All About Books

It's a Literal Obsession…

Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little

#Book Reviews

Blogging for a Good Book

daughterIt’s an easy comparison: picture Paris Hilton getting out of prison ten years after murdering her own mother. Even better, she’s only free because the LAPD forensics lab screwed up evidence collection in a bunch of cases, so she doesn’t even have the shelter of a presumption of innocence. Swap Paris for the fictional Janie Jenkins, and you’ve got the premise for Dear Daughter.

With her conviction overturned, Janie wants to do two things: hide from the paparazzi and crime shows and blogs, and find out whether or not she killed her mother. True, they had a rotten relationship, and yes, Janie had stolen some expensive stuff, and she was found in the closet of an adjoining room, covered with her mother’s blood. Oh, and her mother had written Janie’s name in her own blood on the wall just before she died. Not even the Dream Team could get…

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Bye bye bookshop


You are just like my cat.

Thus spoke a young woman in the bookshop the other day. I had just heaved myself up from putting a book away on the bottom shelf – no mean feat when one is quite so heavily spherical – and she had caught me exhaling perhaps a little too vociferously. I certainly didn’t feel especially feline.

The lady’s cat, it transpired, had just been pregnant. She said that as she herself was only twenty-seven, she’d never given much thought to being pregnant or babies before, but watching her cat get more and more pregnant had made her really think about it all. And, she explained, it was very funny because I looked just like her cat when she’d been about to give birth. She giggled slightly madly, and I could only feel grateful that she didn’t have a pet elephant instead.

It was one of…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

The Book Wars

Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real)


Only ten? I could choose ten fictional and ten real, and still have to abandon far too many realms! Yet here goes, ten real places books have made me want to visit:

  1. The Holy Islands of England and Scotland. There are a number of islands that go by the name Holy Island, for example, the tidal island of Lindisfarne. Diana Wynne Jones’s Dalemark Quartet have the Holy Islands, which must, however loosely, be based on these places. I think Jones’s islands are a good deal more tropical, but I may be wrong, and in either case I want to go.
  2. Greece. Green spaces, mountains, valleys, ruins, statues, monasteries, narrow white-wash-edged streets spilling over with greenery, doors, and flowers.
  3. Wales. Green rolling hills, castles, moors and heaths, sheep, rivers, and history. The Welsh language and music. Home of…

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Who Needs Pictures In Kids’ Books Anyway?

101 Books

My 4 year old is going to love this book. In fact, I’m placing my order today.

What a great way to encourage kids to read. It’s goofy and immature, but these are kids! And they’re learning to read!

So what exactly is this book with no pictures? It’s a new kids’ book from BJ Novak, our favorite intern from The Office. 

It’s just freakin’ brilliant. But I’ve got to work on my voice inflection before I read it to my son.

Here’s a promotional video of Novak reading the kids book. Be warned: It’s pretty awesome!

You can order it on Amazon. 

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5 Tricky Invisible Bookshelves for the Minimal Look!

Minimalism is all the rage these days, and what could be more minimal than bookshelves you can’t even see? Here’s a sampling of options for those who want to see their books and nothing but their books.

Keeping Company with Books

I make my way to my little corner sectioned off in the dining room as how I’ve been doing for the past decade or so. It’s been about a week now, but I catch myself grumbling at how the chair doesn’t feel as right anymore. This new one doesn’t roll like the old one used to — before my sis managed to find a way to render it retired by dislodging the entire back-rest from its base. To my left are three DIY shelves that I managed to convince my family members to let out of wherever-they-once-were, and have them arranged side-by-side, facing me in glorious presentation of what they are holding. Sitting here are the books I have been collecting as far as I’ve came across ones that are worth reading, and there are such wonderful books in it that I expect people to tremble with excitement just as I still do each time I thumb my fingers through them. Here is where a great part of my growing up is held, my haven and sanctuary, the place of my wonder and wondering. Here I meet the people that had taught me things I never knew I didn’t know about myself, and the people who watched me grow through the years as I watch them never tire of making different emphasises of the same old story to me, over and over again. My teachers, my confidants, my spiritual guides that seem to know me better than I do myself, and friends whose lives I reminisce with where hearing them speak is like finding a part of myself I’ve only just remembered to miss.

In my little corner tonight, all is still and quiet. G.K. Chesterton sits silently, colossal in his pince-nez. Anne Dillard stares back at me from the pages of Tinker Creek, reposed and composed besides the resting John Donne. Oscar Wilde isn’t out flaunting his pompous prose but remains speechless. Philip Yancey is not saying anything, and neither is Elisabeth Elliot nor Brother Lawrence. Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky and Amitav Ghosh are all holding their tongues, and there is not a cheep out of Frederick Buechner, Endo Shusaku or C.S. Lewis. Even Flannery O’ Connor seems to be waiting for something. The air feels heavy with the silence they are keeping as I drew a decided breath. Though the silence is all there is, it is not a sterile silence but a pregnant one, for even in the silence the company of friends are always present. What would I have been if I had never heard them break it? What moments would I have let escape unnoticed if I hadn’t had their eyes to see it through? What part of myself would remain buried and hidden if they had shied from pointing it out? And yet tonight they sit modest, watching me patiently as do wise parents of an equally restless child — impatient to grow up to perhaps be just like them in some way or another, yet waiting for me to call upon them when I should need to. In the stillness of the night, they give me room to be myself, room to grow as how growth has been the past years with them.

I thumb my fingers through the collars and titles, recounting to myself the moments that each book had once defined in my life, many of which contributing to the context of watershed moments in my faith through tears that I had since found the heart to shed. I’m thankful for the writers that have came into my life one way or another, where the make-believe world they conjure through the careful herding of words provided that temporary hiding place for the heart that’s starting to grow indifferent to mystery, for the soul that’s seeking a safe space to be alive with itself. And I’m thankful for the silent moments of reflection beyond the pressed pages trailing on the far side of reality, where we meet ourselves beyond where words alone could have taken us, while the rest of the cast sits on waiting, quietly.

There’s something elegant about a hardcover book shed of it book jacket…