Favourite Authors of All Time

There are authors whose work we, as dedicated readers, want to continue to explore for years to come. We treasure almost all of the books that we read by them and, thus, cannot wait to pick up again a few more of the novels, poetry or short story collections that they wrote for our enjoyment.

My favourite authors of all time are those whose work I’m constantly recommending to other readers, even though I didn’t equally love all of the books that I read by them and don’t think that all of them are perfect. I have read three or more books by the authors below, and their work has a special place in my heart.

 

Daphne du Maurier

I fell in love with Daphne du Maurier the moment I read Rebecca, my favourite book by her followed by Jamaica Inn. Her work doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, comprising both historical fiction and sci-fi, for example. But both her novels and short stories tend to be atmospheric, enthralling, gripping and slightly mysterious. The characters that she created are vivid and many unforgettable. I’ve read nine of Daphne du Maurier’s books so far! I haven’t finished exploring her work yet, though. I still have at least eight of her other books on my wish list. Continue reading

Favourite Books by My Most-Owned Authors

In past years, I wrote a blog post listing all the books that I had on my shelves by my most-owned and read authors. The plan was to publish such a post every year, in order to evaluate if there were any changes. As the differences weren’t that significant from one year to the next, I discarded the idea of doing it annually.

My shelves look slightly different now, since I’ve unhauled not only many books from my childhood, but also more recent ones that I didn’t enjoy that much. However, instead of just listing the titles of the books that I read by my most-owned authors, this time I decided to reveal my favourite book by each of the most prevalent writers on my shelves. The list below features seven authors. Four of them I read and own six books by, the others more than that.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

I read and own eight books by J.K. Rowling. A number that increases to nine when adding the work that she wrote under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. My favourite is still Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In the third book in the series, Harry, Hermione and Ron investigate Sirius Black, whom they believe is an ally of Voldemort. It also explores Harry’s family history. Continue reading

‘A Capital’ (‘To the Capital’) by Eça de Queirós

My rating: 3 stars

Symbolic characters are an integral part of the novels written by Eça de Queirós. In A Capital, To the Capital in the English translation, the Portuguese author used them to criticise the high society of Lisbon from the 19th century. Although the book features a couple of great moments of irony and social commentary, I was never fully enthralled by the ordeals of the main character, Artur Corvelo, which were to an extent self-inflicted.

At the beginning of the novel, 23-year-old Artur is at the train station in Ovar, the town where he grew up, looking for his grandfather, who was supposed to be on its way to Lisbon. He didn’t find him, though. Then the narrator goes back in time, and we learn what happened in Artur’s life up until that moment. His parents had sent him to Coimbra to attend university. While there he spent most of his time engaged in philosophical and literary discussions. After the death of his parents, he lacked the financial means to continue his studies.

He left Coimbra and moved to the house of his aunts in Oliveira de Azeméis. But he quickly grew bored. He missed the conversations that he had with his friends and lacked the inspiration to write poems as he used to do. Life there was tedious. While his desire was to become a poet, he ended up accepting a job at a pharmacy in order to earn some money. He didn’t give up on his dream, though. He showed some of his work to Rabecaz, whom had lived in Lisbon. He believed that Artur should go live in the capital, since he would certainly achieve notoriety there. Continue reading

Books Waiting Too Long to Be Read

I always try to keep my TBR pile under control. Thus, I generally read the majority of the books that I buy in the subsequent months. Occasionally, however, some of them are left waiting as I decide to pick up newer additions to my shelves. I’ve recently realised that there are five books on my shelves waiting to be read since 2017. I’m still interested in reading almost all of them, but my enthusiasm has waned since then.

 

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

I bought this book back in January 2017, I believe, but for reasons unknown never got around to reading it. This is a crime novel written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym. Private detective Cormoran Strike investigates the apparent suicide of a troubled model. This will be the year that I’ll finally read it!

 

Vozes do Vento by Maria Isabel Barreno

This book by the Portuguese writer Maria Isabel Barreno is the one that I’m least eager to pick up. I read about four pages soon after buying it, but as I couldn’t get into it I decided to put it down and give it another try in the future. It is a family colonial saga set in Cape Verde. Continue reading

Favourite Book Settings

When choosing a new book, the setting of the story is not, by any means, my primary concern. However, with the passing of the years, I’ve come to realise that there are certain locations that tend to appeal to me. Generally speaking, I’m more interested in books that are set in cities than in those taking place in the countryside, for example, and am also keen on fictional locations. There are four book settings, some real and others fictional, that I particularly love.

 

London

London has always been one of my favourite cities, strangely (or not) even before I ever visited. Thus, a book set there is bound to catch my attention. I love reading the descriptions of the city and recognising the names of the streets. I have read plenty of books solely or partially set in London, after all there are no shortage of them.

Saturday by Ian McEwan is not one of my favourite books, but the various mentions of the streets of London stood out to me. It takes place during one day in February 2003. A demonstration against the Iraq war makes the main character, Henry Perowne, muse on personal satisfaction, the meaning of his life and the protest itself. Continue reading

Favourite Portuguese Authors

Do you want to start reading (more) books by Portuguese authors, but don’t know by whom specifically? I have some recommendations for you! Before deciding to write about this topic, I had never reflected on whom would make their way onto a list about my favourite Portuguese writers. So, I was surprised to realise that all of them had already passed away. This doesn’t mean that I don’t read and enjoy books by more contemporary Portuguese authors. I just didn’t like all of the books I read by them, as was the case with the following four so far.

 

Eça de Queirós

If you are a fan of classics, then Eça de Queirós (also spelt ‘Queiroz’) may be the author for you. Born in 1845, he wrote some of my favourite Portuguese classics – Os Maias (The Maias) and O Crime do Padre Amaro (The Crime of Father Amaro). His books are rich in instances of social criticism and irony. Some of the thoughts he put onto the page are still quite relevant today. In case you want to know more about his work, I wrote a more in-depth feature on him when I first started this blog.

 

José Saramago

José Saramago is the only Portuguese writer to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature so far. His writing style is pretty recognisable. In the majority of his books, you won’t find any quotation marks. The dialogues and the characters’ thoughts are differentiated from the rest of the text by using a comma followed by a capital letter. But as soon as you get familiar with the style, his books become quite readable and flow really well. Continue reading

Most Owned and Read Authors – Update

At the beginning of last year, I published a post on my most owned and read authors and decided to write a similar one every year to see how that list changed over time. The most predominant writers among my read books are more or less the same this time around, and the slight changes which occurred are mainly due to my decision of taking some of the books from my childhood and teenage years out of my shelves, since I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be reading them ever again.

So, I now believe that writing a post like this every year is a bit excessive, since no substantial changes are bound to occur in such a period of time, unless I get rid of more books, which is unlikely in the near future. I’m now keener on only writing an updated version of my most owned and read authors when I can distinguish significant changes on the list below beforehand.

The current list features four of the same authors as the first one and there is only one new addition. Continue reading

Book Haul – November / December 2017

I don’t know if you remember, but I was trying not to buy any more books until the end of the year. Obviously, I was unsuccessful! I blame Black Friday and other random discounts. I probably won’t even manage to get to some of the books mentioned below during the following twelve months or so, thanks to a reading plan I have for next year (I’ll reveal it on a future post about my bookish resolutions for 2018). But it’s really hard to resist a bargain.

So, without further ado (and pointless excuses), these are my most recent acquisitions:

 

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of the authors I plan to read a book by every year. So, I needed to buy a new one for 2018. It was quite easy to choose Alias Grace, because I’m rather curious about the TV series adaptation and don’t want to watch it before reading the book. Inspired by the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Upper Canada, it delves into the story of Grace Marks through a “tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery”. Continue reading

Favourite Supporting Characters

The most famous or beloved characters in books are usually the protagonists. However, a fascinating book wouldn’t be the same without captivating supporting characters. They are crucial to add depth to the story and even to the protagonists. Being a supporting character doesn’t mean being secondary to the protagonist or less important. In fact, they usually help us to better understand the main characters.

When I first decided to write about this topic, I thought it would be easy to choose my favourite supporting characters. But I was wrong for a couple of reasons. First, it isn’t always easy to establish if a character has a main or a supporting role. And second, too many characters sprang to mind. Nevertheless, I managed to select six from among the myriad of possibilities.

 

Levin – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The main story in Anna Karenina revolves around Anna and Vronsky, so I consider Levin to be a supporting character. However, I could read an entire book just about him. He’s one of the most enthralling characters in my opinion, because it’s mainly through him that we get to know more about Russian society and politics, and his internal struggle to adjust to having a family (and it not being a perfect experience) is rather thought-provoking.   Continue reading

Favourite Classics

What is a classic? There isn’t a single definition, but there are some common characteristics in the ones put forward by authors and scholars. Classics are books that are widely accepted as noteworthy throughout a long period of time. However, they are not classics only because they are old. Books regarded as classics feel fresh even centuries after being written.

I have read quite a few classics. Ones I loved, some I only enjoyed, while others I just couldn’t see the reason why people kept on reading them after such a long time. My five favourite classics are:

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet is my favourite of Jane Austen’s heroines. She is intelligent, playful and witty, but tends to judge people on first impressions. She is the second child in a family of five daughters, whose mother is eager to get them married. After all, “it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. Is there a better opening line? Continue reading