Pretty Pictures: Favorite Book Covers

The weekly link-up is hosted by The Book Chewers.

So, MV of The Book Chewers posted this linkup, and I just have to put myself out there about the topic. What is it? Book covers of course! Pretty, mysterious, lovely book covers.

We all have times when we don’t know what to read but the itch to get a brand new sparkly book from the bookstore just won’t go away. So you wander around thinking which one to pick up and take home. Sometimes I ask the bookstore people for recommendations but more often I go with my gut instinct. I pick up books by the blurb and, which brings me to the topic finally, book covers.

For me, book covers are more than just lovely pictures fronting books. They mean something, or at least they intended to. The five that I’ve picked mostly lean on to the former but one was just too fun not to include. Here they are:

Reached - Ally Condie

Reached (Matched Trilogy #3) by Ally Condie

I love all of the covers of theI trilogy but somehow this is my favorite among the  three. It’s a picture of a girl breaking out of the glass which encased her which pretty much tells you the gist Reach‘s plot.

Insurgent

Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy #2) by Veronica Roth

Another dystopian read, Insurgent‘s cover features a tree, also the symbol of one of the five factions in the series – Amity. Amity, as described in the book, is one of the essential factions because they sustain the city with food and produce, and that’s exactly what a tree does. It’s a beautiful correlation.

P.S. Plus points if you have the hard cover.

book cover

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Another cover with a tree on it. If you’ve read this novel, then you know that the whole tree allegory – that we can all grow even with all the scars and trauma. If you haven’t read Speak yet, then you better go get it now. It’s not heart-warming or anything but it will make you think.

Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Another cover I like because of the allegory behind it but also because, just like I am partial to covers with trees, I am also partial to covers featuring bodies of water.

Where'd You go, Bernadette

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

This one I picked because it’s fun. And look at all those different versions!

So, there are my five favorites. How about you? Sound off at The Book Chewers linkup and let the world know.

Book Review: Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”

Where’d You Go, Bernadette had been on my to-read list for months now since the day I found out that it was short-listed for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction, an award that celebrates women’s writing the world over. I’ve read and immensely enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl sometime late last year, and that novel was part of the same award’s long list so I thought Bernadette would give me the same experience. Besides, I also needed a funny read to cleanse my palate for the next batch of YA novels I am about to read.

Lo and behold, Bernadette went beyond my expectations.

Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette

It’s hard to summarize Bernadette without trivializing the whole storyline. It’s not because it’s a complicated book, which it was not, but more because summarizing it would be compounding the whole novel into just one plot, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette is so much more than “just one simple plot.” I don’t want to betray the story so I’ll borrow the back cover blurb.

“When fifteen-year-old Bee claims a family trip to Antartica as a reward for perfect grades, her fiercely intelligent but agoraphobic mother, Bernadette, throws herself into preparations for the trip. Worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Bernadette is on the brink of a meltdown. As disaster follows disaster, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces.”

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a layered narrative but when you zoom into its core, it is a story about a mother and daughter’s love for each other.

Bernadette Fox is an enigma. No one seems to know her fully. For Elgin Branch, Bernadette is his erratic, creative, genius but troubled wife. For the other mothers of Galer Street School, she’s the reclusive, unhelpful and self-righteous queen of Straight Gate. To the design world, she’s a pioneer, a revolutionary architect. But to Bee Branch, she’s simply “Mom” and it seems like the most accurate depiction of Bernadette.

 Maria Semple successfully showed us just how strong and all-encompassing Bernadette’s and Bee’s love for each other was without being dramatic. I’ve read other novels about family relationships and most of them are heavily laden with drama, so this, Bernadette, was a breath of fresh air. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is actually hilarious mainly because of Bee’s and Bernadette’s snarkiness. Semple also managed to poke fun at Seattle, self-help culture and America’s private school system.

Other readers may find the book’s format a bit weird but it’s actually one of the things I like best about this novel. It is unconventional, yes, but it also allowed the characters to fully unfold. Readers got to know Soo-Lin, Audrey, Elgin, Bee and, most especially, Bernadette from all directions through memos, letters, emails and other documents, and that, being able to know the characters, builds this strong connection with readers. At least, that’s true in my case.I love Bernadette and Bee immediately and hated Soo-Lin throughout the book. Elgin and Audrey surprised me at the latter parts of the novel.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is definitely a must read whatever genre you love. It’s funny and heart-warming. I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 5/5

Me, Fangirling and My Current Book Stack

I don’t usually get giddy over talking to or seeing famous people. Note, I said “not usually”, which means that there are some exceptional moments when I actually do get giddy and happy and cheery and whatever one may and should feel when someone you admire actually ACTUALLY replies to you.

I’ve just paid off the month’s bills and it goes to say that money’s a bit tight right now so I had to make some necessary cuts. I usually buy two, three books every pay day but this cut off I can only buy one, and I hate having to choose between books. It feels so much like a betrayal. I swear, if I become rich, I will buy one branch of my favorite bookstore. I will live there and I will turn it into a library of some sorts for those people who don’t have enough to buy new books.

It was a battle between Gayle Forman‘s If I Stay and Libba Bray‘s The Diviners. In the end, Libba Bray’s novel won out because it was the only copy left in the book store.

Then I tweeted this after I got the book:

1lib

I sent out that tweet without expecting any replies back, so I really went all giddy when I received this:

2lib

Talk about fangirling!!! Yes, I am. Gadh! That’s Libba Bray! I’m just so happy and surprised she even saw my tweet. (Please excuse me for fangirling again.)

I still have a few books to read before I can get to The Diviners. Here’s my reading stack right now:

IMG00243-20130720-0645

I have a couple of things coming up within the next two weeks. A couple of reviews for Debra Driza‘s debut Mila 2.0 and Neil Gaiman‘s (gasp) newest release in six years, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I may also finish the thing I’m writing about David Levithan‘s Every Day.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you guys are doing great wherever you are. Happy reading!

XOXO

Rachel