Archive for April, 2010

The Bookseer = The cure for book befuddlement.

April 23, 2010

I’m constantly on the search for great new books to read. The only problem? There’s a lot of crappy books out there. And if you find a good one, how do you find more good ones like it without resorting to the no-brainer option of choosing another one of the author’s works? Answer: The Bookseer. Thanks to this month’s Real Simple for the hot tip!

Example: I just finished reading Shoplifting from American Apparel by Tao Lin. I should mention here that my decision to read it wasn’t dictated by genuine interest in the author or his writing but rather, embarrassingly enough, on the concept and cover design scheme of Melville Publishing House’s The Art of the Novella and The Art of the Contemporary Novella series: short books by good authors. And, oh yeah, if you collect a lot of them, they look really good on a shelf together.

What can I say? I’m lazy. And a sucker for clever marketing.

In any case, I finished Shoplifting in about three or four hours. It wasn’t the most earth-shattering thing I’d ever read, but it was still entertaining, and I realized I was interested in pulling away from my old stand-by, Jane Austen, and exploring the world of post-19th century British literature.

So I went to The Bookseer, typed in the book name and author and within seconds was provided with a list of similar books culled from Amazon and LibraryThing. Pretty nifty, huh?

For advanced users: Try searching for books that you hated so you know which ones to avoid in the future :)

Room redux.

April 11, 2010

I’ve lived in Greenpoint for a little more than a month, and this week, I decided that it’s high time that I turn my room into the oasis I’ve desperately wanted and needed since moving to New York City in August.

I was going to start painting today, but it was too beautiful outside, so instead, I’m going to postpone painting another week, enjoy the great weather and keep brainstorming about where I want my miniature redecoration to go next. Here are some things that have piqued my interest.

One of my favorite memories from growing up was a little succulent garden that my grandpa had. I couldn’t believe that plants could be that small and intricate, require so little care and have such awesome names. On that note, I’ve been pretty taken with miniature terrariums ever since I saw them on Etsy about a year ago. I like plants, but I don’t really have the adequate space or sunlight required to take care of anything much bigger than this. Side note: That teeny, tiny, itty bitty cup and saucer with an equally teeny, tiny, itty bitty lichen sprouting of it? Officially killing me.

“green tea with lichen,” weegreenspot, $40.

Another, less charming story about me in my younger years: My mom, an interior decorator by both nature and trade, always made our home such a clean, cozy, well-put-together place, but I frequently gave her a hard time. Why? 1) Her colors of choice were red and navy blue, and 2) she liked apple motifs. It was just so… Midwestern of her (how dare she?!). Now that I’m older and slightly wiser, I need to give Anne some serious kudos for recognizing that red and navy blue are a popular pairing for a reason: They work. And as for apples, I’ve developed a inexplicable penchant for them, too. I love this seller’s recommendation to use this canister for holding tea.

“vintage red metal apple canister small,” ModishVintage, $27.

And what good is having your own tea canister if you don’t have a special mug out of which to drink said tea? This one attracted my attention because it bears the name of one of the two children under the age of 12 in this whole wide world to whom I am related and, thusly, actually like.

“Retro Chic Crown Mug Vintage Federal Glass Milk Glass,” TipsyTimeMachine, $9.

Shout a holler at your past.

“1899 State Map Arkansas,” Holcroft, $15.

Fact: Roll-top desks are the jam. Unfortunately, most of them are big and expensive. So here’s something that is neither big nor expensive that I’d like to get to satisfy my roll-top appetite until I move into roomier quarters.

“Desk Organizer,” autumnalways, $14.

When I saw this desk organizer, it made me think of one of my favorite clips from The Mighty Boosh. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Howard Moon, but my love was solidified with STATIONERY VILLAGE! Could this organizer be Binder Clip Bungalow? Post-It Palace? Or, in honor of its roll-uppable entrance, Gluestick Garage? You decide.

I kinda sorta really love anything that has to do with the Soviet Union. Not so much the spying and the state-mandated murder and stuff, but Brezhnev’s eyebrows and Zamyatin’s We and what I’ve lovingly coined as “proletariat chic” (epaulets, head scarves, double-breasted jackets, anything in olive green or industrial blue). What could possibly be more Soviet Union-y than a time-keeping device?!  It kinda creeps me out and fascinates me and makes me want to eat borscht all at the same time. Also, how much of a baller is this seller for being a MASTER WATCHMAKER? I didn’t even know those still existed. It reminds me of Dr. Manhattan’s character in Watchmen, who wanted to grow up to be a watchmaker like his father but ended up being a quantum physicist and turning himself into a naked blue dude that can travel through time and space effortlessly. I don’t know if it was a good trade-off, but there you have it.

“Vintage Russian mechanical alarm clock Vitjaz from Soviet Union period,” ClockworkUniverse, $35.