Writing the Seasons with Books: Spring

I don’t consider myself a seasonal reader, meaning that I don’t tend to read books in a way that agrees with the season we are in. I usually read more fantasy and adventure books than normal during summer. And Halloween is generally my favourite time of the year to read unsettling novels. However, I’m also known to read books set during the winter in the summer and gothic, creepy novels while the flowers are blooming with the arrival of spring. Thus, I won’t be recommending you books to read during this spring. Any book is a good one!

Instead, I’ve decided to take a look at my shelves and select six books with titles beginning with the letters of the word ‘spring’. This wasn’t as easy to achieve as I first thought. And I had to cheat slightly! But below are the books with which I’m writing ‘spring’.

 

Sonetos by Florbela Espanca    

Florbela Espanca was a Portuguese poet who lived during the early 20th century. Her sonnets generally delve into the topics of love and passion. But they also convey pessimism and suffering, complemented with a pinch of sensuality. Continue reading

Reactions to 1-Star Reviews of Books I Love

A few months ago, I watched a video on the YouTube channel Mercys Bookish Musings in which Mercedes read 1-star reviews of books that she loves. I found the idea so interesting that I decided to also have a look for negative reviews of some of my favourite books on Goodreads and write my reactions to a number of them.

I chose five books from different genres and selected a review for each one of them that pinpoints the reasons why the person basically hated it. I’ll now quickly explain why I respectfully disagree with such opinions. It’s normal to have dissimilar views on books, so it’s not my purpose to be offensive towards other readers.

 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca was the first book that I read by Daphne du Maurier and remains my favourite after having read other three (Jamaica Inn, The King’s General and My Cousin Rachel). I was aware that not everyone is a fan of this novel, but I didn’t think I was going to find so strong negative views, such as the one below. 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 Books Written by Women

Ahead of International Women’s Day, on 8th March, I put together a list of my favourite books written by women. Although I believe that unintentionally I still read more books by men than by women, it wasn’t difficult at all to come up with these five magnificent books by female authors. In fact, I could have mentioned many more books than the ones below, but I wanted to keep the list short.

In no special order, these are some of the books written by women which were a delight to read:

 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

One of the most captivating books I’ve ever read, Rebecca was my first foray into Daphne du Maurier’s work. It is narrated by an unnamed woman who recalls meeting Maxim de Winter in Monte Carlo. She accepted to marry him, and they went to live at Manderley, his family home. There, the shadow of his deceased first wife, Rebecca, was even more present. Apparently, she had exceled at everything, so the narrator’s doubts and insecurities became overwhelming. The characters are complex, and the prose is utterly atmospheric. Continue reading

Favourite Books I Read in 2017

When I started reflecting on my reading experience in 2017, the first word that sprang to mind to describe it was ‘inconsistent’. It wasn’t a particularly extraordinary year, but it was also far from bad. A couple of the books that I read I ended up loving, a few I quite liked, and others were satisfactory. However, I really didn’t like three books, having rated them with 2 stars, and also gave up on reading two books without even reaching 1/3 of their length, and thus I can’t really make a fair assessment about them.

In terms of numbers, I’ve read 33 books so far and will probably finish another one before the actual end of the year. I do know that this is a really small number for many people, but for me it’s a great one, since I’ve only managed to read 19 books in 2016, and not that many years ago I was probably not even reading more than one book per month.

My favourite books from the ones that I read this year, in reverse order, are:

Continue reading

Favourite Protagonists

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been revealing some of my favourite characters in books (characters I love to hate, favourite female characters and favourite supporting characters). Today I introduce you to some of my favourite protagonists. These are main characters who stood out from the various that I discovered throughout the years and that I keep remembering for several reasons. The books they feature in are not necessarily my favourite books of all time (although some of them may be), as when I like almost all of the characters, it’s difficult for one of them to stand out from the rest.

 

Mrs de Winter – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The unnamed narrator of the first book I read by Daphne du Maurier is quite an insecure young woman at the beginning, but that didn’t stop me from really liking her as a protagonist. The main reason why is her feelings being quite relatable, taking into consideration the situation she was facing. By the end of the novel I felt like I really knew her and missed reading about her feelings and worries. Continue reading

‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 5 stars

In Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier excelled in 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 in the shadow of Rebecca’s memory, 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 in 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 made me laugh.

When Mrs Van Hopper fell ill, 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, led to his face clouding 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 a kind of a trance, like he wasn’t really there. Continue reading

Which Book Should I Read Next?

I’m a book monogamist. I tried to read more than one book at a time once, but quickly discovered that I can’t split my attention between two books, since I left one behind and just continued reading the other. So, whenever I’m almost finishing a book, I start thinking about what type of book I am feeling like reading next.

As I’m now unsure about which book to pick up next, I decided to ask for your help! The four books below are the subject of my uncertainty. All of them sound like books I would like to read sooner rather than later. It would be fantastic if you could take a little time to help me by voting until Sunday in the poll at the bottom of the page (after the blurbs of the books), regardless if you’ve read any of these or not. You may have read and liked one of them, or you may just be curious about my opinion on it.

 

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

“As his tale begins, Orlando is a passionate young nobleman whose days are spent in rowdy revelry, filed with the colourful delights of Queen Elizabeth’s court. By the close, he will have transformed into a modern, thirty-six-year-old woman and three centuries will have passed. Orlando will witness the making of history from its edge, dressing in the flamboyant fashions of each era, following passing customs, and socialising with celebrated artists and writers. Continue reading