Writing the Seasons with Books: Winter

This year I decided to write the four seasons with books. Thus, at the beginning of each of the previous seasons (Spring, Summer and Autumn), I selected books from my shelves whose titles begin with the letters of the name of the season in question. The time has finally come to do the same for Winter!

When I had the idea for this sort of series, I didn’t expect that it would be so difficult to find on my shelves books with titles beginning with certain letters. In order not to pick Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier again, I had to cheat slightly this time, as I’ve done in past seasons for other reasons.

 

Winter by Ali Smith

Told from the perspectives of Sophia and Art, her son, this book, which is part of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, delves into how dissimilar world views can cause rifts between family members. Art was supposed to take his former partner, Charlotte, to spend Christmas at his mother’s house. As she left him, he decided to pay a young woman to go with him. Although the plot is not outstanding, the characters are compelling. Continue reading

‘Through the Woods’ by Emily Carroll

My rating: 4 stars

Gone are the days when I never pondered picking up a graphic novel. Nowadays I know that I can enjoy them, as long as they feature some of the characteristics that I relish – splashes of colour, elaborate drawings, and panels in an array of sizes and formats. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll caught my attention because of its mix of bright and dark colours and the promise of it being unnerving. In general, it really lived up to my expectations

This graphic novel is more of a collection of short stories, which all have in common being spooky and presenting a storyline that encompasses a forest. It starts with an eerie introduction where readers are warned that, at night, there may be something hidden beneath our beds. The following five stories carry on conveying the frightening feeling crafted during the presentation.

My favourite tale was ‘A Lady’s Hands Are Cold’. It tells the story of a girl who married the man she was promised to by her father. She went to live at his manor house, where at night she could hear a singing voice escaping from the walls. I particularly appreciated the melancholic and alarming atmosphere present throughout, as well as the colours used in the evocative illustrations. Continue reading

Book Haul – March 2018

I bought a total of ten books in March. As I didn’t buy them all at once, it was only when I decided to write this post that I realised how many they were. I can’t truly remember the last time I bought so many books in just a month. The majority of them I’m going to read for my ‘EU still 28’ project, while others were at a discount and I don’t seem to be able to resist a bargain.

To know a little bit more about each of my choices, carry on reading!

 

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

I love the covers of the books by Daphne du Maurier from the Virago Modern Classics collection. Since I’m slightly afraid that they may vanish from the market before I have them all, once in a while, I buy one of them even if I don’t plan to read it soon. Jamaica Inn was recommended to me numerous times. It focuses on Mary Yellan, who, after the death of her mother, goes to her aunt Patience’s home. Continue reading

Graphic Novels, Comics and I

Many children and young adults seem to love comics and graphic novels. But I wasn’t much of a fan when I was younger. I recall buying Disney comics in the summer to read on the beach and almost always never finishing them. If I remember correctly, my main problem was having to read the dialogues on the speech balloons, maybe because the font and the panels were too small. I much preferred reading illustrated novels.

However, some graphic novels and comics have been catching my eye since the beginning of last year, and I even ended up reading two in order to realise if my feelings towards this way of telling a story had changed. The first one I read was The Black Project by Gareth Brookes. Its main character is a really ingenious boy who wants to create his own girlfriend. I was a bit disappointed by the ending and the lack of colour, although it was rather funny at parts. Afterwards, I decided to read The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg and quite liked it. This graphic novel about the power of love and storytelling made me appreciate much more the conveying of ideas through images combined with text and other visual information.

I discovered then that there are various genres of graphic novels, including fiction, non-fiction and anthologies, and that they differ from comic books, because these are periodicals, while the first ones are single works. I was also wrong to think that all pages featured the same amount of small squared panels with drawings and speech balloons inside. Many graphic novels and comics have drawings occupying full pages, or panels in a variety of sizes and formats. Furthermore, the illustrations can be much more appealing than I first thought. I’m not particularly tempted to read those with simple drawings in black and white. Instead, I prefer a wide-ranging palette of colours. Continue reading