All The Things You May Say To A Book Lover

Lately I have stumbled upon a number of posts on blogs that listed phrases you should never ever under any circumstances say to a book lover. I’d say I’m a pretty huge fan of books, and have been since I was a child. But every single one of those posts just annoyed me a great deal. It’s a snobby attitude to pretend that reading is a better hobby than, say, doing ballet or watching football. So, as a book lover, I decided to list all the things you may say to me (yes, even WHILE I’m reading!)…

 «But you have got so many books already!»
I knooow, right? And aren’t they pretty! Thank you so much for noticing!

 «Wow, you’ve read that book in a single day?»
Thank you, I appreciate the admiring tone!

 «I liked the movie better.»
That’s okay. Maybe it was a hell of a movie then!

 «I’m not going to read the book – I’ve already seen the movie!»
Seriously, the only time I will judge you for this is when it comes to Harry Potter. But, hey, sometimes we’re just not in the mood to like something!

 «You read a lot. What’s the name of the author who wrote that book about those things?»
Aw, I probably don’t know. But thank you for believing that I might!

«I’ve read this brilliant book…!»
Tell me more, tell me more!

«I hate to interrupt you while you’re reading, but…»
The last time I was told that, someone wanted to discuss dinner plans with me. Books are food for thought, but they’re not pasta.

«How many books do you have?»
I don’t know. But I don’t mind telling you about my shelves anyway (since you showed a spark of interest.)

«Wanna go to the bookstore?»
Yes please! Let’s talk about books, baby! Let’s talk about you and me…!

«I don’t have time to read.»
And I don’t have time for football or Grey’s Anatomy. We only make time for the things we actually enjoy, and why shouldn’t we?

«You must have been such a nerd in school!»
O.M.G. YES! But I once was thrown out of the library for inapropriate behaviour (= holding hands with a boy). So, you see, I was also a rebel.

«Haven’t you already read that book?»
And it was so amazing I’m reading it again! Maybe you would enjoy it, too?

«What’s that book about?»
Your mistake if you ask me that question, because I will now not shut up until I finish telling you the ENTIRE FRIGGIN’ PLOT!

I realise that every society has this group of people who think reading is rubbish. But same goes for every hobby. Not everyone can enjoy the same things, and some people find this harder to accept than others. But we readers like to believe that we’re super smart (which we TOTALLY are!), and shaming others for asking a silly question just isn’t a very smart thing to do. Really, there is only one sentence that every book lover will truly hate from the bottom of their hearts, and that is

«The sequel will be out in 2047!»

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Wishing you all a wonderful autmn-y week and a happy Booktober!

xxx

The Harry Potter Book Tag

Everyone’s going wild because of Harry Potter again, and the world is as it should be! Potter and books, this tag is made for me!

I tagged myself. Thanks, me!

Important rule: You can’t use any of the HP books in the answer. (But who cares, eh?)

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A BOOK YOU FOUND THE THEME INTERESTING, BUT WOULD LIKE TO REWRITE.

On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher. The story, at least in the beginning, is set in an appartment building that serves as the waiting room for all the souls that aren’t ready to pass through their doors to heaven. Beautiful idea, beautiful cover, beautiful writer – unfortunately the writing style just really isn’t for me.

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THE FIRST BOOK IN A SERIES THAT GOT YOU HOOKED.

How can I answer this truthfully and not say Harry Potter? My dad read the books to me and my brother when we were very young; unless you count Where’s Waldo, we literally didn’t care about any sort of series before that.

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A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE RIGHT NOW.

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. I am really anxious to find out what’s going to happen to Paige, and how dare you end a book on SUCH a cliffhanger and then wait two years to give me the sequel!

If you don’t know who Samantha Shannon is, then you need to read The Bone Season RIGHT NOW!

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A KILLER BOOK. BOTH SENSES. TAKE IT AS YOU LIKE.

Fools Rush In by Bill Carter. Both senses. In this gem Bill Carter shares his story of when he went to Bosnia during the war in the 1990ies where he helped distribute food and other goods and wound up filming the documentary Miss Sarajevo. I promise, this will change your life.

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A BOOK THAT YOU FOUND REALLY CONFUSING.

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto. Maybe more disturbing than confusing. All those characters not knowing what they want and being all dramatic… ergh. Gave me a headache.

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YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL BOOK.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I can’t read this without picturing New-Zealandese landscapes, and it always makes me feel a bit nostalgic. That aside, the story discusses questions that I’ve always found challenging and worth thinking about. I am not kidding, I read the first book when I was ten and decided to go save the world and marry Legolas (you only throw that stupid ring into a fire, job done! Easy.) To this day I find encouragement in the idea that the smallest person can change the outcome of things. Most of what I’m doing now was at some point inspired by Sir Tolkien.

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A DARK AND TWISTED BOOK.

Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende. That book feels especially dark and twisted because it tells the truth. The story is set in Chile during Pinochet’s dictatorship. A young journalist discovers the mass grave of brutally murdered civilians. She spends a disturbing amount of time in that grave.

Definitely a book worth reading. Also, pro tip: Get the tissues ready!

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A BOOK THAT SURPRISED YOU IN A GREAT WAY BECAUSE IT REVEALS TO BE MORE THAN IT SEEMS.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Parks. I assumed this would be a mere YA novel with the self-loathing teenage girl and the angsty, blond heart throb, but it turned out to be quite the opposite! Samantha and I ended up discussing this book in our book club of two more than once. (Samantha’s just this human who is obsessed with books as well)

I tag everyone who wants to do this tag! I’ll look forward to reading your answers!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: After You by Jojo Moyes

Just read: After You by Jojo Moyes

Two words: Jojo Moyes!

Hasn’t she crushed everybody’s heart by creating Will Traynor! Seriously, have you ever fancied an arrogant quadriplegic so much?

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It took me a while but I finally got around to reading the sequel to Me Before YouAFTER YOU. I sort of had mixed feelings about that book before I started reading it, mainly because Me Before You has a really beautiful ending; it crushed my heart into tiny little pieces, but it ended very smoothly. And I worried that a sequel might just over do it. But then the last week of university happened and I failed miserably in an exam, so Corinne took me book shopping during our lunch break (you haven’t met Corinne – she loves books. And I’m pretty sure she won at the exam. She’s very smart. Anyway.) and I ended up with that book in my hand, and the blurb just had me:

Lou Clark has a lot of questions.

Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something hast o change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorsteps hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions?

Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.

Open it and she risks everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she hast o invite them in.

I spent two days in bed just swallowing this book up. I only cried once – from page 3 to 407! And I don’t mean I occasionally had to wipe away a tear or two, no – I was sobbing! Proper wailing! For hours!

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From what I’ve gathered by the comments on Goodreads, quite a few people are disappointed by After You because they feel it doesn’t do the prequel justice. The main problem, I think, is that the book doesn’t have a strong story line. There is not that much of an action filled plot, it’s the much more subtle story of how somebody might overcome grief. Grief is on every page, and it is reflected in so many different ways; and possibly if, like me, you’ve never experienced any grieving loss, it can get a little bit repetitive. But that didn’t make the story any less of a worthy sequel to me. I imagine grief would be quite repititive, too, so it felt like a very well developed scenario. The characters were all very 3-dimensional, they felt incredibly alive and real, and I fell in love with all of them.

And the beautiful thing is that, although the story is about loss and grief, it also has a very hopeful connotation. I mostly cried because there is so much love on these pages, so many reasons for the characters to want to stay alive. The Traynors, rich and cold and arrogant, loved their Will so much that they invite Lily, a wild, rude, chain-smoking sixteen-year old, into their lives with open arms and open hearts. Lily is such a key character. She basically takes the role Louisa had in Me Before You, whereas Lou is sort of stuck, just like Will used to be – except that she really has a choice of how to live her life. It’s the story of how Lou finds her real potential («Don’t say potential!») and starts living the life Will wanted her to live.

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I believe that this book is important also in the aspect of the topic it discusses. Assisted suicide is extremely controversial in almost every country, and it is one thing to talk about what makes a person opt for it and how they see it through, but it is equally important to talk about what happens next. What happens to the friends and familiy who were there, the ones that allowed it to happen? Do they feel like murderers? Are they treated as such?

In Switzerland, where I live, this really isn’t much of an issue. People decide to die with Dignitas or Exit all the time, and I’ve never heard anyone call their families murderers for being with them when they died. But it’s so important to note that in many places these are people’s sentiments exactly. And it’s so important to realise that Lou or the Traynors really had no say in this. What they are left with is intense grief and a sense of failure. Much like everyone else.

Get the tissues out, guys! You’re in for a snotty ride!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Part 2)

Just read: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Caution: MINOR spoilers in this review – the biggest one, however, is about Cassandra Clare’s The Clockwork Princess (for some odd reason) – so don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn ya!

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Finally being able to talk about this book in full length feels like peeing after holding it back for a very long bus drive. * awkward chirping in the background * ANYWAY!

Last time I wrote about The Raven King I could only talk about half the book (because I hid it in the wardrobe after 200 pages, so it wouldn’t stop me from passing my exams), and ended up fangirling over Ronan’s and Adam’s relationship – which I’m still not over, btw! But that really doesn’t do the book any justice AT ALL!

For years Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a life; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.
Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

I’m recently finding endings to YA-series’ to be a bit of a let down. I feel like most authors are too attached to their characters to kill their heroes off or to have any character feel disappointed with the outcome of things. I mean, Cassandra Clare can’t be for real when she has Tessa end up with both Jem AND Will! Geez, that ending annoys me to this day! The thing about Maggie Stiefvater, however, is that she can make an ending cheesy, yet not unrealistically so. I cried at the end (as did Ronan), because it was so tragic and beautiful, and it cut my heart into tiny little pieces, and I NEED MORE OF THAT!

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The reason why pretty much every book written by Maggie Stiefvater, but this one especially, makes you feel so crushed by the time you turn the last page is her sincere observation of characters. The characters in the book are so unbelievably well developed,  they don’t just each play a part like characters in video games, they feel like actual people talking to you. And what’s more is that they develop further as the story goes on. This is the first book in which Blue actually remains decent throughout entire dates with Gansey (as opposed to her yelling at him for a) wearing boat shoes, b) lending a phone to his friend, c) trying to tell her that his parents are nice, loving people.) And that is also why everyone’s so in love with Adam and Ronan. It’s not because they are gay, it’s because seeing Ronan in love makes him likeable! You spend so much time with this bunch, they just grow on you, and it’s impossible to say good-bye!

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And then there’s the MOST DEVASTATINGLY GORGEOUS THING EVER, namely that Gansey and Blue aren’t allowed to kiss because her kiss would kill him. And it doesn’t make the romance between them any less endearing or sexy, in fact, when they finally do share a kiss it’s not the best part oft he story at all. It’s not a dramatic showdown, it’s just «a girl softly pressing her lips to a boy’s.» And then shit happens. But even though this is the moment everyone’s been waiting for (you didn’t seriously think Blue would die an old, unkissed spinster, did you?), every Blue-Gansey moment before that is so much more cherishable! Their secret late-night phone calls, their drives in Gansey’s car, their shared looks and their almost-but-not-quite-kissing, all that makes their relationship and their love for each other very real.

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To summarise: You will feel A HELLUVA LOT when reading this gem, starting with the cover! Every sentence is a bit of poetry and every word has a heartbeat.

Lots of love from the roots of my (still crushed) heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Part 1)

Currently (not) reading (and slowly dying while doing so): The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This is the first in a series of posts, so I apologise in advance for any future rambling/fangirling/drooling/word vomit on the matter. But we need to talk about this. Well, I do. Fine, as a matter of fact, I don’t because I’m sitting in a lecture at university right now, but «Slavia Latina» just doesn’t sound nearly as intriguing as THE RAVEN KING!

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I’m not lying, for the past five months I have been thinking about this book EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I did, I’m that bonkers. So naturally, it wasn’t until two weeks after it had been published that my bookshop sent it to me (I’d have complained but it’s my fave^^) – AAaaAarGHh, the AGONY!

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I’m halfway through, and it’s captured my mind and soul and haunts my dreams, and it’s been keeping me from getting, like, super important homework done. Last night I hid it in my wardrobe with the chocolate. That has been working pretty well in the sense that at least physically I’m not holding on to it. I just pretend it’s in Narnia. It’s fine. I’m fine. It’s only thirty more hours and I can finish ruining my life. Only thirty hours. That’s not much, right? *sobs hysterically into pillow*

The Raven King is, so far, my favourite in the series (but I’ve only read half the book). It’s beautiful and magical and FRIGGIN’ HEART SHATTERING! – to the person sitting behind me, are you bloody READING THIS?! … he just nodded. And grinned. Geez. IT’S NOT FUNNY, OKAY? STOP SMILING! – Anyway, okay, you know how the story is about Blue, and Blue has this curse that if she is to kiss her true love he will die, and then she meets Gansey, who is a total babe, and it’s all super sexy because they can’t make out, so it’s all teasing and cute!

I thought they were the definition of AWESOME! And now, after three books and two hundred and forty three pages, I’ve realised that ADAM AND RONAN ARE GAY AND IN LOVE!

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Adam and Ronan. Ronan and Adam. This is it. I’m done. Can’t handle it any longer. This is perfect. OH, THE FEELS!

I’m so slow – for the past year or so everytime I encountered Ronan/Adam fanfiction or drawings or any sort of implication that they might be more than just friends I blindly assumed this was a new trend people followed. Like Johnlock. To be fair, I was also surprised to find out that Clary and Jace had the hots for each other. Detecting romance might just not be my strong side.

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Okay, that’s it. Super Important Homework is waiting. Actually, now that I’ve just wasted an hour barfing my brain’s contents on my blog, it’s Super Duper Important Homework.

Bye.

Sexy Books: The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a history student who has to prepare not one but THREE presentations for the week to come must be in want of procrastination! So instead of hitting the books I’m going to HIT THE BOOKS! (pun intended!)

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There is this book I’ve been meaning to talk about for, like, ever because it is beautiful and wondrous and magical. It’s The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell. I didn’t even need the blurb to fall in love with it, the mere idea of a book about bookstores sounded appealing to me, and I didn’t care whether it was a novel or a manga comic or a documentary – I JUST NEEDED THAT!

«Every bookshop has a story.
We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses and in old run-down railway stations.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book explores the history of books, talkst o authors about their favourite places, and looks at more than three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents. (Sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).
This book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.»

I bought this book last year on Valentine’s Day, and I  even had it gift wrapped at the store. Put  that way it sounds so much sadder than it really is  – I unwrapped it that night while stuffing myself with Chocolate and watching Friends, and it was THE BEST NIGHT EVER! I’m not even kidding, I ended up reading until, like, 1 in the morning, and it hasn’t left my bedside table since.

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The author doesn’t just list bookshops from different countries, she writes about the story behind each store and the owners. It’s not only interesting, it’s also strangely touching, I actually cried a number of times out of happiness that people still found bookshops. (I have literally no control over my tears!).  But there’s more: The book also contains interviews with authors and bookish facts (like the fact that Wendy used to be a boy’s name) and double pages labelled with Some Wonderful Things. IT’S A FRIGGIN´ TREASURE CHEST OF BEAUTIFULNESS!

This book also serves as a super cool travel guide. Searching for bookshops wherever you go, takes you on a tiny adventure into parts of a town you might not otherwise discover. (apologies to Inga who was being dragged all the way across Edinburgh last year, just to find the place where J.K. Rowling once shopped!) So far, The Bookshop Book has not let me down, and just for the hell of it, I thought I´d tell you about my four favourite bookshops so far:

Daunt Books, London

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«After quitting his job and considering his main interests in life (reading and travelling), he [James Daunt] founded Daunt Books and opened their first branch in 1990. […] My favorite part of the bookshop in the Marylebone branch is downstairs, where they’ve arranged translated novels and poetry collections by country of origin.»

The Edinburgh Bookshop, Edinburgh

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«I soon learned that parents would leave their children in the shop and disappear across the road to Tesco; that toddlers thought themselves ninjas and would try to climb the shelves; that middle-aged women would break down in tears if we didn’t have the latest Twilight book in stock. This is all part of the job.»

P & G Wells, Winchester

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«P&G Wells is the oldest bookshop in the UK still trading. In fact, receipts have been found dating back to 1729, detailing the local college’s purchases of a latin grammar book (9d), paper (4d), an article book (3d) and an inkhorn (4d). Only half the bill was paid, which seems to have been common practice back then, and made it very difficult for retail business to stay afloat: almost everything was paid on account.»

Mr. B´s Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath

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«Nic Bottomley and his wife Juliette were lawyers in London and Prague. On their honeymoon, they talked about what they wanted to do in the future and, both being book-lovers, both a little sick of law, they decided to open a bookshop.»

In just over a week I will have a look at Jen Campbell’s favourite bookshop in Berlin: Berlin Story! If it is as amazing as The Bookshop Book promises (and I have no doubt that it will be), I will, of course, dedicate a blog post to my shopping experience!

Let’s not forget that Jen Campbell also has her own Youtube channel, and her videos are pure lovelines! Go, check it out!

What is your favourite bookshop?

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sunshine Blogger Award

Hey there fellow bloggers, how’s it going? I have been nominated by Faith from Sublime Reads for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Thank you very much! 🙂 I got to answer a bunch of amazing questions, and I pray you don’t find the answers too disturbing (they may be a little. it’s what you want. let it happen).

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions you were asked
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers
  • Ask the nominees 11 questions

Here we go:

1. Congratulations! Thanks to Voldemort, you now somehow permanently look exactly like him. You’re forced into writing him a Thank You card. What does it say?

To his excellency, The Man Who Let The Boy Live. The Dark Lord. Our Evil Master.

Thank you, good Sir, for giving me that precious face of yours. I will admit that it is indeed not what I have been dreaming of all throughout my teenage years when I desperately wanted to be a princess. But having your face and accepting it as my own has truly given my life a new significance and made me realise that you, evilest of evil, are not all that different from a princess. I found your tiara, and it‘s pretty. But, oh Lord, riddle me this: where do you buy your fabulous robes? And do you reckon they would have them in pink as well, as to match the tiara?

Cheers, Volders! I am indepted to you forevermore! xoxo

2. What does the air currently smell like where you are? Describe it while fitting in the word “hairy” somewhere along the way.

It smellls of English Breakfast Tea and my cat‘s body odour and the delicious shampoo I put on my hairy sculp this morning.

3. What are 3 things that make you laugh?

1: Recently my friend Nadine has been making me laugh by repeatedly telling me of her shopping experience at a clothing store called Ciolina (it was as magical as it was disturbing).
2: Princess Consuela Bananahammock. (Need I say more?)
3: My brothaa! We‘re really funny but I‘m starting to think that we‘re the only ones feeling it. Which, you know, is even more fun.

4. If you were a son/daughter of ___________ at Camp Half Blood, what kind of pranks would you pull? (If you’re somehow living under the Earth’s tectonic plates and you’re unfamiliar with Camp Half Blood, tell us your thoughts about the Percy Jackson books even if you haven’t read them.)

Yeah, look, sadly and much to my shame I have NEVER read or seen Percy Jackson. I‘ve been meaning to for the past five years, and I am getting really desperate to find out who Anabeth is (that‘s her name, right? There‘s a thing called Percybeth, am I right?!) and to dive into the depth of this fandom; maybe I‘ll start reading it when I‘m a hundred something and ready to say good-bye to life anyway. On second thought, maybe I‘ll start this summer.

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5. Type as much as you can about one of these topics: your life/your first impression of blobfish/the first thing that comes into your mind in 6 seconds. Keep in the grammar & spelling mistakes and show us what you’ve got!

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*do I literally type this slowly?! I had so many more thoughts to share on blobfish!*

6. Share your favourite joke.

What do you call a black person flying a plane? – A pilot, you racist!

7. What’s the first thing that comes into your mind right now? It can be anything! Here, I’ll give you 3 seconds… great! Whatever you thought of is now related to how your favourite villain or most despised character had died – write about it.

Grapefruit! Don‘t ask me why. And of course Dolores Umbridge loves a bitter old grapefruit with its pink interior matching her own pink costumes. She consumes all the bitterness of this fruit, and thrives on it. J.K. never talks about it in the books, but when whenever she‘s alone in her office she stuffs herself with grapefruits and it makes her evil and happy, and she even convinces Voldemort to try a grapefruit diet, and they live happily ever after (until he dies and she chokes on her own medicine). The End.

8. Try to fit in as many stereotypes about your own country as you can while talking about books.

One of my favourite books is The Lord of the Rings, and I especially love the part where they walk through the mountains and Legolas casually walks on the snow while everyone else is kinda stuck in it. And you know how all the way to Mordor those guys just keep yodelling? (I‘m sure that‘s what it sounded like!) My other fave is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban where the kids are forced by the school nurse to eat chocolate! And not to mention Heidi! If you‘ve never read that book you have failed in your literary life because that story may be cheesy, but it will reduce you to tears and tear your soul apart!

9. Tell me, what did Shakespeare shake? Bonus: If you can, quote something from Shakespeare from the top of your head.

He shook some mad grapefruit juice for Umbridge to shut her up, and he shouted happily: «The rest is silence!»

10.  Are you left-handed or right-handed or ambidextrous or another breed of human? (An extraterrestrial, perhaps? )

I‘m right handed and absolutely incapable of doing anything with my left hand. I just have it for the looks.

11. Would you rather get free chocolate every time you get a paper cut or automatically get a free full-proof pass in making someone’s day whenever you read a not-so-great book?

YESSS!

Now I‘m allowed to make up my own questions! Brace yourselves!

  1. Would you rather drink wine with Lord Voldemort (aka Tom Riddle) in his Chamber of Secrets during the sexy ages, or paint mandalas with Professor Snape in a therapeutic session to cure passive-aggressive behaviour?
  2. Who is your bookish best friend?
  3. If you had a book quote tattoo which quote would you pick?
  4. Turn The Hobbit into a hardcore feminist version. What‘s the title? And what happens in the story?
  5. Who are your three dream dinner party guests?
  6. Do you think the seventh sentence on page 77 of the book you are currently reading describes your purpose of existence well?
  7. Imagine you just drank the love potion intended for someone else yourself, and now you‘re in love with your own face. Write yourself a love letter!
  8. Which is your favourite bookstore?
  9. What do you think (or rather, hope!) John Green‘s new book is about?
  10. What book was the cause for your last book hangover?
  11. Do you have a literary mug? If so, what does it say? And if not, what should it say?

An Award for the sexy noodles of the blogging sphere:

Anna from Tiny Trinket
Caitlin from Caitlin Versus Words
John from Storytime with John
Deliah and Lara from Halfway to Broadway
Jonathan and Aaron from Husband & Husband
The girl behind Stash Matters whose name I didn’t quite catch (sorry!)
Allie from Allie’s Life
Khloe Nicole from Domino Effect of Life
Juan-Paul from My Husband & I
Lily from The Lily Notepad
Kat from Book Box by Kat

At this point I’m just going to quote Faith because I was gonna say this anyway, and she already put this so nicely:
«If you feel sad because you don’t see yourself already tagged, just tell me if you want to do this and I’ll add you right onto this list! If you’re one of the “usuals” that we tag/you already have A TONNN on your shoulders, then please don’t feel obliged to answer these questions because SOMETIMES IT’S PRESSURING. And I get it. STRESS AND LAZINESS: I admire your ever-unrelenting persistence. (Maybe if I worked as hard as these guys, I’d actually BE SOMEWHERE. But then again, this is a super ironic statement.) So whatever it is you’re doing, here’s a smile, a hug, and some freshly baked internet cookies! Or better yet, ICE CREAM COOKIE SANDWICHES.»

All About Love by Bell Hooks

I am extremely excited about having finished the third book from Emma Watson‘s feminist book club «Our Shared Shelf» All About Love. New Visions by Bell Hooks; I mean I finished it, and it‘s still March! Yuss! I‘m on schedule!
Sorry. That‘s not why we‘re here.IMG_20160322_233624I never read the blurb because if Emma Watson gives you a book to read you don‘t go questioning it, all right? But I‘m not Emma, so I might as well give you the blurb:

«The word „love“ is most often defined as a noun, yet… we would all love better if we used it as a verb,» writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, the renowned scholar, cultural critic, and feminist skewers our view of love as romance. In its place she offers a proactive new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.
As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question „What is love?“ her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society‘s failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the „100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life.“ All About Love is a powerful affirmation of just how profoundly she can.

To be honest, I had some trouble getting into the book, and at times also to keep reading. For one thing, the autho‘s big on generalisations. Right from the beginning she declares that love means something inherently different for men than it does for women. I generally disagree with feminists who claim that the difference between men and women is purely in the testicles because obviously testosterone does to a certain degree define how prone someone is to violence and other traits we claim as «manly.» Still, to say that «men» see love as such and such and that this would contradict any woman‘s point of view I found difficult to accept. She doesn‘t really leave any window open for cultural norms (I‘m sure that my male Honduran friends have a different idea of love than my male friends from New Zealand), nor does she really mention that her theories could apply to both genders.

Bell Hooks is also quite quick in drawing conclusions based on her own subjective opinion on the matter. For instance, in one chaper, she states without any lead-up:Bild 28I would have liked a little more information or reasoning as to how she came to this conclusion.

There were a number of other things that I‘m not going to go into detail about; such as the fact that she continuously contradicts herself or the beforementioned subjectivity. I still rated it four out of five stars, because from 20,000 ft viewpoint I agree with her overall message. In fact, many of the things she says can be life changing if applied in day to day life.

One of the things I‘m finding most inspiring is the notion that love is a choice. If we want to be able to love we have to let ourselves be loved. I feel she‘s sort of going into what we learned from Stephen Chbowski that «We accept the love we think we deserbe.» Well, actually, what we deserve and what we don‘t is our own decision. We can decide that we deserve the best ever treatment from our friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, parents, etc. Or we can accept abuse as a norm. What is important is that it might be a bad idea to value romantic love over friendship.Bild 29Abuse is not love, the author stresses. It‘s just that sometimes we confuse it for love, especially at a young age. But I completely agree on the fact that if somebody makes you unhappy in any way it is okay for you to leave the realms of this relationship.

Over all the book tries to lay the groundwork for a more loving society. And love appears in so many different aspects of our daily lives; honesty, justice, care, nurturing, forgiveness, selflessnes… the list goes on. Essentially, these are also the foundation of peace.

I hope the sun is shining where you are and I hope you have a lunch date, as I do right now, and I also hope that you know you‘re totally and completely worthy of love, you sexy noodle!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

An Evening with Aleksandar Hemon

On wednesday I was lucky enough to attend a reading with Aleksandar Hemon. Literally, the only reason I went was because one of my professors at uni fangirled all over the place the other day, and naturally I had to see this phenomenon of a writer!

fangirlAleksandar Hemon is a Bosnian-born American fiction writer (as Wikipedia puts it). His stories are largely influenced by Slavic literature and treat the issue of Bosnian immigrants in the United States. He pretty much got stuck in ‘Murrica when he was there holidaying and suddenly a war burst out in his home country. But he‘s still there now, some twenty years later, publishing what sound like incredible stories.

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Despite his native language being Bosnian he writes in English, and he writes a lot! When a member of the audience asked him how he deals with writer‘s block, he replied, «I don‘t get writer‘s block. I have a condition that I call writer‘s diarrhea!» He is currently working on three books simultaneously, while it‘s been taking me six months so far to hand in a 10-page thesis paper! I mean, WHAT?! He‘s so cool that he didn‘t even tell his agent he was writing a book called The Making Of Zombie Wars. Have you ever seen that book in a store? Well, it‘s pretty friggin‘ huge! And he kept it secret until it was finished and he could ask his agent, «So, when would you like something new?» And apparently she went, «Umm… how ‘bout June?» And he said, «Well, how ‘bout right now?» And he presented to her a brandnew manuscript. Look, all I‘m saying is that if an agent asked me to write a book until bloody June, no matter where we stand in the year, I‘d probably go, «Yeah, but you do mean June 2047, right?!» Right. And this is why I‘m not a bestselling author.

e8e6a3b40fa04ee32c1bc0d100bc1995As you can probably guess from all this, and if you don‘t already know Aleksandar Hemon, he has published quite a number of books and short stories and essays, and what have you. On wednesday he read a bit from his latest book, the cheekily written The Making Of Zombie Wars which sounded okayish, and then went on to read from his memoire, The Book of my Lives. And boy, was that a hit. It was beautiful, it was funny, it was smart – and then my fangirling professor went on to say this really nice thing about opening up a new book from Aleksandar Hemon: «It‘s like doing the Ice Bucket Challenge!» And, you know, I believed him. This man can make you feel so much, simply by rearranging 26 letters over and over again. Plus, the other thing my professor said made the books even more intriguing: «You must not read Aleksandar‘s stories to feel better, that‘s not what they are for. But his stories, they do not accept the world we live in as the most acceptable one. They offer us an alternative. Not an escape, but an alternative. And in my opinion, in this world we‘re living in, this is the best literature has to offer us.»

I can‘t wait to get my hands on one of his books. As always I‘m going to let you in on my oh-so sophisticated thoughts on the matter, but for now I just want to leave you a quote from The Book of my Lives which I thought was absolutely beautiful and deserved a mention here:

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Sexy Books: Return of the Jedi by James Kahn

Just read: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi by James Kahn

Hello lovely folks! After having read the amazing novelisation of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back I could not resist and bought the sequel, The Return of the Jedi. I‘m so sure you know the plot already but there are people, such as my mum, who only know that it‘s about hot guys fighting each other in outer space. So here comes the blurb:

«Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, has been delivered into the hands of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. Determined to rescue him, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Lando Calrissian launch a hazardous mission against Jabba‘s Tattooine stronghold.
At the same time, Darth Vader and the Emperor have ordered – and begun – construction on a new and even more powerful Death Star. Their goal: to crush the Rebel Alliance once and for all. The only hope for the Rebellion is to gather all the warships of the Rebel fleet into a single giant armada… and launch a heroic, last-ditch assault on the most deadly battle station in the galaxy.»

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I must say that it was a bit of a disappointment this time; I still had fun reading it, but there were a few very typical novelisation errors in it that made me downgrade it. For example, the author has this annoying habit of constantly spelling out what R2-D2 and Chewbacca are saying, and not to be disrespectful towards their languages or anything, but who understands that?!

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Well, at least he tried! Another bummer is how whiny Leia appears. She cries all the time, especially when Han Solo says something nice. She acts like the utter overly-attached girlfriend, unwilling to let him out of her sight at all. Get a grip, girl! She has also stopped calling him «Hot Shot» – why?! That was such a great nickname for him! And Han Solo, he is acting like a dominant, abusing asshole! (maybe that‘s why?) After Luke reveals to Leia that she‘s his twin sister Han storms after her and starts shaking her while she‘s already sobbing for, like, minutes on end! And in the end when he finally learns the truth he doesn‘t just kiss her like he did in the movie, oh no! – He pushes her into the bushes in spite of her being injured – I realise he‘s trying to express his love, but that just seems a little aggressive! On the other hand, book Han and Leia are pretty much bound to create an angsty brat like Kylo Ren.

What I loved was how Darth Vader refers to Luke as «his boy». I mean – aaw! That is a whole new universe of cuteness!

Bild 21lukiAnd I must actually say that book Luke is a lot more badass than movie Luke. He doesn‘t do anything more, but following his trail of thought you can actually decipher all the conflict that must be going on inside of him. In the movie he appears to never even consider going over to the dark side, whereas in the book he falters more than once. And after all the terrible things Darth Vader has done to him and his friends, Luke only suggests that this is the darkness driving him and not actually Anakin Skywalker himself (who he considers to still be good). Could we say the same thing about terrorists and dictators? Being able to forgive him like that, that demands a lot of heart and courage. And that makes Luke some seriously cool person!

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Also he gives this really beautiful anti-war speech:

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Lastly, the author did a great job in actually somewhat valuing Leia‘s past. Her entire planet has been blown up, that‘s all of her family dead, all of her friends, everything she loved is just gone – yet, somehow Luke manages to get more sympathy for his dead mentor throughout the entire saga. Leia‘s grief is mentioned in several parts in the book, though, and we even learn a little bit about her early childhood (like the fact that she used to have a wookiee doll – aaaw!).

Thankfully last month uni has started again and I‘m forced to concentrate my nerd soul on more sophisticated reading.

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx