Hi, all. It's Lexie.
November has predictably been the slowest month for TheHonestBookclub yet, chiefly because of NaNoWriMo and both of us participating. We've been falling behind slowly but gradually and this weekend is already largely devoted to catching up.
Having said that, this is a monster of a post which absolutely had to happen. My birthday falls five days before NaNoWriMo, and now that all of the books have arrived (safe and sound!), I figured it's time for a book haul. I have never in my life received more books than I have this October/November, I've never in my life dreamed that - as a grad student - I would be in the position to haul this many books, and I am incredibly excited. No, really, I still squeal whenever I glance at my bookshelves.
Spoiler alert: prepare for the world's longest post in the history of book hauls.
If you follow us on Instagram, you might have noticed my reading S by J.J. Abrams well over a month ago. As always, my amazing friend Dennis was as ridiculously generous as he was premature. Imagine a humongous giftwrapped book arrive at your doorstep three weeks before your birthday with the instructions to keep it wrapped until the day of my birthday.
S is an absolutely incredible story. I can't praise it enough. From the mind behind such shows as Lost, Alias and Fringe, and an award-winning author of Alive in Necropolis, this is a story within a story. S also comes with an abundance of "extras", in the form of real-life postcards, letters, cipher wheels and newspaper clippings - thus the necessity for a hard jacket to put the book in. S centers around a book written by a fictional author a century ago, and around two present-day University students who exchange notes back-and-forth in the margins (in differently colored ink) in an attempt to unravel the mysteries that this book contains. It's perhaps the most aesthetically beautiful book I've ever read, and it's not only art in terms of the content, it's also art in terms of the design. I've had to put it down when NaNoWriMo began, but I have every intention of finishing and reviewing it in December. Stay tuned. (And find us on Instagram for some sneak peeks of the inside of the book.)
As most book-lovers, I am prone to celebrity crushes... on authors. While celebrities never intrigued me much, I will fall hopelessly in love with the mind of an author every so often. This year, my chief targets have been Laini Taylor, Tahereh Mafi and finally (and perhaps most obsessively) Maggie Stiefvater. Which makes this 2014 Goodreads Choice so much fun (choose between Ignite Me, Dreams of Gods and Monsters and Blue Lily, Lily Blue; I dare you). My reviews of The Raven Boys and later The Dream Thieves are hints enough. It wasn't so much an educated review as it was a panegyric to Maggie Stiefvater's mind, in both counts. What with the third book in this four-book series having come out on the 21st of October, right around my birthday, I chose to treat myself to the second and the third book, thus completing this yet-incomplete series on my shelves. Also, the UK editions are incredibly beautiful.
We've rhapsodized about Dennis's seemingly limitless generosity one too many times already. It shouldn't have come as a surprise, therefore, when two weeks after S, If I Stay came in the mail. My book-loving friends and I are woefully behind on this particular trend, and we chose to catch up with a read-a-long of If I Stay, followed by a movie adaptation. I'd already had If I Stay on my Kindle, but Dennis thought he'd send me the physical copy as well. And while I do believe that we as human beings can get used to most things in life, incredible generosity doesn't seem to be one of them. I'm floored and astonished every time.
This year, my friends and I have been exchanging wishlists and getting one another books off those wishlists. It's made birthday shopping so much easier, and everyone is overjoyed with the present - since they picked it. So my beautiful, lovely friends have bought me On The Road. I imagine this particular choice was a no-brainer: it's a modern classic, and a road trip book. I happen to be a big fan of both. And how amazing is this Penguin edition?
In the same vein, my friends have bought me The Giver, another modern classic and one of the only books which teens seem to genuinely enjoy reading for school. Not to mention it's dystopian. Having gone to a high school in Europe, I've never had a chance to read it as required reading, and it's another bandwagon I have yet to join. There's even a movie. It's high time I did. This copy of The Giver is also the only book I've ever owned where the sticker really works! It's a stunning edition, with incredible cover design, and the sticker only adds to the appeal.
And then there was Natalie. My booksister, fellow book blogger, an honorary member of BBA (Book Buyers Annonymous) and the world's most incredible gift-giver. Firstly, I'll be cheesy and say this much: just running a blog and having a booksister like Natalie is enough of a gift. So when the planet's largest parcel arrived at my doorstep a couple of days ago, I went into shock. In just a month's time, Natalie has managed to put together a stunning, incredible, thoughtful (pun absolutely intended; she'll get it), bookish gift that no book-lover has ever received before. All the books, guys! All the books! (And then there's the bookish merch.) What with us both participating in NaNoWriMo and having seen Scott Westerfeld's liveshow/pep talk a few days ago, receiving Afterworlds was incredibly serendipitous, and incredibly exhilarating. And this book is enormous! Given that it's two-books-within-a-book, it makes sense. But it's still unexpected to actually witness in physical form.
The Book Thief is one of those books which seems to be universally beloved. It's also one I made a promise to myself to read in our Top 10 Authors We Should Be Reading post. Having said that, I'm incredibly intimidated by the content. I'm not the world's most emotionally stable person. But actually owning the book has made reading it a far less daunting task than it's been in my head thus far. And this is one of my favorite book covers in the world.
The Mara Dyer series has been a long-standing favorite of mine. I manage to squeeze Mara into just about all of our Top 10 Monday lists, and I possess a unique ability of turning every conversation into a Mara Dyer reference in 2 seconds flat. This conclusion to the trilogy has been the most anticipated release of not only this year, but also the past year, for just about everyone. The release has been pushed back so many times, I've lost hope of ever holding it in my hands. But finally, on November 4th, the third book came out. And it's my topmost priority in December, above all others. If you're familiar with the enormity of the cliffhanger the second book was finished with, you're probably with me on this one. And this, too, is thanks to my lovely, lovely booksister.
I'm having real trouble deciding which of these I'm more excited about: Legend, a staple on every dystopian-lover's list of favorites, or Throne of Glass, one of the few books in the world I'm absolutely certain I'll love, though I know virtually nothing about it. I suspect a TBR jar will come into play at some point where this choice is concerned. Both seem absolutely stunning, action-packed stories with heroes and heroines worthy of the title. Both are first books in acclaimed series, by incredibly talented authors. Marie Lu's new series, The Young Elites, came out just last month. Sarah J. Maas's third book in the Throne of Glass series has, as well. (And how beautiful are those covers?) Natalie's choice in books is incredibly eclectic, which is about the most important quality for a book-reviewer, in my biased opinion. I will literally have a book for every mood.
Two of Natalie's contemporary favorites, The DUFF and Geek Girl have both been reads I craved especially after a particularly dramatic/sad/difficult book or series. Natalie's review of Geek Girl is available here, on our blog, and we're staying up to date with all news regarding The Duff being adapted to film. It's high time I actually read both. Natalie certainly agrees, and I couldn't be more grateful, for the recommendations and for gifting me the books. There really is no proper thanks for someone who does so much for you. This goes for all my friends. I'm speechless - not just on my birthday but any and every day of the year.
Is it a plane? Is it a bird? It's a Mockingjay pin on a Harry Potter shirt! And another Harry Potter shirt underneath! Natalie comes from the land of Harry Potter, and she was incredibly thoughtful, generous and all-around amazing and sent me these in addition to the ten thousand books. (And that wasn't all, either, I just couldn't find a way to justify including non-bookish things in this post, though I desperately wanted to.) If it were humanly possible, I'd wear nothing but these shirts every single day of the year. Don't think for a second I'm not layering them over long sleeves during the winter. And is the Mockingjay pin coming with me to the Mockingjay premiere? Of course it is. Am I braiding my hair? Of course I am. Am I a giant nerd? ... No regrets.
You're reading them right. They're the world's best motivators, I swear. There is absolutely no place to get book-related merch where I live, and my disproportionate squealing enthusiasm the last time Natalie send me three of these is what probably resulted in six more. I can't for the life of me pick a favorite. They're all SO amazing, and - more importantly - they're all SO true.
Did you catch the
subtle hints throughout the post? (What do you mean, they weren't subtle?) We photograph the gloriousness that are these books and post those on our Instagram page, and we keep our Twitter and Facebook updated with all news of upcoming posts, giveaways, new releases, upcoming releases, etc. Follow us to stay up to date.
IN MY MAILBOX: NOVEMBER 15TH
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