Cheers to the Weekend 5.10.19
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“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

―Rainer Maria Rilke

AROUND THE WEB

I adore seeing what writers have written beyond their novels, especially there personal things. These greats have all written letter’s to their moms. When’s the last time you wrote a letter?

I’m needing a break from home, but sometimes getting out or going on a trip isn’t realistic. You’ll find me working through this list for staycation reset ideas. What would you add to this list?

While I’m at it, let’s bake something tasty! I’m thinking this tasty lemon sour cream bundt cake would be a great treat to cook up with my daughter who loves to bake!

NPR has completely sold me on reading Exhalation. “To read the first kind of book is to walk behind a madman spilling diamonds from a hole in his pocket. To read the second is like contemplating eternity at the bar with a friend you've known forever. And to read Ted Chiang is to do both at the same time.”

I’ll never not love a woman who goes against the grain and leaves her mark on history. A study of writer, Kathy Acker, and while her books are not really my thing, I admire her greatly. Have you read anything by her?

In exploring and sharing more poetry, this is such a great article that discusses poetry that ends with questions.


INSTAGRAM

Alisa has a super cozy lifestyle feed that I really just want to crawl into and talk books for hours.

This adorable indie bookstore has a great feed, and we love shops that inspire us regularly. If you’re in Brooklyn stop by for us!

A good moody literary lifestyle will always be in, plus, we’re a little envious of the cool places Ariel visits!

WHAT WE’RE READING

Michaela - I've been stealing away time to continue reading A Brightness Long Ago, and it's so good.

Rikki - You guys, Anne of Green Gables is truly as magnificent a book as I've ever heard. I find myself laughing alongside all of Anne's troubles and revering in her love of nature and life.

Make this Mother's Day One to Remember
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Despite having endless gift guides thrown at you every single holiday and special occasion, we’d like to give you some truly comprehensive and thoughtful inspiration for this Mother’s Day, or any occasion in which you’d celebrate a wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend.

Being a reader can be a pretty easy step in the door for gift choices, you simply can’t go wrong with books from her TBR. If you aren’t sure what to get her, check out her Goodreads if she has one, talk to her about books she’s looking forward to, or simply scan her shelves to get an idea of what she likes to read. If you’re still stuck, take a photo of her bookshelf and go into your local bookstore, I guarantee they’ll be able to find some common interests and find some great books to recommend.

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It’s safe to say that she enjoys a morning cup of coffee or afternoon tea, either way, we’re huge fans of polish pottery mugs and get an incredible amount of compliments every time we use one of ours. I’d highly recommend the splurge for one of these beauties!

If coffee or tea really is her thing, finding a high quality local company is always a delightful treat. I’m partial to our local Camano Island Coffee beans and the orange spice Pike’s Place tea is so good!

Right next to books, plants and flowers are what make me happiest, and local florists can be found with astonishingly beautiful seasonal bouquets, or even have a delivery service setup that will delight the lady in your life to no end. Berge’s Blooms is one of our best (those are her flowers above), but a quick google search can locate one in your area, or like I mentioned, stop by your local farmer’s market!

A gorgeous set of beloved classics are sure to be a delightful addition to her bookshelves. I’m always drawn to this Puffin in Bloom set, or if she’s a Jane Austen fan, you’ll want to get her these beauties. I’ve purchased this notebook set for myself and my mom for many years, along with these pencils and pens. The tasteful floral design is irresistible!

I did pick up one of these scented geraniums for my mother-in-law, as they’re a hit for annual flower lovers and are just so striking. I might have gotten this one for myself and for future gifts.

Obvious State is always a great choice too. I couldn’t love this mug more, these postcards just hit a major trend for sending mail and using them for wall art. You could always get a big print too, but this one especially!

If you’re looking to go out, wine flights are a fun date, take a walk along the waterfront, hit up your local book and coffee shops, get brunch a fancy little eatery tucked away in the city, stroll downtown, or give her a few peaceful hours for a long bath and a good book. Sometimes simple is best. Whatever you decide to do with your Mother’s Day, may it be a beautiful one.

Here’s to you mama’s!

Rikki RiveraComment
Cheers to the Weekend 5.3.19
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“It is always safe to dream of spring. For it is sure to come; and if it be not just as we have pictured it, it will be infinitely sweeter.”

L.M. Montgomery,The Story Girl

AROUND THE WEB

If you’re looking to find books for your mom this Mother’s Day, Swapna has compiled a list that details ‘if she likes this, then read this’ just for you.

I really appreciate others who take the time to make and share playlists to fit seasons and moods, and if you throw in a good mix of oldies and new, I’m totally in!

It’s Asian and Pacific Islander heritage month, and it’s fun to celebrate and/or brush up on reading from such writers. Thanks Simone for this great list. There are at least two I am looking to read rather immediately.

I’ve been exploring new poetry, at least once a month is my new trend. This is a good list to explore. Have you read any, or have any poetry to recommend?

I recently talked about self-care for readers, and of course, that extends to writers. How timely to see Anne’s comprehensive post on things to help track our habits and establish healthy routines and just give ourselves a minute.

More positivity surrounding readers and how books affect us, versus the time spent watching television, and the behavior we inevitably display.


INSTAGRAM

I’m in love with ‘an ordinary girl’s’ feed and her mix of genres

A simple and lovely lifestyle vibe, Arina gets all the pretty editions

I really enjoy seeing books mixed in with life instead of the usual other way around. El has a mix of cozy, architecture, and books that I am so entranced by.

WHAT WE’RE READING

Michaela - I’m finishing up A Brightness Long Ago before hopefully seeing Guy Gavriel Kay in Seattle in a couple weeks, and listening to Death on the Nile on audio while painting my house. Gotta love Agatha Christie!

Rikki - I’ve finished 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as my buddy read with my oldest kiddo and Barracoon, for a historical non-fiction fill, and am still deciding what to read next.

Wrap Up | April 2019
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Michaela

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We moved this month, so my reading life was seriously back burnered. Fun YA audiobooks were the extent of my reading, and I expect May to basically be Agatha Christie audiobooks and maybe a real novel or two!

The Raven King | Maggie Stiefvater- The final book in The Raven Cycle. It wasn’t as strong as some of the other books in the series, but it wrapped everything up satisfyingly enough. I really, really enjoyed this quartet and these characters. If you want some really sweet YA with beautifully written characters and a twist of magic, these are your books.

When Dimple Met Rishi | Sandhya Menon- Pure, unadulterated cuteness. I’d probably classify this as New Adult, and it was just an adorable love story with some bigger themes mixed in without much subtlety. I’d say this is a definite step up from standard YA romance fare; not exactly a literary masterpiece, but enjoyable enough.

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Rikki

The Octopus Museum: Poems | Brenda Shaughnessy - I had little expectation when going into this book, and while there were a few stand out poems in here, the book overall was a hodgepodge and moved toward a political tone that I really did not care for.

Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Murder | Cutter Wood - I needed a break from some heavier books I was reading, and this was a nice shift. Overall, this book wasn’t really for me, but I will say that Wood is clearly an intelligent man, albeit, a curious one, and wove together his personal life leading up to this story in an interesting manner.

Pretending is Lying | Dominique Goblet - This was such a nuanced story, that I should honestly read this a few more times before talking about it. But, it was so unique and so well done (especially for a graphic novel) that I could see much of the depth of the story being overlooked without realizing it. Very well done.

Americus | M.K. Reed - Another great graphic novel that somewhat dramatically portrayed mothers and their teens and the power of our words and actions in relation to our children, but also to what we choose to believe in or not. In this case, the story specifically centered around two teen boys and one of the moms freaking out over a book series and pushing to ban it, without knowing the real story. There were also snippets of the story in question throughout, and I found that to be a really fun and interesting parallel to the main character’s struggle with morals and relationships.

Letters to a Young Poet | Rainer Maria Rilke - I absolutely loved this small collection of letters and wish that I could’ve read some of the work the achieving poet was writing to Rilke. Either way, there is such simplistic and grand advice, not just for writing, but for life. It was a seemingly candid and beautiful insight to a very intelligent man and writer. Also, I need a pen pal.

Still Life | Louise Penny - I’ve been meaning to read Penny for ages, as she’s so well loved in the book community. This cozy murder mystery was a fun break from my usual stack, and it’s a page-turner that I sort of enjoyed. I’m not hopping on the Louise Penny train anytime soon, and I certainly don’t feel compelled to read on in the series. But I do now want to revisit some old favorite cozy mysteries authors again.

Did you read anything you loved this month?

Cheers to the Weekend 4.26.19
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"The place in which I'll fit will not exist until I make it."
― James Baldwin

We’re definitely enjoying the spring weather over here, planting in our gardens, exploring nurseries for more plant babies, and making the most of our fireplaces on the last cool, gray, rainy days of the season. This weekend is bringing us new brunch spots, dinners on the grill, and a lot of celebrating Independent Bookstore Day at some of our favorite local haunts. What are you up to this weekend?

AROUND THE WEB

Thrilled to see Powers win the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory; we can’t wait to read this book!

Planning to celebrate indie bookstore day? This article is the cutest, and is a bookstore crawl not the BEST idea? Count us in!

This is a wonderful article by an author about why you should support your local indie bookstores (and here’s our take, too!)

Are you guys ready for the Battle of Winterfell? I will be definitely be blasting one of these playlists Sunday afternoon to set the mood.

Did you see us featured over on Bustle yesterday? Honored to be included with so many other talented accounts talking about what we love about Bookstagram and how we take beautiful book photos.


INSTAGRAM

Ashley balances reviews, bookstore glimpses, and lifestyle vibes effortlessly

Lou’s account is what light, colorful, literary lifestyle dreams are made of, and we can’t get enough.

We want to just go live inside Claudia’s photos, enough said.

WHAT WE’RE READING

Michaela - I have been so focused on house projects this week that I’ve barely even touched a book. I did manage to start The Hate U Give for our IRL book club though!

Rikki - I’m putting all other books aside since my son wants to buddy read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and I want to give it my undivided attention.

Self-Care for Readers
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It’s no secret that self-care has become a bit of a trend lately. I really love the idea—the reminders—to take the time to take care of yourself. But as I’ve finally come to a period of time where it’s a central focus for myself, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

The thing is, self-care is vitally important for EVERYONE! From eating right to getting proper sleep, drinking enough water and adequate exercise, there are key elements that are relatively well-known. The last few years I’ve had some big shifting in the tectonic plates of my life, if you will, and as things are finally settling down and move forward, I have time to think and dedicate to what matters. This article about how clinicians practice self-care has more detail if you’re the researcher type. I’m always curious what useful ways work for others!

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As I continue to go about my days, paying attention to my body, spend hours hunched over a book, I’ve started feeling it. My body is asking me for better care, more water, and exercise. That’s not all though, seasonal depression is a real issue that many people encounter this time of year above all others, and we are no strangers. I’ve found that yoga is a calm form of exercise and relaxation I look forward to every day. That 15-30 minutes clearing my head and moving my body is my favorite thing right now, along with long walks alone or with my kiddos. This article runs adjacent to my own ideals on self-care, meaning, you don’t have to run out and spend a small fortune to take care of yourself. A simple trip to the library can really do the trick!

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I have also been reading just for myself and to achieve personal goals since the New Year, and it’s been so relieving focusing on my actual resolutions. I’m gravitating toward books that I feel good about reading, that I’ve been wanting to read, and that feel overall very satisfying. I’ve discovered how much I truly love seasonal reading, and Ali Smith’s Spring and Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, is everything right now. Oh, and a little fantasy with The Raven Boys and some history with White Rose, and we’re just not doing anything else right now if we can help it!

You know though, reading really is its own form of self care, so all of this is to say, keep on reading friends! If self-help books are your thing, I highly recommend this list. I’ve only read Quiet (which I really enjoyed), but I also love that they include cookbooks (I’d also recommend My Kitchen Year), I am so here for that! Unplug, leave your phones off or in another room, allow your mind to relax, and if you can, enjoy a calm, peaceful experience. Read what feels good to you, soak in a tub, pour a cup of hot tea—whatever suits you!

Do you have a favorite method of self-care? Share in the comments below!

Rikki RiveraComment
Cheers to the Weekend 4.12.19
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“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

AROUND THE WEB

Self-care is not just a trend, it’s a way of life. With that in mind, I need realistic ideas for myself that don’t always include a night out on the town, gorging on junk food, or anything incredibly time consuming. I find this article of Finding Self-Care in the Little Things to be everything I need.

I keep finding incredible historical non-fiction books lately. I’m beyond enthusiastic about A Woman of No Importance! This NPR article does an fantastic job at discussing Sonia Purnell’s novel and highlighting one incredible woman.

Tiffany discusses an important topic on the representation of foreign literature, specifically Indonesian, being accepted and translated into the English speaking culture.

Ali Smith recent release of Spring is well-timed and gaining speed in popularity. The Artfulreader writes a brilliant piece on Smith’s book, as well as other interconnected literary references.

I’m always on the hunt for YA books that my teen and I can read together. I love the sound of White Rose, but think my fantasy-loving kid would be most interested in the other two: Wicked Saints and Descendant of the Crane. Have you read any of these?

As a kid, you most likely remember your summer trips to the library. Those trips were life-changing and made summers infinitely greater. I loved reading this sweet note To the Librarian Who Changed My Life. I can only hope my children have such a positive experience and influence from our visits to the library!

INSTAGRAM

It can prove challenging to combine your other hobbies with your reading life on Bookstagram, but traveling happens to be another passion of mine, and Courtney blends her adventures and books so well.

A classically beautiful blend of the literary lifestyle. Although being in Switzerland helps, all the heart eyes over here!

New to bookstagram and killing it! Deliliah’s taste is simple yet aesthetically pleasing, and we love browsing her feed.

WHAT WE’RE READING

Michaela- Moving this past weeek has put reading completely on hold, with the exception of The Raven King, which has been keeping me company on audio while I build furniture and unpack. I love, love, LOVE this series, friends, and will be sad to have it end!

Rikki - Middlemarch, Love and Death in the Sunshine State, Dandelion Wine, and The Octopus Museum; I’m just not sure I’m reading enough right now!

Bookstagram's Favorite Classics

It would seem that most readers are able to pick a favorite book in a specific genre with relative ease. I’m not saying that it’s their all time favorite book, per say, but when I put the call out asking for favorite classics, I was met with many definitive answers. And friends, I envy you. I’ve read a decent amount of classics (by decent, I mean some, but never enough) and have yet to come across what I deem a favorite. I will say that I have a “favorite” author, but he’s amongst many, so is that even fair to say? There are just so many! I could go on and on about my issues with labeling anything a favorite, but, I digress.

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I really enjoyed reading through all of your recommendations. I’ve read a handful of those mentioned, and there are many I would love to prioritize. Some books I was more surprised by as your favorites more than others, but there are many that we hear over and over again as being most beloved. There are some that many people recommended that I wasn’t a fan of upon first reading, and so I definitely feel the need to re-read those before I pass further judgement.

Do you ever feel like that? You read a book that is well loved, decide it’s not for you, then a handful of years go by, your reading has matured and evolved, and you think maybe you weren’t sure you got it? I feel this way all the time. Seldom will I write off a classic.

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After looking through all of these books, I’ve decided to pick some of the ones that have more of a summer vibe to include to my TBR in coming months. I’m currently reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (which is definitely summer-oriented, but I couldn’t wait, it’s as good as I’d hoped!), along with Middlemarch, but it’s still slow going but feels seasonally on point.

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Cheers to the Weekend 4.5.19
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*some links are affiliate, and we deeply appreciate your support

It’s been a beautiful season so far and we’re reading our way through the sunshine-y days and rainy days. We’re aiming to spend more time together, discuss future changes for this space, and enjoy our literary community as much as possible. We hope you have a great weekend friends! What will you be reading?

AROUND THE WEB

Not sure what I think about this list of most notable books from 2018, but there are some interesting titles on here for sure. Are you often torn on reading all the new releases too?!

I’m very intrigued by Carolyn Forche’s poetry and look forward to her memoir.

Forthcoming fictional novels worth looking into.

What if an author told you about a book he was writing, then never got to finish it?!

An insight to Vladimir Nabokov’s life on the run over 100 years ago today. A life more wild than his fiction, and no doubt a main source of his inspiration.

Our Abrams partnership has yielded excellent food and bookish discussions, have you seen them yet?

The tales of Beatrix Potter have held a generational interest for my family. There’s no better time than spring and the upcoming Easter holiday to find subtle and tasteful ways to bring the stories to life in your home.


INSTAGRAM

Such an aesthetically pleasing feed of beautiful books, classics we love, and a witty handle.

Carolyn’s light and contrasted photos are striking and lead to a subtle lifestyle vibe we love.

A fun take on the literary lifestyle and adamant lover of all things bookish.

WHAT WE’RE READING

Michaela - Thanks so much to Tor Publishing for my copy of Gideon the Ninth, which is satisfying my fantasy-loving and distracted heart right now.

Rikki - It’s safe to say that I’ll be reading Middlemarch for all of time, but I did take a break to read Love and Death in the Sunshine State.

Michaela DevineComment
Abrams Dinner Party Meets Middlemarch
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We have been accepted into the Abrams Dinner Party line up for fall and spring 2018-2019. We are happily rolling through these fun, explorative dinners from the cookbooks Abrams sends us. Even more exciting for us is pairing various novels, or simply what we’re currently reading, with the cookbooks, much like our own dinner parties. Adding a little more of a literary touch is what suits us best as you can imagine, and there’s something especially lively about sitting down to a homemade meal with a good book and a glass of something refreshing.

This is also our final literary lunch at Michaela’s home in the city. She’s moving onto greener pastures and big spaces, AND geographically, we’ll be closer together again! You could say this post feels a little bittersweet, as I know her space as well as my own; where the light shines through best at all times of day, how to change up one area or another, and what she has on hand or in the yard to put together a literary lunch or dinner.

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Pescan and The Modern Cook’s Year were both lovely cookbooks which we immediately sat together and flipped through while showing one another various recipes that stood out. We settled on lunch, each one picking a recipe, picking up a few ingredients, and dining outside while the warm spring weather was being generous.

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Our classic buddy read has been Middlemarch, and it’s been a slow journey thus far. Admittedly, there’s a lot of busyness occurring for us right now, so we’re generously allowing ourselves to savor the book and take our time with it. It was a wonderful afternoon in Michaela’s backyard while discussing the cookbooks, our thoughts on Middlemarch, and how this would be our very last time in this space. This is where our literary dinners were born and grew into the beautiful work it is today. However, it’s none too bittersweet, her new space is equally charming and will soon hold many more functions.

So friends, we hope you’ve had a great week so far, we appreciate you stopping in to see what we’ve been cooking, discussing, and reading. Stay tuned for changes ahead and hopefully, a wrap up of Middlemarch in the coming month or two!

*We were sent this book in exchange for an honest review, and of course, all opinions are wholly our own. You can see our policy right here