Issue of January 6, 2013: Goodbye

Our last issue. Seven years to the day after BiblioBuffet was birthed it has come to an end. There’s considerable sadness—it’s hard to leave something that you have worked hard for and poured love into—but we all leave with considerable affection for what we accomplished. We hope that you, our readers, will take with you the memories of some fine books, excellent writing, and wonderful contributors. Since the site will remain in archives, courtesy of the book discussion forum BookBalloon, we encourage you to enjoy them at will. Thank you for the memories.

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Looking for good works you may not be able to find elsewhere? As a kind of round-up of the publishing houses that Lauren Roberts added to her editor’s letter each week for several years, the final BibliOpinions column is a compilation of those along with links and brief descriptions in The Pub Houses Gather.

It’s so hard to say good-bye, but the time has come to bid adieu. Lauren Roberts uses her final editor’s letter to do some reminiscing about the people, the books, the stories, and the role that all made up BiblioBuffet in A Beautiful Friendship.

The passion of bookmark collecting found a home in the column, On Marking Books, that Laine Farley and Lauren Roberts shared since the beginning. Bookmarks themselves are almost featherweight, but the collective weight of their history, background, cultural influence, and historical significance is substantial. Laine and Lauren reminiscence about those in Bookmarking Memories.

When life hands your lemons, goes the old saying, then make lemonade. And that is precisely what Nicki Leone did seven-and-a-half years ago. The “lemonade” has since turned out to be very sweet—with books infiltrating every part of it. Share it with her in On and Off the Shelves.

When you have the opportunity to read a lot of books in a short period of time—and your job is to read them for an important awards long list—you notice flaws much more readily, especially when they extend across multiple books. Gillian Polack delves into the reasons why writers who focus on creating worlds and characters need to be aware of the cultural contexts readers bring to them and the discomfort those new contexts can produce in Thoughts.

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Issue of December 30, 2012

We at BiblioBuffet wish all of you, our readers and readers everywhere, a wonderful, safe, healthy and peaceful transition into the new year.


As the end of the year hovers, Lauren Roberts takes stock of what 2012 brought her, how it affected her, and what she plans to take (and not take) into the new year in Changes: From 2012 to 2013.

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Issue of December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! We wish you not only a good holiday season but a personally satisfying one too. Remember to take care of yourself, and enjoy some peaceful reading time too. Your body and mind will thank you.

Three diverse books captured Gillian Polack’s attention this past week. Three diverse books that might have little in common except that they all involved a very loose definition of “travel.” See what she found in Armchair Travel.

Reading and pets just seem to go together. Most of the time it is quietly, a nap to match the reading. But in Nicki Leone’s case a new rescued puppy has turned that former quietness on its head, and her reading has been altered in ways she never anticipated in How to Read a Book (With a Puppy on Your Lap).

Especially in comparison to their small sizes, bookmarks tend to carry very large histories. This week, Laine Farley finds a weighty background to a bookmark that initially offered not much more than a question as to where the “credit” was good at. But she found out and in doings so learned a great deal about a fascinating company and symbol in Priscilla, the Mail of New England.

Personal memoirs run the gamut from self-indulgent to historical. But rarely do they reach such a level of penetration as Lev Raphael’s story of his reconciliation between his family’s past and his own present. Even further depth was probed by the perceptive questions posed to him about his experiences and this book in Looking Back.

With two holidays in one week, Lauren Roberts decided there wasn’t time to do much but bring out her annual Christmas “poem” for your amusement. Therefore, please enjoy her personal take on the old and more famous one in ‘Twas That Night Before Christmas.

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Issue of December 16, 2012

We at BiblioBuffet hope that your holiday shopping is not taking a toll on you. If you ever feel it is, the best cure is a couple of hours (or more) buried in the pages of a good book.

With airline travel growing more unpleasant by the week—it can easily be described as a flying bus—it is with no small irony that this week Lauren Roberts takes a look back at the history of Continental Trailways (“Big Red”), an intercity bus system that served a major portion of the U.S. middle class for fifty years in Going My Way? (in the editor’s letter).

Still looking for gifts? This week, Lauren Roberts presents the last of her four-part list of ideas for the bibliophiles and readers in you life. Books are not a part of it because of the vast number of them and the wide array of individual interests, but you’ll find plenty of other suggestions in Literary Gift Guide, Part 4 (in On Marking Books).

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Issue of December 9, 2012

The holiday season is in full swing. Regardless of whether you are immersed in parties, working hard, or able to nestle into your home’s warmth we hope that you are finding time to indulge yourself in some good reading. This week, we have two wonderful essays that explore the meaning of books, which you will find over at BiblioBuffet.

Our experiences while reading as children often have a large impact on our adult reading. Probably no one has been more impacted than Nicki Leone, who shares the books she read and the things she learned from them—more, much more, than the stories themselves—in On Reading Books That Are Too Old for You.

In an unusual departure from her usual book-centric columns, Gillian Polack explores the connection between types of music and types of author voices and what they teach her. “My taste in music and my taste in books becomes a window onto a far wider and more interesting landscape than I previously saw,” she says and that fuels her thoughts for Music and Modulation.

Still doing your holiday shopping? Then check out Lauren Roberts suggestions for more gifts for booklovers and readers. This week, she goes international in some ideas while others are closer to home in The Literary Gift Guide, Part 3.

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Issue of December 2, 2012

As the cold and rain settle in here in Santa Barbara, I am thinking of soups, hot apple cider, and warm reading. I have no doubt for most of you it is the same. So enjoy those books.

In The Literary Gift Guide, Part 2, Lauren Roberts shares more of her select gift suggestions for booklovers and readers along with a short reminisce of what her current reading is doing for her.

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Issue of November 25, 2012

In this week’s editor’s letter I begin our annual Literary Gift Guide, which will continue through December 16. Though I have done this for several years’ running, each year trying a new way to display I think I have found the best thus far: fewer but choicer selections that will not be grouped by price or category but instead be presented as they come. And we also have some more book recommendations, one of which is perfect for the cooking and cultural fans out there. Join us for a celebration of food and reading!

Note: Because of ongoing technical difficulties, we are unable to link directly to our new articles. Please go to BiblioBuffet and check them out from there. Thank you!

“Cookbooks that seek to introduce an entire culture to new audiences have many roles to fill,” says Nicki Leone, who shares a particular one that she told me “is the book that will be on my counter for the next three months.” So what is it?  Find out in Bon Appetit ~ Enjoy Your Meal ~ Eat Up ~ Dig In ~Nush-E Jan.

‘Twas a time when trolleys were not just for transporting workers to town and back but for fun. Lauren Roberts explores the history of one such trolley in southern California that specialized in “100 miles for 100 cents” in Trolley Times.

When Edith Wharton entered Lev Raphael’s life she basically took it over. But one thing disturbed him: her take on Jews. Lev decided to hijack her stereotypical characterization and re-make that character into a full-fledged man with “a life, a past, a family, dreams, fears, regrets” who is “real” in his own novel in Solving My Edith Wharton Problem.

The Medieval Arthurian legends are one of Gillian Polacl’s passions. Books about the legends, the heroes and villains and the stories abound, and now a new one, a true story about Merlin the magician, how the stories of him “developed and changed in the Middle Ages, how they were interpreted and how those stories came down to us” in Merlin.

Technical difficulties prevented us from publishing last week’s issue or even getting into the website until this past Saturday. We apologize for this. So this week Lauren Roberts combined, with some tweaking, the two editor’s letters into one to bring forth The Literary Gift Guide: The Shop Opens.

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Issue of November 18, 2012

We are sorry but when we went to post the new issue of BiblioBuffet we could not. The website is having technical problems. They have been reported so we expect to have the new issue up on Monday, November 19. Please check back with us. We have some great reading for you. We promise!

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Issue of November 11, 2012

From the chilly weather to warm words. We have it all. Well, not the weather per se. That is up to Mother Nature. But we do have warm, even great words for you with our new columns this week, ones I think you are going to love. Check all three out to discover some great new reading plus more.

Bookmarks come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. This week, Lauren Roberts revisited her collection of metal bookmarks, most all of them antiques, to look for some history to go with the exquisite workmanship. Alas, no history could be found—these are perhaps the most mysterious as to their origins—but some interesting speculation arises in Metal Bookmarks.

“Books are terrifyingly important,” writes Gillian Polack. “Who we are can be derived from them and influenced by them.” In Imagined Geography, she shares her thoughts on two books where the terms “home” and “abroad” come to light in various ways and aid our understanding of our cultures.

A new thriller with an unusual depth is the focus of the editor’s letter this week. In 9/11 Live for Me Now, Lauren Roberts shares her thoughts on 9/11 and admits that the book gave her more than mere entertainment; it also challenged her thinking on the lingering issues that arose from that terrible day.

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Issue of November 4, 2012

We apologize for technical difficulties that prevented us from putting out a new issue this week. But rest assured we will be back next week with new writing for you to enjoy.

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