Hello, lovelies! I´ve been pretty quiet this week, but that´s because I´ve been preparing for taking part in my very first book tour! Namely, Sammie´s Tour the world in 30 Books Blog Tour. Sammie talks in depth about this blog tour on her own blog, The Bookwyrm´s Den, but the basic goal is to get donations for her local community’s library´s Diverse Books Drive.
It´s hosted by the CCPL—a small, rural library in an area with a high poverty rate and a very homogeneous population, where people rarely have the means to travel or experience new perspectives. However, the library doesn’t believe that should stop people from learning more about the world around them, so they’re running a Diverse Book Drive through the month of September in an attempt to bring the rest of the world to the county instead. With a focus on MG and YA books, the CCPL aims to expose especially its young patrons to new and diverse perspectives and cultures, and I´m so happy I can help to contribute to this cause. You´ll find all the information about how to donate books and the other tour stops at the end of this post, so if you can help out, donate or just spread the word and visit the other stops that would be amazing.
And today I can talk about one of my favourite books this year: Anna K. : A love Story by Jenny Lee. Anna K. is important to me, mostly because I have a rocky relationship with the book this is based on, Tolstois Anna Karenina, and so the fact that this book blew my mind and I fell in love with it and the characters from the first page came as a very happy surprise. So for this post, I´m going to give you the official Synopsis, and then I´m going to sit down with one of the main characters in this book, Kimmie, to talk a bit about the book.
Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.
Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.
As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
Hello Kimmie, it´s so great that you can join us today!
Kimmie: *smiles*, Please, I´m happy that you´ll have me here. After everything that happened, it´s great to have a chance to talk about it all.
Right, so we are going straight to the topic. The book, and everything that happened, with Anna, Vronsky, and, of course also you. You´ve been both at the centre and on the fringes of what happened at the same time. Why would you want people to read a book in which everything, especially the things which could hurt you and others, are laid out again?
Kimmie: *draws a deep breath* Because it need to be laid out and told, in exactly that way. After the video happened, everyone thought they had to say something about Anna and Vronsky…mostly Anna, because we are horrible in the way we judge girls, and everything they had to say was bad. They all thought they knew what happened but they don´t. So this book is an attempt to get the truth out, about Anna. Because she didn´t deserve what happened.
That´s probably a mean question, but she and Vronsky did end up breaking your heart in the process of their love story. Yet you still take her side.
Kimmie: Of course. What happened between me and Vronsky and Anna hurt, and I wish I could have avoided that. I was in a very bad place afterwards, but…I was angry at Anna, but mostly at myself and at Vronsky, for reasons which are in the book, and I ended up hurting myself in this downwards spiral. But, guess what, it turns out that months of therapy actually can help someone. I learned a lot about myself over those last few months, and while I never would argue that pain is necessary to grow, because that´s just bullshit, sorry for that, I did arrive at a much better place afterwards. And I did make my peace with both Vronsky and Anna, in different ways.
Pain is not necessary for grow, as you said, but you and the others do a lot of growing up in the book anyway, especially when it comes to working out on how to form mature and happy relationships. Like your sister, Lolly and Stephen…
Kimmie: Oh my god, yes. That was wat started of Annas and Vronskys meeting in the first place, you know, Stephen cheating on my sister. They worked through it and their relationship grew stronger, also because Anna road in on the train to help them. Stephen is her brother after all. I think, we all make mistakes, we are still teenagers after all, and Stephen is still under a lot of pressure from his father, to be this perfect korean son, while picking up his bad habits…our parents relationships and lives do form us and Stephen had to grapple a lot with that. Anna too, with her father in the end and with her mother her whole live.
You and your boyfriend are massive films buffs I noticed, so I wondered if you noticed the parallels your story has with a classic book…
Kimmie: Anna Karenina yes! Dustin and I watched the movie with Kira Knightly just last week, and it was so pretty. Though I probably should have waited to watch it a bit longer, because I was in tears afterwards. The parallels are really astonishing, and it…I won´t kid you, it was hard to watch, but Dustin and I could talk about some things which happened afterwards and how they mirrored things in the movie…it´s always so much fun talking with him about movies that helped. But it also made me angry, because, like, the book this movie was based on was written when, the 19th century? And all this years later, what still didn´t change is that we blame the woman for falling in love, for stepping outside of what society deems right. Anna Karenina ended up punished for her love and Anna did too. And that´s still so unfair.
Last question, if there is one thing, anything from the book or your talks with Anna or your sister or anyone else, which really stayed with you, which you think encapsulates what this story should be about, what would it be?
Kimmie: It´s something Anna told me, towards the end: Love needs a win. Just this sentence. Love needs a win. After everything that happened to her, she was still willing and determined that love should win out, even if it wasn´t her love which got the chance. And that´s so much Anna, the strength behind that, this determined optimism, which claims what it hopes about. And the generosity of course. And that´s probably another reason why this story needs to be out and read. Love needs a win, not the way others judge us for it, or for our mistakes. That pure glee at the pain which followed Anna and Vronskys story can´t be allowed to win out. Anna Karenina payed with her live in the end, that sour morality of “they were bad, they deserved it” can´t win out again.
And with that closing statement it´s time to end our talk. But, if you followed the news, you know that this is not the end of the story: Anna K. Away, the sequel to Anna K. is coming out in march next year, so after you finish Anna K. you still have a lot to look forward to!
ABOUT THE BLOG TOUR
Tour the World in 30 Books is a blog tour focused on introducing readers to our favorite diverse books. It’s in conjunction with a Diverse Book Drive hosted by the CCPL—a small, rural library in an area with a high poverty rate and a very homogeneous population, where people rarely have the means to travel or experience new perspectives. However, the library doesn’t believe that should stop people from learning more about the world around them, so they’re running a Diverse Book Drive through the month of September in an attempt to bring the rest of the world to the county instead. With a focus on MG and YA books, the CCPL aims to expose especially its young patrons to new and diverse perspectives and cultures.
WANT TO DONATE?
The CCPL is accepting monetary donations sent via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For donations of new or gently used books, send them to:
Casey County Public Library
238 Middleburg St.
Liberty, KY 42539
Hardbacks are preferred but not required.
(If you order something from the Book Shop wishlist, please DM @srbetler on Twitter or email email@example.com, because I don’t believe that site automatically removes books from the wish list.)
Need more ideas? The library has a general Amazon wish list with suggestions, too.
Donations are used at the discretion of the library.
LOOKING FOR MORE DIVERSE BOOKISH GOODNESS? CHECK OUT THE FULL TOUR THE WORLD IN 30 BOOKS SCHEDULE BELOW.
✦ September 1 ✦
Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den – Introduction, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears
Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Dating Makes Perfect
✦ September 8 ✦
Bec @ bec&books – Lobizona
Jorie @ Jorie Loves A Story – Top Ten Diverse Stories Jorie Felt Deeply Connected To Whilst Reading
✦ September 12 ✦
Jacob @ The Writer’s Alley – Forest of Souls
✦ September 27 ✦
Rena @ Bookflirting 101 – Anna K: A Love Story
✦ September 28 ✦
Susan @ Novel Lives – Burn the Dark
✦ September 29 ✦
Arina @ The Bookwyrm’s Guide to the Galaxy – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
✦ September 30 ✦
Maya @ Awesome Reads – Jackpot