Archive for ‘Books’

April 12th, 2012

Alice Cantrell’s Bookplates

Bee Bookplates

Bookplates combine three of my favourite things: books, art and DIY crafts. How many times have you lent out a book to never have it returned? Gently remind friends and family to return your precious reads with the use of quirky bookplates. Whether you make your own, or purchase some, many options are available like these super sweet ones I found on Etsy at Alice Cantrell’s shop. Alice Cantrell’s bookplates are whimsically designed with images like seedlings, bugs and vintage cookware.


Bookplates make a great gift for yourself or for someone else! Alice Cantrell’s designs are hand drawn images you can download and print yourself. Alter the look of the end product by printing the ink drawings on coloured paper or stick to a neutral white, beige or gray for the watercolour versions. Then all you have to do is add your name, and cut and paste them into your books using archival glue for preservation. Leave the book open to allow the glue to dry completely before you close the book.

If you want to gift them to someone else, start with a decorative box, add a small bottle of glue with an applicator brush, the bookplates and a nice archival pen. Finish it with a sheet of coloured tissue paper and a ribbon to wrap around the box and you have a lovely hostess gift or housewarming gift or a gift to add a little cheer to someones not-so-great day!


The cookery set would be darling for cookbooks and the bee prints and seedling plates are perfect for gardening books and fiction of all kinds. In addition to the bookplates at Alice Cantrell’s you can also find  posters, banners, stationary and note cards all created in the same style or visit her website here. Some images are black and white and others are watercolour. Have you ever used bookplates to keep track of your library?

February 21st, 2012

The Quick and the Dead-Joy Williams

A story of the haunted and the haunting.


I read The Quick and the Dead by Joy Williams in choppy, disruptive spurts of time. The story therefore ingrained itself into my days and imbued them with the creepy airs found in this book. I was under the misconception it was about three girls wandering through the desert, and was surprised the desert played a nominal role in the story.


The three girls – Alice, Corvus and Annabel are disconnected youth searching for connection in the desperate landscape of their tragedy stricken lives. Alice is funny, jaded and cause-driven. She asserts her environmentalism wherever possible, much to the irritation of other characters and makes herself fall in love with an ageing piano player simply because he is inappropriate. Corvus is just plain sad, her end befitting her life. Annabelle is a more typical teenager transplanted to the desert by her haunted father.


Annabelle’s dad Carter, plus her ghost mom, Ginger, were my favourite characters of the book. Eerie, unsettling, yet believable in an ‘is it real or is he losing his mind’ kind of way. Certain characters were introduced late in the book and felt unnecessary (Ray and Ray’s parents) yet added to the overall absurdity of the cast of characters, already strange and outcast.


The biggest contributing factor to the unsettling quality of this book, is the continual shift in perspective. Scenes with multiple characters find the narrative jumping from head to head. The reader is then bombarded with multiple snippets of perspective, instead of one unfolding viewpoint.


All this against a backdrop littered with the dead and the dying. I love the way this book ends. I love the way the loose ends are tied up and I would recommend this book for times when you need to puzzle over something other than your own world, preferably before bed to get the most of the dreams sure to ensue.