The Secret Garden

When pressed for a favorite book my default is the Secret Garden. The reasoning behind it is not complex – it’s the book I’ve read the most time by far.

There was a period in my childhood where I read – or listened to – that book almost every year and was a huge part of my childhood and journey as a reader. I still know the nursery-rhyme taunt the children flung at Mary when we had to live with missionary children before being moved to England. I remember almost every twist and turn of the book and re-reading it can sometimes have an unpredictably cathartic affect on my spirit.

It’s no surprise, then, that I have some beautiful copies of this classic and am always looking for more to add to my strained bookshelf.

Secret Garden
My all time favorite cover and one I proudly own!
The Secret Garden
My all time favorite cover and one I proudly own!
the secret garden web
My all time favorite cover and one I proudly own!
Unknown
A friend bought this for me and it is so much fun.
Coloring
Of course there’s a coloring book, because of all the reasons!

 

 

Scheherazade + The Wrath & the Dawn

This is a lovely series wrapped in an equally as gorgeous red and blue covers respectively. The story is a retelling of 1,001 Arabian Knights, the young Caliph takes a new bride whom is killed each morning – as required by the original story – but not all is as it seems and as the narrative unfolds you begin to understand how much more is at play. Shahrzad volunteers to be a bride and as a reader you follow, through her eyes, the story. At times, she can be so irritatingly naive, and other times she is fearless and pursues justice with an almost Batman-like zest.

I would highly recommend these two books both for the narrative and for the beautiful covers.

Between the two books I was able to attend an arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a sweeping orchestral piece based on 1,001 Arabian Knights. It’s big, heaping with drama, and plays with tension like any good story should – the characters shine through and you can almost feel their frustration or fear.

If you are able to listen to music while reading, I think pairing Scheherazade with these two stories could be very interesting… granted you have to be talented enough to multitask, a skill I have not yet mastered.

Best of luck if you decide to try this pairing – please let me know how it goes!

Northanger Abbey

Pretty things have always made me weak in the knees and if I didn’t spend the last 4 years of my life being a poor college student then I would not be able to stop myself from buying some of these swoon-able book covers. Instead of splurging, I’ve added some of these gorgeous book covers to my endless Amazon wishlist in the hopes of one day marrying rich and buying a pretty library… or getting a good job and buying them for myself.

I wanted to focus on Austen’s Northanger Abbey, a book which often will get over shadowed by giants like Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice which have amassed an almost cult-like following and a handful of spin-off books and movies.

Northanger Abbey is not like these regency classics but is delightful in a very different, amusing, cringe-inducing, and naive way. It was the first Austen I read and for that it will always be remembered as a bit of a gate-way drug and it feels so much like Persuasion – my all time favorite of Austen’s stories – and for that will always have a fond place in my bookish heart.

For these reasons and so many more, I’m glad to see book covers of this story that are try to capture the essence of the narrative and take it beyond the tiresome, nondescript, classic covers.

So that’s my round up of Northanger Abbey book covers I liked… or at least appreciated for being different from everything else. Let me know if there was one that was your favorite!

Brave New World

I vividly remember reading Huxley’s dystopian narrative in high school along with 1984 and Anthem. My English teacher was amazing and remains not just one of my favorite teachers but one of my favorite people, she used books to challenge us, reinforce universal truths, to understand other’s view points and opinions, and as a lens to view the world.

From the three classic dystopian stories we read my junior year of high school, Brave New World was the most scarily similar to the world we live in today making it my obvious favorite. Both the social commentary and the challenges faced the characters struck a cord in me and captured my attention.

While BNW does not have as many renditions as some of other books (*cough* Pride and Prejudice *cough*) the ones I’ve collected do an interesting job of conveying the tone and themes in the book which can be so difficult to articulate.

BraveNewWorldPS
Each person in the story felt like a cog in a bigger machine and I’m glad to see a cover capture that.
BraveNewWorld
Beautiful and simple cover. It’s probably my favorite for the lost, hopefulness it reminds me of.
9780060929879-us
Each person in the story felt like a cog in a bigger machine and I’m glad to see a cover capture that.

Puffin in Bloom

Until a few years ago I’d never heard of Rifle Paper Co, much less their creative director Anna Bond whose the leading force behind these beautifully illustrated books. Since then a good friend of mine and way talented artist turned me towards their beautiful stationary, calendars, books, and other things that will slowly steal your paycheck. Oh Rifle Paper Co, thank you for all the beautiful things you’ve created – I appreciate it greatly!

In a partnership with Puffin several children’s classics have been redesigned in typical Rifle Paper Co fashion. They’re cheerful hardcovers which double as artwork and are some of the best book-cover collaborations I’ve seen.

The illustrations feel light hearted as if they belong in a book originally intended for children without being pedantic. It’s a cross over between books for children and books for adults which works perfectly!

I’ll be honest, this checks all the boxes for me! If you ever feel like sending me a gift, this is it (just, please not Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland… I already have that one).

“I Don’t Have Time to Read”

so-many-books-so-little-timeI meet so many people that, once they find out I love reading, say something like “oh, that’s cool – I don’t have time to read.”  The implication is that I have tons of free time, sit around reading all day and have no life.  I’ll be the first to admit, I have no social life but that doesn’t mean that I have copious amounts of time to read.

I’m a college student and for a lot of people that means oodles of free time to frolic about at parties or what-have you.  And I do have quite a bit of free-time but it’s only a precious extra hours between attending class, doing homework, studying (exams and group projects are the bane of my existence), doing the out-of-class readings (yes I am that random student who does the readings in the textbook that the professor never checks), attending clubs, sitting on association and planning boards, and working jobs. Between that all there are still time for things like sleeping, making food (another favorite pastime of mine), family, friends, and the like.

My life, like the lives of many others, gets hectic quickly and I have to purposely make time to read. Throughout my day I find time where ever it might be: between classes, on the bus, on my lunch break, or when I need a 20 minute stop from studying or looking at schoolwork. Because I never really know when I will have time to read, I always carry a book with me.

Once, my roommates, fed up with me bringing books on my dates, stole the book I was reading at the time before I went to the movies. Turns out there was 15 minutes before the movie I could have read but, without a book, I was forced to sit there and slowly get more and more frustrated with my dear roommates for their well-intended actions.

Sometimes this means forcing myself to read even though all I want to do after a busy day is sleep or zone out. I know that like mediation, sitting down to read just 15 minutes can calm me and refocus me. One big help for me is my apartment doesn’t have a TV – yes I still can watch shows online with my computer but that’s allowed me to limit the number of shows I watch.  It helps me better track where my time is actually going and how I’m using it.

Another thing I’ve begun: if a book is boring and I have no interest in it by the 30th page I’ll leave (put the book down and throw it into the give away pile).  This is new for me and I know if might cause some waves with book purists but hear me out: I have a limited amount of time any given week to read and why should I waste that on a book that if painful to read?  For me the choice was clear, if it’s putting me to sleep then it goes. I need a book that captures my attention and makes me want to read it.

So how do I make time to read? Simply by finding the time between other things and being a little picky about what I read. Yep, that’s honestly it.

Candid Pictures from Prague

Winter arrived with a few strong gusts blowing the last of the leaves off the trees. In Prague we had our first dusting of snow land on Sunday which means my days of wandering the streets carefree are over. Now, bundled in layers, you can find me curled over my computer stressing over the all the papers that need to be written, the finals which are right around the corner, and the group projects that no one else seems to care about.

Here are a few candid photos from the past few weeks: