Mini Autumn Book Haul

imageOk, it’s official: I have a problem.

I don’t know what it is about me and buying books. It’s like I think that if I don’t own it, I’ll never read it. Helloooo, that is what libraries are for. They even have the hold system to make sure you always have a book to read. And the renew feature so you can finish books at your own pace.

So maybe I buy books because otherwise I won’t remember that I wanted to read them. Well, I’m pretty sure that is a top feature of GoodReads for many people, keeping track of books on your shelves, what you’re reading, what you want to read, and even adding books to such lists without having to buy them and then completely rearrange your bookshelf to get them to fit.

But still, I see the need to shop for books every few weeks. The books in this little haul are the result of me pity-shopping. My logic: Self, you stressed over a test; you deserve the sanctuary of a bookstore. I think this is just one way of helping me be stressed about money, but hey, if the worst thing I binge buy is literature, I think we’re good.

imageThe first book I picked up was Margaret Atwood’s latest novel The Heart Goes Last. On promotion for $15 in hardcover, I didn’t think I could go wrong. I started reading it a few days ago, and I am hooked. Mini series, it’s set in a future America where a giant economic crisis has left hundreds of thousands of people without work, living in their vehicles, and forming gangs for protection. And then comes the chance to move to the Twin City of Consilience/Positron: a new project designed to solve both unemployment and organized crime. Participants in this project are given a nice home to live in, with three meals per day, and a job in the community. . . but only for six months out of the year. Every second month, they are sent to the Positron prison to serve out a month-long term as a prisoner, while Alternates move into their home. And so the process repeats. This is all I really know about the book, but it is such an addictive read, and when I finish it, I will most likely be doing a review post, so keep a lookout for that.

imageThe second book is Juliet Was a Mistake by Bill Gaston. This collection of short stories focuses in on the lives of people who are often at the periphery of society’s spotlight: a tree surgeon, a schizophrenic, a pizza delivery guy. From the few stories I have read so far, this collection seems to focus on the consequences of misinterpretation. You know, like when you think that guy likes you, but really, he likes your best friend. I haven’t read any of Gaston’s work before, but I have heard that he is most well-known for his short stories, so I have high hopes for this book.

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The last book is All the Words Are Yours: Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson. It was so weird stumbling upon this book because not a week ago, I reviewed Gregson’s first book Chasers of the Light. I didn’t even know a new book had been released, but when I saw it, I had to scoop it up. I am reading a few of the haikus each day because as much as I want to binge read them, I want to savour them.

Have you read any of these books before??? What did you think of them???

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September Book Haul

IMG_6103Good morning everyone!!!

With the August book buying ban off, and university back into full gear, my book shopping sprees will be few and far between. So, when I stopped into Chapters downtown yesterday, I figured I might as well stock up on some school-friendly reads to keep in my backpack or on my desk for when I have a few spare moments.

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The first book I picked up was YouTuber Tanya Burr’s Love, Tanya. I have watched her YouTube videos for years, but never went out and got the book when it was first released. The nice thing about this book is it is broken up into sections, which are perfect for reading at home during study breaks without feeling like I’m losing some of the overall effect of the book. The sections are also categorized so you can target areas of interest, like YouTube, beauty, healthy eating, etc. An added bonus is that this book has some blank pages for you to make notes in about things you like, or want to do. I just think this is such a cute coffee table book, and a great read for a busy school semester (helpful tips in here too!!!)

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Ah, the September issue of Vogue. Choked full of 832 pages of the fall fashion shows, new trends, and a cover story on Beyoncé, this issue has it all. I love reading magazines, especially when I’m going to school, because it is really easy to just read one or two articles and then put it down for a bit, without the lure of a cliff hanger. Plus, lots of magazines come with a perfume sample, so I can put a bit of one on, go back to studying, and see if I like the fragrance around me. In addition, Vogue is an excellent way to lust over beautiful things without spending a dime, which is great if you’re a student like me and on a budget.

IMG_6105Next is His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay. My primary reason for buying this book is because I want to read it before Elizabeth Hay comes to a local bookstore next week. I am so excited to get to meet her. She is such an incredible author, and being able to hear her do readings is something that I am really looking forward to. Maybe I could even get this book signed 😀 😀 That would be amazing.

IMG_6108The next two books I grouped together because they are from the same series. I was given the first book in this series, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, for my birthday a few years back, but I never got around to reading it. Now that the fourth book has just come out (but written by a different author), I feel like I have to read them now before there are too many to catch up on. Besides, with these books priced at $10 each, how could I refuse???

IMG_6109Another good at-school read I picked up is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. I have heard such wonderful things about her unique narrative voice, and with her newest book Why Not Me? being listed as one of the best Fall reads, I wanted to get a taste of her writing style to see if it was something I would be interested in reading. These short stories are perfect because I can read one or two, and then go back to studying, or I can read a few in between classes. And if anyone’s seen The Mindy Project on TV, you will know just how funny she can be.

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No Chapters book haul is complete without at least one Heather’s Pick, and The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha is the one that made it into my TBR pile this go around. What I learned yesterday is that Heather’s Picks are actually guaranteed reads, meaning if you don’t like the book, you can return it to the store. That is taking customer satisfaction to a whole new level. I love this book because it has small little sections on something small but awesome that can be encountered in daily life. This morning I read my first section, which was on when you successfully parallel park on the first attempt. I am going to read one of these little snippets of awesome each morning just to add a bit of positivity to my days.

And those are the books I’ve purchased this September!!!

Have you read any of these before??? What did you think??? Any other recommendations for September reads???

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my 100 followers giveaway for your chance to win a Chanel Autumn 2015 lipstick of your choice and one of Time magazine’s listed 100 best English-language novels!!! Click here to find the instructions for how to enter. *The giveaway is open internationally and will close September 30, 2015 at 11:59pm” 

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The Perfect Paris Travel Book

IMG_6047Before leaving for Paris, I read numerous travel guides, and pored over maps of the arrondissements and the metro. I made lists of what I wanted to see most, and planned out what I could see on which days to limit travel time and maximize fun. But then I got to Paris and stumbled into Colette, one of the weirdest stores I have ever been in. With booming music, people everywhere, and a host of random products with no concrete theme, it was unlike any store I had seen. From Hello Kitty Polaroid cameras, to a wall of magazines I had never heard of, to office supplies, to clothes, to candy and keychains, Colette had it all.

Pages 22-23
Pages 22-23

Finding my comfort zone in the notebook and stationary section, I came across the book This is my Paris by Marie Bashkirtseff, with text and compilation by Petra de Hamer. Along the lines of the Wreck my Journal concept, this book is touted as a “travel diary, activity book, and city guide in one”. It has everything from beautiful and quirky illustrations of Paris’s sights, to lists of must-see stores and restaurants, to blank pages for lists of things to see and do, to pages to tape business cards and tickets, and even pages of recipes for classic French foods and beverages. Essentially this book provides the framework of a trip scrapbook; all you have to do is add in whatever you want.

I saved up everything from my trip in a manilla envelope, and now that I’m home, I will be filling it all out and taping everything in. I would recommend purchasing this book before leaving for Paris though, because some pages are meant for pre-trip planning. On these ones, I am going to attach all of my lists, but it would have been nice to list things directly in the book.

If this type of books is interesting to you, there is also a This is my Berlin book, and possibly more.

So here’s a question for you: how do you document your travels???

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely day ☺ ☺

Shakespeare and Company Book Haul

IMG_5919Shakespeare and Company was at the top of my Places to Visit in Paris list. This bookstore has been featured in numerous movies, such as Julie and Julia and Midnight in Paris, and has an illustrious history.

Shakespeare and Company is in fact the name of two bookstores. The first was opened by Sylvia Beach in 1919 at 8 rue Dupuytren, and then moved to a larger building at 12 rue de l’Odéon in 1922. This bookstore was popular with writers like Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, and James Joyce. However, this bookstore closed in 1940 during the German occupation of Paris and never re-opened. An American ex-serviceman named George Whitman opened the second bookstore bearing this name in 1951 at 37 rue de la Bûcherie. Originally, it was named “Le Mistral,” but was renamed Shakespeare and Company in 1964 as a tribute to Sylvia Beach’s bookstore after her death.

Finding this bookstore though was quite tricky. I ended up wandering the Latin Quarter, Saint Gérmain des Près, and even picking up a Despicable Me Minions puzzle in the process of trying to find it. When I finally found it, it turns out I had essentially passed it at least three times, but the road it is on is so inconspicuous that I kept walking by it. So for any of you who go to Paris and want to see this bookstore, here’s a really simple way to find it: stand with your back to the front of Notre Dame, walk forward towards the road, turn left and cross the bridge, then turn down the first little road you see called Rue de la Bucherie; from there you will see the green awnings.

IMG_5922This bookstore has two floors. The ground floor has new books available for purchase, while the upper floor has books available to be read in the store but not bought, along with couches and chairs for reading, and an adorable little nook with a typewriter that visitors have left notes and quotes in. Not to mention there appears to be a resident cat that lives on the upper floor of the store. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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What I really liked about this bookshop was the stairs leading up to the second floor. Each stair has part of a Hafiz quote painted on them. The full quote is:

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astounding light of your own being.”

Along the right side of the stairs on the other side of the banister are diagonal shelves with more books sitting on them, along with various box sets of postcards, such as those with previous covers of The New Yorker on them.

20150903-122948.jpgAnother thing that makes this bookstore unique is that any books purchased there are made  extra special with a Shakespeare and Company stamp to mark them as souvenirs of the visit. Of course you can opt out of having your books stamped, but I think it is a really nice way to remember where they are from.

Needless to say, I picked up a few books, so I thought I would show you them here.

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IMG_6050The first book is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I have a mini collection of copies of this novel, and I had never seen this edition before, so I wanted to add it to my bookshelf. Of course this means I will read it again, but I can never read it too many times. I always find something new in the story.

IMG_6052The next book I bought is Three Early Stories, also by Salinger. It contains “The Young Folks,” “Go See Eddie,” and “Once A Week Won’t Kill You.” Compiled into a book in 2014 by the Devault-Graves Agency, these short stories were originally published independently, “Young Folks” in Story magazine in 1940, “Go See Eddie” in University of Kansas City Review in December 1940, and “Once A Week Won’t Kill You” in Story magazine in November-December of 1944. I have never read any of these short stories before, so I am super excited to sit down in my reading nook with my cat and a cup of hot chocolate and delve into them.

IMG_6051The last Salinger book I picked up is For Esme–With Love and Squalor. This is a collection of nine of Salinger’s short stories, some of which I have read like “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” and others I have not. I have a copy of these stories compiled into a book of another title, Nine Stories, but I have yet to even crack the spine. That book came in a collector box set of all of Salinger’s works that I received as a gift from my French 11 teacher before he retired. He was, and still is a remarkable person, and we shared a passion for books. Before French class started, I would get there early and we would talk about what we had been reading and recommend books to one another. With a copy of these short stories that I can now read, I am looking forward to reading the ones I didn’t read from printed versions from my French teacher.

IMG_6053The final book I purchased is Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Firstly, because it is about Paris. And secondly, it mentions the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in chapter 3:

In those days there was no money to buy books. Books you borrowed from the rental library of Shakespeare and Company, which was the library and bookstore of Sylvia Beach at 12 Rue de l’Odéon. On a cold windswept street, this was a lovely, warm, cheerful place with a big stove in winter, tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living. The photographs all looked like snapshots and even the dead writers looked as though they had really been alive.

I opted for the restored edition, as it includes two sections of photos, one of photos of some of Hemingway’s handwritten manuscript pages, and the other of photos of people, such as Hemingway as a young man, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. There is even a picture of Hemingway and Sylvia Beach in front of her bookshop Shakespeare and Company. And a picture of the interior of the bookshop, which is similar to how it looks today. A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s last novel, was published posthumously in 1964, with changes made to the text prior to publishing. This restored edition, however, is the original manuscript as Hemingway wrote it to be published. This edition also has a personal forward by Hemingway’s only surviving son, Patrick Hemingway. Plus, the introduction to this edition was written by Seán Hemingway, the editor and grandson of the author. So if you’re a Hemingway fan, I would seriously recommend picking up a copy of this restored edition.

I would have picked up many more books, but they are deceivingly heavy, and I could only fit so many in my suitcase. The good thing though is that this bookstore has a website, which I recommend you check out, because it shows all the books they have there, new, used, and rare, along with book boxes that can be ordered online. I am seriously considering ordering the classics book box just to see which books are randomly included in it. It’ll be like being back there only I won’t have to worry about weighing my suitcase in the airport.

Have you visited this bookstore before? What books did you bring home?

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely day 🙂 🙂

Pre-Paris Book Haul

20150821-093913.jpgI know, I know, I said no more buying books. But as I mentioned in a previous post, I am off to Paris soon. I am beyond excited about this trip, but unfortunately there is a fair bit of traveling involved before I arrive in Paris. Between the taxis and busses and the 9-hour flight, I just know I will get bored, and nothing quells boredom like a good book.

Now I, like many, love going to the library to check out books. It is a super easy and cost-effective way to read books and try out works by new authors. But I don’t really feel comfortable taking a library book to another continent where it could get lost or damaged. I know there is no such thing as a library version of a permanent record, but in case that does come to exist, I don’t want to be known at my local library branch as the girl who wrecks books and accrues months of late fees because the books go missing.

Hence this pre-Paris book haul was necessary (like how I’m justifying it to myself?) Besides, being stuck on a long-haul flight with a book that isn’t living up to its reputation or is just not sucking you in is a drag.

So, the three books I picked up are Room by Emma Donohue, A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, and Son by Lois Lowry. I got all of these in paperback because they are lighter and smaller, and therefore easier to pack. I know that I will love these books, which is why I have selected them as the three books that will be coming on my trip with me. I don’t want to have any unnecessary book weight in my carry-on from books that I don’t plan on reading, or am doubtful as to whether or not I will like them.

But who knows, maybe I’ll pick up a few more books while I’m in Paris to weigh down my suitcase on the flight home. Perhaps they’ll even be in French. . .

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February 2015 Chapters Haul

Book haul stackChapters is one of my favourite bookstores, not to mention the biggest one in the city that I live in. It is in this amazing downtown location and it has . . . wait for it . . . three floors!!! Just picture three floors of books!!! Depending on where you live, my three-floor Chapters (with escalator, I might add) may not be impressive to you, but I absolutely love it. There’s even a cute little Starbucks tucked away on the top floor, so it is the perfect place to find a good read, pick up a peppermint mocha, and ease into a comfy chair for an afternoon of reading.

Between Christmastime and now, Chapters has had some insane book sales. For example, while Christmas shopping for my mother this year, I was able to scoop up the newest Stephen king novel, Revival, for a mere $15!!! That’s right, $15 for a hardcover book. The same happened to me with John Grisham’s newest novel for $10!!! Now you see why I love Chapters.

Anywho, so I scooped up quite a few books in the past month or so, and I thought I would share them with you all 🙂 🙂

The first book I picked up was Hillary Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices (check out that sale price tag). As a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, Clinton is an incredible woman who I admire for her independence,success, and service to her country. This memoir chronicles her four years spent as Secretary of State under President of Barack Obama. The author’s note begins with, “All of us face hard choices in our lives, whether it be through balancing work and family, caring for the old or the young people in our lives, or, in her case, serving her country. Yet, Clinton notes, serving her country was never a hard choice for her; rather it was an honour. She had me hooked with the author’s note. Now that is the mark of a talented writer.

The Rosie Project

The next two books I picked up go hand in hand, or page in page, if you will, so I wanted to discuss them together: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, both by Graeme Simsion. While this book is a #1 international bestseller, I, regrettably, had never heard of it until I saw it poised on a book stand on a Chapters bookshelf. The cover looked adorable, and the little description on the inside cover had me laughing. Basically what The Rosie Project is about is this psychology professor who is absolutely brilliant, but he has fewThe Rosie Effect social skills. Unableto secure a second date, he begins ‘The Wife Project,’ a 16-page questionnaire that he believes will select the perfect wife for him. Then he meets Rosie, a girl who is completely wrong for him according to the questionnaire, but he takes on ‘The Father Project’ with her, using his knowledge of genetics to help her find her biological father. But of course, they fall in love. I have yet to read The Rosie Effect, but I realized in the store that it was a sequel to The Rosie Project, so I bought them both at the same time. Few things annoy me as much as finishing a really good book and then learning it has a sequel that you do not own and have to wait a few days to buy and start reading.

Not That Kind of GirlLena Dunham has a long list of titles including actress, screen writer, producer and director, and with the release of her book Not that Kind of Girl, she was able to add author to the list. While I knew little of Lena Dunham when I saw the book, I was immediately intrigued by the content. The books contains essays that are at times hilarious (such as when she describes looking up and seeing a condom dangling from the leaves of a potted tree), but at times heartbreakingly sensitive (like when she ruminates on platonic bed sharing, or losing a lover). Regardless of whether or not the reader has experienced the same things she has, there is no doubt that what she writes can be related to by almost every woman on some level, and perhaps even some men.

Alice Munro box set

The next five books that I bought actually came in a set. As an Indigo exclusive, I came across a 5-book box set of Nobel Prize for Literature winner Alice Munro’s books, including Friend of my Youth, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, The Love of a Good Woman, Runaway, and The View from Castle Rock. As a Canadian, I feel partially obligated to devour a fair amount of Canadian literature. There’s nothing quite like having someone go, “Oh, you’re Canadian. Do you read Margaret Atwood?,” and just staring at them blankly. (That is not to say that that happened to me [I actually adore Margaret Atwood’s writings] but that’s just an example of the embarrassment that could ensue) However, Alice Munro’s writing is so incredible, and I wanted to have a few of her books on hand so I could just blaze through some of her works. And what better way to do that than with a 5-book box set for $50, with each book being worth about $25 if bought separately.

T.S. Eliot poemsAh T.S. Eliot (Thomas Steams Eliot, to be exact). He is probably my favourite American modernist poet. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” has me swept off my feet into a realm of disturbing imagery and overwhelming insecurity by the end of the first stanza, and the rest of his poems have nearly the same effect on me. I first studied him in a grade 12 literature class that I took back in high school, and then studied him again twice last year in a first year English course, and a second year American literature course. Despite all of that, I still cannot get enough of his poetry, and this edition had such beautiful cover art that I couldn’t resist it. (By the way, all hardcover books were 40% off that day).

Attachments

Attachments is the most recent book that I bought, and it was displayed on the Valentine’s Day table in Chapters. Now I am not a huge fan of the holiday (regardless of whether I am single or not each year), mostly because of the forced merriment, the crowds in public places, and the excessive amounts of PDA (public displays of affection). So each Valentine’s Day, I typically pick out a nice little romance or romance comedy novel and have a good read with a cup of hot chocolate by my side and a cat curled up at my feet. The table had some of the classics like The Notebook and P.S. I Love You, but I was looking for something new. This novel is basically about this man who is hired to survey peoples’ emails for security breaches, and he eventually ends up falling in love with a woman through her emails to a fellow female coworker. I liked how it was a bit of a modern twist on the concept of falling in love with someone from afar, and it’s nice and thin, so I should be able to get through it in one day.

Famous Last WordsAs odd as this will sound, I picked up this book, Famous Last Words By Timothy Findley (yet another Canadian author), mostly because of the staff member who recommended it, Graham. I always go to the same Chapters location, and I purposely seek out his picks, because I end up loving them every time, but they are books that I might not have picked out by myself. This particular one is a post-World War Two novel, revolving around the character of Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, who is originally from the Ezra Pound poem of the same name. I started this book yesterday, and I am already loving the narrative style of Findley’s writing.

Animal Farm

The last book I will include in this haul post is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I so enjoyed reading this book, and it is branded a classic by many people, but I had never owned a copy until a few weeks ago. As shallow as this may sound, I believe part of being “well-read” is having a cultured bookshelf, and by that I mean one stocked with a wide variety of book genres from various time periods and authors, not just young adult vampire novels, and not just the classics. But I believe there should be a healthy number of classics on anyone’s shelf because there is a reason they are so celebrated: they speak to the human condition in a way that was unique for its time period, yet in a way that holds timeless relevance.

Moleskine notebooksFinally, while I was at Chapters just the other day, I picked up some Moleskine notebooks. I know these are quite expensive (these two little ruled notebooks in light violet and brilliant violet came to $12) I find they are so worth the extra money. They come in a variety of sizes, have the softest pages (yes, I am one of those notorious page feelers), and many of them come with elastic fasteners to keep them shut when they are in your purse or backpack so that they don’t flap open and pages don’t get bent. I picked up these ones because I find they are the perfect size for idea books, as I find it so frustrating when I think of a good idea, only to forget it by the time I am able to get to some paper and a pen.

Well that’s it for this Chapters haul post. I hope you enjoyed it, and please comment below if there are any books you think I should pick up the next time I’m at Chapters, or how you found any of the books I featured in this haul post.

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