Posts Tagged ‘books’


And so it begins. While I still have a queue of books to get through that are Christian from Marcher Lord Press (The Restorer’s Son, Freeheads, Throne of Bones) after that, I am officially out of a reading pile for The Christian Manifesto. It’s a weird feeling, having nothing to review and at the same time, very liberating too. I talked with my editors, and they’ve decided to give me enough freedom to hang myself. I mean rope to play with. Something.

We  (The Christian Manifesto) want to do more secular market interviews and reviews. Unfortunately, we don’t have contacts for a lot of the secular publishing houses and that just stinks. Mainly because I’m bored and am tired of reading the tripe that is often handed out from the Christian* publishing companies. Now, there are a lot of hard-working people in those companies, but they’re still mass producing fiction tripe. And there’s only so much I can read before I start vomiting up plot points and sweating platitudes.  So it’s time to go to  the secular companies that also produce tripe, but at least a different flavor of it.

If you are a friend of mine on GoodReads, you have helped me pick out these books to try. If you aren’t a friend of mine on GoodReads, why not?! I’m constantly crowd sourcing for my next book to try. Find me and friend me.  You can do that by checking out the new widget over there on the side bar, and this ALSO lets you keep track with that I’m currently reading.

In fact, if you check back after I get ten or so answers from the  question I’m about to pose, you’ll SEE the results over there, in the book that I add to my shelf. Ready for that question? Of course you are!

Of the six books in the picture above (I’ll be nice and type them out too along with a link to their spot on Good Reads) which should I try after I finish my current queue? Or possibly interject into my queue?   Which of these titles peaks your  curiosity?

Tuesdays At the Castle by Jessica Day George
A Tale Dark and Grim by Adam Gidwitz
The Clockwork Three by Matthew J.Kirby
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

Let me know what YOU would like me to read from the above list in the comments below. Or, if you have other suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them.

* Marcher Lord Press is  not one of those turning out the tripe. I don’t always like what they produce, but their work is   always solid in its structure, tone, and editing.


Today began like any other day; one where I’m surrounded by  things I ought to do on one side, and things I want to do on the other.  In the middle of my procrastination (actually I’m still procrastinating by typing this up but I wanted to share and I have most of the review done in my head) I was discussing Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart with Megan, and went to grab my copy. I was all set  to happily thumb through the story I  love while encouraging her to read it. To my horror, pages fell out of the book.

Okay, so I got my copy in an omnibus edition, so it’s over forty years old, so I only paid a dollar for it at a library book sale. It falling apart in my hands is not acceptable!  Thankfully, I know someone who knows about bookbinding.

My Dad worked in a book bindery as a young man.

The first thing he tells me, is that this is a perfect bound book, not a folio binding.  The good news for the book, is that we can fix it. Folio bindings are a little more complicated than perfect, they’re stronger and more expensive too.

Before I go any further in my adventure in book repair, let me say that this is an amateur fix on a book  with the sole goal  being that I can read the tome without it falling to pieces.

All right, onward for the step-by-step how to perform perfect bound spine surgery.

Step 1: Acquire the help of someone who has some experience in bookbinding

This is very important. Without the aid of someone who has some experience in this, you could wind up with a mess.  So as tempting as it is, don’t go this one alone.  If you don’t know anyone who has experience in bookbinding (and it’s becoming somewhat harder to find those with this skill) click here for some advice. He has a great video series on book binding, and this shows how perfect binding is done.  Also, don’t try this with any book you can’t throw away. Remember, I’ve only got $1 invested in my book.

Step 2.: Acquire tools.

It’s important to use the right kind of adhesive with a perfect bound book. It needs to be able to flex and hold at the same time.  Most of the book pages are still holding together with the original glue which make the work simpler for us.  I also dabble in folio hand book binding and have some adhesive in the basement.


To apply the adhesive, we use a foam brush, the kind that most craft stores sell. I use these for mod pod too, and wait until the craft store puts them on sale for $0.10 each  then buy as many as I’m allowed to, usually there’s a 50 brush limit or something like that. A paper cup to put the glue into, a set of adjustable clamps, two pieces of scrap wood, and a vice are also needed to do this.


Step 3: Prep the book

Dad aligns the sections of the book that are still holding to the glue and cloth of the spine, then clamps the loose pieces to the top of the pile. This gives him a block of paper to work with that is stable.  It’s important to make certain all the pieces are even, because ones the glue sets its going to stay like this.


The pages here are clamped to the back of book, not to the workbench.  It takes several tries to get everything lined up as it should be and careful adjustments are made until he’s satisfied that the pages are right, not necessarily ramrod straight, but aligned. After all, I’m going to be opening this book and closing it quite a bit.

Step 4.) Apply the adhesive


Dad applies the adhesive with the foam brush, carefully coating both the paper edges, and the membrane that has become disconnected from them. Originally, after the paper was treated and glued the cloth was rolled over the naked spine and allowed to dry. We could cut the paper spine away and do the same but then we’d have to re-attach it using the proper tapes and that’s more work that either of us are interested in doing for this book. Carefully, Dad matches up the upper portion of the book with the lower now-glued portion, and I stroke/press the spine through the cover, making several passes to make sure that the cloth and pages have met and any excess glue is squeezed out and wiped away.

Step 5.)  Position the book in the vice and allow the glue to dry for 24 hours

The end piece  that you see dangling here  is not really connected to the pages, it’s a different piece of cloth than what I smooth through the spine. See how our alignment isn’t perfect?  And also note the chunks of text that you can clearly see even now that it’s in the vice. It won’t win any book beauty pageants, but then again, that isn’t the goal.  The goal is to have a repaired, readable tome.  And that, I have.  I’ll update this tomorrow with the last picture and the book open to the repaired section so you can see how it turned out. Until then, if you have any questions, post them below and I’ll pester Dad with them.   Also, if YOU have any tips for repairing books, post them in the comments below.

I know that Christmas is four weeks away, and that sounds like oceans of time, but it isn’t really. Because I work in a bookstore, and because books make amazing Christmas presents, I want to take a minute and give you some of my top-recommended books that you won’t find faced out on shelves or “pushed” by marketing machines.  They are fantastic, however, and you won’t want to miss them. Ready? Here we go.

Scarlet Inkwell’s Top Five Non-Fiction Books for Christians 2012:

Number One:

John Ortberg has long been a favorite of mine, and this book is the best he has ever written. It is a negative space look at Christ, focusing not so much on His life and ministry on Earth but how He literally transformed the arts,  sciences, literature, history, and cultures like no other person in the history of the world.  Ortberg builds powerfully towards his conclusion, making the claim that Jesus is no Man, but Someone much, much greater and supports the claim by pointing to  shape that He has left behind as proof.  This is one of the books I categorize in the thin stack of books that have both changed me, and the way that I look at the world.  It will encourage you, exhort you, surprise you, challenge you, and most of all make you catch your breath in wonder as Ortberg unveils this Man.

Number Two:

J. Lee Grady  is an ordained minister, a contributing editor to Charisma Magazine, and an award-winning journalist. In Fearless Daughters of the Bible he highlights the unusual, whimsical, dynamic, and daring women that the Lord uses to write His grand love story.

From daughters who boldly petitioned Moses for their own land as they had no brothers and they would receive no inheritance in the promised land because of this, to  Deborah who judged Israel, to Jael who seized an opportunity to dispatch an enemy who had claimed sanctuary in her husband’s tent, the women highlighted here are the ones that listened to Yahweh and not man. It’s a challenging read and if you allow it,  it will be an exhorting read as well.

Number Three:

Ever been pinned in a conversation by “If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?”, if you have then this book needs to fly to the top of your “must read” stack.  If you haven’t been caught in that kind of conversation, odds are you will soon. Trust me, it’s much more pleasant to have some ideas to offer back  when this come up then to just stammer and turn red in the face.

Geisler is a master of the art of explaining, taking huge theological concepts and breaking them down part by part to help you not only understand them yourself, but then explain them to others who have questions about good and evil.  The book isn’t long, and each chapter is self-contained so you don’t have to read the book cover to cover, though you might find yourself doing just that.

Number Four: 

If you listen to the CD The Story when it came out last year, you were probably floored by the amazing amount of talent on the CD. What you might not have known, is that most if not all the lyrics were written by one person, Nichole Nordeman

In her book Love Story, she does with printed words the same thing she did with the CD. Each Biblical person she highlights has their story woven  (both the dark and the light) into the grand and glorious tapestry of His story.  She does more than that though in these pages. Nichole shares from her own life, the dark and ugly as well as the flashes of brilliance, in an eloquent plea for every reader to see just how much they matter and just how much they are loved. After all this is His story, but He’s writing it because He loves us.  It really is a Love Story.

Number Five:

Robert Morgan has written several devotionals, but this is his finest. You can start the devotional any time, as the pages are simply labeled  Day One, Day Two,Day Three  etc.  Each takes a verse from the Bible using the word “all” in it. From this starting place Robert shares his own anecdotes, or amazing stories of the saints that have gone on before like Fanny Crosby, Charles Spurgeon,  and Dr. Livingston. Each story or idea ties into the scripture for that day and centers around that ‘all’ in the scripture.

There are prayers and psalms in it too, and thoughts from contemporary Christians as well as those that are now in the great cloud of witnesses. It is a deep devotional, but the readings for each day are short. I find myself reading two or three at a time, they’re so wonderfully meaty.

So, those are my top five non-fiction Christian titles for 2012. What books should I definitely NOT MISS this year? I’ve still got space on my Christmas list! C’mon, which titles have slipped by me? Let me know in the comments.

Some of you know that I’ve threatened to do this for months, mainly because the review site where I work  has a word limit for reviews. I can’t  go over 700 of them. Sometimes a book is just too good, or too awful, to be contained in a summary of 700 words.  At  Tome Raider Files, I’m also sharing with you where I found the book, why I bought or requested the book, and my reader’s relationship with the author (if we met, what other things of theirs I’ve read, and if I’ll give them another chance). So click over, and check it out!

I’ve not been a book reviewer long (a little over a month) and all ready I’ve gotten a bit of a rep as a “hard-nosed” one. That was something that I wasn’t expecting.  I mean I am a bit of a marshmallow/people pleaser. I want people to like me. As a writer I understand the time, and struggle that goes into a story. I expected to be one of the reviewers that were giving four and five-star reviews all the time. In fact, when I first applied for the position at The Christian Manifesto my editor asked me to do a “negative” review so they could see that I was capable of writing one.  I  surprised  when I wrote it, at how ardent I became as I pointed out flaws and disappointments in the work.   Looking back, I can see hints of what I am experiencing now; disappointment in a book feels like betrayal.

Maybe that’s at the heart of it, the reader  part of me feels betrayed when a book doesn’t live up to its hype or promise.

Even if this is the truth, I don’t want to hurt or damage the authors who have produced less than what was promised. I also don’t want people spending their hard-earned money and valuable time on a read that isn’t going to satisfy them.  What I need to do, is find a good balance between sharing my opinion of a book, and respecting the investment of time and talent the author has put into the work.

So, how do I do that?  I’m looking at you Millard, and you Kaleb and  you  Noah.  All of you who run blogs for book reviews and have reviewed for several years (or at least longer than I have been reviewing books) give me some tips and tricks. They are greatly appreciated.