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Book Review: When You Lunch With the Emperor by Ludwig Bemelmans

Book Review: When you Lunch With the EmperorSummary

“Ludwig Bemelmans–legendary bon vivant and raconteur, and author of the Madeline stories as well as the surprise success of last year, Hotel Bemelmans–lived life like a character in a novel. Wherever Ludwig went and whatever he did–letting Parisian criminals baby-sit his daughter, getting caught with his toenails painted red by the Gestapo, or discovering the only restaurant with toilets in the Amazon Jungle–his escapades are guaranteed entertainment.

When You Lunch with the Emperor collects Bemelman’s work under the headings of Childhood, Work, and Play. Readers will enjoy their lunch with the Bemelmans!”

-From Amazon.com

 

Review

This was my traveling book that I took to Japan with me (so it got a nice bunch of miles) and I’m so glad that I brought it. It kept me company during the long flight there and during a long train ride in Japan on the way to visit the Great Buddha. It was so much fun to read a book about someone who traveled all over and had this incredible life, while being abroad.

First off, the story was fantastic. There was just so much going on and I had to keep reading to find out what disastrous thing happened next. Ludwig went through so much in his life and seeing it all recounted was just such an amazing story.

There was food talked about, different locations, traveling, high and low times in his life, and success and failure. It was so impressive to read because Ludwig just struggled and struggled, doing well and then failing but he never gave up. It was amazing to see his resilience.

I think the other thing that I loved was the fact that there were pictures now and then, drawn in the famous style that you see in Madeline. It was a surprise to be reading and reading and then suddenly get a page with pictures. It’s extremely rare in adult books and just added a little surprise to the book, which I loved.

This wasn’t exactly a difficult read. In total, I read it in a few days (it just seems longer because there was traveling in between).

When You Lunch With the Emperor is one of those books that is hard to review by talking about the story, because it’s technically nonfiction (as far as I’m aware there was nothing fantasy in the story). It’s an experience book, but it reads like an epic tale. I highly recommend reading it if you’re looking for something unique and different. This 100% fits the bill.

I’d give this book a 5 out of 5 teacups because I absolutely loved it!

Have you read it? What do you think?

rating 5 tea cups mlcwo

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Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

I am finally back from my study abroad experience in Tokyo, Japan so it’s time to hit the ground running again! Of course, while I was abroad, I had to visit bookstores, because it’s just what I do.

I wrote a blog post a while back about “50 Must-Visit Beautiful Bookstores on Six Continents” which was originally compiled by BookRiot. In that list they had the bookstore Kitazawa and after a little bit of research, I found that it was just a 30 minute train ride from where I was studying. So, naturally, I went to visit as I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

The bookstore was definitely an experience to visit.

First of all, it was in a used bookstore district. All of the stores on that side of the street were for used bookstores so it was such a wonderful street.

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

The first thing you saw on the way into the bookstore was this gorgeous display outside. I really loved the contrast between the blue books and the yellow flowers. It was really eye catching.

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

Heading inside, it was a nice entrance way so you knew that you had to expect something exciting!

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

And the door to the bookstore was beautiful. A nice, rich red. It had such an inviting look.  Also the bookstore door was glass, which was different. You were able to clearly see inside as to what to expect.

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

Walking in you saw so many books! Unlike Pickwick, which was chaos but in a wonderful way, this bookstore was incredibly neat, down to the smallest thing.

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

You can clearly see how neatly it was all set up. Instead of having the discount books in piles, they were on rolling carts and even those that were on the floor were clearly stacked and in specific sections. It wasn’t messy at all.

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

Even their desk for checking out was covered in books all over the place! There was a slight disorganization because of just how many books that there were, and how many books that were waiting to be put out. But it was calming and you were easily able to browse around.

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

There was also a side of the room that had old bookshelves and really old books that were not for sale. They were just part of the ambiance of the shop.

The store was not busy at all. While I was there, there was only one other person in the store, and maybe one was coming in on the way out. So I’m honestly not sure how they survive as a bookstore. Of course some of their books were incredibly expensive.

Field Trip: Kitazawa Book Store

An example was this book. You can just see how bit it was. It was massive! And this book would be an incredible table piece of something to show off in your home. But it was over $200 and there were many others similar, or old, that were of a comparable price. So I’m guessing when they sell a few of those, and since it’s a small bookstore, they do well.

Overall, this bookstore was amazing. I am so glad that I found time to go and visit the bookstore while I was in Tokyo. Who knows when i will be back next and I had to visit somewhere that BookRiot had said was good!

Have you visited here?

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Update: Traveling and Guest Posts

Hey all!
Just wanted to put out a small update.

So I will be traveling in a few days for about a month! I’m heading off to Japan to study abroad! I’m so excited, and of course nervous too, but it will be amazing!

Because of this I will not be able to post as much. And when I do, the time I post may be strange!

So to help keep my blog going and to keep posts coming up, I will be using the help of my wonderful M.O.M. to keep the blog going for the next few weeks.

Don’t worry, I will be taking tons of pictures, and may be posting things form my trip when I’m there too!

But I just wanted to let you all know so you don’t get concerned about a severe lack of posting (especially in the summer when I am most active) or different kinds of reviews.

I can’t wait to see you all when I get back and I’ll be doing a massive post about my trip!

See you in a few weeks!

Happy Reading!

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Field Trip: Pickwick Book Shop

Pick Wick Book Shop

So I went to visit this adorable bookshop called Pick Wick Book Shop in Nyack, NY. It’s an absolutely adorable place and I had driven by it once and fell in love immediately and just had to go check it out. The outside, as you can see, it just so quaint and something out of a story book. And then….you walk in.

Pick Wick Book Shop

This is the first thing that you see when you walk in. BOOKS EVERYWHERE! I mean, I honestly was overwhelmed when I walked in. I had no idea where to go first and what to look out. There were just thousands and thousands of books. Also you were smacked in the face with the smell of books. You know, that musky kind of smell? It was quite overpowering. To me, I loved the smell, but my mum had said that she didn’t love it as it was just too much. But for me, I was in heaven.

Pick Wick Book Shop

I am guessing the ceilings were about 10 feet high or so and the books literally went from floor to ceiling. There were a few bookshelves that actually had books on them on a few of the walls, but some of the walls were just stacked books…EVERYWHERE! I mean it would be a little bit troublesome if you wanted a book towards the bottom of the pile. I struggled to get a book that was only 5 books from the top of a pile that was taller than me.

Pick Wick Book Shop

I mean this was absolutely incredible! To say it was disorganized was an understatement but that was what gave it the charm and what I loved. This wasn’t a place that you really go in looking for a specific book. This is a store that you go in to explore and see what you can possibly find.

Pick Wick Book Shop

There were books there that you expected, such as popular books and travel books and such, but I found so many books that were obscure and just interesting to flip through. I easily spent 40 minutes in here and that was just as a short visit. It was a little hot in there so I had to leave as I was overheating a little bit. It would be better to visit in cooler weather.

Pick Wick Book Shop

I also had a wonderful chat with the owner as I was buying a book.

“Pickwick Book Shop first opened its doors in 1945 and has been owned and operated by Jack Dunnigan since 1975. Jack first visited the bookstore as a young boy at its original location on Main Street. After acquiring the store in 1975 at its current location on South Broadway, Jack has been able to maintain the only lasting local bookstore in the county.”

-From Pickwick Books

He’s such a sweet man and really loves books. He knows his stuff and loves local book places and we had a wonderful chat about these bigger chains. But I was very interested to hear that he’s not worried about his business and the competition from the bigger places because he knows that there will always be people who want the smaller bookstore and as his place is a single store, he believes he can survive. And I am sure he will as there were quite a few people in the store which made me so happy!

Pick Wick Book Shop

Pick Wick Book Shop

Overall I absolutely loved this place and if you are in the Tri-State area, I highly recommend checking out as you won’t regret it. And it was right on the Hudson River and near a wonderful little park where you can stop to watch the water.

Also if you are in the area, you must stop at the Arts Cafe in Nyack which is just down the road. It is run by the towns local library, The Nyack Library, and in this old little house. It’s the PERFECT date spot and has the best coffee ever! You have to get the Cappucino as it’s beautiful! Even if you get it to go.

If you ever stop by Pickwick Book Shop, let me know what you think! You won’t regret it and it’s an amazing experience!

Happy travels!

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Field Trip: Amazon Books – Brick and Mortar Review

As you may have heard, Amazon has become part of the tangible world. They now have bookstores! And one has opened near me. So of course, as a book lover, I had to go check one out. What did I find?


Field Trip: Amazon Books - Brick and Mortar Review

So my first impression was that this place was huge. It looked massive from the outside. However when I got in it did have quite a cozy feel. I was quite impressed to find seating places that people could sit down to read the books, but there weren’t tons of those kinds of places. It seemed some people were actually reading the books and others were checking through before they bought.

As you can see the bookstore is neat. Everything is placed specifically and there is absolutely no mess in the store. Don’t get me wrong, I do love organization but this was just too organized. There was no mess and not a single book was out of place. That was just a little bit strange. While places like Barnes & Noble are organized, they are tightly packed and there are so many books to choose between. This one was so much more simple and organized, only displaying popular books. And these books were popular on Amazon’s website, not overall.

Field Trip: Amazon Books - Brick and Mortar Review

It was certainly pleasing to the eye, don’t get me wrong. I would be able to come in, easily find what I want and then leave. It was built for the purpose of being efficient. Not making people stay for hours and look over tons of books and then find something exciting that they hadn’t gone in with the intention of getting. Sure, I saw books that looked good. But when books are messy, it’s the title that get’s me and I pull out so many more books that I would not have ever looked at. Here you see tons of covers, some you didn’t intend to look at, but it’s so much more streamlined and not about digging and finding something special.

Field Trip: Amazon Books - Brick and Mortar Review

They did have this interesting section of “if you liked…you will like”. In a small bookstore I would think this was cute. However here, it was like I was viewing it online. It just didn’t sit right with me.

Field Trip: Amazon Books - Brick and Mortar Review

Also, there were NO prices. On the places where price tags would be, there was the name of the book and the top rated review of the book. But to get a price, you had to take it to a scanner where you would see the regular price and the Prime priced item.

Field Trip: Amazon Books - Brick and Mortar Review

Also a lot of the books were only like 3 or 4 books deep. There weren’t tons of a book out. Sure, that is to make it look better, but I like seeing more books out. Not a display book and like 2 or 3 others for purchasing.

Field Trip: Amazon Books - Brick and Mortar Review

They also had a section for basics. These things are things like headphones and chargers that you might need. Kind of like a mini Apple store section or something like that. I didn’t see the point of this…..and found it kind of silly. But…I mean, if it works…? Sure?

The first thing that is shoved down your throat when you walk into this store is their product, such as Alexa, Echo or the Amazon Fire. I really didn’t like that. Almost a quarter of the store was dedicated to THEIR product. I found this silly and unrelated. There were no other reading devices and no other options. Just their product. And I didn’t like that it was the first thing that you walked into.

Finally, the people working there didn’t give you a personalized service and weren’t willing to help you. They just were doing their job and weren’t there to give you suggestions. I stood looking at the travel books for a decent amount of time, and in a book store that size, someone should have come and asked if I needed help. But no one did. This kind of bothered me. It was just a lot of, “Are you ready to check out?” I didn’t like that. I like talking, I like talking about books and I love suggestions. I didn’t get that here.

Overall, while I will not deny that it was pleasing to the eye, it was not my kind of store. I prefer something messier and tightly crammed. While I go into a bookstore generally looking for something, I like to find things that I didn’t mean to find. That is what a bookstore is for!

I’d suggest checking one out, if you have one near you, but there are so many better bookstores out there that deserve your attention.

Keep it local and small guys!