Top 5 Wednesday T5W
#T5W, Books

Top 5 Wednesday: Book Covers You’d Live In

We all love a good cover but what are some covers you’d like to be transported into? 

(All Top 5 Wednesday info here)

I’m not going to do a big intro.
Here we go..

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets JK Rowling

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Of course I want to live inside the Harry Potter books…

Winter's tale Mark Helprin

Ssssttt I started reading this book a loooooong time ago and still haven’t finished it. As you can tell, it’s pretty massive. I was enjoying the story too… but for some reason I put it down. The part I read was very atmospheric and if it were winter here, I’d climb right into that book.

tigers in red weather liza klaussmann

This book just screams summer. I wouldn’t want to end up in the story.. just in the general area 😉

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet jamie ford

I’m not a 100% sure what this book is about. I saw in in the second hand bookstore and I liked it so I took it home. I would definitely walk around in the scene behind that cover!

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Ah, the sea… I love, love, love the sea. I think once you’ve lived by the coast, you will never be able to shake it off completely. Sometimes I really miss the smell, the wind in my hair, the feeling of the sand between my toes and the roar of the waves.

Which one is your favorite?

Books

Blogmas Day 5: Wintery Reads Recommendations

Looking out your window and not seeing any signs of winter yet? Want to find that snowy, cold and Christmassy feeling?
Or is it already freezing where you live and are you looking for an atmospherical novel to bury yourself under a mountain of blankets with?

Here are some books I would recommend for the colder months of the year.

  1. Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

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The setting for this book is the Icelandic winter of 1829. It is so rich in detail that it pulls you in entirely. This is the story of a woman who is charged with the murder of her lover. She can’t go to prison so she’s brought to a farm to work and live with the family there. As if that doesn’t sound interesting enough already, this is also based on historical facts.
Find my review here.

2. Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin

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I have not actually finished this book (it’s huuuuuge) but the moment I started reading it, I loved it immediately. It’s funny, sad, romantic and very difficult to explain without giving to much away.
The story follows a thief, Peter Lake, who breaks in to a mansion to find a woman, Beverly Penn. She knows of course that he was going to steal from her but decides to forgive him. The two fall madly in love. But Beverly is very ill and it seems that her days are numbered.
This is only a fraction of the story. It has action (ganster Pearly Soames, who’s after Peter), fantasy (a white horse that saves Peter, that sometimes has wings) and magic.
If you are looking for a book you can disappear into for days, this might just be the one.

3. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

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I know, I know, everyone always puts this classic on their winter reads-list. Until I read it, I couldn’t understand why, but now I do. There is something so isolating about winter in this books (you can find it in Jane Eyre as well). Now you just take the car to visit your friends and family, back then you were pretty much confined to your home.
I think those dark and cold winter evenings/nights are the perfect time to catch up with some classics. Most of the time they are slow reads and now you have plenty of time to read them. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, find something delicious to eat and make yourself comfortable.

4. Life after Life – Kate Atkinson

Life after Life cover

A baby girl dies at birth only to be born again under the same circumstances and live. Ursula Todd lives the most complicated life, every time she dies, she starts over and lives her life to another possible outcome. Sometimes it takes different possibilities to survive and then she keeps on living until death finds her again.
This book does not only take place during wintertime (it spans a whole life so that wouldn’t be possible) but some of the most beautiful chapters feature the snowy season.
To quote “Me” from last night’s Doctor Who season finale: “Some things can be sad and beautiful at the same time.” Well, this is one of those things.
If you want to know more about the book, you can find my review here.

5. The tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling

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Let’s be fair, it wouldn’t be a Christmassy list if it didn’t, in some way or form, have Harry Potter on it.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a little book of fables/fairy tales/myths which also tells you the origin story of the Deathly Hallows (The Three Brothers). It’s a good idea for reading in-between Christmas Parties and family visits because all the stories are pretty short.
Also, it brings back the HP memories without having to reread the whole series ;).

What are your favourite winter reads?

Love

Ellen

Random

Blogmas Day 2: My Christmas TBR

I don’t normally plan TBR’s but I thought I would do one for this month. Being unemployed also means extra reading time when I’m not going on interviews or searching the world-wide web for job openings.

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Extra reading time means that I feel obliged to work my way through some of the books that have been on my shelf for a while, along with some that I really want to read.

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I probably won’t finish all of these books but they are the ones I want to read during my Blogmas adventure.

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First of there is ‘Jane Eyre‘ by Charlotte Brontë. There are two reasons for putting this book on my list:

1) It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for three years now, I bought it for our wedding. We used books for the seating arrangements..
2) Sanne from @booksandquills is doing #JaneEyreWeek on YouTube. So you might want to check her channel for a whole lot of Jane Eyre goodness. Even if you’re reading this in the future, you should still go and subscribe to her because she is a-ma-zing!! I adore her, not just because she speaks Dutch like me, but also because her video content is always on point.

These two reasons made it unavoidable and I’m actually looking forward to reading this book.
In case you didn’t know, this is what the book is about:
After a lonely and simply tragic childhood, Jane finds work as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There she meets the darkly fascinating Mr Rochester. But Thornfield also holds a secret!

Ooooooh.. suspense 😉

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Secondly there’s ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard‘ by J.K. Rowling.
This little book contains five fairy tales, with commentary and notes by Albus Dumbledore. It’s a short read with only 105 pages. It was released along with Fantastic beasts and where to find them and Quidditch through the ages (I only own this one, I’ll buy the others too one day).

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Next on the list is ‘Fangirl‘ by Rainbow Rowell, this must have been one of the most talked-about books of the last year (maybe even two years). I have written fanfiction in the past and I still love to read it. I think I’ll find a lot of myself in this book. I really hope I’ll like it. I don’t want to be disappointed!

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I’m 1/3 of the way through ‘Winter’s Tale‘ by Mark Helprin. I have been loving the writing so far but I had to put it down for a while and read something else because it was a bit much. The book is over 700 pages so a big book. I’m not planning on finishing this before Christmas but I want to keep on reading little bits every once in a while. Maybe I’ll finish it before spring arrives.

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And last but not least there is ‘Maus‘ by Art Spiegelman, a graphic novel about the Second World War where the Jews are mice and the Nazis are cats. I’m on page 78 of the 295 and I’m intrigued. The idea is simple but the story that’s being told is a though one. Art Spiegelman tells us the true story of what happened to his father during the war. He gives you the complete history, not just what happened on the frontlines but also the story of the people who were left behind and the time leading up to the war.
It’s too soon to give you my thoughts on this book, once I finish it, I’ll give you a full review.

That’s what I plan on reading during the next couple of weeks.
What are you reading?

Love

Ellen

#T5W

#T5W: Top first sentences

It’s Top 5 Wednesday tiiiime!

This week I searched for some really great first sentences. Sometimes I read the first sentence and just know that I’m going to love the book.
Here are some of my favorites.. And yes, I might have cheated a little.. 😉

5) A walk to remember – Nicholas Sparks

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When I was seventeen, my life changed forever.

I love this book and I love the movie. There is no way that I don’t end up crying when I’m reading or watching this story. It’s so honest and sad and beautiful…

He tells me his life has changed? I believe him!

4) Room – Emma Donoghue

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Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.

Technically two sentences but I warned you that I was going to cheat. Now that you know I’m serious, prepare yourself ’cause I’m going to do it again in a minute!
This book.. Waauw.. It amazes me every time I open it. The writing is so pure and childlike, but as a grown-up you can find so many details if you read between the lines.
(I did a quick review of this book here.)

3) The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

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It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard being the one who stays.

Have you read this book? If you haven’t, you should! This book is about time and the fact that there is never enough. There’s a lot of waiting involved and waiting for the man you love is hard.
There were soooo many feels in this book. It’s all so unfair. Tears were shed.. You should really read it…

2) Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin

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There was a white horse, on a quiet winter morning when snow covered the streets gently and was not deep, and the sky was swept with vibrant stars, except in the east, where dawn was beginning in a light blue flood.

Yes, this story starts with a white horse. I was quite surprised but fell in love all the same during that first sentence.
This is the book I’m currently reading. So much has happened already and I’m not even halfway through.. I keep rereading sentences because they are so beautiful. It’s going to take me forever to finish ;).

1) The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

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First the colours. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.

Words cannot describe how much I love this book. Just reading the first page makes me both insanely happy and incredibly sad. Yes, this story is narrated by Death which adds to the amazingness of the book.

 

There are a lot of great “first sentences” I did not include in my little list..
For example:

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

from the first Harry Potter.
The reason it’s not in my list is because I don’t own a copy. It is one of my favorites though, and makes me grin like a maniac every time I read or hear it. 🙂

So what are some of your favorites?
Let me know in the comments below..

See you soon!
Love

Ellen

Random

A church for books

So.. things have been a bit crazy at school.
Not only am I spending a lot (pretty much all) of my time trying to find a place to do my internship but also the atmosphere in class has been.. well not so great.
I’ve been trying to stay positive, we’re taking these classes to learn all kinds of management skills and I’m convinced that these 4 months will help me find a job.
Not everyone feels the same though and to be honest, they’ve been getting me down.
I know that things will improve eventually. I’ll find a place to do my internship and eventually I’ll find a job that I love, maybe those two will turn out to be one and the same.
But I have to tell you, it’s hard to keep on smiling when everyone’s being so negative..

Aaaaanyways.. almost two weeks ago we went to Maastricht for the weekend.
There was one place I just had to go..

Dominicanen kerk Maastricht
Isn’t this just the most amazing bookshop you have ever seen?
I can’t even describe how much I love this place!!

Let me just tell you a little bit about this shop because for a while things weren’t looking too good.
This bookshop was part of a chain of bookstores and that chain ended up bankrupt, so the shop had to close.

But people reacted and helped the shop become an independent bookshop through donations.
That just warms my heart! The readers save the store.. it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
Now they are slowly restocking but just so you know, they’re actually open.
The crisis didn’t destroy them like it did so many bookstores all over the world.
This church for books survived and I’m so happy that it did!

Of course I had to get a book while I was there and I ended up buying this wonderful copy.

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I’ve been eyeing this one for a while and I want to read it before I watch the movie.
I’m about 60 pages in and I already know that this is going to be a new favorite… The writing is beautiful and funny and… everything!!

I hope I’ll be able to write more often, I’ll certainly try.
At the beginning of May I started the ‘photo book challenge’ on my Twitter account but I’ve missed the last five days or so, so I gave up.
(I’m so angry at myself but I just forgot…)
Hope you’re all doing well!

If things are rough, don’t let them get you down!
We’ll get through this!

Love
Ellen