Internship: Day 1

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Here’s a short post to give you a little life update! This week, I moved near Strasbourg. The whole finding a place thing was a great nightmare, but I am finally settled. And today was the first day of my internship which is in a small publishing house in the middle of nowhere, and will last for six months. I was super excited about it, and the good thing is, after spending the afternoon carrying boxes of books and putting stamps on packages, I still am! I’ve also done some translating, and in between tasks, I even managed to read a comic book – one of our latest releases.

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It takes place in Manhattan and follows soldiers strruggling in a city dominated by King Kong. I have to say, it was quite a fun read!

Anyway, I am now super exhausted – and eating homemade curry that I yet again made way too spicy. But I am also really happy and excited about this new part of my life that is starting now, and that’s pretty much what I wanted to share!

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Why I Read YA

Today I am here with an article maybe a little different from what I usually post, but I thought it might be interesting as well, and I just wanted to share my love for the YA genre in general. I am 22, going 23 and about to start an internship in a publishing house, as I have graduated back in June. And yet I find myself still reading – and loving – YA. And there is nothing wrong with that, obviously. I just found myself wondering why and I wanted to share it on here.

When I was a kid, I used to read a lot. I went to the library every week and borrowed as many books as I could. When I reached high school, I tuned down my love for books as I became completely obsessed with Korean Dramas and spend most of my free time watching them. Around the end of senior year, I got back into reading, but as college started I basically stopped reading for leisure, as all the books I read were for my classes, and recommended by my professors. However, at the turn between Year 2 and Year 3, I got back into reading with books like Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Around that time, I made my bookstagram account, and a bit later, my blog. The rest is history.

But I guess what I’m trying to say is that when I needed YA the most, I wasn’t an avid reader anymore. So now I’m just, in a way, catching up with lost time. But that’s obviously not the only reason I still read and love YA!

Here are some reasons I enjoy it so much:

  • It’s such a broad genre and is providing readers with more and more diverse books which I live for
  • There is something for every mood from contemporary to high fantasy or sci-fi or really anything
  • They are usually fast paced and quick to read, something I always enjoy
  • I can usually relate to at least a few characters, and I’m not going to lie, I love that feeling

Some of my latest YA reads include Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (review), New World Inferno by Jennifer Wilson, Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (review), and To all the boys I’ve loved before by Jenny Han, which I all really recommend.

I also wanted to mention some YA books that I consider important, such as Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard and Turtles all the way down by John Green, among others obviously. And I couldn’t write this blog post without mentioning how relatable Rainbow Rowell’s book Fangirl was. It was honestly one of my favourite reading experiences ever.

I love how the YA genre keeps renewing itself, and getting more and more diverse, including wonderful LGBTQIAP+ books (by Becky Albertalli, Patrick Ness, Adam Silvera and many others, I just realised I haven’t mentioned them yet in this post so, you know, I had to), including diversity of origins and skin colour, mental illness (something that really matters to me in case you didn’t know) and so much more. So I guess my point is, I will never grow too old to read YA, as long as it keeps being that satisfying.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Norwegian Wood: My Review

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Title: Norwegian Wood
Author: Haruki Murakami
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publication: 1987
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5

Trigger warning: suicide

The story:

Norwegian Wood is a coming of age story following Toru Watanabe through his first years of college, and his relationships with Naoko, who is presented from the beginning as someone he promised he would always remember. They are linked together through one of their friends, who has passed away, which has both reinforced their relationship and made Naoko more fragile. As she spirals down, Watanabe finds himself growing closer to others in ways he didn’t really expect.

My opinion:

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

To be honest, I had mixed feelings about this book. I wanted to like it because it was recommended to me by a friend, and at first, I really did. In some parts, it really struck me how deeply human it felt. The characters are very realistic, with both qualities and flaws, they make mistakes and know when to acknowledge. As this is mostly a coming of age story, this felt really realistic and relatable.

But the things is, some parts really rubbed me the wrong way, whether the discourse surrounding sex – which I totally wasn’t expecting to be so present and graphic – or the representation of mental illness. I do appreciate the fact that Naoko’s portrayal seemed rather accurate, but at the same time, I’m not sure what to make of the treatment the other characters gave her. For example, the use of the term “crazy” by Reiko really made me uncomfortable as well as some other things concerning both mental illness and suicide.

The sex/rape scene between Reiko and her “rotten” student also made me feel super uncomfortable, like, it was super disturbing and I didn’t see the point of including this girl’s character in the story (like, please, if you’re going to include a gorgeous lesbian in your book, could you make it in a non disturbing way? Thanks.)

Overall, this book is cleverly crafted, it’s soft and slow-paced and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. It was a beautiful character-driven story. However, there were a few things that made me uncomfortable in the way mental illness was addressed. I also felt that the story was really dragging by the end, and the ending itself was rather underwhelming. So in the end, I was not sold. It was my first Murakami book, though, and I will definitely be checking out some of his other works!

Thanks for reading this far, and feel free to share your opinion on Norwegian Wood, or recommend any other of his works!

Blogversary & Life Update

I feel like I haven’t posted a life update in forever and now seems to be the right time to do it! But first of all — and I know I miss it every year — a few days ago was my blog anniversary. I have now been blogging here for three whole years and I can’t believe I got that far. Thank you all so much for being here with me on that journey!

As for the life update, I graduated from university at the end of June and am now the proud owner of a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature. I quit my job as a waitress at the beginning of August, and I’ve been traveling in Austria and Slovakia since then. And I will be starting an internship in a publishing company at the end of the month, something I still can’t believe. For that I’ll be moving to Strasbourg and I’m really excited about it!

That’s it for the news, if you want to read more about my trip to Vienna check out my last post. I will be back in France on Wednesday. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day 📖❤️

Visiting Vienna

One of the first things you should do you’re in Vienna is going to Stephansplatz, which is basically the city centre, the ancient medieval town. There you can walk through many tiny and beautiful streets, among bookshops, cafés and souvenirs. As soon as you get out of the metro station, you see the cathedral (Stephansdom) which you can visit, and you can also climb up the South Tower to get a great view on the city. It’s 343 steep steps, but it’s totally worth it! (Student tarif: 6€)


Two streets away from the cathedral stands the Mozarthaus — formerly known as Figarohaus — one of the many places where Mozart lived while he was staying in Vienna. You can visit it (full tarif: 11€), it’s 3 floors in total with an overview of Mozart’s life, works and family. He lived in this house for three years, and this is where he composed The Marriage of Figaro as well as Don Giovanni. It’s beautiful and the audioguide is in many languages, totally worth it!


In the Hofburg, also known as the Imperial District, you can visit the National Austrian Library, which is 650 years old and one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. (Student tarif: 6€)

Take your time walking around this neighbourhood because it’s absolutely gorgeous! It’s full of cafés and souvenir shops, and obviously old, beautiful buildings such as the parliament and the theatre, as well as the opera. You can also visit the Sisi museum there, as well as the Theatre Museum, which is in facts, a small palace. Don’t forget to walk past the opera as well!


Further in the North of Vienna, you can go to the Prater Gardens. It used the be the imperial hunting grounds, and has now become an amusement park. You can take the old ferris-wheel and have an amazing view over the city (for 9€), go on roller-coasters and eat cinnamon donuts there, and it’s totally worth the detour.


 

One of the unavoidable sights in Vienna, of course, is the Schönbrunn Palace, where Marie-Antoinette spend some of her childhood, and where Sisi lived as an empress. You can visit the Palace, or just tour the gardens and walk up to the Gloriette, where you have a great overview of both the site and the city itself.


If you’re into architecture, a walk from the city center (Wien Mitte) will take you through the 3rd district to the Hundertwasser House, which is a unique (and quite famous) building. The place itself is quite pretty along with some lovely souvenir shops.


Tips:

For public transports, there’s a weekly ticket available from Monday to Sunday which only costs 17.50€.

If you’re going to Vienna, be ready to walk a lot and spend a lot of time in cafés!

In the summer you can also take the U2 line up North and take a swim in the Danube!

There are also many opportunities to take day trips from Vienna, either with the bus or the train, to cities such as Bratislava (capital of Slovakia) or Salzburg (home city of Mozart in Western Austria), which I both recommend.

Have fun traveling, and I hope you have a wonderful day 💜

Book Event: Meeting With Olivia Laing

Last Tuesday, my favourite bookstore Shakespeare and Company organised a reading with Olivia Laing, in honour of her latest release and first work of fiction Crudo, which I also just finished reading and loved: this book was mind blowing. I first came across Olivia Laing a few months ago when I read her book The Lonely City (review) which was absolutely fascinating, so when I saw that she would be in Paris and do a reading, I knew I had to be there.

 

And yes this comes straight from my Insta Story, how could I resist.

Olivia Laing has published three non fiction books, and has been on the shortlist for many book awards. Crudo is her first work of fiction. It takes place in 2017, was written in the span of 7 weeks and follows the events of the summer, through the perspective of the main character, Kathy, who is getting married, and was inspired by artist Kathy Acker and Olivia Laing herself. It deals with the Trump election, Brexit and the nuclear menace among other topic, as well as the main character’s fear of commitment.

This book was an easy and endearing read. It is extremely well written, all the more so considering there were barely any revisions, and at the same time, it is also an important read, considering it deals with all the crazy events of last summer. If this had been published two years before, as a work of speculative fiction, no one would have actually believed this would happen, and yet here we are.

Anyway. I arrived super early at the reading, knowing how these events work, and I got a spot on the second row, which was amazing. Olivia answered questions about her book, and even read some parts of it. She is such an inspiration, and I’m so glad I got to see her in person. She also talked about the book she is currently working on, which will deal with body image, a topic I’m really interested in, and I can’t wait for this project of hers to become an actual book.

After the reading, she signed copies of her book, and I even got to take pictures with her!

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July Wrap Up

My monthly wrap up:

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (review)
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (review)
Crudo by Olivia Laing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Image of Deception by Charlotte Anne Hamilton ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (review)
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drew ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book event of the month:

I met with Olivia Laing at Shakespeare and Company, it was amazing!!

Latest movie I’ve seen:

Ready Player One (❤️)

Currently reading:

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami