Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

Happy Monday!

This book review is going to be a little shorter than the last but I have been reading a lot lately and really wanted to keep you all updated on my favorites. I recently read The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan and loved it. It has actually been on my radar since last year and I finally got the chance to read it. It is the story of book lover named Nina and her journey. Her passion for books is very strong and she can’t imagine doing something that does not bring that love into her life every day. The catch is that she also is not a risk taker and struggles a bit with having confidence in herself.

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When the library Nina works at closes, her whole world is flipped up side down. She has no idea what to do. A crazy idea hits her, to run a bookshop from a van. This story takes you through this whole endeavor and her relationships with the people she meets from taking a giant leap of faith.

Several moments in this story helped me remember how important it is to be good, to help those who might be in a much more difficult situation than my own. This seems pretty vague now but makes much more sense when you read the book. I don’t want to spoil anything and this is one of my favorite parts! Beyond just helping others, I thought a lot about how much we jump to conclusions and see people how we want to see them, not how they really are or how they want to be seen.

It is overall just a great read that is very heartwarming while also being a quick, easy read. I am looking forward to reading some more of Colgan’s books!

Erin

Book Round Up

About every three months I am going to be rounding up all the books I have read in that time. This will be a good way for me both keep track of everything I have read and to share what I have been reading. In that time I also have some personal goals to read a variety of different genres including at least one newer book and one non-fiction. I will go ahead and do a short verdict on each book I include.

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Capture Your Style: For anyone interested in media/blogging etc. this is a really useful book. It helped me think a lot about instagram as a platform and how to utilize it. I really liked her approach to thinking about not just the photos you posts but your feed as a whole. You are telling a story and that should be easy to follow and understand.

The Rules of Magic: Because I did a whole review on this book I won’t go into detail but I absolutely loved this book. Read more here.

Sense and Sensibility: Jane Austin is a favorite of mine but her books can be slower since the language is a little more difficult and the pace in general is a lot slower. This is the one Austen book that I knew nothing about so it was great to read. I actually listened to it as an audiobook while driving back from South Carolina and I think that actually helped me get through it.

Reason for Hope: This is Jane Goodall’s autobiography and it was incredible. I found it to be one of the most honest accounts of life I have ever read. She goes into so much more than just her experience as a scientist. She talks a lot about spirituality and her struggle with humanity and violence.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry: Neil DeGrasse Tyson has always been so intriguing to me. I loved Cosmos and have always been fascinated by the stars. This book breaks down quite a few astrological concepts into manageable pieces and understandable language.

Everyman’s Poetry by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: I am not big into poetry but since I loved The Psalm of life so much I decided to try some more of Longfellow’s work. I highly enjoyed it and am opening up a lot to poetry in general.

Harry Potter: I am lumping the second, third and forth together since they are all books I have read many times before. There is something so comforting about re-reading beloved classics. This time was even more special because I was listening to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text throughout. I feel like I thought about many events and characters in such different ways than how I have in the past.

During the very first week of 2018 I was finishing up Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes but I included that in my 2017 favorites so you have find that here. Thanks for reading! I am always eager for reading suggestions so feel free to comment with your favorites.

Erin

Life Update No. 3

With a lovely trip to South Carolina, this month has been a pretty exciting one. I have been focusing a lot on working, reading and seeing friends. Side note: when I was young one of my favorite activities was visiting the library and I feel like I just re-discovered how much I enjoy that. I have spent lots of free time just browsing the shelf. It also makes reading so affordable! The trip to Myrtle Beach and Charleston broke the daily work routine up which really nice. I got to eat lots of seafood, hang out on the beach, enjoy great company and discover a new city.

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Big exciting changes are happening for me this week. I made a last minute decision over the weekend to move back home to Boulder. The move was going to happen but I decided that I really wanted to be home for Easter so I moved everything up by about two weeks. There were lots of reasons that led to this decision but in short I have been feeling very torn between two places and unable to really give myself to starting a new chapter in life. The last minute decision has made everything this week very crazy. I have been going non stop since Saturday morning, working, catching up/saying goodbye to lots of people and packing. As crazy and stressful as it is, I know how much better it will be to have things here fully wrapped up. I will then be able to put myself fully into my goals for the next few months.

Watching: I have two shows that I have been watching over the past month, Altered Carbon and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Aiden and I started watching Altered Carbon together since we haven’t found a show we both liked since The Good Place. Altered Carbon is a futuristic show that grapples a lot with class differences and how the wealthy control the world in a whole new way. It can be pretty violent but overall I am really enjoying it. The other show I have been into lately is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. This is actually one that I am getting back into after watching the first season last year. I love a good murder mystery and the female lead in this one just makes it for me. If you are looking for some great vintage style inspiration then this is your perfect show as well. I am also into the soundtrack (lots of jazzy music).

Listening: Siembra by Bomba Estéreo has been on my playlist for a little while now but I recently have started to listen to it on repeat. I love everything about it.

Reading: I have finished quite a few books since my last Life Update post but I am currently in the middle of The Tudors. This is the first historical non-fiction book I have read in a really long time. It recaps the whole reign of the Tudor family in England. For some reason I am finding it very intriguing and I like the writing style of G.J. Meyers (it is much more understandable). I realized how little I know about non-US history so I am trying to branch out. The role of religion has especially captured my attention throughout this book since it is historically has such a big presence and that presence has carried into the modern world. In short this book is very out of my comfort zone but I am really liking it.

Wearing: Recently button down shirts have captured my attention. They have always been a staple but I have recently discovered just how versatile they are. One project of mine is to find some button downs that fit well at thrift shops and alter them.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Erin

Book Review: The Rules of Magic

Last week I read The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman, while we were at the beach in South Carolina. I knew it would be good since it is the prequel to Practical Magic and it has been highly recommended. What I did not realize was just how much I would love it and how much it would impact me. Because it was so significant, I have decided to devote an entire post to my thoughts on it. I will not spoil the actual story or ending, but rather talk about the themes that I related to and that impacted me.

The story is entirely separate from Practical Magic, but is about the same family and has similar themes. It is the story of Jet and Franny (the aunts from Practical Magic) and their journeys in life. The family has been cursed in love for hundreds of years. Each generation has their own complex experience. In brief summary, three siblings Jet, Franny and Vincent struggle in their relationships with each other, their parents and their significant others, while also coming to terms with their family’s history and origins. There mother does not talk of her family or the secret’s that are held deep within her past, making the journey of discovery all the more difficult.

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Despite the premise of magical roots, the story turned out to be very relatable. Much conflict within their stories are things that we all face throughout life. Finding yourself, family, love, relationships, death and grief.

This story helped me come to terms with so many things in ways I had not thought about. A major theme, especially in the beginning, is connection to family and how ignoring/denying where you come from will never end well. This is shown through the lens of witches denying who they are, in large part to find love and get away from the legendary curse, and the consequences that ensue. It struck a chord with me because I do believe that those who came before us make up a large part of who we are, although we may deny this at times in our lives. Embracing this could bring about great things and cherished relationships. The first part of the book takes place throughout the teenage years of the siblings and I found their experience and feelings to be very similar to my own in that time of life. This drew me in immediately.

The second element of this book that was important to me was that of grief and death. This is a very human subject that can be so difficult to deal with in reality. There are lots of books that involve death but this one brought out the grief process in a way I never experienced. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail, but the subject of death and grief are very prevalent and incredibly relatable. The loss of someone we love so dearly can feel like the whole world crashing in. It might feel like we lose a piece of ourself. The loss in this book brought that reality to fruition and really challenged me to think about how the losses in my life have effected me and how I deal with grief.

Loss goes along with the importance of love because death (and the potential for loss) creates a fear when it comes to love. Opening yourself up to love can be incredibly difficult when loss has been a big part of your life. The fear of loss and pain are so much more real when you have people that are so very important to you. The curse of the family in love brings the fear of losing someone into close proximity. Fear of loss is ever present and cannot be ignored or hidden. Through out the story I thought a lot about what it means to love others despite your own potential to experience great hurt.

As you might guess, I highly recommend this book. It is written beautifully and the characters are developed in a truly remarkable way. I would love to hear any thoughts you have had if you have read this book (or otherwise). I am also always looking for book recommendations!

Erin

Life Update No. 2

Time is flying by, as it always seems to do. February is almost over already which is blowing my mind. We have had some crazy warm days lately which has been a sort of spring tease.

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I am currently working for the college I went to and really loving it. The work is just so interesting and I love the professors I work with/for. We are doing some really interesting research that has made me so much more passionate about climate and our place as humans in relation to other species that inhabit the world. As much as I love the work and the people I still am struggling quite a bit with the environment since I did graduate and I am very ready to move on. In general I also am not crazy about Indiana and miss the mountains! The Olympics really having me itching to ski. Alpine skiing used to be such a big part of my life and I miss that a lot, especially right now.

A great thing about being in this area though is that I have a couple college friends who are still in the area and it has been really great to see them often. My friend Dörte had the genius idea of going to IKEA in Cincinnati last weekend and it was super fun. I love just wondering around and getting ideas for future home design/decor. We also did a little shopping and got to talk a lot. I also have watched a ton of Olympic events with another friends which has been so fun. I have been able to see lots of people in the past month and talk to even more which has been so great for me.

I am on a serious reading train right now. I mentioned a while back how I was re-reading Harry Potter and I am now almost done with The Goblet of Fire. I decided to listen to the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text which I mentioned on my podcast favorites. I am finally caught up to the current episode which is so exciting for me! Here are the other things that have filled my time/thoughts lately:

Reading: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, I actually just finished this book and it really put the human experience in a much broader perspective for me. It was a little depressing for a while because I thought so much of how small we are but Neil De Grass Tyson talks about this in the end so it is definitely worth it. I love his interpretation of things.

Watching: Grace and Frankie, I started this maybe last week and am only six episodes in but it is a super funny and interesting show. The perspective just feels so different. I also bing watched The Good Place at the end of January and realized I never talked about it on the blog. It is probably my favorite show of all time though.

Movie: Aiden convinced me to watch The Shawshank Redemption. I don’t love dark movies so I was skeptical but I actually really liked it, especially the ending.

Eating healthy: I am really committed to eating healthier. For breakfast I try to have an egg and sausage (maybe on a piece of toast), grapefruit or yogurt/oatmeal. At lunch I will eat toast with avocado, a salad or go to the café for a sandwich. Dinner has varied quite a bit but some of my favorites have been veggie pasta with red sauce, a salad with protein and spring rolls with peanut sauce.

New skin care routine: I usually just use a Bioré acne cream and wash my face with soap. Now I am doing a Pond’s cleanser and make-up remover at night with a Neutrogena moisturizer/sunscreen in the morning (on top of the acne cleanser). I don’t have a confident verdict on it yet but I am really liking trying something new and I have such a new found respect for my skin.

Wearing: Pink… you probably noticed as so many of my February posts have been pink-filled. I am seriously loving the statement booties from my last post (from Zara), I have been wearing them a lot and am going to include them in my up coming capsule wardrobe. I also found the heels (pictured above) at Aldo when shopping with a friend the other day. They are something I have been looking for for a while.

Have a great rest of your week!

Erin

Favorite Books of 2017

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I can’t believe this year is already coming to an end! It feels like it went by so fast, yet so much has happened. I decided in early December that I wanted to do a post on my favorite books from this year.

I am going to jump right into my favorites. I will say that most of the books I read for fun were in the past six months because in college it was so hard for me to find the time to read for pleasure. I have absolutely loved getting back into that reading swing. Not all of my pick’s were released in 2017, however most were 2016 or 2017 releases.

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A City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: This book seriously blew me away. I knew it would be good but I definitely did not expect to love it as much as I did. They whole baking aspect was so fun and there were lots of great characters with complicated pasts and intriguing personalities. It is tough to chose a favorite from this list but this book and Along the Infinite Sea are probably tied for number one.

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Magpie Murders: A modern Agatha Christie. It is a story about an editor and her interaction with a particular murder mystery author. I was surprisingly intrigued from the very beginning despite how long it took to introduce all the characters and their stories. It is a book within a book that is filled to the brim with mystery. This is the kind of book that holds my attention through the entire thing.

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Ready Player One: I definitely had a harder time relating to this story but I am a lover of dystopian fiction and this one made me think about things a little differently. I suppose that is why I love dystopian fiction. Most books I read in the genre seriously make me look at things in a different light. Some aspect of humanity gets turned on its side and dissected. I just found out that the movie is coming out next year and I am pretty bummed out. I saw the trailer and the characters just weren’t what I pictured and the whole thing is portrayed so much darker than I had imagined (literally darker).

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Along the Infinite Sea: I was worried that that era of war and tragedy would be glorified and made to sound almost idyllic. However the portrayal of the war itself and Nazi terror was terrifying and brought the book back to the reality of those times. Despite the historical context this novel depicts the great love stories of several people trying to find their places in a complicated and conflicted world. It is truly an amazing novel with fantastical characters.

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Party Girls Die in Pearls: This mystery is a Plum Sykes novel and I am obsessed. Its all about the adventures of two Oxford girls and a murder. It was such a quick read for me and the characters really enticed me. As goes with most murder mysteries there are lost of unexpected twists thrown in there.

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Classic Style by Kate Schelter: These is the best non-fiction read if this year for me. I related to so much of it way more than I expected and just loved her take on life and style. Her illustrations are also so on point. I actually read this during the summer and it was the perfect time. I had the time and energy to really focus on the content and think about how my own life and views relate.

I would love to hear what some of your favorite reads have been this year. I am all for recommendations and am going to start including some more book related posts next year. A big part of that will be a bran new monthly series that will break down a book I read that month. I couldn’t be more excited! I also wanted to include a short list of books that have been either highly recommended or that I am very excited about but didn’t get a chance to read this year.

Turtles All the Way Down (John Green)

Milk and Honey (Rupi Kaur)

The Bookshop on the Corner (Jenny Colgan)

Happy reading!

Erin