Authors I Want to Read Every Year

There are some authors that I really want to read more books by, in order to get even more familiar with their work. So, I decided that I’ll try to read at least one book by each of the authors mentioned below every year, starting in the next one, since 2017 is fast coming to an end. I don’t intend to read the entirety of their back catalogue, but there are quite a few books by these writers on my wish list.

While I’ve only read one book by some of these authors, I’ve read various by others. However, all these writers have one thing in common: the books I have read by them left me curious enough to continue delving into their published work. I may even end up reading more books than I’m currently planning to, since some of these writers are still alive and continue to work on new material.

There are obviously more authors that I want to read additional books by, but these are the most predominant ones on my wish list. The only way I believe I’ll ever get to read them all (and at the same time continue to enjoy books by other writers) is if I commit to read at least one once a year.    Continue reading

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Favourite Book Covers III

I’m a beautiful book covers lover. I admit to sometimes even buying a book just because the cover appealed to me, although that may turn out to be a terrible idea if the words inside don’t serve as instruments to achieve a compelling story featuring interesting characters. I particularly love paperback editions, and when stunning book covers are complemented by French flaps.

This is not the first time I reveal some of my favourite book covers. You can see the first two instalments here and here. I have now other five covers to add to the previous lists. Two of the following books I’ve already read and reviewed, the others I’ll probably only read next year.

 

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Cover design: Rachel Vale, Pan Macmillan Art Department

Publisher: Picador Continue reading

‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith

My rating: 3 stars

Autumn, the first book in a seasonal quartet by Ali Smith, is not easy to describe. I would say it is a compilation of fragments about how 101-year-old Daniel influenced Elisabeth’s life mixed with references to current events. But for the majority of the book, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it feels like there is no real plot being developed via the flow of the characters’ thoughts and reminiscences on life occurrences.

Daniel Gluck lives in a care home and currently spends most of his time sleeping. Some chapters are reproductions of dreams he is having. He is visited by Elisabeth Demand who pretends to be his granddaughter when in fact they used to be neighbours. She is 32 years old and a contract junior lecturer at a university in London. They first met because, when she was younger, she had to do a homework about a neighbour.

After that they started spending a lot of time together, and she even called him her unofficial babysitter. They used to speak about art, poetry, books and photography. Those conversations influenced her future life, as she went to study history of art and do her thesis on Pauline Boty, a forgotten female artist from the Pop Art movement, who Daniel had met and adored. Continue reading

Books I Want to Read Before the End of 2017

There are only three months left in 2017 and there are still a few books I really want to read before the year comes to an end. These include fiction and non-fiction, novels and short stories. I’m expecting to love some of them, while others I have more doubts about. Nevertheless, I’m curious about what all of them have to offer.

 

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula is the book I have saved for Halloween. This is a horror story told through letters and diary entries. Count Dracula employs Jonathan Harker to advise him on a London home and, sometime after, alarming incidents start unfolding around England.

 

Ensaio sobre a Cegueira (Blindness) by José Saramago

I haven’t read a book by the Portuguese author and Noble Prize winner José Saramago in quite a while, but I plan to change that soon. Ensaio sobre a Cegueira, Blindness in the English translation, is a sort of allegory about how the population of a city becomes blind and is confined to an asylum. Continue reading

Book Haul – September 2017

I bought more books! Are you surprised? Probably not. I took some books from my shelves this month, so to celebrate I acquired some more. My bookcase is now again completely full. However, I’ve promised myself that I won’t be buying any more books until the end of the year, as I have more than enough to choose from. Will I be able to stick to my book buying ban? I’m not sure, but I’ll try really hard!

This month I did some online and in-store book shopping. These were my choices:

 

The Good People by Hannah Kent

I’ve been meaning to read a book by Hannah Kent for a really long time. I thought about reading her debut novel, Burial Rites, first, but then I fell in love with the cover of the paperback edition of The Good People, and bought it instead. It tells the story of Nóra who is trying to cure her grandson. He can’t speak nor walk and people believe him to be a changeling. Continue reading

‘The Tropic of Serpents’ by Marie Brennan

My rating: 4 stars

In the second instalment of The Memoirs of Lady Trent series, titled The Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan reveals the story of the journey of the future prominent dragon naturalist Isabella to Eriga. As in the first book, A Natural History of Dragons, an adventure is embroidered with scientific, anthropological and social strands. But it mostly stands out when the focus is on the characters’ feelings and their personal ordeals.

Although it takes place three years after the events reported in the first book (which I will not spoil in this review), it’s connected with it by mentioning how Isabella dealt with the personal consequences of her first trip to Vystrana and how the investigation following her discoveries about dragon bones was disrupted by a robbery.

Isabella’s second adventure, which is detailed in this book, took her to Eriga, but first she had to face a challenge as difficult as her expedition: her family, more precisely her mother and her concerns. Many of the criticisms she faced were related to the existence of different expectations regarding women’s and men’s duties towards family. I have to admit that even I was ready to criticise her (as I would also censure a man in the same circumstances) before she explained how she was remembered of previous suffering by fulfilling her expected family duties. Continue reading

Favourite Book-To-Film Adaptations: Pride and Prejudice

Being Portuguese, Jane Austen is not an author we hear about at school, despite having started to learn English when I was 10 years old. I was introduced to Jane Austen’s work by watching the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It is a British-American production directed by Joe Wright and staring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as Mr Darcy.

The film is not altogether faithful to the book, as the story had to be compressed into a two-hours film. But, as I don’t mind when adaptations don’t stick to all book plot points, I love it nevertheless and still watch it once in a while. Although many people don’t seem like to like this film, it also got four nominations for the Oscars.

We first become acquainted with the Bennet family. Mr and Mrs Bennet have five daughters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia), hence their house is going to be inherited by their cousin, Mr Collins. Mrs Bennet is hilarious and openly shows her eagerness to marry off all her daughters. So, she becomes quite ecstatic, when she hears that wealthy bachelor Charles Bingley has recently moved into Netherfield, a nearby estate. He is introduced to society in a ball, which he attends accompanied by his sister and his friend Mr Darcy. While Mr Bingley becomes smitten by the shy Jane, Elizabeth instantly dislikes Mr Darcy. But first impressions are not always accurate. Continue reading

Orphans as Protagonists

I’ve recently realised that orphans are protagonists in numerous books, thanks to a video on YouTube where Simon from SavidgeReads interviews E. Lockhart. They can be characters who are on their own, forced to look for a place they can call home. But they are also used to showcase either strained or loving relationships with other family members besides parents. When there is really no family member left to take care of them, they are a window to the difficulties faced by children who are institutionalised.

Glancing through my shelves, I found some books whose protagonists are orphans of both parents at the beginning of the story.

 

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter

Probably the most famous literary orphan, Harry Potter lives, at the beginning of The Philosopher’s Stone, with his horrible uncle and aunt unaware that his parents were two famous wizards killed by the evil Lord Voldemort. I’m sure there is no need for me to tell you more about his story. Continue reading

Book Unhaul

My shelves are, at the moment, jam-packed with books, and I’m having trouble to find space to store the last ones that I bought. They are just dangerously piling up on the top of my other unread books. In order to mitigate that problem, I decided to take from my shelves some of the books that I’m sure I won’t be reading ever again.

Currently, I still keep on my shelves the majority of the books I read when I was a teenager. But I’ve now decided to donate the majority of them to my local library. I’ll just keep a few of those I loved the most. Those that I won’t keep any longer are by four Portuguese authors, two of them being co-authors:

 

Maria Teresa Maia Gonzalez

Estrela à Chuva

A Viagem do Bruno

Parabéns, Rita!

Poeta (às vezes)

Dietas e Borbulhas Continue reading

‘Homens Imprudentemente Poéticos’ by Valter Hugo Mãe

My rating: 2 stars

Homens Imprudentemente Poéticos by the Portuguese writer Valter Hugo Mãe tells the tale of two neighbours, Itaro and Saburo, who are in open conflict, and exposes how suffering can significantly change a man who believed in love above all. This story, full of mystic elements, takes place in ancient Japan in a small town near a mountain, where people used to go to commit suicide. But it wasn’t the dark undertones that made me dislike the book. The reason was it feeling quite pretentious.

Itaro was an artisan who could see the future by killing an animal. After stabbing a beetle, he saw that a wise man was to arrive. But that is not the vision who sparks the animosity with his neighbour Saburo, who was a potter. Once he told him that his wife, Fuyu, was going to be killed by an animal which would come down from the mountain nearby.

Since he had already started taking care of the flowers at the bottom of that mountain, Saburo decided to turn the forest into a garden, hoping to tame the animals and so avoid his wife being killed. His plan was not successful, though, and his wife died anyway. Afterwards he continued planting flowers, as he believed that if the garden became bigger, the gods would be able to see it and would love him to the point of sending his dear wife back to him. Continue reading