Favourite Female Characters

Tomorrow, the 8th of March, we celebrate International Women’s Day, not only to honour the women who fought for equal rights and to celebrate women’s economic, political and social achievements, but also to highlight the importance of continuing the path to gender parity. Unfortunately, I haven’t read enough books about female rights to give book recommendations focusing on the topic. So, instead I decided to choose my favourite female characters.

The characters I’ve selected as my favourites are not necessarily women that fought for the equality of the sexes or that advocated for any kind of change. They are solely characters that stood out to me because of their characteristics or actions throughout the books they are part of.

In no special order, these are some of my favourite female characters: 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

Books That Made Me Want to Travel

Books have the phenomenal power to make us instantly travel to a distant or close land, which can be either real or imaginary, every time we immerse ourselves in the pages. Sometimes the desire to travel lingers after we get to the end of the book and the story is over. The wish to visit a different place may stem from wanting to know in real life the location where the story was set in or to discover the city or country the author has grown and lived in.

After finishing both The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and The Tales of Hans Christian Andresen by the Danish author and illustrated by Joel Stewart, I added Amsterdam and Copenhagen to the list of places I wish to visit in the future. Well, to be honest I already wanted to go to Amsterdam before I read The Miniaturist, but Jessie Burton’s powerful descriptions reinforced that desire even more.

Amsterdam is where 18-year-old and recently wed Petronella Oortman comes to live with her husband, Johannes Brandt, who offers her a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish it, she employs a mysterious miniaturist whom she desires to discover. So, she walks through the streets of Amsterdam and along the canals, which become frozen during the winter. As soon as I finished the book, I really wanted to get on a plane, stroll through the streets of Amsterdam myself, and sail the canals, flanked by the typically narrow but high buildings. Continue reading

‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton

My rating: 5 stars

How does the saying go? Never judge a book by its cover. I can’t say I truly judged the worth of The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton’s debut novel, by its cover. However, I definitely bought it because I fell in love with its blue colour tones and the illustrations used to transform the cover into a fragment of a cabinet house. I don’t remember even paying any attention to the blurb to know if I was really interested in the story before buying it. So, the book quietly sat on my bookshelves during a few months until I decided to pick it up. When I finally did so, I was pleasantly surprised!

The year is 1686. Petronella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to live with her husband, wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt, whom she barely knows. As a wedding gift, he offers her a cabinet-sized replica of their home, a present 18-year-old Nella finds hard to accept, as she is not a girl anymore. To add to this, her husband doesn’t spend much time with her, neither during the day nor the night, and she has to learn how to fit in with a household full of secrets, where austere and unlikeable Marin, Johannes’s sister, reigns.

Nella’s life becomes a puzzle full of missing pieces that she has to find. She commissions a miniaturist to furnish her cabinet house, who then sends her miniatures she has never asked for and that are replicas of things and persons from her daily life, although they have never met. And her husband and sister-in-law have secrets she tries to uncover by listening behind doors, entering into rooms and asking questions of Otto, Johannes’s manservant, and Cornelia, the house maid whom she befriends. Continue reading