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

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

‘A Natural History of Dragons’ by Marie Brennan

My rating: 4 stars

A Natural History of Dragons, the first book in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan, is a fantasy and adventure story with prominent scientific and anthropological strands. Throughout the novel many remarks are made about how difficult it was for a woman to be truly accepted by the scientific community. Even though the story takes place in a fictional world, it highly resembles our own some centuries ago, just with dragons flying in the skies.

Lady Trent tells in the first person the story of how she became a famous and respected dragon naturalist. Isabella was the only daughter in a set of six children and wasn’t known for her ladylike ways. She first became obsessed with all animals with wings. Her special interest in dragons began while reading the book ‘A Natural History of Dragons’ by Sir Richard Edgeworth.

Her first reckless adventure took place still in Scirland, where she was born and grew up, when she was 14 years old. Dressed as a boy, she managed to take part on the hunt for a wolf-drake, because she wanted to see it alive and not already dead. From the beginning of the story, we realise that she was always adventurous, curious, intelligent, a little reckless, but kind-hearted. 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

‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth’ by Isabel Greenberg

My rating: 4 stars

I’m fairly sure that in the future I’ll remember The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg as the book that put me on the path to read more graphic novels. This is a beautifully published book about love, storytelling, Gods, myths and how traditional tales are passed on from generation to generation in various parts of Early Earth (the fictional planet that was at the inception of our own).

One day a Nord man and a South Pole woman meet and promptly decide to marry, as they believe to be soulmates. However, they soon realise that they can’t come within two-foot radius of each other because of a peculiar magnetic repulsion. That surprises even the wise man of the South Pole, since according to the laws of physics they should attract each other, being from opposing poles. They end up marrying nevertheless and spend part of their days telling stories to each other.

Throughout the graphic novel, we are told how the Nord man managed to get to the South Pole and why he decided to embark on that journey, as well as discover some of the people who inhabit Early Earth and their traditional tales. It all started when the three sisters of Summer Island found a baby boy on the bank of a river and some magic was added to the mix. Continue reading

‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 2 stars

When I decided to read Treasure Island, I was expecting a story full of electrifying adventures, remarkable pirates and a compelling plot. Unfortunately, none of these things awaited me in the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. I felt bored while reading and had to force myself to finish it, hoping for a pinch of a thrilling sensation that never came. This is a story about how far men can go in search of a treasure but with no excitement whatsoever.

We are introduced to the story by Jim Hawkins, whose father is the owner of an inn. One of their clients is a sea captain, later revealed to be Flint, who has an unhealthy passion for rum. One day, after receiving the visit of a mysterious blind beggar, he collapses and dies. This is the second death in a short period of time, since Jim’s father, who was ill, had died some days before.

Afterwards, Jim and his mother open the captain’s truck and take some money by way of payment for his stay at the inn, and an oilskin packet. As they hear a group of people approaching, they leave the inn in fear. The uninvited visitors are searching for something that was in the captain’s possession: the oilskin packet which conceals the location of a treasure. Jim then goes looking for Dr Livesey and they decide to sail and fetch Captain Flint’s hidden treasure. They manage to acquire a ship and gather a crew. But on board is John Silver, working as a cook, accompanied by other pirates. 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.

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen: A Socially Conscious Poet

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen is the Portuguese author that has been part of my life for the longest time. She wrote poetry, essays and short stories, both for adults, younger readers and children. The first time I read one of her stories I was 10 or 11 years old and I will continue to read her poems for years to come. But her role in Portuguese society was larger than ‘just’ being a phenomenal writer. She also played a part against the dictatorial regime in the 60’s and the beginning of the 70’s.

Her poetry reveals her strong civic involvement. Some of the poems featured in her collection O Nome das Coisas focus on the colonial war, the dictatorship, but also the Carnation Revolution, which took place in 1974, its outcome and the meaning of freedom. Other poems were inspired by the life and work of Fernando Pessoa, probably the most renowned Portuguese poet abroad.

The only other complete collection of poems I read by Sophia was Poesia, which has various references to the sea, the night and the moonlight. However, I’ve read and studied many other of her poems while in school. Her poetry revolves mainly around three themes. One of them is nature, which is always perceived in a positive way. It’s by having contact with nature that mankind can achieve total plenitude. It also serves as a symbol for many abstract concepts, such as freedom. Continue reading