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!
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.
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?
Christmas was amazing and I was lucky enough to get lots of books, most of which I’ve already devoured. So they are also my reading tips for you lovelies for the new year :)
Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me?
Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl
Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Biography
Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2)
Skye Alexander’s Mermaids: An Enchanting Exploration of Their Myths, Legend, and Lore
Aubrey Sherman’s Wizards: The Myths, Legends, and Lore
My Resolutions for the New Year 2015
- Exercise more (and fit into old clothes, hopefully)
- Study hard! (and start those psychology courses, I’ve been pining after)
- Read a lot – just for fun!
- Learn to cook at least 5 new dishes
- Get more organized
- Find an internship/summer job/anything really
- Play more with the kitty
- Decide on a topic and start writing my MA thesis
- Travel to a new country
- HAVE FUN!!!
Today I want to introduce you the books that are on my reading list at the moment. My reading list is always at least a mile long but I chose to showcase the ones that I’m either reading already or about to read as soon as possible.
I love Jane Austen, so this book What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan is perfect for me: it has incredibly in-depth analysis of different passages from Austen’s books and all sorts of little tidbits about the history and background of the novels.
The second book I’ve been reading on and off is Sampson’s collection Poems to Learn by Heart. It has a brilliant selection of poems from different decades and centuries, poems that speak to everyone and stand the test of time. The poetry is divided according to themes and, even though I probably won’t learn them all by heart, they are beautiful and definitely worth a read.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac is narrated by Sal Paradise (whose character is based on the writer himself) and the story follows him on the road across America. The book is about the beat generation and freedom – freedom for love, travel, life.
Shakespeare Sonnets is exactly what it sounds like: the greatest sonnets written by one of the greatest poets who ever lived. It’s a classic that no one can help but love!
Alice Sebold’s Lovely Bones is a haunting tale of a girl who gets killed and is following her killer from the afterlife. The book was made into a movie some years ago by Peter Jackson and I first read the book then by I want to now reread it.
Behind the Sofa, which collects the Doctor Who memories of various celebrities in the hopes of raising money for Alzheimer research, is a charming collection and a light read for the summer or trips to school (which is what I’ve been doing).