Friday, December 5, 2014

Huxley the Cat

Huxley is not amused.

It seems Huxley is getting a small taste of being meme'd.  I posted this pic I made on my Facebook page a few days ago and it's already been viewed over 18,000x.  If only he cared....

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Literary Advent Calendar

Last year I decided to change up Lil Lampshade's Advent Calendar. We'd tried the small candies and toys (which just ended up in the garbage) and we'd done several years of Lego (which, admittedly, was more fun for me than for her - and pricey to boot). I tried to think of ways to keep the spirit of the concept while providing her with something that would be useful daily but with a smaller cost. And I came up with books. Obvs. Here's how it went down:

Collecting The Tomes
1. I acquired books through her Scholastic Book order from school. I would add on a book or two for the calendar, particularly in the "packs" where you can often get 4 or 5 books for less than $1/ea. I arranged with the teacher to pick them up separately so LL wouldn't see them.
2. I visited the local library's book sale and scored some gently used gems.
3. I would pick up a book when I visited an Indie Bookstore.
4. I would look in the children's sections of the bookseller I was patronizing on and add a few books to my order (typically for no additional shipping charge).
5. You could also visit your local used book store.

Presenting The Tomes
1. I bought a bulk pack of flat brown paper bags. I made sure to get them medium to large because the book sizes vary. I used brown paper because we compost.
2.  I "wrapped" them in the bags and used tape to adjust to each size. TIP: Choose your order BEFORE you wrap.
3. I labeled them with gift tags I found in the bargain bin at the craft store. I used number stamps to indicate the day on the tag but you could just as easily hand-number.
4. Finally, I arranged them in a basket and we were ready to go!

It might seem daunting to purchase 24 book but I got them all for under $30. I wish (I WISH!) I had made a list of the books she got last year, but I didn't. I learned this year and here are the 2014 Lil Lampshade Advent Books (she's 7):

Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her by Amy Novesky
Mother Teresa: A Life of Kindness by Ellen Weiss
Precious and the Boo Hag by Patricia C. McKissack & Onawumi Jean Moss
The Year Without A Santa Claus by Phyllis McGinley
Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino & Jon Nelson
Library Mouse: A World to Explore by Daniel Kirk
E-MERGENCY! By Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields-Meyer
Tallulah’s Toe Shoes by Marilyn Singer
Astronomy: Out of This World! By Dan Green
Fluffy Saves Christmas by Kate McMullan
Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
Who Pooped in the Park by Gary D. Robson
Human Body: A Book with Guts by Dan Green
I Have a Little Dreidel by Maxie Baum
Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator by Shelley Tanaka
Katie the Candy Cane Fairy by Tim Bugbird
Music: Hit the Right Note by Dan Green
The Little Drummer Mouse by Mercer Mayer
Mythbusters Science Fair Books #1-2 by Samantha Margles
Rosa Parks: A Life of Courage by Tonya Leslie
Can You See What I See?: The Night Before Christmas by Walter Wick
Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter
Who Was Sally Ride? by Megan Stine
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray

I would love to hear from you in you have a BiblioTradition in your family! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


You guys! I have been slightly derailed.  I'm still reading, but WHAT I've been reading is less in my physical library and more in my electronic one.  I started my next book (which Mr. Lampshade selected, randomly, from the red books - and it's non-fiction *see post on Facebook asking for next book ideas) but then April hit and we had a lot of car travelling to do.  What does that have to do with anything? Do I get carsick when I read (thank!)?  When we travel by car, I pull out the trusty Kindle and read aloud.  Mr. Lampshade prefers it to the radio and it gives me the opportunity to hear my own voice uninterrupted for hours on end (just kidding).  We have several books going at once - it depends on whether Lil Lampshade is listening.  So, this April, we FINALLY finished "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson.  We've been working on that once since we lived in Hungary. Immediately after finishing IAL, we started up "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman.  Neither Mr. Lampshade nor I knew what we were getting into with that one so we had to occasionally had to switch over to "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain whenever little ears would listen.  Also in the car rotation are "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls," "S*it My Dad Says," and "The Night Circus."

Alright - so I've qualified that I am still reading.  Just not the way I planned on going about it.  But, really, I think this journey is more about getting into reading again.  Making books more than decoration.  I will ALWAYS pick print over electronic.  Whenever I buy an eBook I ALWAYS buy a copy of the print version.  Which is what I did for the most recent book I read.


Last week, I "eavesdropped" on a Facebook conversation of a friend of mine.  Someone I'm not acquainted with posted this on her page (my apologies to this person for hijacking their words):

I just finished it. Beautiful. So so so absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful. I might be so bold as to say that if I had to save one book from a burning building, I'd probably grab that....and then eight more 

Naturally, I was incredibly curious.  I figured out what book she was referring to and ordered it immediately.  The book was "Two Boys Kissing" by David Levithan.  If you haven't heard of Mr. Levithan, you may have heard of "Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist," which he also wrote.  I powered through the first quarter of the book in a few hours and finished the last page on Tuesday.  It was amazing! Crisp, precise writing that wasn't clogged with cliches and abused metaphors.  He wrote characters that were so real and relatable that you felt you knew them even though the book really only showed you a few heartbeats of their lives.  That guy can write.

The same "friend" who gave high praise for TBK, also mentioned "How To Say Goodbye In Robot" by Natalie Standiford.  I'm going to start that today.  Sorry, Library, I'll be back.  Just not today.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book 1 - "The Eyes of the World" by Harold Bell Wright

According to info I found here and here, "The Eyes of the World" was not Bell's best selling book, but was the only one that acheived the #1 slot on the Best Seller List of 1914.  My copy is a well-loved First Edition that most likely saw its first owner on Christmas morning 1914.  I wonder where it's been since then.

Someday, Yes

Let me just get this out of the way - I have almost 2000 books.  As in, books with paper pages.  If you've been to my house, you've probably seen them.  I've had several houses in the last 15 years and the bulk of them have traveled with me (movers HATE. ME.) from location to location.  Ninety-nine percent of them went to Hungary with me when my family relocated there for three years.  In our current location I have my very first library.  Not an office with bookshelves, not a guest room with bookshelves - a freaking library.  For the first time since my book "collecting" started I have every single volume out on a shelf.  And it's glorious.

I hear two things when people see them all for the first time. First, I receive a "Holy *insert multiple-exclamations here*."  Next, I ALWAYS get the question, "Have you read them all?!"  Put simply - no.  I have read a lot of them but many of my volumes are old and pretty.  And I like pretty things.  So I buy them and then I get busy and they sit there as a decoration.  But why not read them?  They're beautiful and they smell of lives lived and memories made.  They have words in them, people.  Words.  The magical epoxy that bonds us all.

I read an article a few weeks ago about a woman so deliciously ambitious, she read a book from every independant country in the world - all 196 of them - in one year.  What an amazing idea! I was thrilled, overwhelmed and, frankly, envious when I heard of her undertaking.

So, here's the deal.  I'm going to read them - all of 1900+ of them.  It's going to take years and there are going to be times that I seriously regret making this commitment.  And, just in case you're wondering, if I haven't read it in the last 10 years, I'm going to read it again.  Posting the books in my library will be a exposing - like willingly showing guests my medicine cabinet.  It's not all literature, folks, but it's words. Glorious, glorious words.