Thursday, November 27, 2014

November Challenge - Whatever Wednesday

November 24 - Whatever Wednesday

Since this is the last Whatever Wednesday post for this November Challenge, I am not going to focus on just one book. Instead, I am going to focus on a element of writing I have always found very intriguing and fun. I didn't do a great deal of research, just a little searching, but I could not find a specific word for this element. I'm sure there is one out there, and maybe someone can help me out. The element I am talking about - the use of ephemera (facsimile documents) within the book.

History Decoded: The 10
Greatest Conspiracies of All Time
by Brad Meltzer

The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy
by Nick Bantock
I recently picked up a copy of Brad Meltzer's History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time. As soon as I read about the publication of this book, I knew it would be one I HAD to read. When I got into my car with it earlier in the week, I could not wait to open it up and begin to read. I got so excited when I opened the first envelope to pull out the documents included on the chapter surrounding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, I was taken back twenty years to the day I first came across Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine Trilogy. I was so engrossed in Griffin & Sabine I ignored everyone around me in order to enjoy it thoroughly from cover to cover. Granted the first book, Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence is only 48 pages long, but when you taken into consideration all of the little details taken into the writing of this book, just know I was in my very own bibliophile heaven for a few hours time.

So, knowing how much I enjoyed Griffin & Sabine and my love for history, you can see why I was thrilled when I got my hands on Meltzer's book. I was lucky enough to receive an electronic pre-publication version of History Decoded, but because of the formatting of the book, I was not able to enjoy it. I had to get my hands on the physical book. I think that is another reason I love these kinds of books so very much. It not only allows you to hold the "actual documents" and peruse them as if you were the recipient (of the letter, postcard, brochure, etc.) it also brings an entirely different experience to the reader.

I'm not going to say there is anything against reading on a device. I'm not going to say I HAVE to have the physical book because I want to hold it, turn the pages, and enjoy the smell of the pages. I'm simply going to say it is just different. I love the convenience of my e-reader. I love having books with me no matter where I am going or what I am doing. If I have my telephone, I have my books. It is like my security blanket. I also love to read physical books. I have a VERY hard time going into a book store and walking out of the store without at least one bag. However for books like History Decoded and The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy, the physical book is part of the adventure.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other books which fit into this same category for adults. I'm sure there are other out there, and I encourage you to pick one up and get a feel for the excitement of discovery through the pages of a book and the ephemera included.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November Challenge - Texas 2x2 Tuesday

November 25 - Texas 2x2 Reading List

My plan was to spotlight another great book from the Texas 2x2 Reading List for today's blog post. Then I realized this is my last for Texas 2x2 Tuesday for this 2014 November Challenge. I started to get very sad until I realized the power I have to share ALL of the titles (300 to date) ever named to the Texas 2x2 Reading List. Now, don't get all anxious. I am NOT going to review every one of the titles. I am merely going to provide you with a way to quickly obtain a list of all of the titles, authors, illustrators, and the year the book was named to the list. This is actually a document I began working on about seven years ago. I wanted to quickly be able to locate the authors and illustrators of the 2x2 books and be able to find out how many times a specific author or illustrator had been named to the list. There was no such document, so I (being the CDO person I am - yes, it is CDO - it MUST be in alphabetical order) created one.

All you have to do is scan this QR code in order to go directly to the Google shared document. If you cannot scan the code, that is fine. Here is the URL -

When you first scan the QR code, you will
be directed to an advertisement, just wait a few
seconds and you will be directed to the document.

If you have a young child in your life and you are looking for the very best books to read to them, or purchase as a gift, I suggest checking out the titles, authors, and illustrators on this list. It is interesting to note, a number of the books named to the Texas 2x2 Reading List in early January of each year by the Texas 2x2 Reading List Committee (a project of the Children's Round Table, a unit of the Texas Library Association), have also been honored with distinctions from the Association of Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. Some of these include - the Caldecott Medal and Honor, Geisel Award, and Notable Children's Books.

You can also view all of the Texas 2x2 Reading List titles on Shelfari.

November Challenge - Mystery Monday

November 24 - Mystery Monday - Scrapbook Mystery series by Laura Childs

A Scrapbook Mystery Series
by Laura Childs
When you have a hobby or passion you try to find your joy in all things you do in your life. One of my greatest passions in life is reading. I'm sure that is kind of obvious. There are other hobbies and interests I have too, including football and scrapbooking. So, when I discovered Laura Childs's (pseudonym of Gerry Schmitt) Scrapbook Mystery series I knew I was in heaven. Not only could I enjoy preserving my family memories through the use of beautiful papers, stickers, and of course my photos, but I could carry the enthusiasm for this creative hobby over into my reading.

Carmela Bertrand, the owner of a scrapbook store in New Orleans is the protagonist in this twelve (to date) book series. Although Carmela is constantly finding herself in the middle of a mystery, she still finds the time to create amazing scrapbooks. I love to read about her creations and only wish I had the skill and ability to replicate some of the cool techniques Childs describes in her books. If you are a crafty person, a lover of mysteries, or a fan of NOLA, I believe you will enjoy this series. 

Other series written by Childs includes The Teashop Mysteries and The Cackleberry Club Mysteries.
The Teashop Mysteries revolve around Theodosia Browning, the owner of the Indigo Tea Shop, and the mysterious and historical city of Charleston, South Carolina. The Cackleberry Club Mysteries are set in a fictional town in the Midwest. Three women in the mid-forties have launched an egg themed cafe which offers a yarn shop and a cozy book nook. This series provides the reader with great recipes and tips on cake decorating and knitting.

*I have written about another scrapbook mystery series in a past posts (July 2011 and November 2014)