Book Haul: July 2016

This month’s haul turned out to be surprising. I don’t think I was ever able to limit myself to only one book but I did it.

After finishing the 4th season of Orange is the New Black, it reminded me to get my hands on Diane Guerrero’s memoir. She had appeared in a heartfelt interview last year telling her story. When she was only 14 years old, her parents and older brother were deported back to Colombia. Being the only person in her family to be a US citizen, she was left behind.

In the Country We Love

I love Guerrero’s character in OITNB. On the show, Maritza Ramos is cute and sassy. I would have never guessed that both the actress and the character shared a painful past though different from one another.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided received very good reviews on Goodreads which makes me even more excited to read more about this brilliant and talented actress.

Do you have a favourite memoir? Do share in the comment section below. :)

*xXx*

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RECO, Indigo’s New Recommendation App

Indigo, the largest bookstore chain in Canada, launched a recommendation app last week called RECO. Similar to the beloved Goodreads, this new app allows its users to “share, discover, capture and discuss the books you love with friends and trusted experts.” Is it an app worth downloading to your smartphone?

RECO

Since Indigo is my favourite book retailer and I love everything that they do, I obviously had to try RECO. After only a week of playing with it, I think I’ve made up my mind whether it’s an app I’ll be keeping on my phone or not.

The Good

First of all, the app looks great. It’s clean and simple. The white background helps highlight the content superbly. The images used are large and of excellent quality. The size of the font and spacing between each line that is slightly wider than in most apps make it easier on the eyes. I really appreciate the amount of white space between the different elements.

A feature that I think is great to have in an app like this one is the “Buy” button. When viewing books, you can simply click on the button at the top and the app will redirect you to Indigo’s webpage to purchase it. There is also a barcode scanner to make searches a lot simpler whether you want to add a book to your reading list or to view it in the app.

You can easily browse the different book categories and genres. When signing up, you are able to personalize your profile as a reader by selecting different criteria according to your personal interests like Fiction, 19th century British Literature, French Cuisine, etc. The app will then be able to suggest you books in line with what you like. I think it’s an essential feature to have with an app aimed at book lovers.

The Bad

Since RECO has been available only for a little over a week, there are not a lot of users to connect with. The app also gives you the option to follow public figures and publishers. Again because the app is so new, there are only a few interesting people to follow.

Compared to Goodreads where it contains a great amount of reviews from other readers, RECO doesn’t seem to have that many. Different editions of the same book are not consolidated and each contains its own reviews. In addition, the app has its own rating system from 0 to 100. I’m not sure how that is determined though the higher the RECO rating, the better the book.

Worth It?

I think it’s a great looking app and I absolutely love that it included the “Buy” button. My only suggestion is to make it possible to pair RECO with Indigo’s actual store app. It would be a lot simpler for current online customers to buy their books directly from the Indigo app rather than being redirected to the website and having to enter their credentials from the small screen of their mobile phone.

As improvement, the book reviews from different editions should be consolidated into one single place, it will be a lot more efficient for readers to get all the different opinions they need before buying the book.

I think RECO is a good addition to have on any bibliophile’s smartphone if you want to connect with others. It’s more of a social app to share your reading list and have discussions about books. I will still predominantly use Goodreads as a reference tool simply because of the extensive amount of reviews. It helps me decide to buy or not to buy a book.

It’s currently available on the AppStore if you want to give it a try. For Android devices, the app will be available later this year.

Make sure to share your experience with the app below in the comment section. Let me know what you liked and didn’t like about the app.

*xXx*

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A Case of Wanderlust: Great Books That Will Inspire You to Travel

Travel Wanderlust

Books have a fantastic power to transport readers to other worlds, places or times—so much so that often the best-printed adventures can have us ready to pull on our boots, grab a backpack and jet off ourselves.

There are so many wonderful travel novels out there that will have you lusting after faraway lands and ready for exploration. Along with beautifully showcasing countries you may have never visited; they provide poignant reflections on the act of travel and the positive transformations it can instigate. These five are some of my favourite, and all great examples of the true inspirational power of the written word.

1. “Into the Wild”– Jon Krakauer

“Into the Wild” is based on the very true, yet somewhat harrowing, story of Christopher McCandless—a tireless nomad and dedicated vagabond—and his search for wild isolation, a search that took a route that no one could have expected.

Put off by society and the consumerist nature of the American world, in an incredibly rash decision, McCandless donates his college fund, ceases communicating with loved ones and sets off on a solo mission across the States. Becoming increasingly disenchanted, he delves further and further away from human civilization before finally settling in an abandoned school bus deep in the Alaskan wilderness. While idealistically believing he can survive off his own back, his arrogance in the face of wild Mother Nature proves to be his downfall.

This is an incredibly impacting story, and while we’re not looking to recreate the journey anytime soon, you can’t read this book without considering grabbing a tent and heading out into the woods for an off-grid adventure of your own. If you can’t get enough, the film adaption is also available online for subscribers to American Netflix.

2. “Road of Reflection: El Camino de Santiago”– Rachel Stainer

There are many books written about this famed hike, which follows the route ancient pilgrims took to the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela. However, this wonderfully refreshing piece of writing by Rachel Stainer is probably the most easily digested of them all.

It’s written in a very colloquial style in a quaint diary format that discusses the trials and tribulations of long-term walking holidays as well as the spiritual significance of this walk. The writing makes you feel as if a close friend is telling you about their recent trip away. The musings about spending time on the road, the hustle and bustle of hostel stays and the accounts of the myriad of interesting people she meets along the way sing a song of the true wonders of travel. If this book doesn’t make you get off the sofa and don your hiking boots, then I don’t know what will.

3. “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains” – Isabella Bird

Originally published in 1879, “A Lady’s Life in the Rockies” is a piece of travel writing from a time when the world was still largely undiscovered and adventure meant finding paths where no man had gone before. Isabella Bird was a truly unique woman in her day, casting aside her assigned gender role as homemaker and setting out to explore the world.

She visited almost every corner of the globe, but by far her biggest written success documented her time in the Colorado Rockies. There she sought shelter in makeshift settlements, used trails made by bears and wild animals to navigate the most remote mountains, and far surpassed the boundaries of the physical and mental capabilities assumed of women at the time. This novel is not only sure to inspire wanderlust, but it is also an incredibly powerful feminist statement.

Bird’s work is sure to make you wish for a type of travel that has long disappeared from our world, where information centers and guided tours didn’t define the experience and solitude could still be found. If you can’t get enough of dreaming about these kinds of adventures, her entire bibliography offers recounts of many exciting, wild journeys across the globe.

4. “The Alchemist” – Paulo Coelho

This is a novel that you’ll find on almost any books-for-travel list and with good reason. Written as a moral message about following your dreams, the story is a perfect testimony to what happens when you give yourself up to the traveling experience and let yourself be guided day by day.

Young Santiago is an Andalusian sheep farmer who, through a series of dreams and prophecies, is led to believe that there is treasure hidden in the pyramids of Giza. He sells his flock and takes a boat to Africa, where a criminal takes advantage of his naïveté and robs him. Santiago is forced to fend for himself and adapt to his environment; this is where his true adventure begins.

There are no words to explain how powerfully this book can ignite your wanderlust. Its wonderfully reflective nature encapsulates the potential for self-discovery that travel ultimately brings. The many mysterious and wonderful lands where Santiago travels call for readers to follow in his footsteps. If you buy one book off this list, then I recommend you opt for this one.

5. “Lonely Traveller” – Sereno Sky

The self-publishing movement has brought many otherwise unknown writers into the limelight, and there is no better example of this than the work of Sereno Sky. Sky is a self-proclaimed hippy and child of the movement in the sixties, and his novel is based on his adventures around the notorious hippy trail that took eager travellers through Europe and into Southeast Asia.

Bernardo is a young and hopeful individual who feels disenchanted by the hate and destruction of the modern world. He sets off to Amsterdam before heading south in search of answers to his questions. On the road, he meets endless like-minded people who inspire his search and remind him there is still good in the world.

This novel provides a wonderful mental journey, as well as a physical one, which is why it’s such a powerful cause of itchy feet. Sky’s own wanderlust shines through each page, and if you can’t get enough, his Tumblr page showcases endless pictures, quote and thoughts that are a perfect accompaniment to the story.

Know of any other books that deserve a place on this list? Be sure to leave a comment below.

About the Contributor: Caroline is a blogger for Culture Coverage. When she’s not writing, she’s an avid traveler who loves a good book that she can take on her adventures with her.

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Book Haul: June 2016

Here are the few books that I grabbed for my June haul. Some are from my wishlist and others are sources of career motivation recommended to me by kickass classmates. Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? :)

“Birdie” by Tracey Lindberg
“Find Your Extraordinary” by Jessica Dilullo Herrin
“Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee
“Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg

Happy reading!

*xXx*

June Haul 2016

 

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Sunday Mug Day: Good Day Sunshine!

Good day sunshine! Good day sunshine! Good day sunshine!

If you can’t hear the voice of The Beatles while reading those words, I invite you to play their song. :) It’s impossible not to feel energized with positivity.

It’s been a fantastic week in Montreal. We’ve been blessed with amazing weather for the past few days, especially this long weekend. In Quebec, we celebrate the feast day of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on the 24th of June. This national holiday is called Saint-Jean-Baptiste and is considered the most important holiday in the province. When it falls on a Friday like this year, we get to enjoy a 3-day weekend. Who would complain ;)

I saw this coffee mug on The Joyful Clay. Everything from that Etsy shop is handmade, even the designs.

"Sunburst" Mug - Get it here
“Sunburst” Mug – Get it here

I find all the items very charming. What do you think? :)

*xXx*

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