Inspired by Stardust…with Sincerely Sara

Sincerely Sara first captivated me with her impeccably styled outfits based off of literature – everything from book covers, to favorite characters, even movies. Lucky for you all, she’s here to share some of those book-inspired outfits! I can’t even handle it, I want them all. And she even has a surprise for you, too 🙂

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Hello, My Life as a Teacup readers! I’m Sara from Sincerely, Sara, which is where I write mostly about fashion, books, and finding inspiration everywhere. Since I’m a book lover (writing a novel as we speak!), one of my absolute favorite things to do is combine my love of books with my love of fashion. Awesome, I know! I like being inspired by book covers and the books themselves, and then creating outfits around them. Let’s take a look at my favorites, shall we? If I love a specific character from a book, it’s easy to be inspired by their personality and to bring what they love into the outfit I’m creating.

book fashion stardust

Stardust, a novel by Neil Gaiman, is a favorite of mine, as is the movie. Tristan Thorn is the lovable main character who crosses into a magical realm in order to find a fallen star in order to prove his love to the town beauty. However, he learns a lot along the way and finds love in an unexpected place.

austenland book fashion
Austenland, by Shannon Hale, follows Jane Hayes, a woman obsessed with all things Mr. Darcy. She decides that she should get it out of her system and goes to a Regency-inspired English resort, where they pretend it’s the early 1800s. As an Anglophile, I can completely relate to Jane Hayes’ love of the Regency era and Pride and Prejudice. Sometimes it’s fun to be inspired by a book’s cover. While I’ve been told countless times to never judge a book by its cover, some of them are just so pretty it’s hard not to.

book fashion the end of night
The End of Night, by Paul Bogard, is a non-fiction work about how in our modern era most of us no longer experience true darkness, and how the spectacular view of the night sky influenced the human experience. I immediately fell for the illustrated cover and the beautiful blues.

zelda fitzgerald book fashion

Z: A Novel About Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Ann Fowler, tells the real-life story of the beautiful Southern belle who meets F. Scott Fitzgerald, a young lieutenant, in 1918. She falls for him despite his unsuitability due to his lack of wealth. I like how striking the giant Z is on the cover, the soft colors, and how the woman is popping out of the letter.

Thanks, Kristin, for having me on your little nook of the blogosphere! To let you guys get inspired by books, I’m giving away $15 to Barnes & Noble!

This giveaway is CLOSED.

Isn’t Sara a doll? I love these looks that she put together, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re based off of some of my very favorite authors and novels – Gaiman, Austen, and that gorgeous looking Zelda Fitzgerald book? Gaah!

On My Bookshelf: August

august to be read books
Hello, lovlies! I’m officially back (told you I couldn’t stay away long) and raring to go! My little mental holiday was much needed, but I’ve had all sorts of ideas brewing away. A bit of a break can really get your creative juices flowing again!

On My Bookshelf is the first of a few new features here on My Life as a Teacup. For as much as I love writing book reviews, I realized there are so many more books I want to talk about. So on the first Friday of each month I’ll be rounding up four of my current book loves, which might be anything from great novels I’ve read, upcoming releases I’m excited for, or even the next book I want to check out from the library. You’ll still be able to find my reviews on Goodreads, however, so add me there if you’d like to get even more insights and recommendations on the books I’ve read.

I’d love for you to weigh in on the books listed here, whether you’ve read them or they’ve just piqued your interest; or even share what books are on your reading list. I hope you can find some great additions to your book shelf!

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Dance in Shadow and Whisper (The Marionettes of Myth Saga)* – Sara Godfrey and Victoria DeRubeis just recently published the first book in their Marionettes and Monster of Myth saga and is full of demons, vampires, and socially awkward situations – my favorite! Kali’s arrived at human high school in an AU Pittsburgh and must somehow manage watching over a reincarnated war lord while trying to wrap her head around “Angry Girls”.

I’ve known these two ladies since high school (hello, first period gym class!) and it feels as if they’ve been working on this series since then! I’ve been itching to read about the characters that came out of their brain attics and cherish like their own children (it’s an author thing) and am so glad I’ve finally gotten the chance. I’m still a bit confused in places – it’s such a rich world they’ve built – but the ending slowly let things come into focus, and I’m sure the rest of the series will do the same, in it’s snarky, humourous way. You can read my full review of Dance in Shadow and Whisper on Goodreads to get a better idea of the book!

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – My mom checked this out of the library, and though I had it on my ‘to read” list, it fell into my lap as a result a bit earlier than I planned. Sheryl Sandberg gives a pretty thorough overview of women in business and the working world, and issues with gender inequality in the workforce. It’s a pretty basic introduction to women’s issues, but really refreshing to see them framed in a business sense. It’s inspiring, and gets the gears turning, but even at the simplest level its a great primer for how to tackle certain business situations like mentorship, being honest with your employees, and questions to ask when looking for a job. It’s a light read trying to be heavy, but still manages to be though-provoking and helpful.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – I’ve always loved F. Scott Fitzgerald and remember sitting in junior year English class discussing Zelda and her kookiness with my best friend. It’s one of those things where you’re truly interested in something, but it just keeps getting pushed to the back burner, and that’s what happened with my wanting to learn more about Zelda Fitzgerald. With the recent boom of The Great Gatsby and my recently discovered love of the movie, Midnight in Paris, I’ve been on a Jazz Age kick, and to my delight, Zelda novels seem to be popping up everywhere! I’ve got a few bookmarked to read, but I’m between starting with either this, or Nancy Milford’s Zelda biography to get my toes wet.

The Great Night – My darling friend Madelin recommended this book to me as one of those, “the premise sounds really good but I’m not sure what I actually think of the book itself” reads. Supposedly a modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the book itself sounds dreamy, bringing Oberon and Titania to San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park. As one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, I want to love this, but I also live in fear that modern adaptations will ruin my favorite classics.

What books do you have bookmarked? Read any of these? I’d love to hear what you thought of them in the comments below!

*I’ve known these ladies for a while, and yes, this is an affiliate link, but I really love their book and think they have great potential! 

Summer Reading 2013

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Every summer a magical window of free time opens up and I find myself a regular at the local library, checking out a book one day, returning it the next. Something about summer screams “time to read!” to me, and always has. So with a couple weeks (really, a handful of days) in between classes, I can’t wait to sit down with some of the books I’ve been looking forward to the most.

What’s on my summer reading list? How does all 354 books on my “to-read” Goodreads shelf sound? HA! Yeah, right. Even if my summer were less chaotic and fairly normal, I still wouldn’t be able to make a dent into the ridiculous list I’ve created for myself. But seriously? Here’s what I’m hoping to get to before August comes to an end:

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) – Neil read a pretty sizable excerpt from this when I saw him speak on Stardust last November. It was the most entranced I’d ever been from hearing a story, and I cannot wait to read it!
  • A Dance with Dragons (George R.R. Martin) – I just couldn’t tackle 1,000+ pages during the term, so I’ve got to catch up on the books before the show does. Or, y’know, I’m sure I’ll at least beat Martin to writing the next one.
  • Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) – This is been on my radar for a while, at the recommendation of many, many people who don’t always share similar tastes. I’m a bit behind, I know, but I’m getting there.
  • The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) – Ditto above. I started reading the sample on my Kindle, not because I was wary of the book, but because I couldn’t wait to start it. And now I ‘m hooked. Also, I stumbled across his literary crash course series on YouTube, which is pretty fantastic and hilarious on its own. After an embarrassingly long amount of time wondering if that was the same John Green, I’ve now come to the realization that I need to read more of his books (and we need to be best friends). Library patron – please return this soon so I can read it!  Check!
  • A Moveable Feast (Ernest Hemingway) – I’ve been on a Hemingway kick lately. I just need to bury myself into another one of his books, pronto. There’s such a heartbreaking tenderness and humanity about them, that I can’t help but love Hemingway to pieces. Also check!
  • Etiquette & Espionage (Gail Carriger) – Gail Carriger really tickles my Victorian-steampunk-snarky-heroine fancy. I really enjoyed the Parasol Protectorate series and can’t wait to see what else she’s got up her sleeve.
  • The Diviners (Libba Bray) – Libba Bray is another guilty pleasure that I’m not very guilty about. I read A Great and Terrible Beauty and the rest of the Gemma Doyle series some years ago and remember getting lost in it. I can only hope this is as magical and enchanting.
  • The Accursed (Joyce Carol Oates) – Joyce Carol Oates does some crazy awesome stuff. I need to read more of hers, and have resolved to do so ever since reading some shorts in college. This novel from her gothic saga caught my eye, and I’m hoping I get reeled in like the rest of her stuff!
  • Equilateral (Ken Kalfus) – Just go read the synopsis. I’m wildly intrigued.
What’s on your summer reading list?

Young Adult Novels Aren’t Just for Young Adults

The Importance of Books

While the number of books I’ve met and not liked are well under double digits, give me fantastic lands, magical qualities, and a dose of steampunk or urban fantasy over realistic fiction any day. I’ve found plenty of authors and books in those categories that tickle my fancy (China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, Francesca Lia Block, to name a few), it seems like most books that fit the bill come from the young adult category which, more often than not, seems to get a bad rap on the notion that it’s just a genre for “kids”. I’ve never been drawn to the top-sellers list at the book store (I wish I could say why) and most summer must-reads in popular magazines strike me as incredibly boring beach reading. And while I love a heartfelt, heavy story – I just finished The Kite Runner which is a far cry from the magical, urban-fantasy I love so much and loved it equally – I’m more at home with an element of fantasy. Maybe I overdosed on reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and a bunch of Anne Rice novels growing up. Yeah, sure, we’ll blame it on that. Yet somehow, society is less likely, for whatever reason, to admit magic and fantasy into the mainstream, instead constraining the genre largely to seventeen-year olds and their real world reading counterparts. Just because a story features younger characters or a fantastic setting, or is even labeled “YA” doesn’t mean the writing and story are rubbish or underneath any one reading level and it kills me to see stories not taken seriously because, “Oh, that’s a book for kids”.

 I remember the first time I “consciously” read a YA series – The Hunger Games was recommended to me by a dear friend whose tastes I trust and I breezed through the two books that were already out in a matter of hours. It was a captivating story, and one that I still feel is way past the traditional topics covered by a genre considered to be “young adult”; not inappropriate, per say, but just more advanced, dealing with hunger and consumerism and emptiness in a way I would not have expected in a book largely targeted at a young adult age group.

There are a number of series that I’ve read and deplore, but not on the basis that they’re YA. My criteria for shunning any book, adult or not remains relatively the same; bad writing, one-dimensional characters, unimaginative descriptions, and a wonky plot (amongst other things) are an instant turn-off  regardless of the intended audience or supposed reading level. There is the added tendency to judge a YA book on the values in its content; there a number of times where I’ve enjoyed a story, but questioned some of the lessons being enforced or hinted at on the sole basis that kids are primarily reading this and how will that influence them? There’s definitely a judgmental air about the lessons being taught, something that isn’t so worried about in adult fiction. And while sometimes the message may not be the most desirable for a certain age group, there can still be merit in the story itself, or the way it is written.

Whatever topic a book touches on, be it the timeless values of loyalty and friendship as in Harry Potter (which is somewhat of an anomaly for me, as I was a “young adult” when the series first came out) or the very adult topics of a dystopian future in The Hunger Games, it seems like anything that features young protagonists or a magical element often gets slapped with the young adult label whether truly deserving or not. Since when did magic become limited to preteens? The connection seems arbitrary and so many works get shunned or undervalued because of it.

So what do you think about the Young Adult novel craze?