11 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

I just came across this awesome article : 11 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries.  How inspiring!  It combines my two passions – travel and reading.

I tried to visit the famous Biblioteca Vasconcelos when I was in Mexico City back in December, but due to Mexico’s devout Catholic presence most public buildings are closed between Christmas and New Years.  Oh well, guess I will just have to plan another trip!  How amazing would it be to travel the world in search of the best libraries and bookstores?

Check out the pics below (and you can read the full story on POPSUGAR) – have you been lucky enough to visit any of these awe-inspiring places?


Stockholm Public Library, Sweden


Boston Public Library, MA


Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Mexico City


New York Public Library


The Library of Parliament, Canada


Admont Abbey Library, Austria

(Ok there’s no way this one WASN’T the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast, amirite?)


San Diego Central Library, CA


Handelingenkamer, Netherlands


Adelaide City Library, Australia


The Leeds Library, England


The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, CT

COOL QUOTE // Brain on Fire

The Vacation Mode Brain on Fire“Sometimes, just when we need them, life wraps metaphors up in little bows for us.  When you think all is lost, the things you need the most return unexpectedly.”

 – Susannah Cahalan

I read Brain on Fire after being urged by a friend and found it riveting from beginning to end. This young woman’s brave story is equal parts terrifying and inspiring.  Have you read it?  Full review to come!


Oh heyyyyy!  I’m writing to you from aboard the Amtrak Surfliner train from LA to San Diego.  Sorry for my slowness in posts of late; I attribute it to a cray work life plus an excess of weekend adventures – gathering plenty of fun content I’ll share soon.

Speaking of adventures, remind me why I ever drive anywhere?  I visit SD fairly frequently, but this is my first time riding the Surfliner.  It’s as nice as any European train I’ve ridden, PLUS they serve Stone IPA in the cafe car👌🏻.  And at $37 each way it might not make sense for a big crew, but it’s more than reasonable for rolling solo (as I currently am).  Round trip would be just a touch above a tank of gas but with the added advantages of cruising free wifi, reading a book (obviously), & enjoying a cold beer.  Solo adventure win.

If public transportation were easier in LA, I would take the train way more.  Do you take the train to get around where you live? I would love to know!

COOL QUOTE // Girl With a Pearl Earring

“I looked at the painting one last time, but by studying it so hard I felt something slip away. It was like looking at a star in the night sky – if I looked at one directly I could barely see it, but if I looked from the corner of my eye it became much brighter.”

– Griet

I’m on a family getaway near Bend, Oregon at the moment and despite coming fully prepared with my chosen reads, I couldn’t resist a perusal through the rental house’s well-stocked bookshelves.

I plucked out Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and haven’t been able to put it down!  The quote above is a great example of its beautiful prose.  Hopefully I make it all the way through, else management may find themselves short a book🙂.

TIME’s Best Books of 2015 (So Far)

TIME Magazine said it and I’m inclinded to agree: “It’s turning into a big year for readers.”  Their edit staff just released their picks for the best books that have been released in 2015 thus far.  I’ve shared them here – have any of these made it into YOUR favorites or TBR list yet?

A God in Ruins Seveneves I Take You

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

Get in Trouble Trigger Warning H Is For Hawk

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

The Story of Alice The Brothers The Folded Clock How Music Got Free

The Story of Alice by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

The Brothers by Masha Gessen

The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits

How Music Got Free by Stephen Witt


There were so many thought-provoking zingers in Choke (read my review here)it didn’t feel fair to pick just one. Scroll down for some of the raddest (IMHO) lines from Chuck Palahniuk’s provocative novel.  Any favorites of yours that I left out?

Choke by vacation MODE

You gain power by pretending to be weak.  By contrast, you make people feel so strong.  You save people by letting them save you.

It’s ok to cry as long as you’re faking it.

I used rebellion as a way to hide out. We use criticism as a fake participation.

Language, she said, was just our way to explain away the wonder and the glory of the world.  To deconstruct. To dismiss.  She said peope can’t deal with how beautiful the world really is.  How it can’t be explained and understood.

“Anything you can acquire,” she says, “is only another thing you’ll lose.”

Unless I’m scamming for money, I’d rather people hate me than feel sorry for me.

On the radio, they talk about where to find traffic, a two-car accident on the bypass, a stalled tractor-trailer on the airport freeway.  After I fill the gas tank, I just find and accident and get in line.  Just to feel like I’m part of something.

We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are.  Sane or insane.  Saints or sex addicts. Heros or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are.
Letting our past decide our future.
Or we can decide for ourselves.
And maybe it’s our job to invent something better.



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Choke by vacation MODEVictor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be “saved” by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor’s life, go on to send checks to support him. When he’s not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park.

I scored Choke for a great deal in my favorite LA bookstore.  This was my introduction to Chuck Palahniuk’s work, though I’ve definitely heard of him before – like any other member of my generation, I’ve seen the Fight Club movie approximately one billion times.  While I know it’s not kablamo to judge an author’s work by a film adaptation; I perceived a lot of thematic similarities between that film and this book.  Anarchism, sex, apathy/disgust for commercialism and society, and an anithero protagonist who, underneath everything, just wants to be loved…you feel me. Continue reading