Category Archives: Book Talk

Oh to be a fly on the wall of this bookshop. 

I just finished reading A Passion for Books compiled and edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan.

The book was a fun read. Really fun. It was full of crazy book collectors and crazy book collector stories. One of my favorites is where A.S.W. Rosenbach is sharing stories from his time around his uncle’s bookstore / publishing house: his Uncle Moses’ Shop on Commerce Street.


Can you imagine a bookstore like this? A bookstore where Edgar A. Poe, James Fenimore Cooper, WC Bryant, Webster, and Melville, all frequent and hang out? What a storied childhood! No wonder Rosenbach landed where he did in the pantheon of bookmen.

So cool.

New Erik Larson Book

Erik Larson has signed the papers and will publish his 6th book in 2019. This time he’s diving deep into Sir Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister. The working title is The Splendid and the Vile.

Larson’s unique narrative nonfiction style consistently lands him on bestseller lists as well as at the top of recommended reading lists.

Erik Larson In the Garden of BeastsMy book group just finished reading In the Garden of Beasts and it was fantastic. Erik  Larson has a way of lining up all of the diaries, letters reports, and news of the day in a very conversational way. One that truly paints a picture of how things happened  and of the personalities involved.

I hear Dead Wake, about the sinking of the Lusitania, is really good as well. It’s on my list. But now, so is The Splendid and the Vile.

SJBC – Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

A few month’s ago the internet birthed a funky cool little group reading big important thought provoking books. You can click over to Entomology of a Bookworm and get the whole back story of the Social Justice Book Club (who doesn’t love an origin story?).

This month the Social Justice Book Club is reading Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped and I’m all in. I have my copy and ready to get started. I have no idea what to expect, but based on the SJBC’s past picks, this will be a worthwhile read.

Men We Reaped

Most of the folks reading Men We Reaped are doing an introductory post. So I hope this post qualifies.

1. Where do you plan on discussing this book the most?
I’ll probably be the most chatty here on my blog, though I am on Twitter and follow the #sjbookclub hashtag there. Also, I will definitely find a conversation and talk about it on LibraryThing.

2. Where in the world are you reading?
I am in Birmingham, Alabama.

3. Why did you decide to join in on the reading and/or discussion of this book?
This is the first SJBC choice that I have not already read and I’m ready to give it a go. Most of the ‘social justice’ books I pick up tend to be analytical and history driven. Not dry, just rooted squarely in cause/effect and pattern issues. Men We Reap sounds to be a very personal story, which is a welcome change from what I’ve been reading.

4. What, if anything, are you most looking forward to about this book?
I can say with 100% certainty that I would not have picked up this book browsing on my own. Ward’s experience sounds horrific and I want to hear her first-hand account of what’s happening around the country.

Stumbling Upon a Treasure Chest

I’ve never made a list of all the reasons I feel fortunate to live in the neighborhood I do, but I am certain that the Little Free Libraries would be in the top 5.

Last night, I ran across this little birdhouse of books perched above the sidewalk. It’s fantastic.

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I am not sure who the little librarian is, but they’re doing good work. It was a mix of kid’s and adult books inside. All in good condition. I grabbed one that I think I’ll enjoy. I’ve seen it around. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

This Friday morning, I think I’ll stop by again and donate a couple of books after dropping the kids off at school. The trick is to pick the right two books. Definitely a hardback, I think. These Little Free Libraries are always more fun when it’s not just the dregs found inside.

I hope you’re fortunate enough to be in a place that has things like this nearby. Bookish folks really are the coolest, aren’t they?