Books so gorgeous they just might turn me into a collector.

In Bloom collection Rifle Paper Co

I love books, but I’ve never been much of a collector.

Until now.

The universe is clearly conspiring to turn me into a collector of gorgeous classics.

folio

Of course—like so many book lovers—I’ve always admired beautiful collections of classics. I adore the Penguin clothbound collection, and their Drop Caps series. Barnes and Nobles puts out a lovely classics collection, and I’m over the moon for anything from The Folio Society.

I could never decide on which series to start with, so I never did.

But recently, I’ve discovered several smaller collections that are so drool-worthy I had to snatch them up. Or at least add them to my Christmas list.

Anne of Green Gables Carmichael's

It started with this beautiful edition of Anne of Green Gables I saw at our local children’s bookstore. I was overcome with Book Lust.

Then I found out it was part of a small collection of classics done by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Company.

I came home and ordered the whole set.

Puffin in Bloom stacked

(After all, Jack was about to start Anne of Green Gables in school, and Sarah was about to start Heidi. We were already halfway there….)

Anne of Green Gables flyleaf

the inside cover of Anne of Green Gables. Anne and Diana! little picket fences for Josie Pye to walk! Gilbert Blythe!

But then.

Then I asked the library to send me The Blue Castle, because my copy is AWOL and I was itching for a re-read. (Two words: we moved.) The library fulfilled my request with this gorgeous new edition.

I was intrigued.

I did some digging, and found out the cover was done by Canadian artist Jacqui Oakley. She’d been commissioned to do new covers for The Blue Castle and several other L. M. Montgomery books, and they were released last April.

Montgomery covers

I want them all, but I only ordered Jane of Lantern Hill. My justification: it was the one book of the series I hadn’t read, even though several fans I know cite it as their favorite Montgomery novel. Despite their devotion, it had been out of print until these editions rolled off the presses last April. I’ve never read it, and the library doesn’t have it.

(Sometimes, a book nerd has to do what a book nerd has to do.)

I also discovered that Oakley was commissioned to do new covers for all the Anne books (well, all but Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside, which is a shame: I would love to see how she would draw Rilla!)

Oakley Anne of Green Gables

I’m still swooning over these, but I haven’t ordered them—yet. I’m still waiting for my Anne books to turn up. If they don’t, and maybe even if they do, I’m snatching up this collection for my personal bookshelves.

I would tell you I’m not really into “stuff,” and I’m not much of a collector, but reading—and displaying—these gorgeous classics has been all kinds of delightful. I’ve always said I’m not a book collector, but maybe that’s because I hadn’t met the right books. These small but perfect collections are making me change my mind.

Luckily, Christmas is coming. Because my wish list is filling up fast.

I know many of you are book lovers, and some of you are collectors. I’d love to hear your thoughts about collecting—the good, the bad, and the ugly—in comments. 

My new little book page pumpkin.

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

(Warning: if you’re horrified at the idea of ripping a book to shreds in the name of a cutesy DIY project, you should maybe stop reading right about now.)

As a book lover but not a literary purist, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at some kind of book art for ages. I have my sights set on beautiful (and intimidating) Christmas creations, but somehow the stakes seem much lower for fall crafting.

Fall, as a general rule, is forgiving. And pumpkins are round-ish. And with those two encouraging thoughts, I dove in.

I started by picking up a copy of Shopaholic Ties the Knot at my library’s book sale for $0.25. My first choice—based on size, shape, and my visceral reaction to gutting a perfectly decent paperback—was a trashy romance novel. But then I realized that even if you hack a book to pieces and stretch it like a fan, you can still read the words. My little book page pumpkin could very well end up on the kitchen table if it turned out cute enough, and I didn’t want my kids reading sex scenes—even fragmented ones—over breakfast.

(I still haven’t read anything by Sophie Kinsella, but I fully intend to one of these days. Sounds like summer reading to me.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

Once I had my book in hand, I free-handed a pumpkin template, based on that little ceramic pumpkin in the picture above.

Then it was time to get started in earnest.

I splayed the book out wide, right down the middle, and traced my pumpkin template onto the book’s pages. Working 10-15 pages at a time, I used sturdy craft scissors to cut out the pumpkin shape.

(Note: remove the book’s cover first. I didn’t, because I expected the cover to give my pumpkin shape and body. It turns out that the cover just gets in the way.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

It worked just fine, but took longer than I thought it would. If you’re the planning-ahead sort, I highly recommend a little $4 X-acto knife instead of scissors.

(Related: I found you can really manhandle the book and it still won’t fall apart.)

When I was done cutting, I stood the pages on end and fanned them out to form a globed shape, then used a hot glue gun to secure. (Basically, I used the hot glue to attach page 1 to page 300.) Photo squares or glue dots would also work just fine for a book this size.

My newly-formed pumpkin looked a little lopsided at this point. I fluffed it a bit by using my fingers to spread the pages out evenly, then reinforced my work in a dozen or so places with thin lines of carefully applied hot glue.

To tint it gently orange, I gave it a quick spray with Krylon spray paint (in Bauhaus gold, because that’s what I had on hand).

After I finished with the spray paint, I grabbed a twig out of the backyard, snipped it down to size, and attached with hot glue. Then I added a bow for good measure.

This little pumpkin is now happily sitting in my entry, with a velvet pumpkin and a real one from Trader Joe’s, on a little demilune table the Nester inspired me to drag up from the basement. (I am loving her 31 days series on vignettes. This is my favorite post so far, for obvious reasons.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

Now I have Christmas book crafting on the brain. Trees, angels, and ornaments here I come. Wish me luck?

Have you seen any book are projects? I’d love to hear all about them in comments.

Linking up with Thrifty Thursday.

Giveaway: win a set of three novels for your autumn reading

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall giveaway

Heads up, readers. Today’s giveaway is for you.

To celebrate the launch of Sarah Ladd’s new novel A Lady at Willowgrove HallHarper Collins Christian Publishing is helping you stock your bookshelves by giving away three sets of novels to three lucky readers.

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is a brand-new Regency romance from three-time novelist Sarah Ladd. It’s the third novel in Ladd’s Whispers on the Moors series (don’t worry, they needn’t be read in order).

Ladd challenges pre-conceived notions of what a Regency heroine looks like, and her writing is strongly influenced by Austen and Brontë. The novel is thoroughly of its time, but the love story is gentle enough to pass on to your favorite tween girl after you’ve read it yourself.

Winning one book is nice, but more is better when it comes to books, so three lucky winners will each win a set of these three books:

• A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah Ladd

The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen (part of her Sunset Beach series)

The Butterfly and the Violin, Kristy Cambron’s award-winning debut. (I’m reading this right now; it reminds me of The Girl You Left Behind.)

To enter, just leave a comment. Giveaway ends Sunday, October 19 at midnight Eastern time.

The fine print: Entrants must be 18 or older, U.S. only. (I’m sorry! I’d gladly pay to ship outside the border if you won, but it’s a legal thing.) Three winners will be chosen via random.org, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. Employees and contractors of Harper Collins Christian Publishing are ineligible. (Sorry!) 

What I’m reading: spiritual memoirs and historical fiction

twitterature October 2014

This month’s twitterature post is sponsored by HarperCollins Christian Publishing.  

Welcome to twitterature, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of every month.

I’ve been consciously choosing to read something other than Outlander this month (or this would be a very boring installment of twitterature). I’ve been breaking up my binge reading with modern fiction and spiritual memoirs—because hey, why not?

SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD: HOW I PASSIONATELY SOUGHT HAPPINESS AND ACCIDENTALLY FOUND IT

by Jennifer Fulwiler

something other than GodI love Jen’s blog, and enjoyed finally reading the book I’d heard so much about over there. (Important: this is not regurgitated blog content!) Jen is well-spoken, insightful, and really, really funny, and this memoir treats the heavy and the light with wit and grace. If you love a good conversion story, don’t miss this one.

VOYAGER

by Diana Gabaldon

VoyagerThis is the 3rd book of the Outlander series, and it’s impossible to say much of anything about it without dishing spoilers left and right. Just know that I am very much still enjoying this series.

SUN SHINE DOWN

by Gillian Marchenko

sun shine downAfter meeting Gillian in person last week, I bumped her slim memoir to the top of my list. Marchenko and her husband were living in Ukraine when she gave birth to baby #3; to their surprise, she had Downs Syndrome. This is her story of coming to terms with their family’s new life. Gripping story, excellent writing. Marchenko has a second book in the works about depression, faith, and motherhood, and I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out.

A LADY AT WILLOWGROVE HALL

by Sarah Ladd

the lady at willowgrove hallA new release: this just hit the shelves October 7. Ladd’s third Regency romance tells a sweet story, and she does a good job impressing the era’s moral code—and its implications—on her readers. This was easy-reading chick lit; I polished it off in two days. Try as I might, I cannot convince my daughters that the woman on the cover isn’t Emma.

HOLY IS THE DAY: LIVING IN THE GIFT OF THE PRESENT

by Carolyn Weber

Holy is the dayI absolutely loved the excerpt Carolyn read from this at the Festival of Faith and Writing, and I ordered the book soon after. I liked the flow of this one better than her conversion story Surprised by Oxford, but I’m wondering if that’s because her second book is better written (as second books usually are), or because now that I’ve met her in person I can hear Caro reading the book in her own voice. Best read a few pages at a time.

What have you been reading lately?