When I was in America for our second wedding a few weeks ago, I went to my favorite bookstore near my house (even though it’s about 30-40 minutes away by car because we live in the middle of nowhere) – Barnes and Noble!
If we had a local independent bookstore, I’d go there, but alas, Barnes and Noble was the first bookstore built near my high school and is pretty much the only one frequented by book lovers near my hometown. We used to have a lovely (and HUGE) independent bookstore that closed down (rip Davis Kidd) and although I love my Kindle and the ease of reading ebooks, my favorite pastime is browsing bookstores in person.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring back a ton of books, since we had limited amount of space in our suitcases, and we had to take back wedding gifts we received and I also needed lots of shoes and clothes that fit me – sometimes jeans and shoes in Korea are just way too small for me. However, I managed to bring back a hefty stack of books, and I bought a paperback in the airport on the way to Korea!
I also took pictures of books that I wouldn’t mind having in e-book form – some books are more fun to read in hardback form, and others are just fine on my Kindle. It really depends, but for me, I like to own copies of books by my favorite authors, books with covers that are really outstanding, and books that have illustrations, color, or an interesting interior design.
So I went to Barnes and Noble a few times during my trip, and I came away with a ton of books I’m excited to read! I also took a lot of pictures of books and shelves of books to look up later. There were just so many that I could hardly choose.
Although I’ve always been obsessed with books and going to bookstores, I always get overwhelmed when I go to a big bookstore full of English books, just waiting to be read. In Japan and here in Korea, it’s rare to find a good selection of English books, unless you travel to What the Book in Seoul. I could easily spend hours in there, even though it’s pretty small.
Here’s a list of the books I bought:
Love Found: 50 Classic Poems of Desire, Longing, and Devotion – This book was a gift to me at my bridal shower!
Belle’s Library: A collection of literary quotes and inspirational musings – I used this as our guest book at our wedding since it was so cute and went with our Beauty and the Beast theme.
Paris for One by Jojo Moyes – I bought this in the airport on the way back to Korea. It’s a collection of short stories and I enjoyed most of them.
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston – I also got this in the bookstore in the airport on the way home – I’d never heard of it but it seemed intriguing and it’s about Honduras – the birthplace of two of my high school friend and their family. It was also nominated for a Goodreads best 2017 award.
Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven – I’d seen this many times on Goodreads and Amazon, and I passed it a few times in the bookstore before I finally nabbed it. It got a lot of praise and the cover is so beautiful that I had to have it. I don’t even know what it’s about – I just know it’s probably a YA love story that I’ll enjoy.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews – This is a book I’d seen a dozen times online, and it’s one that John Green recommended. The title is really intriguing, although I have no idea what it’s about. I like to go into books totally oblivious as to what they are about. That way I can be surprised.
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux – Again, I have no idea what this book is about, but the cover and the inside pages are beautiful and stunning. The inside is really unique – all the pages look ink-stained and there are designs on each page. I knew I had to own a copy rather than read it on my Kindle. It looks like a YA mystery/thriller or fantasy but I’d like to go into it blindly and see what happens.
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – What can I say? It’s B&B – my favorite! I’m so glad the movie was remade into a live action the year of our B&B wedding. Tons of books were published surrounding the movie and I bought most of them. This one looks cozy and inviting.
The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon – This author completely blew me away. I read her book Everything, Everything at the beginning of the year and absolutely plowed through it. I read it in a day and thought it was exceptional. I then watched the movie about three times. I have heard so many good things about this book and the cover is just gorgeous. And it’s about stars! Maybe? I don’t know, but I love anything with stars and this author is one of my new favorites, so I had to have it in hardback.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – This book has been getting a ton of praise and I’m excited to see what it’s about and why it’s so good. The cover is simple but pretty and it’s a thick book, and for some reason I like to own big books.
The Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanna Barbot de Villeneueve – Last one about B&B, I promise! This is a really cool interactive book with pop-ups and maps and all sorts of fun things that go along with the story. The artwork is close to the older artwork of the original B&B tales and it is really fun go to through the book feeling as though you are in a small town in France, huddled by the fire reading an old fairy tale. Here’s what Amazon says about it: MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise and the creators of the illustrated Jungle Book and Peter Pan, reimagine the beloved French fairy tale The Beauty and the Beast in this deluxe unabridged edition illustrated with stunning full-color artwork and nine 3-D interactive features.
Rick Steves’ Europe 101: History & Art for the Traveler: I’ve been on a Europe kick lately, so I bought a history and art guide for people who want to actually learn what they forgot in high school world history class (I know I sure didn’t pay attention in mine!)
The Bedside Baccalaureate: A Daily Primer to Refresh Your Knowledge by David Rubel: This book is right up my alley – learn a page or two worth a ton of subjects, ranging from history to literature to science to art. I love learning facts about everything I can (I’m more of a wide learner than a deep one) but I often can’t relate the tiny facts I learn to other subjects, so this will be a fun read. I feel like Hermione by saying, “This is just some light reading!”
Language Hacking German by Benny Lewis: If you saw in my DNA report, I’m mostly French, German, and English. I’ve known this all my life – my grandmother immigrated to America from Germany, my last name is French, and my mother’s side of the family is mostly English. However, I’ve only ever studied Japanese and Korean seriously. I took French and Spanish in high school but never connected with them or had a reason to learn them really. However, lately I’ve been really wanting to learn German, the mother tongue of my ancestors. I’ve been learning through free apps and videos but I’ve always loved Benny the Irish Polyglot and his blog, so when I saw he had a book on learning (mostly spoken) German, I had to pick it up! It’s great so far and I love learning German – Ich lerne gerne Deutsch!
I also visited a comic book store for the first time in my life! I’d never seen any before, but after watching Big Bang Theory, I’d come to feel like I had been in them many times. I found out that there was one near my mom’s house that was popular, so we swung by and I got a ton of stuff! I bought the first volume of Spider-man/Deadpool (two of my favorite superheroes), a few back issues of Spider-man and Spider-girl, and a new mini-series that just completed, called The Big Lie (Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys). I was so excited to see a Nancy Drew related comic! I loved the books and video games growing up, so I think I’ll like these.
I actually ordered this one on Amazon after I got back, but it’s a gorgeous cookbook for newlyweds. The author is an American woman married to a Hungarian man, so she knows that newlyweds don’t always crave the same things and have a hard time picking out ingredients and using cooking techniques. The entire book is one pretty page after another, and it’s filled with anecdotes and personal memories the author has with each recipe. It covers salads, soups, entrees, desserts, and more. I’m excited to use the recipes in it to cook something for Junkyu and I.
I also bought this cute little book holder pillow – called The Book Seat – and love it! I always hate holding up books when I’m reading, especially in bed or on the couch, and this is perfect for reading in bed. It’s sturdy and comfortable and the plastic plate that holds the pages apart is adjustable and clear so you can read through it. I’ve also used it with my kindle paperwhite and it works great. It’s not as heavy as I thought it would be, though the books I read are pretty heavy, so I guess that’s a good thing.
That’s it for all the English books I bought recently! I love that the weather has gone from hot and muggy to chilly and breezy – I get to come home, make a cup of tea, and sit in my cozy living room reading and crocheting. Today it even snowed! It’s snowing right now! We put up our tree and are enjoying the Thanksgiving/Christmas season now that it’s arrived!