The Little Free Libraries project is the brainchild of Todd Bol.

The first Little Free Library I ever saw was in Savannah.  What a charmer, tucked under the stairs on East Charleton Street, the site of Flannery O’Conner’s childhood home.


Now these little book boxes have gone viral.  (Find one near you here.) This one is ready for it’s coming out party, in front of my YMCA in Stuart, FL.


Here’s the skinny.  There are no rules or fines, the books are always free. If you see something you want to read, take it.  You can leave a note in the book if you want. When you’re finished with a book, pass it along to a friend or return it to any Little Free Library.  I’ve got one ready to tuck inside after the ribbon-cutting.


In a time when Google, Amazon, and Netflix unnervingly predict what we want to read/watch/think, it’s crackling good fun to open the door of a Little Free Library.


Want to build your own?  I know I do.  But, if you’re like me, you have minimal non-existent carpentry skills. No worries. It’s a cakewalk.

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Little Free Libraries are bringing people together through books. The political right likes them. So does the left. Who says ‘no’ to reading?


Little Free Libraries bring out our sweeter side.  So, what are you waiting for?

Whatcha Readin’ ? is the new Hello.

Toni 2/25/17



Serendipitydoodah! I meet H.P. Wood and wonder if there’s a poet laureate of Coney Island.

Thorton Wilder (he wondered about that poet laureate gig too) would like Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet.  And he’d love H.P. Wood.  Her novel transports you to the rollicking resort at the bottom of Brooklyn.

I say, who better to be a poet laureate of Coney Island than Ms. Wood?

I hope HPW meets songwriter Amos Wengler when she does her next reading July 9, 4pm: Sideshows by the Seashore, Coney Island, NY.   I think they’ll have a lot to talk about.

Toni 6/21/16

Serendipitydoodah! Part 4, The Final Piece of My Interview Series with H. P. Wood, Author of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet

Coney Island is as much a character as Kitty is in Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet.  H. P. Wood’s novel really piqued my interest about the bathhouses and bars, sideshows and secret lives.  I happened on photographs by Diane Arbus, a singular photographer who met her first group of midgets at the Ringling Bros. circus.  She focused on getting to know them, talking and listening without shooting, only gradually moving in with her camera. Everything was grist for her lens.

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WWWW:  I’m thinking writing is like photography, everything is grist for the pen.  What advice would you give to an unpublished aspiring writer?

HPW: My advice would be what I wish somebody had told me, which is to avoid getting so wrapped up in “I wanna get published” that all the joy gets sapped out of what you’re writing.

What happened to me was, I wrote a different book (my first try) and almost got an agent but then didn’t. Getting “so close” ended up really spinning my head around. I wasted a lot of time being mentally blocked and depressed over my perceived failure.

So my advice—and I hope this does not sound obnoxious coming from someone who has a book out—is, don’t rush to get an agent, don’t rush to self-publish, don’t rush to professionalize yourself. The most fun you are going to have is right now, before there are any business concerns at all. Ambition is fine but don’t let it get in front of the indescribable pleasure of creating something exist that didn’t before.


WWWW: Thanks for that honest advice from the heart.  So, in this new era of publishing, writers often bemoan that writing the book is the easy part and getting the book into readers’ hands is now a far greater challenge. How’s the marketing journey going?

HPW: I strongly suspect that it was ever thus. Because of social media just we hear each other complain more now.

As for me, on the one hand it is incredibly fun to have people reading this book finally. My friends and family have been so overwhelmingly supportive, I can’t even describe it. So that’s wonderful.

On the other hand, I am very much looking forward to getting back to writing, rather than being so outward-facing in terms of how I spend my time. I long to go back to my own Overlook Hotel where I (pretend that I) don’t care about anybody else’s opinion.


WWWW:  So, for my last question, I’m giving it to you – is there something that you wanted me to ask that I didn’t? Spill it here!

HPW:   Question: “Will you sign intimate body parts at the Hickory Stick Bookshop on June 18 at 3pm, or will you only sign books?”

              Answer: As long as you buy a book, I will sign anything you want!


WWWW:  Ok, so there may not be rollercoasters and peeping attractions in Washington CT, but you definitely suggest there will be thrills.   Thank you, HPW, for your time and candid interview.  I’ll be at your book signing, asking you to sign who-knows-where.  I invite you all to join me at the Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington CT, Saturday June 18 at 3PM.

Ladies and Gentlemen, complete info and directions are here. 



Toni 6/16/16