The Little French Bistro



Since I was a fan of Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, I looked forward to reading her latest, The Little French Bistro. Given the subject matter, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it. Be assured, The Little French Bistro is filled with lush prose, distinctive characters, and is utterly charming. The description of the sights, sounds, and smells and tastes of Brittany will leave you longing to make your own journey.


Bécherel, City of Books in Brittany, France.

Source: Unattributed via Pinterest.





Bookish Quote: “You have to read a book to understand its place on the shelf.”


‘Uncle Bertram’s books were not arranged by author or title or, more perplexing to little Sophie, by size or color. “You have to read a book to understand its place on the shelf,” said Uncle Bertram. And showed her how The Wind in the Willows (“a book about life on the river”) sat next to Three Men in a Boat (“a book about life on the River Thames”), which sat next to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (“a story that was first told on the banks of the Thames”), which sat next to Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (“because Alice is a dream story”), and so on.’


–First Impressions, Charles Lovett


I wish that I had had an Uncle Bertram in my life, don’t you?


Unattributed images via Pinterest.

Bookish Quote


“…Dillman opened his novel and began to reaquaint himself with the joys of Nicholas Nickleby. No journey was ever complete without Charles Dickens beside him to stave off boredom.”

Murder on the Lusitania, Conrad Allen, 1999


Lusitania at the end of the first leg of her maiden voyage, New York City, September 1907. (The photo was taken with a panoramic camera.)

The Big Story: Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson

“The Cubans wrote of hunches and beliefs, sunsets and foreboding. Where Americans saw numbers, the Cubans saw poetry. Dark poetry perhaps—the works of Poe and Baudelaire—but poetry all the same.” Erik Larson, Isaac’s Storm


If we ever thought we had the ability to predict the weather, or forecast the destruction of major hurricanes, Hurricane Katrina of 2005 and Superstorm Sandy of 2012 disabused us of the notion. If we, with our twenty-first century technology, are unable to predict a storm’s destructive path, then how could one man be prepared for the second most devastating hurricane in US history, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900?



In Isaac’s Storm, author Erik Larson skillfully builds a heartbreaking tale of courage, ambition, salvation, and devastation while revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the titular character Isaac Monroe Cline. A man of his era, Cline exhibited all the hubris of a dedicated scientist in an emerging field while reveling in scientific endeavors that challenged the adventures depicted by one of his favorite authors, Jules Verne.


“Meticulously researched, Isaac’s Storm is based on Cline’s own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature’s last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac’s Storm carries a warning for our time.” (

Get the Look: Reading Nets in Libraries

You read that right, I mean NETS not NESTS. The pictures are everywhere, and the reading nets look like  a fun addition to a home library. Is it a DIY project, or do you need to call in your contractor?

Some suspended nets add a touch of whimsy to a very contemporary design, while maintaining a strictly adult aesthetic. (Source: Egue y Seta designed house in Barcelona, Spain. Photography by VICUGO FOTO.)


Other reading nets are clearly built with children in mind. (Source: Andrew Maynard Architects designed modern extension in family home. Photography by Peter Bennetts.)


Even traditional libraries can accommodate these fun additions. (Source: Spanish Creative Studio playoffice designed ‘reading net’.)


In theory, this shouldn’t be a terribly difficult project. After all, they are just nets suspended from the existing home architecture. Still, there are important safety issues which must be considered.

Instructables has some very, very rudimentary instructions for this bed net on their site. ( While it isn’t exactly the same as the nets featured in the pictures above, it gives the very experienced DIYers a place to start. You still need to decide how many pounds your net will need to support, how to best support the weight, what kind of netting you need, and if you need to build a separate frame or just tie it off to an existing structure. If this is beyond your skill level, then call in the professionals.


If you search “cargo” or “playground” netting, you probably can find someone in your area to help you select the correct netting and give you tips for installation. For example,  appears to have lots of tips, they are just not in English.



If all of this seems too complicated, you can always hang a hammock in your library and relax. (Source: )