June was named after the goddess Juno, a.k.a. Hera, wife of Jupiter/ Zues. Juno was the goddess of love and marital fidelity. Ever wonder why so many couples schedule June weddings? There you go. (The warm weather has nothing to do with it.) Unfortunately, Juno was married to one of the most practiced and enthusiastic philanderers in history. She earned the reputation of being something of a pistol– turning her sexual competitors into turtles, starting wars, stuff like that. Likewise, the month of June has its own stormy streak. We’ve had hail that could dent an armored tank, forest fires raging in the Eastern part of North Carolina, and highs in the upper nineties. Almost hot enough to bake a book.
1. What? Bake a Book? That’s right. Get out your oven mitts. It’s finally here: the cookable cookbook.
2. Books are the best teachers. They’re easy graders and they can teach you anything. Want to learn ninja mind control? Not a problem. Coffin prices got you down? Make your own. Books can also teach you more practical skills like how to be awesome.
3. In honor of the outrageously cool Sus Long, original Why-I-Love-Books mastermind: I’m going to sneak into her apartment in Oakland and install this bookshelf. And also this one. I’m hiring Don Cheadle to blow up her burglar alarms.
4. Books as an excuse to travel. A tour of Tuscany focused on Dante? Yes, Student Aid, that is ABSOLUTELY necessary to my educational experience. And once I’m on that side of the pond, I might as well make a grand tour of the best English bookstores in the world. If you’re already planning a trip, you can turn it into a literary excursion by entering your destination here– it’ll give you a whole list of books set in your chosen vacation spot.
5. Speaking of traveling. Who wants to road trip to Los Angeles with me? They’ve figured out a new way to combine my two favorite things in the universe: books and alcohol. I give you the library bar. Silk vest, pipe, and fake mustache are required.
6. Ode to Illustrations. I never outgrew picture books. The other day I was browsing the public library when a leather-bound, beautifully illustrated copy of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame practically threw itself into my arms. I still get a thrill when I turn the page and find a watercolor of Esmerelda dancing on Persian carpets. Beautiful stories and beautiful artwork go together like biscuits and gravy. Check out this online portfolio of gorgeous illustrations from fairy tales and folklore.
7. You’re never too old. For parents with a sense of humor, or for anyone who (like me) has yet to surpass the maturity level of a six-year-old, there are always childrens’ books for adults.
8. If Lady Gaga wrote a kid’s book. I smell a Newberry.
9. It doesn’t have to have pictures to be art. I really hate to see books defaced, but I have to admit this is pretty cool.
10. First loves. Remember your first romance with a book? Maybe it wasn’t a picture book. For me, it was The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall. I wrote a twenty-page fan fiction (that was a lot, in second grade) and started wearing a cloak to school. Since then, no relationship with a book has quite reached that level of obsession. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. In this brilliant essay, Tim Kreider argues that the reading we do as kids is more serious than any reading we’ll ever do again.
11. Harry. The final installment of the final Harry Potter movie hits theaters in 22 days. Not that I have a countdown taped above my bed or anything. At the risk of sounding corny, I’m going to say it: it feels like the end of an era. Ever since I started reading, there’s been a new Harry Potter book to look forward to. And then there was a new movie. And now there is only shattering nothingness. I’m going to need massive therapeutic intervention in the coming month. P.S. My birthday is August 31. Hint, hint.
Dear July, please cool off. Dear Juno, please don’t turn me into a goldfish for besmirching your name. Thanks.
– Jordan Castelloe, Blog Intern
Tags: Book Carving, Bookshelves, Carol Kendall, Children's Literature, Cory Godbey, Dante, Do-It-Yourself-Coffins, Don Cheadle, Harry Potter, Lady Gaga, Library Bar, Literary Travel, Los Angeles, Ninja Mind Control, The Brothers Grimm, The Gammage Cup, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tim Kreider, Tuscany, Victor Hugo