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

Books in Portuguese that Should Be Translated into English

When I decided to create this blog about books, I thought it a good idea to write it in English, although it is not my first language. I don’t regret that choice in the slightest, since it has allowed me to continue practising the language and to interact with fellow readers from all over the world. However, it has also a downside. Sometimes I mention books originally written in Portuguese that are not available in English and, thus, that the majority of you can’t read.

Today’s post will add to this conundrum, seeing that it’s exclusively about books that, to the best of my knowledge, haven’t yet been translated into English but should have. Some of these are available in other languages besides Portuguese, such as Spanish and French, though.

 

Livro by José Luís Peixoto

Set in part in the ‘60s, Livro delves into the Portuguese emigration to France through the story of a specific family. José Luís Peixoto uses more than words to tell this story, which emphasises how difficult it can be to achieve a better life. A circle drawn around particular words helps to convey an important plot point. ‘Livro’ means ‘book’ in Portuguese, and it is not only the title of this novel but also the name of a crucial character. Continue reading

‘A Confissão da Leoa’ (‘Confession of the Lioness’) by Mia Couto

My rating: 4 stars

Mia Couto is an author who, after reading only one book by, I became immensely interested in. A Confissão da Leoa, Confession of the Lioness in the English translation, was my second foray into his work and I was not disappointed, but neither was I astonished. Disguised in a tale about a lion hunt told from two different perspectives, this is essentially a book about the many tribulations faced by the women who live in a Mozambican village and its consequences.

The first perspective the reader is presented with is that of Mariamar. She lives in Kulumani with her parents. Her sister Silência has recently died in result of a lion attack, and her mother, Hanifa Assulua, is struggling to deal with that fact. The traditions revolving around a person’s death are repeatedly displayed and are a first taste of the various magical realism elements that can be found throughout the book. Superstition still plays an important part in people’s lives, and many decisions are made with them in mind.

News soon arrive that a couple of people from the capital are going to the village to solve the problems posed by the lions and among them is a hunter. Hanifa becomes really distressed with the prospect of his arrival, because she believes that he will take Mariamar to the city. For that reason, she intends to leave the house and kill him. In order to stop her, her husband, Genito Mpepe, throws her against a cabinet. Mariamar intervenes to defend her mother and says she was the one who has called the lions so the hunter would go to the village. Continue reading

Favourite Short Books

Medium-size books are usually at the top of my preferences. I love to fully immerse myself in the characters’ world and find that easier when a story lasts for longer than just a couple of hundred pages. Nevertheless, shorter books can also be utterly compelling and stimulating. I consider a book to be short when it is less than 250 pages long.

If you are looking for some quick reads (albeit not necessarily easy ones), you may want to try some of my favourites. I decided not to include short story and poetry collections in the list below, seeing that they overwhelmingly fall into the less than 250 pages category.

 

The Dumb House by John Burnside

The Dumb House is short but not sweet. It is a twisted story revolving around Luke, who has performed a cruel experiment on his own children. We know this from the outset, and the following pages are an account of how he got to that point and why. While reading, I was in awe of the writing style. Continue reading

Favourite Not So Popular Books

A long time passed since the day I started blogging and the moment when I created my Goodreads account at the beginning of this year. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to finally decide to set it up, though, because I’ve been finding it quite useful. Besides being a good tool to keep track of the books that I own but haven’t read yet (previously I only used a spreadsheet to list the books that I had read), it also made me realise that some of the books I really liked haven’t been read by that many people.

Some of the books that I really cherish have less than two thousand ratings on Goodreads. So, in comparison with other books, they are not particularly popular. Nevertheless, they are still really worth reading. These are the five that I wish more people would read:

 

The Dumb House by John Burnside

The Dumb House by John Burnside deals with quite uncomfortable topics, but that didn’t prevent me from being in awe of the way sentences were crafted. From the outset we know that Luke has performed a cruel experiment on his own children. He was fascinated by the tale of the Dumb House, so he wanted to know whether language was learnt or innate. His obsession not only with that story but also with the matter of life and death and the existence of a soul takes him down a dark path. Continue reading

Authors I Want to Read Every Year

There are some authors that I really want to read more books by, in order to get even more familiar with their work. So, I decided that I’ll try to read at least one book by each of the authors mentioned below every year, starting in the next one, since 2017 is fast coming to an end. I don’t intend to read the entirety of their back catalogue, but there are quite a few books by these writers on my wish list.

While I’ve only read one book by some of these authors, I’ve read various by others. However, all these writers have one thing in common: the books I have read by them left me curious enough to continue delving into their published work. I may even end up reading more books than I’m currently planning to, since some of these writers are still alive and continue to work on new material.

There are obviously more authors that I want to read additional books by, but these are the most predominant ones on my wish list. The only way I believe that I’ll ever get to read them all (and at the same time continue to enjoy books by other writers) is if I commit to read at least one every year.    Continue reading

Book Haul – September 2017

I bought more books! Are you surprised? Probably not. I took some books from my shelves this month, so to celebrate I acquired some more. My bookcase is now again completely full. However, I’ve promised myself that I won’t be buying any more books until the end of the year, as I have more than enough to choose from. Will I be able to stick to my book buying ban? I’m not sure, but I’ll try really hard!

This month I did some online and in-store book shopping. These were my choices:

 

The Good People by Hannah Kent

I’ve been meaning to read a book by Hannah Kent for a really long time. I thought about reading her debut novel, Burial Rites, first, but then I fell in love with the cover of the paperback edition of The Good People and bought it instead. It tells the story of Nóra, who is trying to cure her grandson. He can’t speak nor walk, and people believe him to be a changeling. 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 to buy 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 that they may also be read as standalones. I bought the original in Portuguese, but there is an available translation into English by Anna Kushner, published by Dalkey Archive Press and titled Jerusalem. Continue reading

Authors I Want to Read More Books By

To read a book by an author new to us can sometimes be a daunting experience, as we are usually not certain about what to expect. It can either be a fantastic new discovery or a great disappointment. In the latest years, I’ve been lucky to discover new authors whose work I want to continue to delve into. These are some of the authors I’ve only read one book by but want to read more for various and different reasons.

 

Kate Atkinson

At the end of last year, I read A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson and it was one of my favourite books of 2016. This is a good enough reason to want to read more of her books, but there is another. Some of the same characters are also featured in Life After Life, leaving me quite curious about this particular book.

 

John Burnside

The Dumb House by John Burnside was also one of my favourite books of last year. I loved the exquisite writing style. Thus, I already have quite a few books by him on my wish list. Continue reading

Favourite Books I Read in 2016

2016 is coming to an end. So, this is the perfect time to reveal my favourite books that I read during the year. I have only rated two of these books with five stars, since, apparently, I expect a five-star read to fulfil a lot of requirements. But some of the books mentioned below are quite high four-star reads (in a way I regret having decided not to give half-star ratings) and, thus, deserve recognition.

I chose as my favourites five books from the nineteen that I read in 2016. In comparison with other bloggers, I don’t read that many books per year, but some of them were quite long and I also don’t listen to audiobooks, since it’s hard for me to focus on what I’m only listening to for a long period of time. Of the nineteen books that I read, one was non-fiction, three can be considered children’s books, and three were poetry collections.

In reverse order, these are the best books that I read in 2016: Continue reading