Beautiful Books – Penguin English Library

I have a confession: my obsession of beautiful book covers has grown – in part because I’ve discovered some new (or new to me!) editions from Penguin.  I’ve loved the Penguin clothbound classics and have recently started adding some Penguin English Library editions to my collection.  I really like the editions that have more of the “rubbery” finish cover compared to the paper, but all of the editions are beautiful.  However, the editions with the nicer finish also have pictures of the author on the inside cover (bonus!).  I have a number of books that I would like to add to my collection (Far from a Madding Crowd with the bees on the cover, Middlemarch, Oliver Twist and more), but have a good start.  I didn’t include a picture, but the books also look great together with the colored spines between the classic Penguin orange stripes.



Do you have any favorite book covers or editions?  I’m always on the hunt for new editions.  😀


You Know You’re a Book Lover When…

You know you’re a book lover when…

  • You can easily justify having multiple editions of the same book
  • You find it relaxing to be surrounded by books
  • You patiently wait and hunt for a certain edition or book cover – and get a huge rush when you finally find the book!
  • You prefer the original book cover to the movie version of the cover
  • Your “plan to read” list is so long, you know you’ll never complete it!
  • You rotate your piles and stacks of books like some people rotate seasonal decor
  • You would rather spend your paycheck on books instead of clothes or other items
  • You can recite your library card number as quickly as your phone number
  • You would consider a bookstore or library as a second home
  • You know there is no such thing as too many books  😀


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Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow…

Hello! I’ve been attempting to declutter some things at home, including my bookshelves (insert dramatic gasp!).  While I love my book collection, I really started to take a hard look at some of the books I picked up on a whim or at a used book sale, thinking “some day I’ll read this…”  I’m not sure when that will happen with some of my books.  I’ve also found that while I have a core set of books, writing styles, authors or genres that I tend to gravitate towards, there are definitely some books on my shelves where I was really into a specific topic, time period, etc., and have since moved on from that focus. I’ve cleared out a few bags of books to provide a little more breathing room on my shelves… and to make room for new acquisitions, of course!  🙂

A few of the mental debates I had while sorting through all of my books included just how many copies of some books do I really need?  For example, I have multiple copies of a few Jane Austen books – leatherbound version, Penguin clothbound classics (love this series!), annotated versions, etc. I also took a hard look at my fiction books and really started thinking about how many books I would actually plan to read again – especially with the growing list of books I still want to read!  Finally, I had a number of history and reference books about similar time periods. While I’ve read some of them, I again had to ask myself whether I really intend to read all of them.  Of all of my books, my poetry collection is the one area where I could really justify keeping everything, as I often pull the books off the shelves when looking for inspiration or looking up a poem.

I would love to hear how fellow readers manage their growing book collections…

Pocket Poets

As I mentioned in my last post, I love the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series.  Slowly but surely, I have been adding to my collection — and also trying to read more of my current collection!  I love the different covers and the size of the book is perfect – portable where I can keep a book in my bag or purse. I also love checking out used bookstores to see if I can find books to add to my collection.


Do you have any favorite poetry books or collections?

Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month!  As you can see from my completed books last year, along with my completed books so far this year, I’ve rekindled my love of poetry.  In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ve pulled a few poetry books from my shelves that I would like to read over the next month or two. I love the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poet books and thought that On Wings of Song would be a good one to welcome Spring.

CAM02865Do you have any favorite poets or poems to celebrate National Poetry Month?

Don’t judge a book by its cover… or should you?

What is it about a book cover that captures your interest and attention?  Perhaps it is the illustrations, the font, the color scheme or the material.  With the number of books available, I’ve found myself silently walking the aisles of a bookstore, scanning the bookshelves until something catches my eye.  It could be an interesting cover or a beautiful book spine — I love the leatherbound editions of books and also love the Everyman’s Library collection.

I think back to my college days when my roommate and I were browsing Barnes & Noble and she picked up a book with a beautiful “artsy” cover (we both loved our Art History class).  A few years later, she read the book and loved it. The book was A.S. Byatt’s Possession.  It made me wonder if that book would have caught her attention with a different cover, and whether she would have discovered this book that she loved.

One of my new loves are the clothbound Penguin classics series.  Beautiful covers, so of course I can justify picking up yet another copy of Austen and Dickens.  While we are on the topic of book covers, I’m also very particular about books with movie tie-ins or covers. I just can’t imagine wanting an actor or actress on the cover of a book when the individual may or may not be what I pictured while reading the book.  And a movie is never as good as the book, but that’s a topic for another day…

Penguin books


Cookbook Collector

Greetings!  Apologies for the disappearing act recently – it’s been busy.  As we welcome spring, I’ve also been busy doing a bit of spring cleaning – going through closets, drawers, and even my bookshelves.  Every so often, I take a hard look at my shelves to assess what I have, what I really want to keep, and what can go — to make room for new books, of course!

One area that I focused on this month is my cookbooks.  I love cookbooks. I love to look at them, page through them, and buy them.  But as I looked at my shelves, I realized that I have a number of cookbooks that I rarely use.  I have good intentions of trying a bunch of new recipes (all identified with tape flags!), but when it comes down to it, things get busy and I just keep my easy “go-to” recipes in rotation.  In reviewing some of my cookbooks, I also realized there a number of books where I only refer to a few recipes (often bypassing many of the meat entrees).  This is reminiscent of buying a CD back in the day for one or two songs that I really liked.  So, I’m doing an inventory of my cookbooks and paring them down, and also going to motivate myself to get back in the kitchen and start cooking more often!

Do you have any favorite cookbooks or a similar love of cookbooks?

2013 Reading List – A Progress Report

I pulled up the reading list I prepared in December 2012.  I hate to say it, but it is not looking so good in terms of the books I planned to read, although I am going to meet my goal this year in terms of the number of books read…  I think part of my problem is that I get distracted with new books I’ve uncovered or learned about (or purchased!) and I also worked through a list of requested books from the library.

I like the idea of identifying some books that I want to read in a given year, but I’m also finding that it is challenging to stick to my reading list as I hear about new books or receive book recommendations.  My 2013 reading list (below) includes a number of books currently sitting on my shelf that I have started feeling a bit guilty about not reading yet.  😉   I will have to start thinking about how many books I will want to include in a 2014 reading list.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis
A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss
A Spectacle of Corruption by David Liss
The Devil’s Company by David Liss
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
Napolean’s Pyramids by William Dietrich
Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati
The Sunne in Spendour by Sharon Kay Penman
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Possession by A.S. Byatt
Life Mask by Emma Donoghue
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel
Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Reached by Ally Condie
The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

Too many books?

Ok, I thought that would be a catchy title…  I would argue there can never be too many books, although lately, I am feeling like I am being bombarded with books between all of the notifications I am receiving from the library and with my own reading lists.  I’ve been reading at a pretty good clip over the last few months, but it seems like when it rains, it pours… I have patiently been on a waitlist for quite a few titles and they all seem to be available at once.  I’ve been making more of an effort to read only one or two books at a time, in part because I find that I can’t really focus and immerse myself in a book if I am trying to recall different plots and characters (and dare I say that I notice I have a harder time reading multiple books as I get older?)  Or perhaps it is because I have a more difficult time keeping track of multiple plots and stories after a long day of work…

I wanted to focus on really making a good dent in some of the books that are sitting on my shelves (so I don’t feel so guilty when I continue to buy more books), but I seem to be have an ever-increasing pile (or piles) of books, along with new books I want to read.  Sigh.  I guess there are worse problems to have.  🙂  We’ll see how good I do with tackling some of the books I had selected as part of my 2013 reading list

Happy reading!

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month.  I enjoy reading and writing poetry, but I don’t make as much of an effort to read poetry as often as I could or should.  As part of celebrating National Poetry Month, I will dust off some of the books of poetry that I have on my shelves (collections by Emily Dickinson, collections of love poems, Pablo Neruda, Shakespeare, Frost) and would like to read a poem each day.  I might also have to treat myself to a book or two that I have on my wish list (see below).

Sailing Alone around the Room:  New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Love Letters (Everyman’s Library)
Eat, Drink and Be Merry:  Poems about Food and Drink
Art and Artists:  Poems
Music’s Spell:  Poems about Music and Musicians
The Poetry of Pablo Neruda
The Essential Neruda:  Selected Poems

Do you have any favorite poets or poems?