Book Haul | 3

Hellooooo.

Today I have one of my favorite types of posts to share: a book haul! I love getting new books and I’ve acquired quite a few over the past three weeks. Many books I’ve highly anticipated all year released early in October, so I bought a few and ordered the rest from the library (after all, money doesn’t grow on trees). Without further ado, here’s what I got.

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Bought:
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay
Twilight Tenth Anniversary/Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined Dual Edition by Stephenie Meyer

Given:
Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani

What books have you gotten recently?
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Book Haul | 2

Hellooooo.

Today I’m here to share a very tiny book haul. As some of you may know, I reorganized my bookshelves recently. Along with a new system that shelves my books alphabetically in height order and separates my unread books from my read ones, I made a code with myself on buying new books. Basically, I will only buy a new book once I’ve read an old one off my TBR shelf. That way, the shelf can’t overflow.

This plan has been working in theory. I’ve been disciplined, though I haven’t made much progress with tackling the TBR shelf itself. However, fall is my favorite time for books because there are so many new releases that I spend all year anticipating. So without further ado, here is the first step in my fall from book-buying-ban glory. Like a true addict, I have no regrets.

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
Quidditch Harry Potter Funko Pop!

What new books have you gotten recently? 

Thanks for reading.
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Bought But Not Read

As if the title didn’t already explain it all, this is a list of books that are sitting unread or unfinished on my shelves. Some of them I’ve started and put down for various reasons; others I haven’t begun at all. Honestly, I will probably never get around to reading some of these, but most I’d like to tackle within the next year or so. Fingers crossed.

Not Started:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories by Lewis Carroll
Antigoddess 
by Kendare Blake
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Eve by Anna Carey
Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Goddess by Josephine Angelini
God Loves Ugly by Christa Black
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Messy by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan
Reached by Allie Condie
Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Shakespeare’s Scribe by Gary Blackwood
Shakespeare’s Spy by Gary Blackwood
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Not Finished: After by Amy Efaw
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
The Offering by Kimberly Derting
The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

This list doesn’t even include ebooks. I better get to reading…

The Invention of Wings

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I’ll admit, I was largely skeptical when I picked this copy of The Invention of Wings off the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble in early June. Summer reading assignments had just been posted online, and Sue Monk Kidd’s newest novel was the book chosen for the English class I am taking in the fall. Inwardly, I groaned. Not having been a fan of The Secret Life of Bees, which I was required to read this past school year, I dreaded the last few days of summer break when I knew I’d have to sit down and read another of Kidd’s historical fiction novels set in the South. Though I did have a sliver of hope that I’d enjoy The Invention of Wings more than Kidd’s previous novel (the premise of this one was more appealing to me), I disliked The Secret Life of Bees so much that I put off reading it as long as possible.

You can imagine I was shocked to find myself hooked from the very first page.

This novel takes place over the course of 35 years. The story is told from dual perspectives: chapters alternate between the voice of Sarah, who comes from an aristocratic Charleston family, and the voice of Handful, a slave bestowed upon Sarah for her eleventh birthday. The novel is set in the 19th century before the Civil War. Most of the novel takes place in Charleston, though later parts of the novel document Sarah’s life in the North.

Both main characters were extremely realistic, and their individual- yet somehow always connected- plights made my heart ache. I loved Sarah’s brazen younger sister, Nina, who’s part in the story became bigger as the novel went on. There was a rawness to all of the characters; they were unfiltered, unidealized, making the story feel so real that half the time I thought I was reading a real diary and the other half I thought I was a character, too. Even the strongest, cruelest, and roughest characters, like Missus Grimké, Charlotte, and Denmark Vesey, had amazing moments of vulnerability. Reading this novel, I had the same feeling I think I would have if I found an incredibly old diary and read it. I was gripped from beginning to end, and when the book ended, I was strangely disappointed in a way I never expected to be. I wanted more.

The internal conflicts in this novel, especially within Sarah, set it apart. Also, seeing how much influence societal norms, rules, and expectations held over people in this time period really rattled me. Genuinely good people would turn away a friend, a family member, a person in desperate need, if they felt that helping them would hurt their social standing or reputation. It makes me so thankful that I don’t live in a strict, unforgiving society like the United States seemed to be in the 1800s.

The main two themes of conflict in The Invention of Wings are slavery and the subjugation of women. Both slaves and women were treated as property and servants. Both acted as homemakers, albeit in different ways. However, the forms of bondage used to hold both these groups differed tremendously. Slaves were bound by law to their owners, and people of the South used the Bible to justify slavery. Women were bound by society to predetermined fates, and were treated as pariah if they strayed from their traditional roles. The Bible was used to support the inferiority of women, too. As Handful once told Sarah, “My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.” Both groups suffered from the oppression they faced.

I really and truly learned a lot from this novel. I am thankful that it was required to read for school, because otherwise I would never have considered reading it. I think it’s a book that everyone should read, though I know not everyone will. I fully recommend it. And who knows, maybe I’ll even pick up Sue Monk Kidd’s next novel.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd | Goodreads

New Agenda

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Kate Spade 17-month ‘large’ agenda in “bookshelf”

One of my favorite parts of going back to school is getting a new agenda. I always feel the need to be on top of everything that needs to be done, and I organize my entire life with my planner. Over summer, I tend to forgo my agenda and make daily lists on post-it notes of what I need to do or remember. By August, I am yearning for my organized book of schedules, to-do lists, and random little notes and ideas. Every year, I try out a different type of agenda, and this year I decided to go with Kate Spade (last year was Lilly Pulitzer, the previous year was Bloom Daily Planner, and the year before that was an agenda I picked up at Office Depot). Each year, the planner I choose works even better than the last one, and I almost bought another Lilly planner this year. I loved the functionality and colorfulness of my Lilly planner, and I knew it would perfectly suit my needs for the upcoming school year. However, I felt the desire once again to try something new, mainly because Lilly Pulitzer and the preppiness the brand stands for is not at all my style.

Obviously, I needed an agenda that ran on an academic calendar (August-July), and I wanted one that resembled my Lilly agenda’s setup. I had admired the 2014 Kate Spade agendas and decided to look at the 2015 collection. I was immediately drawn to the bookshelf print: it’s colorful, quirky, and covered in books! The spirals are protected by a spine, it runs from August 2014 to December 2015, and the only main difference from my Lilly planner is there isn’t a separate extra section of monthly views at the front. This, I thought, I can work with.

This Kate Spade agenda is beautifully made and a pleasure to look at. I think I’ll be able to organize it similarly to last year’s agenda. The Kate Spade agendas feel durable, though I do have a few minor concerns. My most prominent worry is that if the inner gold foil lining comes undone from the cardboard exterior, the entire agenda will be rendered essentially useless. But hopefully, I will be able to justify the hefty price tag ($36) with an agenda that lasts all year, no issues. I’m crossing my fingers that I made the right choice.

Need an agenda?

Kate Spade here and here
Lilly Pulitzer here and here
Bloom Daily Planners here and here
May Designs here (I haven’t tried this brand before, but they make beautiful personalized notebooks and agendas for reasonable prices. Too small for my current needs, but maybe one day.)