Summer Reading | 7 Graphic Novels for Literary Snobs

We’ve found that graphic novels are a vastly under appreciated genre amongst fiction lovers, and while we ourselves are relatively new to the party, having just begun really getting into these magical books a year-ish ago, we can’t imagine our reading lives without them now. If graphic novels seem odd or frivolous to you, or you imagine that they couldn’t possibly hold as much weight and drama and characterization as a traditional novel, we have a few recommendations to change your mind. Each of these are so unique, and carry meaty stories with gorgeous artwork, unforgettable characters, and amazingly crafted narratives.

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The Best We Could Do

The first graphic novels to make me cry (and I am decidedly not a crier), this is a memoir where the focus is on one family's immigration story from Vietnam, but it manages to wrap in so much history and culture and personal stories and relationship drama. The way this novel builds its layers and characters manages to bee so elegant and impactful in a way I rarely see done, even in regular fiction let alone a graphic novel, plus I learned a ton about the history of Vietnam in the ‘70’s and the art is stunning.


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This One Summer

One of those rare books that captures the indefinable, and with perfect balance between words and illustration. The story focuses on the friendship of two girls at their annual summer vacation spot as they come of age, and mixes in family drama, the awkwardness of being on the cusp of the teenage years, friendship, growing pains, and the complexity of inner life. Some panels are heart-stopping in their elegant blending of text and art to create something meaningful. I especially love how the concept of memory was handled, but it captured so many hard to define emotions so, so beautifully. It also embodies my favorite moods of bittersweet and nostalgia, and I rarely see this level of layering in a graphic novel, which makes it extra special. We even did a literary dinner party for this one!


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Spinning

Another graphic memoir, this time about the competitive world of ice skating, combined with a coming of age narrative. The tone of this is a little more straightforward and realistic, less dreamy and complex than This One Summer, but it is beautifully illustrated and her story is compelling and real. Plus you’ll learn a lot about competitive ice skating, which is actually super interesting, and if you did any sports as a kid/teen you will absolutely relate.

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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

Tamaki excels at writing graphic novels that feel so, so intimately human, and Valero-O’Connell created art that says as much or more than Tamaki’s words, bringing life and personality to the entire story. I LOVED this one and sincerely hope they do another book together. It explores toxic relationships, friendships, and general growing up kind of stuff in a way that feels so nuanced and personal somehow, but with a good dose of plot. The atmosphere in this is just beautiful, and the story will give fiction lovers all the characters and drama and depth they could ever want.


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Relish

This was such a detailed, and fun, story of Lucy growing up with foodie parents. Then comes the divorce, and she illustrates how her world is changed by the vastly different directions her parents take (still centered around food and culture). Lucy had a fascinating childhood, incredible travel adventures, and an array of experiences that make you want to reach out to be her friend.


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Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey

Reminiscent of The Best We Could Do, Dare to Disappoint shows a young girl as she tries in vain to follow in the cultural and societal driven requirements of growing up in Turkey. Try as she might, she just can’t do what her big sister does and is constantly the dreamer. As the story goes, you see the internal and external struggles she faces, trying so hard to please her parents, and ultimately, has to find what works for her. This is such a fantastic and relatable story, regardless of geography, that you truly feel for the characters in this story, as they all seem to fight through their own battles.

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Americus

This is such a great YA graphic novel that shows the immense effect of censorship from parents who refuse to, or simply can’t understand their teenagers. The power, then, of standing together, speaking up, and the book community, was raw and exciting to follow in this story. You also get to see snippets of the Harry Potter-esque story that is fought over to ban, which also holds a powerful story of morality. This made me think A LOT about my own mom in relation to her dislike of books we were given to read in school (without having read them herself), along with now being a parent and how I handle the relationship between myself and my children and literature. Loved this one so much.


Do you have a favorite graphic novel??

What's On Our TBR | Summer 2019
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Heading into June behind the scenes here at The Ardent Biblio was a LOT of discussion about what we wanted our summer reading lives to look like this year. We both pulled a healthy pile from our shelves to focus on, and figured we’d share a little about why we’re excited about them!

Michaela

Apparently this is the year of the short classic for me. I’ve been meaning to read The Virgin Suicides for literally years because of it’s reputation for being pure atmospheric nostalgia; basically Michaela catnip. Picnic at Hanging Rock falls into the same category, and since it was compared to The Secret History, I obviously have to read it. Which, while we’re all thinking about classical Greek, enter Song of Achilles, because after loving Circe last year, I pretty much immediately grabbed this one, and it feels like a great summer book to follow up my reading of The Odyssey. I’m also very interested in re-readiing Travels With Charley with Rikki, in doing some armchair travel to 1920’s Paris via A Moveable Feast, and in picking up House of Mirth after loooovinnggggg The Age of Innocence this past winter! I’ll probably pick up a few contemporary novels as well to round things out, and am especially looking forward to Ask Again, Yes and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, both of which all of instagram seem to be reading and raving about lately. Ask Again, Yes promises really well done generational family drama, and On Earth looks like it’s going to be both absolutely heart wrenching and absolutely beautiful. Wish me luck!

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Rikki

Travels With Charley | John Steinbeck - It’s no secret how in love with Steinbeck I am. I’ve been holding onto a few of his books that I REALLY want to read, and this is finally the summer for this cross country adventure!

We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live | Joan Didion - I’ve read some of Didion’s non-fiction, but am looking forward to this collection of her essays and short stories. She has a way of writing in her stream of consciousness that I find myself tailing like a lost puppy.

Collection of Poems | Rainer Marie Rilke’s - With a constant goal to read more poetry, I decided Rilke was were I’d begin this summer, after reading and loving Letters to a Young Poet.

Selected Cronicas | Clarice Lispector - Another collection of essays I’ve had my eyes on. I rarely stumble across her books in real life, so I’m anxiously anticipating a copy I’ve been waiting for and plan to dive into immediately. This collection, from what I’ve read, is a little different, but exactly what I’m looking for in essays and nonfiction right now.

A Year in Provence | Peter Mayle - I’m ready for some armchair travel, some charm, and fun. Much like Under the Tuscan Sun, I’m ready to be whisked away again into a life governed by the seasons and food and countryside.

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What are you excited to read this summer??

Cheers to the Weekend 6.7.19
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Hello friends and happy JUNE! We are so excited that summer is upon us full of lazy days and summer reading and excellent adventures. We’re busy over here planning literary dinner parties, real life escapades, and plotting our summer TBR’s. You all know we love to read seasonally, and we have been waiting for this exact moment to pick up a few books that have been waiting for us through the colder months! What’s on your summer TBR?

“Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder”

―Robert Frost, Mending Wall

AROUND THE WEB

Where the Crawdads Sing is still getting so much buzz. Delia’s interview with Read It Forward is a wonderful read while we anxiously await the film! The book is a perfect summer read if you' haven’t yet.

There are countless lists and guides out there for summer reading, but we’re on the hunt for the best of the best. A list on thought-provoking books that inspire empathy and joy is too good to pass up.

The Millions put out their most anticipated June releases the other day, and the line up is GOOD.

Alllll the love for our small town libraries! This was such a sweet piece, and a good reminder for us all to appreciate the amazing resource that our libraries are.

What book made you fall in love with fantasy? Fantasy authors share theirs!

In praise of the DNF (did not finish). We could not agree with Sarah more!


INSTAGRAM

I’m increasingly inspired by those who live abroad (from me) and share books that are specific to their geographical location. I learn about so many novels from Padmaja that I wouldn’t otherwise find, and she has good taste!

A fellow tea and classic book lover, plus a perfect lifestyle feel in all of her photos.

Oh so pretty, Kat visits the best places. Two plane tickets to England please!

WHAT WE’RE READING

Michaela - I’m headed into the weekend determined to finish Milkman, and to hopefully pick up Picnic at Hanging Rock to continue my streak of reading short classics!


Rikki - May was such a great reading month, and June is looking just as great. I’m over half way through Franny and Zooey and really enjoying it, alongside The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.

Creating an Outdoor Reading Nook
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As the weather continues to push toward summer, we find ourselves spending an increasingly large amount of time outside. It’s truly wonderful to bask in sunshine, the fragrance of lilacs, or in the shade of a big old maple tree. This article came up when I was researching seasonal elements for our literary lifestyles, newsletter, and blog, and was immediately inspired. Aside from reading and working in this space, my other main hobby includes gardening. I’m sure you’re at least somewhat aware of this, as most all of my photos in spring, summer, and fall are taken outside around my home. I have a rather large and beautiful garden space that backs up to a forest on one side and an open space on the other. I’ve spent countless hours in my garden, have thrown a dinner party in it (a few actually, but this was our favorite), and can be found reading there when the weather suits. Now, this is not the case for everyone, but visiting a garden to read in, or just having a small balcony, courtyard, or yard, are all viable options for creating a reading garden space.

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One of the most helpful concepts when creating a space for living, for an event, or for any other intended purpose, is to create small vignettes within the whole space. By focusing on smaller areas throughout, you create interest, a focal point (or many), and with a few simple shifts, can give theme, seasonal touches, or a holiday focus to the room/space without a big makeover. This is a favorite aspect of ours, and it makes for more affordable and manageable decorating. This is truly our number one tip, and I can’t recommend it enough.

First thing you need for an outdoor space is need shade. It’s difficult to read from an actual book with blaring sun, although it is easier with an e-reader. Regardless, a shady spot is beneficial in many ways. Tuck yourself beneath a tree, between rows of shrubs, up high or down low. If you’re the planting type, consider a high (tree), medium (shrub), and low (flowers, herbs, veggies) trio section off a little corner of your space for maximum appeal. Nestle a chair right in to make yourself cozy and right at home. If you’re up for a little more work, adding structure is also visually appealing, like a birdbath, trellis, fountain, or statue.

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It’s really important for me to stress to you that this entire idea can be as simple or as complex as you want it. But even more than that, I urge you to take out a little time and effort to make this happen, because I guarantee you’ll be happy you did. Whether you’re putting some plants in the ground, coupling some potted plants, or sitting beneath an old tree, you can do this. I once heard a fellow gardener say that the best thing for a garden is to have a space dedicated to the gardener. I’ve learned just how true this is.

On creating a reading garden:

  1. Tuck yourself under a tree or near some plants and dedicate it yours. Bring a blanket and beverage with you for maximum coziness.

  2. Place a chair that you don’t mind leaving outside and place it near a tree, your garden, or other cozy area in your yard.

  3. Plant the previously mentioned trifecta for a cozy garden spot: tree, shrub, flowers (think: high, medium, low. The label on the plants you purchase will have the expected mature height of said plant). This could also be done with pots in the yard, or on a smaller scale for a balcony or porch.

  4. Repurpose a bench or pick up a cute bistro table and chairs, and find a good spot for it in your yard. Pick out a cute pillow or blanket to take out with you to read.

My space is pretty set up for this, but we’ll be working on Michaela’s new space this summer, so stay tuned for more details on how we’re doing that.

Do you have an outdoor reading space that you love to use? We’d love to hear it about in the comments below. Or, if you have further tips, please share!




Wrap Up | May 2019
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Michaela

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A Brightness Long Ago | Guy Gavriel Kay
- Let me preface this by saying that Kay is my favorite author, his books are in a category all their own, I’ve read all but 2 of his books, and I enjoy everything he writes more than 90% of anything else I read. Phew. But. This was not my very favorite of his works. Tigana remains safely on it’s pedestal. A Brightness Long Ago was a brilliantly woven tale, with characters that feel alive, but it lacks the raw power of some of his other works and I can’t put my finger on why. Still, I loved being back with Kay; he creates worlds and characters I never want to leave, and this was no exception.

Death on the Nile | Agatha Christie- This was admittedly, not my favorite Christie. I guessed the “whodunnit” straight off, which I never do with her other books, but it was still fun and cozy, and honestly what more do you really need? This was a fun one on audio while I painted some rooms in our new home!

The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas- I read this for our IRL book club this month (Rikki read it last year!) and while it tackled some great hot button issues in a sensitive way, I found myself having the same issues with it that I do with most YA. Characters who are just giant globs of stereotypes, over the top drama, writing that is just okay, and general teen-ness. Again though, bravo to Thomas for writing this book, and good on the YA genre for being generally more progressive than adult fiction.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me | Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell - Tamaki excels at writing graphic novels that feel so, so intimately human, and Valero-O’Connell created art that says as much or more than Tamaki’s words, bringing life and personality to the entire story. I LOVED this one and sincerely hope they do another book together. This found it’s way to my graphic novel favorites shelf.

Ghost Wall | Sarah Moss- Hooooollyyyy crap this one was good…and brutal. The prose style, right from the very first page, establishes the oppressive atmosphere and eerie tone that the book carries so well. Super atmospheric with an original concept, I can see why this one was long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, and I spent a good amount of time mulling over it with a big glass of wine when I finished, which is always a good sign. There’s a great interview with Moss about this one right here.

Along the Infinite Sea | Beatriz Williams- I picked this up looking for something fun and light…and it was just okay. Plot driven, easy to blast through, and honestly mediocre at best. Not much else to say, as this book left me feeling pretty uninspired, but if you like the sound of the plot, and are just in it for plot, this could be a fun summer read.


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Rikki

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea | Jules Verne - A buddy read with my son this month; a book we’ve been meaning to read together for ages. I was blown away by Verne’s creativity and ability to create so much detail in the 19th century, it’s impressive. I read reviews where some said they found it boring. I will say the technical discussion over the Nautilus was extensive, but I really felt that it was tribute to the brilliance of the story. I loved it.

Barracoon | Zora Neale Hurston - A beautiful story that I’m so glad has been told. Hurston relayed Cudjo’s story that would have otherwise gone untold. We don’t get to read his full life in this story, which many asked for, and were upset that she didn’t leave an epilogue with the rest of his life. However, I felt the snippet we got to glimpse was beauty in itself. I loved hearing his recount of the cultural shift from his home country to the changes he was forced to make in a new culture and country.

The Hundred Dresses | Eleanore Estes - A love novella that reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre in some ways. It was short and sweet, but a lovely story for young children to read, and one that I passed onto my daughter.

Relish | Lucy Knisley - Such a fun graphic novel memoir. The kind of story where you realize, as a child, you don’t feel your life is all that extraordinary, but then you write about it and put it out into the world and, wow, what an interesting childhood and story to share! I really enjoyed this one and plan on picking up her other, French Milk, soon.

Anne of Green Gables | L.M. Montgomery - Oh Anne, where do I begin?! For fear of feeling let down because of the ever-present hype surrounding this book, I hesitated to pick it up for ages. Finally, I did. And oh what a beautiful story; the most charming story. Anne is truly as wonderful as I’ve ever been lead to believe. Getting lost in her imagination, in her world, was a gift.

Anne of Avonlea | L.M. Montgomery - I wasn’t sure I’d continue the series after Green Gables, which I loved so much. But I gave it a try anyway, and really enjoyed following her life as she grew from little girl to young woman. I’m looking forward to the next, as I keep hearing the series has other phenomenal books in comparison to the first beloved story.

Death on the Nile | Agatha Christie - So far, I’d say this was my least favorite Christie. After M read it, I realized I hadn’t and had to pick it up. It was a fun mystery, as all hers are, but unlike the others I’ve read, it was easy to figure out the mystery early on. I aim to read her Miss Marple series next.

Before We Were Yours | Lisa Wingate - I had no idea this story of the house of horrors, the Tennessee Children’s Society was a reality in the 1920s-50s. My heart breaks knowing how permanently altered so many lives became because of one sadistic woman. I read this for book club next month, and I couldn’t put it down. The story has two stories alternating as you read, from past to present and back again. I didn’t love the voice of the present day character, Avery, as her character didn’t feel as real as the past character, Rill, did. It was really great overall, and after reading up on some real life cases from this non-fiction event, I’d say Wingate did justice to so many who lived through this.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower | Stephen Chbosky - I picked this up for banned book club, even though I’ll be out of town for the actual meeting. I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile now, and I’m glad I finally read it. I flew through it in a day, really enjoying the story. I thought of my son a lot, as he will enter high school next school year, which is just crazy to even think about. Anyway, I can see why this book was banned; the amount of sex, drugs, and alcohol for high school students is jarring a bit, however, I also don’t believe in censorship, and I did gain a lot from this story. I imagine that there are many teenagers who can relate to various aspects of this book, and it’s nice to not feel alone.

If You Leave Me | Crystal Hana Kim - What an incredibly powerful book. I can’t believe this book hasn’t gained more popularity, and the fact that this is Kim’s debut novel, is really mind-blowing. I’ve said it many times, so it’s no secret how much I enjoy reading about Asian culture and history, and this book was beautifully detailed in that regard. It did break my heart over and over again, as I felt a kinship and affection for the main character, Haemi, as well as the dividing of Korea. I’ll be sitting with this one for awhile.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me | Mariko Tamaki - A graphic novel buddy read for the month, this one explored some complicated issues with a lot of tact, a little obscurity, and some really great illustrations and strong characters that take you through. This actually was very reminiscent of Perks of Being a Wallflower since they were read nearly back to back, and were a great pair.

Pilu of the Woods | Mai K. Nguyen - My sweet pen pal, Cristyn, @paper.forests, recommended this one to me, and of course I had to read it right away. This one is definitely geared toward the younger crown (I plan to read it with my daughter), but is a fun one nonetheless. It handles grief and emotions EXTREMELY well, with only a genuine hint of loss, but with a fun relationship that helps to explore how to manage anger/confusion/grief/loneliness incredibly well. Loved this one.

Did you read anything you loved this month?

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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*some links are affiliate, and we deeply appreciate your support

“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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*some links are affiliate, and we deeply appreciate your support

"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