Blog photo 12.29.15

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.

Children’s Literature

  • 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

New Zealand

  • 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.


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.

Favorite Books

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.

45 thoughts on “About

  1. Awesome checking out your blog right now. When I read your first paragraphs I thought that sounds like me. I majored in English and Art history and then Rhetoric and Writing and I thought what am I going to do with this?! I also love books and movies, that pretty much sums up my life. lol. I will have to check out some of the books you mentioned. 🙂

    1. Yes, I get so many pointed questions regarding (un)employment as it relates to my majors, that I thought I ought to get that out of the way! Anyway, I have the rest of my life to figure it out. Don’t need people making me feel guilty about it.
      I hope you do check out some of those books. I’d start with The Street of Crocodiles if I were you! It’s short but gorgeous.

  2. You have a writing style, which is clear and fresh, enjoyed reading your reviews of movies. I have started following your blog, as I like the different subjects you address, thank you for stopping by my blog 🙂

    1. Hello, hello! I apologize for only responding to this comment now – please do not think I was overlooking and/or offended by it! As I hope I got across in my somewhat self-indulgent post on Blog Awards, I still VERY much appreciate being nominated for them. The way you described your decision-making process made me incredibly happy and flattered. On a side note, too few people bother to visit my “Blogroll” tab, so I’m going to have to devise some more obvious way of recommending the blogs that I like, without using an FAQ list.

      1. No worries, I never expect a quick reply here. I know I normally take a while to respond. I recently discovered your Blogroll tab and am following several of the blogs now. You have great taste! I agreed with your Blog Awards post and thought it was very insightful. That probably sounds disingenuous after I wrote an extremely self-indulgent post accepting awards. Still, I thought your post on Blog Awards was one of the better “Blog posts about Blogs” that I have read.

    1. Thanks!! Glad you like what you’ve seen so far. I discovered your blog through Lisa Lo Paro’s. I’ve only glanced at it, but the photography is stunning and good for you for going to Iceland for your Master’s!!

      1. number9dream is my favourite Mitchell, look forward to hearing what you think of it. He has a new one coming out this year which is going to be a tough time for me since I am not letting myself buy anymore books!

    1. Hah – you’re right! I’ve never thought of it that way before. Thanks for the nomination! I have several of them now that I haven’t done, so maybe this will push me to pull together a post.

      1. Sorry I just saw this reply of yours.
        Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (I started on the 1st Dec am still reading it, am pretty slow, also been ill). It’s a biographical novel on Thomas Cromwell. One of my favourite periods from British History.

  3. Thanks for the recent visit to/follow of my blog. It led me here, and I’ve spent some time perusing through the entries you’ve posted over the past six-odd weeks. I took particular note of the eclecticism and the obvious introspection; it’s a rare and (at least for me) much appreciated combination. It doesn’t hurt matters that you express yourself very well–something else that’s comparatively rare, unfortunately.

    1. my goodness, what a compliment!! I am so happy you stumbled across my blog and moreover that you found the content worth your while. I look forward to exploring your blog in detail as well—I had the great luck of being introduced to it by way of 1001 Scribbles. cheers!

      1. I hope you get something out of my blog. As diverse as yours is, mine is that single-minded in its focus. If you’re into nature photography–landscape photography in particular–you might (I hope :)) find it worthwhile.

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