Bookish Items on My Wishlist | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

m1hp1

m2.jpg

m3

Harry Potter inspired magical wand T-shirt (is also available as a pin)

“Still I rise” by Maya Angelou pin (also available as tshirt)

Nevermore raven pin from Edgar Allan Poe

Frankenstein pin – all by Literary Emporium

 

kindle

I’ve actually bought this Slytherin-inspired kindle case, Klevercase has it for several models.

 

 

m4.jpg

m5.jpg

m6.jpg

Literary cat pin

You’re tea-rific teacup pin

Lumos pin – all three from justinegilbuena on etsy

 

m9

LiliLite bookshelf with light that turns off when you put a book upside down on it

 

And finally we have quite the meme –

m8

The prism glasses for all your lazy or sick in bed needs!

Advertisements

Do I want to watch Fantastic Beasts 2?

Visually it seems stunning –

fb.jpg

a bit of background

Harry Potter was a series I loved growing up and still do. I was so quickly immersed in that universe and while it wasn’t these books that got me into fantasy, like with many others, I certainly was introduced to liking the universe as well – memorizing spells and fan theories and non-canon storylines. There were so many talented, and funny, fans that when “Cursed Child” came out I was screaming in horror. What the actual fuck was that plot? It made me lose all trust in more hp content. I don’t think I even did a review, because it was such a mess that I’ve mostly deleted it from my mind. I mean here’s my thoughts on cursed child summed up in something that happened this week –

Friend: “How many hp books are there really?”

Me: “Seven of the main series, and three others about quidditch, fantastic beasts and tales of beedle the bard”

Other hp fan: “Well, actually cursed – ”

Me: “NOPe, not that one.” Lots of glaring. Realising cursed child is basically Voldemort in that it shouldn’t be named.

 

ANyway – back to fantastic beasts

I liked fantastic beasts 1 as a movie. It was set in a different time, which made it less of a “threat” to the original work. I was excited to see the creatures come to life. How it was shot and the cinematics I thought were beautiful, even though it gave me “alice in wonderland” vibes sometimes. The story itself was just boring and bland. 

When I finished the hp series the first time I wanted to know so much more about the characters and the universe. There existed wikis to check for every canon detail, there were as I said before tons of fan-theories and soon the collective imagination gave stories either for the original harry, hermione and ron’s future, their parents generation’s past or plotholes that appeared. J K Rowling has tried to fill every plot-hole in that series since, even the cultural “missings” like diversity. But fans already adopted these characters in so many ways, including writing an asian harry or darker skinned hermione. I do get angry at J K trying when throwing out things like Dumbledore was gay from the start, to write that in with nothing new backing it up. It would’ve been okay to me if the fantastic beasts team decided to write it in this film, making it one of the major points. And I’m kind of interested to see if they do, if they dare take any turns from the original universe and make itself worth being spoken about as its own series.

Someone told me there would be five fantastic beasts films yesterday, while we were discussing this upcoming film. My immediate reaction “they’re trying so hard to grab all the money they can”. The fact is that with the budget and the available talent these movies should be great! I think they’re too limited in chances they’re willing to take and creative space they’re willing to lend to writers, because I’m seeing little interesting (from the first movie at least). I do want to watch it – to see if this one is better – but it feels like I’m setting myself up for failure here.

These movies are too early for playing on nostalgia (like star wars reboot does for many) and too late for being a natural extension of the harry potter universe, giving answers fans like me wanted at that time and filling the hole it left after it was finished. Still don’t know if I should see Fantastic Beast. My friend listened to most of this and concluded that she still wanted more of the hp universe. I’m not so sure.

 

 

Reading Goals of 2018 (November Update)

I had a couple informal reading goals this year.

11-e1541365194482.png

I wanted to: 

  1. Read more books with queer/lgbt characters
  2. Continue to read poetry and find what I like
  3. Read more science-focused books
  4. Read more than 40 books

I finished goal four, at least! As of november, this is where I’m at –

2018.PNG

genres.PNG

Queer/lgbt books

I’ve definitely seen an increase in how much queer characters I read about. Both because I’ve seeked them out and definitely because of more diversity and representation. Before a lot of the mainstream books were “coming-out stories” and honestly, while it’s absolutely important to read about other’s struggles, what I need personally is  fluffy and cute stories to at least balance them out and give me back hope for my future and the world in general.

So here’s a few queer books I recommend from what I’ve been reading this year –

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (of course) by Becky Abertalli

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

Finding poetry I like

Continuing last year’s theme by liking everything by Mary Oliver; here’s a review of the new and selected first collection, here’s of the second one.

Other than that there’s been a whole lot of mediocre poetry collections I’ve been reading. I think it’s because of the trap I often walk into by picking up what turns out to be this new modern “milk and honey” instagram poetry, which I have to admit to myself I don’t care for.

Counting Descent by Clint Smith was a powerful and brilliant collection as well, about being black in America and connection between history and present day.

I’ll say I mostly failed on this goal, and I’ll try to make up for it before the end of the year.

Science books

Here’s the terrible and guilt-ridden list of the science booksI’ve started and not finished this year:

  • The last half of Einsteins biography by Walter Isaacson
  • Letters to a young scientist by Edward O Wilson (horrible)
  • We have no idea: a guide to the unknown universe by Jorge Cham (interesting)
  • Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feyman (most likely to finish soon)

I also have bought Stephen Hawkings “The grand design”, and “the concept of anxiety” by Søren Kierkengaard. I finished “sapiens” though, so does history count? I definitely have failed this one, and it doesn’t help that I want to continually pick up new ones like I’m ever going to get to them.

Backlist Books I Want to Read | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

Basically most thing I read aren’t new releases, like there’s so many books on my TBR that have been there for a while. It is cheaper and easier to get access to them over newer books. That said there’s a few books that I seem to always postpone reading, so here they are –

 

 

YA Books

 

Don’t you forget about me by Kate Karyus Quinn

The f- it list by Julie Halpern

The impossible knife of memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

Mystery/Thriller

Gone girl by Gillian Flynn

Killing floor by Lee Child

The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins

Various

Extraordinary means by Robyn Scneider

Tbe bell jar by Sylvia Plath

Fantasy

 

The silver witch by Paula Brackston

The nightmare affair by Mindee Arnett

 

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik | Book Review

Pages: 480

Genre: fantasy

ss2ss

Synopsis

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: two stars

to

The official synopsis doesn’t do the plot justice in its variety. It’s not only a story about Miryem and the cold magical Staryk king, it has multiple pov’s where Wanda – a girl the same age that Miryem she takes on as employee – and Wanda’s brothers Sergey and Stepon are all big parts of the plot. Also there’s the king of the human lands and his bride by arranged marriage who has borrowed some magical powers to escape. It seemed like a weird choice of storytelling until the characters interacted and then the end of the plot seemed very obvious all of a sudden.

The ideas in this book were good, the focus on family made it even better. But often I found myself not knowing which pov the book had switched to, especially as the characters finds themselves travelling to each other places, making it impossible to keep them straight. I did not care for the “human” king and his bride, her name Irina wasn’t even given before an unnaturally long time had passed. There were certainly elements I liked, enough not to put the book down, but it felt so badly executed. The trap with having serious and calculative characters are that they cannot all be like that, or the magic of even a fantasy book will disappear. There were no lightness, except for when mother-figures trying to give comfort, and no humour. The first hundred pages are all Miryem showing how she built up a little empire of money-loaning after her father didn’t have the cold heart needed for it. And that’s somewhat interesting, but wasn’t done very well. I might as well go pick up economy textbooks, and get something actually useful out of reading about it.

For being a fantasy book there were little magic and a lot of corrupted people and demons/creatures, who seemed to have no desires or joys in their lives. The motivation and message are hiding from me here. The self-important seriousness of it all, from the characters to the writing, brought this book down. Miryem might always have an answer to every challenge, but it gave another level of unconcern to even to her sacrifices. I loved Uprooted, but would recommend “Deathless” by Catherynne Valente instead of this book.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Review

Pages: 390

Genre: fiction, lgbt characters

 

Synopsis

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple?, this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means -and what it costs- to face the truth.

The audiobook

Evelyn Hugo sounds just like a movie star. Monique is done by another narrator and they both do a really good job. It really made the story come alive, like Evelyn was telling her own biography, and Monique’s thoughts on it.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: five

fem

Evelyn Hugo, the movie star, was such an interesting character, especially seen through the journalist Monique’s eyes. She’s into playing games, and it has gotten her far in her life, as she’s gotten out of poverty and into mansions. This book brings up ideas around power, it has all the glam of a 1950’s star, but also a lot of moral dilemmas as Evelyn talks about the decisions she’s made in her life and how she rarely regrets them, even those with huge consequences. I really liked her friend-group/family she built up, really this book turned from ambition to impotance of community and love. Of how to deal with loss. And queer characters and love!

“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.” 

The story itself seems so real, several times I went to google Evelyn Hugo, to find out a piece of info, before realizing that of course, she was fictional. While I liked Monique, the character, I didn’t care for her descriptions of her own life. It’s less spectacular than Evelyn’s, sure, but there’s ways to find joy even in a “normal” life. The miserable soon-to-be divorced journalist negative view of herself storyline is quite boring and I didn’t get it. The twist of the story blew me away. I didn’t see it coming at all, and it made the entire story make sense, every doubt Monique had, was cleared up.

It’s a fictional biography of a fictional 1950’s movie stars life, and it does it so spectacularly well, making quite an impact on me. This book also encourages you to take more of the opportunities you get, to not be so timid about ambition. I don’t think it’s the right way to look at life, putting your needs before everyone else, but it’s one that should be considered in more situations, especially by women in careers.  

Bi-Weekly Update #5

It’s been three weeks, with a lot of studying (those 12pm deadlines, several days in a row you know), too much stress, all-out partying for once and in-depth reading over quantity. Also autumn, which I love dearly, lasted for two days in between massive rain and the frost laying upon us like a blanket of death. FUn. Also I made my first embroidery:

New book posts:

Review: “An absolutely remarkable thing” by Hank Green

Spoiler-review: “An absolutely remarkable thing” by Hank Green  (when you have so many thoughts, you make two reviews, basically just listing favourite moments in this one)

Short review: aliens & feminism

The sunshine blogger award

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest books I’ve read

Top Ten Tuesday: Libraries & bookstores I’d love to visit

Quote of the Week #16: on writing

Quote of the Week #17:

Other books I’ve been reading:

The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (currently reading) 

Three things on my mind:

  • It’s been the most inconvenient time for the library to shut down for a month, the one time in the last three years I’ve needed it, to get books for school essays. This library is really run-down and have nothing, and it’s finally going to get a completely new building and more books!!! I’M SO SO EXCITED, I love libraries and want a space to meet and hang out with bookfriends, hope that happens
  • I’m still not doing a lot of reading, because there’s so much schoolwork. But I’ve also been partying, so it’s not like I’ve been locked in my house studying like some certain other weekends (the previous one). Is that this balance thing I was looking for in my life? Non-stop studying or downing a bottle of (low-percentage) vodka? Sounds like I’m an actual student. Caffeine intake have increased about 300%, so everything’s GrEAT
  • I’ve been watching “Chilling adventures of Sabrina”, the new netflix series based on Sabrina the teenage witch. The cat, Salem, doesn’t speak, which was a let down. But I’ve really loved and enjoyed this series, it’s perfect for fall and I’m just a very big fan of most things witches.

Recent book buys:

Netgalley: 

  • Glass moon by Megan Pollak
  • How to fracture a fairy tale by Jane Yolen

Other:

  • His dark materials series by Philip Pullman in ebooks, because that literature class paper isn’t writing itself unfortunately (I waited to see if it would, with no luck)

Norse Mythology | Quote of the Week #17

This week’s quote is in honor of the sun disappearing for the next five months. Guess where I live? Westcoast of Norway, in a valley where I cannot believe people still live in the winter months as the mountains are too tall for the few sunbeams there are in the winter to reach us. (I love this place, promise.) My grandmother, who was Sami from the nothern part of the country – where there’s no sun for half the year, and always sun for the other half – would complain about it constantly and that makes me smile.

One branch of my family has lived in this place for generations. They were smarter than us though – they settled on the other side of the freaking fjord (water), on a mountain farm with few neighbours where they had to use boat to get anywhere, but guess what they had? SUN.

Also I liked this retelling of norse mythology by Neil Gaiman, even if it was a lot of things I knew already, here’s my review.

1 (1)

Short reviews: aliens & feminism

di.jpg

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A short book packed with useful and practical advice to how to raise a girl to have complete self-worth and make them prepared, without setting unreachable standards for how to raise a kid. It’s very matter of fact and inclusive, a modern view and setting for feminism and a woman’s place in society (which is everywhere – you just got to get your children to believe it). Wholeheartedly recommend it to every adult who in any part participate in raising a kid. 5/5 stars. 

aliebn.jpg

everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by jomny sun

This book is so special, it’s a graphic novel in very simplistic style, about a lonely alien that’s sent to earth to observe humans and instead meets a lot of different animals and tries to learn from them. It’s just a wonderful, wholesome, calming read with a alien feeling alien to other aliens and then finding friends in strange places. When ur too tired to read anymore you can just sit there and colour in the illustrations, like I absolutely did. 4/5 stars.

 

 

 

Libraries & Bookstores I’d Love to Visit | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

The Abbey Bookshop in Paris

There’s books everywhere in this store, from the pictures it’s so cozy.

bookstore1.jpg
Photo by Mayank Austen Soofi

Shakespeare and Company in Paris

I wouldn’t go to Paris without paying this store a visit because of its reputation, but I also don’t love crowds.

bookstore13.jpg

 

 

Trinity College Library in Dublin

Famous, big old library that looks stunning and have six million volumes.

bookstore 2.jpg

Admont Monastery in Austria

The most stunning library I’ve ever seen. A fact taken straight from wiki is that the monastery was founded in freaking 1074. The library hall was built first in 1776 and the buildings have together seven out of this world beautiful ceiling frescoes.

bookstore3.jpg

 

“The Carousel of Light” in Romania

This modern-style library is completely new, and there’s been some books added to those shelves since the pictures. I’m into architecture as you might’ve noticed through this list and I really like the combination of older more classical elements and the white, modern and minimalistic style. The colour of the wood is the perfect choice and I absolutely love the curves in the balconies.

bookstore4bookstore5

Bibliotheca Alexandria

The most famous library of all time, the Great Library of Alexandria that burned down and so much knowledge was lost. This bibliotheca is more of a museum in honor and memory of that. It also houses eight million books, so.

bookstore9.jpg

The British Library in London

It’s the library with the most items in the world, with over 150 million items and still growing. I would want to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, a special version of Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the whole of King’s Library collection and the Magna Carta.

Bodleian Library in Oxford

As someone who’s not british, this round library is still so iconic. I really like old libraries at universities that has such a distinct style and house a lot of knowledge and material for researchers, but also need to be accessible to everyday and students.

bookstore12.jpg

 

American Book Center in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is on the top of my list of places I want to go, and this bookstore seems cozy and well-liked.

bookstore7.jpg

Musashino Art University Museum & Library in Tokyo

It’s just aesthetically pleasing, which makes sense from the library of an art university.

bookstore14.jpgbookstore15