Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://houzz.com
http://houzz.com

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

Libraries

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

http://www.architectureartdesigns.com
http://www.architectureartdesigns.com

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

http://superhypeblog.com
http://superhypeblog.com

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: Summer Reads

http://mollyaustin.com
http://mollyaustin.com

For me, summer has always been all about the reading I can get done while the weather is nice. Back when I was in school, summer meant so many more free hours to lose myself in stories. I miss those late nights and lazy afternoons, but summer is still a time when I look forward to reading new books and getting excited about stories. Sure, that may happen all year round now, but summer still has something special about it.

Of course, it can be fun to read on the road while you’re traveling, and then lounge around in a fabulous new locale reading the next book on your list. But not all of us can take that fabulous vacation. For those of us who are stuck at home this summer, Publisher’s Weekly has compiled a list of books to read when you’re not travleing this summer. Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers, has listed some of the books she is looking forward to reading this summer. I quite like this list and there are a few books here that I’m also interested in reading.

The first title mentioned on this list is In the Woods, by Tana French. I heard about this book about a year or so ago and I was intrigued. I found it at Half Price Books for very cheap, along with its sequel — The Likeness — and I have yet to read either of them. It’s been described as an eerie mystery, and I think that would be just the thing to read on a sweltering day when you’re stuck inside.

As a reader of the fantasy genre, I am also intrigued by Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link. It’s described as a collection of fantasy and light horror stories, which I think would be really interesting to read.

Going off the Publisher’s Weekly list for a moment now, what would you like to read this summer? Personally, I’m looking forward to reading some fantasy books, some mystery books, and some LGBT-related books this summer. On my list right now I have To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, In the Woods by Tana French, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

What are you itching to read this summer? Share your list in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://www.nprberlin.de/
http://www.nprberlin.de/

Writing Retreats

Even if you are not being paid for your writing, even if you don’t have a publishing deal with your name on it, even if you are just like me — someone typing away in her bedroom — I think that you would probably love a writing retreat. Typically, if you enjoy to write, you would like to be able to do it for many hours each day. There are many daily interruptions, however, that are simply a part of life. Many of us have to go to work, or take care of children, or just have other work that is not writing. So to have a retreat or fellowship that would allow us to write would be quite an amazing thing.

Well, folks. We have a definitive list of the best writing fellowships and retreats in the US. The tumblr blog of Open Road Media — a digital publisher and multimedia content company — has compiled this list. Fellowships are typically grants that allow you to study and work on your writing in a professional capacity. Retreats, on the other hand, offer you a place to stay and draw inspiration from while you work on a project. Either one, I think, would be a great boon to anyone’s career, and a great opportunity to get some real writing done.

There are some great opportunities listed here, and the best part is that this list is nowhere near exhaustive. If you do a Google search for either writing retreats or writing fellowships you come up with an almost endless supply of sites to check out.

What would your ideal writing retreat look like? Personally, I love the United States, but I think it would be amazing to have a writing retreat somewhere in the English countryside. I’ve always wanted to visit anyway, so why not do some writing while I’m there? I can just imagine a retreat in some great English manor, pretending to be either Jane Eyre or someone on Downtown Abbey, and working on a novel.

Where would you most like to have a writing retreat? Would you want other writers to be around, so you could all bounce ideas off each other? Describe your ideal writing retreat in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://en.paperblog.com/cozy-nooks-29673/
http://en.paperblog.com/cozy-nooks-29673/

Cozy Reading Nooks

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had a pretty rough winter. The sad news is that it isn’t even over yet! I have come home from work on many evenings and have wanted nothing more than to curl up with a good book and keep warm in a heavy cardigan. The only thing that could make that scenario even more appealing is my own personal reading nook.

As a quick disclaimer, I will say that it’s possible I’ve already posted about reading nooks for an Awesome Literary Things post. In fact, it’s more than possible. But sometimes, when it’s freezing cold outside, you just need to look at some pictures of reading nooks on a Tuesday morning. Do you agree? If so, read on!

This time, the cozy, aspirational reading nooks are coming to us courtesy of the Design Sponge website, which is a design blog. A little while ago they posted a wonderful list of 10 Cozy Reading Nooks. As readers of this blog will know, I love looking at pictures of other people’s bookshelves. My second favorite thing to look at is reading nooks. As you can imagine, this list was very fun for me to look at.

So many of these reading nooks are adorable and I wish I could transplant them directly into my house with just a click of my mouse. Some are cramped and block out all other distractions so that you can read in peace, like the first one on the list (I would also like the house surrounding this particular reading nook). But others are light, airy, and open, such as the fifth one down on the list. I love the variety displayed on this list. That makes me wonder what you would like to see in your own, personal reading nook?

What would your ideal reading nook look like? What would be included? What would be excluded? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://cnn.it/189aq7y
http://cnn.it/189aq7y

Exquisite Libraries

Once again, I am assuming that we’re all book lovers here. Am I correct in that assumption? Excellent, then we shall press on. Are you feeling tired already and it’s only Tuesday? Are you freezing in the middle of this Polar Vortex? We here at the Jet Fuel blog understand you, and we’d like to offer you something cozy and simple on this Tuesday morning. After all, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from serious-ish, advice type posts and just look at some pretty pictures of libraries. In that vein, I bring you exquisite libraries around the world, courtesy of the CNN website.

There are large, opulent libraries with lots of gold embellishment on the shelves on this list. There is also the ancient library in the Haeinsa Temple in South Korea. It’s interesting to see the contrast between the truly grandiose libraries, and the libraries that are far more subdued. It might be said that the two kinds of libraries are completely equal, despite their difference in decoration. When it comes down to it, libraries exist to catalog and dispense knowledge. It doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as they house the annals of knowledge. All that being said, it is quite nice to look at these exquisite libraries, don’t you think?

My favorite library on the list has to be the Merton College Library in Oxford, UK (pictured above). It seems to be the perfect mixture of grandiosity and coziness. There are some lovely decorative windows, but it seems to be mostly made of wood. It’s the library that I could most see myself studying in.

Which library do you like best? Which one would you transplant into your home, if that was possible? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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