The Night Circus: For the Creative Book Club

More Books

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”  – Oscar Wilde

cover

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.  But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.  True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.”  (Excerpted from:  http://erinmorgenstern.com/)

Do you need a great pick for your next book club?  Look no further…

The Night Circus is a magical book that will have your group talking into the night!  Without a doubt, it will be like no other book you’ve read before!  If you want to get creative, there are so many fun things you can do to make your guests feel as if they have entered:         Le Cirque des Rêves.

Invitations:  Most book clubs are pretty informal, but if you want to make this meeting a little more enticing, try coming up with a unique, circus themed invitation.  Check out these ones from Zazzle.  Not only are they circus-themed, but they are black, white and red – just like everything in the book!

black_white_circus_tent_with_red_ticket_birthday_invitation-rcc36fa3942de4545a2a683549b61b568_8dnm8_8byvr_512Be sure to invite your guests to wear Night Circus inspired clothing:  black, white, and of, course red!  As the Rêveurs, they should definitely wear a lovely red scarf!  This outfit is from Restyle, and it may be a little over the top.

754_3The gals in my book club would probably opt for something a little more casual, but we all love scarves!  This ruffled one from Etsy’s Maha Maha creations has a fun, circus-vibe, don’t you think?

il_570xN.430267579_8qsnDecorations:  Without a doubt, the decorations for your Night Circus party could  be out of this world.  However, if you have a real life, and can’t spend a fortune on decorations, here are a few ideas!

There were so many interesting tents at the circus, you could simply try to re-create one of them.  One of my favorite tents was “The Wishing Tree.”  Check out this tree from Kaboodle.  Wouldn’t it be fun to let your guests make a wish and light a candle, just like in the book?

large-71-metal-candle-tree-145One of the tents was papered with playing cards. It would be simple and easy to create a fun, playing-card garland to drape on the food table or across your fireplace.  This one came from Etsy’s Country Chiq.

il_570xN.310842110

One of the most memorable tents was the Ice Garden.  Beautiful decorations could be made from clear vases, crystal-like accents, or perhaps these actual ice vases from HGTV.

ice_vase_2_lgOther decorating ideas that would fit with the book are:  mirrors, candles, bird cages, feathers, etc.

Food:  There are so many yummy foods that the characters enjoyed at the circus:  caramel corn, caramel apples, cinnamon twists, mulled cider and of course, the gourmet midnight dinners were feasts accompanied by decadent cakes and chocolate covered strawberries!  However, my favorite food at the carnival were the chocolate mice.  According to author, Erin Morgenstern, the mice were inspired by these ones from L.A. Burdick. Aren’t they adorable?

MiceTriangleThere are numerous chocolate mice recipes online.  Try this one from All Recipes.

133081Wouldn’t it be fun to let your guests enjoy yummy food on these amazing plates from Pottery Barn?  Perhaps you can find (or make) something similar!  The clock at the circus is an important part of the story, and time is something that affects the characters dramatically.  These would be perfect!

img15bPerhaps you want to add more circus flair by picking up some vintage popcorn bags from Etsy shop Spiral Sage.

il_570xN.392769785_kowe

Activity: Many of the characters relied on the fortune telling abilities of Isobel, who discovered the secrets of others while keeping a very big secret about herself!  Set up a fun fortune teller’s table.  Get an “8-Ball” toy, buy a pack of Tarot Cards, spread out some tea-leaves. See what kind of fun you and your friends can have telling the future!  Sycamore Street Press has a lovely origami fortune teller party favor!  Remember these from when you were a kid?

fortune teller closedunnamed

Discussion:  Well, we all hope that our book club gatherings end up with at least a little bit of discussion about the book, right?  Author, Erin Morgenstern, recommends the questions provided from the publisher at Random House.

Favors:  You probably couldn’t help going a bit overboard for this book club gathering, so why not send your guests off with a small token of your time together?  I think they would all love to settle in with a gooey caramel apple and your next book selection, don’t you? These ones are from Matisse Chocolatier, but you can try your hand at making your own!

applechocolateMissing Pieces Studio makes beautiful charms like this circus inspired beauty!

il_570xN.413758839_6ggdI hope your Night Circus book club gathering is as magical as the book. It just might last until midnight!

For the Creative Book Club: “The Thirteenth Day of Christmas”

More Books, More Crafts, More Decorating

“Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.”  –C.S. Lewis

(This is a quote from the book.  Marva gives Charlee’s dad his own special apron with this saying to honor his penchant for storytelling.)

“This new Christmas novel by New York Times bestselling author Jason F. Wright is filled with laughter, tenderness, and of course, hope as these delightful characters watch an old Christmas favorite turn into a  true Christmas miracle.”  Shadow Mountain Press

I recently reviewed this book for my upcoming article in Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas.  It’s not too early to start thinking about a good book for your book club’s holiday gathering!  This book is a fast read, and would be perfect for the busy season when many of us are caught up with holiday preparations.  So, if you want to make your next book club gathering extra-special…. here are some fun ideas!

Food: 

One of Marva’s favorite aprons from her collection was embroidered with the quote, “If life gives you lemons, throw them through the candy shop window and grab some taffy.” That’s not the only reference to candy in the book! Charlee’s father describes her hair as the color of “Hershey’s Kisses.”  Miss Marva fills her advent calendar with gumdrops (except for the 26th day, of course). Oh, and Charlee receives some yummy Milk Maid caramels as one of her secret gifts. Why not fill some sweet little candy dishes with saltwater taffy, Kisses, gumdrops and caramels and place them around the room for your guests to enjoy?

If your plan is to just serve munchies, don’t forget to fill some big bowls with popcorn.  After all, Marva and Charlee spent a beautiful afternoon decorating for Christmas which included stringing, and eating, popcorn!

If you want something more substantial, and you don’t want to try to recreate Miss Marva’s entire Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings, perhaps you would like to make “Anything Goes Nachos” that the Alexander’s they enjoy when Charlee comes home from the hospital.

Decor:  This one’s easy!  Since the book is a Christmas story, it’s fitting to decorate for the holidays. However, in the book, it’s important for Marva to have Christmas lights and her nativity, so you won’t want to forget these.

In decorating for this book, you absolutely MUST have an advent calendar.  Can you find one with 26 days?  If so, that would be the ultimate tribute to Marva and Charlee!  If you don’t have one, perhaps you might want to splurge and give yourself an early gift.  The one pictured here is available from WilliamMarie Designs on Etsy.  Check it out!

Any decorations that pay homage to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” would also be appropriate.  I might not be able to resist this set of drinking glasses from The Sisters Pick on Etsy.

Finally, Miss Marva is very proud, both of her apron collection, and also her habit of hanging her clothes on the line to try.  How about hanging a string or wire across an open area, and using clothespins to display a collection of vintage aprons, or perhaps some cute ones made with lovely scrapbook paper.  Better yet, have each guest come to the meeting wearing an apron of her choice – with a prize for the one that Miss Marva would have appreciated the most!  Like this one from CreativeMama213 on Etsy….

Or this one from Sweet Magnolia’s Farm

Discussion:

* Let everyone in the group share a special holiday tradition.  Each of us has such unique and special ways to honor the season.  Why not share them with others?
*Talk about the ways you can, or already do, extend the attitude of Christmas beyond December 25.
*Tell about a special adult mentor or friend who made a difference to you when you were young.

Activity: 

In Charlee’s family, it was a birthday tradition to gather after dinner, and before cake, to say something that they had learned that year from the person celebrating his or her birthday.  This would be a fun, easy activity for book club.  Have each person choose another member of the group and share something they learned from her this past year.

Ask each member of the club to bring a gift inspired by the Traveling Elves during the “Thirteen Days of Christmas.”  Gather these gifts and deliver them to a children’s Christmas charity in your community.  What could they bring?  Rubber ducks, stuffed toy dogs, kazoos, a Big Bird stuffed animal, purple gloves, or perhaps even a stuffed monkey like Charlee’s beloved Melvin.

Gifts/Favors:

I’m sure everyone in your group would be honored to receive a lovely apron with a cute or wise saying on it.  Each time they put it on, they would be reminded of Marva and her selfless acts of kindness.  Or, you could create some of these mini-aprons from the blog Hostess with the Mostess in Christmas fabric and they could be used as little favors.

Feeling Crafty?  I’ll bet you could make something simple and special with these charms from Etsy shop Jewel Be Charmed.

Final Thoughts:

I hope your book club will enjoy this heartwarming book during this holiday season.  Ideally, each person who reads it will be inspired to do something kind for someone in need, and if it leads to your own version of the “Thirteen Days of Christmas”  all the better!  Perhaps a new tradition will begin this year — as a tribute to Marva Ferguson!

I hope you and your book club will enjoy this sweet, holiday story.  I would love to hear from you about your group’s discussion, and whether or not any of these creative ideas worked for you!  Happy Reading, and Happy Holidays!

Photo Credits:  <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/veggiefrog/2145862702/”>veggiefrog</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/unprose/67242158/”>unprose</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastian_bergmann/334297130/”>Sebastian Bergmann</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/375042268/”>Thomas Hawk</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mukumbura/4180968389/”>Mukumbura</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

The Art of Reading with Mandy from “Little Maison”

The Art of Reading

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”   –Jane Austen

What I love about visiting blogs is that I can connect with like-minded folks with whom I never would have met otherwise.  Case-in-point…. my new friend, Mandy.  Mandy’s blog, Little Maison, is a lovely feast of art, photography, fashion, decorating, and more.  I love absolutely everything she hunts and gathers for her readers! How lucky I am to be able to admire her work, as Mandy lives in Queens, New York, and I live in northwest Montana.  While I have been appreciating all of her inspiration –  from vintage wedding attire, locally-made chocolate bunnies, eclectic artwork, beautiful interiors and more… it was her love of books that caught my eye.  Mandy is another creative soul who also loves to read, and like me, collect and display beautiful books.  It’s all about home for Mandy…. as it is for many of us (from Montana to New York, and everywhere in-between!)  I hope you will drop in to visit her “little maison.”  I know you will be as enamored as I am!

Blog:  Little Maison                                                      Facebook:              http://facebook.com/littlemaison

Twitter:                       http://twitter.com/mylittlemaison

What creativity do you share with the world   I have been in the event planning and marketing industry for 14 years, which is creative but has limitations.  I just recently started the blog and it’s been the best thing I’ve done in years!  It satisfies my love of writing, photography, fashion and home!

  • Book OR e-reader?  Book – but I am a new Nook owner as well!
  • Buy OR lend from the library?  Buy.  Perhaps it’s the “collector” in me, but I just love purchasing and displaying books for my home.
  • Hardcover OR paperback?  Paperback.  Hardcovers are too heavy for subway reading in New York City!
  • One book at a time OR several?  I was always a one-book-at-a-time gal until recently when I dabbled in a few memoirs at once and loved it!
  • Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? Oh, I would like to say patient, but I totally skip ahead!
  • Bookmark or fold over the page corner? Folding corners, always
  • Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? Abandon.  I can’t sit still for a book that won’t hold my interest.
  • Laugh OR cry?  I’d much rather laugh with a book, but a good cry from time to time is okay too.
  • Cover Love:  I love the cover of Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake by Barbara Bestor.  It’s a vibrant yellow and blue line drawing.  It was the first of my design book purchases and still a coffee table favorite.

Do you have a favorite genre or genres?  I always pick up memoirs first.  For years my motto was:  the crazier the author, the more attractive.  These days, I am reading lighter more inspirational memoirs. 

What is the next book on your stack of books to read?    I just ordered Tout Soul by Karen Wheeler.  I fell in love with her memoirs (Tout Soul is her third) over the summer and had the pleasure of interviewing her for my blog.  She’s very Bridget Jones but in rural France.  Love her!

What book have you read in the past year           that stands out to you?                                     Slow Love by Dominque Browning stands out the most.  It was a beautiful memoir on how losing her job helped slow down her life, in a good way.  It made me laugh out loud, and I literally mailed it to my mother to read the day I was done.  She loved it as well.

What is your favorite place to read? I typically read in bed. There is something about being cozy in the comforter that makes me speed through pages.

Have you ever read a book at exactly the right time of your life?  I read Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser exactly at the right time.  It was about change, moving on and personal growth.  I was letting go of a bad relationship, and the timing and importance of that book was priceless.  Right after I read it, I passed it on to a friend who had just lost her mother.  She found the book comforting.

Do you have a special book that   you like to give as a gift to others?   I always buy my favorite childhood book as a gift for my friends’ children, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett.  I still remember my father reading it to me, and when I was old enough, I read to him.

Do you have any books that are special keepsakes?  I have 3 hardcover Hemingway books from my Grandmother that are special to me.  She always would put a label on the first page which read “from the library of” and she signed her name.  I have never read the books (they are on my list) but having the books with her signature is such a wonderful memento.

I love to display my books…. Before I moved in with my fiance, George, I had too many books!  I had books literally spilling out of every cabinet and closet.  I knew I needed to cut down, and I purchased a vertical bookshelf to help organize the mess.  I promised myself that I would not exceed the space on the bookshelf, and if I had books that didn’t fit, I’d need to give them to fellow readers.  Nowadays it’s a fun thing to rotate out books and give away favorite reads to friends.

Thanks, Mandy, for sharing with us your art of reading!

Book Review: “Decorate” by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick

More Books, More Decorating

“Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love brought together under one roof.”  Nate Berkus

Rooms That Tell a Story:

I have always been captivated by design books. Just like going on home tours, or glancing in an open window while driving by, reading books like Decorate lets me peer, if only briefly, into the world, and stories, of others.  Pick up this amazing new book and find yourself transported into some of the most visually interesting and inspiring rooms you have seen in a long while.  Decorate is a visual feast of the kinds of rooms we want to live-in today. The author, Holly Becker, is the creator of the enormously popular design website Decor8.  Gone are the matchy-match furniture groupings from the local furniture store.  Gone are the impersonal, super-modern, sterile rooms that represent “status”.  This book brings to our attention the inspirational designs of those who recognize our need to tell a story with our homes.

Here are  my “Take-Away’s” from the book:

Take-Away #1:  First of all, I love that the rooms look specifically “undecorated” and more amassed over time with meaningful objects.  I am in awe of the current trend toward purposeful mixing of patterns and layering textures.  In one room, a pastel floral watercolor painting hangs next to a mount of deer antlers; which is  flanked by a geometrically patterned, Victorian-inspired sofa; all of which is accompanied by a modern, clean-lined coffee table.  The message is:  There really are no rules!  A quote from the book that communicates this idea:  “Enjoy the hunt—it’s worth waiting for something special… and you’re bound to find other bits along the way.” – Emily Chalmers (inside cover)

Take Away #2:  How liberating it is that you can mix all of the following in a very beautiful and visually interesting room: architectural salvage, flea-market finds, family heirlooms, your daughter’s crayola drawing, high-end pieces mixed with thrift store finds…All of which embrace the patina of objects that have had a story.  “Decorating is an extension of your personal style.  Finding your decorating style depends on knowing what you love at a gut level.” –Carrie McCarthy, author

Take Away #3: From reading this book, I have determined that my style leans toward “Flea Market Style”  I absolutely swoon for things like clocks taken from warehouses, industrial metal shelving units, collections of vases and old advertising signs.  Love, love, love this section of the book!  I also identify with the section: “Eclectic Style.”   It is amazing to me that modern decorating will let you pair your parents’ cast-off lounge chairs (recovered, of course) from 1970 with a funky bohemian wall hanging and your grandmother’s needlepoint pillows.  Toss in some bright shiny metallic vases and anything else you have collected over the years and suddenly you have a room that sparks conversation!  This kind of decorating lets you tell a story and honor your past as well as your present.  Thank you, Holly Becker, for showing us that we can fill our rooms with affordable, sentimental items and that we don’t have to go to an expensive furniture store and buy an entire room at once!

Take Away #4:  If you’re reading this, perhaps you know I’m a huge fan of books.  For reading, for decorating, for crafts…. for everything.  Decorate is filled with pictures of rooms in many different styles, but something I notice is that most of the rooms contain BOOKS. On tables, piled high, stuffed on shelves… The message is clear, books are the staple that completes a room’s story!   On page 97,  I am inspired by the picture of books…. the combination of colors and the mood it inspires. It says,  “Vintage books with distinctive dust jackets are delightful objects in their own right, whether used for reading, displaying, or as sosurces of inspiration for decorating.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Without a doubt, I have been coveting this book since I got to hear Holly’s keynote at The Creative Connection Event in St. Paul. Her presentation was my favorite of the weekend, and when I returned from Minnesota, I blogged about my favorite quotes of the weekend; one of which was from Holly (You can check out this post here.)  All of her books were sold-out, so I was very disappointed that I couldn’t get a signed copy.  However,  at the end of the weekend, I had the opportunity to meet Holly, and she couldn’t have been more lovely and down-to-earth… just like her book!

Perfectly Pumpkin

More Crafts, More Decorating, More Nature, More Treasures

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”   -Henry David Thoreau 

I’ve had a lot of fun lately, enjoying some fruitful thrifting, some bountiful fall blooms in the garden, and some happy crafting for Halloween.  First of all, let me say that two years ago, when I toted home a small Chinese Lantern plant from my farmer’s market, I had no idea that it would spread so eagerly.  I has literally taken over my front flower garden.  So, what’s a crafty girl to do?  Find a way to use them for fun fall decorating, and to make cute decorations to give away! I found this cute idea in the Martha Stewart magazine for turning Chinese Lantern pods into small pumpkin favors.  I’ve also had some exceptional luck at the thrift store lately.  The orange pot in the background is McCoy (I’m kind of a pottery snob!) and the pumpkin is a vintage Haeger planter.  I found these things just hiding among all of the other Halloween “crappity-crap.” (thanks for the term, Dottie Angel, it’s perfect!)  Fall decorating is my favorite, and I only wish the season wasn’t so short.  Right now I’m pressing some leaves for another crafty idea I saw on Martha’s website… I’ll be sure to share the results.

Brilliantly Brilliant Dottie Angel!

More Books, More Crafts

“Never doubt your instincts in a thrift store.”  -Dottie Angel

Yes, I’m still talking about the Creative Connection Event.  (It may never end, so hopefully you’re okay with it!) While I was there,  I had the amazing opportunity to meet with the publisher of Uppercase Magazine Janine Vangool for my Pitch Slam.  Her company published the book I want to tell you about….. Dottie Angel: the Peachy Crafty World of Tif Fussell.

I absolutely must borrow from Tif’s super-fun vocabulary to tell you that this book is, “peach, fabby, and brilliantly brilliant!”  I had been saving this treasure since I got home from TCC.  It was perched on top of a pile waiting for a really quiet, special moment when I could settle in for an extended amount of uninterrupted time.  When you hold this book in your hands, you will understand that trying to read it while commuting, or perhaps cramming in a few pages at the doctor’s office, just won’t do this sweet little volume justice.  This book has so many special touches, it feels as if it were handmade just for me.  It wasn’t just rolled off the presses and put in a box.  No,  I’m not going to give away the surprises.  You’ll just have to order one for yourself from Uppercase.  I could go on and on about why I love this book, but most of all, I love that when I read it, I feel like I’m sitting in the Airstream with “Dottie” (Tif)  on a lovingly weathered chair, covered with hand crocheted doilies, drinking a cup of tea,  in a beautifully chipped cup from the thrift store, and gazing at some of her handmade treasures.  When I read the description of the book, I must say, she had me at “thrift store.”  I confess — I’m a complete thrift store junkie!  Tif and I have exactly the same passions:  crocheted covered vintage hangers, ceramic animal figurines and granny squares!  We both have “crafting epiphanies” and an appreciation for anything with “granny chic!” She is “utmost kind” in sharing ideas for fun little treasures to make, and she tells you about her special little world where tools have names and bunnies wear capes.  “Thank you kindly,” Tif, for the crafty ideas, the walks down memory lane, and for letting me into the perfectly blissful world of my new best friend, Dottie Angel!

WHAT WOMEN READ…

More Books, More Crafts, More Miscellaneous

(Photo credit:  http://pinkparis1233.deviantart.com/art/Books-and-Tea-128879024)

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”          C.S. Lewis

I’ve just spent the last few days with some of the most brilliant, beautiful, creative women in the world at The Creative Connection Event.  (More detailed post to follow soon!)  I participated in a “Pitch Slam,” and I told some very smart women in publishing about my desire to write book reviews for creative publications.  My opinion is that creative people are also readers.  I think the two passions seem to go hand in hand for many.  In fact, when I told some of the women about my pitch, they chimed in, “Yes!”  I love to read. Here’s my theory…. women who are part of the creative community are just as anxious to tell me about the latest book they’ve read, as they are to tell me about their favorite recipe, or craft supply.  I think it’s a shared gene.  I think the crafty “lifestyle” publications that we’re reading from Stampington, Mary Jane’s Farm, Uppercase, Inspired Ideas, Matthew Mead etc. (See links in my sidebar) should think outside the box (here’s where I come in) and publish reviews for such genres as fiction, biography, memoir, as well as “how-to.”  I am the perfect person to write such reviews.  I am a member of the creative community.  I am passionate about books. I know the kinds of books creative women like to read. I’m a LIBRARIAN for heaven’s sake!” I want to come up with interesting collections of books to recommend around themes and topics. Food fiction?  You’ve got it.  Farming memoirs, no problem.  Biographies about artists?  Coming up!  Oh, my creative juices are flowing, and I must go.  I’ve got books to read!  WHAT WOMEN READ…. has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

My Sheldon Rose

More Decorating, More Miscellaneous, More Treasures
“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”         — Ernest Hemingway

I was poking around in one of my favorite consignment/antique shops in Bigfork, MT, when I saw……THIS.  My Sheldon Rose.  It’s huge, it’s amazing, it weighs a ton, and I had to have it.  This is a large piece of art made of typography letters arranged in this cool shape. IMG-0658

I chatted with the seller, and she said that she was selling it for her aunt, who was elderly, but had purchased it with her husband when they were young and living in Seattle.  Apparently it was a gallery purchase, and she was always particularly fond of it, but now had to downsize to move.   I found some auctions sites who have a few of his other pieces for sale.  They’re quite pricy, so I’m thinking that I got a fair deal on my piece.  If anyone knows anything about this artist, please fill me in.  Whatever the case, I get happy every time I look at this above my couch.  It’s full of letters, my favorite thing, because letters make words, and words make stories, and what could be better than that?!