Sunday, May 22, 2022

Lovely Books and Things - 5.22.22

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Winner of Syrie James Sanditon/Masterpiece Theatre swag - totebag and socks
2. Pre-screening film tickets to Downton Abbey: A New Era
3. Blogging time at the Garden Cafe

Library: audiobook
Certain Dark Things
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Fantasy, Horror, Vampires, Mexico | Published: 2021 (first 2016) | Goodreads

The Doloriad
by Missouri Williams
Horror, SciFi | Published: 2022 | Goodreads

by Kiare Ladner
Thriller, London | Published: 2021 | Goodreads


AND watched: theatre
Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022)
Director: Simon Curtis
Screenplay: Julian Fellowes
Stars: Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville
Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5
lots of smiles

Follow-up to the 2019 feature film in which the Crawley family and Downton staff received a royal visit from the King and Queen of Great Britain.

AND watched: virtual theatre for CAAMfest40 (xxx">details)
Anita (2021)
Director/Screenplay: Lok Man Leung
Screenplay: Wai Lun Ng
Stars: Louise Wong, Louis Koo
Biography, Drama, History | imdb | my rating: 5
amazing superstar

Traces the life of Anita Mui, Hong Kong's legendary Cantopop star.

Silent River (2021)
Director/Writer: Chris Chan Lee
Stars: West Liang, Amy Tsang
Drama, SciFi | imdb | my rating: 5
Wha...what just happened... must re-watch

Desperate to reconcile with his estranged wife, Elliot stops at a desert motel where he encounters Greta, an uncanny woman on the run from a mysterious past.

Drifting (2021)
Director/Writer: Jun LI
Stars: Francis Ng, Cecilia Choi
Drama, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

Just out of jail, Fai finds a spot on a street corner where other homeless people welcome him. But he doesn't get much time to settle in. The police soon chase them away, and their possessions disappear into a garbage truck. Young social worker Ms Ho thinks it's time to fight this in court. In the meantime, Fai and his friends have other concerns.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Explore: Oaxaca

Explore The World 2022
through books, films, etc.
May: Oaxaca

READ: set in Mexico

Hurricane Season
by Fernanda Melchor
translated by Sophie Hughes
Literary, Mexico | Goodreads

AUDIOBOOK: set in Mexico

Certain Dark Things
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Fantasy, Horror, Vampires, Mexico | Published: 2021 (first 2016) | Goodreads

WATCH: filmed in Oaxaca

Nacho Libre (2006)
Director/Writer: Jared Hess
Writers: Jerusha Hess, Mike White
Stars: Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera, Héctor Jiménez
Comedy, Family, Sport, Mexico | imdb

Berated all his life by those around him, a monk follows his dream and dons a mask to moonlight as a Luchador (Mexican wrestler).


The Spirit of Mexico
by Judith Cooper Haden
Travel, Mexico | Published: 2002 | Goodreads

"A riot of color and commotion, Oaxaca is Mexico at its most authentic and spontaneous."
—Travel & Leisure

Each year, a quarter million Americans visit the Mexican state of Oaxaca, an ancient land where indigenous, pre-Columbian, and colonial worlds exist side by side. Photographer Judith Haden offers a pictorial love letter to Oaxaca, illuminating its everyday life in supersaturated blues, dazzling yellows, and pinks so hot they vibrate on the page.

Compelling portraits of market vendors, folk art and artists, fiestas, and historic sites are matched by insightful prose. More than a dozen essays explore the street markets, religious festivals, artes populares, music, architecture, gastronomy, history, and language, tracing the palpable features of the faces of Oaxaca.

With more than two hundred breathtaking color photographs, this volume captures the spirit and traditions of a valley whose dynamic culture, hospitable people, and rugged beauty have bewitched travelers since the time of Cortez.


VISIT: someday...

La Proveedora Bookstore


* part of Explore the World (here)

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Lovely Books and Things - 5.15.22

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Forbidden Fiber Co. cross stitch kits (here) - just got a donut themed one
2. Cafe Breve Latte - new favorite drink
3. Lion Dance street competition in Chinatown

Book Lovers
by Emily Henry
Contemporary, Romance | Published: 2022 | Goodreads

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection
9 Stories of Finding Treasures
by Dianne Christner, Amanda Barratt, Angela Bell,
Anne Greene, Linda Farmer Harris, Cynthia Hickey
Pam Hillman, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, Jaime Jo Wright
Historical, Romance | Published: 2016 | Goodreads

Mr. Malcolm's List
by Suzanne Allain
Historical, Romance, Regency | Published: 2020 | Goodreads

Portrait of a Thief
by Grace D. Li
Mystery, Thriller, Art | Published: 2022 | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Book Passage
See archive of this (here)
The Ravaged
by Norman Reedus, Frank Bill
Contemporary | Published: 2022 | Goodreads


AND watched: theatre
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
Director/Writer: Tom Gormican
Writer: Kevin Etten
Stars: Nicholas Cage, Pedro Pascal
Action, Comedy, Crime | imdb | my rating: 4
fun and bromance-y

A cash-strapped Nicolas Cage agrees to make a paid appearance at a billionaire super fan's birthday party, but is really an informant for the CIA since the billionaire fan is a drug kingpin and gets cast in a Tarantino movie.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Michael Waldron
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen
Action, Adventure, Fantasy | imdb | my rating: 4
fun superhero doings
saw this on Mother's Day which was apropo

Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.

AND watched: screening with Q&A at 836M Gallery (here)
Picture a Scientist (2020)
Director: Ian Cheney, Sharon Shattuck
Stars: Raychelle Burks, Nancy Hopkins, Jane Willenbring
Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

Despite the minimal news coverage, sexual harassment and gender inequality against women are no less prevalent in science than they are in pop culture and corporate America.

AND watched: theatre for CAAMfest40 (details)
Free Chol Soo Lee (2022)
Director: Julie Ha, Eugene Yi
Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5
asian american history that's a must-see, must-know

Asian Americans unite to free Chol Soo Lee, a Korean immigrant who was wrongly convicted of a gang murder, but once out, he self-destructs, threatening the movement's legacy and the man himself.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

May flowers: Violets

by Kyung-sook Shin
translated by Anton Hur
LGBTQ, Historical, Korea | Published: 2022 | Goodreads

We join San in 1970s rural South Korea, a young girl ostracised from her community. She meets a girl called Namae, and they become friends until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of physical intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path of quashed desire and isolation.

We next meet San, aged twenty-two, as she starts a job in a flower shop. There, we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the shop's mute owner, the other florist Su-ae, and the customers that include a sexually aggressive businessman and a photographer, who San develops an obsession for. Throughout, San's moment with Namae lingers in the back of her mind.


A Room With A View
by E.M. Forester
Classics, Historical, Romance, Italy | Published: 2000 (first 1908) | Goodreads

At the same moment the ground gave way, and with a cry she fell out of the wood. Light and beauty enveloped her. She had fallen on to a little open terrace, which was covered with violets from end to end.

“Courage!” cried her companion, now standing some six feet above. “Courage and love.”

She did not answer. From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.

Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone.

George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her. -Chapter 6

WATCH: on Netflix
Violet Evergarden (2018)
tv mini series Stars: Yui Ishikawa, Erika Harlacher, Raissa Bueno
Animation, Drama, Fantasy, Japan | imdb

In the aftermath of a great war, Violet Evergarden, a young female ex-soldier, gets a job at a writers' agency and goes on assignments to create letters that can connect people.


Sunday, May 8, 2022

Lovely Books and Things - 5.8.22

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Joined a new online monthly book club created by one of my favorite Booktubers, CJ Reads
---> Sunny's Book Club (here)
2. Completed filling in my picks for the Buzzword Challenge (here)
3. Glitter postcards found at Maido stationery story in Japan town

All the Lovers in the Night
by Mieko Kawakami
translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd
Literary, Japan | Published: 2022 | Goodreads

Dating Dr. Dil
(If Shakespeare was an Auntie #1)
by Nisha Sharma
Romance, Contemporary, India | Published: 2022 | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by bookreporter
See archive of this (here)
We Begin at the End
by Chris Whitaker
Mystery, Thriller | Published: 2020 | Goodreads

The Book Woman's Daughter
by Kim Michele Richardson
Historical, Southern, Kentucky | Published: 2022 | Goodreads


AND watched: theatre
The Northman (2022)
Director/Writer: Robert Eggers
Writer: Sjón
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy
Action, Adventure, Drama, Iceland | imdb | my rating: 4
visually stunning

From visionary director Robert Eggers comes The Northman, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father's murder.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently
* image source: Mother's Day

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Sunny's Book Club

Sunny's Book Club
hosted by CJ Reads
YouTube | Website | instagram

Sunny’s Book Club is a monthly book club highlighting both new releases and backlist titles we love.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
by Ariel Delgado Dixon
Contemporary, Thriller | Published: 2022 | Goodreads







Friday, May 6, 2022

Happy release: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Bloomsbury Girls
by Natalie Jenner
Women's Fiction, Historical, England, WWII | Published: 2022 | Goodreads
Instagram: #bloomsburygirls @authornataliejenner @stmartinspress

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager's unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiance was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances - most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she's been working to support the family following her husband's breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she's working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time - Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others - these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.

Excerpt: from Chapter Two of Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

The Tyrant was Alec McDonough, a bachelor in his early thirties who ran the New Books, Fiction & Art Department on the ground floor of Bloomsbury Books. He had read literature and fine art at the University of Bristol and been planning on a career in something big—Vivien accused him of wanting to run a small colony—when the war had intervened. Following his honourable discharge in 1945, Alec had joined the shop on the exact same day as Vivien. “By an hour ahead. Like a dominant twin,” she would quip whenever Alec was rewarded with anything first.

From the start Alec and Vivien were rivals, and not just for increasing control of the fiction floor. Every editor that wandered in, every literary guest speaker, was a chance for them to have access to the powers that be in the publishing industry. As two secretly aspiring writers, they had each come to London and taken the position at Bloomsbury Books for this reason. But they were also both savvy enough to know that the men in charge—from the rigid Mr. Dutton and then-head-of-fiction Graham Kingsley, to the restless Frank Allen and crusty Master Mariner Scott—were whom they first needed to please. Alec had a clear and distinct advantage when it came to that. Between the tales of wartime service, shared grammar schools, and past cricket-match victories, Vivien grew quickly dismayed at her own possibility for promotion.

Sure enough, within weeks Alec had quickly entrenched himself with both the long-standing general manager, Herbert Dutton, and his right-hand man, Frank Allen. By 1948, upon the retirement of Graham Kingsley, Alec had ascended to the post of head of fiction, and within the year had added new books and art to his oversight—an achievement which Vivien still referred to as the Annexation.

She had been first to call him the Tyrant; he called her nothing at all. Vivien’s issues with Alec ranged from the titles they stocked on the shelves, to his preference for booking events exclusively with male authors who had served in war. With her own degree in literature from Durham (Cambridge, her dream university, still refusing in 1941 to graduate women), Vivien had rigorously informed views on the types of books the fiction department should carry. Not surprisingly, Alec disputed these views.

“But he doesn’t even read women,” Vivien would bemoan to Grace, who would nod back in sympathy while trying to remember her grocery list before the bus journey home. “I mean, what—one Jane Austen on the shelves? No Katherine Mansfield. No Porter. I mean, I read that Salinger story in The New Yorker he keeps going on about: shell-shocked soldiers and children all over the place, and I don’t see what’s so masculine about that.”

Unlike Vivien, Grace did not have much time for personal reading, an irony her husband often pointed out. But Grace did not work at the shop for the books. She worked there because the bus journey into Bloomsbury took only twenty minutes, she could drop the children off at school on the way, and she could take the shop newspapers home at the end of the day. Grace had been the one to suggest that they also carry import magazines, in particular The New Yorker. Being so close to the British Museum and the theatre district, Bloomsbury Books received its share of wealthy American tourists. Grace was convinced that such touches from home would increase their time spent browsing, along with jazz music on the wireless by the front cash, one of many ideas that Mr. Dutton was still managing to resist.

Vivien and Alec had manned the ground floor of the shop together for over four years, circling each other within the front cash counter like wary lions inside a very small coliseum. The square, enclosed counter had been placed in the centre of the fiction department in an effort to contain an old electrical outlet box protruding from the floor. Mr. Dutton could not look at this eyesore without seeing a customer lawsuit for damages caused by accidental tripping. Upon his promotion to general manager in the 1930s, Dutton had immediately ordained that the front cash area be relocated and built around the box.

This configuration had turned out to be of great benefit to the staff. One could always spot a customer coming from any direction, prepare the appropriate response to expressions ranging from confused to hostile, and even catch the surreptitious slip of an unpurchased book into a handbag. Other bookshops had taken note of Bloomsbury Books’ ground-floor design and started refurbishing their own. The entire neighbourhood was, in this way, full of spies. Grace and Vivien were not the only two bookstore employees out and about, checking on other stores’ window displays. London was starting to boom again, after five long years of postwar rationing and recovery, and new bookshops were popping up all over. Bloomsbury was home to the British Museum, the University of London, and many famous authors past and present, including the prewar circle of Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, and Lytton Strachey. This made the district a particularly ideal location for readers, authors, and customers alike.

And so, it was here, on a lightly snowing day on the second of January, 1950, that a young Evie Stone arrived, Mr. Allen’s trading card in one pocket, and a one-way train ticket to London in the other.


* Excerpt courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, New York. Copyright © 2022 by Natalie Jenner. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Asian Readathon

Asian Readathon 2022
May 1-31, 2022
for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
hosted by Read with Cindy
#asianreadathon | details

The Asian Readathon is a month-long reading marathon dedicated to reading books by Asian authors. This is an online event that is meant to be easy and accessible for everyone.

This year’s challenge is loosely themed around ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ and is meant to be easy, accessible, and open to interpretation.

Build Your House Around My Body
by Violet Kupersmith
Historical, Horror, Vietnam | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Two young women go missing decades apart. Both are fearless, both are lost. And both will have their revenge.

1986 The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family loses her way in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father and is forever changed.

2011 A young, unhappy Vietnamese American woman disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.

The fates of these two women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands. Alongside them, we meet a young boy who is sent to a boarding school for the métis children of French expatriates, just before Vietnam declares its independence from colonial rule; two Frenchmen who are trying to start a business with the Vietnam War on the horizon; and the employees of the Saigon Spirit Eradication Co., who find themselves investigating strange occurrences in a farmhouse on the edge of a forest. Each new character and timeline brings us one step closer to understanding what binds them all.

The Donut Trap
by Julie Tieu
Contemporary, Romance, Food, Chinese | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Jasmine Tran has landed herself behind bars—maple bars that is. With no boyfriend or job prospects, Jasmine returns home to work at her parents’ donut shop. Jasmine quickly loses herself in a cyclical routine of donuts, Netflix, and sleep. She wants to break free from her daily grind, but when a hike in rent threatens the survival of their shop, her parents rely on her more than ever.

Help comes in the form of an old college crush, Alex Lai. Not only is he successful and easy on the eyes, to her parents’ delight, he’s also Chinese. He’s everything she should wish for, until a disastrous dinner reveals Alex isn’t as perfect as she thinks. Worse, he doesn’t think she’s perfect either.

With both sets of parents against their relationship, a family legacy about to shut down, and the reappearance of an old high school flame, Jasmine must scheme to find a solution that satisfies her family’s expectations and can get her out of the donut trap once and for all.

Love in the Big City
by Sang Young Park
translated by Anton Hur
Contemporary, LGBTQ, Korea | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Love in the Big City is an energetic, joyful, and moving novel that depicts both the glittering nighttime world of Seoul and the bleary-eyed morning-after. Young is a cynical yet fun-loving Korean student who pinballs from home to class to the beds of recent Tinder matches. He and Jaehee, his female best friend and roommate, frequent nearby bars where they push away their anxieties about their love lives, families, and money with rounds of soju and ice-cold Marlboro Reds that they keep in their freezer. Yet over time, even Jaehee leaves Young to settle down, leaving him alone to care for his ailing mother and to find companionship in his relationships with a series of men, including one whose handsomeness is matched by his coldness, and another who might end up being the great love of his life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

May is for Zombies

Happy Zombie Awareness Month!

Elegy for the Undead
by Matthew Vesely
Horror, LGBTQ, Zombies | Published: 2020 | Goodreads

Jude and Lyle's newlywed life is shattered when a vicious attack leaves Lyle infected with a disease that transforms him into a violent and often incomprehensible person. With no cure for the "zombie" virus in sight, the young husbands begin to face the last months they have together before Lyle loses himself completely.

Fond remembrances of young love meet the challenges of navigating a partner's terminal illness in this bittersweet tale that explores both how we fall in love and how we say goodbye when the time comes far too soon.

Zom 100:
Bucket List of the Dead, Vol. 1
by Haro Aso
illustrated by Kōtarō Takata
Manga, Horror, Comedy, Zombies, Japan | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

After spending years toiling away for a soul-crushing company, Akira’s life has lost its luster. But when a zombie apocalypse ravages his town, it gives him the push he needs to live for himself. Now Akira’s on a mission to complete all 100 items on his bucket list before he...well, kicks the bucket.

In a trash-filled apartment, 24-year-old Akira Tendo watches a zombie movie with lifeless, envious eyes. After spending three hard years at an exploitative corporation in Japan, his spirit is broken. He can’t even muster the courage to confess his feelings to his beautiful co-worker Ohtori. Then one morning, he stumbles upon his landlord eating lunch—which happens to be another tenant! The whole city’s swarming with zombies, and even though he’s running for his life, Akira has never felt more alive!

WATCH: on Netflix

#Alive (2020)
Original title: #Saraitda
Director/Screenplay: Il Cho
Screenplay: Matt Naylor
Stars: Yoo Ah-in, Park Shin-Hye
Action, Drama, Horror, Zombies, Korea | imdb

The rapid spread of an unknown infection has left an entire city in ungovernable chaos, but one survivor remains alive in isolation. It is his story.


* header image source
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu