Book Lovers Open Thread

This post is for you! Love books? Share why! What are you reading right now?

I’ll go first :)

I can’t remember when I haven’t loved books. Some of my earliest childhood memories are about reading books. As I grew older (still a kid though) and still obviously had way too much time on my hands, I used to pretend my books were part of a library and I would create little card catalog squares that I’d tape on the spines. Some of my children’s books still have those little slips of paper. I have no idea what system I used or if I just made it up. I think I even had check out slips on the inside and tried to make my brother check them out from me. I don’t think it worked.

I’ve always dreamed of having a library in my house where I’d need a ladder that slides on wheels or a track. Sigh. Someday. I just love physical books and having them on shelves or in stacks around me bring me comfort. I love looking at them. That’s why I’d never be able to fully go digital.

It’s rare that a day goes by when I haven’t read from a book. At my local hamburger joint, the kitchen staff calls me “The Reader” because I sit at the bar twice a week and read and eat my hamburger.

I also generally have more than one book going at a time. I used to be better about alternating non-fiction with my fiction, but I’ve gotten lax lately, unless I’m needing to do research.

What I’m reading:

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. I picked this up about a month ago and found the tale interesting but apparently not interesting enough as it’s still sitting in my To Finish pile. It’s told from an Omniscient POV.

Characters real and imaginary come vividly to life in this whimsical triple play of intertwined plots, in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence.

What happens if we change history?

Félix J. Palma explores this provocative question, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting—a story full of love and adventure that transports readers from a haunting setting in Victorian London to a magical reality.

A Groom of One’s Own by Maya Rodale. Picked up all the ones in this series last week for my Kindle as they’re only .99 right now and am a sucker for characters who are writers. The plot is well paced as I really want to finish and find out what happens! My only quibble is some of the historical inaccuracies which pulled me out of the story several times. Mind you, I’m not one of those that needs to have it all accurate (that’s impossible) and we’re writing fantasy after all and walk a fine line between reader needs/expectations and historical accuracy. But these were small, non-plot-related details that could’ve easily been fixed without affecting the story. It’s weird because I can tell she’s researched the time period.

Miss Harlow’s marriage in high life
London, 1823 
A handsome duke. His beautiful soon-to-be duchess. A whirlwind courtship. It is this author’s privilege to report on the event all of London is talking about: the upcoming wedding of the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon to the only daughter of the Duke of Richmond. Every detail of the “Wedding of the Year” will be reported in these pages as a London Weekly exclusive.
But I, Miss Sophie Harlow, must confess to a secret infatuation with this “double duke” that can only lead to trouble. It is impossible that this notoriously upstanding gentleman would ever jilt his bride for a scandalous female newspaper writer. And yet . . . the arrival of a foreign prince, the discovery of a shocking secret, and one passionate kiss could change everything. Will this perfect duke risk the scandal of the year to marry the woman his heart desires?

How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling. This was one of my free books from RWA. Just started it and enjoying so far. Was pitched as The Bachelor set in The Regency.

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary–nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London’s infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she’s not the most captivating woman he’s ever met…

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she’s determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife–she’ll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke’s affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan’s desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker’s number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

Werewolf in Seattle: A Wild About You Novel by Vicki Lewis Thompson. Just started reading this one too. Another freebie from RWA.

The last thing Colin McDowell wants is to inherit his Aunt Geraldine’s mansion in the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington. As the pack leader of the Trevelyans in Scotland, he had little time to travel halfway around the world to take care of his inheritance.

But the trip takes a pleasant turn when he meets Luna Reynaud, the young secretary his aunt hired shortly before she died. He isn’t sure which surprises him more-Luna’s clever plan for turning the mansion into a resort of the fact that she’s drop-dead gorgeous. Both intrigue him-until he learns that Luna is only a half-breed. There’s no way a pack leader can mate with a woman who’s partly human…or is there?

Celtic Myths and Legends by T.W. Rolleston. I blogged about this last week and am still enjoying it.

Masterful retelling of Irish and Welsh stories and tales of the Ultonian and Ossianic cycles, the voyage of Maeldun, and the myths and tales of the Cymry (Welsh). Favorite and familiar stories of Cuchulain, King Arthur, Deirdre, the Grail, many more.

So what about you? What are you reading? What do you love about books?

The joys of reading OLD history books: Myths & Legends of the Celtic Race

What I’m reading right now, in between fiction books, is Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race by T.W. Rolleston and it’s reaffirming my love for several things: the really old books, and history books.

As some of these old history books can be, I expected it to be pretty dry, but have found myself pleasantly surprised! He keeps it entertaining while also informing.

The sensory

This is one of the early editions and so it’s delightfully dog-eared, splattered with foxing, softened pages from usage, and that nice old-book smell.

The intellectual

He dives into historical origins in the beginning before he gets to the myths and legends, and it was fun to go into his little sidenotes he explored via footnotes–little diversions that a modern historian would never dare indulge in. Like the footnote that talked about how the early Celts had dolichocephalic-shaped heads.

Some things I’ve learned so far about the Celts (according to Rolleston) that I didn’t know (and fully acknowledging later scholarship could have disproved some of this. It’s still fun):

  • Their 24-hour day started at nightfall. Makes sense when you think about it. It is kind of weird that we just mark it in the middle of the night.
  • Makes a case for Egyptian cultural and religious origins
  • Their belief in an afterlife was so vivid and real, they’d loan money on IOUs payable in the next life
  • I’d always associated the Stone of Scone with Scotland. I didn’t know there were claims of an Irish origin and that it was one of the gifts of the Tuatha De Danann and loaned to Scotland in the 6th century.

And I just came across this wonderful sentence and duly noted its usage of “dilates” in my writer’s journal. For context, he’s talking about another historian’s book, O’Grady’s “Critical History of Ireland”:

This work is no less remarkable for its critical insight…than for the true bardic imagination, kindred to that of the ancient myth-makers themselves, which recreates the dead forms of the past and dilates them with the breath of life.

Wow. I just loved that! My brain immediately got what he was trying to say with that usage of the word ‘dilates’ — I pictured it immediately blooming large.

The fun

Not surprisingly, I came across references to myths referenced in other author’s works of fiction, but it was still fun to come across. Like when the origin of the sword Fragarach was mentioned, and I was like “Hey! That’s Atticus’ sword!” I’m a huge fan of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles and so tweeted him yesterday when I came to that part in the book:

Anyway, I’m totally enjoying this book, and I’m only a quarter of the way through it. And I’m not sure I’d enjoy it quite so much if I was reading a modern reprint. Part of the charm is the package :)

What are you reading right now that’s surprised you?

 

Monday Hunk Who Reads – Keanu Reeves

By Y! Música (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Keanu Reeves

Seriously! Read on, and I’ll make a believer out of you! I was first alerted to this by seeing a bio of romance author Liz Matis and her answer to the question “Who would you prefer to go on a date with, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, or someone else?” Her answer? “Hands down, no competition – Keanu Reeves. You might be surprised to know that he loves to read. I picture us meeting in the poetry aisle at a Barnes and Noble, he buys me a hot chocolate and we talk about books.”

I stored that nugget away until I could profile him and was so glad I did. I find this interesting article in Details magazine, in which this is an excerpt:

“He is the opposite of dumb,” says Scott Derrickson, who directed him in December’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. “That is a word that has no applicationto him. This is not just a director trying to defend his actor and say, ‘No, really, he’s not dumb.’ He’s fiercely intelligent.”… So could it be? Is Keanu Reeves some kind of . . . stealth genius? “I’ve swapped a lot of books with him in the last nine months. He is one of the most voracious readers I’ve ever met,” Derrickson says. “He’s very unpretentious about it. Nobody really knows, and he doesn’t really care that nobody knows.”

No. It becomes clear after 30 seconds of watching Keanu pinball around the aisles of Book Soup that he approaches the printed word as both a glutton and a gourmand: He inhales a lot, and he’s game to order off-menu. He tells me he just finished all of the novels in John Updike’s Rabbit series. “So fantastic,” he says with a reverent hush. I mention another work about suburban crisis, Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, and he rears back and slides the helmet onto his head so that he can free up his left hand. “Oh, YES!!!” he shouts. “Let’s high-five on Revolutionary Road!” We slap palms. This prompts a rumination from Keanu on the primary characters in that book, Frank and April Wheeler, and “the identities that they’re wearing—you know, their authentic self and then their external self and that dialogue that’s going on.”

As we pass Proust, Keanu reveals that he devoured every page of the meticulous colossus that is Remembrance of Things Past. “It took a couple of years, but I did it,” he says. The grin has straightened itself; it’s ear-to-ear now. “I didn’t do the Moncrief, I did the newer translation. Some books would come in between. But I found that it was a thread—like time—that you could walk away and come back to. I didn’t feel like I had lost the momentum of the story at all. It was like meeting a good friend or someone that you like, and you’re like, ‘Hey, dude! How’s it goin’?’”

It’s worth reading the article in its entirety. In it, they visit Book Soup, the bookstore in Los Angeles, which he’s been visiting for 20 years and knows the sales clerk by name. He rattles off books he likes: “James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime? Yes, he’s read that. David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas? That too, yes. The Butcher, an erotic novel by Alina Reyes? Absolutely. He’s never put off by a dash of kink—in fact, he’d be happy to recommend a volume in that vein. “You’ve read Bataille, right?”” And off they go to search for that. The store didn’t have it, but Reeves recommends The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq, which he said made his head explode when he read it. Later in the article, they are on a long drive and Reeves recites from three different Shakespeare sonnets.

Some industrious denizen of Goodreads has helpfully gathered the books he likes. He also penned a satirical self-help book called “Ode to Happiness.

Here is a picture of him with a Chapter book from Frank151

So that’s this month’s Hunk Who Reads. If you like these articles, please comment. They’re fun to write, but are time-consuming :) — on that note, if you run across any photos of hunks reading, please let me know. If you know of an intellectual hunk you’d like to see profiled, let me know that too.Reading is sexy people!

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back on the first Mondays of each month to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

Past Hunks Who Read/Related Articles:

*previous Ovaries Exploding Award winner

The Booker Award

The fabulous author and fellow FF&P writer Celia Breslin  has nominated me for the Booker Award. The award targets literary and book-centered blogs. The rules are simple: post my top five books of all time, post the booker award icon, and nominate other bloggers to do the same.

Well, here it goes. These are not in order though, as I can’t possibly pick my number one.

Persuasion, by Jane Austen. Of course you know she had to be one of them :) I love all of Austen’s works and try to reread every year or so, but this one is my favorites. Her writing is just so exquisite and subtle and breathtaking. And, c’mon, Capt. Wentworth and the letter? Nuff said.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. Buy this. You will not be disappointed. It is so effing hilarious and oddly, in a whacked out way, kinda spiritual. Moore is one of my favorite authors. He’s on Auto Buy for me. My second fave of his–Fluke. Some have described him as a cross between Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams.

The Dune series, by Frank Herbert. Another that I reread, but not as often as Austen. Love the whole worldbuilding and complexity.

Ann Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches series. I love how she’s able to transport me and her blending of history with story. Used to be, when she came out with a new one, I’d be right there to buy it and have my whole weekend blocked out to read it.

And I’m going to break the rules, because now I’m running into too many and have a hard time choosing. There are just too many good books out there. Some others that I remember being overwhelmed and transported by: Anna Karenina, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Count of Monte Cristo, Watership Down, The Doomesday Book, Coalescent, by Stephen Baxter, David Brin’s Uplift Saga, Umberto Eco’s In the Name of the Rose and Baudolino, Phillip K. Dick, Lord of the Rings (of course), the canon of Isaac Asimov, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, J. Gregory Keyes’ The Age of Unreason series, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. I’m a sucker for anything that blends history, or archaeology into the story…

And now to pass the baton (these are also writers who I’ve either Beta’d or they’ve Beta’d my work, or both):

  • Kate Warren, fellow Austen fan and writer, who’s just published an awesome women’s fiction “Bridging the Gaps”
  • Donna Cummings, writer with a wicked sense of humor
  • Stephanie Lawton, fellow Mobilian and writer, fresh on the heels of her first release Want.
  • Gayle Ramage, hailing from Scotland, fellow writer and geek who writes time travel fiction
  • Kate Meader, another writer with a great sense of humor, she just signed with an agent, congrats!

Monday Hunk Who Reads – Colin Firth

By Rathika Mawtus [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Colin Firth

What? No book in the pic? Before we move on to the awesomeness that is Colin Firth, first a little housecleaning. The Monday Hunk Who Reads feature is now in a different format and schedule, due to the blog post by Roni Loren about usage of photos in blogs. Basically, it boils down to: I was doing a big No-No all this time. I immediately pulled down all the articles and am slowly working my way through to get permission for the photos. I’d thought that if I attributed/linked back, I was fine, especially since it promoted a good cause–reading. So, if you’re wondering where they all went, that’s why. There’s a few back up now, especially the most popular: Dan Stevens.

What this means going forward, is that if I cannot get permission to post the photo that features our hunk with a book, I will only be able to link to it. So that means no opening glitzy photo. From here on out, the opening photo will most likely feature the hunk without a book that is in the public domain.

Like above!

It also means, since more work will be involved, and more lead-time needed, that this feature will only be published on the first Mondays of each month.

Actually, I’ve been wanting to do Firth for a while, as I knew he was a reader, but could not find him with a book, so I couldn’t profile him. Now I can!

Now onto Firth and books…

According to this article in the Belfast Telegraph, Firth is an avid reader and “views his books as ‘old acquaintances'” and loves his collection of books. It turns out though, that this Kindle skeptic has become a convert.

“[I bought] a Kindle. I was a skeptic-what about the feel of a book, the smell? But I found it surprising how unimportant that became,” he told People magazine.

“No [I haven't switched over completely], if I love a novel, part of me just wants the book. The picture on the cover. And I like glancing up at books on my shelves. They’re rather like old acquaintances.”

Colin feels transformed by the works he’s read that were penned by his favourite authors.

“William Faulkner would be on the list-The Sound and the Fury. John Cheever’s stories, Richard Ford,” he shared. “I’d never read Jane Austen before I [played Mr Darcy] in Pride and Prejudice; she was a revelation. I went through every book and wished there were more.

In Oprah’s column “Books That Made A Difference,” Firth shared:

When I’m really into a novel, I’m seeing the world differently during that time—not just for the hour or so in the day when I get to read. I’m actually walking around in a bit of a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism.

I’m paraphrasing terribly from a theory I came across years ago, but there was this idea that everyone leads a kind of secret life. All of these things are going on around us that we don’t process consciously but that stay with us. There’s a school of thought that inanimate objects can make you feel certain things and you don’t know why. You pick up a green mug and you drink coffee out of it and you’re not thinking about anything except whether the coffee is good or bad. About an hour later, you feel depressed and you don’t know why. Perhaps the mug is exactly the same color as your grandmother’s. You’re aware of the emotion but you didn’t know your subconscious went through a whole thing—remembered something, relived something, and fed it back to you.

So a book can pull out responses that would be dormant otherwise. I find that a very valuable thing to have as a possibility. I’m not simply responding to the author’s vision. The joy I take from a book is mine. It comes from me.

So what else does he like to read? in the above Oprah article, it says he “goes for psychological intrigue, moral mud puddles and lyrical truth-telling.” In another Oprah profile, this is what’s on his bookshelf: Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, David Gates’ Preston Falls, Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe, William Faulkner’s Light in August, and Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections.

About Rilke’s book, Firth says:

I don’t think I’ve ever read such descriptions of what it would be like to lose your grip. He has a vision that makes you less sure of your surroundings—and I find that stimulating.

About Greene’s The Power and The Glory, he says:

This is about a man—the whiskey priest—on the run in a Mexican state during a purge of religious figures. The most poignant thing in the story, for me, is that the priest has had a child. He wants to repent, but how can you find salvation when you can’t hate the sin? He’s stuck in that paradox: The one thing that prevents him from repenting is love. That so interests me—the idea of looking for spiritual salvation in what is otherwise an impossibly compromised life.

Be sure to click through and read the rest of what he thinks about each book he’s named above.

According to this article on CBS, Firth would sometimes skip school to read! He’s also lending his talent to recording classics for Audible.com. In this article, he states that he’s reading John Fante’s Ask the Dust, about Los Angeles in the 1930s.

Reading is sexy people!

So that’s this month’s Hunk Who Reads. If you like these articles, please comment. They’re fun to write, but are time-consuming :) — on that note, if you run across any photos of hunks reading, please let me know. If you know of an intellectual hunk you’d like to see profiled, let me know that too.

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back next month to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

Past Hunks Who Read/Related Articles:

*previous Ovaries Exploding Award winner

Monday Hunk Who Reads – Billy Crudup

Billy crudup

Thousandrobots at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Billy Crudup

I simply HAD to see if this hunk was a reader after seeing him in Stage Beauty last week. He was absolutely incredible in that movie–I was literally on the edge of my seat during one of the scenes, it was so compelling. Thank you wonkomance.com for alerting me to this movie!

Anyway, here’s a picture of him helping his son sign up for a library card! It was part of a fundraiser for the NYPL Young Cubs program.

And in 2009 he participated in the NYPL’s Young Lions Awards for fiction. The award honors the works of authors age 35 and under who are making an indelible impression on the world of literature. Here’s a picture of him with one of the finalists.

In October of 2011, he participated in a fundraiser with several other stars for  the Starry Night Stories fundraiser, a benefit for Children of Bellevue’s Reach Out and Read program. Crudup reads the children’s book Duck for President. Here are some highlights (which include Crudup):

In the movie Dedication, he plays a children’s book author, and in this interview, he reveals that his favorite kid’ books are Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree.

Reading is sexy people!

So that’s this week’s Hunk Who Reads. If you like these articles, please comment. They’re fun to write, but are time-consuming :) — on that note, if you run across any photos of hunks reading, please let me know. If you know of an intellectual hunk you’d like to see profiled, let me know that too.

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back next Monday to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

Past Hunks Who Read/Related Articles:

*previous Ovaries Exploding Award winner

Monday Hunk Who Reads – George Clooney

Posing with Jacob, whose story was the inspiration for this book, A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk by Jan L. Coates

George Clooney

He’s one of those guys that gets better looking as he ages, don’t you think? He didn’t use to do it for me. But anyway, since we had Noah Wyle last week, a sharp-eyed commenter spotted his co-star in ER, George Clooney, with a book and it seemed only appropriate to feature him this week.

Here’s a photo of him reading Al Gore’s book, The Assault on Reason.

Apparently, his favorite book is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace! Whereas, this source says it’s Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, a book that says we can change the world by empowering women.

And here’s a peek into his LA home, where you can see books play a normal part of his life.

(h/t to Linda Morris whose sharp eye spotted Clooney’s photo)

Reading is sexy people!

So that’s this week’s Hunk Who Reads. If you like these articles, please comment. They’re fun to write, but are time-consuming :) — on that note, if you run across any photos of hunks reading, please let me know. If you know of an intellectual hunk you’d like to see profiled, let me know that too.

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back next month to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

Monday Hunk Who Reads – Marlon Brando

Photo by Edward Clark © Time Inc., Courtesy of LIFE.com

Marlon Brando

Monday Hunk Who Reads is back! I took longer off than I’d planned, but it was a very productive break. Thought I’d kick off by going retro this morning!

Couldn’t find much, but here’s what I did find… In his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, he said:

I had to read Wuthering Heights for English and I never enjoyed a book in all my life as much as that one.

According to this article, he loved to read philosophy and could sit around discussing it for hours

Apparently a lot has been said about Brando showing up corpulent for his role in Apocalypse Now and many wonder if he read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (book the movie was based on) at all. This book writer at The Guardian, has a different take on it.

According to imdb.com, his assistant Marchak pestered him to read Puzo’s bestseller The Godfather, wanting him to make a bid for the role. At one point he threw the book at her, saying, “For the last time, I won’t glorify the Mafia!” But then he kept coming to her with different moustaches, asking her how they looked. Obviously, he changed his mind :)

Here’s another pic of him reading

(h/t to Carrie Cox for the idea and one of the photos!)

So that’s this week’s Hunk Who Reads. If you like these articles, please comment. They’re fun to write, but are time-consuming :) — on that note, if you run across any photos of hunks reading, please let me know. If you know of an intellectual hunk you’d like to see profiled, let me know that too.

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Reading is sexy people!

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back next Monday to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

*previous Ovaries Exploding Award winner

Monday Hunk Who Reads – Nathan Fillion

By Flickr user RavenU (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravenu/77053539/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Flickr user RavenU (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravenu/77053539/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Nathan Fillion

Those of you who know me well may wonder why I haven’t featured Geek God Nathan Fillion before. Well, he was one of the first I looked up when I thought of this weekly feature, but I couldn’t find a picture of him holding a book other than a Richard Castle book.

Fortunately my kick-a$$, ninja searching skills have improved since, and I was able to find these lovelies for you. Also, I will try my darndest not to go all fan-girrl. Okay, deep breath.

For those living under a rock who don’t know who he is, he played Capt. Malcolm Reynolds in the cult TV show Firefly. As you might have noticed from my blog’s logline, I’m a huge Browncoat (fan base’s name). I’m one of the small legion of fans that watched the TV show when it aired. Of course, I followed this charming and talented actor’s career since. Currently, he plays mystery/crime writer Richard Castle on the ABC hit TV show Castle. He’s also the only Hunk Who Reads whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I used to be the organizer of the annual charity screening of Serenity for the city of Atlanta, part of the global Can’t Stop the Serenity event, and one year at Dragon*Con, he was gracious enough to donate and sign two autographed photos (I’d only asked for one) for the silent auction. He was every bit as friendly and charming as you’ve imagined.

In researching his reading tastes and habits, I think I’ve hit upon why it’s so difficult to find pictures of famous men reading when I know they read–they probably own eReaders! It makes sense, traveling as much as they do. But, makes it dang hard to find snapshots. This is the case with Fillion; he’s a big fan of the Kindle and even tweeted someone to buy one to save money and trees.

Okay, on with the fun! Last summer at Comic Con, he revealed he was reading George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One. During this period he posted this humorous tweet (anyone who’s seen him and/or Alan Tudyk at fan conventions know they love to rib each other):

He must have read through the series pretty quickly, because then in October he tweeted the following, which made me giggle when I first saw it then, and still does:

Fillion’s parents were English teachers and instilled in him the importance of literacy and a love of books. When his friend PJ Haarsma published his first book and heard that kids wanted it in their libraries but librarians couldn’t afford it, Fillion and Haarsma founded (clutch your pearls, girls) the non-profit organization Kids Need to Read (KNTR) in 2007. The Foundation encourages literacy and social responsibility through its gifts of inspiring books to schools, libraries and literacy programs serving disadvantaged children.

In 2009, in an edition of USA Weekend, he talked about his volunteering efforts with KNTR and what makes it worthwhile. He said:

If you can teach a kid to read, he can do anything.

Last October, he tweeted a promo for KNTR where if you purchased the anthology Every Witch Way But Wicked, proceeds would benefit KNTR. (Just a note here: I think this was a temporary promo for Halloween). And in true Browncoat fashion, a group of fans have been holding fundraisers for KNTR since 2010. In this one poverty-stricken elementary school in Chicago, the funds were used to purchase books, and the kids drew their own book covers of their favorites.

So, what is this book his friend did? The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 and Haarsma got him to do an audio version of the first three chapters. Here he is recording:

In 2009, Haarsma had a signing at a Barnes & Noble for Haarsma’s book, and Fillion and Alan Tudyk came for support and to promote KNTR. Here’s a pic of some fans and Fillion with a rain stick (it’s a Firefly thing):

The American Library Association featured him in their READ poster program: “We’re thrilled to have Nathan Fillion on our latest READ poster. He’s shown great dedication to engaging young readers with exciting books,” said Rachel Johnson, director of ALA Graphics. “Word of the poster’s debut traveled fast, and members, particularly YA librarians, are clamoring for it.”

In the poster, he is holding Haarsma’s book:

Last March he was at the 2nd Annual Milk + Bookies Celebration at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California. Some photos from that event.

All right, so what else… Back in 2006, he did a podcast of the novel 7th Son: Descent. During National Breast Cancer Awareness month he asked folks to read Nicki Boscia Durlester’s book, Beyond the Pink Moon: A Memoir of Legacy, Loss and Survival. And here’s a swoon-worthy photo of him holding a baby at a bookstore!
Some fans have started their own Hey Girl meme featuring Fillion:
 

Want more, you can follow him on Twitter! I’ve been following him for quite a while now, and it’s well worth it. He even posts scavenger hunts in different cities. One day, I hope to be photobombed by him. One can dream, right? Just saw that TV Guide named him one of the Top 30 celebrities to follow on Twitter.

UPDATE: Memory-like-a-steel-trap commenter ‘rre’ dug up some dragon*con footage from 2008 where someone from the audience brought up KNTR and asked each panelist to name their favorite book. Quick-witted Fillion used the opportunity to say Of Mice and Men:

 “It goes to show that as great as it his to have a goofy, comically lovable character in a story, they inevitably have to die,” and looks pointedly at Alan, making allusions to Wash’s death [Tudyk's character in the movie Firefly/Serenity].

Here’s the video:

video cuts off in the middle of his discussion of the book, so here’s the rest:

Firefly fans might be interested in the short series of blog posts I did back in the fall that featured writing lessons from the show, called Firefly Friday.

So that’s this month’s Hunk Who Reads. If you like these articles, please comment. They’re fun to write, but are time-consuming :) — on that note, if you run across any photos of hunks reading, please let me know.

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Reading is sexy people!

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back next month to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

Past Hunks Who Read/Related Articles:

*previous Ovaries Exploding Award winner

Monday Hunk Who Reads – Dan Stevens

posing in a library, looking much younger.
(Photo: Mark C. O’Flaherty)
(I miss his naturally dark hair…)

Dan Stevens

British actor Dan Stevens is our topic for this week, and nerdy ladies are you in for a treat! Best known for his roles as Edward Ferrars in the 2008 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, and as Matthew Crawley in iTV’s Downton Abbey, this hunk is an intellectual. The picture above is his promo pic for the Carte Noire Reader series, where he reads love scenes from classic and contemporary novels. On his bio page for this endeavor he has this to say about books:

I adore books and love reading, but it’s hard to find the time. Life is a bit hectic this year – I just got married, and now we’re expecting a baby, and then there’s the play every night. I’m getting through Richard Holmes The Age of Wonder at the moment.

He then goes on to say: “My other dissertation at Cambridge was comparing The Picture of Dorian Gray to Will Self’s Dorian – so I know the book well – it’s beautiful.” Excuse me while I catch my breath.

Okay, back now: your OTHER dissertation? Yep, turns out he was an English Literature major at Cambridge.

Anyway, here’s the list of books he’s read from for the Carte Noire program. He’s definitely making a name for himself in audiobooks too, with his reading of My Dear I Wanted to Tell You: A Novel, which won UK’s national book award for best audiobook of the year. Here he is excited about the win:

He’s the voice for several other books, but how cute is he reading Jack and the Beanstalk?

He is Editor at Large of the online literary salon The Junket which launched this past fall. The Spectator had this to say about the startup:

Set up by friends for friends, all the essays in this virtual literary salon revel in extremely well written flights of fancy — read the meditation on Ukrainian airplane food; about the art of memorising poems for impromptu performance or how Guardian reviewer James Purdon thinks covert culture in the Cold War is still relevant. It’s more duffle-coat than polo-neck.

He writes a column once a month for The Telegraph — in the December issue he discusses how his bookshelves are already groaning from the weight. Non book-related but of interest to his fans, is how he laments the passing of old-school romance… And, he has a secret ambition: he wants to write a novel.

Last month it was announced that he will be one of the judges for the Man Booker prize for fiction.

Here’s what I could find on books he’s read

In an interview last month, he says that the last great book he read was  Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which he says is  a love letter to his favorite city in the world.

He read John Lewis-Stempel’s book Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War.

And, be still my heart, he’s reviewing books. Here’s a quote from his review in the Times of Caitlin Moran’s book How to Be a Woman:

Man-made scales of ‘fitness’ or ‘hotness’ have been wildly confused with those of beauty… As an actor, you continually see the ridiculous additional pressures heaped on actresses to ‘look right’ when actually what the camera sees when it spies the ‘great actress’ – what distinguishes them, and indeed the ‘great woman’, from her peers – is not on the surface at all. It is what illuminates the love-light in every man, whether he knows it or not. It’s that little spark behind the eyes; an intellectual curiosity, an erotic imagination – and just maybe a knowledge of early Nineties indie and dance music

You can also find him on Twitter talking about Downton Abbey, of course, but also chiming in with thoughts on history, books and even “there’s nothing sexier than rhetoric. fact.”

And here’s a photo of him at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, Oct 9, 2011

Due to just the sheer awesomeness of his love of books and his brainy side, I hereby bestow this post with the following accolade:

Before I wrap up, I want to thank Historical Romance writer Merry Farmer for alerting me to the fact that he has a sexy brain! Thanks Merry, I had fun doing this!

EDIT: Mere minutes after I posted this, he posted an article to The JunketBloodlust on Safari.

So that’s this week’s Hunk Who Reads. You can find him on twitter at @thatdanstevens. And ladies (or gents), before you get any ideas, in case it slipped by you in the beginning of the post, he’s married :)

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Reading is sexy people!

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back next Monday to see the next Hunk Who Reads…