When I was in The Strand a few weeks ago, I was browsing the rare book collection on the third floor. It’s like being in a mini-museum of treasured books. Well, I’d say the whole building is a treasure chest of books, but the third floor? It’s ornate. There are dark wooden beautiful bookshelves from floor to ceiling lining all of the walls. Throughout the room there are gems enclosed in glass cases. It’s a place where people still appreciate yellowed pages, and the scent that reaches your nose when you crack the spine of dusty old covers. Wandering this room, gazing carefully at the neat lines of books on shelves, and circling the tables with so many fascinating titles, my eye caught an obviously aged, well-loved, copy of Aldous Huxley’s Antic Hay. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Huxley (other than that scene in Garden State where they say Huxtable like on The Cosby Show was the author,) is Brave New World. I’ve never read Antic Hay. I’ve never actually read any other Huxley title than Brave New World, but oh if this copy didn’t feel so fragile beneath my fingers that I worried about its transport back to Florida, I’d have purchased it just for the scavenger hunt hidden between the pages! The date was written on the top right corner of the inside cover page, 9/3/28. As I slowly, carefully, turned the pages to my surprise an old folded piece of notebook paper with creased edges, drifted out onto the table in front of me. I opened it, no idea what to expect – a letter? a grocery list? notes on the reading? It wasn’t actually any of these. There were drawings – of a face, a head, four almost identical drawings, little sketches is a probably more accurate description. Then in tiny cursive, scrawled in a column beneath the heading “Psychology” were all these notes I couldn’t quite make out. Oh! These are the exact kinds of things I love to happen upon, little ancient artifacts, linking to some past life. I have never been good with history. Actually, my schooling skills aren’t really that great in all honesty when they branch out from the realm of reading and writing, photos, light, sound – throw in statistics, a list of dates? Don’t even thinking about numerical equations or chemicals. It all swirls into one giant grey tangled web of information in my mind. But this, a forgotten piece of scrap paper tucked between the pages of an old rare book? That’s my kind of history. I can’t help but wonder who wrote that list, who drew those sketches? Was that human face, the face of a woman on a train across from them? A lover at the kitchen table? Does that person even exist or did they conjure up the image in their imagination? Did the scribe make that list after reading the pages of Antic Hay, or were they a student, haphazardly jotting down information before leaving the classroom? How many rooms did that book have a home in before it found its place at The Strand? How long will it sit propped open on the table before a bibliophile stakes claim and takes it to their own home? Will that new owner be as fascinated by that list as I was? Part of me felt selfish for even thinking about making the purchase. A driving factor in deciding to leave it behind was the hope that another browser would stumble upon it, and be just as intrigued. These -my own personal adventures, half in my head, half in reality – they are what I wish to fill my days.
Remember when I promised I’d share a few pics from my trip to Tennessee? Well, I know I am a total slacker but here I am with photos to share!
I just love airports, so I had to snap a shot of the “Welcome to Knoxville” sign.
And my view from the adorable row of rocking chairs, located across from a Starbucks. I sat and drank coffee, and chatted with my mom, and skimmed Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like.
The title of my Facebook album was appropriately “Tennessee Stole My Heart.” Because my goodness, it did. Even the dog park was gorgeous!
Codey got to play with lots of other dogs.
One of my favorite parts was this gigantic used book warehouse called McKay’s.
Nerd heaven, I’m telling you.
This wine bar called Drink. is one of the coolest ideas ever.
Could we have asked for more beautiful scenery on the roadtrip to Nashville?
This angle makes it look like a short distance across, but that was not the case. The rock I landed on was not very sturdy and into the water I went.
Relaxing on the deck in the sun, airing out my shoe, munching on Dill Pickle pork rinds. (I recommend!)
Playing tourist in front of the Loveless Cafe sign.
These hot biscuits with homemade preserves? Worth the wait.
Southern Biscuit Sampler with hashbrown casserole. Ohmyword.
Goo Goo Cluster pie that I saved for a “midnight” (more like 3am ha) snack.
Your guess is as good as mine and what exactly this means? Dentist convention?
Happy hour at the hotel where we made new friends.
Love this pretty lady.
This is a classic Leah/Megs photo.
Canadian money from our new friends.
We decided it was a must to go to Jack in the Box since neither of us had ever been. Forget the fact that we had just eaten breakfast.
Someone needs to get Florida involved in this deliciousness. Mini churros!
Grand Ole Opry woo!
Shoutout to Blake!
Delicious portobello eggplant sandwich at Fido.
Windy walk to explore Vanderbilt campus.
How cool is this bike rental system?
Mmm Whiskey Pecan and Salted Caramel icecream with a shot of espresso from Hot/Cold.
So there ya go! I am a little bit (and by that I mean a TON) in love with Tennessee now, and believe you me this will not be my last visit. I can’t tell you how many sweepstakes I’ve entered for country music festival/award show tickets in Nashville this past month, haha. Fingers crossed 😉
Seeing as I just mentioned a few posts back on Meg Says that I will admit to judging books by their covers, today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is very fitting! These are in no particular order, and this was hard enough to narrow to what I did even including an honorable mention section. I’m even typing this post early so I won’t be tempted to scan all the link-ups and pour over the ones I missed.
Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I’ve Read
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
While I don’t own this edition of Little Women this is one of my favorite covers. I love this whole reprint Penguin did of classics. The scissors though, and what they represent? (Remember when Jo chops off her hair?) Understated but beautiful.
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
When I think about books and covers I remember from elementary school this one comes to mind. You’ll probably notice a trend of either summer/water/love related covers attracting my attention. Plus, the pops of color and the fact that it looks like a watercolor artwork or something? Swoon.
The Help by Kathryn Stocket
Kathryn Stockett is a Phi Mu Alumna (my sorority) and our symbol is the quatrefoil. That little purple design the title is in? Love the simplicity of this cover and the fact that everywhere I went while this blew up the best sellers lists, I was reminded of my sisters.
Paper Towns by John Green
Even though Paper Towns isn’t my favorite John Green book, I absolutely love this cover.
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
It doesn’t matter that this isn’t really how I picture Belly, Jeremiah, or Conrad in this story. I am a sucker for sun bursts. You know, by this cover that there’s an epic tale of romance brewing underneath and before I read this story every time I walked in a book store or the library I was immediately drawn to the cover.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I love the simplicity of this cover as well. I know that lime green book from anywhere, it’s always easy to snatch it off the shelf too. It may sound stupid but I refuse to buy the edition with the movie poster cover art.
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
This screams of the things I’ve already told y’all I love. Bike rides, summer romance, the beach. I pre-ordered this one (not based on cover alone, but my Sarah Dessen love. I admit though that the cover increased by anticipation ten-fold.)
This was one of my favorite books growing up, and so while the cover isn’t anything fantastic, it brings back sweet memories. It was one of my go to stories. Rainboots, hello!
I feel like this is just an iconic cover. I love it and everything it makes me think of as soon as I see it on display.
BONUS because duh!
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
I would love to own like every cover edition of this novel, but luckily I do have one that looks like this old and weathered that I found at a library book sale.
(A few more covers though I can think of about fifty-seven that I want to add!
I was looking for that other Ramona cover and found this, and oh my goodness I’m in love.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Not only is this story incredible, (and has one of my favorite quotes) but the cover has a snow globe!
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Another classic cover. I remember my mom reading this one aloud to us.
The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Tera Elan McVoy
I love ice cream, and hot pink and teal are two of my favorite colors. The title involves the word “summer.” This one was a no-brainer.
Bloomability by Sharon Creech
This story holds a dear space in my heart as well, and the cover gives me the warm fuzzies. It SCREAMS adventure!
OK, OK I am limiting myself to just ONE more:To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I imagine Scout looking like this, so I think that’s part of why I’ve always loved this particular cover of TKaMB.
Last week’s post for Top Ten Tuesday was light-hearted with the things to read when you want something light and fun theme, but this week is more up my ally since I’m attracted to all the dark & twisty – problematic, heartbreaking, turned up lifting novels. Even when I think I’m picking something light, it ends up being INTENSE probably 98% of the time (like My Life Next Door a week ago, or Eleanor & Park!) Today’s topic from The Broke and The Bookish is “books dealing with tough subjects.” I don’t even have to ponder recommendations, they’re already oozing out of my fingertips, but the problem is narrowing, so I’m not even going to dwell on that part right now. I’ve done a combo of some YA Fiction, “middle-grade” (what? I know, I don’t even know. Labels are stupid, but you’ll see what I mean when you’re like oh! I read that in third grade) and adult contemporary fiction. I thought of books that inspired intense feelings, ones I couldn’t put down, ones I had to take breaks from, ones that reached deep into my gut. Books that made me cry. Books I have memories of that feel like friends and family.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky. In my top favorite books of all time. Enough said.
The Fault In Our Stars John Green. Death. Loss. Questions. Growing up. Teen love. Friendship. It will break your heart, but read it anyway.
Thirteen Reasons Why Jay Asher. I couldn’t put this down. Though at times it felt like it was hard to breathe while I was reading because I was so anxious, it’s an amazing story. This one deals with teen suicide, bullying, gossip, SO many subjects are covered. Plus it’s told in a really non-conventional way that’s like a compulsive read.
The Probability of Miracles Wendy Wunder. I started crying early on, but still this is an amazing book. I read it last year and I wish I could experience it for the first time again because it’s just that great. I couldn’t stop talking about it. Terminal illness. Love. Friendship. Family. Absorbing the greatness of life.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour Morgan Matson. This is a great one that involves putting back together the pieces of life after things seem to have fallen apart. Accidents. Guilt. Stages of grief.
Second Chance Summer Morgan Matson. Even though I knew it was coming I still found tears streaming down my face when the final stages of death ascended in this one. So intense, but so great.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz A.S. King. I didn’t know what to expect with this story. It’s so layered and complicated, but that’s part of what makes it such a compelling read. It’s painful but it’s brilliant.
Becoming Chloe Catherine Ryan Hyde. This is definitely a story about finding light in the darkness. Putting together broken pieces through friendship, the glue of life. It’s heavy, but it’s beautiful.
Speak Laurie Halse Anderson. Isolation. Being outcasted in highschool. Rape. Bullying. Finding courage. This story has provided a voice to so many.
See You At Harry’s Jo Knowles. Oh my heart. This is one of those I had to take a moment to collect myself because I couldn’t see the pages through my tears. This covers so much and I don’t even want to tell you what so you won’t be looking for them in each chapter, but it’s SO GOOD.
Silent to the Bone E.L. Konigsburg. This is an incredibly intense story. Accusations. Mystery. Painful, but powerful. Even though I read this years and years ago, I still consider it a favorite, and it’s quite memorable not just in plot but in the emotions I felt while reading it.
Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson. I cannot even go here because I do not need to involve myself in a sob fest at the front desk at work, buuut this is an amazing store. Fair warning though, my mom and I both cried for probably about two weeks after reading it.
Letters from Rifka Karen Hesse. This is what I mean by “hey! I read that a long time ago.” But yeah, and it’s always stuck with me. A look into the life of immigration from Russia to America in 1919.
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold. Sebold covers a lot of ground here. Sexual abuse, grief, tragedy, how loss affects the family and it’s all from a very unique narrative perspective.
The Help Kathryn Stockett. 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. What it’s like to be a maid to some pretty hateful spoiled white women. But it’s about so much more than that. I laughed a lot, but I cried a lot too. The deep kind where I had to catch my breath.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer. Again – grief, but this one is different told from the perspective of a child who lost his father in the tragedy of 9/11. It’s an exquisite story, ripe with the inquisitive, tender wonder of life through a child’s eyes.
Same Kind of Different As Me Ron Hall & Denver Moore. The only non-fiction book I have on this list, but it’s life changing. (The subtitle is a quick explanation that should start you wondering: “A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together.”) Read this. Don’t even question it, just go read!
Okay, so obviously my listing got a little out of hand. Don’t start counting, I’ve surpassed ten and when I look at the link ups I just want to add everything to my list. Seriously. (Everyone else is so good at making these pretty little color coded charts all categorized and my posts are always like word vomit lists!) It might sound crazy but I am attracted to the emotional, heart-wrenching novels but I really like when an author connects with a reader – creates a world with relatable characters showing that you’re not the only one to have these experiences, but then takes the opportunity to shine a light as well, not just tell a story that rips your heart out.
Alright. Let’s get real: “light and fun” aren’t two adjectives that get used to describe most of my favorite books. Really, though. I’m all about those heart-wrenching, intense coming of age novels. BUT I do know some pretty good light-hearted titles as well. Some of the top reads that come to mind? I’m including most of these because they’re ones I think of that make me laugh! Even beach reads I like generally have some unexpected tragedy so I’m trying not to include sneaky titles like that!
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
- Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
- Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows (Though I would not call this “fluff” at all. There are certain heart-tugging moments but the easy laughter wins out.)
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
- The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
- Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff
- Anything by Maureen Johnson. Go read her twitter feed even and I dare you not to laugh. Even though The Name of The Star is kind of scary, it still has hilarious parts.
- Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
- Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison
It’s Tuesday again, and I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon with The Broke and Bookish and clue you in on ten key words or topics that will pique my attention enough to pick up or buy a book. (Most generally, “pick up.”)
- Summer Summer anything, I’m like hello sunshine book nice to meet you! A YA summer “romance” novel? All over it. Think the “Summer” trilogy by Jenny Han for example, or Sarah Dessen’s Along For the Ride (among others!) Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Probability of Miracles.
- Road Trip I am all about it. Oh they’re going on a soul seeking road trip journey? Count me in! Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour really set the bar for this category.
- London or England Immediate attention grabber – no question. This one spans the genres.
- Boarding School I never had a desire to go myself really, (well maybe temporarily in like fifth grade or if it meant someone was sending me to England or Australia) but put in a book? It’s like extended summer camp, or college for teenagers. Think Looking For Alaska, The Shades of London Series, Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn.
- Summer Camp. So much potential all over the place. I LOVED Terra Elan McVoy’s The Summer of Firsts and Lasts.
- Running. These days if it’s fiction or non fiction, and they mention running a lot? I’m hooked.
- Public Transportation. If a character rides a subway, the tube, a school bus, a plane, taxi – frequently in the story? I wanna read it. They’re obviously gonna meet all kinds of characters on these adventures getting around! (That’s what sucked me into Eleanor and Park and Dash & Lilly’s Book of Dares, 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
- Coming of Age. I’m a sucker for these. If it gets compared to Catcher in the Rye or The Perks of Being a Wallflower I’m gonna wanna see how it measures up.
- Mix-Tape or Vinyl. The music nerd in me is instantly attracted. (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Eleanor & Park, Love is a Mixtape, High Fidelity.)
- Dystopian. Now, I definitely don’t read all of them that I pick up but if a book has something even semi-dystopian going on about it (but less super natural) I’m intrigued. ThinkThe Hunger Games (obviously) but also end of the world-ish ones like How I Live Now or The Age of Miracles.
What about you? What attracts your attention with books? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned, or do we have key words in common? Let me know!
It’s funny I was just thinking this morning, I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in a while…I wonder what today’s post will be? Well, it’s right up my alley! Today The Broke and The Bookish give us Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also a Fictional Character. Umm, I don’t even need to be a fictional character to compile this list. In fact, I know I’ve mentioned my love for some fictional characters before. Here, I’ll stick with books to make this a little bit easier, (but still – my list will be hard to narrow.) Also, I’m sure that some of these have been featured on many lists and won’t seem that original but they are pretty crush-worthy right?
(Disclaimer: The order of this list is not based on depth of crush.)
- Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Because hello, he is AUGUSTUS WATERS. How do I not fall head over heels for this witty, intelligent, attractive human being? His heart is made of gold, he is fiercely loyal, ambitious, lovable. Gah.
- Laurie from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I can’t help it. Even when he makes me angry, it’s still so hard not to love him. Of course, I could see a million reasons why it wouldn’t work but they’re also some of the same things that make him so interesting: the passionate quarreling, the depth of sincerity and kindness, his love for the theatre. He travels, he’s well read, he’s smart and he can make you laugh.
- Jacob Grace from God Shaped Hole by Tiffanie Debartolo. He’s kind of this dream guy in the back of my mind. Like an indie soul mate. He’ll be your best friend. He’s got a wild spontaneous streak. He’s intense. Gracious. Intelligent. Deep. He has a wide variety of interests. He is so passionate. He’s mysterious. He loves music. He’s talented. He’s one of those characters that just seems interesting without even trying. The physical description doesn’t hurt either.
- Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery. I have a thing for lifelong crushes. I’m always rooting for them in the stories. You know, the ones that are there from the beginning (like Seth’s crush on Summer since first grade in The OC.) Gil is a classic example of this. He’s like the annoying kid who chases you on the playground and pulls your hair, but give it a few years and he’s the only person you want to sit next to in class, and you try and decode his valentine’s every year. He knows Anne, in and out. He admires her. He pushes her to be better. He loves her through and through for all that she is, not in spite of who she is. Ohh, he’s so swoon worthy it’s not even funny.
- Conrad Fisher from The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han. (Okay, it’s hard to decide between Conrad and Jeremiah, but it’s always been Conrad…) Conrad is exactly the kind of boy I spent my childhood years crushing on. (At least personality wise. I never had boys at the beach when I was growing up.) He’s so…guarded until you get to know him. He’s got all those walls up, but behind them he is so sensitive. And vulnerable. And he remembers everything too, he’s been seeing everything always even if he’s not talking about it – it’s like it’s all stored up in a catalog. And he’ll talk to your mom. And he’s athletic, and strong, and smart. He’s tan and lean from all those days surfing at the beach. And he’ll fight for what he wants. From the moment I opened the book, I was like oh no. Because when you read about characters like this it’s impossible not to get caught up in their world.
- Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The boy with the bread. Does this even need an explanation? (Though I will say I can see Gale’s appeal, but his heart made me sad by the end.)
- Etienne St.Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Oh my word. I just wanted to give him a hug. If everyone got to go to high school with Etienne, it’d be about a million times better. Not only is he an incredible friend, beautiful, sensitive, in touch with his emotions, a great companion and tour guide – he’s got an accent to boot.
- Roger Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. I want to hold Roger’s hand on the greatest road trip of all time. Belt out all the best songs. Learn new music. Hike through national parks. He’s smart. He’s definitely patient. Infinitely patient. He’s intuitive, but doesn’t let on that he has you figured out right away. He’s kind and charming. He’s funny in the witty way that intelligence yields. He’s in it for the long haul and he doesn’t scary away easy.
- Asher from The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder. “Elusive” was used on Good Reads, and I can’t argue with that. Cameron is a totally crushable character anyway because she’s so heartbreakingly honest. But really. I mean, he sticks around in the hardest situation. He’s strong. He’s tough. He’s got a soft side. He’s got that whole “hard to get” thing going on.
- I am in agreeance with all the people who say basically any male character Sarah Dessen writes about should be on this list. Like seriously. I don’t even know where to start. They’re all so good.
You know who else I was thinking about? Marcus from the Jessica Darling series (Sloppy Firsts…) He’s on a lot of lists, and why not? Totally swoon-able. He’s musically gifted. He’s stubborn but sweet. Iyiyi, see that’s more than ten, stopping now so this list doesn’t go on and on and on…