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The Giver of Stars Book Review + joyful things

The Giver of Stars Book Review

September 10, 2020

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In this post, I share a book review of The Giver of Stars, plus four joyful finds, including my new coffee table, a YouTube channel, fancy straws, and an Instagram account.

Good things come to those who wait. I remember picking up The Giver of Stars at a Barnes and Noble in Virginia, right before the new year, on the way home from visiting my family for the holidays. I placed myself on a waiting list at the library, along with many, many others. After eight months, it was finally my turn, and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

The Giver of Stars Book Review

The Giver of Stars Book Review

This book has everything that I love in a novel: great characters, romance, history, and adventure. Oh, and books!

The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes, is set in the 1930s and follows the story of Alice, an English newlywed who is trying to find her place in the hills of Kentucky. She stumbles into an unusual role, assisting a rag-tag group of women who are running a mobile library, instituted by Eleanor Roosevelt and the Works Progress Administration.

In her new position, Alice learns to ride horseback and deliver books to the people of Kentucky— many of whom can barely read. What follows is a transformation among the people in their town, and Alice herself.

Based on the true story of The Packhorse Librarians, this book is beautifully written and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I don’t need to tell many of you that author, Jojo Moyes is a master writer and storyteller. But I only just learned it for the first time in reading The Giver of Stars. I can’t wait to dive into more of her novels, starting with The Last Letter from Your Lover, recommended to me by my good friend, Kalyn.

While it may seem like an odd comparison, the experience of reading The Giver of Stars, felt similar to The Idea of You. The books are wildly different, but both gave me a much-needed sense of escapism and adventure, during this quiet year of 2020. If you’re looking to take a getaway from the comfort of your favorite reading chair, The Giver of Stars is a perfect book for you.

Here are a few more things that are bringing me joy this week:

Coffee Table

My new coffee table

After my new love seat arrived, a few weeks ago, it really got the ball rolling. At last, I am filling in the empty spaces of my home office and making it the cozy, creative haven I’ve always dreamed of.

This coffee table is the latest piece to be added and it is perfection. Not only was it inexpensive, but easy to assemble, and arrived with cheeky instructions on how to do so.

It may sound silly, but the addition of my new furniture has boosted my creativity, and I feel so grateful to have a new spot where I can sit and write.

Calmed by Nature YouTube

Calmed by Nature YouTube Channel

I can’t give all of the credit to my new furniture. One of the other things that have made my home office the best place to be, has been the discovery of a YouTube Channel, called Calmed by Nature.

This station is similar to the virtual yule logs that I’ve seen family and friends add to their TV sets around the holidays. But instead of a roaring fireplace and Christmas music, they are cozy scenes, like coffee shops, set against the sounds of jazz and rainfall.

My favorites so far have been Cozy Fall Coffee Shop and Rainy Night Coffee Shop. It gives my space the perfect ambiance for creative work, especially writing.

Gold Cocktail Straws

Gold cocktail straws

I’ve been on a real smoothie kick lately. It might have something to do with all of the cookies I consumed during quarantine.

Anyway, it led me on a hunt for some new metal straws— until I remembered that I had purchased a pack of gold cocktail straws earlier this year when a local store was going out of business.

I found the package stashed behind a stack of cups in my pantry, and thought, “Life is short, use the fancy straws.” And so, I’ve been using them to drink my smoothies each morning and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to normal straws again.

If you’re looking to add some fancy to your drinks, here’s where you can purchase your own pack, on Amazon. They also have another version, that would probably lend themselves better to smoothie drinking.

Flea Market Love Letters

Flea Market Love Letters

In addition to discovering Jojo Moyes for the first time, I also stumbled upon a well-known-to-most-but-not-me, podcast called What Should I Read Next, hosted by @ModernMrsDarcy.

In her most recent episode, I was delighted to be introduced to Liz Macguire, who runs an Instagram account called Flea Market Love Letters. I love learning about obscure hobbies, and this one made me especially happy.

The Flea Market Love Letters project involves hunting for and digitizing handwritten letters from the past. The correspondence is fascinating. To me, the best stories come from real life, and this site is brimming over with them.

This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Amanda says:

    I just came across that YouTube channel last week, too! I now have a long Writing Ambiance playlist. (Autumn Cozy is another good channel.) Happy writing!

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you, Amanda! The setting makes such a difference for me. I’m adding Autumn Cozy to my list! Hope all is going well with your writing!

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