Christmas gifts for readers

Hey, guys! I’m sorry for literally being MIA for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been busy doing my internship and haven’t had time to properly sit down and write any blog post. However, as it’s almost Christmas I thought I’d make short bookish Christmas gift guide to help you find the perfect gift for the reader in your life.

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Books
There´s no going wrong there. The easiest present you could get for any book lover is books. We can’t get enough of them and I’m sure the book lover in your life would squeal with excitement if they found a rectangular gift under the tree.

Prints
Either you can buy a really cute book related print online at Etsy or you can make your own. The only thing you need is a computer, a printer, some nice paper and creativity.

Mugs
Again, internet shopping is a great thing and with a quick search you can find several online shops that sell book related mugs. But if you’re short of time, you could buy a plane ceramic mug and write or draw something on it with a sharpie and put it in the oven for an hour or so, to make the paint stick permanently.

Notebooks
Most readers also write, and, therefore, they’re in constant need of nice notebooks where they can put down their thoughts, keep track of what books they’re reading and what they think about them.

Bookmarks
A reader always needs bookmarks!

Calendar/planner
Since 2016 is almost upon us, most people, not only readers are in need of a new calendar or planner. Why not make one out of an old book?

Tea
The perfect reading companion.

Merry Christmas!

Book Haul – Gothenburg Book Fair 2015

Look at these beauties I bought at the Gothenburg Book Fair. I’m so excited to read these!

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Fire (Engelsfors #2) by Mats Strandberg, Sara Bergmark Elfgren

The Key (Engelsfors #3) by Mats Strandberg, Sara Bergmark Elfgren

These first two (Swe; Eld, Nyckeln)  are the second and third book in a trilogy series of Swedish fantasy books which essentially is about a group of adolescents who turn out to be witches and have to stop the world from ending. I now have the whole trilogy but in Swedish that is. It’s really good and I urge you to read them!

 
 
 

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Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) (Swe; Rör mig inte) by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) (Swe; Rädda mig inte) by Tahereh Mafi

This series was recommended to me at the book fair and it sounded really interesting, but I don’t know much about it really. I anyone has read these, let me know what you think!

 
 
 

kaninhjartaKaninhjärta (Rabbit Heart) by Christin Ljungqvist

This one is also a Swedish book, a YA novel about to twins Mary and Anne. Together they make a medium where Mary lets ghost use her voice and Anne can hear them.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an English translation of the book.

 
 
 

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Sigrid by Johanne Hildebrandt

Another Swedish book, which doesn’t have an English translation. I also don’t know much about it more than that it’s based on Sigrid Storråda’s life, which is a queen who shaped Scandinavia history. It sounded really interesting when I read the synopsis, a mixture of fantasy, reality, love and history. But I now realised that it’s the fourth book in a series and I don’t have the first three books…

 
 
 

vmstpdhsVi måste sluta ses på det här sättet by Lisa Bjärbo, Johanna Lindbäck

Yes, another Swedish YA novel which haven’t been translated into English, but the title translate into something like ”we have to stop meeting this way”.

To be honest, I bought this one for three different reasons 1, I really love the publisher; 2, the reviews; and 3, the cover. It’s beautiful! But I really don’t know much about it, I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve read it.

 
 
 

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

And finally I got my hand on this gem. I doubt there’s any of you out there who doesn’t know about this book, but if you don’t, let me tell you something; this is one of the most amazing books I’ve read this year (stay tuned for the review). It’s about sisterhood, first love, fanfiction and growing up.

 
 
 

That’s it, guys! I restrained myself after that. I had a lovely day and I literally wanted to buy everything but in the end, I couldn’t carry any more books.

How to blog about books without writing reviews

I stumbled across a post by a fellow blogger Bluchickenninja where she gives her readers some advise about how to read more, and it got me thinking. Since I started this blog I’ve tried to read more and more books in a shorter amount of time. Because, by starting a blog one commit to write about a certain subject and upload blog posts regularily.

It comes with some sort commitment or responsibility towards your audience, at least that’s how I feel about it. Thus, to be able to blog about something you must create some sort of content, in my case, my content is based on books and reading which requires me to read more books faster to be able to write something about it.

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Image: Gemzell.se

I’m amazed by people who are able to read several books a week (how do you do it?!) and still manage to keep up with everything else, school, work etc. However, I’m not one of those people and not everyone is and that’s okay. I consider myself a slow reader, thus I’ve had to consider other means of creating content.

Here’s what I’ve leart about filling the the empty space between book Reviews:

  • Google, yes, as simple as that. If you don’t feel creative let others lend you a hand.
  • Use books as inspiration! Write a letter to the dead, rewrite the ending of your favourite book and so one.
  • Write about your thoughts about reading, books, writing, authors etc.
  • Make lists like this one or of your favourite quotes, authors, bookmarks, covers etc.
  • DIY, who doesn’t like to read about and see what you can do with books or how to make book related accessories and such?
  • Read other blogs and let them inspire you.
  • Make time for your writing, you can’t get away from that one.
  • Buy a notebook, and write down your thoughts and ideas about your content.
  • Don’t put too much preassure on yourself. It’s not a competition and it’s okay to take a break and have a off week (month, year), we all have them.
  • Have fun and be silly! The world is too serious anyway, or be serious and critiqe things, it’s your blog, do what you like and like what you do.

Personally, I use Google a lot for inspiration as well as other peoples blogs.

If you have any advice yourself, feel free to comment or tweet me, I love hearing from you!

Book Haul – Erasmus edition

After four amazing months in Ireland, I’m back where a presumably belong (I haven’t figured out that part yet). As a full-time book lover and part-time hoarder or rather a collector, I managed to bring back a few books from Ireland (with the help of a few extra bags and family members). I knew it’d be a really bad idea to buy more books than those mandatory for my course work. I actually did really well until one week before I had to fly back to Sweden. I accidentally stumbled upon a tent full of used books and, well, I became a bit too excited.

‘Used’ books

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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

I didn’t voluntarily pick this book up. It was more like blackmail. For about a year now I’ve  tried (unsuccessfully) to get my friend to read the Harry Potter series. My friend’s argument being ‘I’ve seen the movies’ which, to me, isn’t a valid argument at all. Yet, this time we compromised. My friend would read the first Harry Potter book if I read The Da Vinci Code.

685392Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 

English classics, in English, to a reasonable price is hard to find in Sweden, and impossible to find at flea markets or secondhand shops. Imagine my excitement when I found these classics for 2 euros each.

6820364Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Many years ago I had a blog similar to this one, except written in Swedish. At that time, many, many years ago I wrote a review of this book where I more or less wrote how much I hated it. Well, I wasn’t that harsh but I didn’t like it at all. It was too random and made no sense at all. I hated stories like that. However, life change, I’ve changed since then and now I rather enjoy random stories because it challenges my ability to imagine things. So, I thought I’d give it a go once more (in English this time).

20927204The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

I just felt The Hobbit is one of those books one should read since it’s a classic (and I really want to know what the fuss is all about).

pride-and-prejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

For years, while learning English I’ve had to read the first chapter of this book, as a reading extract or a reading comprehension test. For once, I’d like to finish the whole book.
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My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

A friend recommended it to me 7 years ago, didn’t think more about it, saw the film, loved it and bought the book. Simple as that!

‘New’ books  

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I’ve read the first two books a year when I went to Norway, but I couldn’t finish the series because they didn’t have the right cover of the book in Norway or Sweden (they have to match). When I saw this book in the bookshop I couldn’t believe I was one purchase away from knowing how it ends. To be completely sure it was the right cover I used Skype to call my dad in Sweden and have him show me the cover of the books I already own.

All-the-Bright-Places-jktAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I’ve written about this book earlier, it’s on my summer reading list and that’s why it got to fly all the way back home with me.

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Egenmäktigt förfarande – en bok om kärlek by Lena Andersson

A Swedish book which translates to something like, ‘Arbitrary decision – a book about love’. I bought this two days after I came home. I read way too much in English and know more about English speaking authors than Swedish authors, which is really bad, shame on me.

In addition to the books above I also bought a number of textbooks and other books of fiction for my classes which also had to be brought home. It’s a miracle I didn’t have to pay extra at the airport.

To-read this summer

I love writing lists, lists of books to read, what to do next and so on. I’ve been working on a list of what books I’d like to read this summer and I thought I’d share it with you. A few of them has been around for years, I just haven’t got to them yet.

secrethistory

I’ve heard so many great things about this book but been unsure about whether or not I’d like it. Yet, it’s been on my list a long time now.

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Also a book I’ve heard great thing about and I’ve been trying to get my hands on it last summer but the book shops only had it in Swedish.

Never_Let_Me_Go

I read this book about five years ago and liked it. I didn’t think much about it, but since I finished The Remains of the Day by the same author, I’d like to read it again.

FangirlWIP

I read Eleanor and Park by the same author last summer and thought it was a really sweet story. It wasn’t my favourite to be honest, but there has been such a buzz around Fangirl, I’ve to know what it’s all about. Maybe I’ll love it!

All-the-Bright-Places-jkt

I stumbled across this book when I was taking Snapchats of Harry Potter books, trying to torment a friend into reading them, which didn’t work by the way, but I’m not giving up! Anyway, I read the back and thought, yes, this sounds like something I’d like.

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I just love the title and the thought of writing letters to the dead, which I’ve done a few times. I don’t know much about this book, more than the title, because I’m trying to pick at least one book in a different way. That is, only based on the title.

THE QUEEN OF TEARLING

It’s thanks to BookTube I found this one. It sounds very exciting, I mean, magic, do I need to say anything more?

What’s on your summer reading list?

If you’ve any suggestions on what I or others should read, feel free to leave a comment or tweet me!

Little Tree of Stories full to-read list on Goodreads

DIY – Book edition

I love books, the smell, the texture, the weight, the appearance, the possibilities (that looks weird in writing, I don’t have a problem, I promise, come back). If you are like me and love books, even if you only ‘like’ them or have a friend who loves books, why not make your love-affair public (or at least more visible)?

I’ve recently been in a complete DIY mood, spending several hours on Pinterest (heaven for DIYers) and YouTube. There are so many things you can do with books, things you can do to decorate your books or simplify your reading experience. If you’ve a DIY idea involving books or if you’ve tried one of the ones I’ve listed, let me know!

Transforming books into something else

Book clutch with clasp – can be used as a clutch as well as storage

Book clutch with zipper – if you use a bigger book you can use this tutorial to make a laptop case

Hidden storage – perfect if you, like me have messy bookshelves

Protect and simplify

I’m especially excited to make an invisible bookshelf, a hidden storage box, a clutch and using one of the clutch tutorials to make a laptop case. Yet, I’m a bit concerned about taking apart books. It hurts!

If you’ve a DIY idea involving books or if you’ve tried one of the ones I’ve listed, let me know!

How to pick a book

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First page of ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt

Picking a new book to read may be the easiest thing in the world, you pick one you like and find intriguing. But everyone still doesn’t pick books in the same way. We all use different strategies. I usually choose my books by reading the synopsis or after reading a good review. A friend of mine, however, picks her books by reading the first page. Another goes for a book with an appealing cover. There are so many different ways to pick a book.

  • Reviews of a book
  • Recommendations
  • Synopsis on the back (or inside flap)
  • First page of a book
  • First sentence of a book
  • First chapter of a book
  • Cover of a book
  • Last page of a book
  • Title of a book

If you have trouble choosing your next read, trying a different approach, one that goes against your previous strategy might help. It most certainly would make choosing a new book a lot more interesting.  By going for a completely different strategy, it might open your eyes to a different genre of stories and books. Maybe you find ‘the book’, the one that changes everything.

But, of course, it might also end up being a complete disaster. It might be difficult to get through it because it’s sometimes hard to read something that you’re not motivated to read. Still, it’d be an interesting experience. I’m certainly going to try something different, as my friend said ‘you can tell a lot about a book from the first page’, well, let’s see if there’s some truth to that.

It’d be really interesting to know; how do you pick your books? If you try a different strategy than what you are used to, how did it go?

Get to know me – book tag

Since this is a newly created blog and you probably don’t know me, I thought I could do a book/reading tag and we could get to know each other better.  I’d really like to know your answers to these questions. Feel free to comment below!

 

  • What is your favourite book and why?

My favourite book… I can’t choose just one, it’s impossible! I love the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (as if you didn’t know who the author is already) where the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Order of the Phoenix and the Deathly Hallows are my favourites. I can’t explain why really. I also love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I just, it’s amazing and poetic and different. Lastly, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s the saddest story but at the same time filled with so much love it makes my heart explode. Those are the once I can think of right now, but there are so many more, Simon and the Oaks by the Swedish author Marianne Fredriksson for example.

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  • What is your favourite author and why?

I’m the type of person who falls in love with a story or a book, not necessarily the author. I don’t know, I want to say J.K. Rowling but then again Astrid Lindgren is an author I idolise. She is one of the most honest and straight forward people who have walked this earth. She is a Swedish author who wrote children’s books like Brothers Lionheart and Pippi Longstocking.

 

  • What is your favourite book series?

This is an easy question; Harry Potter is my favourite, obviously!

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  • What is your favourite quote from a book?

‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live’, said by the wisest wizard ever lived, Professor Dumbledore aka J.k. Rowling. There are several other quotes from other books I’ve read that I really love, but this quote has stuck with me for a long time now.

 

  • What is the most recent book you read?

Do academic textbooks count, no? In that case, I have to say Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie which I have to read as part of my studies, but I really enjoyed it. I think it might be one of my favourites actually.

 

  • What book can you read over and over again and never get tired of?

Harry Potter, I mean, I have already read the series four times, one time in Swedish and three times in English. To be honest, the Swedish translation is terrible.

 

  • What is the first book you remember reading as a child?

The first book I remember reading by myself is the Mini series. It’s a series of Swedish books aimed to teach children how to read. It’s about a tiny person, Mini, who together with two children goes on adventures while he teaches them to read as well as you. Other than that, I can’t seem to be able to remember. Probably different fairy tales.

 Mini och den röda stenen           Mini och den försvunna ringen

             (The red stone)         (Mini and the missing ring)

  • Do you write in your books or do you keep them clean?

I have to confess, I do write in my books, or rather, I underline things I like, quotes and such. I only started doing that a few years ago. It hit me one day that it would make it so much easier to find the special passages but also a way for me to leave a part of myself with the book. I love finding old books with scribbles or lines in it because it gives me an insight to the previous owner’s thoughts.

 

  • Which do you prefer; bookstores or libraries?

I love libraries and walk around looking at all those books, not really knowing where to begin and the melancholy of realising that I won’t be able to read all of those books before I die. However, nothing beats the smell of new untouched books. Again, I can’t choose! But I’m usually found wandering around different bookstores in pursuit of a life changing or heartbreakingly beautiful story.

 

  • What is your most comfortable reading position?

Sitting upright for an hour and then laying on my stomach or back until it starts hurting, then I start all over again. It has to be a soft surface though, like a bed, sofa or a sea of pillows, yes!

 

  • Do you prefer reading outside or inside?

It depends on many factors. How cold or warm is it? Will anyone disturb? In summer, I usually read outside but it can be hard to concentrate with the sun in my eyes or if it’s too warm or uncomfortable. I love sitting by the ocean, listening to the waves, beneath a beautiful sunset. That, I have to say, is amazing. Reading is something you can do anywhere, anytime, wherever you find yourself.