Month: March 2014

New Words, Old Ways, & Inky Fingers

I’ve always wanted an attic. More specifically, I’ve always wanted a neglected room with pristine — if not a little scratched and dusty — old stuff hidden in it, conveniently located somewhere in my own home. The promise of living history, if only sleeping in a heap somewhere a wall or two away, is enough to get the best of my imagination. As a kid, the eaves of my house scratched that itch. I’d regularly excavate one off of my grandma’s den, crawling over plastic tubs as I pried their lids ajar to peer inside and reach towards any conspicuous plastic limb or displaced miniature. As I grew older, my mind drifted towards family heirlooms or remnants from previous homeowners: a neglected guitar; an old-timey gramophone; a fedora from a time when they weren’t insignias of wretchedness. Things like naturalization papers and family photographs turned up, which enriched my understanding of what I come from. But those are records that need to be remembered and preserved, not tools.

The things we work with hold the most stories. Once upon a time, those things were made of metal. They usually possessed long lives and survived the stories of their initial buyers. They were seen differently by the young ones who took them next, but demanded to be spoken to on their own terms, however rusty and tedious their ways grew. If you listened and indulged their complexities, they would teach you something new, if not forgotten.

While watching the Oscars last February, the shelves of classic typewriters rolled out to compliment the Best Screenplay awards prompted my father to remark, “You should have my typewriter out.” I had been thinking of typewriters recently. They became the new treasure I’d dreamt of finding tucked away somewhere in my own home. I knew my mother’s clunky “portable” machine from the seventies was ossifying among the luggage, but after toying with that one as a child I thought it lacked the romantic ancientness I so obnoxiously desired now. My father said he bought his as a teenager from an antique shop in Mattawan, New Jersey. He remembered it being dated to 1918, essentially sealing the deal. I came out of retirement and went digging in the eaves once more.

It was a few feet away from my mom’s typewriter when I found it. It sat staunchly in a coat of dust and, as with so much of the skeletal machinery of that period, possessed both a nuts-and-bolts whimsy and brutish stance. It looked mean. It looked heavy. (It was!)

After yanking the typewriter from its tomb, I spent the next couple of weeks researching its origins and how to clean it, occasionally glancing at it squatting near the entrance of my room. The Internet proved especially helpful in this case, as typewriters are a protected species of contemporary romantic living, becoming parlor showpieces and alternative solutions to authors mired in writer’s block. I learned that the Underwood Typewriter Company was once a national symbol of industry and professional creativity, its waning fiscal significance maturing into a revered cultural capital among book-lovers and garden-variety nostalgists. I found a database that helped me date this particular model to 1920, and if my math’s correct (don’t hold your breath) it turns 94 years old this month. Aside from a sticky Q key and broken left paper finger, my Underwood was lovely and ready to be cleaned and fed words.

As an undergrad I was of two minds regarding writing advice that recommended a change of instruments. I understood the rationale, but didn’t think it was central to finding new ideas. Pen or keyboard, my mind worked the same, and I often used both simultaneously. The typewriter changed my mind. After I loaded a sheet of paper into it and began writing, I found its imposing physicality in every keystroke. Punching keys had to be slower and deliberate, even if my words weren’t any more considered than they’d normally be during creative writing sessions. This automatically curbed feeble-minded word vomit, and made the mess of writing a little more of a feisty, measured improvisation. It was very much like performing music, the speed of the machine providing a steadfast rhythm that my chicken scratch would aimlessly skirt around or my electronic typing would zoom beyond while fastidiously self-editing itself.

Typewriting was more playful, providing spaces for my brain to remain collected, even if the ribbon often popped out of the type guide and I was left with an inky, o-and-apostrophe-perforated page of thoughts produced less immediately than those in a bedside notebook. But typewriters encourage through their implicit limitations. Your ink’s spooling away from you, your margins are sloppy, you have to physically rest between your letters and Christ, you sure hope you spelled that last word right. It’s a game, a tactile balancing act that gives form to your words before you strike thunderously and make those words count. My typewriter liked doing things differently, and once I listened it became clear why. After the dance was over, did I find that I pulled better words out of the air or wrote something worth reading? I cannot say. But I look forward to keep working with my typewriter. I suspect it still has a few stories left to tell.

Andrew Marinaccio often scrambles to write things down. Sometimes those things wind up on the Internet at websites like BrooklynVegan and his blog, Disco Cannoli.

So We’re Going to BookCon?

Last summer my aunt, who worked in a library, told me all about this magical event called BookExpo America.  She described rooms full of tables of free books, publishers touting their wares, and authors eager to sign and chat.  She described people literally bringing suitcases with them to carry home all of their swag.  To an avid reader and a book reviewer such as myself, this sounded like heaven.

BookExpo America is the largest annual book trade fair in the United States. This is an industry-only event that spans three days, and librarians, publishers, agents, booksellers, and authors are welcome to take part. There are panels with authors and publishers, meet-and-greets, and – yes – lots of literary goodies for its attendees. On the last day of the expo, awesomely referred to as “Power Reader Day,” they open up the floor to consumers.  While certain events are still industry-only, it still allows readers to experience some of the fun.

Over a month ago, I reached out to some friends (and BiblioSmiles contributors!) about attending Power Reader Day.  I figured, “Hey, we all like to read! We may as well geek out together and check out some free books.” So, we bought our tickets and tried to control our excitement until May 31st.

(Or is that just me? I’m so excited.)

But hold up: this past Wednesday, we received an email we were not expecting.

“As a current registered Power Reader at BookExpo America your registration will now be converted to a BookCon Ticket.”

BookCon?  Some quick research revealed that the Power Reader website now re-directed to a shiny new “BookCon” site.

Power Reader Day has now been rebranded as BookCon.  According to the BookCon website: “BookCon is an immersive experience that features interactive, forward thinking content including Q+A’s with the hottest talent, autographing sessions, storytelling podcasts, special screenings, literary quiz shows and so much more. BookCon is the ultimate celebration of books, where your favorite stories come to life.”

We were certainly surprised by the change, which came out of the blue.  A quick look at Twitter showed that others were feeling the same way.  The email continued:

BookCon Tickets do not provide access to BookExpo America (BEA). BEA is a trade only event (not open to the public) and BookCon Tickets do not provide entry into BEA. The BookCon Show Floor will offer everything a book Fan will want to see and experience.”

BookCon is being run by ReedPOP, the same company that brings Comic Con to life.  Certainly those of us who signed up to be a part of the consumer day of BEA did not sign up for this!  Does this mean we won’t have access to all those authors and publishers’ booths? And what about the free books? Would the place be overrun by cosplayers dressed up as literary characters?! According to an article by Publisher’s Weekly, BEA reported that their research pointed to consumer day as “critical to driving our core values which are launching and discovering new titles and authors.” Something with a flashy, pop culture-y name like BookCon will garner some attention.

While I certainly think it’s wrong that BEA would change the event after so many people have purchased tickets, I am trying to remain optimistic. Yes, I’m sort of bummed that my ticket was switched to another event without any warning. Yes, I’m bummed I won’t get to experience BEA. Yes, I’m bummed that I probably won’t need a suitcase for freebies. But I feel excitement, too. Maybe it’s because I live close enough to the city that the trip won’t seem like “a waste.” Maybe it’s because I’m excited to still be going to an event that is book-related in any sort of way.

Maybe it’s because Amy Poehler is one of the announced guests. I love Amy Poehler!

No matter what I’m feeling, I’m going to BookCon.  And so is Kim, and Gabriele, and Alyson, and Spencer. Even if it’s not the event we thought we’d be going to, we will still be surrounded by books, and the people that create them, and the people that love them. And I’m sure we’ll have some stories to share. May 31st can’t come fast enough.

What do you think about the change? Do you think BookCon will live up to its cool name?

[Tickets are still available for the event here.]

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and you can read more about her here. Tweet @daniellevillano.

Anatomy of a Bookshelf: Ed Collins

For years my collections of movies and books occupied the same six shelves. When my adoration for film became my main focus and my DVD collection, at one point, required over ten shelves, I had to move my books somewhere. So these three shelves on my wall have been my spot for my books for the past few years (and some spots under my desk for the heaviest and largest books). For the last four years my collection has really only seen the influx of textbooks from my cinema courses in college.

Compiled from all the classes I have taken, with a few purchased for my own reading, this collection will only get bigger. These range from collections of film criticism, histories of French Cinema, film theory, and some books on film and psychoanalytic theory.

My next section is a collection of mostly paperbacks that I have either gotten for free or for very cheap. Some of them, I admit, are “borrowed” from my high school and have never been given back. I feel this compulsion to collect the “classics,” figuring I will read them eventually.

 

These range from works that are over 500 years old, including The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri and Antigone by Sophocles, to works of the 20th century such as Of Human Bondage, A Clockwork Orange, and A Farewell to Arms.

 

The top shelf (for the tallest books) is an odd assortment of books. On the left is the Harry Potter collection.  As cliche as it sounds, those first four books got me into reading. To the right of those books are the Chronicles of Narnia and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare; both collections were gifts from my siblings.

Blankets by Craig Thompson and Watchmen by Alan Moore are my two favorite graphic novels. On the right side of the top shelf are some larger classics. Ulysses and East of Eden I got for fifty cents apiece. There’s also the maddening House of Leaves. My few non-fiction (and non-textbook) books are at the very end of the shelf and include Cosmos by Carl Sagan and Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama.

I’ve selected 5 of my personal favorites from my bookshelves to share with you:

1. No one belongs here more than you by Miranda July

This is a collection of short stories of twisted sexual desire and longing. I read this collection in one long three-hour bus ride from Baltimore to New York City. This collection will put you in painful and perverse situations with its characters, where you will root for some and despise others.

2. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

This is one of the few books I read in high school that I had a deep connection with. I didn’t read it for a class; I just took it off the shelf one day, started reading and never gave it back. This is a tale of the horrors of war, particularly the fire bombings of Dresden which Vonnegut was a witness to. This book uses science fiction themes of time travel and alien abduction to recount a harrowing POW story.

3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I bought this book at Daedalus Books in Baltimore, Maryland. This was about a year before the movie came out and though I did like the movie version, Never Let Me Go’s mystery is really paced perfectly in the book. As a fan of sci-fi I found this book to be a great crossover read for those looking to branch out of their YA collection and read a sophisticated science fiction tale with a little more gravitas.

4. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset by Richard Linklater

Quite frankly one of the best love stories ever written can be found in the screenplays to the films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset by Richard Linklater. It might seem superfluous to read the screenplays when you can just watch fully-realized films, but if you ever find yourself waiting around, killing time at a cafe or on a bus before meeting someone, you won’t find a more romantically fulfilling read.

5. Our Guys by Bernard Lefkowitz

This non-fiction book chronicles the 1989 gang rape of a mentally handicapped girl in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. This is a book my brother had to read for a sociology class in college and it was left forgotten in my basement until I found it a couple years after he graduated. I read it while I was a freshman in high school and although it’s about a rape case, it also ends up being as much a study on “jock culture” and ultimately: “what is consent?” Written in 1997 about an incident in 1989, this book still painfully rings true as the high school dynamics of small towns have not changed, and things have only gotten worse with the advent of social media. With the Steubenville rape case occurring over twenty years after the case that is investigated in this book, I couldn’t recommend this book more.

With my main passion being film, my book collection has been neglected in the last few years. Every now and again I’ll yearn for the times in high school when I would find a good novel and I read it during math class.

Ed Collins is a struggling film lover who just wants to watch movies all day. His interests are the cosmos, basketball, emo music, and deactivating his OkCupid account.

Literary Swag

I know I’ve written about more permanent ways of displaying your literary love. For those of you not ready to make such a irreversible commitment, there are other ways to wave your book-lover flag.

You can deck out your walls in quotes, like the lovely Danielle, Kim, and I did during our junior year of college. You can wear your book love with clothes or jewelry. Or decorate your house with references to your favorite novels. And thanks to the vast ocean of the the internet, it’s easy to find lit gear.

There are always countless merchandise tie-ins for books that are made into movies. However, these aren’t always faithful to the source material, and they tend to be cheaply made. One of the biggest aesthetic atrocities in my mind is that the filmmakers of the Harry Potter series thought it was acceptable to change Ravenclaw house colors from bronze and blue, to silver and blue.

So what’s a book lover to do? If you’re like me, you’ve already discovered the eclectic world of Etsy. I love both subtle and unsubtle references to literature, and Etsy has everything. It’s daunting, the wide range of tributes book lovers have made. There’s everything from whimsical tea cups to door mats to cheeky underthings.

Quotes are always a good place to start. I have a bracelet that has a mantra from the A Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) by George RR Martin. In the books, Daenarys Targaryn is an exiled princess facing way more than any teenager should. In times of duress, she always tells herself, ‘If I look back, I am lost’. When life gets particularly scary, I run my fingers over the carved words and tell myself the same thing.

For my best friend, I bought her a scarf with Mr. Darcy’s declaration of love to Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Who wouldn’t want to be reminded that there’s the sort of love out there where someone could love you most arduously?

I have two Harry Potter pieces. A golden snitch locket (it opens at the close!) and a bracelet that has subtle charms on it, like the deathly hallows symbol, a snitch, and owls.

It’s quite a good thing I am on a recent college graduate budget and still living at home, because when I have my own place, it’s going to be a book dork mecca. I’ve had my eyes on this clever light switch for years!

I don’t just leave my book love at home. I let it all out, especially by my choice of phone case which features the cover from The Great Gatsby. Though it’s not Etsy, it comes from Out of Print Clothing, which puts vintage book covers on all sorts of goodies. And they donate a book to a community in need for each purchase. Though while I love my phone case, I think my favorite Gatsby related product is this shirt. Yes, please.

Another good source of literary geekiness are sites like Qwertee and TeeFury that sell t-shirts of a random artist’s design. To make the shirts affordable, they’ll feature a new design in mass quantities for just a day. I nabbed this quirky Calvin and Hobbes shirt when it went up. I check the sites every now and then when I’m on the prowl for cool presents.

So, if your budget hasn’t been blown by buying actual books, you can spend a little on your love of all things literary. Wave those nerd flags high! And then brainwash all your friends into doing the same. Doesn’t geekery love company?

Gabriele Boland is an aspiring grown-up. She enjoys pretending she’s in a Disney movie, letting her dork flag fly, and writing stories that will never see the light of day. The other ramblings of her mind can be found at Brilliant Buckets.

Review: With or Without You by Domenica Ruta

I’ve been a huge fan of memoir since I took a class during my junior year at college, and was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of With or Without You before its February 2013 release. I was especially excited to read Ruta’s memoir because both Amy Bloom and Kathryn Harrison praised it. I especially love what Harrison had to say about it:

With or Without You is that rare thing, a story you think you know transformed into one you have to read to the end.”

I certainly agree with Kathryn Harrison’s statement. With or Without You is a story that I thought I knew, and it did transform as it progressed. There were moments while reading it, however, where I wasn’t sure I had to read until the end.

But let me explain myself.

I adored reading about Ruta’s childhood in a home that was strange and unbelievable and sad. Ruta’s description of her mother, Kathi, showcases an intense level of emotion. Kathi becomes more than just a character on the page – she leaps out at you, screaming; she’s a force to be reckoned with. There is a passage where Ruta, known in this book as Nikki, stares at her mother, dead asleep. She wants so desperately to be near her, but she seems to be repulsed by her, too. I felt this desperation and this attraction throughout the book. It really stuck with me.

On a lesser level, Nikki discusses her relationship (and her mother’s relationship) with her father, Zeke. She struggles with being the baby that tore apart her parents’ relationship. She hears the dramatic stories about the almost-abortions and the fights. I found Zeke less convincing as a “real-life” figure; I didn’t really understand his personality. In one moment, he is an ex-pretty boy who gets everything he wants; in another moment he is a father who is cold towards his children and buries himself in fixer-upper projects. Towards the end of the memoir, when Nikki reunites with her father, it was hard for me to recognize him at all.

Kathi is the real star here. I could read an entire book about her. I really hoped that With or Without You would be just that. And yes, while Nikki’s toxic relationship with her mother is at the heart of this memoir, she also moves past it to detail her life when she finally leaves her mother. She writes about her intense struggle with alcohol and her inability to form healthy relationships. She writes about surviving. These are all topics that I wanted to invest myself in, but as I was reading I could only focus on the mother-daughter relationship. With so much overwhelming material, it was all I felt capable of dealing with. I almost didn’t want to finish reading.

But I did finish reading, and I’m so glad that I did. When I meditated on it for a bit, I was in awe of Ruta’s struggle, and her ability to take that struggle and put it into words. Her prose is beautiful and layered, and there are many passages that I marked to reread. While there were some chapters that seemed out of place to me (a chapter about family dogs, entitled “The Lady with the Little Dog,” was too close to the end in my opinion, adding a weight that I found confusing), I generally appreciated how Ruta chose to break up her memoir. I certainly look forward to reading more from her.

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and you can read more about her here.  Tweet @daniellevillano.

Excerpts From Her Reading List

2003:

Flowers in the Attic – V.C. Andrews
Petals on the Wind – V.C. Andrews
If There Be Thorns – V.C. Andrews
Cinnamon – V.C. Andrews

As a sixth grader she was finally starting to understand sex, or at least what books and Hollywood had to say about it.  She went on a mission each weekend to the library and checked out stacks of paperbacks with beautiful heroines who struggled with their own growth and the confusion of attraction.  She secretly started using Mom’s mascara this summer, and clumsily shaved her legs.  She had a crush on her neighbor, and sprawled out on the lawn waiting for her nail polish to dry, hoping he’d fly by on his bicycle.

2004 – 2005:

The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
White Oleander – Janet Fitch
Misery – Stephen King

She began to fall in love with movies when she found an old college film textbook at a book sale.  She scoured the library shelves for paperback counterparts of her favorite films.  Some of them made her think.  Some of them thrilled her to no end. Some of them were hard to understand.  All in all, she generally determined that “the book was better.”

2006:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Crucible – Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller

In freshman year of high school people began to expect things of her.  Classmates envied her penchant for speed-reading (which made in-class surprise quizzes a breeze) and her eleventh grade vocabulary.  Books could no longer be only an escape – they now had to serve as her ticket to good grades.

2007:

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
A Separate Peace – John Knowles
Letters to Alice – Fay Weldon
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Her summers were no longer carefree.  The weekend trips to the library were no longer a pleasant amble through the shelves, but a panicked search for required texts – an AP class reading list that extended to the floor.  She still sprawled out on the grass with a novel and her nail polish, and some afternoons she waved to her pimply neighbor as he jogged to his car, off to pick up his girlfriend from work.

2008:

– A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
The Stranger – Albert Camus
Oedipus the King – Sophocles
The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton

When did all of this become work?  When did books become just blurs of paper and ink, badges of prestige, fodder for SAT writing prompts?  Every once in a while, as she rubbed her tired eyes (rimmed in too much liner, a bad choice she picked up earlier in the year), she would stop  “critical reading” and just… read.  Dropping her highlighters and SparkNotes companions, she would curl into her couch and appreciate the words.  Sentences still held magic for her, and she was happy that this was not lost in the whirlwind.

2009:

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
The Rules of Attraction – Bret Easton Ellis
Jocks and Burnouts: Social Categories and Identities in the High School – Penelope Eckert

Her first year in college.  A creative writing major, like she always wanted.  Suddenly, she no longer felt “well-read.”  She found herself competing with kids who read Hemingway in grade school, who talked about existentialism as if it were an enjoyable topic of conversation. She came into college thinking she knew how to write, and now she started to second-guess herself.

2010:

– Ulysses – James Joyce

Really, must anything else be said?

2011:

– Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson
– A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
– The Right to Write – Julia Cameron

She started feeling more confident in her writing, and no longer felt like she had to “change” to appease her classmates.  She took classes with wonderful professors who encouraged her to express herself.  These books by women writers inspired her to be strong.

2012:

– The Boys of My Youth – Jo Ann Beard
– The Kiss – Kathryn Harrison
– What We Talk About When We Talk About Love – Raymond Carver
– Pastoralia – George Saunders

One of her professors said: “The best thing you can do as a writer is write your ass off.”  And so she did.  Memoirs and short stories became her preferred means of getting her thoughts out on the page.  Her reading list was littered with them. She had a boyfriend.  (It was not her neighbor.)

2013:

– Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See – Juliann Garey
– Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence – David Samuel Levinson
– The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards – Kristopher Jansma
– Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Out of school – a graduate? Already? – she liked to lose herself in narratives on the train.  She didn’t know where she was headed yet, but she knew there were so many brilliant books to be read.  The time between New Jersey and New York, in the morning, with a cup of coffee singing in her veins?  This was the time to read.  On an e-reader.  Oh, how times have changed.

2014:

Maybe this will be the year she finishes that novel of her own.  Until then, she will read lots of romance novels and reread old favorites and try, desperately, to keep her bookshelf organized.  We’ll see what the year brings.

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and she’s kept a reading list since 2003. You can read more about her here.  Tweet @daniellevillano.

Anatomy of a Bookshelf: Danielle Villano

Up until this past December, I only had one bookshelf.  This meant – and I’m sure this will freak out some of you – I often gave away my books.  It was difficult, boxing up books and passing them on to the library for their book sales.  However, this practice always ensured that I had enough space on my shelves to go and peruse the spoils of those same sales.

This also meant that I lost some real treasures over the years, which I often find myself nostalgic for.  I miss my V.C. Andrews books with the stepback (keyhole) covers, with those beautiful illustrations.  I miss my yellow paperback copy of The Shining.  I miss the hardcover of Peyton Place that I can’t seem to find on the internet.

(Note: between the time I took these photos and published this post, my mom picked up an awesome first edition book club printing of The Shining for me.  Thanks, mom!)

I’ve managed to hold on to a few lovely things over the years.  This December, my father built me a second bookshelf!  While I’m all for donating books, I may be a bit of a hoarder for a while.

This shelf has become the home of my story collections and writing technique books. (Also, the giant Bonfire of the Vanities is hard to miss.)
Some other gems: HerStory: Fiction Honoring Women’s History Month and For the Love of the Gods – two anthologies I’m included in!  The small green book at the end is sweet and full of Shakespeare quotes.

One of my favorite purchases at used book sales? Celebrity biographies.  The Ethel Merman autobiography was a Christmas gift, and it’s signed!  What a wonderful thing.
The Dover Thrift Editions of classics (Wuthering HeightsFrankenstein) are from my high school English classes.  They have all of my hastily-scribbled notes and highlights in them.
On the left-hand side you may notice a portion of my collection of Phantom of the Opera spin-offs.  These were pretty much all I read for a few months of high school.  I am not ashamed.

Too fabulous not to share: My first “published” work from third grade art class, circa 1999. Sisters was the riveting tale of two sisters who get into a fish-catching contest with their cousins at the beach.  Christine becomes the obvious hero when she feels bad for the fish and lets them go. Why is Danielle levitating off of the ground? I have no idea.

Does it bother you that I don’t arrange my books in any sort of way?  Well, aside from the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day.

This shelf houses the books that I find myself reaching for often. My copy of Imperial Bedrooms was signed by Bret Easton Ellis at a reading in NYC.  It’s one of my prized possessions.
(I can’t believe I don’t own a copy of American Psycho! That must be remedied…)

 The empty shelf of my newer bookshelf currently houses my Kindle, whatever library books I have checked out at the time, and the Q&A A Day journal I received from my relatives for Christmas.  It’s been so much fun to fill out, and it’ll be amazing to flip through it once it’s completed.
One shelf houses my big binder of DVDs, as well as the complete series collections of Twin Peaks, The Sopranos, and Six Feet Under.  You can’t forget my workout DVDs!  The black books are the photo books I’ve made over the past few years.
And oh, tea.  My love affair with Yogi’s Skin Detox tea continues.  Rose and pomegranate flavor?  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my bookshelves!  It’s funny; I see these shelves every day, and there were so many things I forgot that I owned!  It’s been a nice walk down memory lane. I’m hoping this post will be the first of many, where a contributor can give readers a tour of their bookshelf/shelves.  Interested?  Head over to the Submit page.

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and you can read more about her here.  Tweet @daniellevillano.