Summer 2013 Book Haul

Hey everyone! Remember me?

Books accumulated over the summer, and I meant to share them earlier. Earlier as in last month. “There’s still time,” I said, my brain melting into goo as I marathoned Legend of Korra. As I neglected everything else to binge-read and spend an unhealthy amount of hours Tumblring. By now many students have returned to school, unless you’re like me–waiting for classes to start on the 25th–and autumn weather is settling in. About time, too, but summer isn’t over–not yet. Not technically. Not until tomorrow.

Okay, so I procrastinated on this post, but it’s all right. I’m here now–and with a new shipment of books. Oh, gosh, look!

The Dark Victorian: Risen, Vol. 1 by Elizabeth Watasin The Night of the Comet by George Bishop (ARC) The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke (ARC) The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

1. The Dark Victorian: Risen, Vol. 1 by Elizabeth Watasin
2. The Night of the Comet by George Bishop (ARC)
3. The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke (ARC)
4. The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

In one short stack: here are all of my giveaway wins. Or, actually, almost all of them.

I was one of the lucky few to win The Dark Victorian over at BookLikes from Elizabeth Watasin herself. I look forward to this for a variety of reasons, one being that I am a sucker for anything that sounds remotely steampunk. All the better if a dash of mystery and intrigue gets tossed in, right? Bishop’s The Night of the Comet and Neftzger’s The Orphanage of Miracles were delivered courtesy of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Giveaway. The chance to read The Orphanage of Miracles did present itself a couple of months ago, and although I haven’t made time to review it (tsk, tsk), I genuinely adore it. (A sequel is expected, which I would love to get my hands on.)

Another win–one that I anticipate reading above the rest–is The Boy Who Could See Demons. Ten year old Alex’s best friend is a demon who goes by “Ruen,” but is Ruen real or imagined? After his mother’s suicide attempt, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya, who–having gone through her daughter’s battle with schizophrenia–must decide if Alex is schizophrenic or can truly see demons. The spiritual realm versus imagination versus psychology–just my kind of book.

ebooks

1. A Dawn Most Wicked by Susan Dennard
2. Awakening Kelly Foster by Cara Rosalie Olsen

A Dawn Most Wicked is not just 150 pages all about Daniel Sheridan (any SS&D fan will understand), but it’s also my prize for participating in Susan Dennard’s SS&D Book Club last month. In case you missed it, Epic Reads chose Something Strange & Deadly as their new monthly read, but Susan added additional fun by sprinkling in prizes and hosting weekly discussion questions. For selected winners, there were weekly prizes packed with enough awesome to turn any YA reader into jealous grabby hands, but everyone got a participatory prize: either a deleted scene from A Darkness Strange & Lovely or e-novella A Dawn Most Wicked–I opted for the latter, and I am tickled by the thought of reading this.

Thank you to Susan Dennard, who is an amazingly kind author. If you haven’t read Something Strange & Deadly (see review), please do.

My second e-book is Cara Rosalie Olsen’s Awakening Foster Kelly, my first Tumblr giveaway win. This is courtesy of Bloody Brilliant Books‘ giveaway as well as Cara, and I send many thanks to both!

haul 1

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
2. Airman by Eoin Colfer
3. Angelfall by Susan Ee
4. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Coelho’s book didn’t hit my radar until after I’d encountered Paolo Bacigalupi’s book of the same name (see review). Coelho’s The Alchemist lies in the center of high praise, and it’s given me the belief I’ll feel so wowed by this book that I’ll knock a star off Bacigalupi’s book. I have avoided reading reviews, luckily, so at this point, all I expect from The Alchemist is that it’s… good. But pfft! to all that admiration for now, because I have two books in this stack that I cannot wait to tackle: Angelfall by Susan Ee and Airman by Eoin Colfer.

Young adult paranormal literature–romance included or not–is not my usual taste, because usually, YA PRN tastes stale and bitter and… Ew, I think that’s mold. You catch my drift? I’m not a huge fan, but there are few books I make exceptions for. Anna Dressed in Blood is one of the few, and it’s one of the few that didn’t disappoint me. I shouldn’t fail to mention that I’m also a devoted fan of the Something Strange & Deadly trilogy. I have it on good authority that Angelfall is like an extra-heavenly angel cake with hidden ingredients to pop out and dazzle you into a drool-monster craving more, more, more! Okay, so those weren’t the exact words Tanya used, but I hear it’s pretty damn good and I’m excited.

…But I’m also excited for Airman. Really excited. Very excited. Heavy-breathing-touching-the-book excited. Fidgety-with-anticipation excited. My-heart-leaps-to-the-clouds-and-soars-with-stars excited. You feel me?

(Don’t forget: It’s The Secret Garden! That was my favorite story as a kid. Uh, in movie-form. I never got around to reading the book, but that will change, okay?)

1. The Morning Star by Robin Bridges 2. A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard 3. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

1. The Morning Star by Robin Bridges
2. A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard
3. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride and A Darkness Strange & Lovely were two of my most anticipated summer releases, yet I only got through one of them. The day the mailman plopped A Darkness Strange & Lovely in my mailbox is the day I devoured it. Any issues with the first book that might make a reader question Susan Dennard’s ability to pull off a good mystery shatter in the second book. I was undeniably impressed by the growth and changes, how the two books string together so well–and how the third will, I am sure, complete the story without one loose end. More than anything, Susan’s writing slapped me into a happy shock, for there’s command over language and a plot which has thought behind every detail. Nineteenth century Paris comes to life in A Darkness Strange & Lovely with vivid imagery that sucks me in–a strength that Susan Dennard and Yangsze Choo share.

As much as I wanted to finish The Ghost Bride, I couldn’t. The book is beautiful, so rich and vivid that I swear I could look away from its pages and find myself in the middle of a 1893 Malayan road. This is a book to savor, I realized, so I set it down, promising to return when the time is right. As for Robin Bridges The Morning Star, well, I’m not sure when I’ll feel like reading it. The Morning Star is the final book to Robin’s Katerina trilogy, and at one point, I had looked forward to it. It was high hopes that fooled me into ordering the third book before I’d read the second, and my interest sunk after I sped through The Unfailing Light. The Gathering Storm soaks in potential, yet the The Unfailing Light serves as plot-filler. And all that potential? I felt it wither up and crumble.

Yeah, I’m still grumbling over the $17 I put toward The Unfailing Light–not that it matters, because I have a new heap of books to drool all over.

Signed copy of The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

Signed copy of The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

In My Mailbox #7

*If you caught this post yesterday, that’s because my brain fried and couldn’t differentiate SATURDAY from SUNDAY. In other words, I scheduled it for the wrong day. This post is virtually the same, but with the ~pretty~ addition of graphics. Enjoy.

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Mod Podge Bookshelf. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Mod Podge Bookshelf. Click here to read more and participate!

Earlier in the week I had a five-page, single-spaced research paper due. High volumes of absolute panic shot through me all last weekend–courtesy of procrastination–and I sank into Hermit Mode. I survived on ramen noodles and peanutbutterchocolatebanana shakes, and not a soul dared to disturb me. The only outside contact made was through Skype, which mostly consisted of one-sided research paper complaints–from my end, anyway.  For hours and days, I sat and sat in front of the computer: typing, sitting… typing, sitting. And so on. This cycle repeated for what must have been five days. Five days. Now, with my paper handed in and only finals left to worry about, sitting and typing at the computer is the very last activity I have in mind.

But books arrived in the mailbox and at my doorstep, and I then I found myself creeping through bookstore shelves… Which means one thing: I have new books! All of which I’m eager to share, and so here I am: sitting and typing…

Siege and Storm

I remember when I first read Shadow & Bone and how excited I felt to read a copy. As it happened, the book was released a few days before spring quarter ended, and Shadow & Bone was my reward for surviving pre-calc. This year I figured I’d save Siege & Storm for after finals (June 11th/12th), too. I figured I’d be adult-like and prioritize responsibly, which meant nothing but test prep. Siege & Storm proved too great of a temptation for me, because I read the book anyway. (Expect a review. But after finals. You see me prioritizing?) I delayed study time and blew off a night’s worth of sleep to finish Leigh’s book, and I have no regrets. The second book is a huge improvement from the first–not that I don’t like both–but the series grew up in Siege & Storm. I’m pining for Ruin & Rising already, and how could I not with an ending like that? Instead, I’m settling for a Bone & Shadow re-read.

S&B and TES

I was dumb enough to clump in my order of Shadow & Bone and Sanderson’s book with my Siege & Storm pre-order — otherwise these two would have shown up months ago! I’d hoped to re-read Shadow & Bone before Siege & Storm, but that didn’t work out. I intend to finish off the first Grisha book a second time before writing up  my S&S review, and besides… Since I finished S&S, I am left with a giant, gaping hole of nothingness wondering what to do in life now that I’m out of Grisha reading material. A re-read is exactly what I need.

The Emperor’s Soul has me particularly excited, though. I first learned of it after reading Carl’s convincing review from Stainless Steel Droppings. His commentary urged me to check the story out, and after reading many reviews on several of Sanderson’s other books, it’s difficult to think I’ll feel disappointed. The Emperor’s Soul sounds like an imaginative novella, and I even plan to read The Rithmatist afterward.

The Sweetest Dark

Pretty girls in pretty dresses aren’t exactly my favorite forms of cover art, and I admit that The Sweetest Dark‘s jacket discourages me. It’s the book’s summary, however–aside from the “girl-meets-two-handsome-boys/love triangle” aspect–that caught my interest. Mostly due to the books historical fantasy genre, Shana Abé’s series reminds me of Robin Bridge’s Katerina Trilogy. I can’t say Bridge’s The Unfailing Light impressed me (review to come later), but I did enjoy The Gathering Storm. I have my doubts about The Sweetest Dark, but I hope Abé will prove those doubts wrong.

In My Mailbox #6

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

Well, I had hoped I would have my Showtime review posted by now, and instead I let my blog grow quiet for a week. My mind’s been stuck in a haze, and while Midnight Coffee Monster sat in its own stagnant puddle of silence, I became lazy. For once, classes and schoolwork didn’t interfere with blogging and reading — a first? I think so.

Now I’m a couple days behind, which I hope to catch up on as I busy myself today with workworkwork. Let’s see if I can get out of this funk before it worsens and I de-evolve into another bedblob. Doing nothing became my newest hobby, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t resist the allure of Shiny New Books — which is something.

Sense & Sensibility and The Outsiders

I am in the habit of frequenting Barnes & Nobel for a couple of reasons. For one, I not only live and go to school less than ten minutes away from the store, but it is the closest bookstore around. Unless I wish to venture across town or walk into Borders, which is located in the mall and — I’m sad to report — has a rather sad book selection. I also like to plop myself in front of B&N’s bargain-priced books and fancy buying them all. I wouldn’t dare, but I do love the covers — they’re hardback and pretty eye candy. Naturally, I’m prone to snatching one for myself now and then.

I have heard lots of praise surrounding Austen’s Emma–which will probably be my next Austen-buy–but the itch to own Sense & Sensibility has bothered me for a long time, and I’m happy to finally own a copy.

I saw the movie years ago — not horribly long ago, but long enough to where I can hardly recall the movie at all. What I do remember is that I enjoyed it, and I’ve wanted to read the novel ever since I spaced out during a class read-along in seventh grade. Hopefully I can fit The Outsiders as one of my reads this year!

…Oops. Wait a minute. Don’t I already have this book? Didn’t I already order this? Yeah, I did — my mistake! Like I said, my mind has been fogged this week. What I wanted to pre-order is Robin Bridges The Morning Star, which is the third and final book to her Katerina trilogy. This book here is the second in the series, which I have yet to read but already own. I have to skulk on down to the bookstore and hope there are no problems with a return, but either way: I will have my pre-order!

A Monster Calls

  • A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness, inspired by Siobhan Dowd, and illustrated by Jim Kay

I bought a copy! For myself! I have A Monster Calls! I read this last year and it quickly became a book that I can’t separate from. I can read this a million times over, and the charm that Ness, Dowd, and Kay created won’t ever grow faint or wither. Not for me, anyway. I will give away one copy once my review is written up, and I sincerely hope that whoever I send it to will cherish this story as much as I do.

netgalley

These last three are from NetGalley, which I’ve had an account with for some time and only now am I taking advantage of it. NetGalley sent me invitations to read the first two, and the third is one I requested. (I’m a bit excited for Gavin Extence’s book especially!) I’m notorious for spending ample time working through ebooks, so I expect a challenge — hopefully I won’t take too long. If there is one thing I took from my last digital book, it’s that it is possible to lasso my attention span so long as I’m even slightly interested.

And that’s a wrap. Share your latest bookish finds with me!

Raya
xo

In My Mailbox #5

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

Classes started back up again this week, and–like most first weeks–it went by smoothly. For the first time in a long while, I finished several books and managed to complete all my work. (This really is an accomplishment of pathetic sorts, all scatter-brainedness considered.) If only this week could be a predictor for how the rest of my quarter will go! Meanwhile, I did buy new books (and it was torture trying not to read them all right away), which I’m rather excited about. First off:

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets & Life of Pi

This was the quietest little book on my to-read list. It recently came out, and it seems that not too many people were anticipating its publication like I was. I stumbled across its GoodReads page not long ago, and the title alone caught my interest. Yes: I really wanted to read this, and so I did — do expect a review from me! Overall, I think the pacing is steady but you can finish it in under a day, and I find James Whitman naturally endearing.

I haven’t seen the movie, and for good reason: I am waiting on little ol’ me to read the book. Finally–finally!–I picked it up! I’m just beginning my trek through Shelley’s Frankenstein, and after that I like to think I’ll begin either Persuasion, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, OR The Unfailing Light, so who knows when I’ll make room for Martel’s novel. It’s one of those books that’s received plenty of praise in an ocean full of hype, but I think I’ve steered clear of spoilers and overly indulged plot descriptions. If there is anything hype is good for, it’s raising my expectations to the point of deflation.

Dracula

How can I pass up a Dracula hardback when it’s only $11? It’s classic, inexpensive, hardback, and with a pretty cover to boot. I’m satisfied, to say the least.

A couple years ago I made a failed attempt at reading this, but only because it was due back at the library. Curses! To think: I read half way through (just when Bram had hooked me at last) and I didn’t get to see the end. It took me a long while to get it, but I now have my own personal copy — no due dates to interrupt my read this time!

The Unfailing Light & SS&D

Although I bought The Gathering Storm (Katerina #1) last year, I didn’t find my way to reading it until February of this year. I discovered that Robin Bridges keeps the atmosphere light with quick pace, but she still manages to include conflicts. By no means is The Gathering Storm perfect–and you can read my thoughts about it here–but I enjoyed reading it for stress-relief and fun. I couldn’t deny the sequel, so I plan to read and review that as well.

I surprised myself! Last year I read–and reviewed–SS&D, and I always planned on reading the sequel by the same means that I read book one: through the library. I enjoyed Dennard’s novel, regardless that I easily uncoiled the mystery and disliked the main character. Something strange happened. Strange, but not deadly. (I don’t think so, anyway.) Obsession hit back in March, or perhaps in February, because all I wanted was something quick! fun! light! I wanted Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly, so now I have it. (Now, of course, I also intend to buy the sequel. If only summer would get here sooner.)

That’s all from me. Which books did you snatch up this week?

In My Mailbox #4

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

I know it’s been a little while since I have been around, but I desperately needed time away for school. And now? I’m baaaaack! And with new books, too, as well as what I’m sure is a broken toe and sprained ankle — but let’s leave the latter tidbit at “Raya is too lazy to schedule a doctor’s appointment” and move on to the books. All right? Right.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer & About a Boy

Soon after experiencing a mild burn-out on young adult literature, I was very firm about what my next purchase would involve. This included more “grown-up” works, yes, but I had a particular title in mind. No matter how many books I would buy, no matter how little or plenty I would spend, my next book purchase needed to include Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. By happenstance, I first spotted it in the bookstore months ago and failed to seize the opportunity. Hoping it was still there and that I wouldn’t have to wait even longer by placing an order, I strode back into the store this week. And? There it was, sitting exactly how I’d seen it before — crunched between other Howards and Hughs or whoevers — and I’m quite glad to be the proud owner of a sizzling hot book. (By “sizzling hot” I mean, “The cover is valuable and completely worth the immeasurable time I spend ogling and drooling,” as well as, “This book sounds great and I would like to figuratively consume it.”)

As for Nick Hornby’s About a Boy: the book was practically next to Howard’s novel. An impulsive buy! Who knows when I will get around to reading it, thinking about the number of unread books I already own — not to forget crazy stacks of library copies that I am prone to hoarding. In the least, I have seen the film. Although it’s been years since I last watched it, I did enjoy it and found the movie somewhat touching with good humor to boot. For now, I can only hope that I’ll develop similar feelings towards the book.

A Monster Calls

  • A Monster Calls: inspired by Siobhan Dowd’s idea, written by Patrick Ness, and illustrated by Jim Kay

Let me tell you: I experienced a strange emotion when I left the bookstore. Book-buying is a pick-me-up. If I’m not buying for someone else, I am buying to make myself a little less craptastic, and in both cases I walk out in a boosted mood. This time around I felt bad. This is the first time, and hopefully the only time, that I will associate icky emotions and book-buying, although I suspect this has to do with the lovely numbers on the receipt. I don’t normally spend $50 in one visit, because I’m used to spending $30 or below. I might drop in twice in one week and spend $70 — and then go in two more times the following week — but spending little increments during each visit feels better than going all-out. Doesn’t it?

In any case, I did not buy this for myself! If you caught my last post, I mentioned a giveaway. Of course, deciding on which book(s) to give away is something I have difficulty on narrowing. There are a number of great books I’d love to share and gift, but which do I choose?! [Frowns. Pulls hair. Grunts.]

I spied A Monster Calls, and I knew then that is one book I’d love to ship off to someone. No hesitations here: this is one book that will sit on my favorites shelf for years and years. It’s endearing for its honesty, which I appreciate, and I was taken aback by how moving a story I find it. I will give it away (internationally, and I’ve already decided that you do NOT need to be a follower)* once I have reviewed it, so readers be looking.

*To note: I am leaning toward Tumblr’s reblogging system for this. As I’m not particularly fond of Rafflecopter, this seems like a straight-forward means. If you have experience with other giveaway methods, to share about it is more than welcome.

Out of the Easy & The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Although I bought Sepetys’ and Stevenson’s books several weeks back, I thought I’d slip them in this post — and I’m doing exactly that. I am aware that I have only read Ruta Sepetys’ debut novel, Between Shades of Gray, but I already consider myself a fan. Having read and adored nearly everything about Ruta’s first novel, I find it difficult to imagine that Out of the Easy will disappoint me. Unfortunately, as I’ve said, I’m in a ‘YA lit is a no-no’ mood. I don’t plan to start this book any time too soon, but I expect and look forward to having my emotions flipped around like pancake batter.

In the mean time, I’m sl-o-w-ly making my way through Stevenson’s collected stories. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one story I’ve nagged myself for years to read, and: I read it, finally! I will save my thoughts for a review, but what I think is similar to how I feel about Treasure Island: likeable and readable but lackluster. For now I’m keeping a distance, but I do plan on returning for the next story: The Lodging for the Night.

And I’m all out of new books to share! Which books have you recently picked up?

Raya
xo

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

I think this will stay put as my last IMM post for a short while, now. No doubt I can walk back into the store or click around online, but I just shook off the effects of a disordered bookshelf again. It’s a frustrating thing, not knowing where to place which book without creating messy stacks that mingle with disorganized school and general paperwork. Last weekend I managed to clean the entire place, and it feels rejuvenating to live in organized space.

My bookshelves and mind alike have once again found sanity. (Or rather: While the above is true, this is mostly what I say to make myself feel less compulsive, because finances dwindle quickly when splurges occur…? Oops.)

So what happiness did I buy this time?

Monsters of Men & Daughtr of Smoke & Bone

Finally, Monster of Men came in! I originally planned to buy this whenever the moment comes where I begin the series, but I enjoy complete sets nonetheless. The first time I tried to read this series also happens to be my last attempt, but I don’t intend to keep it that way. Detractors included school and a dead brain, and if memory serves correctly, I accomplished a skim-reading of two entire pages. In any case, the Ness-hype and compliment-pool were enough to persuade me into buying all three Chaos Walking books. (I want to consume them all like I do with Dashner’s Maze Runner series. Right now.)

I can’t begin to try and remember the number of times Laini Taylor’s book has been recommended to me, but every time I see it reviewed or added to another’s TBR list — aha! I remember that Daughter of Smoke & Bone is sitting on my list and it wants to be read. I’ve tossed a coin between this and Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star for months, and now we all know which I decided to grab. All it took to convince me was spotting Rachel Hartman’s four-star rating on GoodReads. In the end, that is what helped me choose. It ended the never-ending coin toss. Why? Because I have carefully placed Rachel Hartman on a pedestal that can only level with gods, and I trust her ratings.

And, really, I think I made the right choice. Of course, I can’t know until I read Taylor’s book, but I must say: I made a quick stop to the library on Friday just to pick up The Name of the Star, and I feel relief that didn’t buy it. Just maybe, I might reach for the sequel, but Johnson’s writing didn’t live up to my hopeful expectations. That said, I sincerely hope to enjoy Daughter of Smoke & Bone.

(I thought bookstores might already be out of the hardback cover, as I haven’t seen it for several weeks. Of course, I see the hardback edition once again the day after I bought the paperback. It’s all right; I like this cover as well, but I have a thing for pretty hardbacks.)

Yes, I bought my own copy of Sepetys’ book (which I still thrust at people as a must-read), but what is that sticking out of the pages?

A very sweet and thoughtful letter arrived this week from Savindi (The Streetlight Reader), and she included The Unfailing Light (Katerina #2)   sticker! I’m certain her letter arrived before I started The Gathering Storm, but I had no idea a sticker was in there. (The backing camouflaged extremely well to the white envelope. That, and my eyesight is very poor.) So: A thank you to Savindi! She is the nicest blogger you can meet and a great person to know. The fact that she also has lots of great recommendations does nothing but add to her awesome quality.

Although I took a short break to plow through Maureen’s book in roughly a day, I’m returning to where I left in The Gathering Storm, as well as a few other books I said I’d read…

In the mean time: I take this opportunity to recommend (yet again) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This book had me hooked and sniffling well into early-morning hours. Hours which birds begin to chirp and sun rays invade my bedroom through window blinds. Hours which normal people are just waking up and not going to sleep. This book is an addicting tear-jerker, and I hope you all give it a chance.

Bis später!

In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

I showed off my last book splurge six days ago, and yes: I have acquired more since then. Whoops. If you want to skip my side-rant, scroll right down to the photo below.

The purchases I made are nowhere near the book count from my last IMM post, but… I can’t stop myself. These last few weeks have tired and stressed me out to the point where I’ve felt like calling it quits on this nursing assistant training. I love this class, I do, but it drains, and I  sometimes find it nerve-wracking (especially for us beginners) and an occasional downer to my day.

(I mean: “I slept for two hours. I want to go home, not sit through an additional four hours of class,” or “I slept for two hours. I want to sleep, not get up at 5 AM and stand all day, jet around, and tend to people for the next eight hours.” Praise for those who can do this every day without much complaint, because those are the ones with real passion. Me? I look at these residents and I care and empathize, but: do I really want to do this? I don’t know, and it sucks to put yourself through some tough work only to discover in the end that you hate it.)

Books, however, have the opposite effect. I love weaving through aisles and flipping through curious books, and even returning to the same old books that a deep part of me desperately wishes to own (but I somehow convince myself to put them down anyway). I am down for a library raid any day (and even have some library loot to share soon), and just like borrowing books, buying and hoarding books are a pick-me-up. “This day has been tough,” I say to myself. “I deserve this!”

So what did I get? Ahem:

Siddhartha and Teeth

  • Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

For months I have heard and read wonderful reviews about Teeth, and I have eyed it for probably just as long. I’d walk into the book store and make a beeline for one of my favorite sections (YA fiction), and ogle and grab and carry this book all around the store. Never did I buy it, though. I’d find another book — or, as is often the case — a set of books I decided I’d for-sure read and enjoy over Moskowitz’s novel.

Like anyone, I feel utterly disappointed to buy a book — so full of hope believing that I will like or even adore it — only to discover it’s a flop. Let me tell you: Teeth is anything but. I am told the prose is a wonderful match for an original story, and thank goodness I agree. Teeth, I learned, is nothing like I thought it would be, which is neither necessarily bad or good, but oh! This book is good. Very, very good. It has been far too long since I’ve felt truly hooked into a story that I can’t put down. Lucky for me that I typically have free Fridays, because I stayed up well into normal waking hours — nearly finished reading — before I decided sleep is a beautiful, beautiful thing. This book and its main characters latched on quickly and have now left me with a lingering bittersweet sensation.

  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (Translated by Hilda Rosner)

This is the story of how I finally came to own Siddhartha and simultaneously made myself feel a teeny bit happier in the process.

Consider this a “feel better now” present to and from myself for having a not-so-great first-day clinical experience yesterday, because I do. I could turn the ordeal into a long, whiny rant, but to keep it “short”: I should have been up and getting ready at 5 AM, and I was. Or did. …Or tried. I physically removed myself from the bed only to lie back down to sleep for another half hour. A half hour became 6:26 AM, and: Oh my holy heavens I have to be there BEFORE 7!

It's smashing

Needless to say: I was 20 minutes late, had a ridiculous time finding available parking, became confused and lost once inside this facility (Where are my classmates?! Where is my instructor?! WHERE IS THIS HIDDEN ROOM LOCATED?!), I most likely annoyed the heck out of several staff members, and I nearly broke down in pathetic tears because I’m extremely ridiculous and I’m late, I’m late! The rest of the day was rough, and I will leave it at that.

What better way to make myself feel better than by driving to the nearest bookstore? Yes, there are other delicious things out in life like chocolate-gorging that send me straight into pure bliss… followed by a free-fall drop into self-loathing. Books don’t have calories I want to stab, so yeah. The bookstore it is.

Siddhartha is just one of hundreds upon hundreds of titles I want to read, and I do hope to read it this year. I made an attempt last year and failed (it’s embarrassingly easy for me to become distracted sometimes), but I know this book is not particularly long. “Great choice,” the cashier told me — he appears awfully fond of this classic, and I hope to appreciate it as well.