Suspend Your Disbelief

Archive for December, 2011

Shop Talk |

Bookish Gift #26: Demeter "Paperback" perfume

Yes, Christmas is over, but Hannukah is still in full swing–and plus, you know there’s a book-lover you’ve forgotten to gift. We at FWR are here for you with bookish gift ideas through the 31st. So now we know why old books smell so good. But maybe you’d like to smell great, too? Demeter, which makes single-note perfumes in unusual scents–think Tomato, Bubble Gum, Apple Blossom, and even Dirt (which I owned; it smells just like wet soil)–offers a variety of products in its “Paperback” scent. Says the website: A dusty old copy of a Barbara Pym novel did it […]

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Bookish Gift Idea #25: Time to Write

This holiday season, consider offering your writer-friends the gift of time–literally. And it’s available immediately, no waiting in line, for instant (and last-minute) gratification. Offer to take their laundry to the laundromat for them–or pick up their groceries, or bring them a takeout dinner–every weekend for a month, freeing up a precious couple of hours. And then do it. If they have kids, give them coupons for hours of free baby-sitting–and insist they take you up on it. If your friend is a freelancer, instead of buying a gift, “hire” her for an hour or two at her normal rate […]

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Bookish Gift Idea #24: Clibe

If you’re looking for gifts today–whether for Christmas or Hannukah–you’re officially down to the wire. May we suggest Clibe, a new app that turns your iPad into a journal? Clibe allows you to type, doodle on photos, draw, annotate, and more to create virtual journals. Stored in the cloud (and therefore synced to your computer), these journals can be kept private, shared with friends, or published to the world. Here’s a screenshot from a cooking journal, but this could work just as well to organize research for your next story or novel: Clibe downloads from the iTunes store (no last-minute […]

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Bookish Gift Idea #23: Trivial Pursuit Book Lover's Edition

I am a huge fan of the board game Trivial Pursuit. In fact, my friends tease me because I own six different versions. But I’d never heard of this one and therefore don’t have it–a problem that will soon be rectified. Perhaps you know a book- and trivia-lover who would enjoy it as well? Categories include Children’s, Classics, Non-Fiction, Book Club, Authors, and Grab Bag. Here are some sample questions, courtesy of book blog Necromancy Never Pays: Children’s: What novice Keeper is hailed as Gryffindor’s “king” after winning the Quidditch Cup? Classics: What fearless Prince of the Geats gets munched […]

Reviews |

Animals, by Don LePan

In his novel Animals, we follow Don LePan’s characters into a not-too-distant future, where human beings with birth defects are slaughtered as edible products. Readers’ sense of injustice will be roused by LePan’s descriptions of suffering in the feedlots–but can a novel inspire us to stop eating factory-farmed meat? Laura Roberts hopes it can.

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Bookish Gift Idea #22: Big Cozy Book furniture

We’ve talked about furniture made of books here before, but Big Cozy Books takes things to a whole other level. Designer Erik Olofson creates upholstered furniture pieces that look like giant books. The company offers loveseats, benches, booths, each with a specific title. They’re marketed towards schools and libraries, but if you’re looking to splurge for a young (or not-so-young) reader in your life, wouldn’t these be amazing? They sure look comfy: Visit the Big Cozy Books website to find a dealer near you. And check back here at the FWR blog every day in December for another bookish gift […]

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Bookish gift idea #21: The perpetual pen

It’s sold under the rather prosaic name Metal Pen, but I prefer to think of it as the Perpetual Pen. Here’s the description: In the Medieval period, artists and scribes often used a metal stylus in order to draw on a specially prepared paper surface. Generally known as Metalpoint, or Silverpoint when the stylus was made of silver, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and Rembrandt all used this technique. […] The pens we sell are a modern version (and do not use silver). The solid metal ‘nib’ consists of a metal alloy, that leaves a mark on most […]

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Book of the Week: Fimbul-Winter, by Debra Allbery

This week’s feature is Debra Allbery’s new poetry collection, Fimbul-Winter. The book was published last year by Four Way Books and was the recipient of the 2010 Grub Street National Poetry Prize. Allbery is also the author of a previous collection of poems, Walking Distance, which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize from the University of Pittsburgh. New poems are forthcoming in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Kenyon Review. She lives near Asheville, NC, and is the Director of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is also a recent contributor for […]

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The Amazon Rants

You’ve probably read about Amazon’s most recent promotion–they encouraged customers to use their price-check app in stores, scan an item, and then get an extra 5% discount for buying that item on Amazon instead. This promotion occasioned much ranting, including a piece by Richard Russo in the Times, and then a rant from an opposing perspective by Farhad Manjoo in Slate. It won’t surprise regular readers of this site, which routinely suggests buying from independent bookstores and which links to Powell’s most often, rather than Amazon (though we get no kickback from Powell’s, we just like them), to learn that […]

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