Staff Poll: Baby books!

What are some of your go-to kids books to give as gifts? Do you go with classics, or tend to pick out new stuff?


“I tend to try to give them new stuff. It’s so common these days for people to ask for personalized books instead of cards for baby showers, and I know they already have family members who are going to pick out the classics like Goodnight Moon and Make Way for Ducklings. Some of my favorites to give are ‘Naked!’ by Michael Ian Black (what baby doesn’t like to be naked?!), ‘Sing’ by Joe Raposo (I love the message in this book), and ‘The Poky Little Puppy’ (which is NOT new, but for some reason I think the Little Golden Books are often over looked when it comes to gift giving!)”


“My first choice is the ‘Nutshell Library’ by Sendak. I love the fact that they are kid sized and the stories are adorable. After that, I like ‘Otis’ by Loren Long, ‘Not A Box’ by Portis, any of the ‘Pigeon’ books by Mo Willems, and ‘Dragons Love Tacos’ by Rubin.”


“My go to baby books are ‘Close Your Eyes’ by Kate Banks, ‘And if the Moon Could Talk’ by Kate Banks, ‘Ten Little Fingers & Ten Little Toes’ by Mem Fox, and ‘In the Night Kitchen’ by Maurice Sendak

All have been kid tested in my own home, and those of friends and family!”


“The books I would go to are ‘The Real Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes’, ‘Corduroy’ by Don Freeman, ‘Go, Dog. Go!’ by P.D. Eastman, and I love how sweet ‘The Thank You Book’ is by Mo Willems!”



Staff Poll: Beach reads!

We’ve got warm weather on the mind! What are some of your favorite beach reads? Or, if you’re not really a “beach read” type, what would you typically choose to bring to read at the beach? Maybe at least something with a summer setting?



“I’m not really a beach person, but one of my favorite summer reads is Summerland by Michael Chabon. This story blends Native American and Norse Mythology, and the best summer activity – baseball. It is a story that will appeal to children and adults alike.”



“My favorite beach reading is magazines. Usually either Scientific American or the Economist. The sound bite formats work well as I alternately get distracted or doze off. Otherwise I read the same paragraph at least twice to get the gist before I can move on with the plot.”



“I love to read short stories at the beach. My brother one year for my birthday got me this really cool waterproof short story beach book. I loved it and wish I could find more. I find that short stories are a great fit for the beach. You can kinda pick up with whatever or where ever depending on mood”




“Books I remember reading on the beach:

1974: The Hobbit

1984: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

1988: Wide Sargasso Sea

1990: Midnight’s Children

1994: Bone People

All of these books, for me, oddly have the scent of coconut oil co-mingled with memory of the read. I, too, post bikini years, lean towards “the best of” series – essays, science and nature writing, travel, and short stories. I love that annual series.”



“I don’t think I have ever actually brought a book to the beach. I love the beach, and try to visit often, but when I do, I find that I don’t sit still for long. This probably has something to do with how fair skinned myself and my husband are. No amount of sunscreen seems to prevent us from burning! Some books I’ve read that make me think of summer, though, are We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and Big Fish by Daniel Wallace (though, I think it covers multiple seasons)”

Staff Poll: Bookish pet peeves. What do you find totally distracting when you’re reading?


“I can tune out a lot of background noise, but for some reason, I can’t read when there’s music playing. Other than that, I find it incredibly irritating when my husband (whom I love very much!) decides he all of a sudden wants to have a really deep conversation the second I pick up a book!”



“I can’t read when there is music on either. But my biggest pet peeve is prolonged humming: the fan, the neighbors leaf blower, the diesel engine idling, etc.”



“My husband, reading in the same room, saying “listen to this… it’ll only take a minute!”

From the Writing Desk: May

Can you believe it’s May already?!

Here’s your monthly writing prompt:

May: Eavesdropper.

Tell a story based on a conversation you overheard. Did you pick up in the middle of the conversation? Miss the end? Fill in what you think happened!


Have fun with this one!!


300 words min, 500 words max. Title your work and email it to

Staff Poll: Animal lovers! What’s the best book about an animal/pet that you’ve read?


I’m always scared I’m going to find myself reading a “sad dog book”. It’s funny because I love mystery and horror… give me all the blood and guts! But please don’t hurt any animals! If I do pick up an animal related book, it’s usually something like Tuna Melts My Heart, which is about a chiweenie with a hysterically adorable overbite! (Seriously – how can you not LOVE that face?!)

tuna.jpgtuna 1.jpg


Can’t say animal themed books were ever a favorite… even as a kid. Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day has long fascinated me, though. As a kid, I thought it would be fun to hang out with the dog all afternoon, but as an adult I’m horrified!

good dog carl.jpg


I always read animal books as a kid! Every classic one I could get my hands on. As an adult, not so much. I’ve fond memories or Richard Adams’ The Plague Dogs (he wrote Watership Down), and of Paul Gallico’s novella The Snow Goose, which is still available as a lovely gift book most readily picked up around Christmas. Not sure if it’s still in print, but Paul Auster wrote a fabulous book, Timbuktu, in the voice of a dog whose owner is a homeless, rather foolish man. It is a delightful read. Oh dear, I could go on..I’ll leave with these words… The Fur Person, by May Sarton.

plague dogs.jpgsnow gooseTimbuktuNovelfur person


Funny as I love animals so much but really haven’t read any stories where the main character was an animal. Most of the animal books I have read are dog training and communication, holistic care, and horse care. Go figure!

Staff Poll: Have you ever written, or dreamed of writing, your own book? What is/would it be about?


“Never wrote a book, but for a script writing class in college I wrote 2 plays. I couldn’t tell you anything about them as I’ve long forgotten and (hopefully) no copies still exist. But I do remember the teacher. Herb Appleman. He has written many plays and has an Emmy an is an amazingly funny guy. He told great stories about his neighbors in NYC (Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards!) Surprise! Julie is the funny one!”



“I’m waiting for Paul to write his first, and then I’ll see if there are any good ideas left.”



“Been working on it on and off for 15 years! It started as a character driven novel, but it seems to be turning into a bit of a mystery (surprise, surprise!).”



“I’ve written a short story. It’s a murder mystery about one of the bookstores I used to work at. It still needs a solid ending though. As for a full length novel, my husband keeps encouraging me to, but I never seem to find time to sit down and write.”

From the Writing Desk

April: Showers

April Showers Bring May Flowers. It’s been raining for a week and the flooding is only getting worse. They evacuated your neighborhood two days ago, but you were too stubborn to leave. Now there’s two feet of water in the living room. What happens next?


300 words minimum, 500 words max. Please title your work and email to Let us know if we have your permission to share it publicly!



Staff Poll: What do you use for a bookmark?

What do you use for a bookmark? An actual bookmark? Receipt? Mail? Money? Dust jacket flap? Are you one of those evil people who dog ears their pages?


My preferred bookmark is a postcard from the past, or an old photo. I confess to having been guilty, upon falling asleep, of dog earring.



I tend to use the receipt. Since I buy something from every indie bookstore I visit, and I seek them out anywhere I travel, (looking forward to Old Firehouse Books in Ft. Collins, CO in May) they become great souvenirs. Also, a couple years ago one of the Free Art participants made a series of bookmarks that make me laugh.



Recently I have been using bookmarks that I have collected while traveling this past year. Each one brings me back to the place we had visited or passed through. Currently I am using one I bought at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. It goes perfectly with the book I am reading, Snowblind by Christopher Golden. Two creepy places!



It totally varies for me. I have a beautiful beaded bookmark my grandmother made, and I have numerous bookmarks that I’ve purchased with different animals on them, or quotes. But it really seems to depend on where I am and what I am doing when I start a book. Sometimes I’ll grab a napkin, or a piece of notebook paper that’s within reach if I’m too lazy to go hunting for a good one! I NEVER dog ear pages.

Staff Poll: If you could live inside one fictional world, where would you pick?


“I don’t read much fiction that posits an alternative world to this one, a lovely green and blue marble peopled with folks sacred and profane, unless its dystopian novels – and I don’t want to live there! This question led me to pick up for myself, finally, a copy of Island by Huxley, his final novel, and one in which he portray a place that is the polar opposite of Brave New World. Book conversations make for interesting proddings and nudgings! Thank you!”



“J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Always (<- see? I can even answer this question with references to Harry Potter) I adore the magical world that she has created that is beautiful, dangerous, and wonderful. The idea of really truly being able to walk along Diagon Alley, or visit Hogsmead always makes me pick the books back up again.”



“So much to choose! But I think Star Trek wins. Gene Rodden Berry’s hopeful and positive view of mankind’s development makes this the place for me!”