Author Interviews, Bookish Radness

An Interview with Jack Neary & Litographs

When I love a book, I LOVE a book. Shocking right? 🙂 I’m sure y’all know what I’m talking about. When there’s a way to share my love of said favorites, I tend to jump at the chance. Mainly because the world needs to know of the awesomeness found on those lovely pages.

Enter in Litographs, another fabulous bookish company that provides just the opportunity!

Art From Books

Every Litograph design emerges from the text of a book. Just as the words on the pages of your favorite novel come alive in your imagination, our products are designed to illustrate the memorable characters and scenes rooted in text and imitated on stage.

We work closely with professional artists to create a new visual experience for classic and contemporary works alike. From a distance, the artwork illustrates a theme, character, or setting from each book’s descriptive pages. Move closer and the text becomes fully legible.

Lucky for me, Jack from Litographs took some time to share more about the company, so enjoy!

1. How did Litographs get started? Where did the idea come from?
Litographs has always been a means for celebrating the relationship between a reader, authors and the books that brought them together. We felt like there was no better way to do so than by using the actual text of these books and we want each design to act as a conversation starter around that book and literacy more broadly.

2. Now there’s voting for new shirts that come out – has that always been the case or did the first shirts come from favorites?
We started with classics and now that we’re incorporating more contemporary works, the voting platform is helpful for letting us know what books are favorites within our community of readers as well as demonstrating to authors how popular their books would be as Litographs.

3. Speaking of favorites, do you have a favorite classic?
On any given day, one of us will be wearing The Great Gatsby or Darwin’s On The Origin of Species in the office. My personal favorite is Walden.

4. Tell me a bit more about the artists you work with.
We’ve been privileged to work with many talented artists in the past, artists who care just as much as we do about the books they’re illustrating. Even more exciting is the recent addition of Benjy Brooke as our Creative Director. He’s responsible for creating our original six designs and you’ll see many more designs from him soon.

5. I’d love to hear more about the connection with the International Book Bank. How did that partnership start and how does Litographs support them?
Our founder, Danny, has been on the IBB’s Board of Directors almost as long as he’s been making art from books. What drew us to the organization is their modus operandi of not just sending books en masse, but fulfilling a demonstrated need. For example, they might send a set of textbooks so that everyone in a class can follow a lesson together. For every Litographs product purchased, we help send one of those books to a community in need.

6. What are you reading right now?
I just wrapped up a long summer of Infinite Jest and am looking forward to starting The Art of Fielding next.

7. Please tell me Lord of the Rings is the next release :).
We’d love to add LOTR to our collection! Licensing contemporary favorites is something we’re actively pursuing and Mr. Tolkien’s works are a high priority. The next release we’re excited about is The Time Traveler’s Wife and we hope to squeeze in a few other favorites before the end of the year.

4 Questions

1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
That going to work would mean spending days solving problems and creating really cool art from books with three of my best friends.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
If changing anything in my past would spit out a present day that was any different than this one, I wouldn’t do it.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Trading in business casual for shorts and a Litographs t-shirt.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
The joy of thumbing through dog-eared pages in a book you’ve read a hundred times.

Thank you so much Jack! I appreciate you taking the time to stop by :). So are you convinced yet to buy all the shirts, totes and prints? You’re welcome! Or maybe I should say sorry instead 🙂

Where to find Litographs on the web
Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Bookish Radness, Inklings

You don’t like Lord of the Rings? This Post is For You.

I like to think I have an open mind. I can debate with others who share completely different opinions from my own without getting fiery or feisty. Healthy debate is a good thing. Why? It helps you really understand why you value and believe what you do and you can learn a thing or two from other people.

Unless we’re discussing one thing. Then I have no choice but to inwardly (and quite possibly outwardly) judge you. What topic would cause such a dramatic reaction you ask? Must be one of the hot topics right? Religion or politics si? Nope, this goes much deeper readers.

Much much deeper.

We’re talking about Lord of the Rings* internet. Lord.of.the.Rings.

When someone tells me they don’t like Lord of the Rings, I’m a bit taken aback at first.

Say wha????

So I am here to make my confessions. I can’t help but possibly think some (or all) of these things when I encounter one of those lonely souls who doesn’t seem to enjoy my beloved Middle Earth.**

1. I don’t trust you.
Or anything you might say.

2. If we’re related, I question our blood connection.
Neither my parents or brother enjoy this type of genre, thus they aren’t fans of this EPIC, AWESOME AND LIFE-CHANGING story. As I’ve mentioned before, this has led me to believe I’m actually adopted from Middle Earth and they are hiding this from me. The only other explanation is they simply don’t like them and I’m not sure I can emotionally handle that yet. Now I know how Smeags felt.

3. I’m going to assume you hate friendship and love.
Because that’s what Middle Earth adventures are made of. If you want to be a murderer of love and happiness, well, to each his own. But I also have to ask, do you also hate puppies? Sunsets? Chocolate??? Because that’s what it feels like. Forget stabbing me in the back, just go right to the front. Why you’re at it, punch me in the face too.

4. I’m also going to assume you have plans to take over the world since you, as mentioned above, obviously hate friendship and love.
I should just start calling you Sauron now. But it’s cool, I’ve got arrow wielding friends.

5. I unfortunately can’t invite you to all of the things that happen in the cool kids’ circle.
I may or may not have thrown extremely awesome Middle Earth type get togethers in the past. Show up at my door with Frodo haterade?! Well then…

6. I might not show it, but you’re crushing my heart.
I can only handle so much of the world speaking crimes against Tolkien. But it’s cool, crying is healthy.

7. I’m going to need you to please provide legitimate reasons for not liking my Middle Earth.
If you don’t like Lord of the Rings because you were once attacked by a Hobbit, I can give you that. But if say you adore certain reality television or reading 50 Shades of Grey instead, well….I can only weep for you and all of humanity.

But if none of these apply to you and you’re Team Middle Earth, then if we’re ever in the same town, let’s pull a Merry and Pippin kay?!

*This also applies to all things The Hobbit and Narnia.
**This is all in jest of course! But only kinda. J.K….j…..k…..

What have I missed fellow fans? Also, if you aren’t a fan – what is it about the series you don’t like? I promise I’m genuinely curious as I know not everyone is a fantasy fan :). Also, if you want to join in the monthly Inklings series, I’d love to have you join! You can find all the details here!

Bookish Radness

The 10 Step Thought Process of A Booknerd

People often ask why someone with so many books keeps buying them. Maybe a look into my thought process will help explain it. 😉

Step 1: No, I won’t buy it. I have 387 books in my TBR pile. So no. I don’t need another book.

Step 2: Wait…it’s on sale? Well, maybe I’ll think about it…..NO! I won’t do it. I’m walking away from the computer.

Step 3: Why won’t my feet move?

Step 4: Alright, I’ll comprise Self. If I finish at least two books this week, I can come back and get it.

Step 5: I don’t know, I’m here and ready to go…I don’t want to be accused of wasting precious time.

Step 6: I need to make a decision. I guess I’ll check Twitter while I’m pondering this.

Step 7: Dash it! Look at all these glowing reviews from my blogging friends! Who am I not listen to their advice? They’re my friends!

Step 8: If I buy it, I’m supporting someone’s livelihood. That makes me a contributor to the betterment of the world. How can I say no to that? I’m not a cruel or unloving person.

Step 9: Plus, the cover looks so pretty and the author looks nice. I like nice people.

Step 10: And when it comes down to it, what’s one more book right? Here we go then! Time to “Confirm Purchase!”

There you have it. That’s why us readers can’t stop buying books.

What else can I say?
Bookish Radness

Why I Write About Books and Bookish Things

I could make this blog post rather short by answering with a simple “why not blog about books?” response, but that wouldn’t be as much fun! So without further ado, here’s the top five reasons I write about all things books!

1. Free books: Getting free books in exchange for my honest reviews is the same thing as getting paid for me. Why? The money I might make from it (if publishers did that, but they don’t. Something about it being illegal..whatevs), would go on books anyway, so it all equals out in the end. But for real, I love it. Whenever I get the monthly email from Bethany House Publishing or Litfuse for upcoming releases to request, it’s a little something like STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOIN’, CAUSE I’M ABOUT TO RUIN.. you bet that email always gets the quickest response. So yeah, free books make me happy.

Free books? Yeeeeaaahhh!

2. I can say I use my college degree. I paid beacuop for my education*, so I count this type of writing as journalism, thus putting those years to work. I do love writing though, even if it’s not in the “traditional” sense, so thank you world wide web and WordPress for making that a possibility.

3. I get to act like I’m friends with my favorite authors. Thanks to social media and the internet it’s so easy to connect with authors! And if they respond to a tweet or something on Facebook, y’all I feel like I’m famous. But if I ever had the chance to actually meet them in person, we all know what would happen

4. The community. Oh, you love books? You know we’re best friends now right? Just like I love talking sports, I love talking books. Yes please!

So yeah, connecting with fellow bloggers and readers and such for the sole purpose of sharing our love of literature…All day baby..all day!

5. It makes my heart happy. When someone tells me they read a book I recommended and loved it – I feel like my life mission is complete.

You like the book I recommended????

I love the power of story, so sharing it and people getting something from it is such a blessing. I know, I’m a cheese ball.

And if this blog ever gets me a job? Y’all..I will pass.out.

How about you? Do you blog? If it’s about books or cats (no judgement) or whatever, I’d love to know your heart behind it! And if you don’t blog, but follow along, I’d love to hear some of your favorite blogs!

*While an education at Azusa Pacific was rather costly I wouldn’t trade those years for anything!

Bookish Radness

These Are My Confessions (All 7)

Anyone else start singing/dancing to Usher’s Confessions Part II when reading the title to this post? You wouldn’t be alone if you did, just so you know!

But here they are internet…my confessions.

Of the booknerd sort. Sorry TMZ.

1. I have yet to watch a book trailer (Wait, I just lied, I’ve watched the two that have been posted on my blog). More accurate would be I’ve never felt compelled to watch them. It’s not that I hate them, more so it only takes an intriguing description or trusted recommendation for me to want to pick it up.

2. There’s some “classics” I refuse to read or I have endured them and hate them. My friend, Brooke, reminded me of this with a book known as Wuthering Heights. Are there some good quotes? A few. But y’all…de.press.ing (fans of this book, let’s still be friends k?). Another one? Kafka. Please tell me how a person turning into a cockroach is revolutionary in literature. I’m all ears.

I shall stop now, lest you think I really don’t like books.

3. I have a hard time adding star ratings to books. If I don’t really like a book, I feel like a horrible person. I know it’s ridiculous because there’s no way I’ll connect with every book, but I can’t help but think of how much work the person put into it. Unless it’s Moby Dick or one of the aforementioned classics, then I have no qualms about ripping that a new one ;). But seriously, when amazon makes you pick stars… PEOPLE TOO MUCH PRESSURE. I know a 4 Star, even 3 is still good, but man never thought picking stars would be so hard.

I know it’s simply my personality. In college, I was the Sports Editor for our newspaper my senior year and I had a weekly column called Lap’s Low Down (go ahead and be amazed at the decisions of my youth). I loved the position, but I found it impossible to be “mean.” Like when one of our teams lost to the last place team in the league, I couldn’t bring myself to write a column about it (which would have been easy to get a laugh out of it). All bets off when it comes to professional teams though. Don’t mess with my boys in purple and gold (Lakers) or my Who Dat boys! Bring it on Seattle.

4. This has been mentioned before, but I’m going to toss it in again. I want to punch Movie Tie-in Book Covers in the wrists. I don’t know what it is, maybe I see them as posers. Kinda like Little Debbie’s Cloud Cakes. Nice try, but those aren’t Twinkies.

5. I’m not a fan of novellas. They end too fast. I understand that’s the whole point, but still…

6. This has nothing to do with reading (well kinda) but I’ve had about four sips of coffee in my life and all were horrible. So when I’m reading, I prefer my tea.

7. I prefer covers that don’t have models on them, more specifically when you can see their faces. You may have already guessed this from this previous blog, but I thought I would discuss this one a bit more. You see, I love art. If someone wanted to pay me to get a Master’s Degree I would get two ;). Finish my one in History and add an Art History one. The depth of emotion a beautiful piece of art can invoke (Impressionism is one such style) is one reason I love it so much. So when a cover has these artistic elements, to me, it reveals the heart of the novel. I love when I can get the vibe of the novel with a simple glance at the cover.

Plus, I always develop my own ideas of how a character looks, so give me mysterious over anything else. I also admit I’m a font snob. There, I said it.

I feel like a rebel writing this confession, since the genre I read the most (Christian fiction) uses models more than any other genre I read. Which on a side note, I’m really curious why. Any publishers out there want to chime in? Is it to separate genres? I’m genuinely curious. (My friend Rel has a fabulous discussion about this by the way. Check it out here!)

Here’s a few quick ones I love:

Will covers with models stop me from reading my favorite authors? NEVER! 😉 But I do have to admit I find myself being hesitant on occasion with authors I don’t know. Sorry y’all – who knew I was on such a book cover mission!

Alright, now that I’ve shared, I want to hear from you! Do any of these vibe with you? Or maybe you totally disagree! This is a safe place, I want to hear! What confessions would you add?

Bookish Radness

9 Ways To Tell You’re a Booknerd

The world of blogs, facebook and pinterest has helped me realize that I’m not alone. There are millions in the world who love reading just as much as I do, so why not create a list about it? So here’s 9 way to tell you’re a booknerd.

  1. You have a blog about books
  2. You talk about characters as if they are real people in every day conversation
  3. You give up a Friday night with friends to finish a book
  4. You stay up until 3:00 a.m. on a work night (or school night) to finish a book knowing you will curse yourself when your alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m.
  5. You may have been in line at Borders (at midnight) for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
  6. You have a journal exclusively for book quotes
  7. On more than one occasion finishing a book was more important than eating.
  8. You hope they’ll come out with a water proof Kindle soon so you can read while in the shower
  9. You attempt to clean out your book shelf and get rid of exactly zero books.

What others have I missed?!?

Book Reviews, Inklings

Kicking it Off With Some Clive Staples | A Look at Mere Christianity

One of my favorite authors is C.S. Lewis. His creativity and writing style captivate me. I love reading the Chronicles of Narnia at least once a year. Powerful themes of life and love, yet incredibly enjoyable too.

I first read Mere Christianity when I was a teenager and while I remember enjoying it, I don’t really think I grasped a majority of it. So I figured it was time to read it again. I should have a better understanding at 30 right? I’m glad I did. While written in 1943 (and in Britain no less :)), there’s still so many provoking thoughts and ideas.

I’m not sure how any of these blog posts will go (let’s be honest, this is my second post), but I’m sure each one will look nothing like that last. So to kick off my first official “book review,” here’s some of the quotes I thought were worth highlighting.

“Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out—as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago.”

“It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.”

“Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also that only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

“Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next, the Apostles themselves, who set foot on the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

“If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”

What’s your favorite(s) of Mr. Lewis?