Book Traveling Thursdays: The Little Prince

Book Traveling Thursday is a book meme that involves book covers from different parts of the world. Rules include picking a book according to the theme and then posting the original covers, covers from your country, your favorite covers, and your least favorite covers. This week, the theme is: “A Book You Recently Read That Was Translated From Another Language.”

This was a bit harder for me to find. I don’t typically read translated works because I often take issue with full-book translations, however, I’m not opposed to foreign stories. Fairy tales tend to be the best translated stories ever. But anyway, one of the most recent translations I’ve read is my best friend’s favorite book ever: The Little Prince. Or, really Le Petit Prince.

Original Cover

This story is undoubtedly a classic, and the original French was first published in 1943.

US Covers

There are a couple more editions in the US, including a special anniversary release, but these were definitely some of my favorites of the US covers.

Favorite Covers

Most of the translations pretty much stick to the illustrations within the original book, but I love the color and look of the Romanian version, and the artwork in the Russian version is so pretty!

Least Favorite Cover

Too much happening in this Spanish version of The Little Prince.

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Book Traveling Thursdays: Uprooted

Wheee October is here! And that means the return of SWEATER WEATHER! Yaaaas. Seriously my favorite season, and mostly because it’s cool without being extremely cold, and also the foliage. So. Orange. And warm. And lovely!

I’ve been in a bit of a book slump the past week or two, so I haven’t brought myself to review any of the books I’ve read. Scratch that, “listened to,” because let’s be honest, I’ve had more audiobook listens than I’ve cracked open a page. I need to remedy that, I really do.

But this isn’t about book reviews, it’s about book covers!

Book Traveling Thursday is a book meme that involves book covers from different parts of the world. Rules include picking a book according to the theme and then posting the original covers, covers from your country, your favorite covers, and your least favorite covers. This week, the theme is in commemoration of Johnny Appleseed: “A Book That Originally Had Flowers or Foliage on the Cover.”

Uprooted by Naomi Novik fits the bill! The original cover is lovely, really, and considering the story’s antagonist is practically the Woods, it makes sense that there’d be foliage in the cover! In this case, a lovely rose and a snaking of vines and roots. And the evil, evil tree.

Original Cover

And since the US cover is mainly the original, I wanted to highlight the UK covers as well because holy crap, I love them a little bit more than the original cover (and I already think the original cover is beautiful).

UK Covers

Favorite Covers

There are two on this, because I am absolutely in love with the Hungarian and I think the Slovenian is really cute, too.

Least Favorite Cover

I will admit this is pretty eerie, but I’m still not a fan of full-on face for a cover.

What do you think of these covers? Do you have a favorite?

Wrap Up: September 2017

What? September where’d you go?! Seriously, though, one minute I was gallivanting across Pennsylvania with a couple of friends and suddenly it’s the end of the first month of school and I’m wondering where it all went. Can’t say I’m sad to see September go. One month down, 9 more to go, school-wise, amiright?

Sigh.

Books Read

It was a very Fable-ulous (hah!) month, and one where I actually finished the series itself! I’m of two minds on that still, but anyway, playing book catch-up has its pros and cons.

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham || Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel || Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman || The Storyteller’s Daughter: A Retelling of the Arabian Nights by Cameron Dokey || Fables 21: Happily Ever After by Bill Willingham || Fables 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham || The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

Currently Reading

Not doing a good job actually reading, since I’ve mostly been listening to audiobooks, but there it is. I really should catch up on some Netgalley ARCS as well as books on my TBR.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch || Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America by Karen Abbott

Writing

Yeah, yeah, it’s going. I’m actually determined to do some writing during my creative writing class. At least I’ll do it alongside my students to get back into actual practice. Sigh again.

Movies

The good thing about school being back is that I end up watching a ton of movies on the side while I grade. I watched old favorites as well as new stuff, though not all necessarily good. I regret even pulling up the Netflix version of Death Note, by the way…

But. I’m also now singing along to Newsies so that’s pretty cool.

Gaga: Five Foot Two || Me Before You || Sing || Whiskey Tango Foxtrot || Newsies: The Musical || Casablanca || Death Note (Netflix) || Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Television

Handmaid’s Tale – Had a month of Hulu and I totally binged this show. Big. Mistake. It’s a pretty heavy show, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend bingeing it. It was really good, though.

iZombie – Working slowly through season 2! I think it’s mostly my attention span, but I still like this show, so I’ll get to it all eventually.

Supergirl – Still not sure what to make of this show. I’m slowly trudging through it when I feel like putting something campy and not brain-heavy.

Strike – I am liking this so far! My friend and I are finally up to The Silkworm, which is the book I liked the best of the three Cormoran Strike books I’ve read.

Video Games

I don’t know if I should even include the games/apps I play on my phone on top of Mass Effect 3

But er, yeah, started my umpteenth playthrough of ME3 and already loving the additional quips I get from characters after having played through DLCs in previous games. I can’t wait to rip into the Omega DLC, because Aria T’Loak was definitely one of my favorite NPCs of ME2.

I also have been playing something called The Arcana on my Android, which has beautiful artwork (kind of reminds me of my favorite fanart of the Shades of Magic trilogy) and I’m hoping a really good story!

Fooding

Not much personal cooking in September. I think it’s due to the fact I’ve been coming home late because of school. October is going to be filled with food, though, considering I have at least two birthdays to get through…alive.

Chicken Tapaka || Cajun chicken alfredo pasta || Wildberry gimlet || Rabbit braised in white wine with kasha || Chicken and spiced pecan waffles || Chicken teriyaki bento box || Banana ice cream || Ent draught

Miscellany

Started a knitting project that’s probably going to take up quite a bit of time. I’ll probably talk more about it come December, mostly because talking about it now might spoil a few things.

I’ve already filled up half this wall with student work…

So my classroom is pretty awesome. On a small budget, I managed to Harry Potterize my room somewhat, which is great. My seventh graders certainly appreciated it…when they’re not being terrors, hah!

Nerdy News

Here comes the Magic School Bus! Part deux. DEFINITELY brings back memories. Nerdy, sciencey memories.

If I hadn’t already visited the Warner Bros studio up at the United Kingdom, I’d be all over the news that Harry Potter artifacts are headed down my neighborhood. All the same, pretty cool!

I’m mostly over Peter Jackson at this point, but I am SO watching the eff out of this Phillip Reeve adaptation. Only because steampunk and um, yeah.

The Doctor is finally ginger! Well, David Tennant is anyway. Yaaaaas. This is mostly due to the fact that he’s playing the devilish Crowley in the Gaiman-Pratchett adaptation of Good Omens.

How was your September?

Fables by Bill Willingham: A Series Overview

It’s difficult saying goodbye to a series you’ve been off and on reading for years at a time. It’s going on a journey with a cast of characters you’ve loved and then being told you’ve got to go back to work in the real world, thankyouverymuch (which, to be honest, is my general outlook in life, hah!). Fables was pretty much that journey, and it was sad to see the series actually, truly “end.”

To preface: this isn’t a typical review. I’ve finished 150 issues in 22 volumes, spanning thousands of dialogue and illustrations, panels and pages, and I’m finding it impossible to judge a series by its final volume. Farewell does a good job tying some loose ends, but leaves many things to the imagination, and encompassed several problematic elements that deterred it from being the penultimate volume of Fables volumes. But I’ll get to that in a bit.

There’s an actual key within the foldout that tells you who each Fable is on this cover. It’s magnificent in scope.

Those who haven’t read Fables and are interested in delving into fractured fairy tales and modern retellings should really give this Willingham series a try. I must have pushed this series to a number of my reader friends (and my not-so-reader sister and best friend) because at the time I was:

  • A) in a Vertigo Comics reading spree (owing to my love of Sandman by Neil Gaiman) and
  • B) always on the lookout for fairy tale comics.

Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales piqued my interest in artwork, but it was Willingham’s Fables that had the staying power when it came to its characters and story.

The Fables series follows the story of the Fable community, a group of fairy tale, folktale, legendary, and mythological characters and their struggles to live in the Mundy (mundane, magic-less) world. After their defeat against the infamous Adversary, most of the Fable worlds have been subsumed into the Adversary’s empire, and many are forced to retreat to the mundane world of Manhattan and its surrounding areas. The first volume title, Legends in Exile–as well as the first cover, an illustration of Fables characters running and cramming themselves into Manhattan’s subway train–pretty much gives an accurate portrayal of how they’ve been living for hundreds of years.

In Legends in Exile, we encounter the prominent figures of Fabletown, and interestingly enough, the story begins with Snow White and Rose Red. I point this out because Willingham returns to the rivalry between the two sisters one final time in Farewell, and it becomes a rivalry of epic proportions. To be honest, this wasn’t the bit that endeared me to the series.

It was this particular panel that did.

I adore Bigby Wolf, and the fact that much of the first half of the series pits Bigby as a prominent character–and important member of Fabletown–is most definitely why I kept reading. Ever since my entry into urban fantasy and the were-creatures that litter the genre’s pages, I’ve always kept a fondness for werewolves, and Bigby is not only THE Big Bad Wolf of stories, but he’s a REFORMED Big Bad Wolf. By this point in the Fables series, he’d even been appointed as the Fables’ town sheriff, a character you would not have typically visualized as someone who would uphold the law.

But Bigby does in his own way, and it is easy to see later on why.

Um. I totally ship it.

The first volume did its job introducing a colorful cast, but it was Vol. 2, Animal Farm, and Vol. 3, Storybook Love, that cemented my love for the series. By the end of Vol. 11, War and Pieces, I thought this series was the bees’ knees. And it continued to be, though to be honest, once the Adversary Arc came to a resolution, nothing came quite close to the magic that the first 11 volumes held in their pages.

The series comprises of a few major storylines:

The Adversary (Vols. 1-11) – Wherein the Fables community try to find a life within the Mundy world, at the same time that many of them attempt to retake their Homeworlds from their enemies. Pretty epic stuff, especially considering who the Adversary is revealed to be, and how each of the Fables characters played a part in taking the evil kneevil down.

Mister Dark (Vols. 12-17) – After the fall of the Adversary, a new villain comes into town in the hopes of wreaking destruction to a newly-recovering Fable community. This arc was difficult to get through because the antagonists were arbitrary and highly annoying, but the arc also gave us Ghost, the North Wind, and Frau Totenkinder, and they are worth the waste of space that is Mister Dark.

The Werewolf Cubs (Vol. 18) – A prophecy comes to light upon the birth of Bigby’s seven children, and each are tied to their fates. This includes the spinoff volume Werewolves of the Heartland, which I considered as part of Vol. 18, to be honest.

Snow White and Rose Red (Vols. 19-22) – The finale pits us back to the rivalry between the two sisters and a curse revealed that explains it all. Or, well, tries to explain it all. It failed in my book, but Vol. 19, Snow White was well worth the read because it pretty much delves into Snow’s past and shines a light to how truly badass she is (although, if I’m going to be honest, I totally skipped everything about the damn flying monkey). Vol. 20, Camelot, follows in Snow’s wake by highlighting her sister Rose Red, and it is still one of my favorite covers in the series, even though Rose Red is quite possibly my least favorite lead.

I mean…taking on a fantastic swordsman one-handed? How is that NOT badass?!

But as far as it ended? I’m of two minds on that. In some ways, I appreciated Willingham trying to tie in loose ends in Farewell. It was a better volume than what came before, but it was also a bit of an anticlimactic disappointment. It also begged the question of “Who can truly come back to life?” Early on, it was established that the more famous Fables are able to return from death because hell, they are legendary in the mundy world. But then by the end of the series, even the popular fables don’t come back, and yet…some of the not-so-famous do. It bothered me to no end, almost as much as Rose Red’s lack of character development did.

In fact, if it weren’t for this magnificent four-panel foldout, I wouldn’t have rated Farewell as high as I did.

That all said, I’d still highly recommend this series. Heck, I’d highly recommend its spinoffs, too, especially Fairest and Telltale Games’ A Wolf Among Us (which also has a graphic novelization out). I wouldn’t so far as recommend the Jack of Fables spinoff, mostly because I effing HATED Jack and his Literal friends (and gods, AVOID Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover if you can, it really doesn’t add shmat to the story), but hey, who knows, it is probably enjoyable to others.

Alright, there. I’m done tooting the Fables horn.

Have you read the series? What did you think?

Book Traveling Thursdays: Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Another Book Traveling Thursday post, yay! I’ve got to say I love doing these, because it gives me opportunity to look up different book covers and oggle at the really pretty ones!

Book Traveling Thursday is a book meme that involves book covers from different parts of the world. Rules include picking a book according to the theme and then posting the original covers, covers from your country, your favorite covers, and your least favorite covers. This week, the theme is: “Plan your next vacation. Feature a book is set in a location on your travel bucket list.”

This was easy enough. Anyone who’s read any of my travel-related book posts will have seen that my heart has always belonged to Laini Taylor’s settings. I would have put Daughter of Smoke and Bone here but considering I actually did visit Prague, I’ve crossed this dream off my traveling bucket list. That said, my favorite setting described by Laini has always been Morocco. Morocco is a prominent location in her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy as well as one or two of her short stories in Lips Touch: Three Times. But for this week, I’m going to highlight Dreams of Gods and Monsters, the third book of her DoSaB series.

Original and US Cover

Dreams of Gods and Monsters continues the conflict of angels and demons and largely takes place in both Eretz and Morocco. It follows the story of Karou and Akiva, starcrossed lovers who have been pitted against each other because that’s how their species have fought for centuries. Now that there’s an even bigger threat to both their world and Earth, it is up to Karou and Akiva to unite their forces and fight the emperor who seeks to rule the worlds. There’s a bunch more happening in this book than I would have liked, but some of the best characters shined at the end of the story, and while I did rant a bit about it in my review, I will admit that I grew to love Liraz and Ziri even more after this book, even to the point where I so totally ship them and want more stories of them.

Favorite Cover(s)

Alright, again, it’s really hard to pick favorites! I do adore the original cover, because Karou and chimaera antlers are just fitting. However, there were some bird covers that I liked as well. The Indonesian one was cool because I loved the typography they used. The Japanese version is equally terrific because A) PURPLE POWAAAAH and B) it looks super ethereal and otherworldly, and the flock of birds reminds me of Akiva, which is always a plus.

Least Favorite Cover

Honestly, I didn’t see much wrong with all the other covers, but if I had to choose between all of the different ones, the Czech version is probably the one I’d choose last. I just wasn’t a big fan of how the bottom half typography turned out.

What did you think of these covers?