My Christmas Gifts ūüéĀ

I hope everyone who celebrates had a Merry Christmas! I am enjoying my time at home, surrounded by books and baking and (very cute) babies (my cousins’ kids :P). I will be heading back to my sofa and blanket by the Christmas tree in a moment. Just wanted to share the wonderful books I received from my parents yesterday!

I finally have a copy of The Boy Who Lost Fairyland! This is my second favourite book in Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series. I read and¬†reviewed it over two years ago. For some unknown reason, it was never available in stores where I live.

Flora of Middle-EarthFlora of Middle-Earth is the book I was most excited to receive, as I wasn’t expecting to find it under the tree and I haven’t read it yet. It is a lovely book, well-designed and larger than I anticipated.

When the Sea Turned to Silver

Here is another lovely middle grade novel I’m happy to add to my shelf (which will entirely need rearranging with the addition of these two books). I reviewed¬†When the Sea Turned to Silver¬†earlier this year and was blown away by the design and illustrations (and of course the writing!).

Did you receive any books for Christmas? What books are on your wishlist?
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All the Books I Purchased in 2017

Relatively speaking (in book blogging terms), I don’t think I buy many books.¬† I’ve always been selective about which books deserve a place on my shelf. I used to only buy books I considered my absolute favourites. In the past few years, I’ve been able to take advantage of my sister’s staff discount and buy a few more books – books that are new releases I think I’ll love or books that I want to support financially. Here’s a rundown of all the books I purchased in 2017. All books purchased new from Chapters unless otherwise noted. Titles link to reviews where applicable.

  1. Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales by Patrick K. Ford (used, from Mortlake & Company)
  3. Celtic Fairy Tales edited by Joseph Jacobs (used, from Mortlake & Company)
  4. Borne by Jeff Vandermeer (new, from Elliot Bay Book Co.)
  5. A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes (used, purchased on credit from Bison Books)
  6. Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson (used, purchased on credit from Bison Books)
  7. Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nation, Inuit and Métis Issues in Canada by Chelsea Vowel
  8. One Native Life by Richard Wagamese (used, purchased on credit from Bison Books)
  9. A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby
  10. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
  11. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  12. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
  13. Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller
  14. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  15. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
  16. Strangers by David A. Robertson (new from McNally Robinson)
  17. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  18. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
  19. The Good People by Hannah Kent
  20. Tolkien at Exeter College by John Garth (online)

Did you buy many books this year? Which ones are your favourites?

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Book Shopping in Seattle

A couple weekends ago, I went down to Seattle to see Depeche Mode (look how much restraint I’m exercising in not gushing about the show…….). I took time to check out a couple of neat bookstores.

Elliot Bay Book Company

Elliot Bay Bookstore Co.
Photo from Elliot Bay website

Website | 1521 Tenth Avenue

Why you should visit:

  • Stunning architecture
  • Extensive selection
  • Cozy cafe
  • Great hours
  • Lots of events

My experience:

Elliot Bay Bookstore Co. from second level
View from the second level (my photo)

As I only had about 48 hours in Seattle, Elliot Bay Book Company ended up being my number one bookstore to visit. It ranked high on recommendation lists; it was relatively close to where I was staying; it was open late on Friday when I had no other plans. Thirst was plaguing me, so for literally the second time in my life, I bought (and enjoyed :O) a tea from the cafe in the back to drink while browsing. As for books, I bought an autographed hardcover copy of Jeff VanderMeer’s¬†Borne¬†(which my sister and I previously discussed for Family Reads). The hardcover has a design element that the paperback doesn’t have. See the rabbit?

Borne hardcover

Mortlake & Company

Mortlake and Company bookstore
Photo from Mortlake & Company’s Facebook

Website | 117 Prefontaine Place

Why you should visit:

  • Elegant shop
  • Well-curated
  • Rare books and curiosities
  • Good prices on used books
  • Gallery with monthly exhibits

My experience:

Mortlake & Company cardI stumbled across this wonderful little shop during my many walks from my accommodation to downtown. I kept forgetting I had seen it, but I made an effort to stop in just before I caught the bus back home. I imagine I could return to this shop many times and find something new and intriguing on each trip. Too bad it isn’t in Vancouver! The selection ranges from folklore and mythology to alchemy and magic. I picked up¬†Celtic Fairy Tales¬†and¬†The Mabinogi.

Celtic Fairy Tales and the Mabinogi

What are some of your favourite reasons to visit a bookstore? Do you have any bookstore recommendations for Seattle?

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Library Book Haul: ‘Professional Development’

Recent trips to the library have seen me checking out books related to librarianship and ESL education. I aspire to become a children’s librarian. I want to learn more about the actualities of the profession. Happily, my library has a well-stocked section of up-to-date books about librarianship. I think I will find lots to read there. I limited myself to four books on this round because I was on my bike ūüėõ

  • So You Want to Be a Librarian by Lauren Pressley –  This is a slim volume that I’ve already finished and returned. It purposes to answer all your questions about becoming and working as a librarian, but a lot of it is basic common sense and repetitive information if you’ve already attended university or given some thought to the profession. I did learn a bit about the various types of librarians and what their jobs might entail. I think this book would be a more helpful read perhaps for someone who’s just had the fleeting thought ‘Maybe I could be a librarian…’ or for people who have no idea what it is that their friends who are librarians do.
  • Book Bridges for ESL Students: Using Young Adult and Children’s Literature to Teach ESL by Suzanne Reid – Currently reading. This is a topic I hope I can explore further in my studies and integrate into my future work as a librarian. 
  • The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts edited by Ken Haycock and Brooke E. Sheldon – I plan to be studying for an MLIS next fall (2017)! In the meanwhile, I hope I can learn some things from this book ūüėõ The articles look interesting and relevant, with titles such as “Professional Ethics and Values in a Changing World” and “Readers Advisory Services: How to Help Users Find a ‘Good Book'”. I think I have a solid understanding of the basic tasks and responsibilities librarians may have, so I hope this book will fill in some details.
  • Managing Children’s Services in Libraries by Adele M. Fasick and Leslie Edmonds Holt – This book caught my eye because of its detailed table of contents, covering the practicalities of the job that I would like to learn more about. This book is the most textbook-y of the four, but it’s tone, formatting, and size lead me to think it’ll be a good read.

Librarians and fellow enthusiasts, do you have any recommended reads about the field? 

In Absentia Book Haul

The book publishing world does not (alas) go on hold while I roam. My favourite authors publish books that aren’t yet licensed where I’m travelling, or I find exciting new-to-me stories on foreign bookshelves. At those times my sister, who works at a bookstore and therefore gets an employee’s discount, receives a text message: “Lovely sister, can you please purchase this book for me?” After a few months of this, I return home to a stack of lovely shiny new books on my nightstand! I also have suspended library holds and this time, I’ve brought home a few books that were gifts as well.

  • 438 Days by Jonathan Franklin (suspended hold) – I discovered this book over the holidays. I put it on hold in December but since it didn’t arrive before I left, I suspended it until I got back. It became available the day after I returned. Convenient!
  • The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donoghue (suspended hold) – See above.
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (purchased) – Eee, of course a new book by my favourite author would be released while I’m away!
  • George by Alex Gino (purchased) – When I heard about this book in one of my peeks into Twitter, I knew I had to read it.
  • The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente (purchased) – I can’t believe we’re already at the last Fairyland book! I’m really excited to read about September’s parents.
  • Unbound by Neal Shusterman (purchased) – This book was released before I went travelling, but my sister bought it for me as a gift while I was away. I’m looking forward to the stories set after the Unwind dystology.
  • Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook by Jenny White and Joanna Farrow (gift) – This was in a giveaway pile at one of my host’s home. I flipped through it, thinking it was going to be a lot of condensed soup and bags of frozen mixed veggies, but it’s actually more about focusing on good ingredients and whole foods. When my hosts saw I found it interesting, they wrote a birthday message in it and gave it to be for a birthday gift~
  • Japanese Pilgrimage by Olive Statler (gift) – I was happily rambling on about the Shikoku pilgrimage and some books about it that I want to read, when one of my hosts went to her bookshelf and asked, “Is this one of the books?” She gave it to me because she didn’t have any plans to reread it, though she remembered in being an interesting read when she first read it years ago.

Are there any spring releases I’ve missed out on? Have you picked up any new reads lately?