Lately I’ve been all about books. I think my publishing internship is rubbing on me because, while I’ve always read a lot, this fall I’ve doubled the amount of books I’ve read. This whole year actually. Naturally then, my Christmas wish list this year is mainly books. I’ve been reading a lot of YA and fantasy so most of these are continuations of series.
Sabaa Tahir’s Torch against the Night I’m really excited about because An Ember in the Ashes was BRILLIANT! I can’t say enough good things about it. The Invasion of the Tearling is also a sequel. It continues from the events of The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Holly Bourne’s …and a Happy New Year? is the latest Spinster Club book and after reading the original trilogy I’m OBSESSED. Holly Bourne writes in such a relatable and funny way. Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody has been something I’ve wanted to read for a while. Also, after watching the new episodes of Gilmore Girls (Did you watch them? Thoughts?), I really want to get my hands on Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I can.
I feel like everyone (including yours truly) is on a Harry Potter high this year. First we got the Cursed Child, now Fantastic Beasts movie AND book, and I’m also going to see the play in London in a month. So obviously, I included a little Hufflepuff-y goodness: the house scarf! I also love the Luna Lovegood mug, she’s definitely one of the most lovable cooky characters in the series. And how cute is the BB-8 mug?! I also really need a new watch and this kitty one speaks to my cat lady soul. Finally, the Doctor Who mug…because it combines Christmas and one of my favorite fandoms.
What’s on your wish list this Christmas? Anything you fancy on my list?
The second part of my recap of the completely amazing Helsinki Book Fair 2016 is finally here! So, obviously I spent most of my time doing social media posts of Gummerus panels and authors (you can see our Insta here). However, I did manage to spend most of my money there also. After I had splurged on the Harry Potter books (see previous post) and the Ravenrings trilogy, I also was inspired to buy a steampunk anthology after I listened to a fascinating steampunk panel with Magdalena Hai, J.S. Meresmaa, and Anni Nupponen who were interviewed by Paula Havaste. I really like how such a niche genre as steampunk is becoming something even more special as it takes on Finnish culture and geography.
I also found so many beautiful and fun looking books. I think one of my favorite parts of the fair was just looking at the plethora of book covers! On occasion, I could’ve just bought the books based on their appearance. And yet they say “don’t judge a book by its cover”! :P
I can’t imagine what the fair must be for those who have to stay in their booth for the entire time. I guess no one really has to do full days but I felt exhausted from just walking around and standing so much. Coffee was the only thing keeping me going on the last day. However, I did help with packing everything up and now I can say I’ve seen (almost) everything that goes into making a book fair happen: from planning the look of the booth to stacking the books (I did a book pyramid, hurrah) and packing everything away in the end. It’s an exhausting and huge part of the year but also an incredible adrenaline boost. And I had the best work mates to hang with whenever I had free time which was a plus!
Do you ever go to book fairs?
The Helsinki Book Fair was about a week ago and I was attending because of my publishing internship at Gummerus Publishers. I’ve been lucky enough to get a ticket almost every year due to some kind of related work but this was the first time I was there for all four days, from morning til evening.
The book fair is always really hectic but amazing. I love seeing all the new books and especially the offers! However, it can get a little claustrophobic after a while. I was in charge of social media during the fair so I spent my time shuttling between the various stages listening to Gummerus authors give fantastic (no, I’m not biased :P ) presentations and interviews.
I did manage to get some non-work related things done as well: I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Siri Pettersen, author of the Ravenrings trilogy, and listen to a panel where she talked about fantasy as well as her books. She even signed my trilogy!
Siri talked about how the same people who are bottle fed on fantasy will be the same ones who will be inspired to save the world and how fantasy creates heroes. She also mentioned thinking that all good stories are political. And goodness, she was hilarious! Also, I will totally from now on use her term for the lack of fantasy elements in a story: SDD = Severe Dragon Deficiency.
Jaana Kapari-Jatta, the Finnish translator of Harry Potter, also spoke at several interviews at the fair. She is such an inspiration, I really love how she has managed to translate not only the words but also the feeling and atmosphere of J.K. Rowling’s writing.
Obviously, I also bought a ton of books, some of which are here. So, I got some Harry Potter related books, because I love to relive all the little moments from the movies and books. I also bought Half Bad by Sally Green, which is actually published in Finland by Gummerus. I hadn’t read her books before despite having heard good things about them so I figured this is the perfect time to start. With Half Bad, I got another paperback (you got the second one cheaper): Kesytön. It’s a werewolf story and while I don’t have high hopes for it, it seemed like a good on-the-way-to-work reading.
Part 2 of the Helsinki Book Fair is coming soon!
Halloween is just around the corner and one of the best things about it are all the costume parties! Thus, I spend probably 80 % of the year thinking about various outfits I could pull off come next Halloween. However, I rarely do the Halloween costumes I really want to try because they are too demanding.
Nonetheless I wanted to show a few options for Halloween costumes.
6 Fandom Inspired Costumes
The first three more demanding ones inspired by Lagertha for Vikings, Amy Pond from Doctor Who, and the Evil Queen (aka Regina Mills) from Once upon a Time.
Lagertha is a strong warrior so comfort is key: pants and long sleeved shirt are comfortable and keep you warm in the chilly October weather. A faux fur vest is reminiscent of the ancient warrior people in Norway. Round the whole outfit up with Celtic inspired jewelry, comfy boots, and braided hair and you’ll be the most impressive viking at the party!
Amy’s look is also all about comfort – but with a mini skirt! A soft flannel shirt and a leather jacket and you’re ready to kick some dalek ass! If you have a chance, get a red wig to give the costume the final touch.
The Evil Queen is formidable yet sultry: she favors blacks and deep reds with a fair amount of bling. Black faux leather pants pair nicely with a fancy red top and chunky statement jewelry. Furthermore, it’s an outfit you could even wear to a party around the year. Remember a sleek hairdo and red lips!
If you are in a hurry and want an easier costume, here are a few options. Combine black leggings with a black top and add a headband with cat ears. Voilá – you’re a witch’s familiar!
The Queen of Hearts only needs a voluminous red dress and a little crown to be recognizable. But you can also grab a heart scepter or make one yourself if you want a little addition. And don’t forget to yell “off with their heads” a lot!
The final outfit is inspired by Disney’s Little Mermaid. Ariel’s bra can be faked with a fun sea shell top. Add a starfish barrette in your hair and some mermaid leggings you’re good to go!
What costume are you planning on wearing for Halloween?
Kiasma, a contemporary art museum in the center of Helsinki, had one of its open days a few weeks ago. I decided to pop by to see the current exhibitions after work.
Above you can see one of my favorite pieces from the various exhibitions at Kiasma. Petri Ala-Maunus‘s piece Hinterland is just so vibrant and intricate. Just looking at it makes me feel like I’m being swallowed up by a wave of taken to the skies by the blowing wind. Absolutely gorgeous!
Above on the right there are two very fascinating installations from a British artist Mona Hatoum. She was born in Beirut to Palestinian parents and her work deals with the conflict and contradictions in the world that surrounds us. Apparently this is her first solo exhibition in Finland and so it presented a huge range of works all the way from the late 70s. Hatoum’s pieces include videos, photography, installations, sculptures, and more. I loved the installations, which somehow felt very threatening even thought most of the items were perfectly ordinary. Definitely worth visiting if you have the chance!
On the top left, you can see a piece from Meeri Koutaniemi‘s installation for After the Turmoil exhibition (by Meeri Koutaniemi and Arman Alizad). The exhibition as a whole is about survival and particularly. The exhibition featured photos of girls who had gone through female circumcision. Though disturbing, the topic is an important one and I’m so glad I saw the collection.
On the bottom right, there is a nice counter-balance to the dark and oppressive pieces I saw. Kaarina Haka‘s installation is all about colorful fabrics and stuffed animals. I also loved how the piece was in front of a window where light could hit it. I made me think of Japan and candy and all things happy and colorful.
All in all, I’d say that the exhibitions currently in Kiasma are of great variety. There’s a bit of everything but nothing feels out of place. Big installations are everywhere, which I love. I like being able to walk around the pieces, maybe even through them, and seeing them from every angle.
When is the last time you went to see art?
I had a great summer though I was really busy both working and studying. Despite my hectic schedule I did manage to see friends, go to the beach, go camping, and more!
Here is a little video recap of my summer:
What did you do over the summer?
Oh the nostalgia – it’s been such a long time since the last time I got to gush over a new Harry Potter book!
I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as soon as it came out but I wanted to think about it first for a while before writing anything. Then my internship started and it got pushed even further. But here are some of my thoughts on the new play (in the book format…actual play review will come only in January when I get to see it).
I get the feeling that a lot of people are disappointed in Cursed Child because it doesn’t present as vivid of a world as the originals…but how could it? It’s a play that is supposed to work on stage with the emotions of the actors and props guiding the story. A play in a book format is only the lines of the actors so naturally it doesn’t feel quite as engaging as a regular narrative.
I did find the writing somewhat fanfiction-y but I didn’t feel like it was too distracting. However, I can completely understand why it would bug a lot of people the wrong way. Overall though, I really liked Cursed Child. I guess Harry Potter will always have me under a spell ;)
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.
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?
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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?