Posted in life

Pieces of Summer | Recommendations

What sort of images come to your mind when you think of Summer? For me, it’s blazing sunshine, melted ice-cream, hot pavement, big shade trees, green grass and long afternoons. The days and nights of summer are bright, vivid, and filled with so much spirit and adventure. And during these summer days, my taste in books, music, and movies shifts a little. I like to read and watch things that are able to match those nostalgic feelings. So I put together a list of books, movies, and music that I think are the perfect examples and offer the best of this season.

|| M O V I E S ||

Josee, the Tiger and the Fish – After a chance encounter, two strangers begin a reluctant, and unlikely friendship, as they learn what truly matters in life. A beautiful, and touching story about life, love, and friendship. For me, there is nothing that encapsulates the essence of summer more perfectly than anime. So if you want a little dose of summer-time joy, you should watch this movie. I first watched Josee, last summer when it premiered in theaters, and from the moment the very first scene played out, I knew I was going to love it. And it has since become one of my all-time favorite films.

Summer Wars – During the summer holiday, a high school student takes an unexpected trip to the countryside, where he finds himself fighting for the fate of the world from the digital battlefront of OZ, a virtual reality game. (I meant it when I said that anime and summer were a perfect pairing, so you shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve added another one to my list.) This movie reminds me a lot of the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; the difference being that I disliked that book, but I absolutely loved this film. It’s hilarious, and heartfelt, and everything you’d want a movie to be.

\\ B O O K S \\

At Night, I Become a Monster, by Yoru Sumino – To continue with my theme of Japanese films and summertime, I present to you a psychological high school drama about a boy who becomes a monster at night. (Obviously, wink, wink.) This story can’t really be described without spoiling most of the plot, so suffice it to say, if you’re interested in something that’s a little peculiar, but brimming with broad, unusual themes, you’ll probably like this book. It’s a slower paced story, but has all of the essence of school life you’ll find in anime.

The Summer We Forgot, by Caroline George – In a quiet and picturesque coastal town, residents are rocked by the unsettling secrets from a summer two years ago that begin to resurface. A group of teens find themselves at the center of it all. This story paints a vivid, sometimes jarring picture of youth, while navigating the murky waters of growing up, and coming to terms with one’s self. Caroline George is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and her newest book does not disappoint.

The Mermaid’s Sister, by Carrie Anne Noble – This story takes place in a secluded cottage, high atop a mountain, where two sisters live happily with Auntie, their guardian. Everything changes when one of the girls becomes very ill and it is realized that she is fast becoming a mermaid, and only the sea can cure her. It’s been a few years since I read this story, but I think about it often, and think it’s a most perfect summer read. It is set in a historical time period, with strong themes of sisterhood and a beautiful and charming atmosphere.

// M U S I C //

Lastly, we have the category of music, which is perhaps the most essential tool for enjoying summer days and nights. Nothing beats a good summertime jam, blasting in the car with the windows rolled down. I made a short playlist, with some of my favorite songs, that you can’t help but bop your head along to. Most of these songs have been on my summertime playlist for a while, and some are new additions that I had to include. Listen to it HERE!

So that’s it for my lists. There are many, many different themes and ways to enjoy summer but I simply wanted to share a few of my favorites. Now I want to hear from you. What are some forms of media that remind you of summer? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

Posted in reading

5 Books on my TBR for Summer

Hey, everyone!

How goes it? Are you keeping afloat in this sea of uncertainty? It feels like monsters, mayhem, and certain death is lurking around every corner…or so we’re told. Besides all of that though, we’ve made it into the thick of summer – which means swivel fans running nonstop, long lazy days too hot for anything, ice cream, and cold drinks all around. It’s supposed to be monsoon season here, but one little rain shower, doesn’t qualify as a monsoon, does it? So this heat-wave has me feeling more like a puddle, than a person. And to make matters worse, there isn’t a single beach within five-hundred square miles of me, or even a pubic pool open to wade in, so I’m left with many, sweaty afternoons to fill. And what’s better than to fill my time with books?20200712_150346

As with all readers, my TBR (To Be Read) list is ever growing and expanding, while the list of books I’ve actually read is criminally short. But amongst the eternally broadening TBR, there are some titles that are calling out to me louder than all the others. Some of these books have been on my list for ages, and others are newly added. I am hoping to cross these titles off my list very soon, so I thought I’d share with you the top five books I’m so looking forward to reading this summer.

1. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

In this “utopian” future, humans are genetically engineered, socially manipulated, and pharmaceutically anesthathized to become docile, and uphold the authoritarian ruling order… all at the cost of freedom, humanity, and our very souls. Is it me, or does this sound a little too, familiar?20200718_123801

I’ve known about this book for a long time, but my curiosity was first piqued when I heard from someone that they preferred this book, to 1984. (Not that I’ve read 1984 either, but that’s beside the point.) A couple of months ago, I got this book as a gift for my birthday, so now that I have it in my possession, I’m going to be reading it very soon.

2. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

Set in the year 1792, this story takes place in France, during the Reign of Terror. Sir Percy, and Lady Marguerite Blakeney find themselves targets, at the center of a deadly political scheme. And only one man can help them–The Scarlet Pimpernel— a master of disguises who leaves only a calling card behind, after his covert rescues, emblazoned with the infamous red flower.20200721_111236

This book is relatively new to my list, but when I heard about it, it jumped straight to the top. I was at a book store and saw this book sitting on a table, so I snatched it right up. I think the themes, and content of this book could be especially valuable in today’s world.

3. Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus

 In 1841, Manjiro and his four friends are castaways on a deserted island. Beyond the island are countless unknowns – demons, monsters, and barbarians, or so they’ve been told. One day, an American whaling vessel passes the island, and brings the castaways aboard. Together, they sail across the high seas, and visit places they never could have dreamed exist. But years later, Manjiro wants to return to his home in Japan–to become samurai.20200721_111017

First off, can you think of anything cooler than samurai’s? If I could be anything, I think, I’d become a samurai. So as you can imagine, when I read the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I’d seen the book floating around the book world, at libraries and such, and I got lucky and found a copy at a thrift store. So I’m excited to dive into this story very soon. (Also, this book has pictures. Bonus points!)

4. Shirley, by Charlotte Brontë

Centered around two young heroines, this story takes place during a difficult time in history. With the Napoleonic wars raging, Luddite revolts, and industrialization of England, this story covers many social struggles of the contrasting characters.

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I’m a huge Brontë fan, so this book was a given, for me. I’m ashamed to say though, this book has been sitting around, gathering dust on my shelf for far too long while I waited for the right time to pick it up. But there’s no time like the present, right? Charlotte usually writes very deep, and profound books, so I can’t wait to start Shirley.

5. The Wingfeather Saga book 1: On The Edge of The Sea of Darkness, by Andrew  Peterson

“Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog, Nugget.”IMG_20200713_085140_255

Just about everyone and their grandma has read this book and loved it – and I’m starting to feel a little left out. I’ve heard such great things about this series, so I am really stoked to read it. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the so-called middle-grade books can truly be some very impactful stories.

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So that’s the list. This year hasn’t been a very good one in terms of getting books read. I’m sure it has a lot to do with procrastination, and the threat of extinction hanging over our heads, so its understandable that I’ve been reading less than usual. But in June, I decided I was going to make more time for reading, and spend less time endlessly scrolling on social media. And happily, it’s been working. The more I read, the more I want to read, and I’m feeling ambitious about crossing these books off my TBR. So wish me luck, friends, and I do the same for you!

What are some books on your TBR? How is your reading year coming along? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Thanks for reading,

Lady S