Jet Fuel Review Special Section: Bouts-Rimés

The Jet Fuel Review is hosting a bouts-rimés dossier for our Spring 2016 issue in addition to its regular content. A bouts-rimés is essentially a collaborative sonnet in which everyone uses the same proposed rhymes in the same order. Please feel free to send us 1-3 bouts-rimés using the rhymes below in their specific order. You can submit your work here. The proposed rhymes are as follows:

a: envelope
b: orange
a: telescope
b: singe

c: eyelash
d: wire
c: mustache
d: fire

e: underhand
f: render
e: ampersand
f: tender

g: photogenic
g: pomegranate

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:
bouts-rimés, (French: “rhymed ends”), rhymed words or syllables to which verses are written, best known from a literary game of making verses from a list of rhyming words supplied by another person. The game, which requires that the rhymes follow a given order and that the result make a modicum of sense, is said to have been invented by the minor French poet Dulot in the early 17th century. Its wide popularity inspired at least one notable tour de force, an extended satirical poem by the French poet Jean-François Sarasin.). The fad was revived in the 19th century when Alexandre Dumas invited French poets and versifiers to try their skill with given sets of rhymes and published the results in 1865.

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Very Specific Book Nooks

I believe I have posted several times about book nooks on this blog. That’s only because I want a book nook of my own so desperately. Despite the fact that I now have my own living space, I still do not have a book nook to call my own. But perhaps one day! And perhaps I will want the book nook to represent a certain type of reading or a certain type of book. The book nooks in a recent post on the website Houzz listed 15 book nooks and what they want you to read.

I love the idea of pairing book nooks with certain types of reading material. For instance, the list shows a grand, Southern-style sort of reading nook and offers up Gone With the Wind as a reading suggestion. There is a calming, light and airy space that might inspire you to journal your feelings. My favorite (pictured above) is a cozy area with comfy couches that Houzz suggests pairing with some Jane Austen.

There are even more awesome reading nook-reading material pairings on this list. Check out the post on Houzz and see which type of reading nook is your favorite. Then think about a reading nook of your own. If you were given the chance to design your own reading area, what would you want it to convey? Would it call to mind cozy reads or hard-boiled mysteries? Would it make you think of classics or romance novels?

Leave a description of your ideal reading nook in the comments, and happy reading!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Photo credit: Robert Dawson Exterior, Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana, 2011.
Photo credit: Robert Dawson
Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana, 2011


Last week we discussed your dream home library, but that can be a difficult thing to attain. You need money and space, and most of us don’t have either of those things on hand. But public libraries are always there for you. Libraries are amazing resources in your community and I think you should utilize them at every chance you get, especially in the summer! To me, the summers were always a time to get involved with libraries’ summer reading programs and stock up on books for weeks of exciting reading. Libraries can be meeting places, sources of adventure, ways to educate yourself, and so much more.

In honor of libraries, I want to link to this Flavorwire article that profiles many interesting libraries across America. There are some really amazing libraries on this list. There is the adorable Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana; there is the Queens Library bookmobile in New York that was in operation following Hurricane Sandy; and there is even a combination Super Bingo, Family Dollar, and Mockingbird Branch Library in Abilene, Texas. If anything, this list shows us how America is keeping the library alive in more and more creative ways.

But what about your library? What was your library like when you were growing up? What is the library that you now hold allegiance to? What role does the library play in your life?

I’ve always had small libraries in my life. Growing up, the public library was not too far from my house and sometimes we would bike there when the weather was nice. It didn’t matter that it was small because I was small, too, and I honestly had so much fun reading through the stacks at that library. After grade school, we moved and I had another small, cozy library to check out. Although it didn’t always have the books I wanted, the library was part of an expansive network and I could have plenty of books transferred in for me to read.

Let us know in the comments what libraries mean to you, and which library you love.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Your Dream Home Library

Continuing the trend of fun bookish things we’ve been discussing this summer, let’s take a look at awesome home libraries! It seems like readers these days are rabid about their love of reading. If you take great pride in reading and call yourself a book lover, then you probably want to show off your books! For now, I’m sure those Ikea shelves are serving you well. But you may be dreaming of the majestic home library that you’ll construct once you’re older.

At least, I know that I dream of that ideal home library. There are hidden doors that lead to libraries, there are uniquely configured shelves, there are home libraries that look just like bookstores, and there is the ever-tempting option of using sliding ladders like the Beast’s library. You might think that home libraries have one style — it’s a room full of bookshelves — but there are so many things you can do! This post at the architecture art design website shows you just how much you can customize your home library.

There are home libraries that look like something out of Downton Abbey, with gilded edges on the bookshelves and old-fashioned furniture. There are more rustic looking home libraries, that have wooden shelves and wood panelling along the walls. I like home libraries that incorporate some kind of reading nook into the library, like the picture here.

What are your dreams and plans for your eventual, awesome home library? Share your plans in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things


Last week, the “Awesome Literary Thing” we focused on was bookstores. I think we can all agree that bookstores are awesome and that you should support more of them in your community if you want them to stick around. But what about the people behind those bookstores? What about the booksellers themselves?

Through BoingBoing, that great internet repository of awesome, I found a photo series by photographer named Steve Kenward. The series is called “Literally” and Steve has taken photographs of many booksellers among their books and inside their bookshops. On his website Steve says, “Independent bookshops are great places to spend time in. These portraits are some of the lovely people who can help you find something special. You really can’t beat the smell of fresh ink in a new hardback or the excitement on discovering a copy of that out of print classic. So next time you are passing a bookshop, pop in. You might be surprised what you find.”

I love the way Steve describes booksellers here, as “the lovely people who can help you find something special.” Yes, sometimes you go into a bookstore with a prepared list, all ready to find what you’re on a mission to find. But other times you come in less prepared, and you need a helping hand. These are the folks who can recommend, locate, and research for you.

These photos are fascinating because each one of these booksellers is completely surrounded by their wares. Steve has also collected each bookseller’s favorite book, which is a great way to get some insight into these folks.

I encourage you to check out the photo series, “Literally,” and do some reflecting on the booksellers that you’ve come into contact with on your book-hunting adventures.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

That One Awesome Bookstore

If you’re reading this blog, I’m willing to bet that you have a favorite bookstore. That bookstore may be a cozy, independent place in your town or a Barnes & Noble that always has what you need on its shelves. Either way, that bookstore means something to you. It’s a special place where you go to discover new worlds, pick up the latest installment in your favorite book series, or just browse to spend some time around books.

I got to thinking about this topic when I saw a post on the New Yorker blog, in which cartoonist Bob Eckstein drew some famous New York bookstores. I loved looking through these and it made me think about the important bookstores in my own life.

Although it is a chain bookstore, I have called Half Price Books my home-away-from-home. The corner they have filled with bargain books is akin to nirvana for me. A Saturday spent at Half Price Books is a Saturday spent well.

Turning to the more indie side of things, though, I love Anderson’s Bookshop. I went there for the release of the seventh Harry Potter book and I got to see Rachel Maddow speak at an event that they held. Aside from being a really amazing bookstore, Anderson’s brings the authors and the events to the people, which can be so much fun.

I could happily spend hours in just about any bookstore, but these ones hold a special place in my heart. If I had any drawing talent, I would sketch little pictures of them to keep on my walls. As it is, I can only describe them for you in words.

Now it’s your turn! Share in the comments what your favorite bookstore is. Which bookstore holds a special place in your heart, and why?

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Book Soundtracks

Many of us enjoy pairing music with what we are reading or writing. Sure, there are some folks who enjoy reading in complete silence to only focus on the story in front of them. But I think a lot of us prefer to put in our earbuds and add a soundtrack of our own to the story we’re reading. I know of some people who, when beginning a new writing project, take great pains to create a soundtrack especially tailored to their story. They’ll cherry-pick their favorite songs from their favorite artists, which they think are best tailored to their story, and construct a soundtrack.

The topic of soundtracks came to my attention recently when I saw a Galley Cat blog post about book soundtracks. When I saw the post, I initially thought that it would be about what I’ve already mentioned — creating a soundtrack for your writing project. Instead, the post is about a software tool that allows you to add sound effects, ambient noise, and music to e-books that you’re reading. This is an interesting thought, but I think the homemade, DIY versions of book soundtracks are more interesting.

There are times when I’m writing a certain type of scene, and I find a song that gives exactly the right emotional resonance to what I’m writing. Sometimes I just set that song on “repeat” while I’m writing a scene so that I can keep myself in the right mindset. Other times, I’ll create a playlist of songs that I can cycle through as I’m writing. These songs might correspond to certain characters, or might simply match the tone of the piece and the world that I’m writing within.

How about you? Do you ever create soundtracks for your writing projects? Is it something you might be interested in? Share your thoughts in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan