Preview to Summer Link-Up: 5 Books Every Young Woman Should Read

fRelLV1

The ‘Preview to Summer’ blogger book swap is officially under way! I’m so excited. We got our partners earlier this week and I’ve been having lots of fun getting to know a new blogger in the process.

Another Sunday means another link-up leading up to the final book swap, and I’m linking up on Spillerena!

Today’s question: What are 5 books every young woman should read?

There are a lot of books out there that young women should read, if we’re being honest. I think a lot of people will say that there are some classics that are an absolute must, and I wouldn’t disagree about that in the least. But I’ve never been very interested in classics. They have never appealed to me or impacted me the way some other books & characters have in past years.

I think everyone will have different favorites that they think are a “must” for future generations. In my experience (as a bookseller, working with teens) and in my own personal growing-up experience, there are some not-so-classic classics that I think every growing teen girl should read!

1. Harry Potter – the entire series by J.K Rowling (tell me you were surprised, honestly!)

I grew up on these books and discovered what falling in love with books, characters and words on a page was about. I would not be ME without those books, I would not know what it means to lay in bed for an entire day just to devour the pages that one of my favorite authors has written. Hermione was a character that I looked up to and, in a way, still do. Every young woman (and girl, teenager) should be able to have this feeling with books.

harry potter series

2. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

I don’t even know where to start with this series. It affected me on so many levels growing up, it’s ridiculous. Tibby, Lena, Bee & Carmen encompass a little bit of what every young woman should be. Brave Bee, outspoken (and slightly self-conscious) Carmen, beautiful and modest Lena, and the creative yet nerdy Tibby. My friends were these girls. I became these girls. I vacationed in Greece with my three best friends and could only think of the Sisterhood. It’s a story of friendship that every girl out there should know!

sisterhood See also: my favorite book-to-movie adaptation, like, ever. 

3. The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty

I read this series a little bit late, but it still affected me so much more than I realized at the time. Jessica Darling- she is ME. Or rather, she was me growing up. Every young woman should read Jessica Darling, because I guarantee we ALL have something in common with her as we go through our awkward teen years. She is funny, witty, discovers love, embarrasses herself on a daily basis, and learns that it’s okay to be YOU. She is a wonderful literary role model that every young woman should discover.

jessdarling

4. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Growing up, I was always told to travel as much and as often as I could. I’m sad I waited until I was an adult to discover and fall in love with the rest of the world, instead of uselessly spending my time and money as a teenager. 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a coming of age story for teen girls. It touches upon tough situations, love, heartbreak, and of course, travel. This book made me fall more in love with Europe than I already was, and Ginny Blackstone is an absolutely amazing exploration of what it really means to be a teenage girl going through life.

SONY DSC

5. the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison

I had to dig way back for this one, search through my Goodreads & look through all the books I have read. The fifth spot was tough to fill because I’ve ready So many great books that have potential for this spot, but I needed to put something that has stuck with me over time. I read these books in high school and they were exactly what I needed. Georgia is the best, most hilarious character I have ever read, and she just goes through the most ridiculous teenager moments, you can’t help but fall completely head over heels in love with this girl from the very first book. The entire series is worth reading, and I must admit it taught me a good lesson in not taking myself too seriously!

georgia

What would make your must-read list for young women?

Preview to Summer Link-Up: 3 Favorite Books

bbs

I’m always up for a great blogger-book-link-up, and book swaps? Well those are some of my favorites! Today I’m linking up over at I Believe in Story for the first part in what will definitely be an awesome month of blogger book things.

Today’s question: What are your THREE favorite books? 

Basically, the toughest question for anyone who loves books out there. But also? The best way to get to know someone’s style of literature in one blog post alone.

hp7

1. Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

I’m not choosing one favorite from the series, which I realize is what this link-up might call for. But to me, the whole series is an absolute fave and choosing one from the other would be like asking a mother to pick a favorite child. I grew up with these books, like many of us out there, and they not only impacted my childhood, but the very way I would fall in love with books for the rest of my life!

bookthief

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

There are many novels out there that I really, really love… But very few have impacted my life the way The Book Thief has. I absolutely plan on re-reading this one in 2013 because I don’t remember it nearly well enough, but the writing, the story, the characters, everything about this book completely stole my heart away. Zusak is a literary genius.

nineteen

3. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

The first novel I ever read by Picoult, it basically changed the way I think and perceive situations in the outside world. It was one of the first books I read that I not only needed to finish THAT INSTANT, but I thought about the story, the characters and that ending for a very, very long time.

*****

Honorable Mentions: WILD by Cheryl Strayed, Night by Elie Wiesel, Graceling by Kristin Cashore & The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

—–

I feel like this doesn’t even remotely cover my favorite books, but when it came to choosing, I definitely went with the ones that affected me on a much deeper level than just an escape into a new world. I love when novels make me sit back and really think about an outside perspective that I had never previously considered, or when the storyline is so jarring it really impacts my life moving forward.

What would your three favorites be? How would you choose them?

The Book Chat {23}

It’s been a little while since I’ve had time to participate in a weekly book chat prompt, but I’m in the middle of finals and I’m procrastinating, so really what better time to jump back in it?

This Thursday’s book chat is co-hosted by Sweet Green Tangerine & Scarves etc!

Today, we’re talking about favorite coffee table books. 

I freaking love coffee table books. Since I moved my room from my childhood room to the entire basement over the summer, I’ve accumulated a few that I absolutely love, and I rotate them on my coffee tables in my little living room. They tend to reflect my favorite things (obviously) but I have a particular affinity for travel coffee table books, because they’re a great way to escape to a faraway country in the comfort of my home. Here are a few from my current shelf:

401  kat hp

chocolove

The one that is currently on my coffee table is called ‘Italy From Above’. I’ve been in love with Italy or a long time, but I’ve had severe wanderlust for the country since I came home from Europe last August. I couldn’t find a picture of the book, but here’s a sneak peek of the inside:

veniceVenice from above

Here are a few on my ‘want-to-buy’ list:

travelbook   hp2  foodlove

great

Any recommendations for more coffee table books I should own?! 

The City That Never Sleeps

I got home from New York very late on Sunday night (more like Monday morning, really) and since then my life has been one hectic blur. I was right back at work Monday morning, and between working and school, I haven’t had a single moment to just breathe (or blog).

I had an amazing time in NYC, though. It was four MUCH needed days away from the insanity of my life. Although I still checked social media, it was a drastic step back to the 3 hours of answering e-mails I was accustomed to each day. As a whole, the trip was a very good reminder that as much as I love to work; as much as I LOVE what I do, I need to just relax once in a while. It was becoming unhealthy, how much I would push myself to work more, harder, longer hours. Although it was by no means a RELAXING four days, it kind of was. We wandered the city streets, shopped, ate good food, visited tourist areas, and just had a good time between friends.

IMG_5806Dinner and drinks at the Olive Garden on Thursday evening after almost 12 hours in a car!

IMG_5807One of my favorite views; Olive Garden in Times Square was the perfect way to start the trip!

21Mandatory visit to the M&M’s store in Times Square after dinner

1Friday morning was very relaxing; we just wandered around and got a feel for the city before heading out to lunch! It was so nice to just BE there.

IMG_1549The Empire State Building was looking very gorgeous that morning.

IMG_5812On Friday afternoon, I met up with Allison (With Faith and Grace) and she took me and my three friends to the West Village for lunch! We ate at this amazing Swedish place called ‘Smorgas Chef’, and then we wandered into Magnolia Bakery. Afterwards, she brought me to Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment and I just about died. A very wonderful early afternoon!

IMG_1552Vanilla cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery!

IMG_5817Later in the afternoon, the two of us went to the Harry Potter Exhibition in Times Square, where we proceeded to completely nerd out for almost two hours. It was AMAZING. I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of the movies! It’s a huge display of a ton of the original props from the 8 movies, and you can purchase an audio guide as well.

IMG_1569Oh and of course, you can buy pictures of yourself after you’ve gone through the whole thing!

IMG_5834Late morning brunch at Max Brenner the next day was JUST what we needed. One of my favorite restaurants that I know of in NYC.

IMG_5841Strawberries, waffles, whipped cream, raspberry sauce and melted white chocolate sauce. So delicious!

IMG_5851Saturday afternoon turned out to be very gloomy and rainy. After breakfast, we wandered through The Strand’s 18 miles of books, did way too much shopping at Century 21, and then headed to the Financial District to see Battery Park, the Financial Bull, and a distant view of the Statue of Liberty.

IMG_5856Mandatory photo with the Financial Bull!

IMG_1581It’s good luck to touch the Bull’s special parts! We had to take part in the tradition.

4Random picture of us as we wandered NYC on Saturday… We’re good looking, I know.

IMG_1586Saturday evening was St. Patrick’s day celebrations throughout the city. After a bit of relaxation in the hotel room, we all got ourselves dressed up for a night out!

14A much later-that-night, blurry iPhone picture. I love these people :)

IMG_5888Sunday was our last day in NYC, and naturally we needed to spend some quality time in Central Park. It has, by far, the most gorgeous view of the city you’ll find anywhere. The contrast between nature and city is staggering, but so beautiful. We wandered for 3 hours, very cold, but barely realizing that time went by at all.

IMG_5882I adore Central Park <3

IMG_5869We found the famous Alice in Wonderland statue, and randomly stumbled across Hans Christian Andersen a little bit later on. The randomness of Central Park, really!

IMG_5892After Central Park, we wandered around the far too expensive 5th Avenue, and had lunch at Bouchon Bakery in a random mall near where we parked the car. At around 5:30 we said goodbye to the city, and made the 8 hour drive straight back to Montreal!

Although I was happy to find my bed that evening, I miss New York City terribly. It’s one of those places that I’ll never get tired of visiting, and there is ALWAYS something new to see. Four days was a really perfect amount of time to be there, and I’m already planning the next time I’ll get to go back!

Happy First Birthday, Book Chat!

It seems like just yesterday that The Book Chat began, and yet today it celebrates a whole year of existing! I remember getting an e-mail from Jessica asking if I’d like to participate in some book prompts and I was thrilled. Now, a year later, I’ve met so many great bloggers who love books as much as I do because of TBC, and I’ve just loved seeing it grow.

As far as blog prompts go, this one is very dear to my heart (I was going to compare it to Jess being it’s mom and me being the aunt, which feels fitting in my mind, but sounds creepy here. But there you go, I’m sharing anyway). Not only is it about one of the things I love most in the world, The Book Chat has allowed me to share my love of reading with so many people, make new friends, send endless e-mails about great reads, discover more amazing books, and just all around it has been an awesome weekly thing that I have looked forward to every single week, whether I participated or not.

That being said, I was checking my stats, and I participated in exactly HALF of last year’s book chat prompts. 21 out of 42! Today, there is no topic, but rather an open “choose your favorite from the year and talk about it” prompt. I thought I’d take advantage and write about  the top FIVE topics I missed over the year that I would have loved to have participated in.

Without further ado, a more compact version of The Book Chat- the missing links from 2012-13!

1. Book recommended by a friend (June 14/12)
- Want to read recommendation: Before I Go to Sleep by S.J Watson, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts-
Read and loved because of a friend: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Switched by Amanda Hocking, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, among many many more!

2. What have I been wanting to read but haven’t gotten around to yet (June 21/12)
-SO MANY! At the top of that list is the follow up to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight. What a great series. Also, JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (follow-up in his Chaos Walking dystopian series, great read!) and Torch by Cheryl Strayed.

3. Do you judge a book by it’s cover? (July 12/21)
- No! Never. I used to, for a very long time, but working with books has taught me what a terrible thing that is to do. The Hunger Games is my favorite example, it has one of my least favorite book covers of all time. It was one of the first YA novels I read 4 and a half years ago when I started my job, and I loved it so much I vowed to never judge another book again!

4. Favorite school assigned reading (August 16/12)
- I never properly appreciated my assigned readings in high school, but the ones that stand out from that time are definitely The Great Gatsby (which I plan on re-reading this year) as well as Lord of the Flies, which terrified me but intrigued me as well. I also read ‘Night’ in high school, which is a book that changed my life.

In CEGEP I was assigned the graphic novel ‘Safe Area Gorazde’ by Joe Sacco, a war-related true account of Sacco’s time in Bosnia. I never imagined enjoying this kind of story, but I was surprised by just how much I learned, and how enraptured I was by this way of storytelling.

Finally, in University, I read ‘Fast Food Nation’ which was actually extremely interesting and terribly eye-opening. I also re-read ‘Night’, and in that same class was assigned ‘MAUS I and II’ which was one of the most fascinating takes on life in Nazi Germany I have ever read (I have always had a terrible fascination with books set in this time period)

5. Your favorite names from literature (September 6/12)
-Off the top of my head, some of my favorite characters (both written and because of their name!) in recent years:

– Rhine from the Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
– Harry Potter
-Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore
-Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
-Hazel Grace from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
-Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

And there you have it! Another five book chats complete. Your turn! Choose a prompt and answer in the comments. 

Blog Awards & Such!

About a year and a half ago, I was nominated for the blogger Liebster Award, and it was a wonderful honor. This week, the awesome blogger Kimberly Erskine nominated me for the award once again, and I am just as honored and thrilled to be chosen. I love that this award has been making its rounds over the years, and I love that I have been privileged to be recognized multiple times for writing something that has impacted another blogger in the world. Thank, you, Kimberly!

liebster

It seems that the award has some rules, and I’m too-happy to follow along:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!
The 11 bloggers I”m tagging for this award:
Eeep I’m a Blogger| Lisa’s Yarns| Sweet Green Tangerine| With Faith and Grace| Curious Notions| Lovely Explorer| Veni Vidi Vici| Stephany Writes| Girl With the Red Hair| This Unscripted Life| Angie Eats Peace|
Some of these ladies have been in my Google Reader for YEARS, and some are more recent, but they’re all the blogs that I immediately open when I have the chance to catch up on my blog reading. They’re inspirational, they post thoughtful, well-written pieces that never fail to inspire me in one way or another. I consider them all friends in one way or another, and I can’t recommend them all enough for you if you enjoy the writing you see around here. We all have rather similar interests, so check them out! :)
If you girls feel like participating, here are my 11 questions for you:
1. Why did you start blogging, and more importantly why have you chosen to continue it over the years?
2. What was the ONE most important moment of 2012 for you, and why?
3. If you were on a deserted island and could have any three things, what would they be?
4. What is your current favorite song that I should be listening to?
5. What is one favorite blog post you have written? (post a link!)
6. Name one of your guilty pleasures.
7. If you could give a piece of advice to yourself when you were 15, what would it be?
8. What book are you looking forward to reading in the near future?
9. Tell your readers something they may not know about you!
10. You’re told that you have to drop one of your social media accounts- which one, and why?
11. What is one thing that you truly could not live without?
Kimberly’s questions for me:
1. What was the most influential moment of your life?
This is a tough one, because I think there are many influential moments so far in my life that have shaped who I am. Some of them include the birth of my nephew, who taught me once again how important family truly is; another was all the work I put towards getting into my school- not only has it changed my life, but it showed me that I AM capable of doing anything I put my mind to.

2. If you could only have one, what vanity product is a must keep (i.e. blush, make-ups brushes, hair product, spandex :P)?
I don’t NEED my make-up or my vanity products, I go many days without using any at all! I’d have to say that hair products for curly hair would be a big must though (if not straight hair, then gotta keep those curls alive!)and probably cream, because I moisturize like it’s nobody’s business!

3. What is your favorite read and why?
MY FAVORITE READ? Well, you’ll never get me to choose one book, Kimberly, ha! I have about a dozen that immediately come to mind. The Harry Potter series, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. I also spot about 10 more I could have named. This question just gave me some anxiety!

4. What was your dream job as a little kid?
I think I wanted to be a doctor or a veterinarian… And when I was a young teenager I wanted to be a psychologist. That one followed me for a long, long time!

5. What is your favorite quality in a person?
Honesty. I’m a very honest person, I don’t like to play games, and if I can have a straight conversation with you,we’ll be the best of friends

6. Which of the blog posts that you’ve written is your favorite (post that link)? =]
Can I be kind of vain and say that I have a lot of favorite posts? Most of them are my more honest ones. One of the first in the series from two years ago now is called ‘On…Waiting’ and I still love it because it symbolizes everything that I became after the events that happened at that time in my life. I have become a more forgiving person, I listen more carefully, and I have just always been more aware of time, and how it is such a fleeting thing.

7. What is your favorite quote?
I have many. Many of the are book related, and you can check them out on my Goodreads HERE! I have many music ones as well, one of them being: “This world can be ugly, but isn’t it beautiful?” And really, isn’t that the truth? I just love it.

8. Who is your celebrity crush?
Leonardo DiCaprio is the longest running one for sure. :)

9. If you could have dinner with anyone (alive, deceased, fictional), who would it be and why?
You mean, other than Leo D so that we could finally get married? Probably John Green (because we’d get along extremely well, I’m sure of it) and probably Emma Watson, because she seems like an amazing person, and I want to pick her brain!

10. What is one thing you wish you were better at or wish you had that talent?
I’ve always wanted to be a singer! Like, a really good one. I love to sing, I want to work in music… It’s a curse that I wasn’t given the talent!

11. What is one goal that you have for your blog?
Hmmm. I’ve had many goals over the five years that I’ve blogged, but I must admit many of them no longer apply. I think after so long, my biggest goal is to always keep this space honest, and true to who I am.

AND FINALLY. 11 (honest) things about me:

1. I think the person that I AM and the person that people see sometimes doesn’t match up in my mind. I consider myself very awkward, anxious, and overall not great in social situations. I’m told this isn’t necessarily the case? Not sure how that happened.
2. Not a single day goes by in my life that I don’t listen to music. I think I would go insane without the ability to listen to it.
3. My work, more often than not, is a second home to me. When I walk in, I’m comforted by the rows of books, by the people, and by the customers. The smell of Starbucks brewing during an early morning shift? Nothing beats that source of comfort.
4. I desperately want to take part in a humanitarian trip. I want to go some place in the world where they need people to know that they are thought about, cared for, and not alone.
5. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my family. Sometimes, I’m sad that I didn’t have one of those big families with tons of siblings, but when I think of the people I DO have, I’m so eternally grateful that it hardly matters.
6. I’m not so great with relationships.
7. I’m also not so great in school, even though I desperately wish I was.
8. I lack an ability to self-motivate myself in the things that aren’t *fun*
9. I wish I had the ability to pause the day & enjoy a couple extra hours
10. I’m materialistic. It sucks sometimes, but my life is no longer complete without an iPod, an iPhone and all the other comforts I’ve grown used to.
11. I often wish I was one of those bloggers who could make money from my space here. I just love it so much, I wish I could do it all day, every day!

Thanks again Kimberly! If you’d like to participate but don’t want to write a whole post, feel free to answer any or all of the questions above! :)

The Book Chat {19}

bookescape

Thursday, my Friday, Book Chat day! As always, you can link up on Sweet Green Tangerine.

Today’s Question: Do you like to re-read books? Which are your favorite to read?

I do. I love to re-read books. In fact, I think it’s completely underrated and really, if you truly love to read, you will re-read, too. I don’t mean to judge if you’re not a re-reader, I just think you’re missing out SO much.

When I was a child, I constantly re-read the same books. I have one shelf of my old elementary school & pre-teen novels, and I could practically recite any of them back to you, even after so many years have passed since I last picked one up. California Diaries, Amazing Days of Abby Hayes, various titles by R.L Stine, Kit Pearson, and a ton of other awesome 90’s books that I would pick up at Garage sales.

As a teenager, I did a lot of re-reading as well. Obviously, Harry Potter. I loved reading those, but I must admit I didn’t re-read the later ones nearly as much because they were so big. I read the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella several times in high school as well as a few of her other books that had been out back then.

I was also weirdly in love with a particular French series of books by V.C Andrews that my grandmother lent me when I was in high school. The English translation of the book series is ‘The Landry Family‘ and it’s twisted, classic V.C Andrews, and I have no idea why but I just ADORE those books. In fact, I made my grandmother promise not to ever get rid of them when I gave them back to her (after reading them several times) because I wanted them so badly. And in fact, when she passed away, it was the first thing my mother let me take out of her apartment. The books not only have their own space on my bookshelf, but they make me think SO much of her every time I look at them. I’ve been waiting for a good moment to finally read them again, for the first time since I was a teenager and able to avidly discuss them with my grandmother, who had loved them very much too.

Now that I’m older and have a more in-depth knowledge of books (thank you, job in book industry!) I’ve definitely re-read books much less, because I’m constantly buying NEW books. In the last two years I’ve made a point of re-reading favorites, and the more I do it the more I am reminded of just how much I love them. In the last 3-4 years I have re-read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (a long-time favorite), The Hunger Games series, and the entire collection of Harry Potter. I’ve begun to remember, slowly, just how important it is to keep these stories in my life, and plan on re-reading some of them every year from now on. I have a fairly vast book collection, and I don’t think there is any point to it at all if I don’t take full advantage, and crack open some books I’ve loved so much, time and time again!

Some novels I’d like to re-read in the near future: 

– The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

– The entire Mortal Instruments series

– The Jessica Darling series

– The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

– 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

To be honest, I could have probably gone on longer, but I think that dozen is a good enough start!

Do you re-read favorites? If not, why and if so, what are some of your favorite re-reads?

The Book Chat {Vol 17}

jp

A new year, a new effort at participating in the book chat as often as I can. Thursdays, as always, are book chat days over at Sweet Green Tangerine- link up if you like!

Today’s question: What are your favorite self-help/inspirational books? 

I’ve read a LOT of inspirational books (well, inspirational to ME) that I don’t think I could ever narrow it down to a list small enough to share here. I think inspiration comes in every great book I’ve read- whether it be because I relate to a character, because the writing is wonderful & I hope to learn from it, or simply because the story itself is inspirational.

But let’s be honest, this wouldn’t be a book chat if I didn’t at least mention a few right? So with not a whole lot of context at all, here are some novels that greatly inspired me in one way or another in recent years: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, WILD by Cheryl Strayed, Night by Elie Wiesel, I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak, OPEN by Andre Agassi, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Eat/Pray/Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Seriously, I could keep going. It’s crazy how many fantastically inspirational books are out there!

I’ve read far few self-help books, and the ones that inspire me in those are fewer still. As a general rule, I have a really wide variety of books that I thoroughly enjoy, and I have to say that self-help has recently become, when properly chosen, a new favorite of mine. Here are a few that I would recommend to almost anyone.

#3 Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

I had a love/hate relationship with this book because of all the controversy that surrounded it’s publication… And the fact that I had to read it for school. But I devoured it in just days, wrote a kick-ass book report on it and got an A+ (the best grade I have yet to receive in University). I think that says something for its impact on my life. Although I didn’t agree with EVERYTHING Schlosser had to say about fast food (or the way he chose to illustrate his points) I still think this was an extremely insightful book and I’ve never been able to look at fast food the same again.

#2 Blink by Malcolm Gladwell 

I wish I remembered the details of this book better, but having read it on my Kindle, I don’t have a copy to look back on. I read it on a beach in Greece, and was COMPLETELY taken by Gladwell’s research, his findings, and his writing. I have a couple of his other works on my to-read shelf and I hope to get to them in 2012. I briefly shared my thoughts about Blink on this post.

#1 The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin 

This still remains my favorite self-help book, and almost two years after reading it, I still constantly find myself picking it up from my bookshelf for a little inspiration. I wrote a whole post about this book, and everything I said back then is still completely true. If you’re optimistic, constantly searching how to improve your day-to-day life & an ambitious goal setter (cough cough) I can’t recommend Gretchen Rubin’s work enough!

I want to know- what books inspire YOU? What are your favorite well being books, any recommendations? 

Book Confessions

Half the blogs I read on a daily basis have been doing this ‘Book Confessions’ post, and since I love books & have yet to write a post like this one, I thought I’d play along too!

- I think the reason I fell in love with reading is because of my grandmother. She babysat me from the age of 3 until 5, and she was an avid reader her whole life. We would spend afternoons on her couch with our respective books (mine usually upside down, trying to mimic her) and just read, read, read. I loved it! 

– In elementary school, I used to absolutely love ordering books from the Scholastic flyers. Every month or two when those things came in, I would spend HOURS looking at every single book and deciding which one I would ask my mom for this time.

- I don’t think there was anything better than a book fair when I was a kid. Seriously, I would go to those things with enough money for one book, but just love the fact that I was in a room with so many brand new stories! 

– Some of my favorites growing up included: The Babysitter’s Club (what 90’s girl can’t say the same?!) as well as California Diaries, which was Ann M. Martin’s lesser known series. I LOVED those so much. I only had about 3 or 4 of them (I still do!) and I think I re-read each one like 10 times.

- I have extremely fond memories of shopping in the bookstore that I now work at when I was a kid. Back when it first opened there was a castle in the kids’ section, some computers with games & it was honestly my favorite place EVER. On the weekends that I was with my dad, he would bring me there and let me spend some time browsing my favorite books.

– I often think of those moments when I’m at work. Even after being there for 4 years (although the store itself has changed SO MUCH) I am reminded of those little moments when I help kids choose books to read.

- I first read Harry Potter in 6th grade. Actually, my 6th grade teacher read The Philosopher’s Stone to us (she used to read to us for 15-30 minutes at the end of each class) and I was COMPLETELY in love. Since then, my life has never been the same :) 

– Speaking of my 6th grade English teacher, she was the coolest ever. She had a huge “library” in her class and I remember her letting me borrow endless titles from it to read at home. As a matter of fact, I now serve her at work once in a while. Regardless of how much time has gone by, she’ll always be that sweet 6th grade teacher with the awesome taste in books to me!

- My love for reading is kind of blurry in high school. Other than Harry Potter and the occasional book series, I didn’t read all that much. It was because of one of my best friends that I even knew what books were coming out or that I even tried new books! 

– Since working in a bookstore, my love for books has increased by about a million. My appreciation for ALL books has grown so, so much & it’s one of the reasons I re-discovered just how freaking awesome reading is.

I could probably write another 10 of these, but I’ll stop here for now. What are some of your book confessions?

The Book Chat {Vol 15}

It seems like forever since I’ve joined in on The Book Chat, but it’s still going on every Thursday & you can link up on Sweet Green Tangerine today, too!

Today’s question: What are your favorite film adaptations? 

I very rarely like when books get turned into movies, but I’m somehow always sucked into the excitement BEFORE it actually happens… There’s often a *letdown* feeling after seeing the movie, but there is also SUCH a satisfying feeling to seeing some of your favorite books being made into a 2 hour THING that you can re-visit whenever you have a free afternoon. I love that feeling.

I have to admit that my absolute favorite film adaptation of all time is… The Harry Potter movies. I know, I know, they were not nearly as good as the books. You’re preaching to the choir here. But honestly? While I was re-reading the novels this summer, every time I finished one of them I found myself thinking “I need to re-watch this movie, I forget how they managed to reenact so-and-so scene!” Not to mention I’ve become extremely attached to the HP cast over the years.

Growing up, as the movies came out every year, I can’t say I was nearly as excited as I am now that I’m in my twenties. I mean, the first one was a BIG DEAL and the last one was a BIGGER DEAL, but I often missed the ones in the middle while they were in theaters. Now, I own them all on DVD (obviously) and I’ve re-watched them all countless times. They’re my go-to movies. When I’m sick, sad, or just need something comforting, I choose one at random and pop it into my player. They’ve somehow become as important to me as the books themselves, although of course for an entirely different reason.

Some other honorable mentions in my opinion: 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There were a lot of things I DIDN’T like about the movie, but overall I think it was really well done and I’m EXTREMELY excited to see Catching Fire on the big screen!

-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Johnny Depp version). It’s silly, but that man can make any movie awesome and hilarious. I laughed out loud watching this version of one of my favorite childhood classics.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. This movie never ceases to make me cry. I could watch it over and over again!

And the ones I’m looking most forward to? The Great Gatsby featuring the love of my life Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Perks of Being a Wallflower starring the gorgeous Emma Watson (who I totally have a girl-crush on). I think those are going to be some great ones!

One of my absolute favorite book quotes from Perks of Being a Wallflower

There are definitely a bunch more that I’ve enjoyed over the years, but I have to say these are the ones that have stood out for me, particularly more recently!

What are your favorite book-to-movie adaptations?