March Book Madness! Day 19, The Last 10 Books Tag

Woman Reading by William Wood via bookmarin

I found this book tag from Marc Nash, and A Little But A Lot while reading The Corner of Laura‘s post. Since I’ve had the most fun filling out lists this past month, I thought I would give this a go! (I would love if anyone tags me for any future book tags.)

Let’s Begin!

The Last Book I Gave Up On

Ashley Poston‘s Bookish and the Beast (2020)

The writing style, characters, and overall set up just rubbed me the wrong way. I fought too hard to get invested and gave up after reading 50 pages.

The Last Book I Reread

Heidi Kimball‘s Where the Stars Meet the Sea (2020)

Though it isn’t the most gloriously written romance, I enjoy going back and reading this book. It has a sweet love story and is a Regency romance so I still find it enjoyable.

The Last Book I Bought

Barnes and Noble Edition of Agatha Christie‘s Murder on the Orient Express and Other Hercule Poirot Mysteries

I’m an avid Christie fan and I wanted to read her book Curtain included with this hardcover collectable.

The Last Book I Said I Read, But Didn’t

Catherynne M. Valente‘s The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (2015)

Though I have re-read the first three books in the Fairyland series, I still haven’t read this one. I will get to it, but for now I kind of pretend I’ve read it to avoid unnecessary questions.

The Last Book I Wrote In The Margins Of

The Book of Mormon Translated by Joseph Smith Jr.

Since I read a few pages of this book daily, I write in the margins all the time. Once I finish reading it, I get another copy and start all over again. I do write and mark all my favorite books. It’s a habit I developed in college.

The Last Book I Had Signed

Katherine Arden‘s books Small Spaces (2018) and the first two books of her Winternight Trilogy

The only book signing I’ve ever gone to was in Provo, UT for Katherine Arden. I’m really happy I met her and had her sign my books.

The Last Book I Lost

Honestly, I cannot recall any recent books I’ve lost or had stolen. Technically A Monster Calls would work but I found it again fairly recently.

The Last Book I Had To Replace

Patrick Ness‘s A Monster Calls (2011)

Fun story, I actual lent my copy of this book to a sibling and it disappeared for years. So, I bought a new one and low and behold a few months ago it popped up again! That’s why it doesn’t count for the previous question really.

The Last Book I Argued Over

Funny thing, I don’t argue over books. I’m pretty respectful of other people’s opinions and feelings about books, movies, and television. To each his own. I do argue about manga quite a bit but that doesn’t apply right now.

The Last Book I Preordered

Clive Barker‘s Absolute Midnight (2011)

I don’t pre-order books because too many times I pre-ordered a book and hated, and regretted wasting money. So sad. However! The one time I can think of where I preordered and loved a book was Absolute Midnight. I waited six years for it and it didn’t disappoint!

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow!

March Book Madness! Day 18, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale 5/5

March Book Madness! Day 20, The Spring Cleaning Book Tag

Click the link to donate!

Month of Art: Day 19 Ana Juan and the Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland Series

(Part of me wonders if I will ever finish my month of art posts. My mind is scattered in SO many directions.) 

For today, I picked an artist deeply connected to my present mood. Born in Valencia, Spain in 1961, Ana Juan has illustrated for magazines like La Luna, Madriz and The New Yorker, storybooks and created worldwide art exhibitions, even as far as Japan for the Kodansha publishing house. In 1998 and 1999 the Society of Newspaper Design gave her a gold medal for her contributions and in 2010 The Spanish Ministry of Culture awarded her the “Premio Nacional de Ilustración”. 

I often wonder how such famous artists slip into my beloved books. This particular children series, written by the phenomenal writer Catherynne M. Valente, has a quirky style. As Neil Gaiman put it, all the books showcase the “glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian Fairy Tale” born from her unique cultural background that even extended to her life in Japan. I first read the series four or five years ago and have since fallen in love with her young adult and children’s literature. (Note: I avoid her adult novels as they tend to be very…. Overtly sensual. Ahem.) 

This series is also peculiar because it started as a crowd funded project released online. The first book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making won the Nebula/Andre Norton Award in 2009 BEFORE its official publication. Finally in 2011, after an overwhelming demand for its publication, it was published peaking at #8 on the New York Times Bestselling list. 

The sequels that followed, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Les the Revels There (2012), The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (2013), and The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (2015) met equal praise and adoration from fans of all ages who complimented the series wit and insight into politics, ethics, love and perspective. 

Now to the art. True to the series tone and setting, Ana Juan gave the books an older 1940s look both in their covers and chapter headings. The dimensions of the characters varies but the overall feel remains otherworldly.  Reading the series I felt that Juan had captured how I always imagined places of magic to look and feel. 

Each picture is purely magical to me. They seem to say “come away with us for this is where the magic is”. Something inside me bitterly wishes I could have read these books as a child. I can only imagine myself pouring over the images and dreaming of a never ending Fall. (FYI I love love LOVE everything about Autumn and October. Yet another reason my these books appeal to me so readily.) 

I think that in regards to a book’s ambiance, illustrations pay an enormous part in giving the book’s magic a face to remember. For example, I remember very distinctly each chapter picture in the Harry Potter series and still gush over Alan Lee’s talented visions for Tolkiens Lord of the Rings and other works. MY view of each of these series centered on their illustrations because it brought the book to life. The same definitely applies to these magical books. 

Someday I will talk about them in greater length. But for now, let Ana Juan’s imaginative drawings for Valente’s works be remembered fondly as a doorway into the wonder and enchantment of literature. As always, here are multiple examples of Ana Juan’s works.