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Great American Novel Map

1litmap11litmap2I so covet this map, which arrives in the mail at work as a gift from the maker, Hog Island Press in Philadelphia. “The Great American Novel: Places from the pages of America’s finest literary works” chronologically celebrates 42 of the most important works of fiction inspired by life in the United States. It’s just exquisite–hand-drawn and printed on archival paper. Listed are some favorites of mine, The Age of Innocence, The Great Gatsby, The Sound and the Fury, and The Catcher in the Rye. I’m slightly disgruntled that Grapes of Wrath is picked in stead of East of Eden. This makes a great gift for book-lovers, and serves as a resource of reading lists!

“Map of Literature”

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A 17-year-old teenager Martin Vargic from Slovakia drew an amazing map of literature. What a feat of artistry, perseverance and sophistication. The Map of Literature is a graphical visualization of how the world’s literature evolved from the ancient era to the present day.
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Different periods and genres are represented by distinct entities (countries) on the map, that unfold from the center and show the gradual evolution of the various genres.

Rare Lloyd Douglas Find

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I’m no book collector. I’m more a reader who appreciates literature from a bygone age. Lloyd Douglas’s Green Light is such a book. It’s been out-of-print. Although many of his books have been made into movies and this one included, the novel is relatively less known. I found this first edition at a garage sale for $5. The lady was either not aware of its value or she’s just not interested in monetary gain. The book, a 1934 first edition, has this note on the inside jacket disclaiming it was produced in full compliance of wartime regulations. It’s still in decent condition, wrapped in a plastic-kleer transparent jacket. Spine is intact despite yellowed pages.

Penguin 16-20

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Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

16. For someone I love
Love: Poems by Pablo Neruda

17. Funny read
Without Feathers by Woody Allen

18. Massive Tome
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

19. Traveling home—reading this
I’m actually going home *after* Christmas and New Year, in mid-January. I have been fussing with my reading list for this trip to Asia and two of them are The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

20. Set where I live
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, a tribute to books in print and type set in my very own San Francisco

Penguin 11-15

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Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

11. Christmas Classic
I always used to pick A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; but The Christmas Train by David Baldacci is not a bad choice. I like story set in a train.

12. Book of poems
Love: Poems by Pablo Neruda

13. Stocking filler
What I call “loo literature” books! Books on etiquette, about dogs and cats, and little travel tips kind of books.

14. Read at school
A Separate Peace by John Knowles has stayed with me all these years. The loss of innocence and peer betrayal first shocked me in my formative years and continues to remind me of our regard of morality.

15. Favorite colour cover
I like very plain cover without a lot of design. I opt for black and grey.

Penguin 8-10

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Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

8. It’s a mystery!
Defend and Betray by Anne Perry really blew me away. She’s really dark, and her mystery often probes the darkness of human heart. This is one of the three mysteries in a single volume. I enjoyed every one of them.

9. I judged this by its cover
1momentCute, chick lit-ish, well-written tale about an ex-techie woman in Silicon valley saving an old neighborhood bookstore. Charming!

10. Latest purchase
With the giftcard I received for my birthday I bought A Gathering of Old Men and A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.

Penguin 5-7

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Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

5. Quintessentially British
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

6. Everyone should read
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

7. Childhood favourite
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Penguins Challenge

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Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. Here are my answers for the first 4 days.

1. Iconic first line
“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

2. Last read
A Time to Kill by John Grisham, actually one of the best reads this year.

3. On my Christmas list
On my wishlist is All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

4. For chilly nights
Any Agatha Christie would do, but I’ll go for Peril at End House, which I haven’t read.

The Last Bookstore

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The Last Bookstore in downtown LA is more than a bookstore. In the former bank location is a high-ceiling space that allows for gargantuan book-inspired art work and installations.  It took me about an hour to walk through this “museum” before getting my hands on the books. They have used and new books. The main floor is home to fiction and all the social sciences. Mystery is up in the mezzanine with a slightly creepy setting apropos of the genre. Through the book tunnel you will find yourself in the $1 room where, needless to say, all books are $1 each. They have plenty of chairs and leather couches to sit on. Allow for a day of browsing, for just the art work and the store alone took about an hour to walk through.

Folded Book Art

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My first, and very early, birthday present is rather curious. I received a folded book art of Sense and Sensibility. Every page has a marker line where the page is to be folded. The result is amazing and forms a unique message. The sender of my book has already done the hard work to create the hand-folded book sculpture bearing the message “Love.” It makes a cool display on my bookshelf. I have a feeling this will become an addicted hobby.