Books about books…

booksaboutbooksAs fellow bibliophiles, I’m sure we all have our own favorite books about books, and in a moment of spare time, I thought I’d compile a list of books about books which are either titles that I’ve read or that have a space on my real TBR shelves at home. I’m sure that there are lots of other titles out there – this list is just what I had handy. Feel free to att your own favorites! (And to give credit where credit is due, this line of thought was also triggered by a post at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings blog as well. Thanks!)

So – to the list of books about books (or reading or similar). Please feel free to contribute any titles that you’ve read and enjoyed as well. The more the merrier!

  • Of Studies (an essay) – Sir Francis Bacon (1597)
  • The End of your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe (2012)
  • The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett (2007)
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (1953)
  • Ten Years in the Tub – Nick Hornby (2013)
  • The Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby (2004)
  • Classics for Pleasure – Michael Dirda (2007)
  • Readings – Michael Dirda (2000)
  • The Read-Aloud Handbook – Jim Trelease (2006 edition)
  • The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop – Lewis Buzbee (2006)
  • Bound to Please – Michael Dirda (2007)
  • Reading the OED – Ammon Shea (2009)
  • The Man who Loved Books too Much –Allison Hoover Bartlett (2009)
  • Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” – Mark Garvey (2009)
  • Word Freak – Stefan Fatsis (2001)
  • A Little Book of Language – David Crystal (2010)
  • Walking English – David Crystal (2009)
  • Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason – Nancy Pearl (2003)
  • More Book Lust – Nancy Pearl (2005)
  • 500 Great Books by Women – Bauermeister et al. (1994)
  • Read a Book a Week (and be Well-Read in a Year) – Kenneth McLeish (1992)
  • Rough Guide to Classic Novels – Simon Mason (2008)

I’m currently immersed in Readings, a book of essays about books and reading from the excellent Michael Dirda. Swoon. Loving every minute of it even though he seems to have read every book in the English language. Good for the TBR pile.

Have any more titles to add? You know how there can never be too many books about books! (A few titles have sneaked in as they are about language/words, but I thought they could count as well. Books are made up of words, after all.)

New titles in the house…


So – I can not deny that a few new titles may have crept into the house lately. One point to keep in mind is that, in order to maintain my goal of not buying too many books [hollow laugh], I managed to miss my library’s annual book sale, and that even when there was one day still to go when it was open, I didn’t. [Gives myself a big gold medal for such literary control.]

However, it’s amazing how sometimes books can be found everywhere and end up being rather hard to resist. :-) With that said, here are the titles that I have picked up on my wanderings in my home town and beyond:

new titles_Sept 2015

(L-R) –

  • Read On: Life Stories – Rosalind Reisner (2009)
  • The Oxford Book of Letters – Anita Kermode, Frank Kermode (2003)
  • A Curious Mind – Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman (2014)
  • Apple of my Eye – Helene Hanff (1995)
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells (1895)
  • Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations – Judith Viorst (poetry) (1989)
  • A Pocket Book of Modern American Stories – Philip Van Doren Stern (1955)
  • The Jewel in the Crown – Paul Scott (1st in the Raj Trilogy) (1966)

So this seems to be an interesting collection to me. I’m especially looking forward to the short story collection as I seem to have the attention span of a gnat and short stories may fit the bill. Plus, I’m curious to see what constitutes “modern” in this collection that was published in 1955.

Time for a General Catch-Up…


Life has been busy and a little bit crazy work-wise, but appears to be evening out over all (which is a big relief for me). After a summer of working very long hours, I now don’t have to do that anymore quite so much and this frees me up for doing other things – like reading!

Despite this recent freeing up of my time, I don’t have a long list of finished titles to display with abandon before you yet. My recent trip to Vermont was super fun, but didn’t allow for that much reading time and I mostly slept on the plane ride. (See Work Schedule in above paragraph.) My mum is in town from England, and so we have been having lots of chatting and a big focus on finishing what could really be considered a Top Ten finisher in “Hardest Jigsaw Puzzle in the World.” Fun but wow – pretty challenging.

My mum working diligently on the jigsaw puzzle...

My mum working diligently on the jigsaw puzzle…

We did manage to fit in a couple of bookshops (of course) such as the Vermont Book Shop (great indie store) and we completed the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail in Middlebury (which is a really pretty town, btw.) Although I enjoy some poetry, I wasn’t that familiar with Frost (apart from the “road less traveled” one), and so we really enjoyed this particular trail which featured some of his works posted by beautiful vistas. It was a super idea to combine written word with amazing natural scenery and this was the first time that I’d seen this done in a national park. (Kudos to them for doing this.) I hadn’t realized that (a) Frost was quite a modern poet, (b) he worked for the National Parks system, and (c) some of his work is really good, so this was an unexpected surprise.

I am a bit stuck at the moment in trying to finish up a fairly longish book called “Wish You were Here” by Stewart O’Nan (2002). It’s not that it’s a bad book by any means, but more that it would benefit from a good long bout of concentrated reading time when I’ve only seemed to have small pieces available. By golly though – I’m going to finish this novel this week if it kills me. (Not really about the “killing me” bit. Definitely about the “finishing” bit.)

By the way, enormous kudos should go to Charlotte-Douglas Airport for being my favorite airport ever. It’s clean, it’s environmentally friendly and best of all, it’s super-quiet. There are TV screens, but they don’t have sound (only captions) and unbelievably enough, there are no blaring overhead speakers announcing boarding groups and gate changes (and yet people still made their flights without any problems despite such quiet communication).

It was truly a lovely experience traveling through Charlotte, and was so much appreciated. (BTW, the airport is well designed and has a huge atrium with a glass roof (loads of natural light), indoor trees, recycling everywhere, and white Adirondack rocking chairs to sit in around the perimeter under the trees. I am now a big fan of these pieces of furniture and I, my mum and my sister spent quite some time rocking around Vermont when we went up there. :-) )

Some of the ubiquitous Adirondack rocking chairs that we had lots of fun sitting in during our stay in Vermont.

Some of the ubiquitous Adirondack rocking chairs that we had lots of fun sitting in during our stay in Vermont.

More about Vermont later, but suffice to say that we all loved our time there. It’s beautiful, it’s historical, and the people were really friendly without being weird about it. I’d love to move there, but everyone keeps telling me to visit in February when it’s snowy. :-)

Pics to come.

Taking the road less traveled…

Jus returned from a fabulous trip to Vermont, and do have to send congratulations to that state for being so spectacularly pretty with friendly people. More to come (and pics), but in the meantime, here’s one of Vermont’s road signs for you:


Note: For people unfamiliar with the line used in this post’s title, it comes from a famous American poem called “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost (1874-1963) who lived and worked in Vermont.

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 95

Things on Cowboy's Head No. 95: Nothing, but this pic is remarkable for Cowboy being eyes open and awake.

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 95: Nothing, but this pic is remarkable for Cowboy being eyes open and awake.

Background Note: Cowboy, as you may know, is one of our cats. She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level). All of which helps with this ongoing project I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

(Cowboy’s posts are all gathered in one spot on her own blog.)

The Handcraft Craze Continues…


Now that life is somewhat calmer (and a lot quieter), I’ve been having a lovely time exploring things other than reading (although it’s still in the mix, of course). As mentioned the other day, I did go ahead and pick up some cross-stitch again after a long time not doing it.

A few false starts (and a few unsavory words) later, I’ve remembered how to “do” cross-stitch and had forgotten quite how fun and how addicting it was for me. I had ordered a rather posh cross-stitch kit from Belgium (I think) as I find it pretty challenging to find a design from the U.S. that appeals to me and that would be fun to stitch at the same time.

And so I’ve started doing cross-stitch whilst we continue our binge watching of “The Wire” – a rather odd mix but now that I’ve generally got the characters worked out, I find that I can effectively keep up for the most part while my nose is deep into the stitching.

So – now – not only do I have the endless rallying cry of “Just one more page…” but it’s now also “Just one more stitch!”