Weekly Wrap-Up

"I like good strong words that mean something." —Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK

The V&A Collector's Editions by Puffin Classics. Five favorite children's classics get gorgeous new covers inspired by the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection of the work of William Morris, designed by illustrator Liz Catchpole. Along with this lovely copy of Little Women, the have Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and The Wind in the Willows. Swoon.

Rifle Paper Co. + Chatbooks. More swooning.

New favorite baby shower gift.

This. We wholeheartedly concur. 

Make back-to-school magical with these

Speaking of magical.

Perfect gift and great reminder for your little bookworm.

Literary weddings. Be still our bookish hearts.

This almost makes us want an e-reader. Almost.

You. Which is why we're announcing a new giveaway on Monday. Meet you back here then!

Oh Happy Day

“Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten, you'll still have your stars.” 

Now Tray's got me contemplating all the classics I've yet to read and lamenting another summer gone by without conquering Anna Karenina. And yes, I'm aware summer isn't over (as in 110 degrees aware), but it's safe to say Anna ain't happening this year. Sigh. This is the point where I repeat Tray's and my new mantra: "Don't matta cuz we're goin to London!" October can't get here fast enough. Nor can cooler weather. Which for me and this lovely desert I live in, is one and the same. 

So today, whilst dreaming of chilly temps and London streets, I'll pay homage to the geniuses who invented air-conditioning and movie theaters and Coke Zero. And most of all, to Jeannette Walls for her beautiful book that now graces big screens everywhere. Throw in some popcorn and Milk Duds and it will be a happy day, indeed.

*Make it an even happier day and reread Tray's post on this stunning memoir.

Posted by Rachel

I Inhaled Frequently. That was the Point.

“Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest.”  William Faulkner 

I rarely feel shame. (After all, I won the parent lottery.) But if I’m being frank like Mr. Faulkner, I feel a twinge of humiliation for having never read certain books. Anna Karenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, As I Lay Dying (sorry William), Night, and The Color Purple are titles that automatically leave me shamefaced. Imagine my relief when I found myself with a little free time in untouched nature with Elie Wiesel’s most famous novel. Like the crisp mountain air, I slowly inhaled the holocaust survivor’s story. 

The Nobel Committee referred to Wiesel as “a messenger to mankind.” His story about surviving Nazi death camps as a teenage Jew is both horrifying and sobering. Despite a natural propensity to be faithful, Wiesel endures a long night of doubt and despair and anguish. He was unafraid to ask the question “Where was God at Auschwitz?” This makes Wiesel a uniquely believable witness because he is so morally honest. He reminds me that indifference is likely worse than hatred, hope is hard to extinguish, and resiliency is a close relative to determination. Shame aside, like The Diary of Anne Frank, everyone should read this book. Wiesel himself said, “Where Anne Frank’s book ends, mine begins.” 

Props to Arianna non Grande for not feeling ashamed.

Posted by Tracy

Housekeeping

Housekeeping ain't no joke. —Louisa May Alcott
IMG_1629.JPG.jpg

Just spent four glorious days in the mountains escaping the desert heat and the daily grind. Now I'm back to both and to distract myself from the pains of re-entry, I did a little housekeeping...of the blog variety. I recommend it over real housekeeping any day.

As I tend to be a faster reader than reviewer, I've added several new books to our bookshelves (especially under the fiction tab) in advance of their reviews. If you're itching for a new read and are tired of waiting on me, feel free to use our rating system to choose your next book. I'm a giver that way.

As for me, I'll just be here reminiscing about that time when I actually had time to peruse Boden and Magnolia Journal and read You May Already Be A Winner. Speaking of being a winner, you may already be one too because we've got another fun giveaway coming real soon. Stay tuned. 

Posted by Rachel

Based On A True Story You Almost Won't Believe Is True

“Months later, in a different world, Nechuma will look back on this evening, the last Passover when they were nearly all together, and wish with every cell in her body that she could relive it…She will replay it all, over and over again, every beautiful moment of it, and savor it, like the last perfect klapsa pears of the season.” 

Pardon us while we bask in our blogging proficiency. Three book reviews in three days, who even are we? All I can say is don't get used to it. Odds are we can't keep up this pace but let's all enjoy it while it lasts, shall we? 

At fifteen, Georgia Hunter attended a family reunion that would alter the trajectory of her life. Having only recently learned that her grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, she was stunned to learn he wasn't alone: his parents, four siblings, their spouses and children all survived as well. Thus began her quest to piece together the indelible history of her family—retracing the harrowing footsteps of each member as they fought to survive the atrocities of war and find each other again.

We Were the Lucky Ones, though written as fiction, is the result of Hunter's years-long research and the facts of the family's history were not altered. While the writing felt clunky at times and I didn't always love her format, the Kurc's story is so compelling that in the end none of that mattered. This tale, with it's ode to the triumph of the human spirit, is one of the most inspiring I've read in a long, long while. 

*When you finish the book, you'll want to read Hunter's blog for more on her family's incredible history.

Posted by Rachel

I Love Me A Curmudgeon Too

“If I’m ever unsure as to the correct course of action, I’ll think, 'What would a ferret do?' or, 'How would a salamander respond to this situation?' Invariably, I find the right answer."
eleanor.jpg

Rae is almost always two steps ahead of me. You’ll remember her declaration that “audio books are your best friends” if time is scant like mine. Did I subconsciously thumb my nose at her advice? All I can say is it’s hard being a purist at times. Slow to the audio party, at least I’m choosing listens that would make Rae proud. We’re antsy for October to come, so I picked a story set in the hearts-aflutter U.K. Combine British culture with an educated curmudgeon for the main character and you can pretty much say winner winner chicken dinner. Plus, narrator Cathleen McCarron proves to be pure ear candy, making Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine a fantastic listen.   

Gail Honeyman’s debut novel introduces us to Eleanor, a thirty-year-old woman who is sensible, quirky, lonely and highly regimented. Her perceptions of the world are rather unique, and more often than not, they’re quite hilarious. They’ll endear you to her. And that’s good—she needs all the friends she can find because she has none, other than the unlikely, lovable IT guy at work. Raymond saves Eleanor when she is far from fine and helps her see that even a horrific past doesn’t have to dictate the future.  Despite some sobering details, this is ultimately a feel-good book about an unusual heroine who eventually finds the right answer: you have to open your heart if you want to be completely fine.

*Be warned: Honeyman uses some salty language, which seems to be common among curmudgeons?  (Sorry Ove.)

Posted by Tracy

Weekly Wrap-Up

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” ―Jorge Luis Borges

WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK

Prince George. Our favorite little Brit is four today. If you're like us and can't get enough of him, click here. This may be how our other favorite little Brit feels about her brother stealing all the limelight. 

Jane Austen and the Bank of England. The British love is strong this week.

Not to be outdone, the New York love is strong too.

Back to the Brits, the newest Harry Potter Illustrated Edition is already our favorite.

Wait...are these a thing again? 

Saving our libraries

This pretty much says it all.

Sorry guys, but this made us laugh. 

Our feet need these.

A Wrinkle in Time, the book. And judging by the trailer, the movie as well. Here's hoping it's as good as it looks. In the meantime, we all have an excuse to reread the book. As if we needed one.