‘Orlando’ by Virginia Woolf

My rating: 3 stars

Orlando by Virginia Woolf is one of those books that I can understand why it’s so celebrated but that I didn’t particularly enjoyed reading. The messages conveyed are quite relevant and thought-provoking. However, I didn’t really feel a strong connection with any of the characters nor was I gripped by the story being told.

The book is a fictional biography about Orlando, who at the beginning of the tale is a sixteen-year-old noble boy from the 16th century. He loved being alone, was shy and wrote poetry. For a period of time he went to live at Queen Elizabeth’s court and she was very fond of him. He got engaged to Lady Margaret when King James was the one sitting on the throne, but one day he meets the muscovite Sasha, who becomes the only one he wants to pay attention to. He stops being clumsy and is full of grace. However, their story doesn’t have a happy ending.

Afterwards Orlando chooses to live in solitude, wants to avoid falling in love and is eager to spend his time only in the company of books. In fact, he loves reading and aspires to be a poet, what was uncommon at the time. 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

Rereading: Yes or No?

To reread or not to reread? That’s the question which has been on my mind lately. I don’t remember rereading a book since my childhood, when I could read a story beautifully illustrated two times in a row. As times went by I completely lost that habit. I don’t even remember rereading any of the Harry Potter books in my youth as many people seem to have done.

One of the reasons why I don’t reread is that there are so many books on my wish list which I’ve never read that I feel like I would be ‘wasting’ my time by reading stories I already know, instead of discovering new characters and worlds. I’m also afraid to reread books I loved, since I may not like them as much as before, and that feeling we get when we discover a new gem may disappear. Though, I sometimes pick some of my favourite books just to read a few lines at random.

However, lately I’ve been thinking about rereading some books I first read a long time ago and I remember enjoying, but that I’ve completely forgotten what the plot is about or the characters are like. Some weeks ago, while rearranging my shelves, I stumbled upon some of those books:  The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa, City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende and The New Life by Orhan Pamuk. Continue reading

‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 5 stars

In Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier exceled at creating what I would call a compelling character study elegantly wrapped up in a looming mystery. Throughout the book, we see the unnamed narrator slowly evolving from a timid and insecure young woman, living under Rebecca’s shadow, into a more assured person. To discover the motivations of the other characters is a helpful impetus to the narrator’s growing process.

From a later period in time, the narrator remembers Manderley and what led her there. She met Maxim de Winter at Monte Carlo, where she was working as a companion for Mrs Van Hopper, who is inconvenient, intrusive and far from discreet. She managed to forcefully get acquainted with Mr de Winter, a moment the narrator, who accompanied her, recalls as embarrassing. During that first encounter, Maxim de Winter is remembered by the narrator as fascinating, although slightly sardonic. His remarks really made me laugh.

Once, Mrs Van Hopper fell ill and the narrator had lunch alone with de Winter by chance. A familiarity developed between them and the hardness she had previously perceived in him disappeared. But any mention of Manderley, his house, and his face clouded over. After lunch, they spent the afternoon together and drove to the summit of a mountain where Maxim had been before. For a moment, he was in kind of a trance, like he wasn’t really there. Continue reading

Books I Would Like to See Adapted to Screen

I may be wrong, but I am under the impression that an increasing number of the films and TV series being released lately are adaptations of books. Although sometimes I wonder if that stems from a lack of new ideas, I think this adaptation frenzy can be a good thing, since more people may become interested in the books that were the source of inspiration and then starting to read more.

There are some books, which haven’t been adapted yet, that I feel have the potential to be either great films or TV Series. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan is one of them. It tells the story of Serena Frome who is recruited by the MI5 after graduating from the University of Cambridge in the early 1970’s. Her assignment is to select young writers with anti-communist views whom will be offered financial assistance. This spy story becomes more complex when love is added to the mix. Someone should hire Joe Wright to direct it, as he did a fantastic job with Atonement.

A book I also think could be turned into either a fantastic film or TV series is The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis in the original Portuguese) by José Saramago. This is one of my favourite books by a Portuguese author. The main character of this novel is Ricardo Reis, one of the many heteronyms created by Fernando Pessoa. Saramago transforms Ricardo Reis into a real person who returns to Lisbon after the death of his friend Fernando Pessoa. He discovers a Portugal living under the shadow of dictatorship. Continue reading

Favourite Book Covers II

Who doesn’t like to have their shelves filled with beautiful book covers? We all probably do! There is nothing better than when a lovely cover is just the front door for a compelling story. That doesn’t always happen, though. Sometimes we get disappointed, but some covers just deserve to be showcased nevertheless.

Last year, I presented to you for the first time some of my favourite book covers. After buying more books, I have new ones to join to that list. I am not going to make any comments on what I thought of the books or what the plot is about, because I haven’t read them all yet. In fact, I have only finished one, which I will link the review of, and am currently reading another.


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Cover design: Jordan Metcalf

Publisher: Virago Continue reading

Book Haul – April 2017

I always try not to have too many unread books on my shelves. But, although my pile of to be read books is only slowly decreasing, I bought more books this month. Just four though! There was a sale on an online Portuguese shop and I wasn’t able to resist the temptation of some bargains.

So, I acquired the following books:


Jerusalém by Gonçalo M. Tavares

I have to confess that I know nothing about the plot of this book by Gonçalo M. Tavares. But this is one of the most renowned books by a contemporary Portuguese author. It was praised by many other famous writers, including José Saramago. I’ve also just realised that this is the third book in a series, but I believe they may also be read as standalones. I bought the original in Portuguese, but there is an available translation in English by Anna Kushner, published by Dalkey Archive Press and titled Jerusalem. Continue reading

‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury

My rating: 4 stars

What would happen if people became content with living with no real knowledge? Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a mix of science fiction and dystopian novel which introduces the reader to the awakening journey of a man and the outcome of his new understating of the type of society he belongs to.

Guy Montag is a fireman, but his job isn’t to stop the flames from destroying buildings or the natural world. He is part of a team whose purpose is to burn books, which are forbidden, counting for that with the assistance of a mechanical hound. Although, at first, he doesn’t question why they do it and takes pleasure in seeing the books burn, a new acquaintance unleashes uncertainty.

Once when going back home, Guy encounters a new neighbour, seventeen-year-old Clarisse McClellan, who is thoughtful, quite peculiar and asks questions he answers in a rush. After a conversation with her, he starts questioning if there is real happiness in his life and if society has always been the way he knows it. Their subsequent encounters enlighten the reader regarding the type of society they live in: violence among people is normal, people don’t raise questions in schools, and everyone has the same superficial conversations at cafés. But one day Clarisse disappears. Continue reading

Characters Who Could Be Protagonists in New Books

After choosing some of my favourite supporting characters, I started to think about how some of them could be protagonists in new books. Sometimes you just have that desire to know more about a specific character even if the book isn’t focusing on her or his story. Some of the characters I am about to mention may not be my favourites, but I think they have potential to take centre stage in a new or parallel story.


Johannes Brandt – The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist was my favourite book among the ones I read last year, I wouldn’t particularly change anything about it. But I would definitely read a different book just about Johannes Brandt. He is a complex character, dealing with a difficult situation. Knowing more about him in The Miniaturist wouldn’t have worked, as the mystery surrounding him is an essential part of the book at first and the story is told from Petronella’s point of view.


Henry Tilney – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The idea for this post arose from Henry Tilney being one of my favourite supporting characters. In fact, he is my favourite character in Northanger Abbey thanks to his sarcastic remarks. I would love to know what he was up to before meeting Catherine Morland, the heroine of the novel. Continue reading

‘Uma Casa na Escuridão’ by José Luís Peixoto

My rating: 3 stars

I have a complicated reading relationship with the Portuguese author José Luís Peixoto. I loved the first book I read by him – Livro – and mildly enjoyed the second one – Cemitério de Pianos (The Piano Cemetery in the English translation). And what about Uma Casa na Escuridão? This is one of the most absurd books I’ve ever read. The story being told isn’t plausible and doesn’t aim to be. The plot is a tool to express feelings: love, jealousy, fear, suffering and solitude. Being this a strange and complicated book, I struggled to finish it. Nevertheless, it had an impact on me.

The story is narrated in the first person by a nameless writer. He lives with his mother, who is quite debilitated, in a house full of cats. During a sleepless night, he imagines a woman who inspires him to write a book. She becomes so real that he falls in love with her. The more he writes about her and his feelings the more he loves her. He even feels jealousy when his editor, who is imprisoned, reads the first pages of the book he is working on.

When the editor dies in prison and the narrator goes to the funeral, accompanied with a childhood friend named as ‘príncipe de calicatri’, he sees on one of the many gravestones the picture of a woman who looks exactly the same as the one he has imagined, what deeply unsettles him. The story starts getting darker and stranger. Disturbing events take place, and various forms of love develop into pain. Continue reading