Top Ten Tuesday -Favorite Couples in Books

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It’s TTT time! As usual, if you’re curious about this, Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl hosts these weekly challenges (so, see her blog for more info). Today’s prompt is about favorite book couples. I tend to not have those or idealize bookish relationships but I was able to think of 10 12 romantic relationships that left an impression on me. As you’ll see, most of them involve at least one dark character. What can I say? I love them brooding and mysterious with a touch of evil or violent or at the very least not conventionally nice. I also really dig a fierce and independent female. These are in no particular order. So, without further ado …..

 

Vasya and Morozko

Lila and Kell AND Alucard and Rhy

Liesl and der Erlkönig

Inej and Kaz

Cherry and Hero

18

Richard and Lady Door

355

Tristran and Ivaine

481

Deryn and Alek

Alice and Hatcher

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Jo and Laurie

483

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy

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The Great American Read on PBS

Well, color me jealous! This looks like a fantastic series, and I might have to break my pledge to not watch that much TV this year for this show. And with I might, I of course mean I will! The Great American Read promises to be a reader’s delight and will definitely lead to more books being added to my TBR. The show is about the 100 of America’s best-loved novels and viewers can vote for their favorite which will be revealed in the last episode. Check out the show’s ABOUT page for more info and/or watch this video:

http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/3008352988/

 

The book list seems well rounded to me and includes FOUR of my all-time favorites:

 

The Little Prince, The Alchemist, Little Women, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I am going to have to start thinking about for which I will cast my vote! Based on the theme of this blog, you can probably guess where I’ll end up.

So, set your reminders for May 22nd 8pm EST, to watch the premiere on PBS. Maybe we can chat about it during the show on Twitter. Find me @evilbibliotaph. I will be tweeting my thoughts.

February fanfare

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February has been a slow start. I think I was a bit worn out from January. But I got my groove back with my second book Wonder. It was a quick and very good read and sort of set the pace from there on. I got the chance to finally dive into a highly anticipated book – it had been on my short-list TBR since last year. I even broke my no-spend/shop your own shelf promise to purchase Never Let Me Go. I also got around to reading Krysten Ritter’s debut – another book I was super looking forward to. I have a total girl-crush on Krysten Ritter. She knits, she writes, she reads, and she is oh so sarcastic. Swoon!

 

***SPOILERS POSSIBLE

 

 

Happiness (Aminatta Forna) ♠♠♠

119I had been looking forward to this novel for a while. The fox on the cover, the snowy scene really drew me in. The description sounded magical. Unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to my hype. At times it felt like Americanah. At times it felt like The Trees. Both books were amazing and both had super important messages. Happiness had all that but somehow Forna failed to execute it in a memorable way. I had to trudge through the story at times. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on why I felt so underwhelmed because the individual parts were good – complex characters, every-day life situations, great writing, and a purpose. I wonder if I read this book again another time if I would feel completely differently about it?

 

Wonder (R.J. Palacio) ♠♠♠♠♠

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This book is special. I believe everyone should read it, no matter their age. We can all learn something from it. I tip my hat to Palacio for being inspired and writing this novel.

 

 

 

Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones) ♠♠♠♠

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Gah, Erlkönig. I’ve loved you since middle school! Goethe’s poem was one of my favorites we discussed in class. I am such a sucker for the dark and romantic nature of antiheroes/villains. I love me a good story about someone I should be scared of, but deep down admire. Jae-Jones did a great job taking German folk tales and weaving them into her novel. Her characters are complex and different. Her writing has an ethereal nature to it. Big thumbs up! You should read this book.

 

 

Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) ♠♠♠♠

122This book was highly anticipated by me. I had received several recommendations for it and had originally planned to read it for the Popsugar Challenge 2017, but never got around to it. When I saw it in my local bookstore right before a weekend planned to be spent at a remote cabin, I couldn’t help myself and just had to buy it. And I am glad I did. I really enjoyed this story. It was different. Although it is technically sci-fi, it reads much more like a character study. The novel itself has some of my favorite features: unreliable character √, weird dystopian society √, a wide variety of emotions √, and some beautiful scenic descriptions √. This is a slow paced book. We only learn about slivers of the narrator’s past here and there, but that really kept me engaged. I definitely understand why Kazuo Ishiguro was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. I can’t wait to read more books by him. I also added the movie to my to-watch-list. I’ve heard good things about that one as well.

 

Bonfire (Krysten Ritter) ♠♠♠

123Confession time. I have a HUGE, HUUUUUUGE (I tell ‘ya) girl-crush on Krysten Ritter ever since Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. I wish there would’ve been more seasons. Anyhow, ever since then, I’ve followed Ritter’s IG account like a lovestruck puppy. The fact that she knits (one of my big obsessions) made everything about her better. When I heard she was working on her first novel, I couldn’t wait to get my grubby little hands on the book. And yes, it took me actually a while to read it once I received it in the mail because I was nervous that I would be disappointed. Well … It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it also wasn’t the worst. Bonfire is a fluff read – it’s fast and entertaining but not memorable. I think my major issue with it is that Ritter, in my opinion, missed two important opportunities. 1) She could’ve broken the mold and made one of the female characters the main villain (what a trope that the one I am talking about in the end only did what she did for affection from a man, gag!) and 2) she should’ve let the heroine die. At the point of the almost-fatal incident, we, the readers, already know everything about the crime and the crime motives, but letting the heroine die would’ve made for a good unresolved feeling without being left completely in the dark. Had Ritter done those two things, I could’ve easily overlooked the somewhat immature writing and often told, rather than shown, storyline. In fact, I would’ve thought this book to be very relevant for today’s society. Too bad that didn’t happen and as such this novel is rather a poolside, guilty pleasure read than a critical literary piece. But hey, we can’t be perfect at everything, right? My swooning for Ritter has not diminished.

 

Final Girls (Riley Sager) ♠♠♠

124I feel like I’ve heard people hailing this thriller in the lines of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train – I loved the first and hated the second. So, yeah, this was kind of a predictor for this book, because I just feel meh about Final Girls. I can’t even really put my finger on why except that the pace was too slow for a gripping thriller and that I found myself wishing on several occasions that I’d rather be reading the actual story about what happened at the cabin to Quincy than the flashbacks to it. Her current life was boring. The friendship with the other final girls was implausible. The only saving grace was toward the end when the twists and turns sped up a bit, although none of them really came as a surprise. I am not saying you shouldn’t read the book. I’m just saying you should read it as a fluff read, without expectations.

Lewis Carroll birthday and Book Fairies shenanigans

Guys!!!!!

Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland must be celebrated! The wonderful people at The Book Fairies are doing it in the best way possible. Let’s get our game on and hide copies of this beloved book all around the world!

I will be participating! Or at least I will try! I need to get myself a copy first I wouldn’t mind leaving somewhere 😉 but that shouldn’t be impossible. Gah, I wish I wouldn’t be so forgetful and had already done this!

Anyhow, if you so choose to participate post your book drop on social media using #bookfairiesinwonderland and #ibelieveinbookfairies.

This effort truly deserves six hearts ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ and six spades ♠♠♠♠♠♠.

This is straight-up a swoon post! And a welcome post!

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Hello! If you’ve been following my blog for a while or if you’re new to my musings, welcome to this post o’swoon!

Dewey’s is upon us and I had signed up to do one of the warm-up posts. Well, it came out today. I feel so honored to have been able to write such a thing, and even more honored that it was not immediately discarded as rubbish 😉 ….

I had so much fun writing it. It came from the heart. Books are truly my friends, ever since I can remember. It was difficult to stop myself at only 300 words. In fact, I had to ask one of my besties (yes, I have actual people-friends too) to give it a read and help me cut words ;). You should check out her sciency awesomeness of a blog.

When I discovered Dewey’s readathon, I was ecstatic – an entire 24 hours dedicated to books. I mean, yes, of course, I’ve read hours upon hours at a time in the past, but I had never before shared that with others. After spending my first 24 hours with other worshippers of the literary kind, my love for books was renewed, elevated, and strengthened. And so was my TBR! Since then, I’ve done a few 24hr readathons, 24in48 readathons, themed month long readathons, and FB group weekend readathons.

20171018_090041-1.jpgI am eagerly awaiting this Saturday. I’ve made some bullet journal spreads to track my reading progress (one example is to the left). I set up buddy reading opportunities with people-friends (the virtual kind). I created my snack list (well that one is ever growing). I just requested a few more graphic novels from my library to have as in-between-fat-novel reads. And I told everyone about this readathon and my fundraising efforts.

Naturally, I will post updates here on my blog and some on twitter (@evilbibliotaph).

ichlese

 

How are you preparing? Are you a readathon rookie or a veteran? 

Goodreads turns 10!

Well hello there! I guess it’s time for a quick reminder (albeit late) that today is a special day – Goodreads turns 10. In honor of this anniversary, the excellent people at Goodreads encourage everyone to be a book fairy today. They partnered with The Book Fairies for this fun endeavor and declared today to be a #hideabookday.

I did my part. I am currently visiting home (Germany!) and left one book on a train from Berlin to Munich and another at the entrance of a local high school in my hometown. The two books I chose are near and dear to my heart. 21743391_10155827730906388_3993408119708996877_nA Monster Calls utterly wrecked me. I read it in one sitting and basically wept the entire time. It has everything that makes a great story – and if you know me you know I love a good telling about death and how to deal with it. 21463399_10155827730806388_8289167421363250723_nNeverwhere was my second Neil Gaiman read and to date is still my favorite book of his. It’s dark,  sarcastic, imaginative, magical, and sexy.  It has a badass (at times villainous) female warrior and creepy monstrous henchmen. It speaks of friendship, bravery, and loyalty, and it draws you into a world so different from our own.

Sadly, I only could hide two books because I actually had to fly with them, and you know weight restrictions and a girl needing all her clothes doesn’t bode well for taking a bunch of books. I, however, was able to recruit my sister to the cause and she also left books behind in Germany. I love how different our book choices are!

IMG-20171002-WA0005 (1) IMG-20171002-WA0007 IMG-20171002-WA0008

 

Did you participate today? What books did you choose? And why?

January reading log and some musings

monthlies

***spoilers possible

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between (Lauren Graham) ♠♠♠♠♠

lauren-graham

 

Lauren Graham is Lorelai Gilmore. She is also so much more. I really loved this memoir. Graham is witty and funny and very sarcastic. Her sensible side is very appealing and makes me want to be her best bud. I want everyone to read this book.

 

 

Where’d you go, Bernadette (Maria Semple) ♠♠♠

bernadette

 

I felt meh about this one. I am glad I read it since I hear people referring to Maria Semple’s books quite a bit but so far I am not convinced Semple is for me. Also, some of the storyline is just so damn unbelievable (as in I don’t buy it for one second). Sure, Bernadette is hiding out in (on?) Antarctica and it takes her young daughter to figure that out. I call BS.

 

InterWorld (Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves) ♠♠♠♠

interworld

 

Very, very interesting and intriguing concept and yet again a solid Gaiman book. He really is one of my favorite authors. I am definitely looking forward to the second installment. And hopefully, I will remember all these new terms I learned in the first book (talking about a whole new language 😉 ).

 

 

I‘ll Give You the Sun (Jandy Nelson) ♠♠♠♠♠

giveyouthesunThis is one of those lovely soul-crushing books. You have to read it and you’re going to be sort of devastated at the end – but in the best way possible. This book left me worn out. I definitely needed a breather after it. But somehow, it also gave me hope because it truly does show with every door that closes a new one opens and good things come from bad situations. My book club decided to make February’s reading prompt “an unconventional love story” and I kinda wish I would’ve saved this book for it. I have definitely been telling everyone to read it for that category if they haven’t yet.

 

The Sunset Limited (Cormac McCarthy) ♠♠♠♠♠♠

sunsetlimitedCormac McCarthy you wonderful son of a bitch. This story blew my mind (meaning it gets 6 spades!). It should be mandatory reading, starting in high school. Screw Catcher in the Rye or Die Leiden des Jungen Werther (for my German friends). If you want to speculate ‘why the f*&% are we alive’ and ‘what does it all mean’, read this! McCarthy’s writing is pure genius.  Metaphors, analogies, imagery, and a million open-ended questions make you question everything you ever knew or believed. This story is simultaneously depressing af and utterly uplifting.

 

We Are on Our Own (Miriam Katin) ♠♠♠♠♠

onourown

Um, yes. WW2 in Hungary. This is so beautifully told and illustrated, I gobbled this book up in less than an hour. Told from two different perspectives (mother and daughter), this story tells the tale of despair, doubt, and deep, deep sadness without losing itself in the cliché I often feel when reading or learning about WW2.

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) ♠♠♠♠

oceanlane

 

Yep, another Neil Gaiman. That man is everything. Swoon. This story was like a dream. I honestly often didn’t know what was going on or how I was feeling about that. It was magical! Read it!

 

 

 

A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams) ♠♠♠♠♠

streetcar

 

Definitely a must-read. I am glad I finally got around to it. Also Marlon Brando, everyone! I need to watch the movie now.

 

 

Before the Fall (Noah Hawley) ♠♠♠♠

beforethefallDo you guys remember last summer’s blog post about Stephen King’s book tour? Well, he was reading this book during the tour and commented on it when I saw him speak. I have had that book on my shelves since before that and have been meaning to read it. I gotta be honest, it was not what I had expected. But I liked it nonetheless. If you want a fast-paced thriller, this book is not for you. If you want a study of the human condition, read it.

 

Me Before You (Jojo Moyes) ♠♠♠

mebeforeyouI said it before, I like a good sappy love story. And this one promised to be it. Maybe my mindset was already off because the book received so much hype, or maybe it really isn’t that great, but this just fell short for me. The gist of the love story was beautiful and the characters were well-developed but the whole novel was just way too predictable – of course he is going to commit assisted suicide at the end. I wanted to like this so much more than I did. Maybe the sequel will be better?!

 

Maya’s Notebook (Isabel Allende) – audiobook ♠♠♠♠

So, Isabel Allende has been on my radar for a long, long time. I’ve been wanting to read her books but have just been pushing it off. With my excessive knitting in full force this mayasnotebookyear, I decided to give audiobooks another try (I honestly have such a hard time with them) and Maya’s Notebook was right away available from my local library. I have to say this book surprised me in a good way. I had high expectations for Allende and she far exceeded them. Who would’ve thought she could write such poignant internal turmoils and realistic human interactions. Maria Cabezas did a wonderful job voicing Maya. I truly believed I was listening to her reading from her diary. I am not sure if I am cured of my dislike of audiobooks but I am certain Isabel Allende is on my must-read-more list!

King book tour stop

Guys, it finally happened. I saw Stephen King. Never once have I seen him in Maine (though I visit around his neck of the woods frequently) or in Florida, where I lived in the same town as he does.

He was fantastic. I ate up everything he said. He was funny and witty, the right amount of cocky but mostly humble, a little raunchy, but full of wisdom. I want to just hang out with him and BS around. His talk included a wonderful mix of personal stories, well-timed jokes, literary wisdom, and just general life experiences.

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The cover has texture. It’s amazing.

 

With each admission ticket, everyone received the third book in the Bill Hodges trilogy. And I have to say, the cover is fucking beautiful! There were also 400 signed copies. I sadly report I did not receive such precious treasure, and neither did anyone from my bookish group. Either way, I will cherish this memory for a long time and I am super stoked to read the third book.

 

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My morning routine these days. Hot chocolate and King books.

 

I finished Finders Keepers Friday afternoon and loved it just like the first novel. Though the cliffhanger in this one topped it all. For everyone complaining that this trilogy is not your typical Stephen King, read the last page of Finders Keepers and shut up. There in that last line of the book is our beloved author 100%. I almost dare say that the first two books are really just the backstories to the third. I feel like King is sort of reinventing himself with this trilogy. Who wants to be put in a mold? He doesn’t. He made that clear yesterday during his talk.

 

 

My favorite thing King said were his thoughts on literature critics, especially when he was a young, unknown writer. And really this nugget of wisdom applies to anything you’re passionate about. He said that he thought to himself (after another particularly bad review) “you know what, I am young, I’ll keep writing, soon they’ll all be dead”. I am glad I had brought my little notebook along to immediately jot that one down.

He also shared his current reading list, and what books he had packed to read during his travels for the tour. Just thinking about how much he loves books makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. I love seeing him at Red Sox (Go Sox!) games with his nose in a book. Anyhow, besides pushing his son’s recent NY Times Bestseller (which is now on my TBR, Joe Hill The Fireman), he also told us that he just started reading Before The Fall, which made me instantaneously giddy as this is the book I chose for the June Book of the Month book and low and behold had just arrived at my house yesterday afternoon. So, peeps, Stephen King and I read the same things (*smirks proudly)! That’s cray cray!

So, book friends, let’s get back to swooning over Stephen King and reading all the things. For me, that is going to comprise reading his books this month (as I’ve now mentioned way too many times), though I may dive into Before The Fall as well – I think it counts since he is reading it, too. Happy perusing!

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Stephen King books and a Stephen King recommendation. What could be more beautiful?!

Stephen King month has begun

Ok, here’s the deal. I am way behind on writing up chapter reviews for the Popsugar Challenge but we are already 4 days into June and June is, as promised, Stephen King month; to honor my fangirling over him which will crescendo next weekend with his book tour arrival in my city.

So, the plan therefore is to only read King books in June telling you the tale of this journey along the way in this blog. Now, I’m planning on squeezing in some, and hopefully all, chapters that I am delinquent on as well. And we are talking a whopping 5 chapters, 5 books I’ve read for the challenge, and have not commented on. Fingers crossed, I’ll manage to do this soon.

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I have not decided what King books I will be reading, except for Finders Keepers, which I have just picked up from my favorite bookstore. Very likely, I am also going to pick up The Drawing of the Three as I really loved The Gunslinger and I am itching to turn more pages and read on about our main character’s travels. If you have any suggestions, please comment below. I would love to read books recommended by you guys.

Sidenote: I may break my rule for Exemplary Stories as this book was lent to me by an acquaintance and I don’t feel it’s right to keep it for that long.

 

Anyhow, here is to a wonderful month filled with horror, mystery, fantastical beings, and plot twists!