Bookish Gift Guide Part 3!

You picked up the books I raved about in my first and second guide, but read them yourself-oops. You still need a gift. Here are some more suggestions.

For the introverted, calm person :

I definitely tick that box, and I know what it is to just want to read and relax in the peace and quiet. Lang Leav is my author of choice when it comes to that. Both Love & Misadventure and Lullabies are poem collections I go to when I want serenity. Beautiful on a bookshelf or coffee table, reading it immediately makes you feel super cozy. The poems are short and not at all intimidating, so there is no reason not to gift one or both of these jewels to someone.

If poetry might not be the optimal choice, I would recommend One Day by David Nicholls. It’s such a rich book, full of emotions and beautiful nostalgia. This is a story that the reader will carry with them for a long time. But really, anything by David Nicholls is just a treat.

I promise they’ll be happy with either of these authors !


Bookish Gift Guide Part 2 !

This is a continuation of the gift guide I assembled last week. It is important to mention that I’m thinking of books that you could give to non-readers and readers, both. Be the feeder of stories to the ones who have already fallen into the reading trap, and be the eye-opener to the not-so keen on reading type, too!

For the dystopian fan of your life :

You might know someone who talks about conspiracy and how our email is being monitored.  Or you might have a friend who is obsessed by robots, and the ethical issues that follow with this advancement. To fuel their passions, I would recommend the Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman and the Across The Universe trilogy by Beth Revis.

These are of the young adult genre, but anybody could enjoy them, I reckon. Neal Shusterman is just one of my favorite author. Fortunately for me, he has published a lot of books. This particular series is absolutely gripping. The story happens in our world, but fast forward a couple decades where abortion is now illegal, due to the second civil war. However, there is this procedure where parents can retroactively abort their children, if they are too naughty. It’s called unwinding. Kids are taken to these places where they are dismembered, and the parts are sold and/or given to hospitals and various other places. The story starts as three teenagers meet while escaping their unwinding.  The four books are just brilliant, and I urge you to buy the first one and to give it to someone. (I promise it’s not as gory as I made it sound).

To be honest, re-reads after re-reads, this series is as fantastic as it was where I first read it. It helped me broaden my vision, and it made me think of a lot of ethical and philosophical issues. This is truly a great thrilling series that your friends and family members would enjoy.

Beth Revis’ books are totally different. A girl and her parents have been frozen on a spaceship heading to a new planet. They were meant to be thawed when they arrived there, but Amy woke up way before it was due. She stepped into an strange and dangerous society. Written from two character’s perspective, it’s way less annoying than I thought it’d be. Actually, you start to feel compassion for both character, at the same time, something I rarely experience. These novels are full of mystery, secrets and action.

These books are gripping and completely addicting. I’m sure someone you know wants to see for themselves what this new planet looks like.

That’s it for the dystopian, action-seeking person, I have more recommendation on the way!

Bookish Gift Guide!

All my best memories are around books. Reading in the car, heading to Florida; reading away the long, unbearably hot summer afternoons; reading at the dinner table; the couch; all throughout Christmas Eve; reading at school. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always carried a book (or two or three) with me, everywhere that I go. Even now, when I plan to go somewhere, I pack my phone, water, lip balm and a book. My affection stemmed from my early childhood, where my mum would read me multiple stories every night. I now do the same with the children in my family, and it’s too natural to me to gift books to people. Here are listed some books I think many people would enjoy. Since literature obviously has no gender, these would be appreciated by all of your friends and family.

For the kids you love :

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and Harry Potter by J.K. Rolling (Notice how all great authors go by their initials… to consider)

The kids in my life are a little bit too young for these books (they are five and eight) so I might wait a year or two before bringing these series in their lives. I enjoy giving them books for their birthdays and Christmas: whenever we see each other we can pick where we left, or pick up another book.

Whimsical, magical and lovely, that is why I recommend these books. My mum would read me around that age a lot of classics re-written for children such as Jules Verne. I would also suggest those types of books. I like those two books, because they are just fun and adventurous. I don’t like children’s books where there is a moral or a ‘statement’ to it. You know those kind of eye-rolling books where the animal of the forest learn how to share, or say thank-you, or tie their laces? Ugh.

Finally, I’d recommend gifting the books individually, instead of one big collection of all the stories. This way, the kids won’t get discouraged or scared by the size of the project. But you know the kid best; if they are like me, I would have loved receiving the big thing and reading my way through it.

For an audience a little older, I’d recommend The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell. I was perusing the middle grade section last winter, and the valiant saleslady came and told me something that sounded like this: ‘Oh, you might not find the book that you are looking for, for this is the middle-grade section.’ I responded something along the lines of: ‘I know, madam.’ Truth being, I developed, last year, an affection for middle grade books.

As this book is not as well known as the two previous ones I shared, I’ll explain the story a little. Lin stumbles upon this world, Sylver, where, get this, all of the pets arrive after they die. She reunites with Rufus, her mouse, I believe, and together they embark on the journey to save Sylver, no less. Apart from being totally adorable, the writing sucks you in and enchants you. My only remark would be that from what I remember, as I read it a year ago, the ending is a variation of ‘was it a dream?’, but it doesn’t really spoil the rest of the book. It’s has an element of mystery and symbolism that kids might not have had access to, before. There is depth to the story, but it’s also charming and quite easy. I think many kids would enjoy this book.

That pretty much sums it up for the younger people around you. I also recommend a cooking or baking book with illustrations and easy instructions. I hope that this guide helped, stay tuned for the other gift guides coming!

Books I currently am into.

The summer was long and it stretched and stretchered into the school year. I don’t feel like I really settled into the perfect rhythm, but I’m hoping December will be better.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I have that one exactly. I prefer linking to the goodreads page, but I couldn’t find the one I own. I bought it for five dollars at Chapters, a few months back, in prevision of my month long trip to Europe, but I never got to it. I did some research about the stories, but I couldn’t find consistent answers about the ultimate order. My feeling is that it doesn’t really matter what story I read first. I’m highly excited to indulge into that read, because I have highly enjoyed the BBC’s latest rendition of Sherlock Holmes. Having developed lately a vivid interest to everything crime related, due to the Serial podcast, and then later the Undisclosed podcast, I’m getting a true enjoyment from this classic.

Getting Things Done by David Allen

A few weeks ago I tried ordering the book, alongside a few other hopefuls, but my computer didn’t let me. I was thrilled to learn that my school library had it. Now, get this, I’m the first (and only) person to borrow it since they added it to their collection in 2008. I had an incessant battle going on internally about whether I should give it a go or not. After listening to Brady’s rant on the faults of Getting Things Done on my beloved podcast Hello Internet, I knew I had to get it. Being a lover of all things to do lists, organisation, punctuality, neatness and most importantly; improvement in of all those fields, this book is a gold mine of naughty enjoyment.

I’m reading them slowly, taking my time and enjoy the process. It’s safe to sat that reading hasn’t been my priority these past months. Nevertheless, I’m still excited for December! I always get an urge to read around the colder weather.


The Tiniest Book Haul Ever !

Nothing beats buying books. Not even buying clothes, tea or beauty products. Even if I’m a great library fan, buying a book makes me happy like nothing else. Over the past few weeks, I acquired a few books.

The New-York Trilogy by Paul Auster

These days, I’ve been thinking about reading more classics. I dipped my toe in Jane Austen and it was very hard, so I opted for a more recent, must-read book. I already read the first book: City of Glass and I absolutely loved it !

The Naked Sun By Isaac Asimov

I have read The Caves of Steel many, many times, from an early age. I didn’t know there were more books. In fact, there are a lot more and I plan on reading them all. I am so fascinated by robots!

Here ends my little baby book haul!


The Books I read in June.

June was a big month for me. It carried the weight of a whole year’s worth of excitement and experiences. We traveled from Montreal, to Dublin, to Glendaloch back to Dublin, then to Dingle, Tralee, back to Ireland, to Inverness, to Edinburgh and finally to London and back home. It was quite a lot of public transports and planes, so I had a lot of time on my hands to read to my heart’s content. Some books I brought with me and some I bought while I was there. I would never have anticipated how much of a good reading month June would be. Here`s everything I read while on my trip:

P.S I Love You by Cecilia Ahern

Set in Ireland, I had to read this while in the country. I loved the movie and I thought I’d enjoy the book even more. Unfortunately, I did not love it… I ended up leaving it at the hostel. It was the first book I read during the trip. When I left, I saw a man pick it up from the common shelves where I’d left it, and it made me smile.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

Forever and always my favorite book. I brought it because it’s small and floppy and it was also guaranteed that I’d enjoy it. Reading my favorite book on this crazy adventure make it even more special now. It’s now back on my shelves, carrying a whole lot of memories.

One Day by David Nichols

I absolutely love the movie adaptation, but I enjoyed the book so much more. It’s got everything. The story is set mostly through England and Edinburgh, so it was super cool to go to the places mentioned in the book. This story gave me all the feels.

Us by David Nichols

I think it’s my favorite David Nichols book yet. I’ve been meaning to pick it up for literally months, but something held me back. After reading One Day, I knew I loved his style. I finally gave up and bought myself a copy. It was the best decision I made that day. David Nichols hits every soft spot in me.

Starter For Ten by David Nichols

I think at this point it’s clear how much I love the author. That particular book was somehow different from the two others I’ve read. The main character is slightly (very) Holden Caufield-esque while the girl persued is a little bit Margot from John Green’s paper town, but much darker and complex.

Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng

This story is so different to what I usually read. I tend to stick around to softer contemporaries, while this one is much more twisted and dark. I loved it.

P.S. I still love you by Jenny Han

I wish I found Jenny Han when I was much younger. Around 12 or 13 I would have loved reading her. And while I enjoy a good YA, this one was too baby-ish for me. It’s very sweet, I’d suggest it to a younger audience.

Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle

My friend encouraged me to read this one. It’s a short circular story centered around death. I read it in one go, in the middle of the night, lit by a tiny light in the hostel at Edinburgh.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rolling

We went to the impressive Harry Potter studios in London. I’ve never cared much for this series, nor the films, but knowing that I would visit the fan’s den I had to submerge myself with the world before I went. And I did. Now I’m a fan. So I bought the first book and the second one over at the studios. I actually finished it in the plane home.

I read a total of ten books during my trip. I have to add that I had fell ill twice, so that I stayed in bed quite a bit, and the nights were early most of the time. I loved our rhythm. We’d leave early, around eight or nine, do our day. Around four in the afternoon, we’d already be settled with a cup of tea and a book, somewhere in the common area.  We’d read for hours on end every night. I cherish those moments of simple pleasure, because I rarely get that time of intense reading.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- Review

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a sweet story-probably the most known out of the Chronicles. I enjoyed getting lost in this magical world and the journey the kids went through was very eye-opening. I feel as though I can take a lot more from this particular story as I will read it again and again. Here is what Athena and I thought about it!

What is the role of women in this story?

Athena : I find that women are undermined a lot in the book. They are considered the weaker sexe and are treated thus so. When the girls meet Santa Claus, it is clearly stated that women have no place on the battlefield. However, don’t we know lots of, historically, female warriors that defied all norms? While I am an huge CS Lewis fan, I cannot overlook these glaring discrepancies between man and woman. What I find particular, is that in the next book, Aravis is portrayed as a strong female character…except that she has to disguise herself as a boy…I understand that it was part of the time, but it is still a detail I found glaring and a bit annoying at times. It almost seems that, in this world, if you are a woman, you either need to be subsersvient and quiet (ie don’t cause trouble) or be a total bitch (ie The White Witch). I’m looking forward, however, to continuing my Narnia journey.

Victoria : Women are not taken very seriously in this book. We can think back to when the little troop had to escape and She Beaver wouldn’t leave without her sewing machine. There are few moments where all female characters have looked a little dumb, in contrast to the smart and courageous men and boys around them. As for the Witch, she is powerful, but cruel and not intelligent. She cannot be considered as a strong female character. Lucy, on the other hand, is smart and head-strong. She is portrayed as the ‘pure’ little girl: adorable, honest, well behaved, etc. but she is a big part of the plot development. Although women are not standing shoulder to shoulder to men in the Chronicles, they are still involved and important to the story.

What is the signification of the endless winter? 
Athena: I think it symbolizes stasis and the lack of progress. What I mean by this is that, once Aslan left, the creatures of Narnia didn’t do anything to progress. It’s almost like, they knew there was a problem, but didn’t do anything to solve it. Yes, the White Witch is powerful, but the many outnumber the few. I think the creatures were simply too comfortable with Aslan’s presence that they were unable to stand up to the Witch. They figured, oh well, this is someone elses’ problem, not ours. In fact, it is their problem; they have to take care of Narnia while Aslan is gone, but instead, the choice was to let the Witch take over.

Victoria : This is a tough question! I always like to find a moral or some elements from a book to apply to my own life. Perhaps the endless winter might represent periods of self-doubt, instability or loneliness. This eternal winter is definitely a stagnant period in the Narnian’s life, then Aslan, representing an opportunity or a ray of sunshine, comes in and opens the curtain and lets the light in.


The Magician’s Nephew – Review

I am absolutely mystified by this first story of the Chronicles. All the beautiful adventures that take place in the series were shaped from a single sentence in this 700 pages book. We’re lucky enough to assist to the creation of Narnia, in this book. I got wrapped up in Aslan’s singing and that rich, fertile world. This whole story is a breath of fresh air before more intense quests to come.

I use to dislike the fantasy genre, until I discovered the psychologist Carl Jung who studied, the relationship between the psyche, dreams and myths (he did much more, too). I only started to enjoy fantasy when I immersed myself in Jung’s work. I read Narnia with an open state of mind, analyzing the mythical and archetypal implications of the various stories. Psychology, especially Carl Jung’s ideas, is a passion to me and I like to mix it with my passion for reading.

I’ve had a lot of fun reading The Chronicles of Narnia with Athena and Alexandrine. Athena came up with questions regarding this first book, and we all answered. Here are our thoughts of The Magician’s Nephew.

Who is your favorite character?

Athena : I loved the Witch. She was hilarious, over the top, terrible and a complete diva. My heart ached when she was torturing poor Fledge (Strawberry at the time), but she just reminded me so much of the Goddess Aphrodite throwing an hissy fit. I wouldn’t want to be anything like her, but she was incredibly amusing. I also really like Aunt Letty. She may have been a minor character, but she was not afraid to stand her ground and take control of any given situation. 

Alexandrine : Même si c’est cliché, je dois dire Aslan.  Lewis n’en parle autant que dans les autres livres mais déjà on voit que c’est un personnage plein de sagesse et de bonté.  Il est super doux et en même temps il impose le respect et tout les animaux l’écoute.  Il fait preuve de leadership et de justice envers toutes les espèces de Narnia.  Il aurait pu se fâcher en voyant Digory, après tout il a amener le mal dans Narnia le jour de sa naissance, mais à la place il a décidé de lui faire confiance et même de sauver sa mère.  Bref c’est un personnage qui montre de belles valeurs et puis comment ne pas aimer la peluche de poils qui a créé le beau monde de Narnia?!

Victoria : It’s not easy to pick a favorite character! I like them all. Polly is the one who stood out to me. She is bold, funny and adorable. I like that she is smart and not afraid to voice her thoughts.

If you were one of Aslan’s creatures, who would you be?

Athena : If I were going to be one of Aslan’s talking creatures, I would the Elephant. I loved the Elephant in the book; he was very calm, logical, and a bit sensitive. He, in some ways, reminded me of myself.

Alexandrine : Il n’y a pas beaucoup d‘explications sur les créatures dans le premier livre.  Je serais donc un des animaux, ceux qui peuvent parler bien-sûr, parce que moi pas parler ?…  Impossible !  Donc je serais surement un cheval volant aussi juste parce qui ne voudrait pas avoir la puissance, la fougue, la beauté ET la liberté?

Victoria : Aslan’s creatures don’t stand out a lot in The Magician’s Nephew. Based only on this story, I would like to be a horse. Particularly, one of Fledge’s descendant. Why wouldn’t I be a winged horse if I could?

What are your thoughts on the Witch?

Athena : The Witch is just too much. As I said before, she is a total diva. I don’t like her per say, but at the same time, I can’t help but be excited when she comes up in the story. I loved how, when she was in London, and he realized her powers didn’t work anymore and he just went totally batshit. Or how she totally stormed off in a fit when she realized she couldn’t get under Digory’s skin.

Alexandrine : Je l’aime bien, même si elle est l’antagoniste du roman!  Elle est tellement intense dans tout ce qu’elle fait et sa présence est fascinante, elle exerce vraiment un grand pouvoir sur son entourage.  Le fait qu’elle ne soit pas invincible et qu’elle devienne si faible lorsqu’elle traverse les mondes la rend un peu plus humaine.  Elle est soudainement beaucoup moins effrayante.  Malgré tout je pense que si je devais la croiser un de ces jours, je garderais mes distance.  Avec ou sans magie je ne voudrais pas offenser sa Majesté Jadis !!!

Victoria : The Witch is absolutely hilarious! I’m fascinated by how the whole book (700 pages!) is caused by the Witch’s awakening. As for the woman herself, I can’t help but picture her grotesque and silly. In this story, anyway, she is not scary to me, she is quite entertaining.

Why do you think Polly and Digory never went back to Narnia in the story?

Athena : There was an element of closure for Polly and Digory. They did what they needed to do and felt no need to return to the magical land. However, I suppose, if I were in their place, I would want to go back from time to time to check on the cabbie and his wife (now King and Queen) and, perhaps, even, to thank Aslan for saving Digory’s mother. i don’t know, I just think, as children at least, I would want to visit whenever I can. Who wouldn’t want to talk to animals and be friends with a giant, friendly lion? On the other hand, maybe there was an element of fear? Think of it; going into this new world is, in some ways, quite the shock…do they really want to relive it? In some ways, I can understand Diggory’s stance a bit more…his mother is no longer ill and dying and he would want to spend a much time with her as possible, lest she fall ill again (although the magical apple would prevent this). I think there are so many reasons for not returning to Narnia, but its for them to know and for us to guess…

Alexandrine : Je pense qu’ils n’y sont jamais retournés parce qu’ils avaient vécu tout ce qu’ils avaient à vivre là-bas.  Ils ont appris leurs leçons et le reste Narnia ne pouvait plus leur enseigner.  Aussi, les émotions ressenties lors du retour étaient si fortes qu’ils ne voulaient peut-être pas risquer de les gâcher en retournant là-bas.  Leurs souvenirs étaient si beaux que s’ils retournaient et qu’ils trouvaient  Narni changé ils auraient pu être déçus.  Dans mon cas, je n’aurais pas pu me tenir loin des animaux parlant et de la magie.  Les bagues se seraient pas restés dans mon jardin bien longtemps !!

Victoria : I think that what makes The Chronicles of Narnia a classic and timeless book is because there are few stories. Let me explain : we’ve all read series that lasted up to five, ten or twelve books. I feel like the quantity of stories make is less precious. I think that if Polly and Digory were to have many more adventures in Narnia, it wouldn’t be that much of a special book anymore. The Chronicles of Narnia is special to me, because the stories are packed with magical content, not spread out over many books.

More Narnia reviews and thoughts coming soon!



Precious Love Stories!

I’m not going to lie, I love Valentine’s day.

And Christmas, Saint Patrick’s day, my birthday, Easter, full moons, weddings, etc.

I love celebrating. Life is giving us the occasion to celebrate ! I’d be silly not to grab it.

So I’m thrilled about Valentine’s day coming up. I also love love stories. A lot.

Here are some books I’d recommend reading around Valentine’s day :

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I’m good if I read it two or three times a year. I like to remind myself of this beautiful love story between two very realistic, quirky and warming characters. Think about all the love stories clichés, and throw them out of a window. That’s what Eleanor & Park will do. It’ll surprise you. Now, some may not agree with me about the cliché thing, but I stand on my ground. I loved this love story because it made me feel emotions and dig into a rang of feelings I haven’t yet connected with. It left me happy at the end.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

I’d recommend reading this book for its writing style. Being Robyn’s debut novel, it was fresh and unique. However, it’s very similar to Looking for Alaska by John Green. In all honesty, I preferred The Beginning of Everything. It’s less dark (I still love my dark novels) and somehow more fresh, I think anyone could enjoy it. I think I might read it again really soon, actually!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

This story demands to be read. If you love books, quality writing, and perfection, I’d recommend this one.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by  Audrey Niffenegger

I traveled myself throughout time and lived every twists and turns. I fell in love with all of them, and so will you.

Here are the four books I’d recommend you read throughout February to set you in the Valentine’s day mood!

The Chronicles of Narnia Read Along !

During the month of February, something wonderful will take place on this blog & my friend and coworker Athena’s blog ! We will be reading together The Chronicles of Narnia and writing reviews at the end of each book.

I am looking forward to sharing insights and thoughts about the stories and characters we will encounter. Narnia is a special world where my mind wanders to all the time. I enjoyed the books a lot, and I hope you will jump in this read along!