Giveaways

The Hat Has Spoken

We would like to thank Lodie, Laura, Iane Porto, Joana G., Vanessa, komalAyustika and Alyona for participating in our themed giveaway.

Congratulations, Lodie! The hat has spoken and you are the lucky winner of our October bundle. Please email us over at infusoesparaaalma@gmail.com to arrange the safe delivery of your newest treasure.

To celebrate what was our most successful giveaway, we will be sending bookish surprises to every interested participant. Just drop us a line at the address mentioned above.

That said, November starts tomorrow and more books are on their way. Also, it’s perhaps time for us to start working on our Christmas-themed bundle… 😉

Stay tuned.

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Goodreads Choice Award · Reviews

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed

“It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.
How wild it was, to let it be.”

It took me over a month to get through this book. That makes it sound like a burden, but it wasn’t – even if I could feel its weight upon my shoulders. I don’t like rushing stories, making them happen before their time, but I have been told I am a fast reader – I believe it has more to do with the easiness with which we blend with words than the act of racing through them. That said, it has been years since I last dedicated so much time to reading one single book. It didn’t feel wrong, the idea of giving up or leaving it be never quite crossed my mind, but there was something particular about it… I just needed more time – and I am glad I took it, I am glad I carried on. I found it interesting though, how this attitude seemed to somewhat reflect what was happening in the book itself.

Wild is not the kind of journey that takes my breath away. It is not the kind of journey that drowns reality. Instead, I found it to be the kind of journey that makes you painfully aware, conscious, of who you are, of where you are, of how you are. It can feel claustrophobic at times, not because of the lack of space, but because of the abundance of it – you have to be yourself everywhere at the same time. There’s no silence, you are, become, it.

Even though we know from the beginning that she has made it through, it’s almost unbelievable how it seems to become irrelevant once you start. Her voice is so honest, so real, her descriptions rich to the point of hurting, of mending… Anything could happen.

I believe the message to be this: life is a journey – no matter how ill-equipped or misinformed we feel, we can do it. There is no shame in asking for help, no shame in wanting to be alone or craving company, no shame in making mistakes. One step and another and another and so on. Take in your surroundings, routine is but a word. Deep breaths. We will get there.

Giveaways

October Giveaway: Neil Gaiman, Ransom Riggs and Katherine Howe

There’s something rather mystical about October, wouldn’t you say? It’s a month with an exceptionally particular and extraordinarily palpable soul. Oh, and there’s Halloween.

As to celebrate what is one of our favourite months, we are giving away not one, not two, but three books that somehow remind us of this time of the year.

So if you would like to take home a copy of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Katherine Howe’s The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, leave us a comment with a title that you too associate with this season. You have until the 30th to participate.

Best of luck to you all!

P.S. The winner will be announced on the 31st.

Reviews

“The Search for Lana” by N.A. Le Brun

Be careful with what you wish for. You might just get it.

Lana is different, she feels different. Even though she knows it can’t possibly be simply because of the fact she was adopted, she can’t quite place her difference in a spectrum… until she hears the voice in her head.

Excelling academically at everything as if it were nothing, her relationship with her peers is far from being one to fondly reminisce about. While they attempt climbing mountains, she seems to run marathons by taking one single step. The backlash of her unique aptitudes comes in the shape of ruthless bullying that drives her to ask the question: why me? Ironically enough, her answer arrives by the hands of her new drama teacher, Mrs. Rachel Higginbottom.

“My life seemed to be disintegrating instead of becoming more fulfilled as I had expected it would.”

The Search for Lana is the introduction to an adventure that is just starting. With a destiny much greater than herself to fulfil, Lana recounts the beginning of a journey into an unknown world where the concept of supernatural expands into a whole new magical definition, and possibilities.

I must confess it was not easy for me to bond with Lana. Then again, she is comprehensibly a little bit all over the place, dealing with the world as she knew it falling apart and rebuilding itself in a blowing-out-of-proportions sort of way. Her own identity seems to fluctuate at times, which feels a little disruptive, particularly in the way she deals with her recently discovered biological family. It all seems to happen a little too quickly, but then again, this book is indeed sort of a compilation of personal journal entries – the tone seems to match the speed of Lana’s ever-changing thoughts.

All in all, I am intrigued, mostly about the story of her biological family. Here’s hoping Lana will grow into her skin and lead us to safety.

Giveaways

The Hat Has Spoken

We would like to thank mindy and Liz for participating in our giveaway.

Congratulations, mindy! The hat has spoken and you are the lucky winner of the first two books of D.L. Orton’s Between Two Evils series. Please email us over at infusoesparaaalma@gmail.com to arrange the safe delivery of your newest treasure.

October is almost over but there’s still time for a witchy giveaway. More magic is coming and also some touching and memorable reads!

Stay tuned.

Books We Should Be Talking About · Reviews

“Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Drop everything that you are doing and go read this book.

I apologize for the bold text, but this collection of letters is truly a must read, a must feel, a must everything.

I really have no words. I think I will be keeping this one on my bedside table till the end of times. I might need to reach out for it to remember why I keep leaving the bed every single morning.

Most say this book is about writing, and that was indeed how it all started, I guess, a writer asking another writer for help. I do believe it grew to be much more than that though. These letters are about living. Yes, living as opposed to just surviving, even if sometimes that is all one can hope for, all that one can manage. But the feeling of failure that usually accompanies this barely surviving statement? That is a choice, that is a way of looking at things. And that is why, once I finished reading these letters, I went back on my collection of writings and brought this little thing I once wrote with me. It felt right. So here it is.

If anyone asks for me,
tell them I died…
but then tell them I survived.

If anyone calls out for me,
tell them I’m deaf…
but then tell them I can finally hear.

If anyone gives you a letter for me,
tell them I’m blind…
but then tell them I can finally see.

If no one searches for me,
tell them I finally lost…
but then tell them I succeeded.

Many things changed
Many things prevailed

Many paths disappeared
Many paths emerged

Many plans failed
Many plans triumphed

Many people passed away…
but many people were reborn.

If anyone asks for me,
tell them I finally died…
but then tell them I was reborn.

I changed,
but I prevailed.

I disappeared,
but I emerged.

I failed,
but I triumphed.

If nobody searches for me,
tell them I lost…
but then tell them I finally succeeded.

Reviews · Uncategorized

“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

“For Madeleine L’Engle, every good story and every good life is a search for answers through fiction, fact, and spirit. The poet, the physicist, and the prophet are all searching to understand the dimensions we can’t see, whether gravity, time, or love. ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is a great journey through dimensions – a journey of exploration and discovery, curiosity and awe.”

That is how Lisa Sonne describes A Wrinkle in Time. To say that I couldn’t have said it better myself would probably be the understatement of the century (not really, but you know what I mean).

A Wrinkle in Time is… exceptional. I could probably attempt to deconstruct its exceptionality, but I believe there’s no point. You see, this book is about… well, everything. All the elements that are part of it seem to have been weighted to co-exist in a harmony that becomes almost palpable to the reader.

These characters and their peculiar traits seem to be made of hopefulness. They seem to be the equivalent of whatever force takes over us when we decide upon taking a leap of faith even when scared to death. They all have their doubts, their mood swings, their personalities, their ways… they all have their differences, but they are brought together by their need of seeking.

“Stardust is just one way that Madeleine L’Engle mixes fact and fantasy to inspire you to want to know more about science. With knowledge come more questions. With imagination comes more curiosity. With searching comes more truth. That blend is a specialty of L’Engle’s.”

A Wrinkle in Time is a treasure. I honestly didn’t expect it to be this emotional. It’s clever, honest, humorous, heartbreaking, hopeful… It will surprise you; it will make you think, wonder, question… and it will entertain you, no matter how old you are.

“We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal.”

I recommend it to the universe. For sure.

“Thee onnlly wway ttoo ccope with ssometthingg ddeadly sseriouss iss ttoo ttry ttoo treat itt a llittlle lligghtly.”

 

 

LGBTQA+ · Reviews

“grl2grl” by Julie Anne Peters

I honestly don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. The word short is on the cover for everyone to see and yet I find myself expecting these tales to be endless. I guess that says something about Julie Anne Peters and her character writing skills. One has to open oneself to them, but she makes them extremely easy to bond with. You are already way too invested and you have yet to start reading the second sentence. Sigh. Anyway…

I must confess that until I read Boi I thought there was a recurring theme to these stories: hope. The open endings seemed full of possibility for their characters. I found them refreshing. Then I reached Boi and I felt my heart break. All of these stories have their emotional rawness in common, but Boi was… different. The main character seems to give up. It’s understandable once you read it, but still… I was rooting for this character (and I still am).

I think grl2grl is a collection of short stories about young people who are trying to find their place in the world, who are trying to accept said place, even when others don’t make it necessarily easy. That’s also explored in these stories: choice. Even though other people can indeed make your life more complicated, at the end of the day you are the one classifying these moments as positive, negative or indifferent, you are the one giving them meaning. It’s not easy to exercise this power when people’s harsh and mean words seem so loud inside our heads, but we have to believe that we have indeed the power to choose whether to listen to them or not, and whether to give them importance or not.

Someone once said that we should be kind for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle. With grl2grl, Julie Anne Peters opens windows to some of these usually silent battles. I believe these stories are important and should be read, these battles should be recognized and respected. It’s not just a phase, it’s life.

Reviews

“The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is, first and foremost, human. As such, she is bound to say, in our opinion, the wrong thing at, also in our opinion, the wrong time.

It’s not a matter of mistake-making, even if, as a human being, she’s also bound to board that particular train, at least every now and then. She might simply be looking at things from a perspective that happens to stand on the exact opposite side of ours. It doesn’t mean she wants to harm us, though; it doesn’t mean she’s out to get us or fight us. She might just be stating something from her point of view, from where she stands. We have the right to disagree, of course, we even have the right to believe her to be wrong, but attack her because we don’t understand where she’s coming from? Even if we think she’s not coming from the right place, it’s not acceptable – not because she’s famous, but because she’s human.

I believe we nowadays tend to forget that. We are too quick to judge and far too slow when it comes to forgiving. Just because we seem to have only access to digital pieces, through multiple screens and platforms, instead of the actual person, it doesn’t mean they are any less human than we are. We might paint a portrait and it might seem to resemble a particular face, but it doesn’t ever become the human.

That said – and please do forgive me the speech, I just had to share though –, The Art of Asking is the story of Amanda Palmer, the human, written by Amanda Palmer, the human. She is a writer, as we all are, but she was asked to put her story into actual words, and she did the best she could. It’s the story of a human being living a human life and wanting to be something. She takes us through her ups and downs, through her smiles and tears, through her nights at the clubs and the days spent in bed. She invites us into her private world and says, here, let me show you.

I saw love, passion, dedication, strength, pain, disappointment, sadness, heartbreak, grief, fear… and, above all else, I saw hope – and let’s be honest, there’s never too much of that going around.

Amanda Palmer is a flower. We can choose to either accept or reject her offer. She is not imposing herself on us, she’s inviting us to look at the world through her eyes. If we don’t feel comfortable, all we have to do is close the book or pause the audiobook, keeping in mind that just because we don’t like something, it doesn’t mean said something is necessarily bad. It just isn’t our cup of tea.

Let’s practice kindness, love and respect. If we all saw everything exactly the same way, the world would lose its endless dimensions and become flat.