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This BookNerd’s Collection.

Since the weather in old Chicago was spring-like today, I took the opportunity to open the windows and air the place out.  Also in this burst of spring cleaning inspiration, I re-shelved a stack of books that I’d pulled from the shelves of my beloved library – and thought, I should show this off.  I’m proud of my library, as it’s the result of (nearly) thirty years of my being a booknerd.  Also, recently over at his blog, my husband showed off his muy impressive Transformers collection, and I thought I should match him.

(By the way, if you’re looking for a complicated heroine equal to anything you’ll find in literature, her name is Blackarachnia, and she’s my most favorite Transformer.  We’re talking a bad girl who fell in love with a  good guy, switched loyalties to be on the side of the good guys, and then lost her paramour, but not really… It’s the stuff great sweeping novels are born of.  I’m not kidding.  Also, she’s a spider robot who, in some versions, can fly.  Beat that, Brontes.)

Speaking of the Brontes, the cornerstone of my library is my “Jane Eyre” collection, which resides with my other Bronte volumes and the works of Ms. Jane Austen on the shelves in the image below.


I have seven editions of “Jane Eyre,” ranging from the adorable Barnes & Noble travel sized-edition, to the Dame Darcy illustrated version, to one that’s in a paperback volume with “Wuthering Heights” and “Agnes Gray.”  (I don’t collect any and every edition I find, just the pretty ones.)

Also notable on his section  is the “everything Christopher Moore has ever written” shelf, which will soon be occupied by his newest release – “Sacre Bleu” – which I’m going to get signed in April when my husband’n’baby’n’I go to Milwaukee for a signing, which I’m over the moon about.  He’s, by far, my favorite living author.

The library consists of two massive red bookcases from the Swedish wonderland known as IKEA.  One is fiction, and the other is devoted to non-fiction/sci-fi/horror.

Below is the other half of my fiction collection, which includes a shelf of literature for young folks, two shelves full of nothing but plays, and a whole shelf devoted to Neil Gaiman and my collection of elephants.  You can barely see it in the photo, but that’s a “Coraline” movie lunchbox.


Above the “fiction” shelf are a wonderful Japanese-style vase that was a wedding present from one of our dear friends, a pumpkin basket full of dried flowers I put together for a Halloween party two years ago, and a bust of Nefertiti I’ve had since junior high.



Moving on to the other shelves, the entire left side of the cabinet below is non-fiction, which encompasses travel and cookbooks as well as biography, history, and general non-fiction.  The right side holds my husband’s comic books, sci-fi, and horror — as well as several wonderful horror-related figurines, such as an adorable Freddy Krueger figure.  You can also clearly see the “Lord of the Rings” Pez dispenser set, which is never going anywhere.


On top of these shelves is our board game collection, which we’re quite proud of.  I’m a big fan of “Monopoly,” though it’s not my husband’s favorite.

P.S., If you’ve never played “Dixit” you’re missing out.


Below, you can see the view from the library window.  Right behind those buildings is the Sears (Willis, whatever) Tower.


Last but not least, there’s a pile of my book-making supplies which I don’t yet have a place for.  So they reside in a pile, easily accessible whenever I get the urge to make a book.


I sincerely hope you enjoyed this tour of my booknerdiness.

Have a lovely day!~


Things my friends give me


This bookmark – and banned books pin – is from the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Connecticut where my friend Amanda recently spent her Christmas. I love it – and was in need of a bookmark anyway!

My 2012 Literary Resolutions

Tomorrow a new year dawns, and with it come resolutions.

Here I go, 2012.

1.  Visit the Madeleine L’Engle special collections at Wheaton College.  This was supposed to be a 2011 resolution, but things – babies – got in the way.  It’s on.

2.  Read more Dickens.  I’ve read “Great Expectations,” and I think it’s one of the best books ever, but that (and of course “A Christmas Carol” too) are about the only Dickens I’ve read.  I intend to remedy that this year.

3.  Visit book-related sites all along our 2012 road trip.  We’re going to Dallas, Austin, and Memphis — and this booknerd is going to have a big ol’ adventure.  Of course, first I have to read books about these cities and by authors from these places.

4.  Continue to support Independent Bookstores.  Therefore, I will try and wean myself from Amazon.  But it’s going to be tough, especially figuring out how to get other ebook formats purchased from other places onto my Kindle.

5.  Read 30 books that I own and have never read.  I’m kind of a book hoarder, and sometimes I get ahead of myself.  Like, 30 books ahead of myself. Here they are, sans author, in no particular order.

    • The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
    • Last of the Mohicans
    • Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
    • The Fourth Hand
    • Evensong
    • French Lessons
    • French Quarter Fiction
    • The Joy Luck Club
    • The March
    • The Robber Bride
    • The Wild Things
    • Rice Boy
    • The Unvanquished
    • The Historian
    • The Secret History of Costaguana
    • Texas
    • Alaska
    • Vietnamerica
    • Zelda
    • The Year of Living Biblically
    • The Tale of Despereaux
    • The Poseidon Adventure
    • Return of the Dapper Men
    • Lady Oracle
    • The Collected Works of Dorothy Parker
    • Hark, A Vagrant!
    • MetaMaus
    • Amsterdam
    • Marriage
    • The Mystery of Edwin Drood *Happily, this fits in with the “Read more Dickens” thing.*

    2011 Literary Resolutions: How I did

    Two out of Three ain’t bad.
    My literary resolutions for 2011 were as follows – as well as how I did.
    1. Visit the Madeleine L’Engle Collections at Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL.)
    FAIL.  But, you know, I had a baby. 🙂 So it’s going to become a 2012 resolution.

    2.  Do more of my book shopping at Independent Bookstores.

    WIN.  Especially with the Borders that was a block from my apartment opening, I definitely bought more books from several local/indie Chicago places – particularly Open Books and Unabridged.  I feel a littlle guilty that I’m still a big Amazon shopper, though – especially since I love my Kindle.  Maybe I should work on buying ebooks from other places in 2012.

    3.  Read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” 

    Back in July, this became a WIN.  Just in time for it’s big anniversary too.

    2012 resolutions to come soon. 🙂

    What do you think?

    Hello Readers,

    I need your brains!  (No, not like a zombie needs brains.)

    I’m sort of debating starting an online book club (SuchABookClub?) which would use a facebook page as a platform.

    I’m still playing with themes and ideas and all that jazz, but maybe a facebook page could be used as a platform and there’d be a book of the month and we could chat about it on said page, and even perhaps have a monthly meet-up?

    Suggestions? Anyone interested?

    Your thoughts are totally appreciated!


    On the closing of Borders stores.

    One of the most appealing things about the Lakeview/Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago that I call home was the 3-story Borders at the triangle intersection of Clark, Diversey, and  Broadway.

    I say “was” because the store (like many other Borders stores) is going out of business.

    As of today – Saturday, February 19th – the store has hung up it’s “Sale” and “Going out of Business” signs, posed dudes at the corners with further signs, and the chaos has begun.  Currently, books are 20-40% off, but as the days go by the discounts will get deeper. Lines in the store already snake from the registers back to the magazines, around to where the Seattle’s Best Coffee used to be (it’s gone now) and back to the registers again.  As someone who witnessed the sale chaos at the closing of the Michigan Avenue Borders a few months ago, I can tell you it’ll only get more chaotic as the sales get more extreme.  That said, there are some good deals to find, if you’re willing to dig around.

    I’m not going to speculate on why Borders is closing – though seriously, bad management dudes – but instead bid the Mega-Book-Store a fond farewell.  I’ve had some good times in Borders stores through the years.  Maybe they need to regroup. Maybe it’s the end. Who knows?

    My husband and I ventured into our Borders this afternoon for a hot second, but were quickly turned  off by the serpentine line and left.  I told him I thought it was depressing.  His response was dead-on – “But think of it like a burning building – People are rescuing the books!”

    And that, my friends, is why I married him.

    Farewell, Borders.  May you pull it together. Somehow.

    (While I’m sad to see Borders go – mainly for the convenience factor of having a bookstore less than two blocks away – it’s not like I don’t live in a neighborhood with some amazing independent bookstores.  From this point on, more of my shopping will be done at one of the best book stores in all of Chicagoland – Unabridged Bookstore.  Their knowledgeable staff, fantastic collections, and killer sale section are more than worth the short jaunt to the store for me.)

    A Flash Mob of… Readers?

    Ocoee Middle School.  Flash Mob.  Just Watch.

    Fry & Laurie present – Suitable Poetry for Modern Times

    You’re welcome. 😉

    Sunday is a Fun Day for videos.

    I’m having a rather lazy Sunday, so instead of posting a review I thought I’d throw it over to some lively and lovely videos for your viewing entertainment.

    Jane Austen’s Fight Club

    Sarah Vowell visits David Letterman

    🙂 See you tomorrow for real content.


    My 2011 (Literary) Resolutions

    Usually, I kick off a new year with some champagne (which I did) and some resolutions about eating better and going to the gym more (which I will.)

    However, this year I’ve also made a list of literary resolutions, and I thought I’d share.

    1.  I will visit the Ernest Hemingway Museum in Oak Park, IL.

    2. I will visit the Madeleine L’Engle Collections at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.

    3.  I will attend at least ONE author or literary event a month.

    4.  I will do more of my book shopping at Independent Bookstores.  Since Chicago is so rich in indie shops,  I should really take advantage of these little gems.

    5. I will read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” (I mean, since I live in Chicago and have never actually read it.)

    There. I feel like 5 goals is attainable and should actually be pretty easy.

    Let’s see how I do.

    Happy 2011, Everyone!