Favourite Female Characters II

Almost six years ago, I wrote a post about my favourite female characters to celebrate International Women’s Day. Since then, I read various other books whose female characters I found as interesting as the ones I mentioned previously (or in some cases even more). Some of them shine because of their compelling personalities. Others may not have an immediately fascinating temperament, but they stand out thanks to their authenticity. Well-crafted characters can be captivating regardless of their traits.

The seven characters mentioned bellow are part of books from various genres, from fantasy to literary and historical fiction. Some I spent a long time with, as they are featured in series, others just a few days. They all have one thing in common, though. They lingered on in my mind. It is also not surprising that three of the characters were created by Daphne du Maurier, since her talent is well known.

 

Althea Vestrit – The Liveship Traders Trilogy by Robin Hobb

The younger daughter of Ephron Vestrit, Althea is one of the main characters in Ship of Magic, The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny, the three books in The Liveship Traders Trilogy by the fantasy writer Robin Hobb. Her family has a liveship called Vivacia and her biggest dream is to be her captain one day. She is wilful and feels restricted by the sexist society she lives in. Although she occasionally makes rash decisions, she reflects on her mistakes. She has her own desires, but can adapt them as the situation around her changes. What she experiences throughout the series is deeply affecting. Continue reading

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Other Cultural Favourites of 2022

My blog is almost exclusively dedicated to books. However, other cultural forms have also taken centre stage on some occasions, be it when I wrote posts about my monthly favourites or, after the end of each year, when I revealed my other favourite stories (mostly TV and film) of the previous twelve months. Since I wanted to also start talking about music in my yearly favourites, I’ve rebranded the last type of posts as “other cultural favourites”.

This first instalment of my other cultural favourites includes a film, TV series and music albums only. In the future (I’m assuming I’ll continue to write this type of posts), they may also feature other categories, like exhibitions, theatre performances, etc., though. Bear in mind that the things I’m about to mention may not have been necessarily released last year. 2022 was the year I first watched or listened to them, nevertheless.

 

Divider for films

 

Suffragette

Last year, I had the intention of watching 100 new-to-me films. Did I? No! I think I only watched three or four… And none of them was released in 2022. I’m a bit behind with my movie watching. I loved Suffragette, though! Released in 2015 (yes, I’m that late!), it’s about the involvement of a young working mother in the movement to get the right to vote for women in the UK. The performances are just amazing! I spent most of the film enraged in a good way. Continue reading

Favourite Books I Read in 2022

At the beginning of the year, I was full of hopes and dreams. One of them was to read more than 30 books. That didn’t happen! So far, I’ve read for pure enjoyment 22 books in full. Before the year comes to an end, I may still finish the enormous Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb, which I’ve been reading for almost two months now, and probably have time to pick up another play by Shakespeare. I’m ready to reveal my favourite books of the year, though, since I don’t see either of them climbing to the top spots.

My reading experience in 2022 was varied and mostly positive, despite some let-downs. Not only did I read books from various genres – literary fiction, fantasy, classics, allegories, historical fiction, Ancient Greek myth retellings –, but they were also of many formats, including novels, novellas, short story and poetry collections, graphic novels and plays. Although I picked almost only books that were new to me, I also reread Os Maias (The Maias) by Eça de Queirós, having finished the project “rereading my old favourites”.

From the books that I read for the first time in 2022, irrespective of publication date, my favourites, in reverse order, are: Continue reading

Favourite Books by Women in Translation

August is Women in Translation Month, the perfect time to read translated books written by female authors. For those looking for suggestions of appropriate books to pick up during the next month, there are four that stood out the most for me from the ones that I’ve read in translation so far.

Bear in mind that, as my mother tongue is Portuguese, I don’t read Lusophone authors in translation. But if you are looking forward to reading books originally written in Portuguese during August, you can find many blog posts with recommendations on this blog or ask any questions you may have in the comments section!

 

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The South Korean novel The Vegetarian is an impressive, affecting and disconcerting exploration of abuse, mental health, desire and rebellion against social conventions. Yeong-hye has always been a dutiful wife. But one day a disturbing dream leads her to become a vegetarian, which deeply upsets her family. Although she is the main character, the story is not told from her point of view. Readers are presented with the perspectives of her husband, her brother-in-law and her sister, who all have distinctive voices. Continue reading

Favourite Books by Daphne du Maurier

The time has finally come to enjoy another Daphne du Maurier Reading Week, hosted by Ali. As I still haven’t managed to start reading my choice for this year, The Flight of the Falcon, nothing better than to share with you my favourite books by Daphne du Maurier. So far, I’ve read a total of nine books, including seven novels and two short story collections. They are: Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, The King’s General, Jamaica Inn, The House on the Strand, The Birds and Other Stories, The Scapegoat, Frenchman’s Creek and Don’t Look Now: Short Stories.

Are you curious to discover the four that I cherish the most?

 

Rebecca

The unnamed narrator of this astonishing book is a self-doubting young woman who marries Maxim de Winter after meeting him in Monte Carlo. She moves with him to Manderley, his family home, where her insecurities and doubts are greatly amplified. How can she ever be as perfect as his deceased first wife, Rebecca? The first novel I read by Daphne du Maurier remains my favourite. It is enthralling, enigmatic and atmospheric. The gripping mystery is perfectly accompanied by fleshed out characters. Continue reading

Favourite Book Covers VII

It has been more than a year since I last shared with you my favourite book covers, but my love for gorgeous books (inside and out) hasn’t decreased a bit. Although paperback editions are still my all-time favourites, I also have a soft spot for colourful naked hardbacks. They are still a bit too heavy, but them not having an annoying dustjacket is a huge plus. Non-removable “stickers”, on the other hand, is an idiotic trend that publishers should refrain from following. They didn’t fully prevent me from loving some of the covers below, but they would look much better without them.

My latest favourite book covers just seem to have one thing in common – the colour blue is present in many different tones (one so dark that it could be black)!

 

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

Cover design: Angie Lewin

Publisher: Virago Press

Collection: Virago Modern Classics Designer Collection Continue reading

Other Favourite Stories of 2021

In order to complete the recap of 2021, I still want to share with you my other favourite stories of last year, which basically are the TV series and films I enjoyed watching the most. Despite books being the stars of this tiny blog, I also like spending my free time watching various stories unfold on a screen. I feel that 2021 was scarcer than usual when it comes to new TV shows and films, probably because of the pandemic. Thus, the following list is undeniably short.

 

Mare of Easttown

In the limited series Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet magnificently plays detective Mare, who is investigating the murder of a young woman. Although this is a crime drama, it truly shines when the focus is on Mare’s personal and family problems.

 

Squid Game

Squid Game, a South Korean TV series on Netflix, is not for those who are squeamish about seeing blood on screen. A group of people accept to risk their lives, while playing children’s games, in order to win a huge sum of money. Being heavily indebted, they feel that they have no other solution left. It’s interesting to learn more about the characters’ backstories. Continue reading

Quarterly Favourites – October to December 2021

2022 is already underway. Nevertheless, I still want to share with you my favourites from the last quarter of 2021. They include a book, a TV series, a film, a piece of clothing and content created by bookish people.

The book that stood out the most from the few I read during the last three months was Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, which won’t come as a surprise for those of you who have read the post about my favourite books of 2021. Via a mysterious, eccentric and haunting tale, Susanna Clarke enchantingly explored how some people deal with traumatic experiences, how memories influence our perceptions of ourselves, and how we define where home is. The main character, Piranesi, lives in an immeasurable house surrounded by the sea. Two times a week, he meets the Other to examine their efforts to discover an unknown knowledge.

I watched three TV shows, I think, in the last quarter. My favourite was Squid Game, a South Korean drama on Netflix, which I’m sure you have all heard about by now. It’s about a group of people who risk their lives playing children’s games to win a large amount of money, because they are highly in debt. As it’s extremely violent, not everyone is going to appreciate it. However, the way it explores the backstories of the characters makes it compelling. Continue reading

Favourite Books I Read in 2021

2021 hasn’t been the year during which I read the highest number of books by no stretch of the imagination, but I surely read some good ones. Picking up some massive books throughout the year didn’t help, particularly because I ended up not finishing three of them, so they didn’t count for my read books. So far, I’ve read in their entirety 22 books. Until the end of the year, I’m still hoping to finish the humongous The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb and to read another two much shorter books. None of these are likely to be good candidates for my favourite books of the year, though.

Throughout 2021, I read books from various genres and of several formats. Novels, novellas, short story and poetry collections were all part of my reading choices. They can be categorised as historical fiction, fantasy, dystopian and literary fiction. The majority of the books that I read were new to me, but I also reread two books. Livro by José Luís Peixoto I certainly enjoyed, although not as much as I remember doing the first time, and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell remains one of my favourite books of all time.

Only taking into consideration the books that I read for the first time in 2021, however, my favourites, in reverse order, are: Continue reading

Three Favourites Minus Books

Books are the protagonists of this blog. I only tend to mention other favourites on my quarterly (and previously monthly) favourites. As those posts are restricted to a specific time period, today I decided to share with you my three general and all-time favourites from seven categories that aren’t in the realm of books, though most are still connected with the arts.

I wondered whether I should turn this post into a tag. As I don’t know if someone has already had a similar idea and also don’t want to tag bloggers who are not interested in sharing their favourites, I decided not to. However, please feel free to write a similar post if you want to.

 

Three Favourite Music Artists

  1. Arctic Monkeys
  2. Muse
  3. Royal Blood

Continue reading