Friday, December 31, 2021

Favorite and Anticipated Books


Favorite book in 2021:
by Mieko Kawakami
translated by Sam Bett, David Boyd
Literary, Coming of Age, Japan | Published: 2021 (first 2009) | Goodreads

Hailed as a bold foray into new literary territory, Kawakami's novel is told in the voice of a fourteen-year-old student subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of resisting, the boy suffers in complete resignation. The only person who understands what he is going through is a female classmate who suffers similar treatment at the hands of her tormenters.

The young friends meet in secret in the hopes of avoiding any further attention and take solace in each other's company, completely unaware that their relationship has not gone unnoticed by their bullies . . .

Most Anticipated book in 2022:
To Paradise
by Hanya Yanagihara
Literary, Historical | Published: 2022 | Goodreads
release date: January 11, 2022

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.


* image source: reading woman

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Reading Wrap Up: December 2021

(books not listed on book club and challenge posts)

Courting the Stationmaster’s Daughter
by Juli D. Revezzo
Historical, Romance, England | Goodreads | my rating: 3
love and not-so-easy courtship in the 1800s

After Honorine Camden is jilted, leaving her stunned and sparking a scandal in her tiny London borough of Wallflower, she's devastated. But when she overhears her father, the stationmaster, talking about arranging a party for their newly-minted underground railway station, she volunteers to help. Although she's intrigued with the handsome assistant stationmaster, Shane MacIntyre, she never expects to fall head-over-heels in love with him. Unfortunately, one tragic accident might derail everything.

The Lost Daughter
by Elena Ferrante
translated by Marcello Lino
Contemporary, Italy | Published: 2008 (first 2006) | Goodreads | my rating: 5
interesting take on women and motherhood

Leda, a middle-aged divorcée, is alone for the first time in years after her two adult daughters leave home to live with their father in Toronto. Enjoying an unexpected sense of liberty, she heads to the Ionian coast for a vacation.

But she soon finds herself intrigued by Nina, a young mother on the beach, eventually striking up a conversation with her. After Nina confides a dark secret, one seemingly trivial occurrence leads to events that could destroy Nina’s family.

These Precious Days: Essays
by Ann Patchett
Essays, Memoir | Published: 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 5
touching, heartfelt, pieces

“Any story that starts will also end.” As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart.

At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a suprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both.

A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Happy Christmas 2021



* image source: vintage card (here)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

On The Nightstand: Winter

On the Nightstand
books for Winter


Celebrating the shortest day of the year with these...
Winter Solstice
by Rosamunde Pilcher
Romance, Christmas, Scotland | Published: 2001 | Goodreads

Elfrida Phipps, once of London's stage, moved to the English village of Dibton in hopes of making a new life for herself. Gradually she settled into the comfortable familiarity of village life -- shopkeepers knowing her tastes, neighbors calling her by name -- still she finds herself lonely.

Oscar Blundell gave up his life as a musician in order to marry Gloria. They have a beautiful daughter, Francesca, and it is only because of their little girl that Oscar views his sacrificed career as worthwhile.

Carrie returns from Australia at the end of an ill-fated affair with a married man to find her mother and aunt sharing a home and squabbling endlessly. With Christmas approaching, Carrie agrees to look after her aunt's awkward and quiet teenage daughter, Lucy, so that her mother might enjoy a romantic fling in America.

Sam Howard is trying to pull his life back together after his wife has left him for another. He is without home and without roots, all he has is his job. Business takes him to northern Scotland, where he falls in love with the lush, craggy landscape and set his sights on a house.

It is the strange rippling effects of a tragedy that will bring these five characters together in a large, neglected estate house near the Scottish fishing town of Creagan.

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 1
(Moomin Comic Strip #1-4)
by Tove Jansson
Comics, Finland | Published: 2006 (first 1977) | Goodreads

Tove Jansson is revered around the world as one of the foremost children's authors of the twentieth century for her illustrated chapter books regarding the magical worlds of her creation, the Moomins. The Moomins saw life in many forms but debuted to its biggest audience ever on the pages of world's largest newspaper the London Evening News, in 1954. The strip was syndicated in newspapers around the world with millions of readers in 40 countries.

Moomin Book One is the first volume of Drawn & Quarterly publishing plan to reprint the entire strip drawn by Jansson before she handed over the reigns to her brother Lars in 1960. This is the first time the strip will be published in any form in North America and will deservedly place Jansson among the international cartooning greats of the last century.

The Moomins are a tight-knit family — hippo-shaped creatures with easygoing and adventurous outlooks. Jansson's art is pared down and precise, yet able to compose beautiful portraits of ambling creatures in fields of flowers or rock-strewn beaches that recall Jansson's Nordic roots. The comic strip reached out to adults with its gentle and droll sense of humor. Whimsical but with biting undertones, Jansson's observations of everyday life, including guests who overstay their welcome, modern art, movie stars, and high society, easily caught the attention of an international audience and still resonate today.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Lovely Books and Things - 12.19.21

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Oh by gosh by jolly, It's time for mistletoe and holly - listening to holiday tunes
2. Snail mail - Christmas cards
3. Holiday window decorations - Kung Fu Santa and Tai Chi Elf (below)


The Lost Daughter
by Elena Ferrante
translated by Marcello Lino
Contemporary, Italy | Published: 2008 (first 2006) | Goodreads

The Trees
by Percival Everett
Literary, Mystery | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

The Fir Tree
by Hans Christian Andersen
Classics, Fairy Tales, Christmas | Published: 1990 (first 1844) | Goodreads

These Precious Days: Essays
by Ann Patchett
Essays, Memoir | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Wish You Were Here
by Jodi Picoult
Contemporary | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

To Be Featured:
Small Things Like These
by Claire Keegan
Historical, Christmas, Novella, Ireland | Published: 2021 | Goodreads
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!

Five Tuesdays in Winter
by Lily King
Short Stories, Literary | Published: 2021 | Goodreads
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!


Virtual Author event: hosted by Alta Magazine
See archive of this (here)
Original Sisters: Portraits of Tenacity and Courage
by Anita Kunz
History, Art | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Virtual Author event: hosted by Murder By The Book
See archive of this (here)
The Midnight Lock
by Jeffery Deaver
Mystery, Thriller | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Murder Under Her Skin
by Stephen Spotswood
Mystery, Historical | Published: 2021 | Goodreads


AND watched: theatre
Sing 2 (2021)
Director/Writer: Garth Jennings
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon
Animation, Comedy | imdb | my rating: 5

Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show.

Tender Bar (2021)
Director: George Clooney
Screenplay: William Monahan
Based on book: J.R. Moehringer
Stars: Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri
Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

A boy growing up on Long Island seeks out father figures among the patrons at his uncle's bar.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, December 3, 2021

Holiday Movies 2021

watching holiday movies this season


Feel free to make any recommendations :-)

My list so far...

A Castle for Christmas (2021)
Director: Mary Lambert
Writers: Ally Carter, Kim Beyer-Johnson
Stars: Brooke Shields, Cary Elwes
Adventure, Comedy, Family, Holiday | imdb | my rating: 4

To escape a scandal, a bestselling author journeys to Scotland, where she falls in love with a castle - and faces off with the grumpy duke who owns it.

The Holiday Calendar (2018)
Director: Bradley Walsh
Writer: Amyn Kaderali
Stars: Kat Graham, Quincy Brown
Drama, Fantasy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4
loved how the advent calendar plays a part

A struggling but talented photographer inherits an antique holiday advent calendar, the contents of which seem to predict the future. Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season?

Klaus (2019)
Director: Sergio Pablos, Carlos Martínez López
Screenplay: Jim Mahoney, Zach Lewis
Original story by: Sergio Pablos
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones
Animation, Adventure, Comedy | imdb | my rating: 5

A simple act of kindness always sparks another, even in a frozen, faraway place. When Smeerensburg's new postman, Jesper, befriends toymaker Klaus, their gifts melt an age-old feud and deliver a sleigh full of holiday traditions.

The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
Director: Monika Mitchell
Writers: Cara J. Russell
Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Whitehouse
Adventure, Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5
for the renaissance man vibes

A medieval English knight is magically transported to present-day America where he falls for a high school science teacher who is disillusioned by love.

Let It Snow (2019)
Director: Luke Snellin
Screenplay: Laura Solon, Victoria Strouse, Kay Cannon
Based on book by: John Green, Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson
Stars: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore
Comedy, Romance, Holiday | imdb | my rating: 5
heartwarming, young love

In a small town on Christmas Eve, a snowstorm brings together a group of young people.

Love Hard (2021)
Director: Hernan Jimenez
Writers: Daniel Mackey, Rebecca Ewing
Stars: Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Darren Barnet
Comedy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5
loved the super cute singing duet scene

An LA girl, unlucky in love, falls for an East Coast guy on a dating app and decides to surprise him for the holidays, only to discover that she's been catfished. This lighthearted romantic comedy chronicles her attempt to reel in love.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Winner for November

Here is the winner for giveaway that
ended November 30, 2021
during the Thankful For Books Giveaway Hop (here)

Thanks to all contestants!


The Lost Apothecary
by Sarah Penner
Historical, Mystery | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Winner: April from Books and Wine


* to see the original giveaway offer, click on the signup link

* I will email winner for mailing address within a week.
Winner, feel free to contact me with your info if you don't get my email
or if you are just too darn excited and want to let me know -- like NOW ;-D

* contest policy

* if not this time, maybe next time

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu