Beautiful Naked Hardbacks

Obviously, I'm a particular fan of illustrated cover design and an absolute suck for intricate detail. What are some of your favorite hardback cover designs?


Mood Reading (and What I'm Currently Reading)

A few days ago, Leslie from the wonderful Booktube channel Words of a Reader made a video about mood reading. In the video, Leslie talks about how sometimes she comes across books that have to be read at just the right time, giving the example of how she attempted to read Anne of Green Gables several times before she was finally able to read it all the way through and fall in love with the story. Today I wanted to pick up on that discussion and put my own spin on it.

I am the definition of a mood reader. My reading taste and mood can and does switch often and dramatically. This generally means I have several books on the go at once, something I know can actually be quite stressful for some readers. Maybe this is because I was an English Literature major and got used to reading multiple books at once. Maybe it's an unconscious attempt to read "all the books" at the same time. Who knows.

Generally speaking, there has to be something very special or engaging about a book to keep me completely occupied all on its own.

The best way to understand this reading style of mine might be to look at what I am currently reading. First up, we have two books that I have been working on (embarrassingly) since last summer. Kenzaburo Oe's Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness is a collection of four short novels that I have been dipping in and out of, reading only a few pages at a time. Alhough this might suggest I should just give up on trying to read this very complicated, literary collection, I continue to enjoy the reading experience, no matter how sporadic it becomes.

Japanese Homes and Lifestyles is a book I'm reading in conjunction with a current writing project and that I turn to only when I'm in need of inspiration or cultural research. Again, while I'm enjoying the reading experience, I haven't found that this alone is enough to keep my attention for more than short bursts.

Which brings us to the books I've picked up most recently. I picked up Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth last week on International Women's Day because I was craving both strong female writing and writing that was familiar to me. This short story collection is exactly what I was looking for and, unlike the Oe collection, I am incapable of putting the book down in the middle of a story.

And finally we have 1st To Die by James Patterson. Looking at the other books I've mentioned, this one might seem completely random, which actually illustrates my point about mood reading better than anything else. While I am completely in love with Lahiri's writing, I also spent most of Friday night watching true crime dramas on television and found myself decidedly in the mood for something different. My mom has been reading Patterson's Women's Murder Club books almost exclusively for the past month or so and suggested I start with this first book in the series. Again, this turned out to be the perfect fit for my current reading mood and I will probably finish this before I finish any of the others. Or at least, I will try to before my mood changes again!

Now it's your turn to keep the discussion going. What do you think about this idea of mood reading? Do you keep multiple books on the go for each potential mood, or do you prefer to finish one story in its entireity before moving on to the next?


The Revenant | Michael Punke

TITLE / The Revenant

AUTHOR / Michael Punke


DATE OF PUBLICATION / December 29, 2015 (originally published in 2002)

NO. OF PAGES / 262



7 Female Authors Who Defined My Childhood

In honor of International Women's Day, today I will be sharing with you seven female authors who played huge roles in my younger reading life. As a child of the early 90s living in a household where play was encouraged and watching television was limited to the occasional Disney movie or Animal Planet special, reading was my primary form of entertainment. 

Obviously, this is not an extensive list of all the female authors I read as a kid. I was an avid library goer and regularly maxed out the number of books I could borrow on my kid's card, which leads me to believe that I don't remember even half of the books I used to read. This is simply a selection of the authors I kept returning to again and again and who still invoke in me a strong sense of nostalgia.

1. Laura Ingalls Wilder (the Little House series)
The Little House series was probably the first series that I read all on my own. I remember being completely captivated by Wilder's descriptions of life in the big woods and on the prairie, mainly because she was describing it all through the eyes of a girl not so different in age than me. Looking back on it, I learned a lot about not only adventure and life on the frontier, but also about family, hard work, and death while reading the Little House books. Regardless of whether I was facing the same challenges in my living situation, I learned a lot about growing up by following young Laura.

2. Judy Blume (Blubber, Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret)
Reading Judy Blume was a game changer for me. After years of reading mainly children's fantasy and classics, the idea that someone had written about young girls in such a normal, relatable way blew my mind. This was the first time I read fiction that reflected my own reality back at me in a way that was both engaging and thought-provoking. I am probably not alone in believing that there are generations of now women who can attribute their first exposure to relationships and puberty to the novels of Judy Blume.

3. Cornelia Funke (The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, The Inkworld Trilogy)
I couldn't tell you the exact number of times I have read The Thief Lord and the above picture doesn't do it justice, but if you look closely you can see my copy is well worn, the spine creased and the pages dogeared many times over. Even as a young reader I recognized that Funke's writing has a magical quality to it that allowed me to disappear into her fantastical worlds for hours at a time. Part of what I love about Funke's novels are the clear love for books and storytelling that radiate out from the pages.

4. Jude Watson (the Jedi Apprentice and Jedi Quest series)
This might seem like a weird one, but Jude Watson's Star Wars series were some of my favorite books as a younger reader. After discovering Star Wars in middle school, I was desperate to read anything and everything that I could get my hands on involving the fantastical universe and Watson's novels were like crack. I was and remain particularly fond of Watson's Jedi Apprentice series, which follows a young Obi-Wan Kenobi during his apprenticeship to Qui-Gon Jinn. I remain impressed with the multi-dimensional characters and complex plotlines Watson was able to craft and thoroughly blame her for my enduring status as an Obi-Wan fangirl. I return to Watson's books even today, especially when I feel a reading slump coming on or when I need a guaranteed pick me up.

5. J.K. Rowling (The Harry Potter series)
I couldn't leave the brilliant creator of Harry Potter off this list! When I first picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at 11 years old,  little did I know I would spend the next five years obsessively reading and rereading the series until the release of its epic finale. Not only did Rowling create a magical world that continues to capture the hearts and minds of readers (young and old alike), but she also taught me a lot about friendship and fighting for what you believe in. And of course, I have to give a shout out to Hermione, the role model for all bookish and school-minded girls everywhere.

6. Diane Duane (The Young Wizards series)
Diane Duane's Young Wizards books were a series I turned to in the long waiting periods between each Harry Potter book. All I really wanted was magic and boy, did I get magic. More of an urban fantasy than Rowling's wizarding world, Duane created a complex magic system that pulled from our own world and myth that I found completely spellbinding, no pun intended. However, the themes of friendship and family at the heart of Duane's epic novels are what really drew me in and kept me reading.

7. Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries series)
Much like Judy Blume's novels, The Princess Diaries was a bit of a different read for me and yet one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was the first young adult novel that I ever read during a period in which the YA we know and love today was slowly coming into existence. I loved reading Mia's diary entries, her quirky and distinct tone quickly informing my own writing and giving me a glimpse into the mythical teenage mind just when I was becoming a teen myself. Unfortunately, my love for contemporary YA fiction seems to have both started and stopped with Meg Cabot's writing, most likely because there is nothing quite like reading just the right book at exactly the right time.

There you have it, the seven female authors who really defined my childhood and early reading. Were there any female writers who had a big impression on you as a young reader?