Papercuts and Scribbles

Repost – Why Book Reviews?

This post was originally written for my travel blog, Fernweh Follies. Some sections have been reworked for The Book Nook Chronicles:

Anyone that meets me today knows me as a receptionist with an adventurous streak; but business administration was not my original end goal.

If I published a full-fledge version of my resume on this blog it would show the equivalent of six years of experience in the publishing world.

I’ve dipped my toe into almost every branch of publishing. I worked at an actual printing press collating mail and quality checking handmade booklets, interned at a scholarly press and an independent publishing house (both separate occasions and entities), and worked as a part-time proofreader and Barnes and Noble bookseller, simultaneously.

To say I love literature is a disservice to books. Books are my drug; my addiction; my escape; and my joy. I tried to put it into words in a poem I wrote my junior year of college called, “Earl Grey.” The final stanza reads:

I am branded/with the blackened amber eternity of tea and ink stains.

Nolan, Erica. “Earl Grey.” 2015.

I am my most energized with paper-cut fingertips, ink-stained hands, a red pen dancing across my knuckles, and a new story filling my head. Even though my professional life has lead me down a much different road, my passion for the written word will be self-evident until the day I die.


Erica Fun Fact #1

My favorite page in every book I own is the copyright page. It’s like a book’s birth certificate. Most people flip past this page without a second thought, but you can learn so much about the title in your hand if you take the time to decipher it.

Here are five fast facts you an learn on the copyright page:

The copyright page of the Barnes and Noble Classics edition of Little Women. (1) publisher (2) original publication date (3) publication year of edition (4) ISBN (5) LC Control Number
  1. The publisher of your copy. This is a shout out to the people that helped make the book you are currently holding in your hands a reality.
  2. The original publication date of the book you’re reading. This is the year your book first entered the world for public eyes.
  3. The publication year of your copy. If you cannot find another publication year on the copyright page, you might have a first edition on your hands!
  4. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This is like a book’s passport. Publishers purchase ISBN numbers to globally register their publications. Every separate edition and variation of a publication is registered under a different ISBN number. To learn more about ISBNs, go here.
  5. The Library of Congress Control Number (LC Control Number). If the ISBN is a book’s passport, then the LC Control Number is it’s Social Security Number. The LC Control Numbers are a serial-based numbering system used to catalog records in the US Library of Congress. Since the creation of the system in 1898, every book ever published in the United States has a LC Control Number attached to it. Each number is associated with the bibliographic information of the publication.

The next time you open up a book (physical or digital) give the copyright page a read!


I, like all bibliophiles, have a never-ending list of books I want to read that grows every time a new book is published. On my original blog, Books. Baked Goods. Battlestar Galactica. I created a list of 101 Books to Read in a Decade (aka by my 30th birthday). It was a lofty and ambitious goal that has some great titles on it, but looking at it now as a 26-almost-27-year-old, I see some flaws in the collection I put together. I want to embrace the intentions of the original list on this blog without keeping myself to such stringent rules.

My attempts at staged photography circa 2013

I learned while getting my English degree that life is too short for bad books, so I will not force myself to read anything that doesn’t keep my attention fully – unless it’s a classic I didn’t manage to read in school. I want to read as much as I can and not limit myself by genre.

I will write a review of one book a month and update my count on each book review post. I intend to include next month’s book choice at the end of each review. Feel free to read along and add your thoughts in the post comments!

My first book review (was) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Coming to a blog near you on August 16th.

I hope you join me on Alcott’s adventure! Happy reading!

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