Favourite Books with a Historical Backdrop

Whenever I’m book shopping, one of the many things that catches my attention is the time period in which a story is set in. I tend to like books which either the entirety or only part of the action takes place at the time of an important historical event. These are books whose fictional characters and events end up being embroiled in a real historical episode in one way or another, and that can be labelled as historical fiction or not.

I categorise as historical fiction the books that not only are set in the past, but which were written by authors who were born after the time period in which their novel unfolds. In these cases, authors don’t have a first-hand experience of the period they depicted in their novels. Books with a historical backdrop, on the other hand, can be written by authors who lived during the time period the story is set in or not. But, and more importantly for this distinction, besides depicting the manners and other details about a particular time period, these books feature an important real historical event. So, for me, a novel with a historical backdrop is not necessarily historical fiction.

After explaining how I describe books with a historical backdrop, I can now reveal which ones are my favourites. Continue reading

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More Favourite Book Bloggers and BookTubers

Some months ago, I revealed some of my favourite Book Bloggers and BookTubers, but that list didn’t cover all the ones I like the most (and neither will this one). So, welcome to the second instalment of the people who help me fill my room with books which are a joy to behold and read.

 

Book Bloggers:

Emma – Book Around the Corner

Emma is a French blogger who writes in English and reads mostly literary and crime fiction. I’ve only recently discovered her blog, but really like reading her in-depth and thought provoking reviews.

 

Izzy – Thinking and Inking

Izzy is the youngest blogger I follow, but that doesn’t mean that her blog features many Young Adult novels, on the contrary. I really enjoy the tone of her reviews, which besides enlightening can also be quite funny. Continue reading

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

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

Favourite Animals in Books

I’m not a huge fan of books, and particularly films, which feature animals that can speak. I tend to find it a bit cringeworthy. However, I do think that a loyal animal can be a worthy addition to the plot of a book and enrich characters’ interactions. In no particular order, the following are my favourite animals featured in books I’ve read so far.

 

GhostA Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Ghost is one of the direwolves discovered by the Stark children after his mother is killed by a stag. He is an albino, having white fur and red eyes. Although he was the smallest of the pack, Jon Snow’s direwolf grows up to be the larger.

 

Mr BonesTimbuktu by Paul Auster

Mr Bones is a dog with a homeless owner who is dying. He is dealing with the fact that he is about to lose his master. Despite having an internal monologue in English, he is not anthropomorphised. Continue reading

Favourite Dystopian Books

Lately the real world seems to be getting worryingly more similar to the ones portrayed by some dystopian novels, and my desire to read books from that genre is also increasing. By showing a regression of political, environmental, economic or social standards, they draw attention to real-world issues that should concern us all.

I haven’t read many dystopian novels, but I quite enjoyed the vast majority of them. There is something strangely appealing about reading a book which focus on a community being plagued by an undesirable and frightening state of affairs. Today I reveal my three favourite dystopian novels, all delving into different types of societies.

 

1984 by George Orwell      

1984 takes place during a time of perpetual war, government surveillance and public manipulation. Power is on the hands of a single party, which is personified by the Big Brother. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, works for the Ministry of Truth as a rewriter of historical events. He has an affair with Julia, who shares his animosity towards the Party. Continue reading

Some of My Favourite Book Bloggers and BookTubers

Book Bloggers and BookTubers are the main culprits for my continuously growing TBR pile and wish list. So, I decided to publicly display my appreciation for their good work, although they pose a serious threat to my bank account. This list is not at all exhaustive. I could have mentioned many more blogs and YouTube channels that I love and follow, but I tried to keep it short. I also plan to share some of my other favourite Book Bloggers and BookTubers in the future.

 

Book Bloggers:

Rosie Arscott – Rosie Reads the World

Rosie is reading a book from all 196 countries of the world and shares her reviews on her blog. I really like keeping up with her journey and discovering books I would probably never hear about otherwise. Her reviews feature quite noteworthy background information.

 

Ashleigh – Ashleigh’s Bookshelf

Ashleigh is quite an eclectic reader. She sometimes mentions books I’ve never heard of before and always makes good recommendations on classics. Continue reading

Favourite Book-To-TV Adaptations: Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes is an extremely popular British icon, so there are many film and TV adaptations of the works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve seen quite a few, but my favourite by far is the BBC television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Although it isn’t set in the 19th century but in the present day, it follows the same premise: Sherlock is a private detective who solves crimes with the aid of his friend and flatmate doctor John Watson.

To be perfectly honest, I’m cheating a bit by choosing Sherlock as one of my favourite book-to-TV adaptations, because I’ve only read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, I’m not that familiar with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works. I didn’t even start my reading by the first Sherlock Holmes book, only realising that afterwards. However, I loved the TV series, mainly the first two seasons, and from the stories I’ve read I think they did a fantastic job at bringing Sherlock to the 21st century.

Sherlock is magnificently portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. He is not a perfect hero, not being affable, nice or friendly. He is direct, sharp and highly intelligent. Solving crimes is more than a profession, it’s an addiction. Despite his arrogance, as time passes he becomes far more likeable and human. Continue reading

Favourite Protagonists

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been revealing some of my favourite characters in books (characters I love to hate, favourite female characters and favourite supporting characters). Today I introduce you to some of my favourite protagonists. These are leading characters who stood out for me among the various I discovered throughout the years and that I keep remembering for several reasons. The books they feature in are not necessarily my favourite books of all time (although some of them may be), as when I like almost all of the characters, it’s difficult for one of them to stand out from the rest.

 

Mrs de Winter – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The unnamed narrator of the first book I read by Daphne du Maurier is quite an insecure young woman at the beginning, but that didn’t stop me from really liking her as a protagonist. The main reason why is her feelings being quite relatable, taking into consideration the situation she was facing. By the end of the novel I felt like I really knew her and missed hearing about her feelings and worries. Continue reading

Favourite Bookmarks

In the recent years I’ve been collecting bookmarks, although I only read one book at a time and, thus, having only one would be enough. Some of them I have been offered or got for free, but others I bought. I really can’t resist a beautiful bookmark and already have half a box full of them.

I particularly like the ones with tassels. I have four of those, three big and one small. I usually use them when I’m reading longer books, as they enable me to always be visually aware of how much I still have left to read. I first bought the one with the owls and found it so handy that I ended up buying three more.

The other two bookmarks you can see on the photos below were given to me. One at a tourism event and the other at a bookshop. I never say no to a new bookmark and am always looking for new beautiful ones. And, although I try to avoid to buy them, since there are so many being given for free, whenever I see a stunning one at a store I find it hard to resist the temptation.

Continue reading