In the Bookcase


My favorite selections from 'Little Men' & 'Jo's Boys'.

I have so enjoyed reading some of Louisa May Alcott's writings this summer. Her work is always beautifully done, and each chapter evokes such a charm. A few weeks ago, I shared with you my favorite selections from Little Women. Now that I've read the sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys, I have new quotes to share! These particular selections jump out at me as being quite well-written, and described so wonderfully. Enjoy!
A quote from young Demi... "I found a very pretty book one day and wanted to play with it, but Grandpa said I mustn't, and showed me the pictures, and told me about them, and I liked the stories very much, all about Joseph and his bad brothers, and the frogs that came up out of the sea, and dear little Moses in the water, and ever so many more lovely ones, but I liked about the Good Man best of all, and Grandpa told it to me so many times that I learned it by heart, and he gave me this picture so I shouldn't forget..." ... Little Men, Chapter III

Mr. Laurie's grand idea... "I've been thinking that it would be a good plan for you fellows to have a museum of your own; a place in which to collect all the curious and interesting things that you find, and make, and have given you. Mrs. Jo is too kind to complain, but it is rather hard for her to have the house littered up with all sorts of rattletraps, half-a-pint of dor-bugs in one of her best vases, for instance, a couple of dead bats nailed up in the back entry, wasps nests tumbling down on people's heads, and stones lying round everywhere, enough to pave the avenue. There are not many women who would stand that sort of thing, are there, now?" ... Little Men, Chapter XI

... "Please, ma'am, could you lend us the girls for a little while? We'll be very careful of them," said Tommy, winking one eye to express apples, snapping his fingers to signify pop-corn, and gnashing his teeth to convey the idea of nut-cracking. The girls understood this pantomime at once, and began to pull off their thimbles before Mrs. Jo could decide whether Tommy was going into convulsions or was brewing some unusual piece of mischief. ... Little Men, Chapter XX

Wise words of Mrs. Jo... "I only want to give these children a home in which they can be taught a few simple things which will help to make life less hard to them when they go out to fight their battles in the world. Honesty, courage, industry, faith in God, their fellow-creatures, and themselves; that is all I try for." ... Little Men, Chapter XXI

The photographer... Demi, finding business dull, solaced his leisure by photographing everybody he could induce to sit or stand to him, producing some excellent pictures among many failures; for he had a pretty taste in grouping, and endless patience. He might be said to view the world through the lens of his camera, and seemed to enjoy himself very much squinting at his fellow beings from under a bit of black cambric. ... Jo's Boys, Chapter V

Mrs. Jo's dream shipwreck... "I've always thought I'd like to see a wreck, a nice safe one with all saved after great danger and heroic deeds, while we clung like Mr Pillicoddy to main-top jibs and lee scuppers." ... Jo's Boys, Chapter VI

... "Take some books and read; that's an immense help; and books are always good company if you have the right sort. Let me pick out some for you." And Mrs Jo made a bee-line to the well-laden shelves, which were the joy of her heart and the comfort of her life. ... Jo's Boys, Chapter VI

... It was curious to see the prejudices melt away as ignorance was enlightened, indifference change to interest, and intelligent minds set thinking, while quick wits and lively tongues added spice to the discussions which inevitably followed. So the feet that wore the neatly mended hose carried wiser heads than before, the pretty gowns covered hearts warmed with higher purposes, and the hands that dropped the thimbles for pens, lexicons, and celestial globes, were better fitted for life's work, whether to rock cradles, tend the sick, or help on the great work of the world. ... Jo's Boys, Chapter XXVII

2012 Summer reading challenge hosted at


Book Review: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

written by Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwards
186 pages
published in 2008

If you enjoy sharing your literary opinion on books by writing your own reviews, you'll find this book to be an excellent source of information and advice. You'll learn the ins-and-outs of how to deal with all types of books.

Key points that I was reminded of while reading "The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing" are the following:

Giving an overly-positive review to a book can sometimes be too much, or raise suspicion the reviewer may just be attempting to be too nice to the author.

"Remember, objectivity and honesty in reviewing are of the utmost importance." -Page 56
When you have a negative opinion on a book, there is always a tactful way to share your personal thoughts without being rude.

"You can be critical and honest without being unkind." -Page 51
Always maintain structure, clarity and objectivity in your reviews.

"Each word you use in your review should count and have a purpose." -Page 10
A book review is definitely different than a book report, a critique, or press release, and should be written accordingly.

The title of this book is aptly named, because the material literally explains about the "slippery art" of reviewing. There are many more beneficial facts found in the book to allow you to improve your own art of reviewing, and much advice is planted throughout the chapters. "The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing" is not just for people (like myself) who post their reviews on personal blogs, or online book stores, but also for people who review books as their full-time job. I'll be returning to this book often as a reliable aid.

Available in paperback & Kindle formats.


Writing in July.

{Actually Finishing Something} July

Is it just me, or do any of you other writers have a tendency to leave a story unfinished? Oh, those poor, hopeless characters who are locked in a story with no ending! It must be horrible to be frozen in place, not knowing how their tale will unfold.

Wouldn't it be great to actually finish something this summer?
Katie (Whisperings of the Pen), had a fantastic idea that July should be spent completing those writing projects that have seemingly been left behind. I'm joining the challenge and hope you will look into this as well.

Here is a bit about what I'm going to be attempting this July, if my imagination and the creative juices in my brain can hold up.

My writing goal: To accomplish progress on a story I started last November, The Gate. At that time, I made it up to 3,137 words---which is a good enough start to continue with now. It's been months since I've touched the story, but I'm longing to finish it! I may not complete it in July though. I'm not setting a certain amount of words I want to reach... I simply want to push forward with the story, and have plenty of progress by the end of the month. A tiny bit every day will go far in developing the story.

Synopsis: As the name of the story implies, it is about a gate. How interesting can that be, closely monitoring the daily dull tasks of a wooden gate? A gate opens. A gate closes. However, more than that, it is the sentry of who goes into that charming house on the grassy, green hill, and who goes out. Most importantly, it's about the people that live in that home, and the changes that take place over decades of time.

3 characters: {Wallace Atwood} ... He builds the gate that inspires the whole story. He's a tough man of few words, but with strong opinions. {Martha Atwood} ... She is Wallace's wife. She grew up in civilized New England and must adjust accordingly to an Oklahoman lifestyle in 1900. {Rosemary Windoff} ... She is Martha's mother, who lives in Maine. In contrast to Wallace's personality, she's a woman of many words with strong opinions. (So, you can certainly imagine the giddy tiffs they could get into!)

... A couple more questions from Katie's challenge for this week ...

How will you make your characters behave long enough to finish this goal?
This is quite a good question, and the answer remains to be seen, although I'm pretty sure they'll behave just fine!

Tea or coffee?
My preference would be tea, although I can't say that I'll be drinking any in July. :-)

A small snippet:

After a light supper, Wallace retired for the evening into the sitting room. He sat in a big, overpowering, leather chair—the same one his grandfather had sat in, probably with that exact philosophic expression that Wallace wore now. Martha sat across the room from him, next to a table lamp, where she was practicing her crocheting, something she had never done before marrying. Quietly, she crocheted through the entire evening, not wanting to disturb his thinking process, but all the time wondering what exactly he was pondering about. Was it something Mr. and Mrs. Gallant had said that afternoon? Or was he thinking of the coming visitor, soon to invade their quaint home?

When the clock rang out at nine o'clock, he pushed his spectacles up to the top of his nose, and stood up. "All I know is, she better like it here, or else, out she goes." Then he marched down the hallway, each footfall emphatically marking his path across the wooden floor.

Martha's fingers let her yarn and hook fall into her lap. In spite of herself, she grinned.


Sharing Our Bookshelves {July 2012}

Here is the new book link-up for the month of July! I'm looking forward to seeing all your book reviews and other scribblings that concern the volumous topic of literature. Link up your posts all month long, my friends!

Sharing Our Bookshelves @ In the Bookcase