Discuss: Awesome Literary Things


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

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: Readers & Their Books


Hello, blog readers! Once again, I must make an assumption about all of you. I’m guessing that you’re all pretty big readers. Why else would you be following the blog of a literary journal, right? Anyway, if you’re a reader then chances are you have a certain kind of relationship with the books that you read — both the stories within them and the physical books themselves. There are people who dog ear pages and there are people who consider that to be a cardinal sin. There are people who organize books by author and there are people who arrange them by jacket color. Books are a pretty serious thing for some people, but just what level of serious are you at with your books?

A recent blog post on Book Riot outlined The 4 Kinds of Relationships Readers Have with Books and I thought that would be an interesting and fun topic to discuss. In their article, Book Riot mentions people who are too busy socializing to read too much into the grand catalog of written works that exist in the world. There are people who have planned what they’re reading next…and probably what they’re reading after that, too. There are people who know their book tastes and don’t deviate much from those books. And then there are people who start and stop books willy-nilly.

Out of these types, I think I’m probably closest to what Book Riot calls the ‘Serial Monogamist.’ I do tend to jump from one book to the next when I’ve finished and I do always know what I’m reading next. I can’t imagine having an empty nightstand or having even one day without reading material. However, I will sometimes give up on books. There are some books that I never should have started, and I’m not afraid to put them down when they don’t suit my tastes.

So, where do you fall on the spectrum of Book Relationships? Read up on them at Book Riot and leave your thoughts in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Shelving Techniques


So, I’m guessing that we all have some bookshelves in our rooms, right? And I’m also guessing that these shelves are pretty important to you. I know that my two shelves are my favorite things about my room. They’re basically where I keep some of my greatest memories and inspiration. But how is everything organized? We’ve talked on the blog before about what your stacks of books might say about you, but what about your bookshelves? I’ve seen lots of photos of different organization techniques — organizing by author, by color, by series, or totally random. They all have their merits, of course. But which one do you prescribe to?

I got to thinking about shelving techniques when I saw this Book Riot post about a couple of who shelved their books in a way that would only make sense to them. They were merging their book collections after moving in together and decided to create their own shelving system. My favorite shelf of theirs is the “Middle-Aged White Guy Problems” shelf that includes, naturally, Jonathan Franzen’s novels. There’s something so awesome about this shelving technique. It’s almost as though a code has been created on their bookshelf. Whenever visitors peruse these shelves, they’ll ponder to themselves what the order and organization might mean. But they can never possibly know. How neat!

To speak for myself, I don’t really have a shelving technique. One of my shelves houses books mainly from my childhood and teens, and the other one houses all recent book purchases. The Harry Potter series and its affiliate books have their own shelf entirely. When I got my second bookshelf, I began to run out of room rather quickly. So I tried something new — stacking books horizontally and fitting them together like puzzle pieces. I quite like the effect that this has created and it does offer more space for the fruits of future book-buying sprees.

What do your shelves look like? Do you have a special system for organizing your books? Share it in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things


The Reading Nook

We all have certain material aspirations in life, right? Some folks want a fancy house, some want a vintage car, and some want both. But for me, and for a lot of people I know, the ultimate in material attainments would be a reading nook. And I don’t mean just a den where you also work, or a window seat dedicated to reading your favorite books. I mean a full-on, completely cozy reading nook decked out with shelves and some pillows — everything you could possibly think of. Basically, take a look at this post’s picture and you’ll get an idea of what I mean.

Recently I stumbled on an old Book Riot post that listed 10 Excellent Reading Nooks and I was just enthralled while scrolling through these pictures. As someone who follows book-centric Tumblrs, I know all about reading nooks and hipsters’ desire to fill them with fairy lights and sip tea in them while listening to their old vinyls. But these reading nooks just scratch an itch somewhere in me. In recent years, I’ve found myself becoming more and more distracted by things and hobbies that are not reading. And, as a lifelong reader, this vexes me. There’s something about these reading nooks that tells me that if I had one, I could get a lot more reading done. Not only would it be a special part of the room dedicated entirely to reading, it would be an incredibly comfy spot to relax.

My personal favorite on the list can be seen in the picture just to the right of these words. Take a look at the post on Book Riot and let us know what your favorite reading nook is. Is a reading nook something you’d like to have in your future home? What other book-related life aspirations do you have? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Books Trump All


A recent post on the Book Riot blog talked about how, for the bibliophiles among us, books often trump anything else going on in our lives. We stay up late to finish chapters even though we need to wake up early. We sacrifice clothing space for more bookshelf space in our rooms and apartments. We forgo buying other possible necessities for purchasing a few more bargain books. I think we are all guilty of this Book Trump syndrome at one time or another and I thought it would be a fun topic for today’s discussion post.

One of the things the original Book Riot post mentioned was purse or handbag size. Ladies, I know you know what I’m talking about. Some girls need to carry makeup, others need to have their laptops with them, but for some of us a purse is only worth buying if it can fit our latest read inside. Personally, I use book size as a criteria for purchasing handbags. What’s the point of having a bag if it can’t hold my book? Books go everywhere with me because you never know when you’ll be trapped in a boring situation or when you’ll have some spare time to fit in a few more pages.

The post also mentions it being considered ‘weird’ to want books for Christmas and birthdays. Since when? Books have always appeared on my holiday wishlist. In fact, books have been such a big part of my life that relatives and friends simply buy me books by default when Christmas rolls around. I’m certainly not complaining! Who needs the latest iPhone when you can have five thick, new volumes of prose to read?

What are your book trump situations? Do you have a specific moment when you realized that books took precedent over something else in your life? Share these stories and reflections in the comments, and let’s all revel in our bibliophilia!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Your Book Pile


The contents of your room say a lot about who you are as a person. Whether it’s neat and tidy or more messy and scattered, how you organize your own space can give an insight into how your mind is organized. The same can be said about your book pile. After all, what you choose to read reflects on your personality. But not only that, how you organize your books and how you let them pile up, says a lot about you as well.

Maybe your book pile is completely overflowing (like mine is). This might signal that you have good intentions about wanting to get some reading done, but you can’t resist the siren song of bargain book stores and keep loading up on cheap tomes. I mean, who can stay away from Half Price Books? But maybe your book pile is neat and tidy and only contains the next four books you want to read. This would signal that you’re on top of your reading list and don’t allow yourself to recklessly buy more books until you’ve read these books.

This post was inspired by one on the Book Riot site and they offer some really awesome photos in their post. My personal favorite is the second photo — place those books on some shelves and you’ve got an approximation of what my own, personal book pile looks like. In some far off, fantasy world, I’d like to think that I could be the type of person who keeps a small, tidy To-Read list, but I know it will never happen. $1 books are just too good to pass up and I like having a large cache of books to turn to when I want to read something.

So, how about you guys? What are your book piles like? Dive in and do a bit of psychoanalysis — what does your book pile say about you? Have fun with it and include a photo. Leave your book piles in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan