Monday 31 March 2008

Picture Book Monday: "Posy" by Linda Newbery and Catherine Rayner

Welcome to Picture Book Monday! Last time I reviewed the Odd Egg on Monday so I thought I’d keep this day for picture books. I’m not sure I’d be able to find a good picture book every Monday but I’ll try and see how it goes.
This time I’m going to talk about Linda Newbery and Catherine Rayner’s new book Posy. As soon as I saw it I decided it had to belong to my collection. I know Linda Newbery from her young adult book Set in Stone but it was Catherine Rayner that made me grab it as soon as I put my eyes on it. She illustrated one of my favourite picture books last year, Augustus and his smile, and her dreamy use of watercolours and uplifting words won me over instantly. And now she did it again with Posy!
There is no story here, so I guess it’s aimed at toddlers, probably 1-3 year olds, because it relies its appeal on Rayner’ lovely illustrations and Newbery’s funny rhymes.

She’s a whiskers wiper
Crayon swiper
Playful wrangler
Knitting tangler
Spider catcher
Sofa scratcher…

The words are matched by the drawings of Posy playing with a crayon, or messing up a knitting ball, sneakily checking a sandwich or inspecting socks on a washing line.
The idea is simple but clever. The colours are soft and the drawings have a sketch-like feel, which I love. My favourite page is the “sock inspector”!
Posy, with her little curious eyes, is an irresistible heart-stealer. She made me want to have a kitten so badly! Maybe one day..

Sunday 30 March 2008

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy was my favourite book when I was 12. I read it, in Italian obviously, on a fantastic holyday in Corsica, and I’ll never forget how much I liked reading it sipping milk and honey, while cooling down after a day on the beach. It was part of a series of young adult books specifically chosen for girls. After reading this I started reading all the books in this series, which made me discover Philip Pullman (Sally Lockhart), Tanith Lee, Astrid Lindgren (Ronja), and many more wonderful authors. But I’m digressing…
So, I’ve read this for the first time more than 15 years ago and except for the fact that I loved it, I couldn’t remember much about it. So, when I saw it in English in a charity shop I knew the time had come to refresh my mind. It’s always dangerous to re-read your childhood favourites. They will never have the same effect on you, and you might discover that the book you loved as a kid, is a disappointing read as an adult. The charm can only live in the past and in your memories.
But re-reading Harriet was almost like going back at that time, because its charm didn’t fade with the years. I was completely enthralled all over again with this little self-absorbed, curious, energetic little girl. And since I didn’t remember much about it, it was like reading it for the first time.

For those who never heard of this classic, Harriet the Spy is the story of Harriet M. Walsh (though she has no middle name, it just sounds better) a privileged 11 year-old girl who lives in New York in the 60’s. Her much loved nanny, Ole Golly, had told her once that if she wanted to become a writer, she had to observe people and write down everything she saw. That’s how Harriet becomes a spy, jotting down any thoughts about anything or anyone that would cross her mind or sight, and keeping a daily spy routes to monitor her targets.
Her notebook is always with her, ready to host all her observations about her friends and schoolmates:

Sport's house smells like old laundry, and it's noisy and kind of poor-looking. My house doesn't smell and is quiet like Mrs Plumber's. Does it mean we're rich? What makes people poor or rich?

about the big and small questions of life like:

I wonder if when you dream about somebody they dream about you

or about why she didn’t understand math and other people did:

Either we each have a brain and they all look alike or we each have a special brain that looks like the inside of each of our heads. I wonder if the inside looks like the outside. I wonder if some brains, for instance in people who have longer noses, I wonder if those people have a longer nose part to the brain. I have a very short nose. Maybe that’s where the maths should be.

But what happens when her friends find her notebook, revealing her most honest thoughts about everyone?

This is not a plot-driven story. Until her friends find the notebook, nothing much happens, other than Harriet’s normal routine life. There’s a lot of time to get to know her, to hang with her friends, to spy on her favourite people and find out what happens to them, to sympathise with her when Ole Golly leaves to get married and to miss her comforting presence. In other words, there’s plenty of time to fall in love with Harriet, so that even when she acts like a spoilt brat it’ll be hard not to like her anyway.
I’ve found an article on the internet, Harriet The Spy: Iconoclastic, American Lezebel Icon, that made me look at this book in a different way. I never thought about the impact of a heroin like Harriet could have had in the 1960’s. Never thought she could be controversial, but apparently an outspoken 11 year-old wasn’t a great role model to give to girls, so much that in some schools the book was banned! Times have changed and Harriet's legacy still lives on, so much that a movie was made in 1996, starring Michelle Trachtenberg, which I can't wait to see.
Also, I found out Louise Fitzhugh has written more books about Harriet, and I plan to read them all!

other blog reviews
Heatherlo at Book Addiction
Josette at Books love me

Monday 24 March 2008

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry - Mildred D. Taylor

Roll of Thunder
Hear my cry
Over the water
Bye and bye
Ole man comin’
Down the line
Whip in hand to
Beat me down
But I ain’t
Gonna let him
Turn me ‘roun

I didn’t want to read this book. It felt too much like a text book, one of those required reading that are always too preachy or just plainly boring, but highly educational. I should have known better, given it won the Newbery Medal, and I have yet to read a book which won that medal that I didn’t like.
Another reason why I was reluctant is that I knew it had to do with racism against black people in America, and since I hate injustices, I thought I couldn’t read this without feeling really angry and ending up not enjoying it at all.
I was partly right. It is about injustices and discrimination but the story and the characters won me over almost instantly. The slight problem I had at the beginning was with its use of southern American accent, but I got used to it pretty quickly and it actually added to the story.

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry
is set in the cotton-growing farmlands of Mississippi delta in the 1930s and it tells the story of the Logans, a somewhat privileged family because, unlike the rest of the black people in the area, they own their own land and they’re proud of it. Their story is told through the eyes of their only daughter Cassie, a strong-head 9 year-old, who slowly and sadly realises that, although slavery had been abolished almost 70 years earlier, inequalities are still very much alive, carried on though intimidation by most of the white people. Schools are still divided between black and white, and while white kids are carried to school by bus, black students have to walk, no matter how far their house is.
Being the daughter of a well-educated and strong-minded teacher, Cassie finds hard to accept these differences and can’t understand the reason why she should be ashamed for being what she is.
There are few scenes that I won’t easily forget: the humiliation that Cassie and her brothers have to suffer every time the school bus splashes them with mud, the anger Cassie feels (and rightly expresses) when she is ignored in the grocery shop, the way a teacher could be dismissed so easily for no obvious reason, other than intimidation.
And yet, even if it was a tale of inequality and injustice, it still had the warm feeling of comfort that only loving families can give. Cassie and her brothers are protected by a circle of grown up figures that teach them the rules of the world, advice them on how to behave, what to accept and what to change. Sometimes these advices seemed questionable to me. For instance, when a white kid tries to be their friends, constantly showing them to be different from his arrogant family, Cassie’s father warns them against this kind of friendship, saying that times are not ready for that yet, and when the white kid will grow up, he will learn to be just like the rest. Instead of encouraging a little change that could show things could be different, their father decides to be defensive and sceptic. Aside from this, he and their mother try to teach them their best values, while trying to cope with the reality in which they’re living.
One of my favourite quote is a wonderful metaphor that compares the strength of one little fig tree with their own:

You see that fig tree over yonder, Cassie? Them other trees all around…that oak and walnut, they’re a lot bigger and they take up more room and give so much shade they almost overshadow that little ole fig. But that fig tree’s got roots that run deep, and it belongs in that yard as much as that oak and walnut, It keeps on blooming, bearing good fruit year after year, knowing all the time it’ll never get as big as them other trees. Just keeps on growing and doing what it gotta do. It don’t give up. It give up, it’ll die. There’s a lesson to be learned from that little tree, Cassie girl, ‘cause we’re like it. We keep doing what we gotta, and we don’t give up. We can’t.

All in all, it’s a very readable book, and I understand why it became a classic, even though I’d have preferred it to be a bit more subversive!

Thursday 20 March 2008

"Once upon the time" Challenge

I love everything about this challenge. The name, the theme, the quests, the no pressure attitude. You can read the full details at Carl's blog Stainless Steel Droppings.
To complete quest 2 I'll have to read at least 4 books in 4 categories: fantasy, mythology, fairy tales and folklore.
I've had some issues distinguishing folklore and fairy tales, but I think I came up with a nice list, which most importantly is still committed to the number one rule: you will not join challenges with books you don't already own!
and indeed I didn't.

My List

Tales from Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
War for the oaks by Emma Bull

Fairy tale
Book of a thousand days by Shannon Hale

Dream Aengus by Alexander McCall Smith
Percy Jackson and the lightning thief by Rick Riordan

: Irish Folklore by Brid Mahon
added: Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones (thanks Nymeth!)

For this last category I'm open to suggestions. I don't think I actually own anything more substantial, at least not here in Ireland, so I'm willing to borrow something (no buying!).

A few of these will fit nicely in my ever-changing Young Adult list so it's all good:-)

wish me happy reading!

Sunday 16 March 2008

Non-fiction Challenge and Meme

I was looking forward to the Non-fiction Challenge 2008. I think I need a reason to read some non-fiction, and without a challenge I don't think I will ever be able to abandon my comfortable novels so I'm happy that it's finally up at Thoughts of Joy.
The Rules are HERE
I don't have a full list yet, but I'll come up with some more later.
For now I have:
Current Affairs: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire by Arundhati Roy - I've had this for ages, it's high time I read it!
Biography: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - same as above
Travel Writing: There's an Egg in my Soup by Tom Galvin - It's about the experience of an Irish Man in Poland in the 90's. The Polish population in Ireland is amazingly big, therefore the need to learn more about their country and culture.

I might add something for History, True Crime, more Current Affairs (I've never read No Logo by Naomi Klein and this might be the right time), or possible some more biographies.
I have time till may to come up with something and the list can change anytime.

Edited: I've come up with 4 more titles!
- Little Girls in pretty boxes by Joan Ryan. It's about the hidden world of elite gymnastics and figure skating. It's almost a text book for any gymnastics fan, even though it casts a dark light on my beloved sport, I think I have to read it.
- No Logo by Naomi Klein. Another title I need to read!
- The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium: An Englishman's World by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger. Daily life in the year 1000, should be interesting.
- Female Chauvinist pigs - women and the rise of raunch culture by Ariel Levy. I've been wanting to read this for a while now.
There. I like my new list. I'm not sure I'll be able to read them all but I'll do my best!

So, since I'm here talking about Non-Fiction, I figure I'd do this meme I've seen everywhere, created by Guatami at My own little reading room!

a). What issues/topic interests you most--non-fiction, i.e, cooking, knitting, stitching, there are infinite topics that has nothing to do with novels?
I'm interested in many topics: art, biographies, mythology and folklore, politics...
I LOVE cookery books, especially those with beautiful pictures. I also like handcrafts and knitting books but I don't have many because I find knitting books hard to understand!

b). Would you like to review books concerning those? yes, of course, I like reviewing anything I read.

c). Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose. Definitely!! It would be a dream job, second only to writer and editor.

d). Would you recommend those to your friends and how? Yes, why not. If I think a friend would be interested in the topic I would probably buy it for them or just talk about it a lot!

If you have already done something like this, link it to your post. I've reviewed Nadia Comaneci's autobiography and that'it, for now.

f). Please dont forget to link back here or whoever tags you Nobody did, I tagged myself!

Tuesday 11 March 2008

The odd egg - Emily Gravett

I don’t usually review picture books, but this time I’ll do an exception (or will this be the beginning of a new practice?) for Emily Gravett and her new book. I was so excited today when I saw it brand new on the trolley of new deliveries, freshly out of the box, that I had to stop and read it straight away. I don’t think I had ever looked forward to a picture book so much.
Ever since I saw Gravett’s “Orange pear apple bear” and “Wolves” I fell in love with this artist. She is so original and inventive, that I’m not afraid to call her a genius! I’ve read an article about her life and her background that just proves my point. She never had any artistic education. She left home at 17 and lived in a caravan for eight years, at the edge of society, till she had a child and decided she had to find a proper job. All she could do was “scribbling” on her notebook, and that’s why she tried to be accepted to a BA course in illustration. But with no diploma, and no leaving cert, she was refused admission. Emily didn’t give up though and insisted that they looked at her work. They were obviously very impressed cause she was accepted! She went on graduating and her final project “Wolves” was published by MacMillan and won not only the NestlĂ© prize, but also the super prestigious Kate Greenaway award, the equivalent of the Carnegie Medal for illustrators! What a fairytale!

Her new picture book is just another gem. It’s about a duck who’s sad cause everyone else had laid eggs - the hen, the owl, the parrot, the flamingo – except him. How can that be? But then Duck finds an egg, the most beautiful egg in the world, or so he thinks. The others are not impressed…it looks so odd…will it hatch? Read and find out!

As in Wolves, this book has a surprise ending that I’m sure won’t fail to delight children over and over again. What won’t fail to delight me is Gravett’s artistry. Her sketch-like drawings, the pale watercolours, the funny details, the simplicity of her idea, and yet the brilliance of it, are the reasons why I bought it without thinking twice. I love that owl is reading “The bright baby book” and then when the egg hatches the baby owl is a math genius. I love Duck facial expressions, and the fact that he knits happily for his egg while he waits. I like that the suspense of the final hatching is enhanced by the way the pages are cut, which show each egg cracking, one by one, leaving Duck’s odd egg for last.
It’s a charming little book, which delicately challenges the gender roles (did I mention that he knits?) and brings a smile on your face. I love it!

Monday 10 March 2008

Letters to a Young Gymnast - Nadia Comaneci

This book has a special meaning to me, because I was a gymnast myself and even if I never reached high levels, I’ve always enjoyed it immensely. When I was 12 I watched for the first time the film “Nadia”, about the life and success of Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. The movie was on this videotape that was passed on among us little gymnasts and every single girl in the gym thought that Nadia was her hero. I did as well. I don’t know how many times I watched it before bringing it back, but I thought about every scene, and sang the music that plays during her legendary uneven bar exercise at the 1976 Olympics, and dreamed about being her, for months and months. It was only after many years that I first watched a real video of her on tape. Short after I bought my first computer and learned how to surf the Internet, I began to trade gymnastics competitions on tape with people all over the world and one of the first competitions that I requested was the 1976 Olympics. It’s a rather boring tape, with no commentary and piano music played for the whole duration. But it still retains its magic, because it was THE competition. When Nadia became legend by earning a perfect 10 for the first time in Olympic history. Not just once, but seven times.

This book is her story, told by her, in the form of a long letter to an imaginary young fan asking for advices. She talks about everything, from her birth, to her childhood, to her first steps in the gym with legendary coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi. She speaks matter-of-factly about her victories and recounts passionately about her defection from Romania in 1989. She answers all the questions that are usually asked to her with honesty and patience. How her life changed after her success, if the stories about abuses from her coach are true, if she was starved by him, if she really tried to kill herself. She answers everything, even though I had the feeling she is not really telling everything, which is understandable. She denies that she attempted suicide, as told in the movie, and that leaves me a bit puzzled, because how could they have make up such a story if none of it was true?
But it was interesting to get an insight perspective from the very person who’s been my hero for so long. I didn’t know anything about her after her last Olympics in Moscow in 1980. That she lived a miserable life under the Ceausescu’s regime, and that she was eventually forced to defect. That she escaped in the night, on foot, with a group of strangers, and that she crossed the Hungarian border scratching herself on wire-fences, risking to be shot anytime by the Romanian police. That was very interesting, and scary.
We’ve lived very different lives, we have very different personalities, but we share one thing, and that is our love for gymnastics. She had the chance to shoot for the moon, I didn’t. But I understand when she says that her hard work didn’t feel like sacrifice, that she loved everything she did in the gym, not because she wanted the medals, but because she loved the feeling of flying in the air, of stretching her body towards impossible moves.

I dreamed of learning new skills. I never saw the bigger picture of international success and fame. I dreamed of running and twisting and double somersaults, and that nothing could tether me to the ground because I was born to fly.

She didn’t give up her childhood, she lived it just like she wanted to.

I enjoyed reading it, even though I suspect she had some help writing it. Her English is a bit too good, and too literary to be truly hers, and that didn’t feel completely real. Beside that, it really is a mandatory read for any real gymnastic fan.
For all the others, I know you might feel left out. So I will add this video, to help you understand what I’m talking about. Enjoy :-)

Sunday 9 March 2008

The Book Thief - Mark Zusak

This is definitely the best book I’ve read this year. It took me a while to sit down and write about it because I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it justice with my words. My copy is a big chunky hardback, 580 pages long, but it didn’t bother me to carry it around anywhere I went, while I was reading it. Instead I walked proudly with my big book under my arm, eagerly waiting for the next opportunity to continue the story.

A warning: the first few pages feel strange. The narrator takes his time to introduce us to the main story, playing with us, giving glimpses of what’s to come. We soon find out that it’s Death who’s speaking, and it’s his (oh, by the way, is Death male or female? Who knows…) peculiar point of view that will escort the reader throughout the book.
As soon as Liesel Meminger was introduced, I was scooped into the story and I wasn’t let go till the end.

At the start Liesel is 9, it’s 1939 and it’s Germany. She’s travelling with her mother and brother to a small town called Molching to meet her future foster-family, the Hubermanns. Her parents are communist, which is almost as bad as being a Jew, therefore her mother is forced to abandon her children and flee. During the journey Liesel’s brother suddenly dies, leaving her to face her new life alone. She has only one thing to remind her of the last day she saw her mother and brother. It’s a book that she picked up on the graveyard, “The Gravedigger’s handbook”. The first book stolen by the Book Thief.
Things don’t look very bright for Liesel. Her new Mama is a wardrobe-shaped woman who yells constantly and call her names. Her new house is bleak and cold, in school she’s forced to attend classes with smaller children due to her lack of education, and her nights are filled with nightmares of her dead brother. But not only Liesel is a tough little girl who knows how to defend herself, she also finds out that her new life is not as bad as it looks. Mama sounds fierce and abusive, but she’s also caring, in a very rough way. And Papa…he is the one that shows her unconditional love since the beginning. With his silvery eyes, his gentle heart and kind manners. Every night, when Liesel wakes up screaming, he is there, with his comfortable presence and his soothing accordion. Night after night he brings safety and trust back into her life, just by being there. Until one day they decide to use their sleepless nights to teach Liesel how to read. They use “The gravedigger’s handbook”, the book she stole. And letter by letter Hans Hubermann introduces Liesel to the art of reading.
During the day Liesel spends most of her time outside, on the street, playing football with her lemon-haired friend Rudy, who adores Jesse Owens and would do anything for one of her kisses. When the war begins, though, food becomes scarce and their main occupation is to find a way of filling their bellies.
One day they find a pfennig on the street and the first thing they do is to go to the shop and buy mixed lollies, please. But with one pfennig they can only afford one lolly and so they have to trade sucks, ten each.

Hurry up Saumensch, that’s ten already.
It’s not, it’s only eight – I’ve got two to go.
Well hurry up then. I told you we should have got a knife and saw it in half…
Come on that’s two.
All right. Here. And don’t swallow it.
Do I look like an idiot?
A short pause.
This is great, isn’t it?
It sure is, Saumensch.

I love this scene. It’s funny and sweet and it describes perfectly life during the war for two kids. When a pfenning found on the street and a shared lolly can make your day, leaving a happy grin on your red mouth.

Liesel’s life is due to change once more, though, the day Max Vandeburg, a Jew looking for a hiding place, arrives in her house. The basement, where she used to have her reading classes, becomes Max’s room, and soon enough the two of them establish an unlikely but enduring friendship.

There’s so much to tell about this story that I don’t think I can condense it here in few words. You have to read it yourself. All I can say it that it’s full of love. For reading, for people, for life. It’s incredibly full of love, in a time where hatred and violence was taught and encouraged. I guess this was Mark Zusak’s point. He wanted to tell the story of those who, although never rebelled against the regime, didn’t approve of it and just tried to survive it, while helping each other. It’s ironic that he chose Death as the narrator. But as you may have understood Death is not the evil skull-like face that we imagine. He’s just and observer, that happens to be distracted, amused or even moved by the “leftovers”, the survivors. This is a story about one of them.
Also, it’s a story about the power of books. Books are stolen (or saved, if you like), and in exchange they save lives, in many different ways. It’s books that save Liesel from her nightmares. A copy of Mein Kampf helps Max, the Jew, to reach the Hubermann’s basement. Their words have a soothing power, when they are read aloud by Liesel during the raids in the shelter.

It’s an ambitious book. Its structure is original, the language is mature and skilful, the sentences short and striking, the theme not an easy one. And the result is a very powerful book, which will stay with me for a very long time.
A last warning: be prepare to shed more than one tear for the ending.
And one advice: believe the hype!

other blog reviews

Nymeth at things mean a lot
Kristi at Passion for the page
Stephanie's confessions of a book-a-holic
rebecca reads

Sunday 2 March 2008

Cool meme

I've been tagged by Em a while ago for this fun meme and I think it's high time for me to answer it!

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
Honestly, if a book has received only positive reviews (which is very very rare), the only reason why I haven' t read it is because I haven't got around it yet. I can think of a number of books that have enjoyed a great commercial success that I'm not going to read, but that haven't had completely positive reviews. The Da Vinci Code springs to my mind. I've heard a lot of people saying it was great but also a lot saying it was crap. I have absolutely no intention of reading it. Same goes for big Irish hit Ps: I love you, mainly because I don't usually read chick-lit.
Probably I'm cringing away from On Chesil beach by Ian McEwan, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy, but I'm not saying I won't read them one day.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

I'd love to go with Stargirl to one of her enchanted places and ask her to teach me how to erase myself.
I would take tea with Jane Eyre and I'd ask her to tell me how is her life with Rochester going.
I would invite Liesel from the Book Thief to come to my library and read with me all day.

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

I must say for me it was an so-called Italian masterpiece I promessi Sposi ("The Betrothed") by Alessandro Manzoni. It is a mandatory read in school, but I could never push myself to finish it. How I hated it!I only know one person who actually read it and enjoyed it. That's what mandatory reads do for you!

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it

See above. One summer I actually managed to read half of it but then I gave up...
Of course in class we were all supposed to know it by heart.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?
Not really.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalise the VIP)
Whoa I'd love that job! If it's an Irish VIP I would recommend Roddy Doyle's The Commitments or The Snapper. So easy to read and so funny.
Anyone else, The last elf by Silvana De Mari. i haven't heard anyone yet who hasn't loved it.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?
Japanese!!! I could read all the mangas in original, watch animes without subtitles, read their novels in original...heaven!

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
Charlotte's Web! It's short and would remind me every year about the beauty of the cycle of nature and about the importance of friendship.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)
First of all I've discovered Challenges! Before June last year I had no idea they existed. Since then I've read a lot of books that I would not have read, the best was The Giver by Lois Lowry.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.
My dream library would be more about the room itself. It would be a room entirely dedicated to books. Wooden shelves over every wall, a comfy couch to read, nice carpet, a big wooden desk to write. All my favourite authors would have signed my copies of their works. I would have a specific section for mangas, comics, graphic novels and picture books. Everything would be by genre, and by author, all nice and tidy. I would also have a database on paper! like in a real old-fashion library. Also, I'd have original illustrations by Oliver Jeffers, Emily Gravett, Catherine Rayner, and other favourites on the walls.

I've seen this all over the places so if you like it and haven't done it, go ahead!:)