Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Literary Google Doodles

Happy (super) Belated New Year’s! (And Christmas and Thanksgiving and whatnot too…) I’m jumping back into blogging with this week’s freebie Top Ten – thanks as always to The Broke and Bookish for hosting!

Because this is a freebie week and my first post in about three months, (where has winter gone?!), I’ve decided to go with an easy, lighthearted and visuals heavy topic:

Top 10 Literary Google Doodles! I love when I bring up Google and am pleasantly surprised by an illustration that references one of my favorite books or authors. So this week I’m sharing a few of my recent faves:

Charles Perrault's 388th Birthday
1. Charles Perrault’s 388th Birthday

Lucy Maud Montgomery's 141st Birthday2. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 141st Birthday

Ida B. Wells' 153rd Birthday

3. Ida B. Wells’ 153rd Birthday

Laura Ingalls Wilder's 148th Birthday

4. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 148th Birthday

Leo Tolstoy's 186th Birthday

5. Leo Tolstoy’s 186th Birthday

Salvador Novo's 110th Birthday

6. Salvador Novo’s 110th Birthday


7. Charlotte Bronte’s 198th Birthday

Simone de Beauvoir's 106th Birthday

8. Simone de Beauvoir’s 106th Birthday

Charles Baudelaire's 192nd Birthday

9. Charles Baudelaire’s 192nd Birthday

Bram Stoker's 165th Birthday

10. Bram Stoker’s 165th Birthday

What author or book would you like to see represented on Google’s homepage?


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Wishes I’d Like the Book Genie to Grant!

Top Ten Tuesday | Strawberry Moon BlogI think I’ve got a lot of wishes stored up right now, so I decided to give myself a theme. Our lovely hosts at The Broke and the Bookish suggested listing some #librarygoals so I’m just going to make my list a detailed description of my perfect library. Get on that, would you, book genie?

  1. Floor to ceiling mahogany built-ins
  2. One of those sliding brass library ladders
  3. A chaise lounge (because it’s like a chair and a sofa had a baby and it’s the very best piece of furniture there is) with super soft velvety upholstery
  4. Some antique 1920s lighting: brass lamps, milk glass shades, the works
  5. Piles of cozy blankets, plush carpet and any other soft surfaces the book genie cares to throw in there
  6. A built-in tea station with an electric kettle, all of which can be reached without getting up from the chaise
  7. A big window with floaty curtains and a window seat
  8. Some kind of organizational system I’m not just too lazy to stick to
  9. Art mixed in on the shelves with the books
  10. All my favorite books in my favorite editions (i.e. probably the prettiest covers because I like art with my books, okay?!)

This whole list is super absurd because I currently don’t even have an apartment, let alone a room just for books. But someday! Book genie willing.😉 What are your bookish wishes?

13 MORE Literary Character Costumes

13 MORE Literary Character Costumes | Strawberry Moon BlogSince my ’24 Literary Character Costumes’ post from last year has been so popular, I decided to expand on it! This year, thirteen more literary costumes for your nerdy Halloween delight. What is your Halloween costume this year? I admit, I’m not going literary myself: I’m going Amy Pond…

NEW on Etsy: A Fresh Crop of Vintage Books

I missed out on Top Ten Tuesday this week because I was busy hitting the BOOK SALES! My fave season, guys, next to autumn itself. I came home with a few dozen books, including this gorgeous 1940s Pickwick Papers, and I’ll be rolling them out to Strawberry Moon over the next couple of weeks.

NEW on Etsy: A Fresh Crop of Vintage Books | Strawberry Moon BooksThe Valley Fire has devastated more families and homes than almost any other wildfire in California history. Knowing it claimed not only my home and belongings but all the books in my shop and my personal collection, is positively overwhelming. I’ve been so sad to see the Strawberry Moon shop entirely empty for the past month so restocking is a nice change.

What’s disconcerting though, is that in addition to the shop’s stock, I also lost all my supplies in the fire, leaving me without my watercolor backdrop for photographing listings. I’ll be experimenting a bit with new/old props in the listing photos: currently I have an iron key and a green glass bottle to liven up the plain white background I’m now photographing against. I’d love any feedback as I try to rebuild my brand.

Come by the shop as I slowly add new books to the stock and tell me what you think (or even pick up a special find!)

The Best Horror Stories EVER: Classic vs. Contemporary

The Best Horror Stories EVER: Classic vs. Contemporary | Strawberrry Moon BooksYou know what the worst question ever is? What’s your favorite book? Yep. Every book lover knows what I’m talking about. Someone finds out you like to read and they immediately seek to know what single volume you value above all others.

Seriously, never ask a bookworm this question. It is literally impossible to answer and just results in awkward silence while we puzzle over how to respond.

However! If we’re allowed multiple answers, and for our favorite books to take over the entire conversation whether or not you intended that from such a seemingly innocent inquiry, the question isn’t quite such a mood killer.

So with all of that in mind, I’m starting a new blog series to discuss my favorite classic and contemporary books in various genres. To start us off, I’m going with horror because HELLO, it’s almost Halloween.

Best Classic Horror:
Morella, by Edgar Allan Poe

My fave horror classic is pretty straight forward: anything by Edgar Allan Poe. But if I’m forced to get more specific, I have particular affection for his short story, Morella. It’s creepy and weird, (like all things Poe), with an unusual focus on the female characters. Although Poe is known for his female characters in many ways, and although both of the Morellas die tragically just like all women written by Poe, there is something unique about this particular story. I’ve always felt it’s more of a mindbender than the straight-up gore-fest that is so many of Poe’s famous works. The women in Morella are more powerful than many of Poe’s other female characters, even in death.

I really, really struggled to come up with a favorite contemporary horror novel because, honestly, I don’t read much horror. I adore fantasy and the supernatural but horror… not so much. I eventually settled on my favorite vampire novel because it seemed most in line with the theme I had devised for myself (and very nearly gave up on.)

Best Contemporary Horror:
You Suck, by Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore’s You Suck is goofy and raunchy, like all things Chris Moore, but it still manages to be smart and funny. It’s set in San Francisco, which was one of the first things I was drawn to about it, and yet it’s so clearly a local’s version of SF. Northern California locals have a different relationship with fog and bridges and absurdly steep hills than do most visitors and Moore shows off his love of the city in this book. It’s the perfect setting for horror, as noted by many a black and white filmmaker, while by day, it’s a jam-packed, teeny tiny, overpriced city obsessed with the 1960s and seafood. You Suck is pretty much the daily life of your slightly below average vampire villains (plus a little adventure because you need some plot to carry you through October on more than just a candy corn high.)

What horror novels make the top of your list?

Four Books I Never Finished and Six I’m Probably Not Going to Start

Four Books I Never Finished and Six I'm Probably Not Going to Start | Strawberry Moon BooksThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is to come up with ten ‘bookish things I want to or have quit.’ I struggled with this one because usually I’m more likely to have bookish habits I want to start: finishing books in a timely manner, branching out into new authors and genres, etc. So finally I settled on Four Books I Never Finished and Six I’m Probably Not Going to Start. A lengthy title but I think it hits all the important points…

I’m usually something of a stickler about finishing books so it’s rare that I don’t stick it out. I’m sure there are others but these four came immediately to mind. Apparently I have a bit of an issue with classics and lesser known books by classic authors… I know, to my shame.

Four Books I Never Finished and Six I'm Probably Not Going to Start | Strawberry Moon BooksPast Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne

The habit of mine that is probably more of a nuisance is that I put books on my TBR list and then never read them. So every now and again I have to go through my list and weed out books that no longer sound that appealing, having sat there collecting virtual dust for several years. These are books that have been hanging around my list forever and that I’m finally officially culling. You might call this my DNR list: Did Not Read and Do Not Resuscitate.

Four Books I Never Finished and Six I'm Probably Not Going to Start | Strawberry Moon BooksWatermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Vanitha Sankaran

What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris

The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro

The Heart of a Gypsy by Roberta Kagan

The Cracked Slipper by Stephanie Alexander

The Dream of Scipio by Iain Peters

Friday Faves: Banned Books on Etsy

In an awesome mash-up, today is both Friday Faves and Banned Books Week! So I’m rounding up a few of my favorite Etsy finds relating to banned books.

Friday Faves: Banned Books on Etsy

Top: Fahrenheit 451 Smoked Pine & Parchment candle @ North Ave Candles

Middle: “I Read Banned Books” Metal Bookmark @ Missing Pieces Studio, Wearable Banned Books @ The Creative Manifesto

Bottom: Banned Book Scarf @ ModLux, Read Banned Books Mug @ Little Thought Bubbles

Top Ten Books to Read If You Like Banned Books

Top Ten Tuesday | Strawberry Moon BooksThe theme of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, (hosted by The Broke and Bookish), is books to read if you like ___. Could be an author, a particular book, a genre, etc. Carrying on with our celebration of Banned Books Week here at Strawberry Moon, I’m presenting Ten Books to Read If You Like Banned Books!

Banned books generally consist of themes that could be considered offensive by certain groups of people. They might contain sexual content, violence, racism, or strong political or religious views. Are all of these things touchy subjects? Certainly. Does that mean we shouldn’t read them and be exposed to potentially controversial ideas? Of course not. Books that challenge social mores are the books everyone should read. They teach us that our ideas are not the only ideas, that we can learn even from bad people and bad situations, and that we are not the only ones who have chewed on some dark little thoughts in our lives. They also acknowledge that if books (or any other kind of media) are to accurately depict the world we live in, they cannot then ignore everything that is not perfectly good and wholesome and snickerdoodle-flavored.

Top Ten Books to Read If You Like Banned Books | Strawberry Moon Books

  1. The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe. Deals with opium use and magic. Gasp.
  2. Into the Forest by Jean Hegland. All the other themes in this post-apocalyptic book are pretty much always overshadowed by a single incestuous scene.
  3. Lysistrata by Aristophanes. The only classic on my list, Lysistrata is the epitome of classic erotica populated by smart, feisty Greek wives and generally accompanied by raunchy line drawings a la Aubrey Beardsley.
  4. Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander. The Lady Emily series is usually pretty harmless (despite the rampant murders that seem to follow Emily around Europe), but Tears of Pearl is a significantly heavier volume. Deals with a woman’s rights and decisions regarding pregnancy, contrasted between Western ideals and the reality of 19th century Ottoman harems.
  5. Cleopatra’s Perfume by Jina Bacarr. Though campier erotic novels don’t tend to raise the hackles of book banners as much, (probably because they’ve got their own secret stash in the nightstand), this one touches on a lot of deeper issues. In addition to the sexual content, this book deals with the rampant drug use of 1920s Berlin and a woman’s series of tenuous and dangerous relationships.

Top Ten Books to Read If You Like Banned Books | Strawberry Moon Books6. The Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah. This book takes a pretty frank look at a variety of North African characters: some very favorable and some very not so. Books like this one can alternatively be seen as promoting Islamic culture (oh what a terrible accusation) or as racist against Islamic culture. Figure that one out.
7. The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones. Books featuring characters associated with the Third Reich tend to be challenged with some frequency. Although the main character in this book is not precisely a Nazi sympathizer, I feel some similarities between it and Summer of My German Soldier (this might be an arbitrary comparison but it’s where my mind went!)
8. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Nobody stirs up religion and personal relationships with wilder abandon than Moore. I adore his books, not the least for how little he cares if he offends anyone.
9. Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye. This book deals with the horrific Jack the Ripper murders. So… prostitution, brutal murder, etc.
10. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad. To be fair, this book has actually been banned so it probably shouldn’t be on this list. But it’s lesser known than many other books about censorship that have ironically been banned, so.



Banned Books Week: 10 Gorgeous Covers from Forbidden Books

Every year for the duration of Banned Books Week in September, all of the books listed in Strawberry Moon that have ever been banned go on sale. This year is bittersweet, of course, because there are currently no listings in the shop, due to the horrible fire that claimed my home and the inventory of my shop. So although there will be no Banned Books Week Sale in 2015, I’m still celebrating this fun and important week here on the blog!

Today we are looking at 10 gorgeous examples of cover art from books that have been banned or challenged at some point since their publication. Many of these are classics but there are a few more modern examples as well, which is always such a surprise to me. These books are most often banned for expressing political or religious ideologies or for sexual content. Yet no matter the reason or how rabid the assaults against these books, they seem to always emerge again to find new readers and new best friends.

Banned Books Week: 10 Gorgeous Covers from Forbidden Books | Strawberry Moon Books
Ulysses by James Joyce and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Banned Books Week: 10 Gorgeous Covers from Forbidden Books | Strawberry Moon BooksLady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Banned Books Week: 10 Gorgeous Covers from Forbidden Books | Strawberry Moon BooksThe Color Purple by Alice Walker and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Banned Books Week: 10 Gorgeous Covers from Forbidden Books | Strawberry Moon BooksA Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Banned Books Week: 10 Gorgeous Covers from Forbidden Books | Strawberry Moon BooksSummer of My German Soldier by Bette Green and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Which one is your favorite? I find I really like the last two in particular; these both feature cover art I’ve never seen for books I’ve read many times which is interesting.