Tuesday, 23 July 2019

5 Books, 1 Theme - Road Trip

For July's 5 Books, 1 Theme post I got to thinking about summer travelling opportunities and the ubiquitous American Road Trip sprang to mind. I could only remember reading two relevant American-set novels (including, of course, the Kerouac classic), but I've got three European-set takes on the theme as well.

(Click the cover images to visit each book's Literary Flits review.)

Have you read any of these five books? If so, what did you think of them?
Which other Road Trip novels can you recommend?

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Giveaways Roundup - July 2019 - #giveaway #WinItWednesday

I've not done a giveaways post here for ages so I thought it might be fun to combine a What I've Won roundup with Giveaways I'm Running too.

July so far has been good to me :-)
I earned a £8 Amazon gift card for the recent iRead Book Tours I featured on Literary Flits. If you also have a book blog and like being involved with blog tours, I can recommend getting in touch with Laura at iRead Book Tours. Each tour posted accumulates points and every 20 points earns a $10 Amazon gift card. Simples!

I've also won a $10 Amazon gift card for taking part in the Foodies Read linkup over at Based On A True Story. This monthly linkup is for food-related book blog posts and anything goes from recipe books to cosy mysteries set in cake shops. Basically, if food is an important element of a book, your blog post about it is eligible for the linkup. One link is chosen each month to win the GC prize and my winning link was to my review of Sri Lankan recipe book A Feast Of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj.

And I won a copy of One Summer In France by Bev Spicer in her Twitter giveaway. This looks like a fun summer read and I've visited Argeles-sur-Mer myself so wonder if I will recognise the locations Bev wrote about!

And I won Bookish Bingo at Chapter Break with the prize of an applauding Hermione Granger :-)

If my good fortune has got you keen to try your Giveaway luck too, you just need to keep on reading! The table below shows a snapshot of all the Giveaways I'm hosting that are currently running or due to start soon. Click the book covers or titles to visit their individual blog posts.

Win a $25 Amazon gift card or 1 of 3 copies of The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani.

Open internationally from the 26th June to the 20th July.
Win a paperback copy of How NOT To Write Female Characters by Lucy V Hay.

Open to the UK Only from the 7th to the 21st July.
Win a $10 Amazon gift card to celebrate my review of A Sip, A Bite, A Mouthful by Afsaneh Hojabri

Open Internationally from the 11th to the 25th July
Win a signed copy of Lineage by C Vonzale Lewis, plus a series candle and swag pack

Open Internationally from the 16th to the 28th July.
Win a print copy of Just My Luck by Jennifer Honeybourn

Open to the USA and Canada from the 18th to the 28th July.
Win a $50 Amazon gift card, signed copies of Lakota Honor and Author Swag to celebrate the Fern by Kat Flannery blog tour

Open Internationally from the 8th July to the 10th August
Win a $50 Amazon gift card, signed copies of Lakota Honor and Author Swag to celebrate the Ivy by Kat Flannery blog tour

Open Internationally from the 23rd July to the 10th August
Win one of two copies of 120 Days by Ronald L Ruiz, or a $30 Amazon gift card

Open to the USA and Canada from the 5th to the 30th August.
Win 1 of 20 Amazon gift cards or copies of Mayhem, Murder And The PTA by Dave Cravens

Open to the USA and Canada from the 4th to the 20th September.

I'll post another snapshot update here next month. Keep up to date in the meantime by visiting the Literary Flits Current Giveaways page or by following my Pinterest Giveaways Board.

Good luck!

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Brilliant Book Pins! Bookish Accessories

I had great fun browsing through lots of lovely bookish pin designs on Etsy yesterday. I was so impressed by the choice, I thought I would present my favourites here for your delectation!
(Click each individual photo to visit its Etsy page)

by Im Bookish And Bakewell
Doncaster, England 
by Dust And Pages
Texas, USA 
by Jelly Button UK
Manchester, England 
by Ectogasm
California, USA 
by Literary Emporium
Frome, England 
by Fairycakes
Glasgow, Scotland 
by Peachy Pins Co

All links in this post are affiliate links.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Cover Characteristics - Dogs

I've long been a fan of the beautiful Cover Characteristics posts that Kristen curates over at Metaphors And Moonlight so I thought I might try putting together a similar post myself. The idea is to choose book covers which are linked in some way (featuring an object in common, perhaps, or a similar title font) and to then display them artfully. Sounds easy, turns out not to be! But it is fun to look back through my old reviews.

This month's collection is:


Click cover images to see their Literary Flits book reviews

Friday, 5 July 2019

#WorldReads - Five Books From Syria

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages.

This month we are going to Syria!

An Ishmael Of Syria by Asaad Almohammad

Adam is a tortured soul. Exiled from his homeland, forced to watch the horrors unfold from afar. His family, still living – or surviving – in war-torn Syria struggle daily to feed, clothe, and educate their children. Adam tries to be a ‘global citizen’ and become a part of his new community in Malaysia, but is constantly faced with intolerance, bigotry, and plain old racism. Opportunities are few and Adam finds himself working long hours for poor pay so that he can help his family. The increasingly distressing news bulletins, along with Adam’s haunting childhood memories, compel him to examine his own beliefs; in God, in humanity, in himself and his integrity as a reluctant bystander in the worst human catastrophe of the twenty-first century.

Butterfly by Yusra Mardini

Yusra Mardini fled her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a small dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat's engine cut out, it began to sink. Yusra, her sister and two others took to the water, pushing the boat for three and a half hours in open water until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard.

Butterfly is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Yusra Mardini is an athlete, one of People magazine’s twenty-five women changing the world, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and one of Time Magazine’s thirty most influential teens of 2016.

Concerto Al-Quds by Adonis

A cri de coeur or fully imagined poem on the myth and history of Jerusalem/Al-Quds from the author revered as the greatest living Arabic poet. At the age of eighty-six, Adonis, a Syrian poet, critic, essayist, and devoted secularist, has come out of retirement to pen an extended, innovative poem on Jerusalem/Al-Quds. It is a hymn to a troubled city embattled by the conflicting demands of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Adonis's city, as a coveted land, ought to suggest the universal love of humanity; as a land of tragedy, a place of contending history and beliefs, and a locus of bitterness, conflict, hatred, rivalry, and blood. Wrapping multiple voices, historical references, and political viewpoints within his ecstatic lyricism, Adonis has created a provocative work of unique beauty and profound wisdom, beautifully rendered in English by award-winning poet Khaled Mattawa.

A Sky So Close To Us by Shahla Ujayli

A multigenerational tale of love, loss, exile, and rebirth, shortlisted for the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. 

As children sleeping on the rooftop of their ancestral family home in Raqqa on warm summer nights, Joumane and her sisters imagine the sky is so close they can almost touch it. Years later, Joumane lives as an expatriate in Jordan, working for a humanitarian agency, while her sisters remain trapped in war-torn Syria. Living alone as she fights her own battle with cancer, she contemplates the closeness of the same sky, despite the sharply delineated borders that now separate her from her family. Her only close confidant is another exile, a charming, divorced Palestinian man with whom she develops a warm relationship later discovering that their relatives were neighbors in Syria. As Joumane undergoes painful chemotherapy treatments, Nasser slides into the role of her caretaker and partner. She comes to depend on him utterly, at the same time fearing that her vulnerability and need will ultimately drive him away.

Interspersed with Joumanes story is a sweeping historical narrative that moves from nineteenth-century Aleppo, Raqqa, and Damascus, to Palestine before and after the 1948 Nakba, to Iraq before and after the American occupation, and beyond to the United States, Serbia, and Vietnam. Each character in the book is revealed, and linked, through the stories of their ancestors, showing the intergenerational inheritance of trauma and identity. Ujaylis attention to detail and evocative prose brings to life worlds forgotten and ignored, reminding us of the devastation of war and the beauty that people create wherever they go.

The Pianist Of Yarmouk by Aeham Ahmad

A man, a piano, a Syrian street under siege . . .

One morning on the outskirts of war-torn Damascus, a starving man stumbles through a once familiar street - now just piles of rubble. Everything he once knew has been destroyed by famine and war.

In despair he turns to his only comfort and joy, music, and pushes his piano into the street and begins to play. He plays of love and hope, he plays for his family and for his fellow Syrians. He plays even though he knows he could be killed for doing so.

As word of his act of defiance spreads around the world, he becomes a beacon of hope and even resistance. Yet he fears for his wife and children, his elderly parents. And he is right to be scared, because the more he plays, the more he and his family are drawn into danger.

Finally he is forced to make a terrible choice - between staying and waiting to die, or saving himself, but this would mean abandoning his family . . .

Aeham Ahmad's spellbinding and uplifting true story tells of the triumph of love and hope, of the incredible bonds of family, and the healing power of music in even the very darkest of places.

That's it for July's WorldReads from Syria. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Syrian-authored books!

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited'

Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, United States of America,

Asia: India, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey

Australasia: Australia, New Zealand,

Europe: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales

In August I will be highlighting five books by Portuguese authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Books From The Backlog - The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Books from the Backlog is a weekly post hosted at Carole's Random Life In Books. Carole says it's "a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread. If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks." Find out more and link up your own posts on Carole's Random Life In Books.

I enjoyed taking part in Books From The Backlog last year, but got out of the habit of the weekly posts. Now I hope to use this meme to stoke my enthusiasm for my 2019 Mount TBR Challenge. I'm posting one BFTB a fortnight and then Actually Reading The Book before the next post is due!

Last time I chose Tahrir by Vladimir Volya and my review will be blogged on Literary Flits on the 5th July.

Next up is:

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Whatever became of the most talented people you once knew?

On a warm summer night in 1974, six teenagers play at being cool. They smoke pot, drink vodka, share their dreams and vow always to be interesting.

Decades later, aspiring actress Jules has resigned herself to a more practical occupation; Cathy has stopped dancing; Jonah has laid down his guitar and Goodman has disappeared. Only Ethan and Ash, now married, have remained true to their adolescent dreams and have become shockingly successful too. As the group’s fortunes tilt precipitously, their friendships are put under the ultimate strain of envy and crushing disappointment.

The Interestings is a book that my partner bought for his Kindle so I'm able to borrow it through our linked Amazon accounts. It's been sat on my own Kindle now for well over a year so I need to get around to reading it! Looking at the synopsis, I can't actually remember why I thought I'd love this book - it doesn't reflect my usual reads - but hopefully something different will be ... interesting?!

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

June's Reading Challenge & #BookishBingo Update

I've got several challenges on the go this year so, instead of cramming all the information into my Month In Books roundups, I thought I would make these monthly Bookish Bingo posts into Challenge roundups. Visit my Current Reading Challenges page to see the whole year's links.

In June I completed my 2019 Decade Challenge - two months early! The challenge was to read a book that was first published in each of the decades from 1900 to 2019 - 12 in all. (from 1st Sep 2018 to 31st Aug 2019)

1908: Pocket Poets: Rupert Brooke
1916: Xingu by Edith Wharton
1925: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
1936: Salt Of The Earth by Jozef Wittlin
1947: La Perle by John Steinbeck
1955: Death Going Down by Maria Angelica Bosco
1965: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
1972: The Locked Room by Sjowall and Wahloo
1989: Sweet Days Of Discipline by Fleur Jaeggy
1999: White Snake And Other Stories by Geling Yan
2007: Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-yong
2017: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Last month I added:

Alphabet Soup (2019): 0 in June / 17 overall

Books In French (2019): 1 in June / 2 overall

Classics Club (2018-23): 4 in June / 25 overall

COYER Summer Treasure Hunt: 50 points so far

Decade Challenge (2018-19): COMPLETE!

Mount TBR Challenge (2019): 3 in June / 20 overall

New Release Challenge (2019): 10 in June / 47 overall

Vegetarian / Vegan Character (ongoing): 1 in June / 10 overall

This challenge wrap-up post includes my new month of Bookish Bingo which is hosted each month at Chapter Break. I include books I actually read during June, but I might not have blogged all their reviews yet so if the cover image doesn't go anywhere when you click it, that's (probably) why!

This month I've got 20 squares completed

Shelf love
Book gifted to you
Beard / Tattoo
Free book
Moving / Relocating

Library book

In a series
True Crime
Landscape on cover
Free Space
Small town
Not new release

Physical book
Steamy romance
Secret crush
Garden / gardening
Not in series