Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Destinations

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Destinations
  Top Ten Tuesday  was created by  The Broke and the Bookish  in June of 2010 and was moved to  That Artsy Reader Girl  in January of 2018.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

When given a Top Ten Freebie my brain vacillates wildly between books and food and books and travel. Since I have written about books and food before a few times I thought I would try to think about some of the most impressive bookish destinations that I have personally visited.

I am also wondering what some of your favorites are or what places are on your wishlist? There is still so much of the world to be seen.

  source - My pictures all sucked

source- My pictures all sucked

Reading room of the British Museum
London, Great Britain

This might not be the coziest reading room in the world. It is probably the most impressive.

The Long Room of the Old Library of Trinity College
Dublin, Ireland

After you have been shuffled through to see the Book of Kells your reward is a walk through the Long Room. If someone could just figure out a way to get a replica in my apartment I would be grateful.

New York City Public Library
New York City, USA

It may be the most beautiful library building in the world.

The Strand
New York City, USA

18 miles of books. Sold. The only thing that kept me from losing my mind and buying eighteen pounds of books was the daunting thought of four international flight before getting home.

  Source  the place is too big to take a decent picture of

Source the place is too big to take a decent picture of

Binhai Library
Tianjin, China

Let the traveller beware. I mean, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to read any of the books (because Chinese) but that wasn’t the disappointing part. The space looks AMAZING, unfortunately the books aren’t real. That’s right, almost all of them are some sort of textured wallpaper. It is a good thing that I only wasted a Saturday visiting because I would have had to do some major pouting if I wasn’t already in China. This is the very definition of style over substance.

Shakespeare & Company
Paris, France

I don’t just love this store because I had been engaged for about three minutes the last time I was there. There is nothing more perfect that a fall afternoon in Paris looking though books and then perhaps eating pastry. Heaven.

Frankfurt book convention
Frankfurt, Germany

Less fun than anticipated it is still a rush to be surrounded by that many books.

The Elephant House
Edinburgh, Scotland

While the book picking are slim here it is a bookish destination simply due to the fact that JK Rowling wrote a good portion of the first Harry Potter book here. If you walk a block or so there is a cemetery that overlooks the grounds of a private school that was an inspiration for Hogwarts. I couldn’t find it but I assume that there is also a place to file a complaint about not getting my Hogwarts letter.

The University of al-Qarawiyyin
Fez, Morocco

The oldest university in the world founded by a Muslim woman. Take that Western biases. You can’t really go in but if you manage to find it in the maze of Fez’s Medina you can casually walk by the door a dozen or so times to absorb the smartness. Not that I did that. I am much too cool.

Plaza de Armas
Havana, Cuba

Do you need a Spanish copy of everything that Che Geverra ever wrote? Perhaps many many copies of The Old Man and the Sea or some other flavor of Ernest Hemingway? The Plaza de Armes in the old town of Havana is rife with pop up book stalls that offer up a more sophisticated beach read.

Is there a bookish destination that you have always wanted to visit?


Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al.

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al.
 I like that the cover artist actually read the book. Winning!

I like that the cover artist actually read the book. Winning!

My True Love Gave to Me
by Stephanie Perkins et al.
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Published: October 14th 2014
Series: Twelve Stories
Rating: All the rating.  It varied by story.

This a reread this year and I ended up listening to the audiobook version.  It had a different well cast narrator for each of the stories and I actually enjoyed it more than the first time that I read the whole book.  Because there are twelve different authors the writing style and quality varied and it is almost impossible to do an accurate review of the book as a whole.

He says presents aren’t important, but I think they are - not because of how much they cost, but for the opportunity they provide to say I understand you.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell:  This is a great start to the book.  Somehow a whole novel's worth of emotion was packed into thirty pages.  I was almost overcome with cuteness. I also like that she wrote about New Year's Eve rather than Christmas.

The Lady and The Fox by Kelly Link: SUPER weird.  It read a little like it should be a Halloween story.  I am still not sure if I liked it or not.  I know that I didn't when I read it the first time but the narrator made a huge difference here.

Angels In The Snow by Matt de la Peña: I really liked this one.  It reminded me how much I enjoy Matt de la Peña writing.  I also wanted more from this story.  I would have liked a whole novel.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: This one was both very adorable and a little sad.  I haven't read much by Jenny Han and I think that I am going to have to remedy that. The ending was pretty abrupt.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: Stephanie Perkins does not disappoint.  I haven't had a Christmas tree since I was 18 (due to never staying home for Christmas) so I am a sucker for anything having to do with them.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: Another one that I liked much more as a audio book than when I read it myself. I didn’t read it with a sense of humor the first time.  There is some internal angsty stuff that is typical of Levithan that I am more familiar with now.  It still isn’t my favorite.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black: Okay, this reads like the first couple of chapter of a book that I kind of want to finish. What the hell happens after the end.  I am intrigued and need answers, dammit. 

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: This is my own hang-up because I am the city girl who went to university in a tiny little town in South Dakota.  It isn’t that big a deal and the amount of condescension and self-pity in this story made me mad.  People from small towns can have a sense of humor and their interests may in fact overlap with yours.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: My least favorite story by far. So much, WTF.  And not in a good way.

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: This one surprised me.  I haven’t read any Kiersten White (I know I NEED to) but this one was surprisingly sweet and quirky and I loved it.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: Maybe Ally Carter’s writing just isn’t for me because this is the second think written by her that I have space read through and then retained absolutely nothing about.    Actually, I take that back.  I remember stuff I was just not interested in it.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor:  This story takes a hard turn from the others as it does not seem to have any connection at all to the real world.  I wish it had not been the last story because I would have been reading more carefully if it hadn’t followed the dud that was Star of Bethleham. Taylor's writing deserved more attention.  I am going to read it first next time.

If you are looking to read a holiday story I would highly recommend this oneAll the stories are cute romances (maybe next time some people could be single?) and there was some variance in quality but overall it is well worth the read at this time of year.

From Goodreads:

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love. 

Book Review: What Light by Jay Asher

Facebook Book Review_ What Light by Jay Asher.png
 Such a pretty cover!

Such a pretty cover!

What Light
by Jay Asher
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 18th 2016
Rating: Much Chrismasyness

People think what they want. That’s what I’ve had to accept,” he says. “I can fight it, but that’s exhausting. I can feel hurt about it, but that’s torture. Or I can decide it’s their loss.

This book left me feeling super torn. On the surface, it is a very sweet story about a girl falling in love for the first time at Christmas. I loved the setting of a Christmas tree lot in December.  It is one of the few Christmas books that I have read this year (and I have read a lot) that genuinely cannot have happened at any other time of year.  The holiday season is almost another character and as I was looking for a feel-good Christmas book I appreciated it.
I enjoyed Sierra.  She was likable, slightly more sensible than necessary, and generally pretty realistic about herself and the people around her.  I liked that she had a close positive relationship with both of her parents. I have said it before but I wish that decent parents weren’t so scarce on the ground in YA land.  Sierra’s friendships also seemed realistic.  The sort of relationships that girls have in high school that last into adulthood with a little bit of work and luck.

The one problem is that Caleb  has one very troublingly violent incident in his past. This is a YA book and as such, the target audience is not adult me but actually teenagers.  It is very sensitively done in this book but I can't help worrying about the underlying message.  On the other hand, the incident happened several years in the past and Caleb shows absolutely no predilection to violence during the course of the book. Sierra herself acknowledges that if anything more than the threat of violence had happened in the past or even if there was the threat of violence around Caleb in the present she wouldn’t give him the time of day.    It some ways I feel like it puts me in the position of Sierra's parents in the book.  Worried but hoping that I am able to trust Sierra's decision-making skills. It definitely made me uncomfortable.

It may be because the characters and setter are so realistically drawn that I feel this way.  Certainly, there are other books that I have read where the love interest has some innate violence but I don’t even think about it (Um… The Wrath and the Dawn?) I seem to have a much different standard in a contemporary YA than fantasy. Possibly this is unfair. I would be interested to know if anyone else felt this way when reading the book.
I have read both 13 Reasons Why and The Future of Us so I was expecting this book to me deeper than it was.  Jay Asher obviously has the ability to write gripping emotional stories but What Light was well, light.  If I had chosen to read it because it was written by Jay Asher and not because it was a Christmas book I might have been pretty disappointed.

What Light isn’t a deep or profound story.  But it was sweet, comfy to sit down with on a cold night, and definitely imbibed with the holiday spirit. There is nothing earth shattering or unique about it but it is well written and worth glance if you are looking into a holiday read.  

From Goodreads:

From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.