Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://www.thewritingnut.com
http://www.thewritingnut.com

Holiday Gifts for Writers

Last week, I profiled some gifts for the bookish people in your life. But as well as being readers, I’m going to assume that we’re all writers here. And, as such, we’re sure to have some fellow writerly friends who will needs gifts around the holiday season. Readers and writers are, I think, extremely easy to shop for. As I said in my post last week, you can very easily buy a bookish person a gift card to their favorite bookstore and be done with it. Likewise, you could easily get your writer friends a new notebook or pen, or some kind of book full of writing prompts. These are the easy way out, though. There are so many more interesting and just as applicable gifts you can get for the writers in your life.

Chuck Wendig (whom I have been referencing a lot — sorry, Chuck) has made a really awesome post of gifts you can get for a writer. These gifts go beyond the obvious notebook-and-pen choice and into even more practical territory. Included on the list is a corkboard, which I think is a great gift for anyone who needs to organize their thoughts, but especially for writers. Corkboards can be used to lay out plot points, plan out when chapters or scenes appear in a book, or different characters in your story. This list also includes some external storage for a computer. Speaking as someone who has lost her writing before due to a failure to backup, I would highly endorse this gift.

If you are a writer shopping for another writer, think of what helps you or inspires you the most when you need to write. Is that something you can buy for your writer friend? If nothing seems to catch your fancy, try your hand at making a homemade gift. You can create some handy character development worksheets or write different prompts on small pieces of cardstock and put them on a decorative keychain. There are plenty of fun ideas out there, just use your imagination!

What are you getting for the readers and writers in your life? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://www.buzzfeed.com/
http://www.buzzfeed.com/

Gifts for the Bookish in Your Life

The holidays are upon us once again, and that means gift giving and receiving. I think that we, as book lovers, are some of the easiest people to shop for. If you know someone loves to read, then it’s only logical to get them a bookstore gift card. If you know someone a bit more, then you might even be able to pick out a specific book for them. But if you don’t know what they’re into right now, and you want to give something more creative than a gift card, then you might want to check out this list of clever gifts for book lovers.

Now, I know, BuzzFeed is not exactly my favorite source of information either. But you can’t deny that they know what they’re doing when it comes to compiling lists. And the bookish gift list has some really interesting bits and bobs on it. There’s an innovative bookmark that will point to the actual line where you left off reading. There’s an awesome transparent book weight that you can put on top of your pages to keep them from flipping. That’s something I would really be able to use, especially when reading while eating.

There’s also a MacBook sleeve that looks like an old book. This is something I recently saw in real life and it’s amazing! This upside-down bookcase is like nothing I’ve ever seen and any book lover would appreciate it to change up their personal library.

There are some really awesome bookish gift ideas on this list and I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re shopping for a bibliophile.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://www.simplymaggie.com/autumnthanksgiving-decor-ideas
http://www.simplymaggie.com/autumnthanksgiving-decor-ideas

Bookish Thanksgiving Decor

This week is Thanksgiving, a holiday which never seems to get the due it deserves. More often than not, Thanksgiving is swept away in a wave of post-Halloween, pre-Christmas advertising that seems to start earlier and earlier each year. For what it’s worth, I really enjoy Thanksgiving. There’s good food, the weather is just chilly enough to feel cozy indoors, and it’s a reason to have some days off in the month of November. What’s not to love? Thanksgiving also comes with a great opportunity for crafty and interesting decor for when your guests come over. And no, I’m not talking about tracing your hand to make a turkey.

Recently, the folks over at Book Riot posted some bookish Thanksgiving decor, which I think is just awesome. If you happen to be of the crafty persuasion as well as the bookish persuasion, then some of these might be right up your alley. All of the crafts on this list do, however, entail destroying some books. So, if you don’t mind that sort of thing, these are some really cute ideas.

There is a centerpiece made from old books and some leaves, there is a Thanksgiving bunting made from old book pages, and there’s an adorable turkey place setting made from rolled up book pages! The turkey might be my favorite. But I’m also fond of the book pumpkin (pictured above), which involves a pumpkin being wrapped up in book pages. That’s such an interesting way to decorate a pumpkin and it lends a certain autumn-y mood to any room.

So, even though it’s short notice, I hope this post at Book Riot gives you some ideas for bookish Thanksgiving decor. Do you know of any bookish Christmas decorations? Share them in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Hurlingham Books, London http://www.bookstoreguide.org/2012/02/hurlingham-books-london.html
Hurlingham Books, London http://www.bookstoreguide.org/2012/02/hurlingham-books-london.html

Awesome Bookstore Windows

A storefront window is the best way for a shop to compete amongst many other shops. If they have a creative flair, then that storefront window will hopefully catch the eyes of many potential consumers. For a bookstore, I would not think they’d have to do much in order to have customers strolling into their store. Speaking as a self-professed book addict, I know that it doesn’t really take much to get me into a bookstore. If there are some interesting titles and a few aesthetically pleasing covers displayed, I’m probably walking in. Let’s be honest, if the word “book” is somehow in the name of the store, I’m probably walking in. But some storefront windows just go above and beyond, and that’s always appreciated.

Recently, Flavorwire made a post containing 30 Excellent Bookstore Windows from Around the World. There are some simple windows that are just a bit cluttered and cozy-looking. There are places like Reed Books 2 in Suffolk, England that have an array of books displayed, each with a face on the cover. There is Hurlingham Books in London, whose windows are almost completely obscured by books stacked in them. There is an adorable display of a paper cut-out girl reading at Toko Buku in Indonesia. All of these are just lovely and are an added bonus to walking past your favorite bookstore. They’re also likely to get you to walk inside.

Do you have any favorite bookstore front window displays? What would be a good display to draw you into a bookstore? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://bookriot.com/2013/09/30/ libraries-rich-famous/

Amazingly Extravagant Libraries

I think we can all agree that libraries are awesome. But they’re also outside your home and require you to put on pants before visiting. Unless, that is, you happen to have a personal library. Of course, this privilege is only reserved for the mega-wealthy, or at least those with an extra room and some DIY skills. But we can dream! And one of my most dearly held dreams for my future home is for it to have a library in it. It doesn’t have to be huge, I just want a nice, cozy space where I can keep my book collection. And if my library happens to look like any of the libraries I’m going to talk about today, I will be one lucky gal.

Recently, the Book Riot blog did a great post about Libraries of the Rich and Famous. These are all folks — mostly authors and actors — who clearly value books and have chosen to give them a place of prominence in their homes. Some of these are just breathtaking, while others aren’t really up my alley. You should go check out the post to see them all, but I wanted to talk about a few of them in particular.

My personal favorite on this list is Neil Gaiman’s library. I think I’ve posted about it before on the blog and it’s just unbelievable. He has amassed an amazing collection of books and he displays them in a way that makes it look as though he has his very own secondhand bookshop in his home. The award for the Most Stately Personal Library definitely goes to Sting and his Victorian, studious design.

Which personal library do I want my own library to look like some day? Either Keith Richards (cozy, comfortable, crammed with books) or Julia Child (homey, inviting). But, in actuality, whose library will my own end up looking like? Probably Professor Richard A. Macksey. It’s a bit messy, but it looks like there’s a method to all of the madness. And I love the abundance of chairs, so that you can sit down wherever you are in the room to peruse some books.

Which personal library is your favorite? Why do you like it? Which library do you want your own to look like someday? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://nytimes.com

The Rooms of Writers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I am a nosey person. And one of the things that I love to ogle most of all is writer’s rooms and workspaces. I find it fascinating to see how other writers work and where they feel most comfortable. A writer’s room and workspace is unique to them and can say so much about them as a person. Plus it’s just fun to look at people’s bookcases, isn’t it?

A while back, the New York Times posted a piece on their website about various writer’s rooms. Each photo of a writer in their workspace is accompanied by a short passage written by the author in question. It’s interesting to read about how long they’ve been in that workspace, what they’ve done there, who has visited them, and what their daily routine consists of. One of the neatest things is that all of these writers work on laptops just like the ones that we own. That somehow makes what they’ve accomplished more accessible, I think.

Nearly everyone on this last has a grand area of their home that they’ve dedicated to writing. But we can’t all do that, unfortunately. And the final author on the list — Jesmyn Ward — is much closer to how I write or, perhaps, to how you write. Ward says, “I write wherever and whenever I can around my house. I’ve written while sitting on my bed, balancing my computer and my kid on my lap. I’ve written at the dining room table in the breakfast nook. I’ve even written in the bathroom.” Indeed, you write where you can.

So, where do you write? Leave a description of your writing workspace or your writing process in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://fancy.com/things/313511685782505865/Classic-Book-Stair-Decals
http://fancy.com/things/ 313511685782505865/Classic-Book-Stair-Decals

Classic Book Stair Decals

There are many ways to create a bookish environment in your home. As I’ve posted about before, there are hidden bookcase doors, endlessly different layouts for book nooks, and character-themed decorations. Yes, you could find just about anything book-related in the way of home decor. Today we add Book Stair Decals to that list! Originally found through Boing Boing and available for purchase on the Fancy website, these decals would be a really awesome way to decorate a staircase.

The decals all have the titles of classic books on them and the style is drawn from the Penguin clothbound classics series, which has really beautiful designs on the covers of their classic titles. Just imagine walking upstairs and passing by the titles of your favorite classics as you go. I think these are so lovely and would add a bit of bookishness to any home. If you’re a bookworm and are looking for another way to put that part of yourself on display in your home, check these out!

What are some book-related home decor items that you know of? Share them in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Source: WebUrbanist — http://bit.ly/1343GzW

Wal-Mart Library Makeover

The Wal-Mart. It is, perhaps, the most ubiquitous big box store in some areas of the country, and it may well be one of the things that America is known for. I don’t know how comfortable I am with those facts, to be quite honest. Wal-Marts often feel as though they should have their own zip codes. Nothing but capitalism and consumerism as far as they eye can see. Apparently there are also tons of abandoned Wal-Marts that have, presumably, been casualties of our recent economic climate. Out in McAllen, Texas, they decided to do something interesting with all that space.

They made a library! Yes, an abandoned Wal-Mart in the town of McAllen was transformed into a 124,500-square-foot public library, which makes it the largest single-floor public library in the United States. How awesome is that? Not only is it a good use of space, it’s an excellent way to refurbish a Wal-Mart. And it looks absolutely gorgeous now that it’s been revamped and filled with books, study areas, and reading space. You can see pictures of the newly created, enormous library on the WebUrbanist site. According to the post there, this library includes “6 teen computer labs, 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children’s computer labs and 2 genealogy computer labs.”

I usually like my libraries to be small and cozy, but this large and expansive space looks like it would be great to hang around in. Just imagine walking from one end to the other and seeing nothing but people researching, reading, writing, surfing the web, and studying. I think that’s a pretty awesome literary thing.

What do you guys think of the Wal-Mart library? What other large spaces do you think could be converted into libraries? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Photo courtesy of: http://gallifreyan-detective.tumblr.com/

Bookstore in a Train Car

There are some pretty interesting bookstores out there. There are also some really unique libraries, which I happened to post about a few weeks ago. I posted about the bookstore porthole made out of books and the book “farm” that I visited in Wisconsin. Around the internet, I’ve seen bookstores that are enormous, bookstores that have trees growing in the middle of them, and bookstores that are partially flooded because they happen to be in Venice, the sinking city. But have you ever seen a bookstore set up in a train car? Well, now you have.

Courtesy of BoingBoing, who found this story via the Gallifreyan Detective on tumblr, I would like to introduce to you the bookstore in a train car. Apparently, this makeshift bookstore is located north of Paris, France and is called La caverne aux livres. Whoever takes care of this place has converted an old, yellow train car into a bibliophile’s dream. It looks absolutely amazing and I wish it was cheaper/easier to get to France because, honestly, an afternoon in this place would lift my mood exponentially.

What do you guys think of when you think of the most amazing bookstore you could imagine? Personally, I’d like a bookstore with ample seating — preferably in the form of big, cushy chairs — and tall rows of books so you could hide in the stacks and just read for hours on end, or browse to your heart’s content.

What would show up in your perfect bookstore? Where would it be located? Do you know of any other unique locations for bookstores? Leave them in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://jwdbookstoreseries.tumblr.com/ post/26420384438/yes-it-still-exists-this-time-its-in-a-new

Bookstore Porthole

This week we return, once again, to an Awesome Literary Thing that exists out there in the wide world. Last time it was a bookcase staircase, and this time it’s a book porthole. Thanks to the awesome Boing Boing website, I found this porthole made of books that was constructed in John W. Doull Bookseller store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. When I saw this neat bookstore feature, it instantly reminded me of that scene from Black Books where Bernard creates a hole in the wall so that he can spy on Manny working at the rival bookstore next door. Boing Boing calls it a reason to visit the store and I have to agree!

There are so many interesting things that bookstores do to display their wares, and this one of the greatest. So, the bookstore porthole got me thinking about all of those awesome things that bookstores do to make their shops unique. There is, of course, Shakespeare and Company, which famously allows writers and creative drifters of all stripes stay in its store free of charge. There is the Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht, Holland, which is located in a refurbished and gorgeous church. There is the Cafebreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico, which incorporates greenery into its store.

And there’s also Castle Arkdale, a bookstore in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. I have visited Castle Arkdale and it was a completely amazing experience. It was like making a pilgrimage to an important place for all book lovers.

I would highly recommend it, even though it is definitely off the beaten track. What about you guys? Have you made any book pilgrimages to see stores that present their books in interesting ways? Do you know of any awesome bookstore features that I haven’t mentioned here? Please share them in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan