Mini Autumn Book Haul

imageOk, it’s official: I have a problem.

I don’t know what it is about me and buying books. It’s like I think that if I don’t own it, I’ll never read it. Helloooo, that is what libraries are for. They even have the hold system to make sure you always have a book to read. And the renew feature so you can finish books at your own pace.

So maybe I buy books because otherwise I won’t remember that I wanted to read them. Well, I’m pretty sure that is a top feature of GoodReads for many people, keeping track of books on your shelves, what you’re reading, what you want to read, and even adding books to such lists without having to buy them and then completely rearrange your bookshelf to get them to fit.

But still, I see the need to shop for books every few weeks. The books in this little haul are the result of me pity-shopping. My logic: Self, you stressed over a test; you deserve the sanctuary of a bookstore. I think this is just one way of helping me be stressed about money, but hey, if the worst thing I binge buy is literature, I think we’re good.

imageThe first book I picked up was Margaret Atwood’s latest novel The Heart Goes Last. On promotion for $15 in hardcover, I didn’t think I could go wrong. I started reading it a few days ago, and I am hooked. Mini series, it’s set in a future America where a giant economic crisis has left hundreds of thousands of people without work, living in their vehicles, and forming gangs for protection. And then comes the chance to move to the Twin City of Consilience/Positron: a new project designed to solve both unemployment and organized crime. Participants in this project are given a nice home to live in, with three meals per day, and a job in the community. . . but only for six months out of the year. Every second month, they are sent to the Positron prison to serve out a month-long term as a prisoner, while Alternates move into their home. And so the process repeats. This is all I really know about the book, but it is such an addictive read, and when I finish it, I will most likely be doing a review post, so keep a lookout for that.

imageThe second book is Juliet Was a Mistake by Bill Gaston. This collection of short stories focuses in on the lives of people who are often at the periphery of society’s spotlight: a tree surgeon, a schizophrenic, a pizza delivery guy. From the few stories I have read so far, this collection seems to focus on the consequences of misinterpretation. You know, like when you think that guy likes you, but really, he likes your best friend. I haven’t read any of Gaston’s work before, but I have heard that he is most well-known for his short stories, so I have high hopes for this book.

image

The last book is All the Words Are Yours: Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson. It was so weird stumbling upon this book because not a week ago, I reviewed Gregson’s first book Chasers of the Light. I didn’t even know a new book had been released, but when I saw it, I had to scoop it up. I am reading a few of the haikus each day because as much as I want to binge read them, I want to savour them.

Have you read any of these books before??? What did you think of them???

Blog logo

Advertisements

September Book Haul

IMG_6103Good morning everyone!!!

With the August book buying ban off, and university back into full gear, my book shopping sprees will be few and far between. So, when I stopped into Chapters downtown yesterday, I figured I might as well stock up on some school-friendly reads to keep in my backpack or on my desk for when I have a few spare moments.

IMG_6106

The first book I picked up was YouTuber Tanya Burr’s Love, Tanya. I have watched her YouTube videos for years, but never went out and got the book when it was first released. The nice thing about this book is it is broken up into sections, which are perfect for reading at home during study breaks without feeling like I’m losing some of the overall effect of the book. The sections are also categorized so you can target areas of interest, like YouTube, beauty, healthy eating, etc. An added bonus is that this book has some blank pages for you to make notes in about things you like, or want to do. I just think this is such a cute coffee table book, and a great read for a busy school semester (helpful tips in here too!!!)

IMG_6104

Ah, the September issue of Vogue. Choked full of 832 pages of the fall fashion shows, new trends, and a cover story on Beyoncé, this issue has it all. I love reading magazines, especially when I’m going to school, because it is really easy to just read one or two articles and then put it down for a bit, without the lure of a cliff hanger. Plus, lots of magazines come with a perfume sample, so I can put a bit of one on, go back to studying, and see if I like the fragrance around me. In addition, Vogue is an excellent way to lust over beautiful things without spending a dime, which is great if you’re a student like me and on a budget.

IMG_6105Next is His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay. My primary reason for buying this book is because I want to read it before Elizabeth Hay comes to a local bookstore next week. I am so excited to get to meet her. She is such an incredible author, and being able to hear her do readings is something that I am really looking forward to. Maybe I could even get this book signed 😀 😀 That would be amazing.

IMG_6108The next two books I grouped together because they are from the same series. I was given the first book in this series, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, for my birthday a few years back, but I never got around to reading it. Now that the fourth book has just come out (but written by a different author), I feel like I have to read them now before there are too many to catch up on. Besides, with these books priced at $10 each, how could I refuse???

IMG_6109Another good at-school read I picked up is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. I have heard such wonderful things about her unique narrative voice, and with her newest book Why Not Me? being listed as one of the best Fall reads, I wanted to get a taste of her writing style to see if it was something I would be interested in reading. These short stories are perfect because I can read one or two, and then go back to studying, or I can read a few in between classes. And if anyone’s seen The Mindy Project on TV, you will know just how funny she can be.

IMG_6110

No Chapters book haul is complete without at least one Heather’s Pick, and The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha is the one that made it into my TBR pile this go around. What I learned yesterday is that Heather’s Picks are actually guaranteed reads, meaning if you don’t like the book, you can return it to the store. That is taking customer satisfaction to a whole new level. I love this book because it has small little sections on something small but awesome that can be encountered in daily life. This morning I read my first section, which was on when you successfully parallel park on the first attempt. I am going to read one of these little snippets of awesome each morning just to add a bit of positivity to my days.

And those are the books I’ve purchased this September!!!

Have you read any of these before??? What did you think??? Any other recommendations for September reads???

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my 100 followers giveaway for your chance to win a Chanel Autumn 2015 lipstick of your choice and one of Time magazine’s listed 100 best English-language novels!!! Click here to find the instructions for how to enter. *The giveaway is open internationally and will close September 30, 2015 at 11:59pm” 

Blog logo

The Perfect Paris Travel Book

IMG_6047Before leaving for Paris, I read numerous travel guides, and pored over maps of the arrondissements and the metro. I made lists of what I wanted to see most, and planned out what I could see on which days to limit travel time and maximize fun. But then I got to Paris and stumbled into Colette, one of the weirdest stores I have ever been in. With booming music, people everywhere, and a host of random products with no concrete theme, it was unlike any store I had seen. From Hello Kitty Polaroid cameras, to a wall of magazines I had never heard of, to office supplies, to clothes, to candy and keychains, Colette had it all.

Pages 22-23
Pages 22-23

Finding my comfort zone in the notebook and stationary section, I came across the book This is my Paris by Marie Bashkirtseff, with text and compilation by Petra de Hamer. Along the lines of the Wreck my Journal concept, this book is touted as a “travel diary, activity book, and city guide in one”. It has everything from beautiful and quirky illustrations of Paris’s sights, to lists of must-see stores and restaurants, to blank pages for lists of things to see and do, to pages to tape business cards and tickets, and even pages of recipes for classic French foods and beverages. Essentially this book provides the framework of a trip scrapbook; all you have to do is add in whatever you want.

I saved up everything from my trip in a manilla envelope, and now that I’m home, I will be filling it all out and taping everything in. I would recommend purchasing this book before leaving for Paris though, because some pages are meant for pre-trip planning. On these ones, I am going to attach all of my lists, but it would have been nice to list things directly in the book.

If this type of books is interesting to you, there is also a This is my Berlin book, and possibly more.

So here’s a question for you: how do you document your travels???

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely day ☺ ☺

Shakespeare and Company Book Haul

IMG_5919Shakespeare and Company was at the top of my Places to Visit in Paris list. This bookstore has been featured in numerous movies, such as Julie and Julia and Midnight in Paris, and has an illustrious history.

Shakespeare and Company is in fact the name of two bookstores. The first was opened by Sylvia Beach in 1919 at 8 rue Dupuytren, and then moved to a larger building at 12 rue de l’Odéon in 1922. This bookstore was popular with writers like Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, and James Joyce. However, this bookstore closed in 1940 during the German occupation of Paris and never re-opened. An American ex-serviceman named George Whitman opened the second bookstore bearing this name in 1951 at 37 rue de la Bûcherie. Originally, it was named “Le Mistral,” but was renamed Shakespeare and Company in 1964 as a tribute to Sylvia Beach’s bookstore after her death.

Finding this bookstore though was quite tricky. I ended up wandering the Latin Quarter, Saint Gérmain des Près, and even picking up a Despicable Me Minions puzzle in the process of trying to find it. When I finally found it, it turns out I had essentially passed it at least three times, but the road it is on is so inconspicuous that I kept walking by it. So for any of you who go to Paris and want to see this bookstore, here’s a really simple way to find it: stand with your back to the front of Notre Dame, walk forward towards the road, turn left and cross the bridge, then turn down the first little road you see called Rue de la Bucherie; from there you will see the green awnings.

IMG_5922This bookstore has two floors. The ground floor has new books available for purchase, while the upper floor has books available to be read in the store but not bought, along with couches and chairs for reading, and an adorable little nook with a typewriter that visitors have left notes and quotes in. Not to mention there appears to be a resident cat that lives on the upper floor of the store. It doesn’t get much better than that.

IMG_5924

What I really liked about this bookshop was the stairs leading up to the second floor. Each stair has part of a Hafiz quote painted on them. The full quote is:

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astounding light of your own being.”

Along the right side of the stairs on the other side of the banister are diagonal shelves with more books sitting on them, along with various box sets of postcards, such as those with previous covers of The New Yorker on them.

20150903-122948.jpgAnother thing that makes this bookstore unique is that any books purchased there are made  extra special with a Shakespeare and Company stamp to mark them as souvenirs of the visit. Of course you can opt out of having your books stamped, but I think it is a really nice way to remember where they are from.

Needless to say, I picked up a few books, so I thought I would show you them here.

IMG_6049

IMG_6050The first book is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I have a mini collection of copies of this novel, and I had never seen this edition before, so I wanted to add it to my bookshelf. Of course this means I will read it again, but I can never read it too many times. I always find something new in the story.

IMG_6052The next book I bought is Three Early Stories, also by Salinger. It contains “The Young Folks,” “Go See Eddie,” and “Once A Week Won’t Kill You.” Compiled into a book in 2014 by the Devault-Graves Agency, these short stories were originally published independently, “Young Folks” in Story magazine in 1940, “Go See Eddie” in University of Kansas City Review in December 1940, and “Once A Week Won’t Kill You” in Story magazine in November-December of 1944. I have never read any of these short stories before, so I am super excited to sit down in my reading nook with my cat and a cup of hot chocolate and delve into them.

IMG_6051The last Salinger book I picked up is For Esme–With Love and Squalor. This is a collection of nine of Salinger’s short stories, some of which I have read like “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” and others I have not. I have a copy of these stories compiled into a book of another title, Nine Stories, but I have yet to even crack the spine. That book came in a collector box set of all of Salinger’s works that I received as a gift from my French 11 teacher before he retired. He was, and still is a remarkable person, and we shared a passion for books. Before French class started, I would get there early and we would talk about what we had been reading and recommend books to one another. With a copy of these short stories that I can now read, I am looking forward to reading the ones I didn’t read from printed versions from my French teacher.

IMG_6053The final book I purchased is Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Firstly, because it is about Paris. And secondly, it mentions the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in chapter 3:

In those days there was no money to buy books. Books you borrowed from the rental library of Shakespeare and Company, which was the library and bookstore of Sylvia Beach at 12 Rue de l’Odéon. On a cold windswept street, this was a lovely, warm, cheerful place with a big stove in winter, tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living. The photographs all looked like snapshots and even the dead writers looked as though they had really been alive.

I opted for the restored edition, as it includes two sections of photos, one of photos of some of Hemingway’s handwritten manuscript pages, and the other of photos of people, such as Hemingway as a young man, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. There is even a picture of Hemingway and Sylvia Beach in front of her bookshop Shakespeare and Company. And a picture of the interior of the bookshop, which is similar to how it looks today. A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s last novel, was published posthumously in 1964, with changes made to the text prior to publishing. This restored edition, however, is the original manuscript as Hemingway wrote it to be published. This edition also has a personal forward by Hemingway’s only surviving son, Patrick Hemingway. Plus, the introduction to this edition was written by Seán Hemingway, the editor and grandson of the author. So if you’re a Hemingway fan, I would seriously recommend picking up a copy of this restored edition.

I would have picked up many more books, but they are deceivingly heavy, and I could only fit so many in my suitcase. The good thing though is that this bookstore has a website, which I recommend you check out, because it shows all the books they have there, new, used, and rare, along with book boxes that can be ordered online. I am seriously considering ordering the classics book box just to see which books are randomly included in it. It’ll be like being back there only I won’t have to worry about weighing my suitcase in the airport.

Have you visited this bookstore before? What books did you bring home?

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely day 🙂 🙂

Pre-Paris Book Haul

20150821-093913.jpgI know, I know, I said no more buying books. But as I mentioned in a previous post, I am off to Paris soon. I am beyond excited about this trip, but unfortunately there is a fair bit of traveling involved before I arrive in Paris. Between the taxis and busses and the 9-hour flight, I just know I will get bored, and nothing quells boredom like a good book.

Now I, like many, love going to the library to check out books. It is a super easy and cost-effective way to read books and try out works by new authors. But I don’t really feel comfortable taking a library book to another continent where it could get lost or damaged. I know there is no such thing as a library version of a permanent record, but in case that does come to exist, I don’t want to be known at my local library branch as the girl who wrecks books and accrues months of late fees because the books go missing.

Hence this pre-Paris book haul was necessary (like how I’m justifying it to myself?) Besides, being stuck on a long-haul flight with a book that isn’t living up to its reputation or is just not sucking you in is a drag.

So, the three books I picked up are Room by Emma Donohue, A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, and Son by Lois Lowry. I got all of these in paperback because they are lighter and smaller, and therefore easier to pack. I know that I will love these books, which is why I have selected them as the three books that will be coming on my trip with me. I don’t want to have any unnecessary book weight in my carry-on from books that I don’t plan on reading, or am doubtful as to whether or not I will like them.

But who knows, maybe I’ll pick up a few more books while I’m in Paris to weigh down my suitcase on the flight home. Perhaps they’ll even be in French. . .

Blog logo

The One Book Book Haul

20150720-184034.jpg

As of earlier this week, Harper Lee’s new book Go Set a Watchman is the newest addition to my bookshelf!!!

For the past few months, I have been telling myself that I have to stop buying more books until I can see a visible reduction in the height of my TBR piles. But this book is different. I pre-ordered it a few months back so that I would be guaranteed a copy in the event that Chapters sold out and had to send out for another shipment.

I am in the middle of reading Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending for a book that won the Man Booker prize, but the moment I finish the last page, I will be jumping into Go Set a Watchman, possibly before I even write the review.

Have you bought this book??? What did you think of it???

Blog logo

Mini Summer 2015 Chapters Haul

Picture 24Alright, I know I set a book buying ban for myself, but these ones are justified: these ones are for Books on the Nightstand’s Summer Book Bingo, so really, it’s just business. That, and I had wanted to read these for a long time, and they were there so . . .

Anyways, if you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t but would like to, click here) you will have seen a picture of my little haul two days ago because I was so excited about them, but I thought I should also document my haul here.

First up is White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I first heard about this book on the blog 101 Books. It sounded amazing, and an increidble debut novel to boot, so I thought it would be a good one to do for a novel that is more than 500 pages long, or a novel with just words on the cover (harder to find than you think).

The next book is YouTuber Zoella’s first novel Girl Online. I have read plenty of reviews of this book, along with a few rumors about how a ghostwriter may have been involved, but nevertheless I still wanted to read it and see what it was about, and get all prepped so that when the sequel is released, I will be prepared.

The last item I bought I counted as one book to make myself feel better about my book buying binge, but really it’s four. You may not know this about me, but I absolutely love book sets. I like being able to get a whole bunch of books by an author at once, and preferably in paperback without movie covers. I have read Looking for Alaska but, regrettably, I have not read the other three: The Fault in Our Stars (shameful, I know), Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines. At least now I own them so they’re available to me at anytime. I am hoping to make at least one of them work for the summer book bingo, and I want to read Paper Towns before the movie comes out and I start seeing Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff in place of my imaginary versions of the characters.

So yeah, that’s my little book haul. I hope you are all enjoying your Fridays, and have splendid, summery weekends 🙂 🙂

Blog logo

Spring 2015 Chapters Haul

IMG_4997Oh my goodness, it has been way too long since I did a book post!!!

Where have I been you might ask??? Well, for starters, university picked up speed, and I found that the majority of my time was spent in a little nook of the campus library until late hours nearly every day completing homework assignments, drafting essays, and studying for midterms. Never again will I think that I can take six courses at once (I only completed five though; I wizened up halfway through term and dropped one). If I ever post on here, or on Twitter that I’ve had the brilliant idea of cramming six courses into one term, someone PLEASE comment and remind me of this post, and the pact that I made with myself. Life balance is key, and I tossed that entire concept out the window this past term.

However, over the last few months, I did meander down to the local Chapters bookstore several times to pick up some books to read for when term ended and I had nothing to do, so I figured what better way to get back into the book blogging groove than to do a haul post on all the books I have added to my collection since my February haul post???

So, let’s get started!!!

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

IMG_5002

I have to admit, I have not read this book yet, but I hope to crack it open sometime next week once I get through the book I am currently reading (coincidentally enough, a book that will also be featured in this haul post). From what I can gather, this book is set in Paris during World War II. It begins with the story of Marie-Laure, a deaf child, and her father, the master of locks at the Museum of Natural History. The pair flee from Paris to the home of Marie-Laure’s great-uncle, and carry with them “what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.” Simultaneously, the story of a German Orphan named Werner unfolds and, with a talent for building and fixing radios, he becomes part of an academy for Hitler Youth. And, of course, Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s paths will cross.

2. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

IMG_5004While this book was released in 2006, and a movie adaptation was released in 2010, I somehow managed to go quite some time without even knowing this story existed. As much as I don’t like doing this, I unknowingly saw the movie first, but once I found out it began as a book, I knew I had to have it. My boyfriend at the time said that the story resonated with him; he felt like he was in the same position as the protagonist, Craig Gilner. In essence, this is a story about a teenaged boy who wants to succeed in life, which for him means that he needs to attend the right schools and colleges, and get the right job. But this generates too much pressure, and Craig nearly kills himself. So, he checks into a mental hospital, and the story chronicles his time there, where he learns to deal with his anxiety, and what life is all about. After watching the movie, I realized that my then-boyfriend was right, but on a larger scale than he probably meant to be. I find that all teenagers are, to a degree, Craig Gilners. All want to succeed at something, and all fear buckling under the pressure of the expectations they set for themselves and believe others set for them. I found this story to resonate with me too, as I’m sure it does for almost any teenager who feels a little bit lost and overwhelmed in this big show we call life.

 3. Still Alice

IMG_5005I ordered this book online about a month ago when I saw a DVD of the movie adaptation sitting on a local library bookshelf. I read the back of the DVD, and realized what an incredible read the book would be, and I didn’t want to spoil any of the intensity of Lisa Genova’s writing by knowing the plot through the movie first. There is a common misconception that Alzheimer’s Disease only targets the old, the people with grandchildren, the people that live in nursing homes. What this book does is shed some light on the harsh truth that even a 50-year-old cognitive psychology professor at Harvard University can be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I haven’t read this one yet, but I am saving it for a rainy day when all I need is a good read and my cat curled up at my feet. And, for when that day comes, I have the movie on hold at the library so I can pick it up the night before, and watch it the minute I finish reading the last page.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (50th Anniversary Edition)

IMG_5003I have read this book many, many times before, and yes, I already have a copy, but when an anniversary edition of a novel as classic as this one is released, I don’t think there’s really a choice to not get it. It’s one of those books that, while it may not be read, it will proudly sit on my shelf, representing the 50 years of this story being taught in schools, read in book clubs, and heralded as one of Time Magazine’s 100 greatest novels.

5. Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series

IMG_4999

Prematurely, I labeled buying this book an impulse purchase. I loved the cover art, and that Heather’s Pick sticker always reels me in. But, upon cracking it open and reading the first few poems, I was completely hooked. I read them all in about two hours and, upon finishing the last poem, I started all over again, reading it for a second time, sure I had missed something. His poetry is an actualization of the phrase “quality over quantity”, with some poems comprised of only two verses. A great many of his poems remind me of the imagist movement, where each poem is a snapshot of a commonplace event, represented with acute detail.  Finding beauty in the ordinary and gestures of love in the subtle are two of his talents, and he uses them to their full extent in these poems. They will leave you spellbound, guaranteed.

6. Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling

IMG_4998This little book is only 70 pages long, and contains Rowling’s 2008 commencement address at Harvard University. She discusses the value of failure, and the power of imagination, two things that have greatly aided her throughout her life. What I loved about her speech was how thought provoking it was in its simplicity. She told the truth: that there are many benefits that come with failing, and they should be embraced, not avoided. As for imagination, well I think her novels speak volumes (no pun intended) on the power of imagination in changing one’s life. This book has been added to my coffee table collection, and I plan on reading it when I need a little boost of confidence or inspiration that there is always time to do what I love and make a difference.

7. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

IMG_5000This little novella was the winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize and, in the words of A.D. Miller on losing the award to Julian Barnes“It was like losing to Brazil in the World Cup Final.” Now that  is a tribute from one writer to another. I have just started reading this book, but by page 16, I am already hooked. If I didn’t have to get off the bus for work yesterday morning, I would have stayed on for the entire route just to finish this book in one sitting. It is that good. There is something about Barnes’ writing style that makes every line thought provoking. By that I mean that I read a sentence, then pause and ruminate on it a bit before moving on. It’s like I’m scared of missing the genius, but it’s in everything he says, and I want to take it all in. So far an incredible read.

8. Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

IMG_5001I actually picked up this book a week before Mother’s Day, hoping to give it to my mother as a gift. Well, ok, I admit it, I read it. I just couldn’t help myself!!! Angelou dedicated this book to the daughter she never had, but to the millions of readers she considers to be a part of her extended family. These short essays provide insight into parts of Angelou’s life, my favourite being the essay that describes the conception and birth of her son. This is a must-read for anyone who loves Angelou’s work, and anyone looking for a Mother’s Day gift.

9. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Other Stories by Hilary Mantel

IMG_5007

Hilary Mantel has won the Man Booker Prize twice, an unprecedented achievement; once in 2009 for her novel Wolf Hall, and then in 2012 for its sequel Bring Up the Bodies. Having heard incredible things about these novels, I was so excited to find this collection of short stories at Chapters. I have read some of these short stories already (hence the little pink bookmark poking up out of the book in the picture. Oops!!!) and am in love with her ability to craft characters in such depth and weave their lives together. While I am anxiously awaiting the release of the final book in the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, this collection of stories will most definitely tide me over.

10. Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

IMG_5006 Now this sounds like an incredible read. I first read about this book online, and was dying to find it in stores so I could add it to my must-read shelf. Mini series, this book chronicles the life of a 12-year-old boy who, in 1988, went home from school feeling sick, and never went back. An unknown illness left him wheelchair bound and unable to speak, yet his mind was awake. This book tells his story of the 14 years he spent in institutions and the people he met there and how he eventually learned to communicate via computer, which changed his life. This book was co-written by its protagonist, who is now happily married and living in the UK.

Well, those are all the books I’ve picked up in the last few months. Now that school is over for the summer and work is slow, I am hoping to make it down to Chapters more often, and actually start reading the books on my must-read shelf.

Have you read any of these books??? What did you think of them???

Blog logo

February 2015 Chapters Haul

Book haul stackChapters is one of my favourite bookstores, not to mention the biggest one in the city that I live in. It is in this amazing downtown location and it has . . . wait for it . . . three floors!!! Just picture three floors of books!!! Depending on where you live, my three-floor Chapters (with escalator, I might add) may not be impressive to you, but I absolutely love it. There’s even a cute little Starbucks tucked away on the top floor, so it is the perfect place to find a good read, pick up a peppermint mocha, and ease into a comfy chair for an afternoon of reading.

Between Christmastime and now, Chapters has had some insane book sales. For example, while Christmas shopping for my mother this year, I was able to scoop up the newest Stephen king novel, Revival, for a mere $15!!! That’s right, $15 for a hardcover book. The same happened to me with John Grisham’s newest novel for $10!!! Now you see why I love Chapters.

Anywho, so I scooped up quite a few books in the past month or so, and I thought I would share them with you all 🙂 🙂

The first book I picked up was Hillary Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices (check out that sale price tag). As a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, Clinton is an incredible woman who I admire for her independence,success, and service to her country. This memoir chronicles her four years spent as Secretary of State under President of Barack Obama. The author’s note begins with, “All of us face hard choices in our lives, whether it be through balancing work and family, caring for the old or the young people in our lives, or, in her case, serving her country. Yet, Clinton notes, serving her country was never a hard choice for her; rather it was an honour. She had me hooked with the author’s note. Now that is the mark of a talented writer.

The Rosie Project

The next two books I picked up go hand in hand, or page in page, if you will, so I wanted to discuss them together: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, both by Graeme Simsion. While this book is a #1 international bestseller, I, regrettably, had never heard of it until I saw it poised on a book stand on a Chapters bookshelf. The cover looked adorable, and the little description on the inside cover had me laughing. Basically what The Rosie Project is about is this psychology professor who is absolutely brilliant, but he has fewThe Rosie Effect social skills. Unableto secure a second date, he begins ‘The Wife Project,’ a 16-page questionnaire that he believes will select the perfect wife for him. Then he meets Rosie, a girl who is completely wrong for him according to the questionnaire, but he takes on ‘The Father Project’ with her, using his knowledge of genetics to help her find her biological father. But of course, they fall in love. I have yet to read The Rosie Effect, but I realized in the store that it was a sequel to The Rosie Project, so I bought them both at the same time. Few things annoy me as much as finishing a really good book and then learning it has a sequel that you do not own and have to wait a few days to buy and start reading.

Not That Kind of GirlLena Dunham has a long list of titles including actress, screen writer, producer and director, and with the release of her book Not that Kind of Girl, she was able to add author to the list. While I knew little of Lena Dunham when I saw the book, I was immediately intrigued by the content. The books contains essays that are at times hilarious (such as when she describes looking up and seeing a condom dangling from the leaves of a potted tree), but at times heartbreakingly sensitive (like when she ruminates on platonic bed sharing, or losing a lover). Regardless of whether or not the reader has experienced the same things she has, there is no doubt that what she writes can be related to by almost every woman on some level, and perhaps even some men.

Alice Munro box set

The next five books that I bought actually came in a set. As an Indigo exclusive, I came across a 5-book box set of Nobel Prize for Literature winner Alice Munro’s books, including Friend of my Youth, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, The Love of a Good Woman, Runaway, and The View from Castle Rock. As a Canadian, I feel partially obligated to devour a fair amount of Canadian literature. There’s nothing quite like having someone go, “Oh, you’re Canadian. Do you read Margaret Atwood?,” and just staring at them blankly. (That is not to say that that happened to me [I actually adore Margaret Atwood’s writings] but that’s just an example of the embarrassment that could ensue) However, Alice Munro’s writing is so incredible, and I wanted to have a few of her books on hand so I could just blaze through some of her works. And what better way to do that than with a 5-book box set for $50, with each book being worth about $25 if bought separately.

T.S. Eliot poemsAh T.S. Eliot (Thomas Steams Eliot, to be exact). He is probably my favourite American modernist poet. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” has me swept off my feet into a realm of disturbing imagery and overwhelming insecurity by the end of the first stanza, and the rest of his poems have nearly the same effect on me. I first studied him in a grade 12 literature class that I took back in high school, and then studied him again twice last year in a first year English course, and a second year American literature course. Despite all of that, I still cannot get enough of his poetry, and this edition had such beautiful cover art that I couldn’t resist it. (By the way, all hardcover books were 40% off that day).

Attachments

Attachments is the most recent book that I bought, and it was displayed on the Valentine’s Day table in Chapters. Now I am not a huge fan of the holiday (regardless of whether I am single or not each year), mostly because of the forced merriment, the crowds in public places, and the excessive amounts of PDA (public displays of affection). So each Valentine’s Day, I typically pick out a nice little romance or romance comedy novel and have a good read with a cup of hot chocolate by my side and a cat curled up at my feet. The table had some of the classics like The Notebook and P.S. I Love You, but I was looking for something new. This novel is basically about this man who is hired to survey peoples’ emails for security breaches, and he eventually ends up falling in love with a woman through her emails to a fellow female coworker. I liked how it was a bit of a modern twist on the concept of falling in love with someone from afar, and it’s nice and thin, so I should be able to get through it in one day.

Famous Last WordsAs odd as this will sound, I picked up this book, Famous Last Words By Timothy Findley (yet another Canadian author), mostly because of the staff member who recommended it, Graham. I always go to the same Chapters location, and I purposely seek out his picks, because I end up loving them every time, but they are books that I might not have picked out by myself. This particular one is a post-World War Two novel, revolving around the character of Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, who is originally from the Ezra Pound poem of the same name. I started this book yesterday, and I am already loving the narrative style of Findley’s writing.

Animal Farm

The last book I will include in this haul post is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I so enjoyed reading this book, and it is branded a classic by many people, but I had never owned a copy until a few weeks ago. As shallow as this may sound, I believe part of being “well-read” is having a cultured bookshelf, and by that I mean one stocked with a wide variety of book genres from various time periods and authors, not just young adult vampire novels, and not just the classics. But I believe there should be a healthy number of classics on anyone’s shelf because there is a reason they are so celebrated: they speak to the human condition in a way that was unique for its time period, yet in a way that holds timeless relevance.

Moleskine notebooksFinally, while I was at Chapters just the other day, I picked up some Moleskine notebooks. I know these are quite expensive (these two little ruled notebooks in light violet and brilliant violet came to $12) I find they are so worth the extra money. They come in a variety of sizes, have the softest pages (yes, I am one of those notorious page feelers), and many of them come with elastic fasteners to keep them shut when they are in your purse or backpack so that they don’t flap open and pages don’t get bent. I picked up these ones because I find they are the perfect size for idea books, as I find it so frustrating when I think of a good idea, only to forget it by the time I am able to get to some paper and a pen.

Well that’s it for this Chapters haul post. I hope you enjoyed it, and please comment below if there are any books you think I should pick up the next time I’m at Chapters, or how you found any of the books I featured in this haul post.

Blog sign off