The World’s Capital of Bookstores

Debora Rey of Associated Press reports that Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita than any other major city in the world.  This is according to a recent study by the World Cities Cultural Forum, an organization that works to promote culture. With a population of 2.8 million people within the city limits, there are 25 bookstores for every 100,000 people, putting Buenos Aires far above other world cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York. The closest is Hong Kong, which has 22 bookstores per 100,000 people.

You can read more at : http://www.businessinsider.com/argentinas-capital-is-the-worlds-capital-of-bookstores-2015-5#ixzz3YtLWy3c1.

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

StrangeThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Recently I wrote a post about Wolf Hall’s adaptation for television.  Four episodes of the six planned have aired on PBS and it has been a treat.  I must say that the ideal way to enjoy Wolf Hall is to read the novel and then watch the program.  The television production has been true to Hillary Mantel’s work.

There is another must watch television adaptation coming this summer and I can’t wait.  Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was long listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2004, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2005, was a Guardian First Book Award Nominee in 2004, etc.  In my humble opinion the book is deserving of every award it won and were I to compile a Top Ten list, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell might very well end up on the list.

The story follows the two title characters, who are practitioners of magic living in England in the early 1800s. Mr. Norrell is retiring and careful, while Jonathan Strange is a larger than life figure who is taken on as a student by Mr. Norrell.

Former Monitor critic Ron Charles called the book “altogether original – far closer to Dickens than Rowling … a thoroughly enchanting story…. Mr. Norrell is a wonderfully odd character in what’s practically an encyclopedia of wonderfully odd characters…. [it’s a] marvelous historical novel, told with a dry wit that will appeal to fans of Jane Austen.”

You can watch the launch trailer below and you can watch the seven-part television series based Susanna Clarke’s novel this summer on BBC America.

 

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Novels you can read in one sitting

Business Insiderpafko has posted an article on twenty novels you can read in one sitting.  Among the the titles listed are several classics and some by authors I’ve never heard of.  Check out the list and add some books to your summer reading list!

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Pressed Flower Bookmarks

Gardenista rounded up 17 favorite springtime DIYs that their editors are doing in their own homes.  One of the projects was a particular favorite of mine: pressed flower bookmarks.  I have yellow violas growing right now, so I may try this.  If so, I’ll post pictures for you.  Please let me know if you decide to make some pressed flower bookmarks and how they turn out.  You can find the directions to make your bookmarks here.

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Book Review: Wolf Hall

Wolf HallThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On Easter Sunday, April 5th Masterpiece will begin airing Wolf Hall.  The miniseries will air in 6 episodes on Sundays, April 5-May 10, 2015 at 10 PM on PBS.  The miniseries brings to life both Wolf Hall and its sequel Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  It was because of this upcoming miniseries, that I finally decided to read Wolf Hall, a book that had been on my to-read list since it won the Man Booker Prize in 2009.

Wolf Hall takes you into the world of Thomas Cromwell, a world full of intrigue and danger.  Cromwell, the son of a brutal blacksmith, ran away from home at the tender young age of 15 to seek his fortune.  He finds fortune in Florence, Italy when he is taken in  and trained by the Frescobaldi family.  After working for them, he goes to Antwerp to become a trader and merchant in his own right building wealth and rising to prominence.  Cromwell is a political genius, a briber, a bully and a charmer, who becomes King Henry VIII’s right-hand man.  In Wolf Hall, he pits himself against parliament, the political establishment and the papacy with far-reaching consequences for England.

Tudor England truly comes to life in Hilary Mantel’s novel and the reader sees court life through the eyes of Cromwell.  That is the novel’s genius, that the reader, who almost certainly has to be a common person in today’s world will view Tudor life at court through someone who is not noble or aristocratic. Wolf Hall is a wonderful exploration of how King Henry VIII’s desire shaped England and how one man worked to bring those desires to fruition regardless of who stood in the way.  Cromwell’s work in shaping England to Henry’s desires is a testament to his genius.

If you do have the inclination to read Wolf Hall make sure to watch the PBS miniseries.  Wolf Hall can be a laborious read, but well worth it.  If you are not inclined to labor, make Masterpiece appointment television for next few Sunday evenings.

Book Details:  Published by Picador (August 1, 2010), 604 pages, ISBN:  978-0312429980.

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Women and Thrillers

This morning I stumbled across an article in The Telegraph, entitled “Are women hardwired to love thrillers?”  Interesting.  The article particularly caught my attention because thrillers used to be the mainstay of my reading list, and probably still is to some extent.  Lately though, thrillers just aren’t thrilling.  For example, this past fall I tried to read Tim Johnston’s Descent, but found that it just didn’t hold my attention.  Descent was a book that should have been a terrific read from all accounts out there on the Internet.  Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes also received good reviews, but in both the case of Descent and Broken Monsters there were large sections of the book that I just skipped.  The movie Gone Girl was good, but when all was said and done, I was glad that I didn’t read the book and saw the movie instead.  Thrillers should be thrilling!  When you read a thriller, it should be just that and every page of the book should keep you glued for what comes next.

The closest I have come to a thriller that held my attention lately and kept me reading was One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis.  Seskis’ book has a twist too it that is VERY surprising.  This may be the problem with most thrillers lately.  They have gotten a little formulaic and many readers can figure out the ending before the writer gets there.  The twist to the end has been done before and I’ve already read it or the action sequences just drag on too long.

While I agree with Rebecca Whitney, the author of The Telegraph‘s article and the author of The Liar’s Chair, that thrillers and crime novels are especially interesting to women,  I need something new and even scary.  A book that won’t have me skipping large sections to get to the end.

Any suggestions?

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Book Review: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

13thingscoverThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do has gotten a great deal of attention.  Huffington Post, LifeHack, Business Insider, and Forbes all wrote about this book and those are just a few of the Websites that brought Amy Morin’s book to their reader’s attention.  With so many prominent information organizations getting the word out, it was absolutely necessary for me to check this out!

Amy Morin has written a book that everyone should read, especially those in their teens and twenties.  This is a book for everyone though and a book that is timely.  Even prior to this book, it had not escaped my notice that people in general seem to less resilient than in the past.  They just don’t seem to weather the hardships that life slings their way as well as people used too.

Morin provides practical strategies to help readers with common habits that tend to hold people back from success.  One strategy struck me as particularly important.  Morin advises that mentally strong people do not give away their power.  As summarized on Lifehack, “They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.”

#13Things now resides in my local high school media center.  The message is so important that I wanted as many young people to have access to it as possible.  Booklovers everywhere should read this book and pass their copy along to those that will benefit most from it.  Perhaps, with Morin’s help, we can build a generation of mentally and physically strong people that can tackle any challenge!

Book Details:  Published by William Morrow (December 23, 2014), 272 pages, ISBN:  0062358294.

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