Ep. 12: ...3...2...1...0! It's A Wrap!: Bookish countdown to 2021

In order to say good-bye to 2020 and welcome 2021, we would like to count from 12 to 0, as you would do at midnight on New year's Eve using books with those numbers in the title. This is a very bookish countdown, here we go: 

This gem of a book is a retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” by the Brothers Grimm. Among the many popular and happening fairy tale retellings, this one stands out. The voice of the narrator is almost the same as the orthodox narration of fairytales, but the plot is a complete new spin on the classic. Andrea Blythe did such a great job with the choice of words, sometimes even evocative of other fairy tales. I like the illustrations, but I like even more the lack of illustration for the story about the sixth sister: it is brilliantly saying so much by literally nothing being there. I was expecting verse, but I found prose; nonetheless, these are poems through and through.

Weyn combines The Twelve Dancing Princesses from the Brothers Grimm with elements of the Legend of King Author in this fairytale retelling. The book is part of the Once Upon A Time series by Simon & Schuster publishing company, to which Weyn has contributed other works combining fairytales and historical elements.

We chose both retellings of the same fairytale to contest against each other this week. You can vote for your favorite one at Book vs. Book

A post-apocalyptic novel told from different points of view and across different timelines. There is a pandemic flu that changes civilization as we know it, there is an actor who dies on stage while performing King Lear, and there is a traveling troupe of actors rooting for art in a post pandemic world. This book is ultimately about people and the connections between them.

In the book, the motto for the troop of actors goes "Survival is insufficient". The author stated she got the quote from Star Trek and she was immediately struck by its veracity. After all, we need art, just as much as we need food and sleep. The quote has been stamped on a pillow and you can purchase it at TeePublic

A brilliant collection of ten short stories the author had previously published in several magazines. Saunder's characters do not stop at three-dimensional, they are truly multidimensional, and his stories are designed for insightful humor. To be able to do so in the short story format is nothing short of genius. 

If you enjoyed Tenth of December and would like to done a shirt with the print from the book, Litograph has it, and in a selection of colors. 
Tenth of December tee from Litograph

In this book, nine people meet at at health retreat. Each of them signed p for a different reason, and these reasons range from loosing weight to self-discovery. However, once the retreat is in session, some of them start to notice undercurrents of something not so peaceful and relaxing. 

We have chosen the cover for the 2018 Hardcover edition from Flatiron for our Cover Gallery.
2018 Hardcover edition from Flatiron

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The novel tells the story of two sisters born in Italy: Stella beautiful and smart, Tina not as much. But being beautiful and smart does not stop people in her village from thinking Stella is cursed as she is frequently involved in bizarre and peculiar life-threatening incidents. During World War II, the young sisters' family emigrates to America and the love between the sisters is tested as they face the challenges of a new culture. This is fictionalized story based on the lives of the author's real relatives.

The novel takes place mostly in Calabria, Italy, and Grames celebrates this region's culture, heritage, and small towns like Ievoli, the hometown of Stella and Tina. Although Calabria is a lesser known tourist destination among the extensive list of touristic sites in Italy, a visit to the region would please anybody's wanderlust. Calabria is full of history, picture-perfect beaches, delicious food, beautiful architecture, and natural settings. The Calabria Tourist Information Office offers information in English and an interactive map to hep plan an itinerary including almost any interest. The itineraries created can be saved and shared with others using the site's feature: Me and Calabria.

Tropea, Calabria - Photo by Massimo Virgilio

By now, most of us have heard of Six of Crows, and the hype is well deserved. Bardugo gifted us with a gang made up of unforgettable characters: they hang in the bad part of town, and some of them might even be dangerous, but that would not prevent readers from wanting to be part of the crew. This broken or half mended group of youngster will kept you amazed, will show you a good banter, will keep you rooting for them, and might make you tear up in some instances.

In honor of Nina, one of the members of the gang, The Novel Bakery has created a recipe for Miniature  Princess Cakes. Nina loves sweets, and judging by the pictures accompanying the recipe, she would have eaten two dozens of those.  

A woman called Framboise returns to her native town in France where she spent her childhood during German occupation. She comes back carrying the load of her mother's inheritance: a tragic past and heirloom recipes. Her mother's tragic past causes Framboise to conceal her identity; but, the heirloom recipes she serves at the new restaurant she opens in the town. Narrated in timelines that alternate between German occupied France and the present, this book tells us about the emotional weight food and cooking have in our lives. 

This book will have you craving French cuisine as you read, and to satisfy those cravings, we have found a forum with recipes inspired by the book with references to the pages that inspire them. These two book ramblers will be attempting the confiture de tomatoes verses, and fricassee poulet.  

This is a book about love, all four kinds of it as described by the English author C. S. Lewis. The four loves refer to affection, friendship, Eros, and charity. The ultimate goal of the book is to encourage humans to experience all kinds of love, be open to it, and cultivate it. Given that the author is C. S. Lewis, the book is based on Christian theology; however, it is not necessary to share the author's faith to benefit from this discourse on love.

The end of a year may be a time of introspection for some, and this book is the perfect bibliotherapy for that disposition.

Alexandre Dumas created the fictional character of D'Artagnan inspired by Charles de Batz-Castelmore, who was a real Captain of the Musketeers under King Ludwig XIV. The well-known adventure is full of heroics, honor, conspiracy, revenge, and romance. 

Who doesn't know of these gentlemen, and what young adventurer did not want to meet the musketeers for a horse back ride. Well, you can do so now if you follow one of the six thematic routes that make up the European Route d'Artagnan and follow the travels of the eponymous musketeer. The length of the rides range from hours to weeks, and you can find all information to plan your adventure at Association Europeenne Route d'Artagnan. Get ready to join others in an adventure, "all for one, and one for all".

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...". This is the well-known start to this novel set in Paris and London before and during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. The story follows Dr Manette, just released from La Bastille, his daughter Lucie, Sydney Carton and Charles Darnaya lawyer and an aristocrat who are both in love with Lucie, the terrible Madame Defarge, and other members of this unforgettable cast of characters.

For fans of Dickens and lovers of this particular novel, we have found a miniature book ornament celebrating A Tale of Two Cities. The ornament is made by Once Upon The Tree and there is an option to write a customized message in it.

A Tale of Two Cities ornament by Once Upon A Tree

The day in question is July 15th, and its relevance is that readers get to meet Emma and Dexter every year, for twenty years, on that same day. The same day each year brings a snippet of their relationship until the meaning of the particular date is revealed. 

We should warn you, only read this book if you are up for a good cry.

Have you ever examined what an interesting mathematical concept the number zero is? This book will offer clarification for that question, elaborating on the historical, religious, scientific, and philosophical ideas this number has been associated with since its creation.

We have chosen this book for this week's Six -Word Review: The history of the strangest number.


We have narrowed the options for this week's GuessWork. We would like to see if you can identify one of the titles  in our countdown by its first line.




To buy books covered in this episode, visit our TBR Bundles 

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