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My Progress:

14 / 30 books. 47% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

38 / 51 states. 75% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

32 / 50 books. 64% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

30 / 40 books. 75% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

19 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 73% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

87 / 165 books. 53% done!
Thursday, December 19, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite (Bookish) Things—Part 2

The day before leaving on a big trip is not my favorite.  Not.  At.  All.  I spend the day running around like a crazy woman trying to get everything together and wondering why the heck I thought traveling (with 4 kids, no less) would be a swell idea.  I'm still woefully behind on posting reviews, but that's just going to have to wait—we're hitting the road bright and early tomorrow morning, so I only have so much time today for anything besides trip prep.  I did want to post Part 2 of my favorite bookish things before I disappeared from the blogosphere, though.  I've got my priorities, you see.

Here we go, with four more of My Favorite (Bookish) Things:

1.  I love this quote by Dr. Seuss, especially when painted by Nicole DeFord.  I adore her whimsical style, which you can see on proud display at her Etsy shop, Jelly Bird Signs.  Nicole's fabulous to work with—she's fun, creative and does a beautiful job with all her pieces.  This gem was $30 (plus shipping):

I couldn't get a good picture of my sign (I had her customize mine by changing all the green words in the above sign to red) with my camera phone, so here's the one Nicole uses.  Isn't it the cutest sign?  Wouldn't it make a wonderful present for the book lover in your life (which might just happen to be you)?  Well, it's too late to order one in time for Christmas gift-giving, but who needs a reason to purchase something as lovely as this?

2.  Wouldn't it be nice to have your own, personal proofreader to edit everything you write before you print it off or send it out?  The Grammar Nazis in your life would surely appreciate the effort.  As would your audience, be it a professor, your boss at work, or the fortunate soul who plucks your manuscript out of the slush pile.

Proofreaders, sadly, are quite expensive to hire, especially to comb through everything you write.  So, some very clever folks out in California created Grammarly, an affordable, easy-to-use online proofreader that goes far beyond your word processing program's Grammar Check.  For a monthly fee, you can use it to scan all the documents you write—term papers, office memos, manuscript queries, newsletters, etc.  You simply import or cut and paste the text you want edited, hit enter and let the program do its job.  Within minutes, it will begin highlighting problem areas.  Not only does it show you potential errors, but it also explains the grammar/punctuation/style rules you may be violating.  If you're worried that you might be unintentionally poaching someone else's words, you can use Grammarly's Plagiarism feature to make sure you're giving credit where credit is due.  Another big plus to the program is that it points out stylistic no-no's, like redundant word choice and overuse of passive voice.  It also keeps track of your most common editing mistakes so that you can avoid making them in the future.

Want to try it out for yourself?  Go to, drag-and-drop some text into the box and, voilá, magic will happen.

Now, the big question is: how much does Grammarly cost?  You can get a 7-day trial for free.  After that, you choose a payment plan that works for your budget—the lowest one offers the program for $11.66/month.  Is it worth it?  If you do a lot of writing and don't have a ready, reliable editor to help you with the nitty, gritty details, then I'd say yes.  It really is a cool thing.

And, to appease the Grammarly gods, here's my attempt at a clever tag line:  I use Grammarly for proofreading because it makes me look smarter (and, believe me, I need all the help I can get)!

(P.S.  Although Grammarly is sponsoring this post by paying me a small fee, the opinions expressed are honest and my own.  I tried the program for myself and was impressed by its functionality.)

3.  Another of my favorite bookish things is my local indie bookstore, Changing Hands.  It's in Tempe, which is a bit of a drive for me, so I don't get there very often.  When I do, though, it's always a pleasant experience.  Not only does the store offer a great selection of new and used books, but it also hosts lots of fun events like book signings, writing workshops, and holiday events for the whole family.  The employees are knowledgeable, the store offers nice discount/frequent buyer incentives, and Changing Hands does a lot to give back to the community.  It's a wonderful business for many, many reasons.  

Because the Tempe store is so popular, Changing Hands plans to build another one in central Phoenix (not the East Valley—boo hoo!).  Store owners launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the project and recently reached their goal of raising $80,000.  Fundraising continues through December 24th, so if you want to contribute to a worthy cause this Christmas, consider this one.  You can also get fun merchandise when you donate, including T-shirts, tote bags, greeting cards, etc.

Here's the video Changing Hands created to announce the project:


4.  Since we're spending Christmas in the Motherland (that would be the Columbia River Gorge in Washington/Oregon, where I grew up) this year, we decided to do our own little family Christmas celebration before we leave.  On Monday, we had a nice dinner, read the story of Jesus' birth, discussed the "gifts" we've given Him this year, and then opened the presents under our (dry and dying) Christmas tree.  I was thrilled to find this, a present from my always-thoughtful mother-in-law, waiting for me:

It's a beautiful cookbook full of yummy-looking recipes that I can't wait to try out.  Anyone have a favorite?

So, there you have it, some bookish things that I've been lovin' on lately.  How 'bout y'all?  Any fun, bookish things caught your eye lately?  Don't keep your discoveries to yourself—I'd love to hear all about them!


  1. Ah, I am so glad that you like the recipe book! It looked like a good one. The sign is so cute. Where will you display it?


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