Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 5.27.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)


Got delayed in posting this last weekend. So, below reflects two weeks worth. As you will see certain purchases were influenced by events attended.

I started entering books read with ratings into Goodreads from my reading logs that date back to 2006. This was the year when I started getting serious with reading and making notations of the books. In working with the lists it was fun to see which I remembered and which I accidentally re-read.



Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, hosted a reading, signing and Q&A with Jeff VanderMeer for his latest release of Borne. Started out with a bird diary. Borne inspired by experience of growing up in Fiji and environmental issues.

Don't remember why, but Jeff wanted the crowd to say...

Bears can't fly
or can they?

Maybe I will know why after reading the book.

by Jeff VanderMeer
Amazon | Goodreads

THIS will be my first VanderMeer read.

by Jeff VanderMeer
Amazon | Goodreads

FOUND this in the used book section. It is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy which is the Winner of the 2015 Nebula Award.

by Jeff VanderMeer
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT this with the first one above. It is the third book in the trilogy. Gotta search for the second, Authority.

The Clothes They Stood Up In And The Lady And The Van
by Alan Bennett
-Short Stories, England
Amazon | Goodreads

Also found this in the used section while looking for Smut. Due to the theatre production I mentioned below, I was taken with Alan's style.

For Review:

The Vestige
by Caroline George
Release date: June 30, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

I am curious about the end of the world scenario in this one.

Slave to Love
by Julie A. Richman
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Goodreads

I have been accumulating some beefcake reading with from this club. But, have not yet had a chance to dip into any. I definitely will start in June!

Still Here
by Lara Vapnyar
-Contemporary Fiction, Russia
courtesy of Blogging for Books - Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THE Jane Austen mention in the description caught my eye for this one along with the idea of virtual graves.


From Owlcrate package (details & signup):
OwlCrate is a subscription service that sends you magical monthly boxes tailored to a chosen theme. Each OwlCrate will contain one new Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish treats to help you get your nerd on. @owlcrate

MAY Box includes:
theme: Comic Explosion
- Owlcrate spoiler card with comic book style page
- Owlcrate buttons - comic book theme
- Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
- Signed bookplate, letter and art piece from author
- Batman - FunkoPop
- Pen (6-colored) comic book theme from Ooly
- Wonder Woman - Dio Candle Company
- Afar (first chapter sampler) from Image Comics
- Coffee candies from Kafe Zing

Eliza and Her Monsters
by Francesca Zappia
Release date: May 30, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds meets Nimona in this novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. Features illustrations by the author throughout. Perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this is the second novel by the acclaimed author of Made You Up.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is Lady Constellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

AND watched: in theatre (live)

SMUT (2017)
An Unseemly Story
(The Greening Of Mrs. Donaldson)
Director: Amy Kossow
Producer: HARLYN | Associate Producers: Bruce Colman, Shelly Osborne
Based on book: Smut: Stories by Alan Bennett
-Comedy | Zspace | my rating: 5

One of England’s finest and most loved writers, Alan Bennett, explores the uncomfortable and tragicomic gap between people’s public appearance and their private desires in this tender and surprising story. In The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson, a recently bereaved widow finds interesting ways to supplement her income by performing as a patient for medical students, and renting out her spare room. Quiet, middle-class, and middle-aged, Mrs. Donaldson will soon discover that she rather enjoys role-play at the hospital, and the irregular and startling entertainment provided by her tenants.A master storyteller dissects a very English form of secrecy with this story of the unexpected in otherwise apparently ordinary lives.

THE interesting thing about this production is that it is presented as a short story (in action) versus a play. So the dialogue includes what you would read in the short story.

AND watched: in theatre

The Lovers (2017)
Director/Writer: Azazel Jacobs
Starring: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Aidan Gillen
-Comedy | imdb | my rating: 4

Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married, dispassionate couple who are both in the midst of serious affairs. But on the brink of calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.

Not what I expected, but very interesting. Lust versus love. Non-traditional relationships.

AND watching: on Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
Creator: Bruce Miller
Based on book by: Margaret Atwood
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Joseph Fiennes
-Drama, SciFi | imdb | my rating: 5

Netflix trivia: Margaret Atwood, the book's author, makes a cameo as an Aunt in Episode 1. She is the one who slaps Offred when she is reluctant to join in the group shaming circle.
Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

Just as chilling as the book with a great cast.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently


Friday, May 26, 2017

The Second Jezebel by Peter Mowbray

The Second Jezebel
by Peter Mowbray

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: January 2017
Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing
Genre: Historical, Royalty
Paperback: 372 pages
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
France by the summer of 1572 was a country on the brink of complete collapse.

The wedding between the Princess Marguerite de Valois and Henri King of Navarre was intended to be a celebration that would at last bring peace to the warring Catholics and Huguenots in France.

Instead, it was a precursor for the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew.

By the time the bloodshed had abated, none was seen as guiltier of creating the horrors of that night than the Queen Mother - Catherine de Medici.

Seventeen years later, as Catherine's life hangs in the balance, the mob threatens to drag her body through the streets.

To them she is no longer Queen Mother, merely the second Jezebel in history to be thrown to the dogs.

My two-bits:

While interesting to read historical accounts of what went on with the royalty during the 1500's, this large cast of characters come across flat and mostly unlikable.

The political schemes, dastardly deeds, loveless alliances, etc. play out with little drama which again made for a dry read.


* review copy courtesy of author

Diesel Book Club

DIESEL Book Club
a face-to-face group in Larkspur, CA

Always trying to enhance the reading experience...

I came across the announcement for this book club while at the store during my Independent Book Store quest in April. Going to give it a go.

MAY pick:

A History of Loneliness
by John Boyne
Amazon | Goodreads

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Note to Self by Connor Franta

Note to Self
by Connor Franta

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon | Goodreads
Website | Facebook

Just released: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Atria/Keywords Press
Genre: Biography, Poetry, Photos
Hardback pages: 320
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
I'm a private person, ironically. "Ironic" because I'm in the business of public disclose, and I'm part of a generation that shares everything.

In his New York Times bestselling memoir, A Work in Progress, Connor Franta shared his journey from small-town Midwestern boy to full-fledged Internet sensation. Exploring his past with humor and astounding insight, Connor reminded his fans of why they first fell in love with him on YouTube—and revealed to newcomers how he relates to his millions of dedicated followers.

Now, two years later, Connor is ready to bring to light a side of himself he’s rarely shown on or off camera. In this diary-like look at his life since A Work in Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment—with others and himself.

Told through short essays, letters to his past and future selves, poetry, and original photography, Note to Self is a raw, in-the-moment look at the fascinating interior life of a young creator turning inward in order to move forward.


My two-bits:

I got this copy at an author meet/greet photo shoot session held at Book Passage, Ferry Building, San Francisco last month (previously mentioned here).

I found this to be a book gem with modern day reflections in essay and poetry forms and personal photos that make this reading a special experience.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

The Art of Asking
by Amanda Palmer

Find out more about this book and author:
Instagram | YouTube
Tumblr | Twitter

Published: 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Feminism, Memoir
Hardback: 352
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
A decade or so ago in Boston, Amanda performed on the street as a human statue—a white-faced, eight-foot-tall bride statue to be exact.

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world's most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn't alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

My two-bits:

I listened to the audio version of this and was treated to a narration by Amanda.

Loved it! Very inspiring.

The concept of "asking" was fascinating to learn about especially in the context of artists.

Loved also learning of her life as a rock star - her dream in the living.

A few of Amanda's songs are performed and included.

Now, off to listen to her Ted talk (here).


* image source: Amanda as statue

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu