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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Guess what? Well…if you read the title, you’ll know: I have a channel on YouTube! Technically I’ve been on YouTube forever, but over the course of time, I’ve deleted all my old videos that were fandom montage ones. Now looking at them (I saved them, naturally) makes my eyes hurt because of the low quality. However, I recently decided I wanted to start vlogging so here I go!
Here is my first proper video with my FACE SHOWING. My goodness. I’m showcasing my four favorite books from this winter (although I have many many many more I could’ve shown). It was really scary making this because I suffer from bad stage fright and, for some strange reason, it also seems to apply to videos. Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the video, though!
I will continue to do book videos as well as maybe some haul and art videos (next up will most likely be a February book haul). Maybe some day I’ll even advance to tutorials :D If any of you have any video ideas, let me know!
For those of you who experience ASMR (if there are any of you out there), I also have an ASMR channel (which is actually more full of content already).
For those of you who might not know, ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a strange (and not much researched phenomenon), which is usually characterized by a tingly sensation on your head, neck, or even arms. It’s a nice feeling that can be induced by whispering, calm voice and movements, and other triggers. It’s like meditation that can be induced with a YouTube video. I got into ASMR about a year ago to help me sleep and I thought it’d be fun to make my own videos. Naturally, those don’t trigger ASMR for me – it’s like trying to tickle yourself. Just doesn’t work. But I enjoy making videos and it’s nice to know they might help others relax and/or sleep.
What kinds of videos do you prefer?
I recently went to the Helsinki Book Fair, where I was performing in a panel discussion with my editor-in-chief from the literature magazine I work for, Lukufiilis. The magazine is transitioning from print to online, so we were there to discuss the changes ahead.
I absolutely love the book fair: I go every year and it’s there that I allow myself to go bonkers with my book shopping. There is also usually the Wine, Food and Good Living fair, where you can go get free food samples in between your book browsing.
I ended up buying a few comics I’ve heard really good things about: Saga Volume 1 and Rat Queens Volume 1. Now that I have read both, I can say that I LOVE THEM! The art in both is pretty and realistic-looking, and I’m a fan of anything fantasy-related. Plus, Rat Queens was hilarious and I loved having strong female leads. And Saga was intriguing and exciting. I recommend both of them!
I love stopping by at the food fair also, because they have great selection of food items you wouldn’t normally buy. I often get Christmas presents for relatives from there and maybe some treats for myself, too. This year I had some delicious bruschetta from the Italian food stand.
Later on you can also find a more in-depth article about the book fair on Her Campus University of Helsinki!
Do you go to book fairs?
Here is FINALLY my London haul post! Been crazy busy at school because of the looming exam week that I haven’t had much time to post even though I have a lot of stuff waiting for you guys, like this post, tomorrow’s 5 Fandom Friday, Valentine’s post, etc.
So anyway, this post is just to highlight some of the AMAZING stuff I got when I was in London. First of all, I had already planned before the trip that I really wanted to visit The Who Shop, which is a shop and a museum dedicated just for Doctor Who! How brilliant is that? I got some stuff like magazines, earrings, postcards, and a T-shirt. But the main reason for my visit was the museum. They had so much cool stuff like props and costumes there!
I also went to the Harry Potter shop at King’s Cross, which was super adorable, although majorly crowded. I did find the cutest Platform 9 3/4 mug from there though! (And some other stuff…)
Here you can see the full scope of everything I bought… So much fandom stuff! It made me super happy. Not pictured is the Buffy book that I ended up getting right before going to the airport on our way home. Gosh, I think I have a million Harry Potter shirts by now…
Here are the very few non-fandom things I got. I had to grab a few books since it’s been a habit of mine forever. Also, I love bookstores in the UK! So, since I’ve been meaning to read more John Green’s books and I’ve wanted to read Fangirl for a while now, I grabbed these.
And what girl doesn’t need a new dress and a top every now and then? ;)
Tomorrow you can look forward to the latest 5 Fandom Friday! And I’ll try to get that Valentine’s Day recap post up asap :)
ALSO, I’d like to promo our English student paper BTSB, because our newest issue just came out and wrote about fandom “sights” in London.