“15 Spectacular Libraries in Europe” — Mental Floss

This article is filled with pictures of the most beautiful architecture that I’ve ever seen. I found the article on the Mental Floss magazine website.

I could not study or read in any of the libraries on this list. I would instead spend my time walking around the building and admiring the work, the design, of the architecture. I would feel as if I couldn’t touch anything because a graze of my finger might leave a smudge that would disturb the perfection of the building.

Click here to read the article and see the pictures.

“Crappy First Drafts of Great Books” — Psychology Today

While reading one of my Shelf Awareness newsletters, I came across the link to this post on Psychology Today’s website.  After reading it I felt better about my feeble attempts at writing a story. It makes me realize that everyone, even the greats, have to work hard to achieve their goals and to be considered great. I was aware of this observation before but visual evidence helped me to truly believe it.

Some of these drafts are scary with all the cross-outs and scribbles.

Click here to check out the post.

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins

Cover of "Catching Fire (The Second Book ...
Cover via Amazon

The second in the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire is just as riveting and exciting as the Hunger Games. Though I find the Hunger Games to be a better read.

Quick summary:

Catching Fire picks up where Hunger Games left off. We are back in District 12 with Katniss who no longer lives in poverty at the edge of the community; instead, she now resides in the middle of town in the Victor’s Village, the place where all winners of the Hunger Games dwell in beautiful houses. She now has all that her family has ever needed and then some but she is not happy. She is plagued with nightmares of what happened in the arena, she is somewhat estranged from her best friend, Gale, and she now has President Snow hounding her since she defied his orders to kill or be killed. Furthermore, she unintentionally incited hope in the people of the Districts thus causing revolts to pop up, which threatens the dominating hold that the Capitol has on the Districts.

Yes, the Districts are now in uprising against the Capitol and Katniss is their mockingjay that gives wings to their cause, strengthening their hope to make them push towards a better future. Because of this, President Snow uses the Quarter Quell as an underhand way of ridding the world of Katniss. Again, only one victor is allowed but instead of fresh tributes, the previous victors are recycled. Only one male and one female is allowed, as before, thus both Peeta and Katniss are back in the arena (Katniss by default and Peeta because he refuses to let Katniss enter the arena without him). Along the way (through the usual preparations for the Games), Katniss realizes that not all who live in the Capitol are ignorant of reality, of what occurs in the Districts, and that some are down for the rebelling cause. Also, the relationship between Peeta and Katniss grows stronger, while her feelings towards Gale becomes more muddled.

Continue reading ““Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins”

“A Love Noire” by Erica Simone Turnipseed

This is one of my favorite romance novels. I learned a lot from it: historical facts and little tidbits about countries I’ve never been to. This is actually the third time that I am reading it. I love how it begins (a chance meeting in a bookstore) but my sentiments towards the ending is bittersweet. The story progresses well however. We see the characters meet, fall in love, and break apart

I love reading novels that contain strong characters and the protagonists in this one are worth the read. Noire, as her name implies, is all about Black identity and culture, while Innocent seems not to hold such things in high regard. I like how Turnipseed intersperses different elements of Black experience in her cast of characters. The cast are from a diverse background within the African diaspora – the United States, the Caribbean, the African continent. I believe that this is one of the best parts of the novel. The diversity in the cast of characters, and Turnipseed doing a great job of displaying each background and revealing their beliefs, brings a unifying element to the novel. It shows that although they are all different due to their background, they are connected by the common ancestry they share by way of Africa and the common historical experiences of slavery.

Still, although this is a romance novel, I believe that it focuses more on social issues than the actual romance between the characters.