Bella's Bookshelves

The Back Forty

Posted by in book-related events

Back forty: n. wild or rough terrain adjacent to a developed area. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this morning—I only know that it far exceeded what I could have imagined. My husband of 11 years woke me up with the best birthday card I’ve ever received. I was ugly crying before I even got out of bed. Then he led me around the house while I found and opened 50 gifts. Forty of them were wee baggies of candy with slips of paper describing beautiful, touching reasons he…read more


The Book Blogger’s Responsibility: What?

Posted by in other book stuff

There’s an article called “Has book blogging hit the wall? William Morrow’s blogger notice” posted online in the LA Times Books section. Apparently it’s causing a stir, though I admit to not having read a single reactionary comment yet. My apologies, then, if the following smacks of ignorance. The gist of the article, though I recommend you read the entire piece if you haven’t already, is that William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, sent out an email to book bloggers stating that they are streamlining their review copies process. Review…read more


LitBits 9

Posted by in LitBits

1. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, with some literary treats to boot! Of the 5 gifts I received, every single one paid tribute to my love of books. My sisters are great is awesome! I received the new Oxford Classics edition of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (and his other Christmas stories); the CD of Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghost Stories for Young People, which we used to listen to on record as kids, and the stories of which I’ve posted here at Halloween; a gift certificate for books; a handmade…read more


To Read, Perchance to Redeem Myself

Posted by in reading

Sunday morning on the couch in my pajama bottoms, a Go Korea soccer tee-shirt that C bought me when he went there, and a purple yoga hoodie. The 30-year old furnace growls comfortingly yet I leech heat from the dog and cup after cup of select herbal teas. I listen to the steady rain, random drips of water into the kitchen sink, and the clocks here and in my office, ticking. If I’m not careful, I will fall asleep. It is a perfect day for staying home and reading. Nothing…read more


Reading Roulette and the Art of Persuasion

Posted by in books

I’ve made mention of Reading Roulette before, but if you haven’t yet seen what it is, it’s the exciting project instigated by Jen Knoch and Erin Balser over at the Keepin’ It Real Book Club site. The objective of Reading Roulette is to persuade fellow readers to step out onto that dangerous road (you never know where you’ll be swept off to!), out of your reading comfort zone, to pick up something you are normally loath to read. All of us who wanted to participate first sent in a paragraph…read more


Word on the Street Toronto Day 2

Posted by in other book stuff

Word on the Street Day 2 is continued from Word on the Street Day 1. I awoke after about three hours’ sleep on Sunday morning. Maybe less. I don’t know, that night is a blur. We went to bed ridiculously late, I buzzing with the heebie jeebies from having just witnessed a cockroach (flippantly nicknamed Sebastian by my sister’s husband, I later discovered) scuttle under a chair. I’ve never seen a cockroach in real life, and my sister’s place is clean and neat. But it’s very old, and in the…read more


For Love or Money

Posted by in bookshops

So even though when I started at our indie bookstore a month ago I was told that full time was very unlikely, possibly not until over a year from now, if ever, I’ve been offered full time. When the boss sent a message on Sunday asking if I could meet her in a couple of hours for a chat (and was kind enough to include in her email that it wasn’t anything bad), I suspected the offer, though I don’t know why. Just an exciting thought. And when she put…read more


Cool Stuff for Booklovers

Posted by in other book stuff

[NB: Clicking on photos should take you to the websites they come from so you can see more pics as well.] I have wanted one of Caitlin Phillips‘s book purses for eons. But I still can’t decide which book I want and it would have to be one that could be found in rough shape so that I wouldn’t mind her removing the pages…. Which would you pick? Here’s another book purse, a clutch by Kate Spade: And then there’s the yummy Penguin canvases. I came across these when I…read more


"This is not about food": An evening with Joanne Harris

Posted by in authors, books

Ottawa, Mayfair Theatre, 18 May 2010 Who’s Who lists her hobbies as “‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system,’ although she also enjoys obfuscation, sleaze, rebellion, witchcraft, armed robbery, tea and biscuits. She is not above bribery and would not necessarily refuse an offer involving exotic travel, champagne or yellow diamonds from Graff. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16, is currently studying Old Norse and lives with her husband Kevin and her daughter Anouchka, about 15 miles from the…read more


Canada Reads Day Four

Posted by in books

Phew, what a long, busy day at work. I’m finally home, finally fed, and finally ready to post commentary on Day Four of Canada Reads. Once again, I’m not recapping but assuming you’ve already heard the discussion. These debates interest me immensely, and as we edge closer to the number one book, I find myself unable to confidently predict things as they’re currently going. There are several surprises and it seems things can go any which way—and didn’t they today! A “Canada Reads shocker,” said Jian, when Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall…read more



Posted by in reading

I know you’re very busy, Mr. Harper. We’re all busy. But every person has a space next to where they sleep, whether a patch of pavement or a fine bedside table. In that space, at night, a book can glow. And in those moments of docile wakefulness, when we begin to let go of the day, then is the perfect time to pick up a book and be someone else, somewhere else, for a few minutes, a few pages, before we fall asleep. —Yann Martel


Betrayed by Your Bookshelves?

Posted by in books

My library is not a single beast but a composite of many others, a fantastic animal made up of the several libraries built and then abandoned, over and over again, throughout my life. I can’t remember a time in which I didn’t have a library of some sort. The present one is a sort of multilayered autobiography, each book holding the moment in which I opened it for the first time. The scribbles on the margins, the occasional date on the flyleaf, the faded bus ticket marking a page for…read more