Feng Shui for Book Lovers: How to Pare Down a Library

Where's Dash? My kids seem to tolerate mess more than I do these days. Where’s Dash? My kids seem to tolerate mess more than I do these days.

Last month I decided once and for all that I was going to either get rid of some books or embrace what my life was becoming: a Grey Gardens kind of gorgeous.

As a writer, I had long taken solace in studies linking messiness to creativity. Oh the ways old magazines, paper clips, half-open books, unanswered mail and yesterday morning’s cereal bowl must be sparking fireworks in my brain! But with three other people in the house, and overflowing bookshelves set to topple, the center could no longer hold. All I yearned for was an empty room, maybe some curtains billowing from a sun-drenched window. Faced with this impossibility, I found myself, over the past several weeks, becoming one of those people who can’t stop talking about feng shui.

You know feng shui. The ancient Chinese…

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Merry Xmas! An Illustrated History

so long as it's words

It’s Christmas!! I’m sitting here in my Fairisle knit jumper with reindeer and snowflakes on, I’m listening to Idina Menzel forcefully emote glorious Christmas music at me, and I still haven’t bought all my presents or finished putting the decorations up. The festive season is definitely upon us.

All of that is slightly beside the point for the purposes of this blog post, but damnit, I just really love Xmas.

Oh wait, sorry – not Xmas, Christmas.

This is a common complaint at this time of year and gets people really riled up. A quick poll of my small corner of Twitter (disclaimer: I did this last year and was so slow to write the post that I saved it for this year) shows that pretty much everyone prefers to write Christmas over Xmas. For some, it’s a matter of principle, that they don’t like shortening or abbreviating words, or because Christmas

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Why every kid should collect stamps

HeideBlog

I admit it: I feel a bit nerdy confessing I collect stamps.

I’m not sure how it all started, but I think it’s my father’s fault. He used to travel a lot for work, so he had friends all over the planet. And occasionally these friends would send us a letter, like this one:

First letter BLOG

Within a few years I’d amassed maybe a dozen such first-day covers, and I’d saved several hundred stamps from my father’s correspondence. (I especially looked forward to Christmas each year.)

Stamp collection 1050708 BLOG

Before long I was saving my allowance for the local stamp-swaps and mail-order offers. I’m sure I got swindled a few times (I was only eight or nine). But still, it was fun.

Then my collection sat idle for a few years, largely forgotten while I attended college and married and started a career. It wasn’t until last year, in the aftermath of The Great Flood

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The God of Love by amina wadud

amina 2014 - croppedI admit I had the fortune of loving my father, the late Reverend Teasley, and feeling loved by him.  I also date my fascination with the divine back to my father.  There are many ways this fascination could have taken shape, but for me it led to the experience of religious diversity as an element of the global community of human beings that has never abated.

Like others, you might ask: if I feel so akin to diversity, why am I a devotee to only one of them: Islam? Some question this by way of offense to Islam. Others are genuinely curious. This curiosity takes two forms.  Either they are interested in my personal location within Islam, as in why are you Muslim? Or they are interested in why stop my quest for diversity and get stuck where I am clearly busy detangling the manifestations of Islam from their patriarchal…

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