Sep 30, 2013

September, October...

What I Read

Megan's hosting another Book Challenge for Autumn.  I'm very excited since I failed miserably at the summer challenge.  Here are just a few of my planned reads.  On top of her challenge, I'm double challenging myself by reading only books I already own for the rest of the year.  Yikes!
  • Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  • Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

Upcoming Book Chat Topics

  • October 3: Favorite place to read and/or Favorite book store
  • October 10: Ebooks v. Print books
  • October 17: First book you loved
  • October 24: Literary-themed Costumes
  • October 31: Horror, Scary books

New Music Release

Arcade Fire

Release date: October 29, 2013

I've already preordered mine. 
Have you?

Sep 27, 2013

New Tunes

I recently went on an MP3 shopping spree.  I was feeling bored from playing the same old tunes over and over again.  My poor collection was getting tired.  So, I added to it.

Here's a few of my favorite newbies in the collection.

Volcano Choir - Repave

When I learned that Justin Vernon of Bon Iver had a new project in the works, I was all over it.  Little did I know, this has been going on for a while now and this is actually the second album to come out of it.  If you love Bon Iver (like myself) you will love Volcano Choir.  All the warm and fuzzies.

Icona Pop - This is...

I probably wouldn't have bought this album based on that catchy song alone, but Melissa gave it a 5/5 rating on her review.  I generally trust her opinion and when she loves something, she always loves it for good reason.  So far, I can't find any reason to distrust her rating.  It's a great album.

The Naked and Famous - In Rolling Waves

This was a no-brainer.  I LOVED The Naked and Famous' first album.  I think this is some of the most original music to come out in a long time.  It's part pop, with acoustic guitars and female/male duet vocals.  Kinda dancey, kinda electronic, kinda rock.  I love it, love it, love it.  This album follows in those footsteps.  

Daughter - If You Leave

This one here has to be one of my favorite music discoveries in a long time.  I feel like Daughter is one of those bands everyone in the Alt/Indie circle already knew about, but because I'm in the Bermuda Triangle over here, I was out of the loop.  I actually heard a song of theirs on So You Think You Can Dance and my ears perked up.  It sounded like something up my alley, and it is.  If you like The National, Andrew Bird, Mazzy Star, you will like Daughter.  Ugh, so good.

Have you bought any new music lately?

Sep 26, 2013

Banned Books Week {}

In case you haven't heard, it's Banned Books Week.  This means libraries, writers, celebrities and book-lovers are celebrating the right to write and read.  I don't feel like arguing once again why banning books is wrong, why challenging books is ignorant and why telling people what they can't read is downright senseless.  Instead, let me challenge you to take part in Banned Books Week in any way possible.

And last but not up with us!  Do you read "banned books"?  Do you celebrate?  What are your favorite "banned books"?  Share anything with us this week!  


To join in...
1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.

Next Week's Topic: Favorite book store or place to read

Sep 24, 2013

Book Review: The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility
By: Katja Millay
Atria Books
November 13, 2012
Source: Netgalley (Thank you!)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Sea of Tranquility is a story of recovery and second chances.  Nastya is the new girl on campus, dresses provocatively, keeps to herself and doesn't speak a word, ever.  Josh is a recluse with a tragic past.  Paths cross.

To be entirely honest, I didn't know what this book was about when I picked it up.  I didn't know if I was embarking on something paranormal, contemporary, romantic or comedic.  And the best thing about this book is that it is just real.  It wasn't cornered into a genre, but it was just a good story.  There was romance and a funny best friend and trauma and all the feels.

I enjoyed the writing immensely.  This book came at a time in my reading life when I was losing faith in YA and feeling like it was losing it's credibility.  This book turned it all around for me.  The writing was smart and creative and literary.  Her characterization was not cliche or predictable.  The story was believable.  It was mature and yet juvenile enough for it's characters.  They were 18, and they weren't forced into some genre-demanding behavior, but they acted like 18 year olds.  They talked about sex a lot and they were selfish at times and obnoxious at times and infuriating at times.  Unlike so many other young novels I've read, this book reminded me what it was like to be a teenager again.

This is the book everyone is talking about, and they're talking about it for a good reason.

Sep 19, 2013

A Book I Think Everyone Should Read {}

For today's topic, we are sharing the book we recommend that everyone read at least once.  That's a tough question really and you can translate it anyway you'd like.  It can be a book you loved and you think everyone else should too.  Or a book that you learned something major from.  Or a book that changed your life.  Or a book that changed your perspective.  So many options.

I could throw so many titles at you.  The Book Thief, The Handmaid's Tale, Me Before You (read them all, btw) but I feel like I'm ALWAYS talking about these titles.  And the question is, do I want you to read a book that I know you will love, or do I want you to read a book that I think you will learn something from.

I'm going with the latter, for a change.

The Giver ignited an idea: the idea that young people should be able to enter a world that is inherently WRONG and they should know what it feels like and they should be able to decide for themselves what is wrong about it, and they should be inspired by the brave ones that fight against the system that controls.  Adult dystopias are powerful too, but it's the Young Adult ones that mean the most.  They invest in a more potential audience.  We must look past the love triangles of today's YA and see that dystopian literature is investing in the freedoms of our future.

If you, like the rest of us, enjoy books like The Hunger Games, Delirium, and Divergent, then you should know where they came from.  Now, I'm not saying that they steal or copy, but we must give credit where it is due.

I read The Giver at a young age, and I'm so glad I did.  It will stay with me forever.

Have you read The Giver?  What are your thoughts?


What book do YOU think everyone should read at least once?
Link up with us!

Our co-host today is Megan of Semi-Charmed Kind of Life.  She is hosting an Instagram party next week in honor of Banned Book Week.  Please go over and check it out and add her to your reader.
Semi-Charmed Kind of Life 

To join in...
1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.


Next week: Banned Books

Sep 17, 2013

Paris, Part 2: The Latin Quarter

I have always wanted to see Paris, but this trip had a slightly different goal for me.  I wanted to "feel" Paris.  I wanted to basque in its charm and absorb it's literary history.  These were the same streets Hemingway and Fitzgerald walked on.  I wanted to see Paris the way they did.  Cue the Latin Quarter.

This was, by far, my favorite district of Paris.  Let's see...there was the English bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, although relocated from a fire, it was the bookstore often visited by Hemingway, and the owner, Sylvia Beach was responsible for printing James Joyce's Ulysses.  It was dreamy and dusty and amazing.

Then, there was the Jardin du Luxembourg, the very park where Hemingway met Gertrude Stein.  It was like a tropical oasis in the middle of the city.  No joke, palm trees.  The flowers, the ambiance, truly breathtaking.

After the park, my mother and I had lunch at the Luxembourg Cafe.  Sitting at a little bistro table outside enjoying lunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  Doesn't get more Paris than that.

After lunch, I took my mom on a short excursion past the Sorbonne and the Pantheon and then to a small church nearby whose stairs became a little famous in Midnight in Paris.  Yes, we found the very stairs Owen Wilson sat on when his 1920's chariot swept him away.  Sadly, it wasn't at midnight, but you better believe I'll be there at midnight next time around.

We did a lot of walking around Paris, and while all of the city was incredible, this was the district that felt the most Parisian to me.  It felt frozen in time.  It was like a mecca of literary lovers.  I left a tiny piece of my heart there.  I can't wait to return.

Sep 13, 2013

Paris, Part 1: The Louvre

Paris.  Maybe it was because I watched so many movies where the city was romanticized or because I read A Moveable Feast before the trip, but Paris words.  I've never felt a city so strongly before.  Paris was alive and beautiful and friendly and delicious and everything.

Our trip was flawless.  We took the train in early Saturday morning.  We went directly from the train to the Metro to the Louvre.  My first view of Paris above ground was through Pei's pyramids and how perfect that was.  The weather was amazing.  The people were amazing.  France felt right to me.  I feel uncomfortable in Germany sometimes, like I don't fit in and I don't always understand their way of life, but France fit me just fine.  We need to do something about the food though.

Anyway, we strolled through the Denon wing of the Louvre to see the few major pieces we wanted to see.  It was busy, but not so busy that it was a problem.  The museum felt alive, and I liked it that way.

After two hours in the Louvre, we headed toward the one area I could not pass up...but we'll save that for later.  Here are the highlights from my first few hours in Paris*

*Know that I'm saying it in French in my head and you should too.  It's more fun that way.

Sep 12, 2013

Book Cover Variations {}

I love book cover variations.  It's like seeing different artists' perspectives on the same story.  Each cover evokes a different emotion and captures a different feeling from the story.

The very best are the classics.  It's like free game for everyone to put their own spin on it.  Move over boring Penguin Classics covers.  I want all of these.

One of the cool things about being in Germany is that on the rare occasion I find an English book section, the books are usually the UK version, meaning different covers than what you find stateside.  On top of that, browsing the German books is fun because I get to try and guess what book it is in English.  
Titles don't always translate perfectly.

Here's an example...can you guess what this one is?

It literally translates into "The Tribute from Panem: Lethal Games".

Here's another...
Kinda cool, right?

Here are some more of my favorite book cover variations...


Sometimes, it's like the cover designer actually read the book.  

What are some of your favorite book covers?  Link up below!

Link Up


To join in...
1. Please follow the host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.

Next week's topic: What is the one book you think everyone should read at least once?