Greetings, and welcome to Literary Vittles!
I’m Alina, former student of Anthropology, twice over admin assistant, and recently returned visitor of New Zealand and Australia. Currently, I’m in rainy Portland enjoying a new apartment, new job, and all-around new setting.
To put it simply, I enjoy reading books and watching movies, then critiquing the media I’ve just consumed. I’m more likely to read one 3,000-word review of a recently released film than ten 50-word impressionistic sketches. Consequently, you’ll find that many of my reviews are on the lengthier side. I write about a wide range of topics, but focus mainly on book reviews, children’s literature & illustration, movie and television reviews, and snapshots of my travels in New Zealand.
I’ve been blogging regularly for about 2.5 years now — roughly the amount of time that has passed since I received my bachelor of arts degree. (The two occasions are not a coincidence). In that time, I’ve published over 150 posts, meaning that attempts to organize my site in a meaningful way become increasingly difficult. Here are a few posts that I recommend you start with.
- Roger Mello, Brazilian Illustrator and Winner of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award – Roger Mello is a supremely talented illustrator, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award is considered the Nobel Prize of children’s literature. Much to my surprised, this post was cited at length in María Gracia Pardo’s 2014 Bookbird article, Mello and His Precursors: Invisible Threads. I was working in an academic library at the time, and had rare and unfettered access to Mello’s books and the biographical dossier on Mello prepared for the Andersen Award jury, which enabled me to write a comparatively thorough, if casual, blog post.
- Children’s Book Starter Collection – Six excellent books for a range of ages.
- Three Books About Death for Children – A surprisingly popular post, and hopefully useful. Featuring the work of Wolf Erlbruch, Ulf Stark, and Hervé Bouchard and Janice Nadeau.
- Slovenian Cats, or, Why Blogging is Amazing – There’s nothing like a meta blog post every now and then. This made for a fantastic story, and I had to share it.
- Fairy Tales with Lisbeth Zwerger – A typical example of the kind of feature I usually do on individual authors and illustrators. This post was especially popular and was even featured on the IBBY Europe Facebook page.
Books & Film
- Bookstore Spotlight: Bookends and Beginnings – A pretty little portrait of an independent bookstore in Evanston, Illinois, 12 miles north of Chicago with a unique collection of new, used, and remaindered books.
- “Is this a joke?” Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” – A post that demonstrates just how willing I am to write extremely critical book reviews. Incidentally, it’s one of my most popular posts, which I take as confirmation that sometimes it’s a relief to know you’re not the only person with a negative opinion.
- Television: A Definitive Guide to What You Should (and Shouldn’t!) Be Watching – Exactly what the lengthy title says.
- 12 of My Favorite Films (and why I like them) – Should you be so curious.
- Cape Reinga and Showering by Moonlight – This is, I believe, my most popular post about New Zealand thus far. Cape Reinga is considered the northernmost point of New Zealand and is a hauntingly lovely place.
- The Shire in Spring – Featuring a litany of lush photos from the one and only Hobbiton movie set in Matamata.
- 10 Things people say when they learn you were born in Alabama – If you need something more lighthearted. I was born in Montgomery, Alabama, of all places, and there’s no end to the strange remarks people have made about that fact. Importantly, however, you should know that I don’t have a Southern accent.
- Words of Wisdom from a High School Valedictorian – A verbatim copy of my sister’s graduation speech.
Previous blog entries about my undergraduate travels in South Africa, Germany, and Argentina can be found under the “Travels” header, above. My New Zealand entries appear as regular blog posts, but can also be accessed via the “New Zealand” header, also above, where entries are organized by geographical location.
From time to time, I write for the movie review website Curnblog and once published something in the Huffington Post. An article I wrote about the Argentine children’s writer María Elena Walsh appeared in the fall 2014 issue of Bookbird. Feel free to contact me if you desire a copy.
Last, but not least, a short list of my favorite books. References and allusions are valuable social currency in the hipster era. You can always find a more complete version of my reading history over on Goodreads.
Unless otherwise noted, I take all the photos on this site, so if you use them please link back to my blog as all images are copyrighted under a Creative Commons license.
If you have any questions or wish to contact me, I can be reached on twitter @literaryleena and via email at vliterary[at]gmail.com.