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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Bibliophile. Bibliophilia.

 1. a person who collects or has a great love of books. 

Sounds about right. If you ask any of my friends, I'm pretty sure they'll tell you that I'm a bibliophile. I love books, and you should too. Ever since I was little, I loved burying myself in my novels and stories; I'd put myself in the character's place and imagine myself going on vast adventures. Fighting off dragons, warding off demons, and even casting a spell or two, my childhood was thronged with countless stories. What I lacked in athletics, I made up for in my academics. 

Every chance I get I'd go to my local bookstore and peruse through various sections. Be it art, fashion, culinary, and even romance, I normally never leave the bookstore empty handed. These past two months, I finished some books that have been sitting on my bookshelf, just waiting for it's pages to be turned. 

 The majority of the books I've read were ones that I've started but I haven't finished yet. 
Steal Like An Artist. Damn Good Advice. Eleanor & Park. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. Tokyo on Foot. Occasions.

The first one on this list is Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. This was a fairly quick read, but it's one of those books that changed my perspective on the art world. As a growing artist, this book helped me sort out the majority of my ideas and realize that by "stealing" I only make myself look better by enhancing my style. The back of the book reads as follows:
1. Steal Like an Artist 
2. Don't wait until you know who you are to get started. 
3. Write the book you want to read. 
4. Use your hands. 
5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
6. THE SECRET: Do good work and share it with people. 
7. Geography is no longer our master. 
8. Be Nice. (The World is a Small Town). 
9. Be Boring. (it's the only way to get work done.)
10. Creativity is Subtraction. 

The biggest thing I got out of this book was to never lose myself in my art. I do suggest reading it. Regardless or not if you're an artist, it puts into perspective about creativity and how at the same time is beneficial and detrimental. 

What can I say about Eleanor & Park? I loved the fact that I could completely relate to this story in some aspect. Eleanor & Park weaves the tale of Eleanor Douglas and Park Sheridan, two misfits who live in 1986 Omaha, Nebraska. The book switches perspectives constantly so it was refreshing to see both character's stories fold out instead of seeing it through one view. I could relate to this book on a certain level, with Park being Asian-American and being really into comic books. 

Much praise goes to Rainbow Rowell for writing such raw and endearing characters. The issues faced in this book cover racial tensions, child abuse, and social exclusion, but how she presents these issues gives them much respect. Eleanor's struggles were completely realistic and as were Park's. 

This book is a quirky teen romance, but that shouldn't dissuade you from not reading it. The book is teeming with many 80s references, from music to comic books, to what teenagers did back in that time period. I actually started this book way back in December and finished it shortly after, but sometime in February I picked it up again and started it over, this time to absorb more of the symbolism and more of it's deeper meaning. 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children falls into three categories: Nostalgic terror, Suspense, and Dark thoughts. Ransom Riggs, who has a pretty awesome name, did a fantastic job in creating an adventure that's really, one big giant metaphor. That metaphor, is up to you to figure out. 

I picked up this book a year ago and only now did I actually get to finish it! I backtracked a few chapters to refresh myself on what was going on. Miss Peregrine's follow the story of Jacob Portman, a 16 year old boy who flies to Wales after the murder of his grandfather by what he believes to be "imaginary creatures", to figure out more of his grandfather's past.

The entire story is told through various vernacular photography of rather peculiar children from the early 20th century along with the narrative. Through the usage of these photos, Jacob follows the clues hidden within them to figure out who or what exactly killed his grandfather. 

One of my newer favorites, Miss Peregrine's reminded me of the times in which I read the Harry Potter series, with the fact that the male protagonist is whisked away from mundane reality to a brand new world. The sequel, Hollow City came out recently, and I'm looking to get it within the next few weeks. 

The title is really self explanatory. Damn Good Advice in a nutshell is really Damn Good Advice! George Lois, one of the most celebrated graphic designers reveals all the trade secrets in this little novel of his. His advice regarding the art world and people's attitudes in and about it are completely refreshing. Completely, brutally, and honestly blunt, Lois lays down the do's-and-don'ts of working with clients and building a name for oneself. 

Many of his works are published in the book as well and I can really see why George Lois is such a celebrated designer. As an aspiring graphic designer myself, this along with Steal Like An Artist, not only gave me more insight into the workplace I want to be in, but also made me realize that I really do have potential and that, should never, ever be wasted. 

One of the most innovative travel journals I've ever read, Tokyo on Foot follows the real life adventures of Florent Chavouet, a French artist who moves to Tokyo for six months with his girl friend. The graphic memoir is a fresh look on how a foreigner, let alone an artistic foreigner would perceive a city as beautiful as Tokyo. 

Chavouet draws everything he sees, from the people, to the buildings, to even billboards across the city. This imaginative way of documenting his day to day activities put a brand new spin on the whole "journaling" movement. I only wish I had half Mr. Chavouet's talent. The fact that everything in the book is sketched on the spot and wonderfully coloured with coloured pencils, this book is sensory stimulation. 

I love the honesty Florent Chavouet has with what he sees. France and Japan are two very different cities, and two vastly different cultures so it was interesting to see his opinion about the food, where he lived, and how he was treated. My favorite tidbit is when Japanese cops had detained him because the bike he bought actually turned out to be stolen. Other tidbits of information he includes are his daily trips to convenience stores and how would never understand the appeal of red beans. 

Occasions by Kate Spade, the wonderful fashion designer, released this book quite a while back about how to throw the best gatherings and how to prepare for them. This is actually my mother's book and I can now see why my mother's parties are so well done. I'm a bit spoiled really. My mom's the hostess with the mostess and I can only wish to be just as great of a host as she is when I get older. 

Occasions is a guide on what and what not to do when throwing a party. The book offers many different pieces of advice on how to host a party, and how to be a guest. It covers many things as what to cook, what to decorate with, and who to invite. I think one of my favorite pieces of advice in this book are as follows. 

1. After accepting an invite, it is polite to send a bouquet of flowers in advance to show appreciation for the host/hostess, and to indicate that you are very well interested in going. 

2. If the hors d'oeuvres are still at the party when you arrive, then you aren't late. If however they are gone, then you are late. 

3. 15 minutes late, no questions asked. 30 minutes late, expect a raised eyebrow or two. 45 minutes late, you're fumbling at the goal line. 60 minutes late, consider yourself benched for the season and apologize profusely. 

I love Kate Spade's freshness when it comes to her writing. Not only do I find her clothing and designs completely adorable, but her technique in handing advice, along with the mini illustrations of food and other party related items throughout the novel upped my respect for her. To all those who are aspiring party hosts and to all those who may want to brush up their etiquette as party guests, do pick this book up. It is a must in becoming a fantastic host and a very dignified party guest. 

Here's to more books, and here's to more reading. Pick up a book! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for inspiring your readers!!! My daughter is presently reading Miss Peregrine's.... I thought it was creepy!!!