Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Book Haul: Christmas Presents!

Hello everybody. I know I’ve been absent for quite a while. To put it briefly, I was in a reading slump for more than three months, my mind was blocked up with other things and I had this overall feeling of dullness and lassitude. In addition, I’ve had to make some unpleasant decisions which, hopefully, will turn out for the better in the long run. Anyhow, now I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things, so I thought I’d show you what I got for Christmas. I’m incredibly pleased with my presents this year!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Stacking the Shelves [#9] – Ginormous Haul for No Particular Reason

Hey guys. It’s been a while ... I’ve only read one book in September (The 5th Wave – I’ve posted a short spoiler-review on Goodreads, in case you’re interested in hearing my thoughts about it), so I didn’t exactly have anything to blog about. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t acquire any new books.

Initially, I intended not to buy any more books this year because I wanted to save some money for book-shopping in London next year, but you know how it goes … One thing led to another, and I ended up with 14 new books. Yeah. I know. 
Both I and my mum received a 15€ eBay voucher code, and I just couldn’t pass that up. Then I bought a gift card for a friend, which I didn’t need after all, so there was yet another book-buying opportunity. 
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
With Frankenstein, I now own seven books in the Penguin Clothbound Classics editions, and each one is prettier than the next.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Thank You, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
A few additions to my beloved Penguin English Library collection. I’m particularly excited to check out a few more of Elizabeth Gaskell’s works!

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell 

 The Walking Dead Compendium #1 by Robert Kirkman

Foyles Limited Edition. I could not resist its beauty. I generally don’t like turquoise, but in combination with pink it’s strangely of appealing. And the cover itself is extremely pretty as well, it’s most likely my favourite book cover of 2014.

 
Finally, I found out that the old Bloomsbury editions of Harry Potter aren’t printed anymore, and I was still missing book 4, 5 and 6; so I had to react quickly. [Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is still in transit.]
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (used copy)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

If you’ve read any of these books, do let me know what you think about them. If you normally shy away from deliberately humorous books—which I do, too—, please try out some Woodhouse! I’ve only read a couple of pages from Thank You, Jeeves yet, and it’s wonderfully hilarious.
It might take a while until I post another book review because I’m doing a reread of the entire Harry Potter series, which is the best method to get back into the reading mood (and a more cheerful mood in general).  
BTW: Even though I don’t want to buy more books for a while, I’m still going to post another book haul before Christmas, as I expect to receive another gift card by the end of October. :) 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

August Wrap Up – On Quick Reads, Benedict Cumberbatch and London

I won’t be doing a TBR for September, because I’m terrible at sticking to it. I’m an awful procrastinator, so as soon as I make a reading list, my brain perceives it as a task, and the procrastination mode will be intiated. Or at least that’s how I think one could explain it. Aaanyway …


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling (3.5/5)
Quidditch Through the Ages by J. K. Rowling (4/5)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (3/5)
Alex + Ada Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna (3.5/5)

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (4/5)
18 post-its for 150 pages
This was a thoughtful novel(la) about the concepts of memory, history, time and remorse. It follows an ordinary man named Tony Webster from his school days to an old age, when he receives a letter that causes him to reflect upon his past. Julian Barnes uses an eloquent diction, and he examines interesting philosophical themes, which creates the impression that he draws upon a big bowl full of life experience. Plus, he mentions my favourite composer, Dvořák, by which he has earned some bonus points.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (4/5) 
Really good, although I don’t claim to have fully understood it in more than the literal sense. 
I enjoyed the mystical elements of the story as well as the overall dark tone with glimpses of light, hope and friendship. Reading the book, I felt as if transported back to my childhood and to the way I experienced and perceived the world around me back then. I’m definitely going to read more of Gaiman’s books; no idea what has taken me so long to pick up his work.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them + Quidditch Through the Ages by J. K. Rowling
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 



Unfortunately, I haven’t posted any original content this month because, most of the time, I didn’t feel like occupying myself with books. Reasons why are stated below.

I alluded to this in my last wrap up, and now it has actually happened: I bought a ticket for Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre in London. If you haven’t heard about it yet, the play will be performed from August till October 2015, and the only details announced so far are that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Hamlet and it’ll be directed by Lyndsey Turner
You have no idea how excited I am about this, and I’m not even a hysterical fangirl—although Sherlock is one of my favourite shows and Mr Cumberbatch appears to be a decent British chap, I don’t believe in obsessing over actors. I just stumbled across this by accident a few weeks ago, and ever since then I’ve been spending my time on the internet creating Google maps and doing research for all the places I want to visit whilst in London. 
It’s been a long-cherished dream of mine to visit the UK (starting with London and Edinburgh) for years and years, but it had never worked out for various reasons. But now it’s finally going to happen, and I’ll also get to see some Shakespeare as a nice extra. I’M CHUFFED TO BITS. It’s ridiculous how much I’m looking forward to emptying all the English bookstores. Be prepared, Waterstones/Foyles/Daunt Books/Persephone Books/..., I’m on my way!
If you have any tips for (bookish) places to visit in London, give ’em to me! Moreover, if by happenstance you’re going to see Hamlet as well, I’d love to talk to you about it! :)

In August, I also rekindled my love for drawing. I’m terrible at drawing things from my imagination—because I have none. Seriously, I always need pictures as a reference. But I’d like to believe that I’m tolerable at drawing portraits and copying other paintings. It just takes so much time that I rarely do it.
At the moment, I’m working on this painting by Edgar Degas, whom I adore because I like ballet. I bought pastels specifically for this, so now I feel like a kid all over again, and it’s nice! I might share the results on my neglected tumblr page or here, if it turns out alright.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Stacking the Shelves [#8] – Harry Potter, a Classic and a Comic


Another week, another stack of books! This time, I managed to restrain myself … a bit. I received two of my preorders as well as three other books. I already read three of these, which is nice for a change.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

BASIC FACTS

Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Juvenile on 14th August 2014
Genre: contemporary romance [young adult]
ISBN: 9780525425632
Pages: 352

SYNOPSIS

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.
(source: Goodreads)

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Stacking the Shelves [#7] – Magic, Dreams and Peculiar Things

This was supposed to be uploaded two weeks ago, but I hadn’t scheduled the post and then my internet connection thwarted my plans. But, anyways, here it is now.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Silber – Das zweite Buch der Träume by Kerstin Gier

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Comic Review: Alex + Ada Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna

BASIC FACTS

Writers: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
Artwork: Jonathan Luna
Published by Image Comics on 29th July 2014
ISBN: 9781607069454
Pages: 128
Genre: sci-fi, drama
This trade paperback collects issues #1-5.

SYNOPSIS

Set in a near future wherein robots are a regular part of society, this sci-fi drama follows a human named Alexander, who is averse to the notion of androids serving as ersatz human company. But that changes when he inadvertently gets in the possession of the android Ada and slowly begins to realise that she is more to him than just a machine. And he won’t be content with her inability to form her own opinions and make her own decisions.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

August TBR: Quick Reads!


As you’ll know if you’re seen my July Wrap-Up, my plan to read lots of big books in July didn’t exactly work out, so this time I’m going to attempt the opposite: read as many short books as possible. As far as I can tell, I’ve never managed to read a two-digit number of books in a single month. Thus  I’d like to do just that by reading only novels with less than 300 pages in August!


Friday, 1 August 2014

July Wrap-Up: On Failure, Doctor Who and Hamlet



Basically, this month has been a huge fail in terms of reading. 
I only finished ONE book, and only managed to read about 1000 pages. I didn’t feel like reading at all. Whether it’s because of the weather or because I was troubled by headaches (pollen allergy and the like), I couldn’t say. Bad timing, as I planned on devoting lots of time into reading chunky novels.
It still needs some willpower for me to pick up big books. It’s a bit frustrating when you’re a hundred pages into a book and you still haven’t made any progress. Even though I enjoy the story, I tend to get bored easily, and need other books by way of a change. Yet I do love the fact that big books enable readers to follow beloved characters for a longer amount of time. 
I’ll give it another shot in September, but for now I need a break.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Recommendations: 10 Books to Read if You’re New to (Modern) Classics


A while ago, Lesley from WordsofaReader posted a video on her YouTube channel about how to start reading classics, where she made some relevant points. I personally think it’s sad that some people shy away from classics in their free time because they didn’t like the ones they read in school,  they think they generally wouldn’t enjoy them or because they’re intimidated by the “outdated language” they’re written in.
When a book has been around for centuries and is still getting reprinted, that’s remarkable, and it usually happens for a reason. Classics are timeless stories that deal with issues still relevant today, and they often feature outstanding characters that several generations of readers have rooted for, or have loved to hate. Sometimes they make us see how the views, morality and mentality of society evolved and changed over time, or they teach us important life lessons. Books from all kinds of genres can become classics, so I’m quite positive that, by investing some time, everyone can find classics that are appealing to one’s personal reading tastes.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

BASIC FACTS 

Author: Markus Zusak
First published by Picador in 2005
Genre: historical fiction [young adult]
ISBN: 9780552773898
Pages: 554
 

SYNOPSIS

“1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

Some important information: This novel is narrated by Death. It’s a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.”
[From the blurb on the book, as I thought it was a fairly appropriate description.]

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Preordered Books & Comics of 2014

I’ve been away for a few days because my internet access got fried due to lightning damage. So now I’m hoping to catch up with your comments and all the stuff that I might’ve missed.
I won’t be posting a lot in July because of my chunky books TBR. Let’s just say that my plan hasn’t come to fruition (just yet), and I really need to catch up.

Anyways, today I’d like to share my preordered books and comics for the rest of 2014 with you. Sequels and conclusions to some of my favourite series are going to be released later this year, so naturally, I’m very excited!
.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A Book Lover’s Problems — Real World vs. Fictional Adventures

After releasing the A Book Lover’s Wardrobe blog post, I decided to turn this into an ongoing feature with the title ‘Life of a Bibliophile’, wherein I talk about problems, dreams,  habits and other issues concerning book lovers!


It’s the release day of the final installment in your favourite book series of all time.
Your preferred book seller has had the epiphanic realisation that people preorder novels because they are anticipating their publication so much they actually wish to read them the minute they come out. And for a change, the local postman decides not to deliver the post for your street last of all, only to notice that he doesn’t get around to it at all before his finishing time.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Book Review: Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman

BASIC FACTS

Author: Malorie Blackman
Published by Doubleday Childrens on 6th June 2013
Genre: dystopia, science fiction [young adult]
ISBN: 9780385610421
Pages: 368
Source: I was kindly sent a digital copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

SYNOPSIS

Set in a future society, there are two groups of people: The expansionist Crusaders and the peaceful Alliance.
By triggering nuclear explosives within the earth in order to shift the tectonic plates and to expand their territory, the Crusaders had destroyed large areas of land, causing most of their people to die. The survivors were forced to live as nomads on the volcanic wasteland they had created.
After their population number has recovered 200 years later, the Crusaders form a group of fighters called the Insurgents to forcefully take the land of the Alliance.

Kaspar Wilding is a graduate of the Guardian Academy, whose job it is to protect the citizens of the Alliance from terrorist attacks of the Insurgents with the use of non-lethal weapons. All his life, he has thought that he was fighting for a good cause, until he meets an Insurgent named Rhea, who saves his life and causes him to question his beliefs.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

July TBR: Chunky Books!


I have the annoying habit of buying big books and then neglecting them. I could read two or three shorter novels in the amount of time that it takes me to read a bigger one, so I usually reach for books with less than 500 pages. Am I the only one who does that, or does anyone else have this problem, too?
I’d very much like to kick this habit in July, thus my plan is to read as many books with 500+ pages as possible! And as you might know if you’ve read my Biannual Recap, I also want to diversify my reading, therefore my TBR includes a classic and an adult fiction novel! Yey.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A Book Lover’s Wardrobe — “I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

Hi everyone. It’s approximately 30 degrees Celcius outside, so I thought to myself: What better time than now to buy a nice, cosy winter jumper! Right?!

Now you might ask yourself: What in God’s name happened to the author of this blog? Last time I checked she was too socially inept to talk about anything other than books. And sadly, you are completely right. But don’t worry, I won’t turn this into a fashion blog – I got a GATSBY SWEATER


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Recommendations: 7 Children’s Books That Are Worthwhile (Even If You're Not a Child)

I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard of Ruth Graham’s article that sparked a huge debate about YA literature. If not, it basically states that adults should be ashamed of reading young adult novels.

I don’t want to say too much on that subject, because it’s already been discussed well enough. But I think that the value and profoundness of a novel have nothing to do with its genre or age range. As to that, one may quote Hemingway: “Does he [William Faulkner] really think big emotions come from big words?” There are some true gems in YA lit.
I wouldn’t want to restrict myself to solely reading classics for the rest of my life, even though I love them dearly. That would be monotonous and dull. In the same way, I don’t think that there are many adults who only read YA novels. And even if that was the case, I wouldn’t presume to judge other people’s reading tastes.  If someone merely reads for entertainment, and YA literature is the only genre that accomplishes that, then that’s fine by me.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Stacking the Shelves [#6] – 2nd Birthday Edition

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that enables people to share the books they’ve recently added to their collection.  

Just so you know: I don’t normally buy that much stuff all at once. But these are the books that I treated  myself to for my birthday.

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken [sampler]

Book Review: The Raven Boys [The Raven Cycle #1] by Maggie Stiefvater

BASIC FACTS
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic on 18th September 2012
Genre: fantasy, supernatural, mystery [YA]
ISBN: 9780545424929
Pages: 409

SYNOPSIS
Blue Sargent is the only non-seer in a household of clairvoyants. Even though her family’s prophecies normally tend to be vage, they have always been very clear and precise in relation to one matter: When Blue kisses her true love, he is going to die.

Every year on St. Mark’s Eve, she and her mother visit the local churchyard. Blue’s presence radiates an energy that intensifies other clairvoyants’ visions and enables them to see the ghosts of the citizens who will die over the course of the next twelve months.
So when Blue herself sees the ghost of a boy named Gansey, that can only mean one of two things: Either he is her true love, or she is going to kill him – or both.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Home-made Bookmark Collection [Sherlock Holmes, Tardis, London …]

In the past, I belonged to the group of readers who just (ab)use random objects that are in one’s close proximity for bookmarks – such as tissue paper, receipts and so on. I find that readers can get really creative when in desperate need of a bookmark. 
But a while ago, I decided to change that deplorable condition. And so I started to create my own awesomeness of bookmarks – or at least that’s what I was aiming for. :)
Now I'm going to share a few of them with you, in hopes of inspiring you to create something yourself, and thus, celebrating and spreading the love for reading! Yey.

Additionally, I would be absolutely thrilled if this would prevail you to showcase your own bookmark collection on your blog! If so, please leave me a link to it.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Book Review: Ignite Me [Shatter Me #3] by Tahereh Mafi

Note: Ignite Me is the conclusion of a series. If you haven’t read the first two books, I’d strongly advise you not to read this critique. You can look up my review of Shatter Me, though.

BASIC FACTS
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published by HarperCollins on February 4th, 2014
Genre: dystopia, paranormal romance [YA] 
ISBN: 978-0062085573
Pages: 416

SYNOPSIS
Omega Point is destroyed and the number of people who survived the attack is miserably low. And to top it all, Juliette finds herself stuck with Warner as she is struggling to rebuild her strength in order to take down the Reestablishment once and for all, under these adverse conditions. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Comic Review: Rat Queens Vol. 1 – Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

BASIC FACTS
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art & covers: Roc Upchurch
Published by Image Comics on April 28, 2014
ISBN: 9781607069454
Pages: 128
Genre: fantasy, adventure
This trade paperback collects issues 1-5.

SYNOPSIS
This series is about an adventuring group of four female mercenaries who cause a lot of trouble in their home village, Palisade. Hannah, a elven mage; Betty, a smidgen thief; Violet, a dwarven fighter and Bee, a human cleric take a quest of killing monsters, during which they find out that someone is plotting against them in order to eliminate all the adventuring groups in Palisade.

DESCRIPTION IN TERMS OF OTHER STUFF
Take The Lord of the Rings, throw in some alcohol, boisterous parties, sex, pubs, a lot of cursing, and butt-kicking females, and then top it all off with the wit and sass of Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga.
[You all know how appropriate these types of descriptions are – like all the annoying “If you’re a fan of Twilight, you’re going to love this“-stickers – so please don’t take it too seriously.]

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Self-made The Night Circus bookmark, quote by Oscar Wilde
BASIC FACTS
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Published by Doubleday on September 13, 2011
Pages: 400
Genre: adult fiction, fantasy, magical realism (maybe)


COVER
It is without a doubt a jewel on my bookshelf. The lettering of the title has a holographic sheen. But what I especially like about it is its enchanting character, which goes hand in hand with the story. It’s also a beautiful metaphor: The reader can hold an entire circus in the palm of his/her hand just by picking up this very book.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Waiting on Wednesday [#1] – In the Afterlight

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, to spotlight upcoming releases that you are especially excited for.


In the Afterlight [The Darkest Minds #3]
by Alexandra Bracken
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Genre: YA, dystopia, paranormal romance

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

I'm back! + Stacking the Shelves [#5] – Birthday Edition

Hi guys!

A lot has happened since the last time I posted anything on this blog. I took my A-levels (or rather, I made my Abitur, as it's called here in Germany) at the beginning of 2014.
Back in 2012, I had no idea what I wanted study or where I saw myself even a few years later. Now, I'm at a different point in my life. I know I'm going to study computer science in October, and that sureness takes a weight off my mind.
I always put a lot of effort in the things I do, that applies to blogging as well. Back in 2012, I knew I couldn't spend as much time blogging as I wanted to, since studying took up a hell of a lot of time – and so I stopped. I surely didn't stop reading books, though, obviously. And my desire to share my love of reading with others won't ever vanish, either. So here I am, back and as motivated as ever!