3-Star Books I Kept Because of a Specific Feature

A few years ago, I decided against keeping on my shelves all of the books that I read. First, I gave away almost all of the books that I read when I was a child and a teenager. I only kept the ones that I assumed I would still enjoy if I ever read them again as an adult. Then I decided to only keep the books that I enjoyed or loved, that is to say the ones that I rated with either four or five stars, plus some special three-star reads.

You may be wondering what makes a three-star book special. It has to fall within at least one of a couple of categories: having been almost a 4-star read, which was the case of Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors and The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis; being part of a collection, such as the Penguin English Library, or of a book series which I enjoy in general; or featuring a specific element that stood out to me because of how well it was crafted. I also used to keep 3-star books by authors whose work I overall cherish, but I only do so now when they fit into one of the previous categories.

The eight books below stood out from other 3-star reads because they feature a character that I loved, an interesting structure, an intriguing narrator, a tangible array of feelings or one strand of many that I highly enjoyed. Continue reading


My Least and Most Viewed Reviews

Book reviews are the type of posts I like to write the most for this blog, and they are also the ones that take me the longest to complete and edit. Nevertheless, they tend to have fewer views than the rest of the content on my blog. At least this is the perception I have. I don’t analyse my blog statistics thoroughly and frequently, thus there is a slight possibility that I’m wrong.

But this is something that has been intriguing me lately. So, I took a quick look at my blog stats to discover the reviews with the most and the fewest number of views. The titles of the books mentioned below link to the full reviews.


My Three Most Viewed Reviews

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The reason why I think this is my most viewed review is that it was published around the time when The Power was announced as the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017. Told from various points of view, it delves into what happened when women discovered they had the power to electrocute other people with their hands. I quite liked the premise but didn’t enjoy the execution as much. Continue reading

Favourite Female Characters

Tomorrow, the 8th of March, we celebrate International Women’s Day, not only to honour the women who fought for equal rights and to celebrate women’s economic, political and social achievements, but also to highlight the importance of continuing the path to gender parity. Unfortunately, I haven’t read enough books about female rights to give book recommendations focusing on the topic. So, instead I decided to choose my favourite female characters.

The characters I’ve selected as my favourites are not necessarily women that fought for the equality of the sexes or that advocated for any kind of change. They are solely characters that stood out to me because of their characteristics or actions throughout the books they are part of.

In no special order, these are some of my favourite female characters: Continue reading

‘A Morgadinha dos Canaviais’ by Júlio Dinis

My rating: 3 stars

A Morgadinha dos Canaviais is a Portuguese classic from the 19th century written by Júlio Dinis, whose works have not yet been translated into English. Although this is a romance novel, other themes are also addressed, such as the healing power of the countryside, religious fundamentalism, and the games played by the politicians of the time.

The first character to be introduced is Henrique de Souselas, who left Lisbon to visit his aunt in the countryside of Minho, a region in the North of Portugal. His doctor advised him to travel in order to overcome his hypochondria. When he arrives at his aunt’s house, he explains that he feels sad and sick, not having the desire to see or speak to anyone. He is a victim of melancholia. After his long journey, all the natural scenery around him is nothing more than an embodiment of desolation. However, when he wakes up on the following day, he sees the place in a completely different light and becomes eager to discover it.

During his excursion around the village, he keeps hearing about a woman whom the inhabitants call “Morgadinha dos Canaviais”. When Henrique is finally introduced to her, he is astonished at how different she is from what he imagined. Through their conversation, he doesn’t hide his amazement and how much he is in awe of her, not sparing gallantries either. Madalena (the real name of the “Morgadinha”), on the other hand, uses a sarcastic tone, seems quite sure of herself, and is not easily impressed. Throughout the novel, I also found her to be generous and well intentioned. Continue reading