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Novel Portraits is a weekend feature where I showcase book photography! Photography is my second most favourite hobby next to reading! A love child of the two dearest things to me- book photography is awesome and thus demands a segment on the blog. To read more about the feature, check out the introductory post for Novel Portraits.

It’s been awhile since I last did a Behind The Lens feature but here goes another! Today, I’m featuring one of my favourites around the blogosphere! With her lovely book photos and great discussion posts, I totally adore this blogger! I’m so happy to have my blog twin and fellow September baby, Josephine of Word Revel, for Behind The Lens! Do check out my interview with her below:

Behind The Lens: Joséphine of Word Revel

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Hello! Care to tell us a little about yourself?

Hi! My name is Joséphine and I love photography and books. Besides the obvious, I’m a 24-year-old currently living near the equator where I happily soak in the rays of the tropical sun. When I’m not reading or snapping photos, I do sports or immerse myself in my latest baking experiments. I tumbled into the book blogopshere in June 2013 and can be found at Word Revel.

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How did you fall in love with reading? What do you love most about books?

Books have always been part of my life. My parents used to read me bedtime stories and on road trips my dad would play audiobook tapes when I was a kid.

I think the tipping point that made me love books was when I stepped into my school’s library in third grade on a rainy autumn day. I attended a small elementary school, so the library was tiny but the shelves were stacked to the ceiling! A student librarian recommended me a book. I read it and enjoyed it a lot. Then the following Christmas, my grandmother unknowingly gifted me that very same title. That was when I learnt to develop an emotional attachment to books.

Books are wonderful because they are constant companions that have been there with me at every stage of my life.

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What are some of your recent favorite reads?

One book which comes to mind is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s so enchanting, I expect to remember it for a long time to come. I also enjoyed The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. It completely took me by surprise. I’m not the biggest fan of romance but when it’s good, it does sweep me off my feet.

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How did you take up photography as a hobby?

Ever since I got my first digital camera at the age of 15, I’ve rarely left the house without a camera. I always wanted to be prepared for unexpected snapshots. Then when my third point-and-shoot camera froze on me after 5 years, I decided to step things up and got myself a DSLR. I finally had an excuse to learn how it works and have come to love being in control of my photos.

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When did you start taking book photos?

As for book photography, I followed a few book bloggers with my personal Instagram account. Thanks to them I found out about bookstagram. It looked like a lot of fun. I wanted in on it, so I set up an Instagram account for my blog in June this year. Since then I’ve happily made models out of the books I read and come across.

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What cameras/photo equipments do you use to take your book photos?

For the most part I use my Nikon D3200. Occasionally I use my iPhone 5. I don’t have any other special set-up like flash units, diffusers, or even a tripod. Right now, my photography is fairly low-maintenance.

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Aside from book photography, what other types of photography do you like?

Lately I’ve been taken in by flowers. Haha. Can’t say I’ve found my personal niche though. I take photos of anything that captures my attention. If I have time to spare, I play around with objects to see if I can make them look like something they are not or in the very least, a lot more interesting.

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Lastly, what advice or tips would you give when it comes to taking book photos?

Keep things simple. Clutter distracts from the main subject. Coco Chanel once said, “When accessorising always take off the last thing you put on.” I apply that principle to book photography.

Can we all appreciate Joséphine’s fabulousness and the fact the she quotes Coco Chanel? Thank you for joining us today and sharing your photos and love for books, Joséphine! If you’re not yet following her on Word Revel, you need to sort that out this instant. Also, follow her on TumblrInstagram and Twitter because you need to!

What do you think of Behind The Lens? What are your thoughts on some of the photos Joséphine shared? Do you like taking book photos too? Any other bookworm-slash-photography-enthusiasts that you would like to see on Behind The Lens?

If you want to be featured on Behind The Lens, or have any suggestions, shoot me an email!

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Meet Sir Teddy, guardian of the books. LOL.

You guys know I celebrated my birthday earlier this week and you might have expected a birthday book haul. But no, this isn’t my birthday haul and there probably isn’t going to be one. I think I’ve exhausted my book shopping quota for the month especially after MIBF, and now with this- I think I got enough books this month to make me happy and satisfied for a long while. (more…)

falling into place by amy zhang

Falling Into Place
by Amy Zhang

Published September 9th 2014 by Greenwillow Books
Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

Falling Into Place has got to be one of the most outstanding YA debut novels I’ve read this year. Three reasons why you really ought to read this book: The writing is stunning, the characters are realistically complex and the story is earnest, courageous and also important.

“Gravity is our playmate, momentum is our friend. We are blurs of motion. We are racing, and we are both winning, because we do not race each other. We race the world, and as fast as it rotates, as fast as it revolves, we are faster.”

The most popular girl in her high school, Liz Emerson chooses to be an object in motion that would stay in motion despite flattening everything in her path. Sad, broken and destructive, Liz applies Newton’s Laws by crashing her car, with every intention to say goodbye to her miserable life. Falling Into Place is a deep exploration of the inertia, force, mass, gravity, velocity, acceleration and ultimately the cause and effect of Liz’s existence.

“Death, unfortunately, is not in the business of lending wings.”

Seriously, Amy Zhang is a stellar writer. I can’t even begin to express how much I fell in love with her prose. The way she crafted Falling Into Place with this lovely mess of jumbled moments detailing Liz’s life and all its in-betweens, and how she added snapshots- gorgeous. The way she incorporates these physics theories into her story and uses them as metaphors- sublime. Also, the use of a mysterious narrator worked incredibly well for me. What stood out the most though is the essence of the writing and its unflinching and honest depiction of its characters.

“She fell. She thought, Hello, gravity, and tried to spread her arms so that it would catch her. Hello, good-bye. But the world did not fade completely.”

While Falling Into Place is centered on Liz Emerson, it does not fail to take notice of the people in Liz’s life and in fact allows them to be a channel to fully understanding Liz and her brokenness. There’s Monica, Liz’s mom, Julia and Kennie, her best friends, and Liam, a boy from their high school. We get to read their perspectives, discern their connection and relationship with Liz (and how that had pushed her even further into darkness) but we also see these characters for who they are, what their own story is. Everyone has their broken parts and everyone is more than a little messed-up and my heart just couldn’t help but hurt for each and everyone of them.

“Liz Emerson held so much darkness within her that closing her eyes didn’t make much of a difference at all.”

My heart broke the most for Liz though. She’s the kind of character some readers might hate or might feel disconnected to because she sure has her share of irreparable stupid mistakes. That said, I truthfully was able to sympathize with her despite never being in her shoes. The way the author puts Liz’s emotions and thoughts into words- they felt familiar even when they weren’t, you know? I’m probably sounding cryptic here but I don’t know how else to describe the way Liz and her story affected me. I was so surprised to find tears in my eyes when I closed the book.

Well, hello, darling with the ocean eyes,
How many secrets keep us apart?
A sea of poems, a field of sighs,
Can I cross and return to the start?

Falling Into Place is a really powerful novel if you let it take you deeper into Liz’s haunting and devastating life. It opens your eyes to harsh cruelties, hopelessness and depression, and the fact that even the unbreakable can break. While it maybe painful and heartbreaking, Falling Into Place is a beautifully poignant novel in its totality. I can’t recommend it enough.

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