Book Covers + Book Shelf Tour

I wanted to share some of my books with you and figured that what better way to showcase them than with a video…so here are some of my favorite book covers as well as a shelf tour.

the literary chic videos book covers

My favorite book covers are probably turning into a series so stay tuned for more.

And hopefully at some point my shelves will expand (though I don’t know where there would be space for more…)!



What are some of your favorite book covers?

Me Before You & Game of Thrones: The Fashion

Two of my favorite reading materials this summer: Game of Thrones and Me Before You – hands down! I started re-reading the Song of Ice and Fire books during the late Spring and now I’m hooked (again). And, of course, with the new season being so epic I am completely submerged in the world of Westeros once more. Though the season just ended (and what a finale!) I am still in the middle of reading so I get to stay with the characters for a while longer. With this in mind, I wanted to make a little “fashion inspired by” Polyvore set and ended up making another one for the book-that-made-me-cry-more-than-The-Fault-in-Our-Stars – also known as Me Before You.

Game of Thrones Ladies

 

I love all the individual styles of the characters in Game of Thrones. I love the whole winter-y an steely look of the Starks but also the bold and rich colors of the Lannisters. And don’t even get me started on miss Khaleesi herself! Her style has changed so much but it’s always recognizably Dany!

Inspired by Lou Clark in Me Before You

 

Me Before You was such a tearjerker that I don’t know how I survived it. It was heartfelt and emotional – something I couldn’t stop thinking about for weeks. I still haven’t seen the movie but will hopefully soon. I love the casting of Emilia Clarke as the lovable, goofy Lou and Sam Claflin as the intelligent and handsome Will. Lou’s style is very quirky and colorful. Bold patterns and interesting shapes cover her feminine shirts and dresses. And I love that about her – she seems like a radiant sun personified!

Have you read Song of Ice and Fire and/or Me Before You? Did you like them?

Tour of Scotland pt 4: Glencoe & Edinburgh

Unfortunately this is the last part of my Scotland tour series – but before we embark on other adventures, I still have loads to tell you about our last days on the road.

We didn’t need to drive far to reach our first destination: St. Conan’s Kirk is a gorgeous church a short drive away from Oban and it has the most beautiful view of a loch. You can even see the Kilchurn Castle, which was our second stop of the day.

glencoe

Doune Castle was a lovely treat on our last stretch before Edinburgh: the castle has served as a filming location for Monty Python’s Holy Grail as well as Outlander (Doune Castle is Castle Leoch). It even appeared in Game of Thrones as Winterfell! There was an audio guide which had fun tidbits both about the history of the castle as well as the movies that were filmed there. The entrance fee was 6 pounds, which was not too bad either. From Doune Castle we made our way toward the famous Glencoe.

Glencoe was the last location we visited before getting back to Edinburgh. I can’t even stress enough how beautiful the mountains were around us and the amount of green was just staggering.

Once we got back to Edinburgh, we still had one and a half days left to explore the city. Our pre-planned stops included The Elephant House (where J.K. Rowling sat writing Harry Potter), Tom Riddle’s grave (okay, Thomas Riddell’s…but that was in any case the inspiration for Voldemort’s real name), Arthur’s Seat and Greyfriar’s Kirk.

oban 3 edinburgh

Arthur’s Seat took the longest amount of time considering the climb you have to do just to get up on the hill. But the scenery overlooking Edinburgh is amazing. Especially on a warm and sunny day, you can see really far and get wonderful snapshots as memories.

All in all, our tour of Scotland was amazing (we used the company MacBackpackers) and we met wonderful people and saw more than we could’ve hoped for. I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Have you been to Scotland?

Celebrating Pride Helsinki 2016

Pride Helsinki: the one day when my city is more colorful than I could imagine and when my friends and I head to a wonderful summer-y picnic. Amidst all the hate and mistrust, which breeds things like Brexit and the attack at the international Istanbul airport, there’s nothing more wonderful than joining in to a celebration of love and equality!

pride helsinki 2016

The march was only an hour long but it went great: there were no hateful incidents (at least none that I saw or read about afterwards) and the weather was unbelievably sunny and hot. Most times that I’ve attended Pride, the weather has been great, which I take as a sign of approval from the universe…

helsinki pride

The main event of Pride Helsinki after the march was in Kansalaistori, a park area right in the center of town. A stage was set up for artists to perform and speeches to be made. The area is quite small though, and with the 35 000 attendees trying to squeeze there, it got very crowded very fast. We ended up choosing a more quiet area further away from the booths that had food, balloons, and various storefronts as well as from the stage. The music was background noise while we sunbathed on the grass. We even had ice cream that came with little “fortunes” and didn’t mind paying 4,5 € for the yumminess that came in the form of butterscotch ice cream in between salted peanut cookies.

pride helsinki

Did you attend Pride this year?

Tour of Scotland pt 3: Skye, Oban & Kilmartin

Time for another part of my Scotland tour: from Lewis, we made our way to the Isle of Skye, a famously breathtaking island that is filled with faeries. The first stop on the island was the famed Faerie Glen, where you can climb onto a faerie “castle” and see the entrance to a cave that leads into the faerie realm. You must be careful not to take even a twig as a souvenir though, because otherwise the fae will make sure you’ll have bad luck until the item is returned!

We also saw the famous Kilt Rock and it’s waterfall and later spent the night at Kyleakin where I did an evening walk to the Castle Moil, which was stunning in the evening light.

oban 1 skye

From Skye, we crossed on a ferry back to the mainland and to Oban – but not before visiting Fort William and the Steall waterfall in Glen Nevis. As a massive Harry Potter fan, I was really excited when we stopped at the Glenfinnan viaduct on our way to Fort William. Glenfinnan viaduct featured in Chamber of Secrets in the scene where Harry and Ron try to find the Hogwarts Express while flying in the Ford Anglia. And speaking of the Hogwarts Express, you can see the actual train either puffing over the viaduct or on your stop at Fort William. You can even ride the train! How cool is that?

After a lunch in the picturesque Fort William, we hiked up the mountain sides to the second largest waterfall, Steall, in Glen Nevis. The scenery was unbelievable – jumping over little streams and climbing on rocks until you saw the massive waterfall completely made my day!

oban 2 kilmartin

Oban was our end destination and we stayed there for two nights. The small waterfront town has delicious seafood and lots of cruises going to the nearby islands, such as Mull and Iona. I spent my free day in Oban by doing a half day trip to Kilmartin Glen, an area that has a massive concentration of Neolitchic and Bronze Age remains and a museum that tells you all about them. The best part is that after the museum tour you can actually go and see all the places that are talked about. Imagine climbing into two ancient cairns (tombs) and walking across a field with fluffy sheep before resting your eyes on ritual places, such as the Templewood stone circles. It felt like being sucked into a historical novel.

Places to Visit from Oban

  • Iona (“the cradle of Scottish Christianity”, graveyard, Iona Abbey, beaches)
  • Mull (beaches, wildlife, brochs, castles)
  • Staffa (PUFFINS)
  • Kilmartin Glen (ancient cairns, standing stones, castles)
  • Oban’s own McCaig’s Tower & the local distillery

Tour of Scotland pt 2: Inverness to Lewis

From Inverness, our tour of Scotland had us heading to the Isle of Lewis: an island with wondrous scenery in addition to peace and quiet. Lewis is the largest island of the Western Isles (or Outer Hebrides) of Scotland. Because our 10-day tour was literally called the “Best in the West”, it is clear why Lewis was on our itinerary.

isle of lewis 1

Our stay on Lewis was for two days and we spent the nights in a lovely hostel in the Gearrannan Blackhouse village, which is a group of old crofting buildings that radiate a certain old-world charm and history. The village is situated near the Callanish Standing Stones, which are even older than Stonehenge, and the Carloway Broch, an ancient castle-like construction from the time before castles.

The Carloway Broch is incredibly impressive and you can even climb a little ways inside the stone structure. However, while the broch was majestic, my absolute favorite from the whole island were the Callanish Standing Stones. It’s hard to comprehend how old the stones truly are – I felt like I had stepped into Outlander and was about to be whisked away into the olden days with bagpipes sounding in the wind. Okay, in reality, I was around a bunch of tourists and posing for my very 21st century selfies but that didn’t diminish the magic one bit.

isle of lewis 2

The various white, sandy beaches were another incredible sight for sore eyes: the turquoise waters and the long stretches of bright sand looked like they could’ve belonged to some exotic, warm country rather than the cold, windy Scotland. We visited on the Isle of Great Bernera that hosts the Bostadh Beach and an Iron Age mill. It was the perfect spot for a lunch break as we noticed.

In addition to Bostadh, another wonderful beach-y spot we explored was the Uig beach, which is actually one of the biggest beach areas on the island. It was huge – let me tell ya! It took forever just to walk from the parking lot to the waterline…like, if you were to go swimming (not that you would unless you were impervious to the cold) it would be a workout in itself just to get to the water. But there was a wonderful set of hills around it where we hiked on little twisty trails to see the beach from higher ground. It was gorgeous!

lewis 1

Must see things on Lewis:

Sights that I saw and loved:

  • Callanish standing stones (though there are numerous standing stones around the island, these are arguably the most famous!)
  • Carloway Broch
  • Any of the gorgeous white beaches
  • Isle of Great Bernera
  • Uig Chessmen

Sights I wish I’d seen:

  • Lews Castle
  • Crannogs
  • St. Columba’s Church Ui

Finally, check out the first part of my Scotland tour: Edinburgh and Inverness!

Tour of Scotland pt 1: Edinburgh to Inverness

When this school year started in September, I promised myself a reward for finishing my Master’s Thesis in the form of a trip to Scotland. I coaxed my friend to join me and after I returned my thesis in April, we packed our bags and embarked on our tour of Scottish moors in mid-May.

inverness scotland 1

We started out in Edinburgh where we had a lovely sunny evening walking around the main street and around the Edinburgh Castle. The next morning we boarded a minibus with eight other backpackers and headed out to the wilderness. Well, to Inverness, actually. Our first proper stop, after briefly getting out to snap pictures of the Forth Bridge, was the Highland Museum where some scenes from Outlander were shot. The 1700s village was quaint though the inside of the buildings was gloomy without any light source.

From the Highland Museum, we made our way further up north to the famous Loch Ness, which was magical. The lake was gorgeous and serene and somehow the entire scenery seemed imbued with the bluest of blue. Though we did not spot Nessie, the Loch Ness monster hunter (now there’s a profession I’d like to try) who has made his home on the shore of Loch Ness did sell little figurines to make up for it.

inverness scotland 2

From Loch Ness we rode on to Inverness where we arrived around 6 p.m. after traveling for nine hours. After such a long day we first wanted to shower and go have a bite to eat. Afterwards we would’ve wanted to go sit somewhere where we could hear music, but apparently it’s hard to find a place with live music AND free seats on a Monday night in Inverness. However, we decided to take a stroll by the river to the Ness Islands that were decorated with adorable fairy lights. It ended up being a lovely alternative to sitting in a pub.

It would have been nice to have more time in Inverness as we only got to spend one evening there (after everything had already closed) but hopefully I get to visit again another time. From Inverness our trip continued across the country to the West coast and to Ullapool, which I will tell more about in the second part of my travel diary.

Have you been to Scotland? How did you like the country?

Our Shared Shelf: First 4 Books

Our Shared Shelf, the feminist book club Emma Watson founded on Goodreads, is now well established and has a huge following as well as some very fascinating discussions on various aspects of womanhood. I was very eager to try and read all the books chosen for the club because I wanted to expand my horizons and discover books outside of my YA/fantasy-filled comfort zone.

our shared shelf 1

January: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Our Shared Shelf started with Steinem’s My Life on the Road, which right away generated a mixed bag of opinions: some readers appreciated Steinem’s strong point of view while others thought her writing as abrasive and inconsiderate. My Life on the Road is Steinem’s memoir that collects stories and anecdotes from her travels, while discussing important figures such as Martin Luther King and Hillary Clinton. She is also very focused on activism and talks about many of her fellow activists. While her writing can be somewhat disorganized, the overall tone of the book will quickly engage the reader.

February: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

I haven’t been so affected by a book in a long while like I was by The Color Purple. Walker’s novel has often been censured due to its themes of sexuality and violence. This of course tends to be the case with books that are in the position to make a real change in the prejudices of our society. The novel is structured as a diary (and later, letters) that is being written by a young African-American woman, Celie, in the 1930s. Celie shows true growth and strength of character as she learns to deal with racism, sexual assault, and an unhappy family life.

our shared shelf 2

March: All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

Another book that divided opinions was All About Love: New Visions. bell hooks is widely regarded as a great thinker and feminist, which is why it was surprising that this particular work of hers was in fact slightly off-putting with its frequent, long-winded thoughts about religion. Furthermore, the book struck me as perhaps even too theoretical when talking about love and how one should find it and how it relates to e.g. abuse. However, it was still an interesting read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in theoretical discussions, existentialism, religion, or philosophy. And, of course, feminism!

April: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

How to Be a Woman is a hilarious, strange, and quirky piece of writing that might rub you the wrong way – or it might crack you up like no other! While I had trouble understanding some references (international reader here, hello), more often than not I found myself snorting with laughter while I read. Moran has strong opinions about all the different things women are “supposed to” be like and she is utterly unapologetic about it. She is a great example of a woman who has found her path in life and at least appears to be totally comfortable in her skin.
Our Shared Shelf is reading along quickly and the May book has been plowed through as well. I will post a review of The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson and the newly announced June book (graphic novel) is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (and a few more additions hopefully) at the end of the summer.

Helsinki Art Museum: Free Admission Day

Last week I decided to visit the Helsinki Art Museum – or HAM – (located in Kamppi, in the center of Helsinki), which offers free admission every first Friday of every month. I often take advantage of these kinds of free days at art museums because my budget doesn’t allow me to spend a lot of money on art shows. Free admission days, then, are the perfect chance to switch gears and move from school and work mode to culture mode.

HAM has several exhibitions on at the moment: Tove Jansson exhibition (which is featured on Her Campus at Helsinki right now), HAM’s Roots (featuring various paintings from Finnish artists), From Heino with Love, and more. The exhibits vary greatly in size but they are all fascinating.

helsinki art museum 1

I felt that the most interesting exhibit was From Heino with Love, which includes numerous pieces of contemporary art from The Heino Art Foundation. The foundation is run by a couple and their son, who have collected over a thousand pieces of art. The exhibit itself consists of 100 pieces that include paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculptures.

helsinki art museum 2

I loved the use of color in most of these works; the boldness of the works made a huge impact on the viewer. Most of the paintings were very bright and – I thought – very street art inspired. Some of my favorite pieces were the green and white sculptures that reminded me of some strange fantasy anime.

Helsinki Art Museum has become one of my favorite museums during my university years because they show a lot of contemporary art and often have very interesting and topical themes. I will, however, make it my mission for the summer to start visiting other museums, too.

Have you been to any art shows lately? What kind of art do you like? (I prefer contemporary)

Most Recent Book Haul: Feb + March

It’s book haul time, you guys!

As the deadline for my Master’s Thesis approaches (only two weeks left!), I’ve been a little MIA from the blogosphere. Who knew it would take so much time and effort to write a 60-page thesis paper. Okay, I knew. I just didn’t want to believe it.

book haul

I did, however, manage to film a short a book haul video after I was done suffering from a flu that lasted for almost a month. So, without further ado, here is my February and March book haul:

I’ve recently (well, during that horrendous flu) gotten back into the groove when it comes to reading. Especially now that I can actually read for fun instead of reading for school. I’m currently 28 books in to my Goodreads reading challenge and after I finish my thesis I’m assuming that the number will suddenly climb quite a bit higher.

What are you reading right now?