Book review: On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder

On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Source: Borrowed

A historian of fascism offers a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism.

On November 9th, millions of Americans woke up to the impossible: the election of Donald Trump as president. Against all predictions, one of the most-disliked presidential candidates in history had swept the electoral college, elevating a man with open contempt for democratic norms and institutions to the height of power.

Timothy Snyder is one of the most celebrated historians of the Holocaust. In his books Bloodlands and Black Earth, he has carefully dissected the events and values that enabled the rise of Hitler and Stalin and the execution of their catastrophic policies. With Twenty Lessons, Snyder draws from the darkest hours of the twentieth century to provide hope for the twenty-first. As he writes, “Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism and communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.”

Twenty Lessons is a call to arms and a guide to resistance, with invaluable ideas for how we can preserve our freedoms in the uncertain years to come.

Earlier this year, I was really into political nonfiction. I’m still interested in it and have a ton of books on my TBR, but fiction has kind of monopolized my time recently. That said, a few months ago, Adam at Roof Beam Reader recommended that I check out On Tyranny, and I finally did!

This short book is so important and although it hurt my heart a little bit to read it, I would not hesitate to recommend it to anybody. Snyder clearly and respectfully breaks down the warning signs of tyranny while relating them to both the past (mostly Nazi Germany and, more recently, events in Russia) and our present. I think my favorite section was the one on patriotism vs. nationalism.

If you’re looking for some good political nonfiction, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

Have you read On Tyranny? Do you have any similar books you can recommend to me? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish items I want

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is bookish items I want, and this was kind of a difficult theme for me since I don’t really have a need for “bookish items.” I have piles of book-related things that came in my Uppercase boxes, and I do nothing with any of it. But I did it! I came up with a list of ten book-themed things that I would not mind having.

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link and I’ll check out your post! Which bookish items do you most want? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book review: Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Source: Borrowed

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

Despite what you might think based on my recent graphic novel reviews, I really don’t read this kind of thing all that often. What happened is I discovered that hoopla has a really great selection of graphic novels and that sometimes, when life is crazy, you just need to escape into a weird world with great illustrations.

The first volume is pretty much an introduction to the world of Saga, which is… pretty crazy. Think of just about anything from a sci-fi book or movie, and it’s probably happening here. There are star-crossed lovers, there are ghosts, there’s a giant cat that doubles as a lie detector, there’s a spaceship and bounty hunters and people with TVs for heads and… I think you probably get the idea.

This was a lot of fun to read, and on top of that, it’s a great story and the art is amazing. I can’t wait to read the next two volumes and then cry because I have to wait until December 1 for the rest.

P.S. This wasn’t recommended to me in particular, but Leslie’s review is a big reason that I picked it up, so I definitely owe her some thanks for the entertainment I’ve gotten from this series!

#mm18: family

Have you read any of Saga? What’s your favorite graphic novel?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Source: Borrowed

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge.

‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.

The Little Book of Hygge is one of those books that’s been on my TBR for a while but that I never really intended to read any time soon. I’ve seen it in bookstores. It’s usually on display somewhere every time I go to Paper Source. I’ve seen so many reviews of it. But actually taking the time to read it? I don’t know, it just didn’t seem quite worth it.

But winter is well on its way. It’s been a crazy month. I’ve been pretty wrapped up in the Throne of Glass series and I needed something different. A book about why Danish people are so happy sounded like just the thing I needed, and it was. This book made me so happy.

It seems so easy, really. The secret to happiness isn’t money or things. It’s simple things like drinking hot cocoa with a good friend. Or reading a book while wrapped in a fluffy blanket. It’s sending a handwritten letter to someone who’s important to you.

Please excuse me while I do all of the above at the same time.

Have you read The Little Book of Hygge? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Tag: Liebster Award (Take 4)

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Mandy & Sha @ Book Princess Reviews, Siobhan @ Siobhan’s Novelties, and Larissa @ Written By Larissa. Thank you all so much, and sorry that it took me forever to get this post up!

You can see the previous versions of this award here: one ☆ two ☆ three

The rules:

  • Link to Global Aussie’s Award blog post. Comment with a link to your Award post. And put the official Liebster Award stamp on your blog.
  • Acknowledge and link to the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  • Nominate 11 more bloggers and spread the ‘new blogger’ love.
  • Ask them 11 fun questions of your own.
  • Let them know on their blogs that you have nominated them.

11 questions from Mandy & Sha:

1) Where is the last place you travelled to (that took more than two hours)?
TENNESSEE, where I met my favorite person in the whole world!! It was a ten-hour drive but it was totally, totally worth it.

2) What is the last book you read that made you laugh so hard your stomach hurt?
My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris. Some of the choices I had to make in that book were just hilarious.

3) What is a book you loved … but are sometimes ashamed to admit you read?
I don’t know that I’ve ever been ashamed to admit that I read a book! There are books that I don’t necessarily want to discuss with people like my boss or my mom, but I post a review on my blog for everything that I read. I might be a little ashamed to admit that I once spent $7.50 on glorified Taylor Swift fanfiction, but I’m not ashamed that I read it.

4) How long does it usually take you to finish a book?
It varies so much! I can usually power through a cute contemporary romance in a day or two. Non-fiction can take me a week or two. Other books are usually somewhere between two and four days. It really depends on how much I’m into it and what else is going on in my life.

5) How many pictures do you have on your phone? What kind of photos are they?
Photos I take on my phone all automatically back up to Google, so I don’t have that many on my actual phone. There are definitely several thousand photos backed up and most of them are of animals (and most animal photos are of my cat). There are also a lot of photos of the various children in my life.

6) Do you write reviews for every book you read? Why or why not?
Yes, and I guess it started out as a way for me to remember what I thought about each book. Now I just like having conversations about all the books that I’ve read.

7) What is your favourite thing to snack on?
I’m actually not a very snacky person. Actually, that’s a very inaccurate statement. I am a very snacky person, but I try not to keep snacks in my house because I’ll just eat all of them even if I’m not hungry. I like sour things most of all, so something like Sour Patch Kids is probably my favorite.

8) Do you believe in symbols/portents of good luck?
Yes! I really do! I don’t know that I can really give you a good example because it’s not things like lucky pennies or whatever, but sometimes something will happen to me and I’ll just be like… today is going to be a good day.

9) Could you go a day without your phone? Computer?
Could I? Yes. Would I really want to? No. Most of my friends and all of my family live very far away from me and my phone and computer are the only way to talk to them.

10) What is a surprising thing you did?
I’m the world’s most boring person. I think that, honestly, the most surprising thing I’ve ever done was go out for breakfast at 2am with one of my favorite local bands when I was 18 years old. And it’s not even surprising that I did it, it’s surprising that I had the opportunity to do it.

11) What is your pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is probably when people don’t have awareness of how they’re impacting other people (or they just don’t care). Like when you’re in the grocery store and the guy walking in front of you just stops and leaves his cart blocking the whole aisle while he calls his wife to ask exactly what brand of olive oil she wants. Or when you’re on a really full train and someone has their stuff taking up three seats instead of putting it on the shelf. It’s a little thing but it drives me crazy.

11 questions from Siobhan:

1. If there is one trope you could get rid of, which is it?
Miscommunication just for the sake of drama. I hate it so much.

2. Which is a problematic book/series you love?
I can’t think of one in particular, but I know that I’ve enjoyed a lot of books that have problematic aspects.

3. Which character do you despise the most?
Probably Scythe Goddard from Scythe.

4. What series do you want to see adapted?
I would love to see an adaptation of The Raven Cycle!

5. What is your most anticipated read for 2018?
My most anticipated book was What If It’s Us. Now it’s probably Vengeful, which I own and really need to get around to reading.

6. Which book do you wish you can read for the first time again?

7. Which pet in a series do you love the most?
Mister Kindly in Nevernight isn’t so much a pet as a snarky collection of shadows, but I love him so much.

8. Is there an author you can’t stand?
There are authors I don’t really care for, but authors I can’t stand? I don’t know about that.

9. What is your favourite bookish merchandise?
My favorite bookish merchandise is a book scarf that I got in my last Uppercase box!

10. What series would you love to throw into a fire?
The Mortal Instruments, probably.

11. If you could do a crossover series, which two series would you combine?
This is the hardest question! I have no idea! I’m sorry!!!

11 questions from Larissa:

1. Which fictional character would you most like to bring to life?
Maybe Joshua Templeman, otherwise Michael Phan.

2. Has there ever been anything in a book, film, or tv show that was so intense/hurtful to you that you had to put the book away or stop watching (like a character’s death)? And if yes, what was it?
There are some animal torture scenes in A Conspiracy of Stars that were really hard to get through. They were important to the plot, but I definitely had to set the book down and hug my cat a few times.

3. What is your current laptop/desktop/tablet background?

Nothing exciting, sorry!

4. Do you have any other creative hobbies besides blogging (like painting, guitar playing, knitting, etc.)?
Well, back in the day of like 2008, I used to love playing the piano. Sometimes I like to sew, but only when I feel like it. And sometimes I can get crafty, but that only happens about once a year and I’ll make a ton of homemade bath products like bath bombs and bath salts and moisturizers and lip balms.

5. Name three characteristics that you find most important or attractive?
A sense of humor. If you can’t make me laugh, then what’s the point?
Similar interests. Otherwise, what will we talk about?
Some loyalty. Friendship or relationship, loyalty is so important.

6. Which fictional character resembles you the most?
Jane from Krista and Becca Ritchie’s Like Us series!

7. You’re only allowed to listen to three songs for the rest of your life. Which songs do you choose?
Ahhh, hardest decision ever!!! This will probably change by tomorrow, but as of this moment in time…

8. Which celebrity do you think is most down to earth?
I’m not really sure who’s the most down-to-earth, but I think that Jack Antonoff seems really great. I didn’t actually meet him, but I was at a festival a couple years ago and he was just walking around and talking with his fans and taking selfies with everyone.

9. Describe yourself in five words.
I had this question in another tag! AWKWARD, AFFECTIONATE CRAZY CAT LADY.

10. Who do you admire the most?
I honestly admire anyone who can write. Like, you just pulled a whole book out of your head. That’s amazing.

11. Do you have a favourite quote or maybe a motto? If yes, what is it?
I have a million different quotes that I like. My motto is basically just to treat people the way I would want to be treated.

I’m not doing any nominations this time around, but all of you deserve this award, so if you haven’t been nominated, please consider yourself tagged! Feel free to answer any of the questions, or all of them!

Weekly Update

 In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

Tags this week:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • Nothing, I have finally calmed down a bit.

2 things this week:

  • This week really wasn’t very exciting (I feel like I’m saying this every week all of a sudden), but I did spend the whole week by myself and it was amazing.
  • I’m on such a baking kick right now. I mad a three-tier chocolate cake on Sunday, banana bread on Tuesday, and vegan gluten free brownies on Thursday. I have calmed down on buying books but now I need to calm down on baking things.

Blog hopping:

Song of the week:

Honestly, I feel like angels are singing to me during the bridge of this song. Also, the first time I heard this song, I almost cried.

Book review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Purchased

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Continuing on with my marathon of the Throne of Glass series, I’m happy to say that I liked Queen of Shadows a lot more than I liked Heir of Fire. It might have taken me eight days to read this book (I had ambitiously hoped for four days), but I really enjoyed it! I’m (again) going to try to avoid spoiling anything for the series that hasn’t already been spoiled by the synopsis, so my review will (again) be pretty vague.

Here are my bullet points for Queen of Shadows:

  • There were some real plot twists in this book and I gasped and yelled and felt a lot of emotions and that was a big change from how I felt during Heir of Fire.
  • I’m really starting to like Manon more! I feel like she’s had really great character development and I can’t wait to see what happens next with her.
  • The Valg thing… it was a lot. I get it, it was a good source of conflict for the book, but the forced impregnations especially were just a lot.
  • I still like Rowan a lot and I’m just about dying from the sexual tension.
  • Lysandra! She’s so great!
  • I hope everything is going to turn out okay for Elide.

I’m taking a tiny little break from this series to catch up on some other books, but hopefully I’ll be jumping right into Empire of Storms by this time next week.

Have you read Queen of Shadows? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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