The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan #Review

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Released: January 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Age Group: Adult/New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 211
Source: Purchased

I am smitten with the format of The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. The novel is a series of dictionary entries, and each word represents a feeling or a thought or a moment that occur during the course of a romantic relationship. The entries are brief, but Levithan’s writing is powerful. If you’ve been in love or if you’ve been hurt or if you’ve been in love with the idea of love, then at least one passage will resonate with you, knock you down, leave you breathless. This was mine:

corrode, v.
I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.

While I appreciated the creativity of the storytelling, I did struggle with the story as a whole. At first, I thought I was reading vignettes about many different relationships. It wasn’t until the end that I realized it was about just one relationship. I ended up giving the book a quick, second read-through so I could gain a better understanding of what I had just read. I also feel like I may have picked this book up at a bad time. The Lover’s Dictionary isn’t the happiest of novels. For every entry about love and butterflies, there were twice as many about drinking too much, distrust, and complacency, and it weighed heavy on my heart.

I recommend this book…but not if you’re falling in love because it will just “harsh your mellow”. And not if you’ve just gotten out of a relationship because it will make you feel even worse. Everyone else should give it a go though!



It’s not like I have a perfect blogging attendance record, but posts will be popping up even more sporadically for a while due to the death of my laptop, Agent Nedd II. While I will miss the opportunities to blog from my couch, mostly I want to pop on the Geto Boys and go all Office Space on that blasted Toshiba. That was the worst computer I’ve ever owned.




When did book series become so complicated?

Figuring out book series these days is difficult. It’s not like the good ol’ days of Harry Potter where there were seven books in the series and you could tell easily in what order to read them because of the nice numbers on the spine of the book.

Harry Potter

These days there are supplemental novellas popping up all over the place, like Julie Kagawa’s Iron’s Prophecy or Winter’s Passage or Summer’s Crossing. I actually purchased two of these back before I was familiar with Julie Kagawa, so I didn’t realize they weren’t stand alone stories. These new novellas have really throw me for a loop the past year and a half. I have about a half a dozen of these supplemental novellas on my Nook. For books I don’t even own. I don’t know how I keep missing that key bit of information.

I don’t know if these novellas are entirely relevant to the story line, but I do understand that they may flesh out the story since they provide different points a view and perceptions. I haven’t actually ready one of these novellas though. I guess I’d rather spend my time and money on full length novels, though sometimes I feel like I’m missing out even if it is only 70 pages.

Cassandra Clare the Mortal Instruments the Infernal Devices

And there is series within series—like Cassandra Clare’s books. Mortal Instruments came first. Then she wrote the Infernal Devices to delve deeper into the history of the world and characters she created or something. I read sometime last year that she is (potentially) writing a third series revolving around the Downworld and the Shadowhunters. I’m not really one of her die-hard fans, so I don’t know if that was just hearsay or if the information was legit. Anyway, I honestly started freaking out half way through the Clockwork Angel because I thought I was reading Clare’s series out of order and thus missing out on a lot of really cool things. I thought I was supposed to read the Mortal Instruments first. After talking to one of my co-workers who thinks Clare is the bee’s knees, I learned that’s not necessarily the case. I mean, her series are all related, but you don’t have to read her original series in order to understand what’s going on in the spin off.

Fast forward a bit to now. A week or so ago, I received a lovely box of books I won from a giveaway hosted by Bitching, Books, and Baking. It was filled with all sorts of enticing books, but the one I decided to read first was a book from the Vampire Diaries series. Only, I didn’t realize that the Vampire Diaries was one of those series that had series within the series (possibly within a series). I guess it’s more like…the Vampire Diaries Franchise. And unlike Cassandra Clare’s books, it appears you actually have to have read the original series to understand what’s going on in this new one. This is what I picked up to read first:

the Vampires Diaries: the Hunters

It says “Vol. 1″ right on the cover, so the error I made is understandable. I don’t know why they don’t call it “Book 8″. Nonetheless, I feel pretty foolish. I know the Vampire Diaries is a pretty popular series, so you’d think I’d know which book to start with. It would appear though that my research abilities have become null ever since I graduated college. Anyway, I read 46 pages into my book and decided to put it down. The first few chapters are recapping what happened in previous books…and holy crap, I feel like I’m missing out! I mean…why didn’t anyone tell me sooner that exciting things actually happened in this book? Maybe they did but I stuck my nose up at them because the book is about vampires, and my track record with the mythological beasts is not a positive one (which in turn begs the question, why do I keep picking up books about vampires?). You may be pleased to know that I’ll be borrowing the Vampire Diaries: the Awakening from the library this weekend.

This all makes me very curious about what other readers think of these series based on previous series. Or, maybe it’s more accurate if I consider them multiple series that take place within the same world. Do you like them because it allows you to revel in one of your favorite worlds? I mean, I guess I’d feel that way if there was more about Hogwarts from J.K. Rowling. I’m sure even if the proceeding works were mediocre (as if that were possible) I’d still gobble them up (because Hogwarts is my home!) Or, are you tired of them popping up all over the place now? Do you think authors are clinging on to something that made them popular? Or do you think that’s the only story they have to tell? Or maybe you’re more benign about it—do you think maybe authors just like the world they’ve created and want nothing more than to just escape into writing about all of the lives that inhabit it? (Note: The Vampire Diaries might be a little different considering the later books were written by a ghostwriter instead of L.J. Smith.)


Blogging & Busy Schedules

Blogging seems to go by the wayside whenever I experience changes in my life. It takes me a moment to get adjusted to my new schedule. …Oh, who am I kidding?! I was never the diligent and almost daily blogger I like to pretend to be in real life! But please, allow me brag for a moment.

Dearest Books & Tea readers– I got a new job! (Like a month and a half ago, but nevermind that.)
No longer do I have to repeat ad nauseam: “Thank you for calling {insert Credit Union name here} where you can earn instant cash back on a new auto loan. This is Jacqueline; how may I direct your call?” And no longer do I have to smile until my cheeks hurt while talking to upset customers “members”. I am no longer a receptionist. Nay dear readers, you are now looking at Jacqueline the Accounting Assistant (I)! Quite an odd profession for an English major. Funny how life turns out.

On top of actually looking forward to going to work in the morning, I get my own office, my own business cards, and my own name plate for the office door. They even offered to buy me a coffee pot for my office! Do you understand the magnitude of this? I turned them down on the coffee pot for fear that I might never leave my office.

Aside from work, I’m also taking a course over at the community college– Intermediate Accounting. And, it’s totally kicking my bum.

In the weeks I’ve been away from the blog, I’ve really missed it. And in this instance, I haven’t even hit a “slump”. I have a notebook sitting on my desk at work where I jot down blog ideas as they come, but I’m not setting aside the time to actually write. I really would like to figure out a proper blogging routine. And this time, I mean business. See, I even gave Books & Tea a facelift!

Which brings me to my topic of discussion: How do you balance reading and blogging with your busy schedule? (Because heaven knows I was a slacker even when I had all the time in the world on my hands.) How do you find enough quiet time to invest in reading? Do you make your family sign binding contracts that ensure they won’t bother you between 9:00pm-10:00pm? Or do catch up on reading during your lunch breaks? What about blogging? I know a lot of you write articles days in advance– Do you pick a day and crank out as many posts as your creative mind will allow or do you have a designated blogging hour every day? Let me in on your secret. What’s your reading or blogging routine?


Bookshelf Envy

Occasionally, I’ll watch the vlogs created by fellow book bloggers, or I’ll view their IMM/Stacking the Shelves/Book loot posts. Usually they person is perched in front of their glorious bookshelves that show off the pristine book spines of the books they’ve accumulated over the years. And for a moment I’m stung by book shelf jealousy. I don’t have bookshelves, so my books are either stacked in desk drawers, on top of my dresser, or on the floor. Sometimes I dream of having my own library. But then, what book lover doesn’t?

In my library, I would have bookshelves built into the walls, and they would be filled to the brim with books upon books. New books I can’t wait to read. Old books I thoroughly enjoyed. Comfort books I revisit time and time again when I need my spirits lifted. A collection of “classics” just in case I’m visited by a book snob who judges people based on what they read, but in all actuality they’ll probably just sit there collecting dust. Maybe I’ll have some bookish tchotchkes like Hermione Granger’s Time Turner or a replica of The One Ring.

In my library I would have two very comfortable recliners of the rocking variety. Only one would probably get used, but I’d want a second one just in case my boyfriend wanted to read his Charles Bukowski books or his World War II books while I’m reading a young adult novel. Between the two recliners would be a table for a small table lamp and giant mug of hot tea or cocoa depending on my mood. In front of the recliners would be one of those tacky animal skin rugs (faux animal skin of course). Like a bear or a tiger. Extra points if it has a head and paws. And in front of that there would be a fireplace for those cold winter evenings.

On one wall would be a bay window, with a bench to sit on. I could enjoy the scenery and the sun’s warmth. Maybe crack open the windows on a late Spring day to enjoy a nice, clean breeze.

But, I know this will never happen. I can’t see myself ever accumulating enough books to have a personal library because I’m not a book hoarder. There are only two reasons why I’ll hang onto a book I’ve already read.

  1. It’s a comfort book. It’s a book I know I will return to years down the line. The books I will reread. The Harry Potter series. The Hobbit. The Great Gatsby.
  2. It’s a book I’m saving for a future generation. I don’t know if I’ll ever have kids. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a niece or a nephew. But, if I do I’ve started a collection of books especially for them. Books that struck a chord with me growing up. Books that were my favorites growing up. Books I want to share with my future kin.

I have a hard timing holding onto books if I know I won’t read them again. I feel guilty for doing it! Books took me on adventures. Gave me characters that I could relate to so I didn’t feel so alone in this universe. Showed me the world from different points of views so I could put things in perspectives. And here they are, collecting dust in drawers and dressers and floors. That’s not the purpose of books. So, I usually donate my books. I’d say I pass on about 80% of my books. Most of the time I donate them to the libraries around town. Sometimes I pass along books to friends. Sometimes I trade books in at the local used book store for books I haven’t read yet. One of these days, I intend to hold a giveaway here at Books & Tea, so I can pass along amazing reads to people who are as passionate about books as I am.

I need to invest in a small bookshelf soon since my books are scattered throughout the house. Until then, I’ll live vicariously through you, fellow bloggers. And through a website I found via Tumblr called Bookshelf Porn. Check out these beauts!


What about you? What do you do with all the books you’ve already read? Do you keep them and fill up your glorious bookshelves or do you donate them? Do you ever dream of having a personal library? What sorts of things do you dream of having in your personal library?


Where Have I Been?

*Blows the dust off of blog* Wow! Has it really been a month since I last posted? That was surely unintentional. Let’s face it. I’m kind of a homebody, so it’s not like I was gallivanting around town and having adventures. What really happened?

I hit a reading slump. That dreaded reading slump.

I knew it was bound to happen. I’d read so many amazing books back to back to back. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Matched by Ally Condie. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (review to come shortly). What were the chances that I would pick up a fifth book that was equally amazing as the ones I read recently? Don’t get me wrong. I am actually enjoying my current read, Timeless by Alexandra Monir. The time travel aspects are cool, especially since it takes place during a time I’ve not read much about, the Gilded Age, and the atmosphere Monir creates during the moments in the past is wonderful. But, I also find it easy to put down for reasons I can’t quite figure out. It’s not the kind of book that makes me want to curl up and attempt to read it in one sitting. I’ll post more on Timeless once I finish the book and ruminate about what didn’t quite work for me. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever started a book that sent you into a sort of reading slump? Which book was it?

It would be dishonest of me to say that this one book was the sole cause of my reading slump though. Perhaps the greater of the two factors would be my obsession with the TV show Eureka.

Eureka is science fiction and comedy and drama and romance. It’s wildly imaginative and incredibly character driven. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever had to pleasure to watch. And let’s just say, when it comes to Eureka, it’s one of the few times when I would actually encourage someone to put a book down and watch TV. The final season of the show is currently being aired, so the boyfriend and I had a Eureka marathon over the past two weeks.

During my unexpected time off from blogging, I realized how much I missed it though. I missed discovering new books that made me want to stay up past my bedtime. I missed writing about books. And I especially missed reading other book bloggers’ posts. Speaking of other book bloggers’ posts, I just took a peek at my Google Reader…Over 1,000 unread posts! I guess it’s a good thing I have Tuesday off. 1,000 unread posts? Bring it on!