Women’s Prize for Fiction Winners – Books I Read and Want to Read

Susanna Clarke has been chosen as the winner of the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction with Piranesi, a book I haven’t read yet but that I definitely want to. I don’t tend to pay much attention to literary prizes, to be honest. However, the enthusiasm that so many readers show for the Women’s Prize usually makes me at least want to know who has won and what the book in question is about.

Having taken a quick look at the prize’s website, I discovered that I’ve read three of the previous winners and am interested in reading not only Piranesi, but also other four in the future. None of the books ended up on my wish list because they were the winners of this particular prize. It was either the premise or the general work of the authors that first appealed to me.


Winners I Read


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

A fictional story about the events surrounding the death of the son of a famous playwright, William Shakespeare, Hamnet was a worthy winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2020. The feelings of the characters are tangible and duly intense. Agnes’s suffering in particular is poignantly portrayed. Set mainly around 1596, this book about grief, parenthood, love and family life also has some chapters set in previous decades, which allows readers to learn more about the characters and better understand their actions. Continue reading

Paperback Releases I’m Excited About

Paperbacks should be far more appreciated! They are light and compact, fitting perfectly in our bags, which allows us, devoted readers, to take them everywhere. Very rarely do I buy the hardback editions of books, despite them being published at least a year earlier than paperbacks in the UK (publishing practices in Portugal are entirely different in this regard).

At the moment, there are seven books that I’m excited to read in paperback, although I probably won’t be able to get to them all this year.


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I have sky-high expectations for this novel, as it has not only been highly praised by many reviewers, but it has also won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2020. In 1596, a little girl, who lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, is taken ill with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, tries to find someone to help them, since they are alone at home. Agnes, their mother, is in a garden where she plants medicinal herbs, and their father, who happens to be Shakespeare, is working in London. They still have no idea that Hamnet will not live long. It will be released in paperback on the 1st of April. Continue reading

Books in Primary Colours: Blue

In order to briefly comment on some of the books that I’ve either read before I started blogging or that I feel that I should talk about more often, I’m writing a three-part series of posts about three books whose covers are predominantly yellow, blue or red. Besides their covers being dominated by a primary colour, these books just need to have one more thing in common – to still have a place on my shelves.

For the second instalment in this series, I’ve chosen three books whose covers are blue-toned. Although I have reviewed the first two books listed below when I first started blogging, I haven’t mentioned them very often since then. The last one, I have read quite a while ago and, despite having liked it, don’t remember much about.


Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

This is, so far, the only book that I’ve read by Charles Dickens, but I’m sure it will be the first of many. Pip tells us the story of his life since his childhood until the beginning of his adulthood. He was raised by his sister and her husband, Joe Gargery. At first, the tough conditions that he lived in didn’t seem to bother him. His only complaint was the abuse he was subject to by his sister. That changed when he was chosen to visit Miss Havisham and her adoptive daughter Estella, whom he ended up falling in love with. Pip then started dreaming for a better life. His ambition made him leave behind the people who cared for him. The first and second volumes are slightly monotonous at times, in spite of the fascinating characters. The third volume, on the other hand, is splendid, as all the previous events are connected. Continue reading

My Least and Most Viewed Reviews

Book reviews are the type of posts I most like to write for this blog, and they are also the ones that take me the longest to complete and edit. Nevertheless, they tend to have less 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 least 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

Longest Books I Have Read

Long books can be more intimidating than short ones, as they take longer to read and require more commitment. However, once in a while I quite like to immerse myself into a long book for a few weeks. It feels like an alternative life that complements our real one, since the characters are usually more developed and the plot more detailed.

I turned my bookcase upside down to discover which are the longest books I have ever read.


Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – 1006 pages

The story of two practical magicians, who restore magic to England during the time of the French Invasions, is quite an entertaining read. The amount of details on magic and the various footnotes transform this novel into an alternative history tale. You can read my full review here. 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

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 4 stars

If magic was real, what would have history been like? Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke aims to answer that question with some moments of wit and beautiful language. It is an alternative history novel, set in the 19th century, focusing on the restoration of English magic and the role played by the two greatest magicians of that time: Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange. Magic in England had, for a long time, been limited to the existence of theoretical magicians. However, in York, a group of magic scholars discovers the reclusive Mr Norrell, who astonishes them with his practical magic. He then embarks on a journey to restore magic to England. But another magician, Jonathan Strange, appears in the country, leading to a convoluted relationship between the two.

Norrell is not the most likeable of characters. He is described as someone who thinks himself to be naturally able to achieve greatness, as arrogant and as a perfectionist. Although publicly he is always cautious about using certain types of magic, his desire to see it restored to England and him being the one to do it makes him overstep the limits he before thought best not to cross, like dealing with a dangerous but hilarious fairy. He speaks of a modern type of magic, a kind that is different from the one used during the reign of the Raven King.

While Norrell has difficulty dealing with the public eye, Jonathan Strange, who is also quite sure of himself, becomes well liked by London society, since he is more inclined to do and speak about magic in public. He is also a more daring magician, who is more willing and even eager to try new spells, despite Mr Norrell keeping a lot of information from him. In fact, Norrell seems to want to manage and have the power regarding everything that has to do with English magic. Continue reading

Books I Want to Read Before the End of 2016

I don’t usually establish to-be-read lists. However, now that we are in the last quarter of the year, there are some books that I really want to read before 2016 comes to an end. The list features books written by contemporary authors, some classics and Portuguese poetry.

The Dumb House by John Burnside is a book that I have been wanting to read for quite a while. The story focuses on a narrator that uses his own children as subjects of an experiment to recreate the Dumb House of Persian myth. I expect this novel to be quite dark and disturbing.

To continue my endeavour to read more books by female authors, I also want to read A God in Ruins. I don’t know much about this novel by Kate Atkinson, besides it being set around the time of the Second World War, which is usually a theme I am interested in reading about.

Continue reading