My Week in Barcelona: Cemetery of Forgotten Books Locations (plus some gushing over tapas).

I’ve just returned from an amazing week holiday in Barcelona with my love. While we weren’t completely taken by the city, we enjoyed it there a lot and found that parts of Barcelona definitely have a special charm.

While we were there we visited a few different locations that feature in Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind and the other Cemetery of Forgotten Books novels.

 

Locations

Here are a few of the snaps we took of such places :).

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Las Rambles is a very famous street and it’s mentioned a lot in each of the Cemetery novels. While it was a little too touristy for me, it was still cool to think about the characters in the novels walking down it.

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Placa Reial is featured a number of times in the novels – for instance, it’s where Daniel first meets Fermin :).

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Placa de l’Angel is mentioned a lot in the novels and this particular spot (though edited and moved around) is used on the front over (see below) of The Prisoner of Heaven, which my love and I read while we were in Barcelona.

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Placa De Sant Felip Neri was definitely my favourite location we visited from the novels. It was a quiet little square and just so lovely there. This is meant to be where Nuria lives.

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While not a specific location in the books as far as I know, this gothic bridge at Calle del Bisbe is featured on one of the front covers of The Shadow of the Wind. See below:

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Els Quatre Gats is a very famous little restaurant in Barcelona, not just because of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s books. We had a very nice little visit there for a drink and reading break :).

 

My partner and I saw a number of other locations featured in the novels that aren’t as important to the story, such as Casa Batlo, La Pedrera, La Palau de la Musica Catalana and La Catedral and they were beautiful, too, but I will let you see those for yourselves should you ever go to Barcelona.  I now want to move on to gush about TAPAS!

 

TAPAS TAPAS TAPAS!

Go to Barcelona just to eat Tapas and you will not be disappointed! Patatas Bravas and the Croquettes are to die for!! Here are a few snaps alongside few key Tapas places we went to that we loved and highly recommend! 🙂

 

Amelie, Placa de la Villa de Gracia

(our favourite location for food! Patatas Amelie is the best.)

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Cerverseria Catalana 

(delicious food, service not super)

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La Bodegueta Provenca 

(Quiet spot, probably the best patatas bravas).

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Tapeo 

(very busy and cramped, but tapas so worth it! Best Croquettes and delicious ribs.)

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If that doesn’t have you salivating, I don’t know what will! 🙂

And lastly, here’s a creepy photo of the gothic quarter at night that I think just ties everything up about Barcelona and the Cemetery novels nicely 🙂

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Book Review: Anything That Isn’t This

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Chris Priestly’s Anything That Isn’t This is one of the strangest, weirdest, bleakest books I’ve ever read and I absolutely loved it. I’m aware that I may be in the minority or at least on one side, as I’ve noticed from reading some reviews that at least half of readers either didn’t like this book or thought it was merely average. Whatever their reasons, I don’t agree with them. This is my kind of book. It’s quirky, strange, wonderfully grim and still, at the end of it all, hopeful.

The book is about Frank, who lives in this boring old town that suffers (although much of the people just go on with life in complete denial) from the overbearing presence of The Grey, which is basically the awful government in power in this alternative reality world. Frank lives at home with his parents and The Student, one of the many workers in this Grey world that are there to observe and record the behaviours and actions of the families. The Grey dictates many things, including the destruction of books through cutting out the last 25 pages of every book so as to ruin the reading experience, the entertainment the populace are allowed to enjoy, the celebrations of war-time heroes and the fact that the only thing anyone could possibly do to earn a living is work at The Ministry doing tireless, repetitive and “important” jobs. 

I found all of this, the way The Grey shadows everything and the way the whole political system works and adds to the setting of the novel, extremely interesting. I can see how other readers might’ve found it all a bit confusing and ambiguous, but that’s only because there’s very little spoon feeding of explanations or information. You have to read into the story to figure out what exactly is going on, and by the end of the novel, you’ll get it. I like that Priestly didn’t spend a chapter explaining the world or the history in that boring HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO UNDERSTAND, DUMMY kind of way. Instead, he just takes you straight into Frank’s world as it is and you have to work a little harder to get it. And that’s what makes it a really good story and a really good piece of writing.

Frank himself is pretty gloomy and annoyed at the world. So, yeah, it’s a bit of a glum novel. But, to me, it’s glum in a way that is true to the setting and the characters and the general feeling of the story. Not once did I think something like ‘Oh, Frank, get over it’ because I thought he had every reason to moan and groan. And in saying that, the novel as a whole is not a gloom fest. I found Priestly’s writing style so good that I was constantly amazed by the way he told the story and the way he made me laugh, often even during the gloomy parts.

I like Frank and I also like a few of the other characters, even some that I didn’t really expect to like. I wholeheartedly dislike one female character in particular for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who reads this book. Gosh, she was awful.

I really like the story and I really like how it all turns out for Frank. The plot is kind of hard to explain in a way that doesn’t give away what happens, but expect romance, heartbreak, violence and mystery alongside the theme that constructs the whole novel, the desire for something more.

Of course, I can’t say that is is a perfect novel. There were some things that felt rushed or too slow going in the story for me, but that’s a minor negative to this novel. I think it’s pretty brilliant and that it’s certainly a novel I won’t forget about any time soon.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Names I’d Use

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

The Topic This Week: Ten Characters I’d Name A Child/Dog/Cat/Car/Etc.

I love this topic! So fun 🙂 And it’s definitely not too hard for me to come up with character names I’d gladly use to name my children & pets :D. Here they are!

 

1)

Lily

(For A Child)

Lily Potter

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2)

Oy

(For a dog)

Oy The  Billy-Bumbler 

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3)

Fiver

(For a pet rabbit)

Fiver 

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4)

Isla

(For a Child)

Isla Martin 
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5)

Theo(dore)

(For a Child)

Theodore Finch

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6)

Alice

(For a child)

Alice In Wonderland 

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7)

Ellie

(For a Child)

Ellie Linton from The Tomorrow Series (7 Books)

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8)

Noah

(for a Child)

Noah Sweetwine 

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9)

Jasper

(for a Child)

Jasper Jones in Jasper Jones

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10)

Luna

(For a pet, cat maybe?)

Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter

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What do you think of my choices? 😉

Top Five Wednesday: Inaccurate Book Covers

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Top 5 Wednesday is held hosted by mods Lainey and Samantha over on goodreads  🙂

The Topic this week: Inaccurate Book Covers (Those books that have nothing to do with the story, or the cover model doesn’t look anything like the actual main character, or it’s a really cheesy cover for a great read!)

Great to be back doing a t5w after I didn’t do mine last week :).

I always think covers are so important and even though I shouldn’t, sometimes it’s very easy to judge a book by it’s cover (CLICHE ALERT). I can’t deny that I often choose a book because I like the cover. However, there are a few books I can think of where I haven’t really liked the cover for a number of reasons but have gone on to read the book and really enjoyed it, sometimes way more than I expected. So, here are the five books I chose that have covers that confuddled me.

1)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Urgh. I really, really dislike this cover and I always have. No matter how much I’ve loved reading Anna numerous times, I don’t like the cover at all. As I own the hardcover, I’ve always taken the jacket off when I’ve read it haha. I’m just not a fan of these fake, prissy, badly modelled, cheesy covers. Not for me. The Lola cover is just as bad!

2)

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith 

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It’s a horrible shade of green, the text is boring and the only other thing it features is two weird lines that vaguely represent grasshopper antennas and the outline of a lady’s privates, or at least that’s what it looks like to me. It’s a shame because this is actually a really enjoyable book! I’m pretty glad I wasn’t put off enough by this bleugh cover and read it, but really, it needs a new cover!

3)

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

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Alright, so this is the only Picoult book I’ve read and I do remember really enjoying it when I read it, probably about 10 or so years ago now. I’ve never liked the cover, I don’t think there’s ever been a Picoult book cover I’ve seen and thought, ooo that looks good! I find this look of a book cover incredibly boring. And with this one, I just don’t think it connects to what the book is about.

4)

Joel and Cat Set The Story Straight by Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow

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This is a book I really enjoyed reading in high school. I remember borrowing it from the school library, even though I wasn’t very keen on the cover. It’s just one of those badly designed covers that just don’t look good. Though it might be okay if the speech bubble with the weird text at the top just disappeared forever.

5) 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 

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I might be a small minority here, but I never liked this cover. When it was revealed, I remember so many people being so excited but I was not impressed. I don’t like the outlines of the faces and how they’ve been coloured in with weird marker looking stuff, I don’t like the Carry On title or how it’s on top of that weird black blob of a castle. The only thing I do like is how Rowell’s name is set out. Otherwise, this cover doesn’t show how good the story inside is in any way. It could’ve been so much better!

What do you think of my tw5? Do you agree or disagree with any of them? 🙂

 

Book Traveling Thursday: Smiles All Around

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Book Traveling Thursday is an awesome weekly event held by Danielle and Catia over on Goodreads. There’s a new topic every week and the deal is to share why you chose the book and four different covers of the book: The Original Cover, Your Countries Cover, Your Least Favourite and Your Favourite:).

The topic this week: Tomorrow is World Smile Day! Choose a book that made you smile recently.

It was pretty easy to chose the book that most recently made me smile. You wouldn’t think from the title that it would be a book that would make anyone smile! But, trust me, this book will put a smile on your face a number of times. (Of course, it’ll also put a frown on your face or maybe tears in your eyes…maybe). I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to and I definitely recommend it as a nice little Contemporary YA to read over a weekend. It was quite an easy one to do for this week, too, because it’s such a new book and doesn’t have many different covers 😛

 

The Museum of Heartbreak (2016) by Meg Leder

 

Original and Favourite Cover:

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This is the original hardcover Simon Pulse edition. I really like this cover, it’s definitely one of my favourites (and probably my most favourite tbh). I just think it’s really cool because it links in so much with the content and plot of the book. Plus, it’s pretty unique and there’s a dinosaur! So who wouldn’t love it? 🙂

Australian/Uk Cover:

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As always, there’s no Australian edition of this book (they are very hard to find) but this is the Uk Scholastic version, so close enough! I don’t like it all that much, mainly because of the giant broken heart in the middle, but it’s not bad.

Least Favourite Cover:

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This is the German publication. It’s just too girly for me. I’m not a massive girly girl and I don’t think Pen, the main character, is either. So this cover simply doesn’t work for me or match the book right in my opinion.

Other Favourite Cover:

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This is the upcoming new cover publication by Simon Pulse.  Even though the broken hearts are kind of generic, I do like how they’re made of paper and just think the colours are really pretty, especially the blues and purples at the bottom. It makes a nice effect :).

 

Well, that’s it! What do you think of the different covers, do you have a favourite?

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Villains

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

The topic this week: All About Villains 

We all love our villains. Without them there just wouldn’t be anything for the good guys to fight for. They’re so integral to any book or film. I’ve chosen to do Book Villains for this Top Ten. My boyfriend helped me come up with some of the best we could think of 🙂

1)

Lord Voldemort

Harry Potter

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2)

Dolores Umbridge 

Harry Potter

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3)

Mayor Prentiss

Chaos Walking

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4)

Sauron 

The Lord of the Rings

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5)

Randal Flagg / The Man in Black

The Dark Tower

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6)

Count Olaf

A Series of Unfortunate Events

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7)

General Woundwort

Watership Down

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8)

Blaine The Mono

The Dark Tower

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9)

President Snow

The Hunger Games

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10)

Jadis The White Witch 

The Chronicles of Narnia

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