Forgotten Authors on My Shelves

A few years ago, whenever I discovered new authors that I enjoyed, I would read various books by them in a short period of time, instead of venturing into the unknown again. However, some of those authors I just then stopped reading books by for no particular reason and almost forgot about them. After a quick look at my shelves I discovered three authors in that situation.

 

Paul Auster

The first book I read by Paul Auster was The Book of Illusions. It tells the story of a man obsessed with the life of a silent film star. I don’t remember much about the book, besides quite enjoying it to the point of buying and reading Timbuktu soon after. The hero of that novel is Mr Bones, a dog that is the best friend of a homeless man from Brooklyn. We accompany their emotional journey to Baltimore in search for a new house for Mr. Bones.

I then read The Story of my Typewriter, which came as an offer when I bought Timbuktu. This is quite a short non-fiction book where Paul Auster tells the story of how he formed an attachment to his typewriter. It is accompanied by gorgeous and colourful paintings of the typewriter by Sam Messer. Continue reading

My 5 Star TBR Predictions

I always expect to at least enjoy the books that I have on my to-be-read pile. But for some of the books which are awaiting to finally be read I have even higher expectations and assume that I will love them and, thus, award them a five-star rating. Inspired by Mercedes at Mercys Bookish Musings on YouTube, I decided to share the unread books I have on my shelves that I believe I will love.

I don’t rate many books with 5 stars, as I can’t fault them on anything in order to do so (you can read my post on why I rate books with 5 stars here). But when I do I rarely change my mind afterwards.

Whenever I’m debating whether to buy a certain book or not, a possible rating doesn’t usually spring to mind, that is something I only consider while or after reading it. So, I see this exercise as a new and exciting challenge. I’ve chosen four books among my unread ones that I plan to read before the end of the year. When I finally read all of them, I will write a wrap up post discussing my actual ratings. Continue reading

2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist: To Read or Not to Read

I usually don’t pay much attention to literary prizes and don’t read a book just because it was nominated or won an award. However, after the announcement of the 2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist, I realised that I was already familiar with many of the titles. So, I thought it would be interesting to see which ones I plan to read, not just because they were nominated, but because I truly believe I may really like them.

I don’t mean to necessarily pick up the books I choose to read before the winner is announced or even this year. I will probably read them throughout the following years, without establishing a deadline.

 

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

“On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives.” Continue reading

Shortest Books I Have Read

Do I prefer reading long or short books? To be perfectly honest, neither! I tend to go for medium-length books. However, there are books of all sizes on my shelves. Since I already revealed the longest books I have ever read, I decided to introduce you to the shortest books I have read and that I still keep on my shelves. Some of these books I read when I was still a child, while others are far more recent reads.

 

Gooseberries by Anton Chekhov – 56 pages

Gooseberries is a Penguin Black Classics edition featuring three short stories by the Russian writer Anton Chekhov. They feature characters who reassess their lives after a transformative event occurs, and are at the same time thought-provoking and easy to read.

 

Vinte e Cinco a Sete Vozes by Alice Vieira – 70 pages

This book by the Portuguese author Alice Vieira gathers stories, told from different perspectives, about the Carnation Revolution, which took place in Portugal in 1974. It’s aimed at children and young teenagers.   Continue reading

My Penguin English Library Collection

The Penguin English Library editions of classics caught my eye a few years ago while watching BookTube videos. I can’t remember the first channel I saw them in, but I immediately fell in love with the beautiful covers and stripy spines, and now every time I want to buy a new classic, I check if it is available in these editions. Unless there is an even more beautiful book for sale (which is the case with the vintage classics editions of the Jane Austen’s books, for example), I go for the covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Presently I own ten books from the Penguin English Library editions. However, one of them, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, will not be part of my collection and is not mentioned in the following list, because I won’t keep it, as I really didn’t like it.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Pip, the main character of Great Expectations, is an orphan who lives with his abusive sister and her husband. He tells the story of his life since childhood to adulthood. Living in difficult economic conditions isn’t a problem for Pip until the moment he meets Estella at Miss Havisham house and an anonymous benefactor wants him to become a gentleman. Although some parts of the novel got a bit monotonous, I still enjoyed my first taste of Charles Dickens’s works. I wrote a full review about it when I first started blogging. Continue reading

Mid-Year Resolutions’ Evaluation

It feels like 2017 just started some weeks ago, but we’re already halfway through the year. So, this felt like a good time to evaluate if I am on track to achieve the goals I set for the year regarding both my reading and the blog.

One of the goals I established was to try to read graphic novels again. I was never much of fan, not even as a child, but some of the illustrations have been catching my eye recently. So far, I’ve only read one, The Black Project by Gareth Brookes, and there were both things that I liked and disliked about it. I plan to read The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg this summer.

Other genre I also don’t read that much is non-fiction, at least since I’ve finished my master’s degree. So, I was hoping to read more non-fiction books this year. I haven’t done so yet, but I plan to read a couple in November. I currently have The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovanni and The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell on my TBR pile. Continue reading

Mixed-Media Books

When I hear the word ‘book’, a picture of a sequence of letters springs to mind. However, I’ve read a few books in recent years that make use of additional mediums to help convey the message of the story. Those can be called mixed-media books, since visual elements accompany the more traditional text. These extra elements can be either relevant documents, changes in the design of the page or the text, or a piece of artwork.

One of the types of mixed-media books has traditional text as the main medium, but also includes letters, emails, webpages, social network status, conversations on online forums or interviews. These can either be used to show what the characters are reading or as direct information to the reader. Throughout the decades many books have featured letters, for example, although graphic elements were not always used to visually set them apart. So, those novels don’t really look like mixed-media books.

However, such elements are quite noticeable in other novels. The Power by Naomi Alderman not only features letters at the beginning and the end, but also presents the reader with archival documents and an extract of a chat on an online forum, in order to tell the story of what women were able to do with supreme power. Excerpts of an interview with the main character, Kirsten Raymonde, are an important element in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Through them the reader gets more information about what happened when the Georgian flu spread worldwide. Continue reading

More Bookish Facts About Me

I’ve been blogging about books for a year now and, in order to celebrate, I decided to reveal more bookish facts about me, after having done so for the first time last year.

  • I don’t listen to audiobooks, as my listening attention span is limited. I can only really focus on what I’m listening if I’m taking notes at the same time, something I don’t want to do while discovering and getting immersed into a fictional story.
  • I don’t like reading books in a digital form, since I already spend a huge part of my day in front of screen. So, I don’t have a NetGalley account and don’t plan on getting one.
  • I still haven’t created a Goodreads account, but will do so in the near future.
  • I love paperback books with French flaps.
  • I love reading poetry, but don’t feel confident enough to review it.
  • I don’t have an answer to who my favourite author is.
  • When I love a cover of a book, I tend not to carry it around, because I’m afraid of damaging it.
  • I’m fearful of rereading books that I loved.
  • I sometimes force myself to finish books I’m not really enjoying, since I hope they can get better and the ending may surprise me.
  • I feel like I’m reading much more since starting the blog.

A Discussion on Book Ratings

Rating books can be a challenging undertaking. First, we have to decide on which rating system to use and whether to give half stars or not, for example. Then comes what it may be the most complicated part: to rate specific books, mainly ones that we may have contradictory feelings about. Although I always know when a book is a 5-star read, I sometimes struggle to decide whether to rate a book with 3 or 4 stars.

But how important is it to rate books really? In my personal opinion, I see the rating as a complement to the review. By itself the rating doesn’t say much, besides being an attempt to summarise via a number my views on a given book. One of the decisions I made when I started this blog was not to give half stars, although in my head I know when a book is on the verge of the given rating and I try to convey that sentiment in the review. So, to better understand why I decided in favour of a 3 or a 4 star, for instance, it’s important to read the review (which I always try to keep spoiler-free).

The rating system I use is loosely based on the Portuguese school grading from year 5 to year 9, when 5, 4 and 3 are pass marks and 1 and 2 are fail marks. Thus, when I rate a book with 5 stars it means that I loved it. I completely enjoyed reading it and there is nothing I would change about it. I’ve previously written a more detailed post about my views on what makes a book a 5-star read, so I won’t go into details. When I just liked a book, I rate it with 4 stars. This means I consider it a good book overall, although I would change some small things or would have liked if some elements had been more developed. A 3-star book is merely satisfactory. While reading it, I identified both good and bad elements more or less in the same measure, and I usually understand why some people may like it much more than I did. Continue reading

Reading More Book Series

One of the things I enjoy while reading is to completely immerse myself in a new world, be it a fantasy one or not. This is also one of the reasons why I am also keen on reading book series, as it enables me to spend more time with a group of characters who inhabited a certain world. Nevertheless, I haven’t read that many series yet.

Until now I’ve only read four series: A Song of Ice and Fire which is still being written by George R.R. Martin; Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling; The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; and Memories of the Eagle and the Jaguar by Isabel Allende.

My plan is to read many more in the future. The following are some of the first books in a series (accompanied by a Goodreads description) that caught my eye and that are on my wish list: Continue reading