Category: The Arts

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 10/15/19

Autumn is here. It’s getting cold outside, the sun is sinking below the horizon earlier and earlier. The sand on the beach is easier to walk across barefoot, yes, but the water is freezing. All the pools are closing, all the water parks are closed. It’s depressing, but think about the bright side: all the leaves are changing, giving us a rainbow of colors.

And just as the leaves fall, we’d like to fall into a great book.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!


Movies (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano




Movies (And Other Things) is a book about, quite frankly, movies (and other things).

One of the chapters, for example, answers which race Kevin Costner was able to white savior the best, because did you know that he white saviors Mexicans in McFarland, USA, and white saviors Native Americans in Dances with Wolves, and white saviors Black people in Black or White, and white saviors the Cleveland Browns in Draft Day?

Another of the chapters, for a second example, answers what other high school movie characters would be in Regina George’s circle of friends if we opened up the Mean Girls universe to include other movies (Johnny Lawrence is temporarily in, Claire from The Breakfast Club is in, Ferris Bueller is out, Isis from Bring It On is out…). Another of the chapters, for a third example, creates a special version of the Academy Awards specifically for rom-coms, the most underrated movie genre of all. And another of the chapters, for a final example, is actually a triple chapter that serves as an NBA-style draft of the very best and most memorable moments in gangster movies.



We hyped this book up and boy did it not disappoint. Following Serrano’s Basketball (and Other Things), which notably made Barack Obama’s 2017 year-end list, Shea Serrano’s Movies (and Other Things) is a must-have for any movie lover, pop culture aficionado, or someone who just wants to read a great book instead of a good book. This book puts each piece of media in its proper place in the pop culture sphere. I can’t in the right mind tell you this book is a page-turner, because it either had me laughing so hard I could barely finish a page or I had to stop and take in something truly poignant. As Serrano himself jokingly said, “Please buy a copy of it or go to hell.”




Not Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis




With echoes of Rules of Civility and The Boston Girl, a compelling and thought-provoking novel set in postwar New York City, about two women—one Jewish, one a WASP—and the wholly unexpected consequences of their meeting.

One rainy morning in June, two years after the end of World War II, a minor traffic accident brings together Eleanor Moskowitz and Patricia Bellamy. Their encounter seems fated: Eleanor, a teacher and recent Vassar graduate, needs a job. Patricia’s difficult thirteen-year-old daughter Margaux, recovering from polio, needs a private tutor.

Though she feels out of place in the Bellamys’ rarefied and elegant Park Avenue milieu, Eleanor forms an instant bond with Margaux. Soon the idealistic young woman is filling the bright young girl’s mind with Shakespeare and Latin. Though her mother, a hat maker with a little shop on Second Avenue, disapproves, Eleanor takes pride in her work, even if she must use the name “Moss” to enter the Bellamys’ restricted doorman building each morning, and feels that Patricia’s husband, Wynn, may have a problem with her being Jewish.

Invited to keep Margaux company at the Bellamys’ country home in a small town in Connecticut, Eleanor meets Patricia’s unreliable, bohemian brother, Tom, recently returned from Europe. The spark between Eleanor and Tom is instant and intense. Flushed with new romance and increasingly attached to her young pupil, Eleanor begins to feel more comfortable with Patricia and much of the world she inhabits. As the summer wears on, the two women’s friendship grows—until one hot summer evening, a line is crossed, and both Eleanor and Patricia will have to make important decisions—choices that will reverberate through their lives.



Gripping and wonderfully compelling, this tale weaves together themes of friendship, class, prejudice, and love expertly with the care and skill of a seamstress. The period piece details engross you—from the clothes, the glamour, the excitement, the feeling of 1947 New York. The characters live and breath 1947 New York and have a rich history, yet at the same time, Zeldis manages to effortlessly craft a story that not only fits the decade it’s set in, but transcend it.




Inheritance by Evelyn Toynton




After the sudden death of her husband, Annie Devereaux flees to England, site of the nostalgic fantasies her father spun for her before he deserted the family. A chance encounter in London leads Annie to cancel her return to New York and move in with Julian, the disaffected, moody son of Helena Denby, a famous British geneticist. As their relationship progresses, Annie meets Julian’s sisters Isabel and Sasha, each of them fragile in her own way, and becomes infatuated with visions of their idyllic childhood in England’s West Country. But the more she uncovers about Julian’s past, the more he explodes into rage and violence. Finally tearing herself away, Annie winds up adrift in London, rescued from her loneliness only when she and Isabel form an unexpected bond.

Slowly, with Isabel as her reluctant guide, Annie learns of the emotional devastation that Helena’s warped arrogance, her monstrous will to dominate, inflicted on her children. The family who once embodied Annie’s idealized conception of England is actually caught in a nightmare of betrayal and guilt that spirals inexorably into tragedy.



When you take away all the romance and all the illusions, what’s left of love? Is there any love? Or can love only survive on us not truly understanding our partner? Toynton’s third novel asks these questions and follows through to the answers and what it means for this disintegrating aristocratic family. A small story, the real drama comes from the family and how you could cut the tension with a knife in every scene, but are afraid to, because of how everything can shatter at a moment’s notice. Frighteningly intense, it explores class and the way we react, and don’t react, to tragedy when it hits us in the face.



All In-text Images Via Amazon.


3 Artists Bringing Books to Life with Their Book Sculptures

While most people look at an old hardcover book and see a story waiting to be read, some artists see a blank canvas.


1 – Emma taylor

U.K.-based artist Emma Taylor brings scenes from classic stories to life by creating amazing sculptures from titles she finds at used book shops.


Emma Taylor

Image via MyModerNet.Com


In an interview with My Modern Met, Taylor described book sculpture as “[her] creative outlet to highlight an appreciation of the little things in life.”


Emma Taylor-2

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Check out her ever-growing portfolio of other bookish sculptures!


2 – Tomoko Takeda

Across the globe, Japanese artist Tomoko Takeda transforms popular titles into ornate works of art by carving away layers of paper.


Tomoko Takeda-1

Le Petit Prince, Image via


Describing her 2014 exhibition titled ものがたりの断片 (monogatari no danpen, meaning “story fragments”), Takeda said, “I made books not to read, but to enjoy looking at.”


Tomoko Takeda

Flowers for Algernon, Image Via



3 – Thomas Wightman

Thomas Wightman, another British artist, takes book sculpture to the next level with his sculpture of Scotland’s Glenfinnan Viaduct bridge that actually moves!


Thomas Wightman-moving sculpture
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The Glenfinnan Viaduct has been a Scottish landmark for more than 100 years, but it was made even more famous when it appeared in the Harry Potter movie series. That little train could very well be the Hogwarts Express taking Harry, Hermione, and Ron to another year at the finest school for witchcraft and wizardry.


Thomas Wightman-2

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These nifty book sculptures are a great way to beautify and bring new life to old favorites. Would you ever try to do this to one of your books?




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Learn About Broadway’s Leading Ladies Through This A-Z Book

Shake your jazz hands and throw on your reading glasses because a new book about the ABCs of Broadway’s most famous actresses is heading to bookstores soon!


A is for Audra

Image via Amazon


Available for pre-order now, A Is For Audra: Broadway’s Leading Ladies from A To Z is the perfect picture book for your theater-loving child. This picture book showcases legendary entertainers in alphabetical order, and with the flow and charm of rhyming illustrates what the starlets’ are most known for. It’s the perfect book not only for children, but for Broadway enthusiasts as well!


H is for Heather Headley

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According to, the new children’s book from Doubleday Publishing, written by John Robert Allman and illustrated by Peter Emmerich, is scheduled for release on November 12th. With every sale of the book, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization helping men, women and children across the country and across the street receive much needed medication, health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance.


K is for Kristin

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A book that spreads the fantastic achievements of Broadway’s actresses, and makes a literal difference in people’s lives? I look forward to this books opening night, November 12th.




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Building Turned Into Jaw-Dropping Bookcase Illusion

Stand by for a warm and fuzzy feeling.

It has often been said, by those who enjoy a good book, that we live inside of our soft and hardcover friends. Such a notion has never held more validity than it does for the lucky residents of an anonymous building in Utrecht, Netherlands. The aesthetically pleasing surprise comes courtesy of illustrious street artist Jan Is De Man and tattoo artist Deef Freed‘s handy-work.


Trompe L'oeil Art by Jan Is De Man
Image Via


The owners of this building, who love a good read, asked their delineating friend, Jan Is De Man to deface—or rather reface their previously boring structure. De Man took it upon himself to ask local residents to suggest book titles he could include in his creation; his goal was to create something that reflected a culturally-diverse community in unison (without offending of course: no trigger-happy literature). The result is a mural displaying a wide variety of books which includes literature spanning eight different languages. Unfortunately, I will not provide a list of those books in this article—feel free to pinch and zoom at your leisure.


Literature Themed Mural in Utrecht
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“We’ve noticed that this project brought people together without pushing it,” said De Man, “they met each other through books. Regardless of the differences in cultures, regardless of the differences in political point of views. Regardless of being extreme right or extreme left. Books are magical. They tickle your brain. And everyone can read the same book, but feel something different.”

De Man’s friend, who also lives in the building, had wanted the artist to paint a mural on his home for some time; however, De Man’s original plan was not of the literary variety. Being a huge fan of Forest Gump (I can only assume), De Man wanted to paint a huge smiley face on the building. Typically, when people see a smile, their moods are naturally lifted. After studying the shape of the building, it dawned on De Man that smiles are provoked by all sorts of things—therein lies the idea of a bookcase. A structure that’s functionality most closely resembles that of a community, a family, a hug, a home.


Featured Image Via

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 5/29/19

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Ferris Bueller’s sage advice is as apt as ever. Time waits for no one, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. However, one of life’s greatest pause buttons will always be a good book. Whether you’re reading more about the things you love, how to develop yourself further, or imagining the kind of character you want to be, committing to a good book will always feel like time well spent. And we can help with that.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!


Game of Thrones: The Storyboards




It goes without saying that Game of Thrones will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans everywhere. In spite of how the show’s final season was received, the series has reached legendary heights in television history with its grand storytelling. You can get an in-depth look into the process of bringing George R.R. Martin’s fantasy to screen with Game of Thrones: The Storyboards, which collects early concept pieces and storyboards by artist William Simpson. This behind-the-scenes glimpse is a must-have for fans who want to learn more about the development of their favorite show, and how its iconic moments were brought to life.



Start at the End




If you’ve ever daydreamed about something you just wanted to create and get out into the world while sipping on your local coffee spot drink, then Start at the End is for you. Entrepreneurship is hard. Creating something people will find worthwhile is hard. Obtaining the skills to see your project through is hard. There’s no shame in asking for help and this book can provide just that. You’ll learn all about behavioral scientist Matt Wallaert’s strategies for designing products according to user needs and behavior. Your creative impulses are valued and are waiting to be tapped into. You can even do it while you read and caffeinate.



Orchid & the Wasp





The Gael Foess character can serve as both an inspiration, and a cautionary tale, for those wanting to live the fullest life possible. Caoilinn Hughes layers her debut, Orchid & the Wasp, with all sorts of personal, familial, and identity conflicts that carry true emotional weight. This modern epic about a heroine becoming all that she can be, for the sake of her family and for her own self interests should appeal to admirers of stories such as Molly’s Game. You’ll want to find out how Gael makes it through her journey of emotional turmoil, and maybe even adopt the strengths she picks up along the way.


All In-Text Images Via Amazon.

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