May 15, 2016

My 26th Birthday

New books.
Many gift cards.
St. Petersburg.
Vegan sushi.
Sunshine.
Ocean.
Bookshop.


CHARLENE ZALE

May 12, 2016

What's In My Summer Bag


iPhone.

Wallet + keys.

Eyeglasses.

Earphones.

Tampon.

Hand cream + sanitizer.

Retractable kabuki brush.

Pain reliever.

Mascara.

Translucent face powder.

Blush.

Fragrance oil.

Lipstick.

Lip balm.

Hair tie.

Pen.

Energy packet.

Hygiene wipe.

Mint.

E-reader.


Bag: Michael Kors Jet Set Crossbody in Luggage.

CHARLENE ZALE

April 30, 2016

Book Haul · April 2016


Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

Chris Hedge's Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

Wendy Lesser's Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books

Jack Wolf's The Tale of the Raw Head and Bloody Bones

Jesper Wung-Sung's The Last Execution

Jen Campbell's The Bookshop Book

L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz: The First Five Novels

CHARLENE ZALE

April 24, 2016

Darcy in Dunedin

These photographs are from last month's trip to Dunedin. Believe it or not, I drove there from Tampa just to take photographs and try out new settings on the camera I purchased last year (the Panasonic Lumix LX100). Downtown Dunedin is one of the most colorful and quaint little downtowns I've had the pleasure of exploring. I thought it was the perfect place for photography and the weather was stunning on this day!


In case you're wondering why I titled this post "Darcy in Dunedin",
it's because my camera's name is Darcy.

CHARLENE ZALE

April 23, 2016

Bookish Facts About Me


I purchase books much faster than I read them.

You can find me on Goodreads at goodreads.com/charlenezale.

I mostly just use my library card to check out history documentaries.

I'm not too fond of borrowing books. I love adopting books.

Till this day I still feel guilty about not reading enough books during my time in high school.

I've never been in a book club.

I have purchased books solely because they were beautiful and ended up hating the stories.

That said, I am not ashamed of judging books by their cover and illustration.

The book that's had the biggest impact on my life is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

I used to hate e-readers, but I have since evolved. I find them to be useful, portable, and convenient.

I still prefer physical books over e-books.

I regret not having read certain books during my childhood. Little Women, Nancy Drew, etc.

I have vivid memories of going to Scholastic book fairs while I was in elementary school.

I also have memories of roaming Borders and Barnes & Noble as a child: touching books, sniffing pages.

My favorite children's book series before Harry Potter were Goosebumps and Baby-Sitters Club.

I try my best to avoid abridged classics unless they were translated from another language.

I can still pull up an image in my mind of all the libraries at every school I have physically attended.

I felt embarrassed that I owned the Twilight books, so I donated them to my local library a few years ago.

Sometimes I fear who I might have become had I not read the Harry Potter books as a child. It's silly.

I never go anywhere without a book or my Kindle.

I'm quite fond of book photography.

The local library is one of my favorite places to look for books at a bargain price.

I enjoy listening to instrumental music while reading.

I've never listened to an audio book.

I still enjoy children and middle grade books.

I don't like to lend out my books. I'm not sorry.

I view books in the same manner most people view paintings at an art gallery or museum.

My favorite thing to use as a bookmark is an old photograph.

CHARLENE ZALE

April 9, 2016

For My 26th Year

I just finished putting together my birthday wish list. This is what I came up with! As of right now I have no plans for my birthday which falls on May 15th. Now that I think about it I'll most likely spend the day just outside of town to explore different independent bookshops and indulge in local food. I'll drive home with adopted books on my lap and childlike joy in my heart. At home I'll wear comfortable clothes, eat fresh fruits, and watch some of my favorite films. The last few years have been low key and I intend for it to stay that way. I have found great comfort in simplicity.

birthday wish list.

01 · New portable makeup bag.

02 · Reusable glass water bottle.

03 · The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell.

04 · Becca blush in Wild Honey.

05 · Smashbox lipstick in Safe Word.

06 · Prescription sunglasses.


CHARLENE ZALE

February 7, 2016

Book Review · Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore


TITLE: MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE
AUTHOR: ROBIN SLOAN
NARRATOR: CLAY JANNON, FIRST PERSON
PUBLISHER: FARRAR, STRAUS, AND GIROUX, 2012
GENRE: FICTION, MYSTERY, BIBLIOPHILE
SOURCE: BARNES & NOBLE
REVIEW: 3.5 STARS OUT OF 5

"Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wonder in. After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this: A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time."

Prior to reading Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, I expected to have much more to say about it than I do now having actually read it. I first discovered this book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, nearly two years ago. It drew me in. For any bibliophile who sees a book with this title and description, sparked curiosity is only natural. I believe I was expecting a lot more from this book and perhaps it's because there's an untold bookshop story that lives inside of me that I have yet to find the the words for.

I can sum up this novel in a few oppositions: old versus young, traditional knowledge versus technological knowledge, paper versus pixels. You get the idea, but the story itself is complex. In the beginning we are introduced to Clay Jannon, a web designer, who finds employment at a strange local bookshop in San Francisco by the name of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Once on the job, Jannon begins to notice the odd customers that enter the bookshop late at night. These odd folks are also the only customers who have access to certain books within the bookstore which are located in an area Jannon likes to call the "Waybacklist". He later learns that these books are written in code, neither him nor his friends are able to decipher its content. This is the mystery of the story. As the story progresses it is revealed that those odd customers, including the bookstore's owner Penumbra, belong to an ancient secret society going back five hundred years. The members of this secret society believe the secret to eternal life is found within the pages of these coded books left behind by their founder, Aldus Manutius. Jannon and his friends dive into the adventure of a lifetime. The objective: crack the code by any means necessary. Rule breaking and trouble is inevitable.

The story was interesting enough for me to continue to read, but it fell short of my expectations. As a matter of fact the ending was a complete let down. As I've mentioned already, in the story we are told that the secret to eternal life would be revealed to us after the ancient code is decoded. There was even talk about previous members of the secret society rising from the dead. This is the source of my disappointment. I don't want to say more except that if you're going to write a fictional book about an ancient code that garners the secret to immortality, you shouldn't let the readers down in the end with a ridiculous disclosure once the code is decrypted. It just didn't live up to its premise. In my opinion the vast majority of the story is in rising action. The falling action and resolution is weak. My main enjoyment in this story is found in its locations and atmospheres. I like this book, I just don't love it.

CHARLENE ZALE