A tour of my bookshelves

One of the joys of living in my own place is having the room to spread out and unpack all of my books. Some of them have been in boxes for four years! Some I recently acquired and had been in stacks on the floor of my bedroom. Now that I’m moved in and have acquired several more bookshelves, they’re all out and it’s quite delightful. So here is a tour of my bookshelves, currently. (No doubt I will have to keep expanding, because for some reason I keep ending up with more books.)

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Let’s start in the living room. This one is actually my library book shelf, although I have some random referency non-fiction and music books on the bottom.100_4074

100_4076Then there’s this one, which my godmother spotted sitting on the side of the road. We picked it up and she cleaned it off for me. Now it has classics, poetry, and craft books. Also extra knitting supplies underneath, where they’re hidden.

100_4079Moving on to the bedroom. There’s only one bookshelf in here, but it’s got my favorite authors on it. I may have to start an auxiliary shelf, though, or only put my absolute favorite books from each other on this one, because I’m already running out of space.

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(Close-ups of the books)

100_4084I also have an extra room, which I’m using as a study/library. I was astonished to find that the rest of my collection basically fits on these two bookshelves! On the right, we have: children’s classics, followed by adult fiction and biographies.

100_4083On the left, YA fiction, followed by picture books. I have more picture books than I realized, most of which came from a weeding project at work.

100_4077Last, but not least, we have my collection of cookbooks. I don’t buy nearly all the cookbooks I want to, because those things are expensive! But I do own several newer ones and a few classics. Also a Mary Poppins themed cookbook and a Beatrix Potter cookbook, because I can’t escape my nerdiness even when cooking.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Own the Most Books From

top-ten-tuesday
This is a post for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. You can find out more and follow along there!

(There’s something wrong with the phrasing of that tile but I can’t figure out how to fix it.)

1. Diana Wynne Jones: Perhaps unsurprisingly, given my love for her, I own a lot of books by Diana Wynne Jones. Twelve, to be exact.

2. Robin McKinley: McKinley has been one of my favorite authors for a long time, so the fact that I own nine of her books makes sense.

3. Elizabeth Goudge: I don’t read Goudge much anymore, but she was a huge staple of my teen years. And many of my nine books came from my grandmother’s collection.

4. Maud Hart Lovelace: I own most of the Betsy-Tacy books, because I love Betsy and Tacy and Tib, and Joe and Deep Valley.

5. Jane Austen: I don’t own everything Austen ever wrote, but I do own seven books by her, two of which are second copies. (Norton Critical Editions ftw!)

6. Susan Cooper: I recently acquired a complete set of the Dark is Rising series, plus I’ve owned King of Shadows for a few years.

7. Patricia McKillip: I love Patricia McKillip’s books SO MUCH. And I’ve managed to acquire six of them at various points.

8. Elizabeth Wein: I own nearly every book Elizabeth Wein has ever written–I’m just missing the Mark of Solomon books, which I plan to buy eventually. Also, I have two copies of Code Name Verity and I’ll probably buy a paperback of Rose Under Fire in September.

9. Sarah Rees Brennan: Numerically, I don’t own that many SRB books, but I put them on since she’s published five full-length novels to date, and I have them all.

10. Megan Whalen Turner: I own everything but Instead of Three Wishes, so even though there are only four of them (fifth book! I pine for you!)…

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Made and Making: July 2014

Knitting
I’ve been working on my Pretty (me) sweater, but I’ve gotten a bit bogged down in the sleeves. I need to push past that, because I really want to finish this one and start on my Rose Under Fire sweater.

Cooking
Lemon Madeira Cake from Complete Traditional Recipe Book: Light, sweet, with a nice crust and slightly tangy flavor. Great everyday cake!

Marbled Eggs from Home Made Summer: This were a bit disappointing–I may not have made the tea strong enough, but they were hardly marbled at all.

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: So good. I love the sour cream batter, and this would be great with all kinds of fruit.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Salami Pasta Salad: This makes a huge batch which is great for no-worry lunches. Also great for hot days when turning on the stove sounds awful.

Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes: Really good! Halved the recipe, though, which gave me four pancakes. Maybe I made them larger than the original? Regardless, these are awesome with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

Peach Frozen Yogurt: This was good, but not nearly as exciting as I was expecting.

Homemade Ricotta from Working Class Foodies: Made my own ricotta for the first time! I learned a couple of lessons, but it’s simple enough that I definitely intend to make my own from now on, rather than buying it. Looking forward to making these tomorrow.

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Recent Reading

adventures of superhero girlAdventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks: I really enjoy Faith Erin Hicks’ work. Although Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong remains my favorite of her books to date, Adventures of Superhero Girl is a marvelous, wry take on the life of a superhero. Superhero Girl has a roommate and struggles with family life. She doesn’t have a tragic backstory and she suffers from comparisons to her older brother Kevin. All in all, great fun and my only complaint is that there’s not more.

biggest flirtsBiggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols: I’ve been a bit hit-or-miss with Echols’ most recent books, but definitely enjoyed Biggest Flirts, which starts off a new series. In some ways it felt like a very setting-up-the-series book, in the sense that it focused quite a bit on the other characters at the high school, but as usual I appreciated the fact that Echols depicts a wide variety of personal backgrounds, both cultural and socio-economic. And perhaps most importantly, I liked Will and Tia as a couple, and bought into their relationship.

those who hunt the nightThose Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly: First in the James Asher series. Victorian professor/ex spy who is blackmailed into helping a vampire solve a series of murders. It sounds a bit weird, but it’s a lovely book, with characters who felt both of-their-time and fresh enough to hold modern sympathies. Hambly’s take on vampires is a cautious but sympathetic one; they are shown, perhaps more than in any other vampire book I can think of, as real people albeit not exactly human anymore. Hambly somehow prevents the plot from devolving into melodrama, which it easily could have. All in all, a great beginning to a series I definitely intend to finish.

alchemy of fireAlchemy of Fire by Gillian Bradshaw: I’m still reading through Gillian Bradshaw’s backlist. Alchemy of Fire takes place in 7th century Constantinople. While I liked the main characters, Bradshaw’s research shows a little more here than usual. There are lots of details about perfume making, and about the invention of the so-called Greek fire. Where the emphasis is usually on character development, here the weight of the details is a little too strong, I think.

landlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell: Oh, Landline. Oh, how I wanted to like you. But I didn’t. Partly, this read as much more adult literary fiction than Rowell’s other books, and I am not a huge fan of that genre. Partly, I never bought the present-day transformation, or the characters as real people versus quirky traits thrown together. So yeah–this one did not work for me. Guess I’ll just go re-read Fangirl.

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Guest post

My blogging friend Chachic is running a week-long celebration of Laura Florand’s books, and today she’s featuring a guest post from…me! Click over to find out why I love Laura’s books. Here’s a brief snippet:

“One of the other things I love about these books is the way they’re open to all kinds of relationships, not just the romantic one that is of course at the heart of the story. But family and friends, coworkers – they’re all important too, as they are in real life. I often find that romance books tend to have a kind of tunnel vision when it comes to the main characters’ other relationships. They might exist, but they’re never as important, never as realized as the romance. But here, partly because Florand is really good at sketching characters in a few sentences, they seem just as real, just as important as the main characters.”

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Top Ten Tuesday: Literary dinner party

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This is a post for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. You can find out more and follow along there!

I switched up the topic a little bit for this week, because I think I’m too practical for the original desert island theme (Thor Heyerdahl and the Swiss Family Robinson, obviously). However I do know exactly who I would invite to a literary dinner party…OF DOOM.

The guests, in no particular order:

1. Lord Peter Wimsey and 2. Harriet Vane from Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter books

3. Eugenides and 4. Irene Attolia from The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

5. Howl and 6. Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

7. Miles Vorkosigan and 8. Ekaterin from the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

9. Psmith from Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse

10. Telemakos from Elizabeth Wein’s Aksum series

I’m pretty sure this group would either destroy or accidentally take over the world in the course of the evening, while Irene, Sophie, Harriet, and Ekaterin sat in the corner and traded horror/love stories. It would be awesome and I’m a little sad it can never happen.

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Picture Book Monday: July 2014

I took an unintentional break from PBM the past few months, partly because I forgot to keep track of the books I looked at and partly because we were doing a major update of the Children’s Room and it wreaked havoc with everything. (When I say “we” I mean mostly not-me.) Now we’re back, and the room looks amazing! If you want to see some pictures from the massively huge SRC kickoff/Grand Reopening, check out the library’s FB page.

Anyway, as I was denewing recently (thanks to Anna M for this marvelous term!), I noticed that I hadn’t talked about a few of the picture books when they first came in and wanted to highlight them now.

Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler: I loved both art and story for this one; the palette is gorgeous and the line art is clear and lovely. It’s certainly a gentle book, but it didn’t seem twee or overly sentimental to me–there’s a kind of clarity that gives integrity to the whole thing. It’s also, incidentally, a good book to use when talking about the life cycle of trees, or the changing seasons.

Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell: There’s been quite a bit of talk recently about casual or everyday diversity (I like the latter term). Falwell’s book is a great example of this. A bit like Thunder Cake, it shows three young children who happen to be African-American as they visit their Grandpa and make his famous Rainbow Stew with the produce from his garden. The warm relationship between kids and grandfather and the lovely artwork makes me even forgive the fact that the text rhymes. (To be fair, Falwell has an excellent sense of rhythm which sets it above most of the rhyming picture books I see.) It even includes a recipe to make your own Rainbow Stew!

I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to have Gennady Spirin illustrate a series of non-fiction books, but Macmillan went for it and I love the result. After all, why shouldn’t books that happen to be informational rather than fictional have great illustrations? Spirin and his son Ilya have done a total of four books with Brenda Guiberson to date. My favorite is Frog Song, mostly because Spirin’s shimmery style suits frogs perfect. You can browse through some of the illustrations here. I also like Guiberson and Ilya Spirin’s Ice Bears a lot. I would love for this trend to continue, especially with some of the “hard” sciences.

Weasels by Elys Dolan: When this one came in, Coworker K and I read it at least twice in one day. While some of the references may resonate more with adults, the idea of weasels plotting world domination and the number of fun details should appeal to the older picture book crowd. And it’s just so funny. You can find out a bit more and browse through the opening pages here.

This published early due to the classic “Hit publish instead of save” blunder. Oh well!

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