thing and leaving their marks on it for others?

book pages: a distinctive wallpaper

Recently I saw Toni’s post for a Harry Potter Themed Room (also see TLC’s discussion board on the topic, quite a many good ideas) and it led me to Jennifer’s SewHooked craft: cover a wall with decopaged pages from an old book.

This reminds me of similar projects involving old maps or clock faces.  Now I just need to find two books in different tones that I don’t mind ripping apart!  And I will have to content myself with simply taping them up instead of adding the varnish.  Wouldn’t want any irate parents and/or college staff persons.

Book jackets: an endangered art

In the debate about the switch to digital media and its implications for newspapers, books, etc., one realizes the little details that we will miss by transitioning to laptops and Kindles.  For those that think fondly on their colorful novels, this article by Bob Greene will especially resonate.  He mourns a loss of the book jacket and a concept of books:

“almost a piece of art independent of the words, when the jacket is evocative and illuminating. …

The existence of a gorgeous jacket amplifies the truth that a book is not, or at least should not be, disposable. It is a part of your life that is there for the long run.”

Judging a book by its cover is useful in the information that it gives, as Greene cites Motoko Rich, people notice a cover when others are reading in public and are inspired to learn more about the book or to start a conversation with the reader.  Scott Bowen joins the conversation on True/ Losing the book jacket, losing ourselves.  Think of all the effort that goes into making cover art, the artists employed, numerous versions based on book release, the friendly rivalry among book enthusiasts.  I would agree that for me covers are a beautiful addition to the reading experience and become associated with my memories of the lovely words I find inside.  I hope book jackets remain a part of the industry no matter what direction it takes.

Author J.D. Salinger passed away yesterday

J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, died yesterday at age 91.  The Wall Street Journal has a very good article about the author, including this info about other books you can read by Salinger:

Mr. Salinger’s other books don’t equal the influence or sales of “Catcher,” but they are still read, again and again, with great affection and intensity. Critics, at least briefly, rated Mr. Salinger as a more accomplished and daring short story writer than John Cheever.

The collection “Nine Stories” features the classic “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” the deadpan account of a suicidal Army veteran and the little girl he hopes, in vain, will save him. The novel “Franny and Zooey,” like “Catcher,” is a youthful, obsessively articulated quest for redemption, featuring a memorable argument between Zooey and his mother as he attempts to read in the bathtub.

Mr. Salinger also wrote the novellas “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters” and “Seymour—An Introduction,” both featuring the neurotic, fictional Glass family that appeared in much of his work.

His last published story, “Hapworth 16, 1928,” ran in The New Yorker in 1965. By then he was increasingly viewed like a precocious child whose manner had soured from cute to insufferable. “Salinger was the greatest mind ever to stay in prep school,” Norman Mailer once commented.

In 1999, New Hampshire neighbor Jerry Burt said the author had told him years earlier that he had written at least 15 unpublished books kept locked in a safe at his home.”   Does that mean that we will be seeing more works by Salinger, published posthumously?

Reviewer, Writer A.S. Byatt

A famous reviewer has interesting things to say about fairy tales:

One of the pleasures of the tales is the brilliant mosaic they offer of isolated things and materials. Loaves of bread, magic swords, frying pans, spindles, necklaces, shoes. And these things have brilliant colours – the Swiss scholar Max Lüthi has remarked that they also have a restricted range – red, black, white, gold and silver. Materials shine – a glass mountain, golden coins spouting from the good daughter’s lips. Materials contaminate – a bad daughter has slimy toads springing from her lips. Pitch defiles. Blood wells up and betrays crimes. Birds glitter and shimmer and sing significant songs. The animal world is a close extension of the human world – bears help (or devour), foxes and deer are helpers or punishers, fish speak from lakes and birds help in the sorting of seeds or peck out the eyes of the wicked. It is a mosaic world capable of endless retelling in varied ways.”

The Guardian, Monday 12 October 2009

I hope to read more of her work, maybe one of her books.

Report on Baby Names

Image from

Image from

Social Security just released the list of most popular baby names in 2008.  In the online article “Top Baby Names in the US” Yahoo reports that in the search for a popular yet unique name,

“Many [parents] turn to the Bible; others turn to TV.

Emma debuted in the top 10 in 2002, the same year that Jennifer Aniston’s character on “Friends” gave the name to her TV show baby. In the latest lineup, Emma was followed by Isabella, Emily, Madison and Ava.

“They might want to emulate the stars, but if they do, the name can’t be too far out,” said Jennifer Moss, author of “The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book” and founder of”

(Click on the picture to read the full story.)

What if parents also turn to books for a name source, i.e. Twilight?  When I read the series I thought to myself, “Why, what a nice name Isabella is, and isn’t Bella the most darling nickname?  I’d love to name my daughter that.”  Maybe the same was true with other expecting couples and the Twilight series was one of the driving factors catapulting Isabella to the number 2 girl baby name in America.

Also interesting to mention, Jacob remains the top boy name while Edward has consistently fallen since the year 2000.  Does this hint at a werewolf favoritism?  Just kidding!

Yay for literacy!