Category Archives: Literature

Getting Cozy With Sherlock Holmes

This time of year is always a little bit crazy for me. With the holidays fast approaching, there’s always too much to do and I have to forcibly remind myself to take a little time to rest and recharge. I don’t know about you but my idea of self-care is to carve some time out of my busy schedule to relax with a good book and a cup of tea. And so for this week’s bibliophile style guide, I decided to create a cozy autumn outfit perfect for reading the day away.

 

Cozy Reader

 

I started with a warm and comfy cabled sweater and added a Sherlock Holmes bracelet from C. S. Literary Jewelry’s line of Leather – Bound Book Bracelets. Add in some fun Sherlock accessories, (like this Sherlock travel mug and messenger bag), and I am all set for an awesome day of reading and relaxation.

What do you think, book lovers? What do you look for in the perfect self-care day? Let me know in the comments below!

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Until next time, take care and happy reading!

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Five Fabulous Gift Ideas For Fiction – Loving Friends

With the holidays just around the corner, here is a helpful gift guide of five great Christmas gift ideas for all kinds of book-loving bestie.

The Adventurous Friend
Perfect Gift Idea: Three Musketeers Friendship Bracelet

The Adventurous Friend’s love of excitement and fun is only matched by their loyalty to the friend at their side. They’re the friend you can count to mix things up and they will always have your back when you get in trouble – although to be fair, they probably had a hand in getting you in trouble in the first place! And what better way to celebrate your Adventurous Friend’s love of action and books than with a friendship bracelet inspired by the swashbuckling bff’s, The Three Musketeers. (See also: this Three Musketeers Ring)

 

The Kindred Spirit
Perfect Gift Idea: Tea With Anne of Green Gables Necklace

Everyone should have a Kindred Spirit in their life, the kind of friend who knows how quirky and weird you can be and still loves you! The Kindred Spirit is the type of friend who has seen you through every scrape and blunder and is always there with a cup of tea and unfailing love and support. Personalized with your choice of teacup and teapot charms, my Tea with Anne of Green Gables necklace is the perfect choice for a best friend gift that is as quirky and unique as your kindred spirit is! (See also this Kindred Spirit Friendship Ring.)

 

Sisters Forever
Perfect Gift Idea: Sense and Sensibility Stacking Bracelets

Sometimes your best friend is family and sometimes it just feels that way but either way, you can’t go wrong with these stacking bangle bracelets inspired by the Dashwood sisters from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. (See also: Sense and Sensibility Tea Necklace and Tea With the Little Women Necklace).

 

The Other Half
Perfect Gift Idea: Sherlock Holmes Friendship Ring

Where would Sherlock Holmes be without his trusted friend, Dr. Watson. Both Holmes and Watson bring something to the friendship that the other is sorely lacking and their lives, not to mention the mystery genre, is certainly the better for it!  For your Other Half, I recommend these Sherlock Holmes Friendship Rings. Perfect for the bff that is the Watson to your Sherlock (or vice versa), these rings come individually and in a two-ring set. (Purchase the set and save 10%!)

For more great Christmas gift ideas inspired by books and literature, visit the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop or check back here for more holiday gift guides for book lovers and bibliophiles!

Until then, take care and happy reading!

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Book Review: Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence

Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian's Love Letters and Break-Up Notes to the Books in Her LifeDear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Break-Up Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WARNING: Do not read Dear Fahrenheit 451 unless you are prepared for your to-read pile to swell and grow exponentially.

(Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

 

Dear Dear Fahrenheit 451:

I knew the moment I read your title that we were destined to spend some time together. I mean, what’s not to love about love letters and break-up notes to books!? Still, I am not sure what I enjoyed more, geeking out with you about the books we both love, discovering new books to check out in your pages, or knowing that I’ve dodged some bullets in my frequent quests through my public library. I loved all the little insights into the librarian life and the reading lists at the end of the book were a delightful surprise.

Thanks for the memories and for all the book recommendations!
See you around the library,
Kerry

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Last Minute Halloween Costumes With a Bookish Twist

Halloween is just days away and I am still scrambling to put together my costume. If you’re like me and looking for a last-minute Halloween costume with a bookish twist, here are some ideas you may want to consider.

 

 

Hamlet

 

Shakespeare’s Hamlet gets a modern makeover with this Halloween look for theatre lovers.  All you need for this “biker Bard” outfit is some distressed denim, black leather books and jacket, a skull, this cool Hamlet tee from FictionalFoxDesigns and this literary leather bracelet from the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop.

 

Casual Halloween Monster

This Halloween outfit was inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Casual and comfortable, all you need for this Frankenstein costume is some Halloween makeup, a green top, and this Frankenstein Leather Bracelet. Put it all together and you have the perfect costume for scaring up some Halloween fun or a relaxed evening at home, munching Halloween candy and reading.

What do you think, book lovers? Which of my bookish Halloween costumes do you like the best? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review: The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's DaughterThe Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, author, Theodora Goss, combines and re-imagines several classic horror stories, (including The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, etc.), to create a literary mash-up with lots of humor and more than a touch of girl power. The best way I can think to explain it is to imagine a feminist version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where the “daughters” of famous mad scientists band together to solve a series of grisly murders. With an assist from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, the ladies use their unusual talents and abilities to confront their monstrous pasts and to track down the mysterious Société des Alchimistes.

While the narration, as told by Catherine Moreau with lots of commentary and interjections from the other ladies, could be a little distracting for some readers, I found it amusing and thought it gave the reader a sense of all the different personalities that were coming together to form the team. The author did a great job of giving enough backstory for each of her characters so the reader doesn’t feel lost if they haven’t read all of the original books but for those who have, the little literary shout-outs and references were a lot of fun. My only complaint was, considering the mad scientist theme of the story, if I was going to include an Arthur Conan Doyle character in the book, I would have gone for someone from The Lost World as opposed to Sherlock Holmes. Still, since the Alchemist’s Daughter is obviously the first in a series, there is still time for the ladies to encounter many more literary figures on their adventures.

All in all, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is a fun romp through classic horror / adventure stories and makes a great Halloween read for a reader who wants something suitably spooky for the season but not especially scary or gory.

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Edgy Halloween Looks Inspired By Books

With Halloween just two weeks away, I am still scrambling to put together this year’s Halloween costume. If you’re like me and still looking for some costume ideas and inspiration, check out these two edgy Halloween looks for book lovers.

 

– PUNK POE –

Punk Poe

 

It’s no secret that I am a big Edgar Allan Poe fan and I’ve had a lot of fun putting together Poe – inspired outfits in the past, including this one featuring my Nevermore Ring, but this year I decided to go really wild and give my favorite Poe poem an edgy punk rock vibe.  So I started with my Raven Stacking Bracelets from my new line of Leather – Bound Book Bracelets and combined them with some distressed jeans, leather books and jacket, and lots of cool and creepy raven – themed accessories for a Halloween look with lots of poetic attitude.

 

The Raven –  Stacking Leather Bracelet Set

 

– MR. HYDE –

Jekyll and Hyde

 

Next up, I made this cool Halloween outfit inspired by the evil Mr. Hyde from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I really loved this dramatic black and red skull tank that I found on Polyvore so I used it as a starting point for the entire outfit. I added a tailored jacket and top hat for a cool steampunk vibe and then added a lot of fun accessories, including a walking stick with a skull topper, skull ring, and my new Jekyll and Hyde leather bracelet. As the perfect finishing touch to this Mr. Hyde costume, I added a red vial necklace to the outfit to represent Mr. Hyde’s transformation serum that will change him back into Dr. Jekyll.

 

Jekyll and Hyde Leather Bracelet

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So what do you think, book lovers? Would you love to rock out as the Raven this Halloween or embrace your dark side as Mr. Hyde? Is there a particular book or character you would like to see featured in one of my bibliophile style guides? Let me know in the comments!

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And for more Halloween treats inspired by classic horror books, spooky stories, and Gothic literature, check out C. S. Literary Jewelry’s Halloween sale.

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Book Review – A House Among The Trees by Julia Glass

A House Among the TreesA House Among the Trees by Julia Glass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a run of disappointing reads, it was a delight to discover A House Among The Trees by Julia Glass. The book centers on the recently deceased children’s book author and artist, Mort Lear, and the various characters who are left to pick up the pieces after he dies, including his long-time assistant, an actor who will be playing Mort in an upcoming bio-pic, the man who unwittingly inspired the character that made Mort famous, and the museum curator who is desperate to secure Mort’s papers and drawings for her museum. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into with this book, particularly themes of honoring the people we lose, (their stories and their legacies), of how and why people distance themselves from each other and how easy it is to get trapped – even by things that originally seemed positive. But what I really loved the most about A House Among The Trees was the author’s skill at creating her central character. Glass used the real-life children’s author, Maurice Sendak as the foundation for Mort, grafting layers of fiction onto elements lifted directly from Sendak’s life and using Sendak’s classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, as inspiration for the fictional story book that rocketed Mort to fame and fortune. In the hands of a lesser author, this could have backfired badly, but Glass manages to use just enough of the real author to make Mort feel like a real (and beloved) part of her readers’ childhood and to infuse Mort’s book with the same sort of menace and wonder that was often found in Sendak’s work. This works well to draw the reader into the story, giving them a real emotional connection to Mort and making them feel invested in his story and legacy.

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Book Review: Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker

Mr. RochesterMr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hate to admit it but I am a bit of a purist when it comes to books. It’s rare that I find a modern take on a classic that is both faithful enough to the original text to avoid annoying me but that still brings something new and interesting enough to the story that makes it worth reading. To my surprise, Sarah Shoemaker’s Mr. Rochester – a re-telling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre – manages to achieve both. Since the original book was from Jane’s perspective, readers only learned what Mr. Rochester chose to share about his past and motivations. But Shoemaker takes advantage of that fact and provides a rich backstory that builds upon Bronte’s foundation. In the first part of the book, we learn about Rochester’s youth and education and I got both a slight Dickens vibe at times and subtle parallels to Jane’s early years.

Later on, Shoemaker turns her attention to life at Thornfield Hall after Rochester meets Jane Eyre. During this part of the book, the author turns the original dynamic on its head so that now it’s Jane that comes across as inscrutable and out of reach, while Rochester becomes increasingly desperate to force some acknowledgement of her feelings from her. Since the odds are that anyone reading this book will have read the original story and know how it ends, Shoemaker focuses on exploring the motivation behind some of the Bronte’s most baffling plot points – specifically why Rochester behaves the way he does when he is trying to win Jane’s love and why his father and brother trick him into marrying Bertha in the first place even though they knew she was mad. If at times the author works a little too hard to justify some of Rochester’s odder moments, including dressing up as an old gypsy woman or pretending to be in love with Blanche when he really wants to marry Jane, it’s totally forgivable since she, (and Charlotte Bronte), have done such a good job at making Rochester into a character that readers want to love. The extra plot elements she added to explore the history between the Rochester and Mason families was interesting and well done and I have to admit, after all the ups and downs of the story, I broke into a huge grin at the line, “Reader, she married me.”

All in all, I definitely recommend Mr. Rochester for all my fellow Charlotte Bronte fans who are looking to revisit this classic story.

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