Happy New Year, lovely readers!


And if anyone is looking for a Neil Gaiman book to read in 2015, I loved “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.”


Sunday Salon: On Starting a Book Club

The Sunday SalonSince moving back to Florida nearly two years ago, I haven’t been part of a book club. I really like getting together with some other people and talking books. Who would have guessed that from a book blogger?

Anyway, I’ve participated in two different book clubs. One was organized by an English teacher when I taught high school, the other was through an alumni group at my law school. I was the only student who regularly attended – even after first semester finals, because I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk about how much I HATED Anna Karenina.

Anna Karenina and Vronsky

Y’all are not cute

Oh, did I mention I didn’t like this book? No? I Did. Not. Like. This. Book.

Two other characters I don't care about sitting at a table

If this is the scene I think it is, it is absolutely RIDICULOUS.

Deep breaths.

Ok, moving on.

Anyway, I was thinking I’d like to start a book club. Probably with some people from work, and maybe they could invite a friend or two.

So, I want to know – have any of you started an in-person book club? If so, any tips? And if you haven’t, but you’ve participated in one, what did you like or not like? What would you want a book club to look like?

Any and all thoughts appreciated! This is definitely is the baby-planning-step stages at this point, but I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to put together.


On Book Lists, and Advice in General

CIA Library, view down an aisle with books stacked on each side.

The advice of the elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I came across this quote as I was searching for quotations to use in an office-decorating project that I’ve yet to fully finish imagining. It made me think of all those “best-of” lists that can never make anyone happy. Shoot, if I made a list of the hundred best books, and revisited it a year (or even a month!) later, *I’d* even disagree with it.

Do you have a favorite “best of” list? Are you reading from any one in particular? I like to browse them, and then feel woefully under read 😉

What is this book? Help!

When I was growing up, I read everything that I could get my hands on about horses. Black Beauty, Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books, countless novels by Marguerite Henry, plus nonfiction titles like The Encyclopedia of the Horse.

For some reason though, I’ve been thinking a lot lately of a specific book – but of course, I can’t remember the title or the author (although I’m pretty sure it was a female author). EDIT: Oops, nope!

The plot, as I recall it: There’s an adolescent girl who is in love with horses. She wants one of her own, but her parents are against the idea. She gets stricken with polio, and has difficulty recovering. Her parents think that buying her a horse will help inspire her to work harder to walk again. So they buy her a horse. Towards the end of the book, there’s a robbery or something (I can’t remember exactly) and it’s up to the girl to drag herself onto the horse to save the day. Or something. I can’t remember exactly.

The only other detail I remember is that yew bushes are mentioned. That probably isn’t helpful, but I often remember little inconsequential things about books I read. For example, I read To Kill a Mockingbird twice in high school and the only thing that’s stuck with me is when the town drunk reveals to Scout that the booze hidden by his paper bag isn’t actually alcohol. Go figure.

A horse frolics in golden light through the undergrowth
Photo Credit

Update: Thanks to Candice who figured out that I was looking for Tall and Proud by Vian Smith!  I thought the title was familiar, and then when I looked up the cover I knew it was the right book: 

Tall and Proud

Moving Woes of the Bookish Variety

would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

I am moving. One of the things I try to do whenever I move is cull some books from my shelves. It is a difficult process, because, well, I love books. On the other hand, the hubby often asks me “Are are ever going to read that again?” Or, “If you haven’t read that in 5 years, maybe it’s time to let it go.” Both are fair points, but seeing as he is not a book lover, he just does not understand my attachment.

This time, I knew the process was going to be even worse. I knew that I was going to have to give up one of my bookcases.

My mostly-cleared off bookshelf

The hubby, for all his non-bookish ways, built this shelf for me when we were first married. We had moved into our first house, and I needed a bookshelf. All I had was a small shelf I had used in my college apartment. I wanted a shelf where I could put all my books. We quickly discovered that bookshelves were expensive. We did not have the money to spend several hundred dollars on a decent quality shelf that was big enough for my books, and other ephemera. I finally turned to the (quite handy) hubby and said, “Well, why don’t you make me one?” And he did.

I designed it with shelves of varying sizes and heights, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, which I thought would be enough room. That, *ahem*, turned out not to be the case. (See above for my bookish ways). The shelf has survived a trip from Florida to New Jersey, and New Jersey to New York. It’s made it five years.

Along the way, I discovered I am not, in fact, an engineer. Although the shelf looks good, a design flaw has led to some sagging, and general weakening. Plus, we tried to make this on the cheap side, so it doesn’t have a back, which would have helped keep it stable. As you can see in the picture below, the only part of the shelf that touches the ground are the very outer pieces. I’ve tried to keep it from sagging too much, or even breaking, by shoving old school binders under one side. Classy, I know. The hubby also screwed this case to the one on the left, again, hoping to lend it some strength. Alas, I knew that these were temporary fixes, and eventually I would have to part with my shelf.

My flawed design

And now the time for goodbye has arrived. Fare thee well, my dear bookshelf. I shall miss you.