Libraries Around The World

lookbookThere are so many amazing, unique, and gorgeous libraries all over our beautiful world. Today I’ll highlight a selection of wonderful and culturally diverse libraries:

Stunning Literary Harbors from all around the World!

“Bristol Central Library” Englandbristol central library“Central Public Library” Vancouver, Canadacentral public library vancouver canada
“Baltimore George Peabody Library” Maryland
baltimore george peabody library
“Connemara Public Library” IndiaConnemara Public Library, IndiaConnemara as well, it’s just so gorgeous!Connemara Public Library, India2
“Stuttgart City Library” Germanystuttgart-city-library-interior

“Real Gabinete Português de Leitura” Rio de Janeiro, BrazilReal Gabinete Português de Leitura

“Taipei Public Library” Beitou BranchTaipei Public Library, Beitou Branch

“Biblioteca Vasconcelos” Mexico City
teechconsult-library-jose-vasconcelos-library-mexico-city-952x392

“Villanueva Public Library” ColumbiaVillanueva Public Librar

“Kolonihavehus”
Tom Fruins outdoor sculpture  in the plaza of the Royal Danish LibraryTom Fruins outdoor sculpture_Kolonihavehus_in the plaza of the Royal Danish Library
“Wall of Knowledge” Stockholm Public Library, Germany
wall of knowledge Stockholm public library

“National Library of Belarus” Minsk, Belarus
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I’m Sorry, I Just Don’t Love You!

tumblr_inline_nlzp7mvEGI1su6hze_500I’m always on the lookout for a great book; ones rated well and with a good reputation among other book-lovers. So, if a book is rated high, within a genre I enjoy, and sounds interesting, it makes it to my queue. However, now and then there are books which are extremely popular, which I then read, and find myself sorely disappointed. Despite all the qualifications for a great read, I’m left hauntingly unimpressed.

Here are a few books that just did not do it for me:

(I hope I don’t lose any friends over this :/)


Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
I can’t believe I’m admitting to this. I am a huge fantasy fiction fan, but I just could not get into these books. I got through the first one and just felt exhausted by it. It takes so long to get around to knowing what’s happening with who, and why. Also, don’t dare get attached to any characters, because well, I won’t spoil it. I thought maybe this was just the way the first book would go, you know lay out the ground work, establish characters and conflicts, etc. Alas, I could only push myself to get through half of the second book. It sat on my night stand for months, before I just decided I wasn’t going to finish it. Now to be fair it is very skilled writing, and there are some really awesome characters and concepts. I am just not a patient enough person to stand the slow pace of it. Also, it’s a bit gritty for me. I realize and appreciate that the author is writing a very raw and realistic depiction of the era, but it’s just not for me. So of course once I officially gave up on reading the series, I started watching the HBO series, which is awesome. I know, I am a horrible literate!


The Magician by Lev Grossman
Rated 3.3 on amazon.com
Now this book is a completely different story (hehe.) I did not like this book AT ALL. I read it because it was very highly reviewed (it has since gone way down) and it was recommended to me by someone who knows my taste. I tell you, I have never been so lackluster-ed. It felt so forced and artificial. I heard the author was going for a “grown up” Harry Potter, FAIL. More like an immature, whiny, pointless Harry Potter, blah. The book tried way too hard, and came up short. The protagonist was really not likable, and there were no background characters impressive enough to like in his place. There was a lot of awkwardness in the book, and no real point to it. I felt like the author was trying to incorporate concepts from books like The Chronicles of Narnia as well, and it REALLY irritated me, because it was not well done. Basically I suffered through it and finished it, but did not continue with the other books. For the record, I read this with another book lover and science/fantasy fiction lover, and he felt the same way. I don’t know why it gets such good reviews, because to me it felt shallow and unintentional. Maybe there is a certain crowd (a big one) that can identify with it, but I’m just not part of that crowd. This books popularity really had me stumped, so I started pondering.
I came to the conclusion that maybe this was the book that I was supposed to read and love:

I haven’t gotten around to getting it and reading it yet, but my interest is peaked.


Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Rated 4.6 on amazon.com
I did hesitate to put this book on this list, but in the end it just didn’t impress me. I think the writing is good and the characters are good. The concept of the book is original enough, and it read well. So, why do I have it here? Because although I can see why other people like it, it just didn’t keep my interest. It felt a bit like a chore to read, there wasn’t a lot of mystery for me because I figured out the whole plot right off the bat. I don’t want anyone to get mad at me for this post. Let me make it clear, just like with Game of Thrones, I can appreciate this book and the reason that it is so popular, I just couldn’t get into it myself. I could probably keep reading the other books, but I won’t, not now anyway. I have so many books I want to read instead, but who knows, maybe other readers will convince me otherwise. I think for the most part it’s just not my style, and that’s okay, we all like different things now and then. I would still recommend this to some people, whose style I know it speaks to.


Dune by Frank Herbert
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
This is like THE science fiction book. I feel like in the world of science fiction if you read this book your awesome, but if you don’t like it, there is something wrong with you. I have never heard  single bad thing about this book, it’s considered a masterpiece. Now for my painful reality and potential undoing… It was the hardest book ever to get through, and I just did not enjoy it, AT ALL. I wanted too, I really did. I was so happy to finish it, and I did feel a sense of accomplishment, but I got no satisfaction out of the actual reading. It was an extremely complex book, and I felt like it was really hard to follow. I had to read and re-read so many times. Now I have ADHD so maybe I can blame it on that, but I did eventually finish it with an clear understanding of what took place. I think that it is great writing, and took it some major skill to imagine and create, props for that! It was just too complicated, confusing, and bizarre for me, and I feel bad about that. In the end I could not connect with the characters and/or story. Reading it was basically a chore, and a disconnected achievement, I felt no desire for more. Can I still call myself a science fiction fan..?

I really hope no one judges me too harshly for not liking these popular books. If you read them and loved them, awesome! If you wanted to read them, don’t feel TOO discouraged, you may love them. I like a good variety of genres and writing styles, but now and then I have to admit when something that everyone else loves, just doesn’t light-up my world.

Has this every happened to any of you?

Do you have any books that you tried to read because you heard SO many great things, but you were not fond of?

In Honor of Holocaust Memorial Day

HolocaustRemembrance1920x1080
January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

On this annual day of commemoration here are a few associated books:

These are two wonderful gifts I received this Christmas.books

“The Holocaust Museum In Washington” This book was written by Jeshajahu Weinberg, the founding director of the museum. There are hundreds of color and black-and-white photographs throughout the book–photos of kitchen utensils, hair, shoes, forged documents, artificial limbs, and luggage and prayer shawls confiscated from the victims. Haunting and terrifying are photos showing charred corpses of concentration camp inmates, a starved prisoner in Buchenwald, a young Jewish partisan woman being hanged in Minsk in 1941, Danish Jews escaping to Sweden on a small boat, and Hungarian Jews arriving in Auschwitz in 1944. The book provides a well-rounded history of  the Holocaust, but I would still really love to visit this museum in person!

20160127_154808
“Once We Were Brothers”
a fictional novel by Ronald H. Balson (a Chicago attorney.) His travels to Warsaw and southern Poland in connection with a complex telecommunications case, inspired this book. It is a story about two boys and a family who struggle to survive in war-torn Poland. I have not read it yet, but I have a feeling I will really enjoy it!

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

 

 

Here are a couple books on my wishlist and tbr list:
(click pictures and titles for more info.)

From A Name to A Number:

A Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography
A deeply personal story about one man’s lovely childhood that turned into a nightmare at the age of 15. He survives 5 camps and a multitude of atrocities. He is one of few survivors, and resides in my hometown of Portland, OR. I plan to read this book soon, I am fascinated by the prospect of it. 

Rated 4.9 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Jewish Traditional Apple Tea
In a saucepan, bring a cup of water and allspice (4whole) just to a boil; add 2 black-tea bags. Remove from the heat; cover and steep for 3 minutes. Discard allspice and tea bags. Stir in a cup of apple juice and honey to taste.

The Boy on the Wooden Box:
How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler’s List
This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s list child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. My watching the movie Schindler’s list is one of a series of events that sparked my intrigue and constant curiosity about the Holocaust. I am looking forward to this book.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Turkish coffee
A method of preparing coffee using finely powdered roast coffee beans and roasting them in a small pot. Add in a little Cardamon spice for a nice aroma and taste. It is also known as “Jewish coffee” or “Israeli Turkish coffee” or “Arabic coffee”

 

Fun Fact: It’s a tradition in Israel to bring coffee to a friend’s house for Shabbat or send coffee in a gift basket for a birthday. Coffee is also an excellent addition to a Mishloach Manot basket for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Albert Einstein

What related book have you read, that really moved/impact you?

Clever Cubbies Lookbook

lookbook
I love all things book related, and I especially love clever fun ways to display and enjoy said books. So, I have compiled a fun assortment of amazing little cubby reading/book storage spaces.

Please enjoy this Lookbook of Clever Cubbies:

unique-bookshelvesI love the style of and functionality of this, so cool! I think I would get a little matching ottoman (which could also have books too, and store a blanket 🙂 .)

house-shaped-bookcaseHow adorable and fun is this little bookhouse! I love that there is a little place to put your book and read! It just need a quaint little stool.

imagesI’m over the moon for this one, I think the design is beautiful, and I just want to grab a book and curl up in it right now!

whaleAnother fun one, it’s just so cute! Also, it has wheels so very functional while being just a joy to look at.

nar-bookcaseIt’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it is clever, and I feel like with a little tweakng and/or the right placement, it would be great!

Chairs-bookcase-for-readersThis one doesn’t look too comfortable, but you never know! I just love that its a little burst of books!

fa88921fec0cbdac5091397c0ae7e75eSuch a cozy clever little chair. This would be great in a kids room or in any book nook. The space saving always appeals to me.

4836d66d87d37f7648df3f68ce051158This one is just SO pretty! I would just throw in a couple of pillows and a blanket and lounge. Oooh maybe dangle a tiny little light from the top. 😀


Did you love any of these?
Which is your favorite?
~*~

Enchanting Wishlist

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As I’ve said before I love enchanting books. Books that are eerie and magical, meaningful and uplifting. Books that are filled with spirit, and make you want to read them like poetry. I have read plenty, but there are so many out there. I have a list of books of this nature piling up.

Here is my wishlist of enchanting reads:

(Click any picture or title for more info.)

Wildwood Dancing
High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Enchantment
As one of the most consistently exciting writers to emerge in the last twenty-five years, Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create. Now, in Enchantment, Card works his magic as never before, transforming the timeless story of Sleeping Beauty into an original fantasy brimming with romance and adventure.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com


Garden Spells
In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it… The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
 Enchanted Apple Chai

Get your cauldron out, heat; cider, cinnamon sticks, allspice, ginger, cloves, orange slices, and lemon slices to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Add black tea (in bags or floating steeper) and simmer 15 more minutes. Best served hot and with or without a dash of cream.

Have you read any of these books?
What whimsical delights are on your wishlist, or do you recommend?