penguin classics & an elephant

You may have seen me on Twitter bemoaning the fact that I only received one book as holiday giftage. (Technically, I got two. I received one after the bemoaning.)

Obviously, two is still not enough books. So despite the sorry state of my to-read shelf, I bought myself some pretties.

I have coveted the Coralie Bickford-Smith-designed Penguin Classics since I first saw them, so this is the beginning of what I’m certain will end up being a fairly large collection. They are so pretty, and there are so many classics that I’ve really wanted to own but lost the beat-up high school English class copies years ago. These are much better.

(Also featured in these photos is one of the marvelous bookends my sister gave me.)

I already want more because they don’t fill the whole shelf, even though the elephant is doing an admirable job of keeping them upright. And I’m annoyed that the Fitzgeralds don’t seem to be easy to find in the US, because they are swoon-worthy.

I had been planning on posting these today, so I was amused when they turned up on Doubleday’s Tumblr today as well. And then I turned up on Doubleday’s Tumblr, too. Hee.

really big book

I like books. A lot. This is likely obvious.

I recently bought myself a book that I’d had my eye on for awhile. I wanted it based on title alone (Magic 1400s-1950s!), but then I saw pictures and made grabby hands at my computer screen and then I kind of had to have it.

I think I can safely say that it is now the biggest book I own.

It is the only book I have ever purchased that arrived in its own case, complete with convenient handle for carrying.

Here it is out of its box, with some regular-sized books for comparison:

And open:

It is gorgeous and I haven’t had the time to go through it page-by-page yet, but I’m very much looking forward to it. I kind of want to get a podium for it to sit on, like in a library. When I have the space for a podium. And a proper library.

I also got the not-quite-so-large but still rather big The Circus Book. I’m going to need more shelves.

a slightly belated happy banned books week

I was thinking of doing a post for Banned Books Week, even though a billion other people have said smarter, wiser things about book banning than I could ever manage. I was only going to babble something about how I’m one of those weird people who actually really likes The Catcher in the Rye, partially because I cannot bring myself to dislike a book that is the primary reason I got a 5 on the AP English exam in high school. (I decided no matter what the free essay topic was, I would write about Catcher. I knew that book backwards & forwards.)

And then I read this list of banned and challenged classics, and sitting right up the top with The Catcher in the Rye is another of my very favorite books to be forced upon me in high school, The Great Gatsby.

I suppose this would be a good time to say Thank You to my junior year English teacher, who taught both these books way back in the mid-90s in Catholic school. I needed parental permission to write a paper on Tennessee Williams the same year, but I was still allowed to write it.

That was a good year.

But mostly, seeing The Great Gatsby mentioned reminded me of Kate Beaton’s Great Gatsby comics from Hark, a Vagrant:

So, dear readers. Go read. Go think. Go giggle at comics. Happy Banned Books Week.

and another thing…

Hey, do you like books? Of course you do. Do you like free books? Me too! So you should swing by the wonderful & talented Cindy Pon‘s blog and maybe win fabulous UK editions of R.J. Anderson‘s books.

(Though truthfully I hope I win, because I’ve been wanting to read these and hey, free books!)

the to-read pile, 2010

to read 2010

This is not all of it, of course. This is mostly the recently acquired stuff. I should really re-organize all the shelves so I can actually see how huge the to-read pile is, but that might get scary.

bestest books 2009

Can you hear that sound? The death knell of 2009?  Strange year, this year of 2k plus 9. I know a lot of people had worse years than I did but it was still an odd sort of year and I’m not entirely sure I liked it.

What I did like, however, were a great deal of the books I read this year. “Best” is probably not exactly what I mean, “Favorite” would likely be more apt. But regardless, here is a year-end list-esque thing:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I know, I’m the last person in the world to read it but I loved it and I think I appreciated it more now than I might have had I found it years ago.

The Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. It takes a lot for a book series to turn me into a flailing fangirl. I flail for this series. I have already reserved August 24th 2010 for reading book 3.

The Likeness by Tana French. I read In the Woods last year and loved it, but I think I loved this one more. It reminded me a bit of The Secret History, so I guess it was that kind of year.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. I am an atmosphere junkie but I very rarely find a modern-set fictional world that I want to live in. This one is an exception.

The to-read pile for 2010 is already building up, and I’m going to attempt to read more next year than I managed this year.