Monday Miscellany

‘Tis the season! Since we’re in the final countdown to Christmas, some of this week’s miscellanea have a definite holiday flair.

A Half-Dozen Literary Gingerbread Houses

Feast your eyes on these! Book Riot has collected photos of some gingerbread houses inspired by books. See reproductions of Hogwarts, The House of the Seven Gables, and Alice in Wonderland, among others.

25 Free Christmas eBooks

If you’ve finished baking all the cookies, wrapping all the presents, and addressing all the cards, you can fill your time with reading. And since you’ve probably already exhausted your budget, GalleyCat has recommendations for Christmas reading that won’t cost you anything.

Five Cheap DIY Gifts For Book Lovers

Oh, those cut-ups over at Lit Reactor.

Now, Pinterest and Martha Stewart would have us believe that any jackass with twenty minutes to spare can fashion a plethora of magical holiday décor using only pipe cleaners and sheer force of will, but we recognize the spuriousness of those claims. That’s why, in an attempt to assess the actual difficulty of each project for the kind of people who would never dream of signing up for a Hobby Lobby credit card, we assembled a diverse crew of craft-challenged friends, filled them with mulled wine and spiked eggnog, then let them loose with only the instructions provided by the internet. Here’s how it went. Learn from our mistakes then have a go at making do-it-yourself gifts for the writers and book lovers in your life.

Let us know if give any of these projects a try.

Writers Live Everywhere

OK, I said SOME of today’s items relate to Christmas. This one doesn’t.

According to Jason Boog:

The Daily News and the Los Angeles Times have been arguing about whether Los Angeles or New York City is the best place to be a writer.

This is a silly argument in the 21st Century in the middle of an economic downturn. Most writers can’t even afford to live in these cities anymore. We are all dedicated to one of the least lucrative careers in the world, and it is downright reckless to argue that we should live in two of the most expensive cities in the country.

So don’t despair if you’re a writer who doesn’t live in either NYC or LA. Boog has some suggestions for how to connect with other writers, no matter where you live.

With thanks, from St. Louis, MO.

11 Songs Inspired by Books

A collection by Gabe Habash of Publishers Weekly.

Crowdsource My Database: How Do You Organize Your Reading Life?

Though not about Christmas, this item is timely nevertheless because it deals with another of those seasonal occurrences, the annual “best books I read this year” list.

At Book Riot Brenna Clarke Gray admits that, about what books she read for pure pleasure this past year, “I haven’t the foggiest.” She then asks readers to explain if and how they keep track of their reading. I’m interested in this topic because I have kept a computerized record of my reading since July 1991. I’ve used various programs over that time. Through the miracles of exporting and importing, my reading journal even weathered the transition from the wasteland of Windows to the Mecca of Mac. (My recipes, however, were not so lucky.) At the end of every year I use a filter in my database program to choose all the books I read that year, then export the list to an Excel spreadsheet so that I can alphabetize the list by either title or author. That list allows me to decide easily which books were my favorites.

I’d be interested to hear if and how you keep track of the books you read. So far, most of the respondents to Gray’s request favor Goodreads. I’ve been on Goodreads for a while now but haven’t yet tried generating any lists from my data there. Some of Gray’s commenters say they have used Goodreads for their lists, though, so I’ll probably give that a try this year and see how it compares with the list from my database. How about you?


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