{ the.book.chat. strangest book you’ve read }

I admit a first that this week’s book chat topic from Jessica and her co-host Stacey had me a little stumped at first.  When I thought about the strangest book I’ve ever read many different books came to mind.  I also debated on what strange meant to me.

The definition of strange is something unusual or surprising and something not previously or encountered.  Most of the time strange has a negative feeling attached to it as well.  We don’t usually like “strange”.  So for this week’s book chat I decided to take a positive look at “strange” and go with a book that left feeling strange but in a good way.

I don’t often read outside of my comfort book zone so when The Night Circus was chosen for the Literary Junkies book of the month a few months ago I had never heard of it.  Like most people, I made my first judgement of it by the cover.  The cover was pure black with dashes of white and red thrown in.  It made me think of a psychedelic Alice in Wonderland at first.  It looked haunting and dark but with the promise of something bold.

I was absolutely freaked out.

It looked so far out of my comfort zone that it took me most of the month to even pick it up and open to the first page.  And I’m so glad that I did.  The Night Circus is a strange book but in the absolute best of ways.

Erin Morganstern is a beautiful writer.  Everything was described in such  fantastical imaginings but so easily accessible. When I was reading The Night Circus I felt like I could see the what was in the tents and smell the carmel in the air.  The writing drifted through different points of view and each brought more of the circus to life and you were able to see what what going on.  But at the same time felt like you were only being given part of the puzzle and you had to keep reading to see more.

I had never read a book with such imagery and it was unnerving to me at times.  It wasn’t the safe and happy books I typically read but it worked its way into my head and I couldn’t put it down.

My original copy was from the library but the book is so beautiful that I went out and bought my own as well.  The pages have elegant black and white flourished with tent striped endpapers and the section breaks have a quote on one side and images of constellations in the night sky on the other.

The Night Circus is strange but I learned that some strange is a good thing.  I’ve feared the strange in books for a long time and reading Erin Morganstern’s writing made me realize that stepping out of that comfort zone can be rewarding.  I would have missed a wonderful book if I let my feelings of “strange” stop me.  

{ the.book.chat. coffee table books }

This week’s book.chat. with Sweet Green Tangerine talks about coffee table books.  I don’t know about you, but when I was younger I thought coffee table books were sooo boring.  We didn’t even have a coffee table so why on Earth did we have to have coffee table books?  But when I was old enough for my first apartment one of the first things I bought was a coffee table book of National Geographic photographs from a thrift store because I thought it made me look more grown-up.  Go figure.  

Since my early days as a broke college kid I’ve come a long way in my tastes in coffee table books.  I also have a small confession to make.  While my day-to-day style is just jeans and a nice (and not stained) shirt, I have a secret love for fashion books.

I’ve never owned Louis Vuitton, Dior or Jimmy Choo (and probably never will) but I love all of their styles and colors.  I love looking at fashion through the years and memorable moments in fashion.

My real love though… is Audrey Hepburn.  I’ve loved Audrey Hepburn since I was 12 years-old and saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the very first time.  My pre-teen mind thought she was so pretty and so sophisticated.

I’ve amassed quite a collection of Audrey Hepburn books over the years and while I don’t have a coffee table, they do sit on a shelf in my room where little fingers can’t touch them.  There isn’t many things that I put up and away from my children, but my Audrey books are be at the top of that list.

{ the.book.chat – books set in europe }

In honor of Jessica’s move to Germany this week the book chat is all about books set in Europe.  When I started to think of books I had read that were set in Europe I realized…that there wasn’t any.  I’ve read lots of books set in Texas and Wyoming though.  I wonder why that is?

When I began searching for books that were set in Europe I had another realized that I have read books that were set in Europe.  I’ve read a lot of children’s books set in Europe.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory | The Borrowers | The Secret Garden | Pippi LongstockingMadeline 
It never dawned on me that a lot of children’s classic books are set in Europe.  I remember reading Madeline for the first time in school wanting to visit Paris.  My friends and I would talk with fake, silly French accents and pretend we were drinking out of “fancy cups”.  I also remember wishing that I didn’t have anyone to tell me what to do like Pippi Longstocking.  At least until I realized that I’d have to do my own laundry.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Secret Garden, The Borrowers and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are all set in the United Kingdom.  Do you remember what’s also set in England? 

Yes, the Harry Potter Series is set in London and I even included the European covers of the books as well. Do you “hear” yourself read in other accents when you know you are reading a book where the characters have one?  I know that I do and I’m hoping that someone shares the same quirk with me.  Because that’s not weird, right?

{ the.book.chat. children’s books }

This week’s book.chat. is a little hard for me again this week but in a different way.  This week I don’t know where to stop.  I have a deep love for children’s books.  Not only because I have my own children, but in the way that they bring me back to my childhood as well.  I’ve written several post about children’s book all the way from my favorite books of past and present to rhyming books, and holiday books for Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving.  
My children are at the ages where they don’t read the same books anymore so we have a wide variety of books on our shelves now.  My oldest and youngest just had birthdays so I now have a 3, 6 and 9 year-old readers to find books for and their tastes are about as far apart as you can imagine.  And I have my own favorites too.  I’m pretty happy that a lot of my favorites are theirs too.  We took a super informal poll (any by informal I mean that I held up a book and said “who likes this one?”) amongst ourselves and came up with our favorites.

I’ve read these books so many times over the years that I have most if not all memorized.  And the kids do to in a way.  If I skip an animal in Brown Bear, Brown Bear they definitely let me know.  I also like that there are now a lot of learning activities around the web based on their favorite books.  I’d rather they idolize a book than a tv show.

I have every single Pigeon book there is.  I love the Pigeon books the most.  Well, after Dr. Seuss of course but he’s his own category in a way.  Our favorite parts are the “shouting” pages and all of the Pigeon’s excuses on why he should/shouldn’t do something.  We takes turns reading certain parts of each book and it’s a great way to get everyone involved (and laughing).

My oldest is a reader and I love it.  She has her very own library card and book bag and loves our weekly trips to the library.  She started out reading some of the books that I had from when I was her age but now she’s branching out into series reading (like me!).  She’s very adamant about reading books in order and wouldn’t read a Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6 that she was given because she hadn’t finished the previous books yet.

It’s very important to me to raise children who like to read in this day and age.  I’ve pretty much made the switch to ebooks over paperback but I’m trying to keep all their books in their hands and not on a device.  It’s a struggle but it’s important to me that they know the feel of a book in their hand.  Who knows what the future of books will be but I’ll always have the collection of books with their crayon marks and where they wrote their names on the front cover.