Monthly Archives: March 2013

Article: Discourse Magazine [Issue 14, March 2013]

Posted 13 March, 2013 by Lianne in Writing / 0 Comments

cover credit

The March issue of Discourse Magazine is out! There’s some great news items examined in this issue including the on-going tensions with North Korea, credit rating agencies and Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. For this issue I focused on the Italian elections that were held at the end of last month in a piece entitled “An Inconclusive Result for Italy”.

What can I say about these elections that I haven’t mentioned in the article? Well, it’s certainly been an odd journey, starting with Silvio Berlusconi’s re-emergence into the race back in December:

But on a serious note, it was marred with uncertainty as the days drew closer to the election. Although Bersani’s left-centre party led a comfortable lead, there was Beppo Grillo’s M5S and Berlusconi’s party platform to contend with, all amidst spiralling economic problems and public disenchantment with the political class. Naturally the outcome of the elections reflected the public’s uncertainty with the options before them (however concerning the outcome is). The fallout is still felt in the news; we will see whether the parties can overcome their differences and try to construct something of a functioning government.

You can check out the latest issue over at the magazine’s website–and be sure to subscribe so that you can receive the issues directly to your inbox!

Review: The Vatican Diaries

Posted 13 March, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
By: John Thavis
Source: e-galley, courtesy of the publisher from NetGalley

For more than twenty-five years John Thavis held one of the most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican. His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life.

Thavis takes readers from a bell tower high above St. Peter’s to the depths of the basilica and the saint’s burial place, from the politicking surrounding the election of a new pope and the ever-growing sexual abuse scandals around the world to controversies about the Vatican’s stand on contraception, and more.

Perceptive, sharply written, and witty, The Vatican Diaries will appeal not only to Catholics (lapsed as well as devout) but to any readers interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.

Given the recent events with the Conclave and the election of Pope Francis I, it was rather timely that I was approved to read this book through NetGalley. I’ve always been curious about how the Curia operated, not just as a matter of my faith but also because the Vatican is a unique state. The premise of this book sounded both fascinating and promising so I was really looking forward to digging into this book.

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Meme: Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 12 March, 2013 by Lianne in Meme / 32 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books On My Spring 2013 TBR list!

Yay for spring! Much as I love winter, I could use some more sunshine in my day now (though boo about the recent switch to daylight savings again–I swear it’s messing with me a bit, and I have a midterm this Tuesday evening ;_;) Anyways, books on my spring TBR list…my TBR list was doing pretty good a few weeks ago until I downloaded a whole lot of classics onto my eReader but that’s beside the point…

In no particular order:

  1. The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church by John Thavis — So I finally got around to joining NetGalley recently and already got my hands on a few galleys to read =D A bit of a cheat adding this book to this list but I actually started reading this book a few days ago =P It’s quite timely considering what’s going on at the Vatican right now with the conclave starting and I’ve always been personally curious how the Curia works.
  2. Bristol House by Beverly Swerling — This book is coming out in April and they’re saying it’s in the tradition of Kate Mosse (whose novels I enjoy) so I’m looking forward to reading this. She’s apparently written other historical fiction titles so I should look those up too =)
  3. Guernica by Dave Boling — This book has been sitting on my Kobo eReader for almost a year now (if not for more than a year). Think it’s time to read it…am in the mood for a book set in Spain anyhow =)
  4. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin — The title alone sounds rather spring-like, eh? I read another one of her books last year (the title escapes me at the moment) and she has quite a way with words.
  5. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler — My copy finally arrived! (long story about this) Anyways, I enjoyed her first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, but never got around to her follow-up novel so here I am now xD
  6. The Complete Short Novels by Anton Chekhov — I actually read a number of his short stories and short novels on my eReader (including The Duel which is included in this volume) but I was hankering to own a physical copy on my shelf (as he’s become one of my favourite Russian authors <3) so I got this.
  7. No Name by Wilkie Collins — It’s been a while since I’ve read something by Wilkie Collins. I’ve actually been eyeing this particular novel ever since I read The Woman in White; the premise sounds fascinating and it looks to be quite an engrossing read. I hope I can squeeze it sometime this spring =)
  8. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer — The 2009 Man Booker shortlist looked like a really good one though I’m still slowly getting around to reading them (so far have only read Mantel’s Wolf Hall (commentary) and Waters’ The Little Stranger). The premise of this novel sounds fascinating, covering quite a bit of the 20th century.
  9. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan — lol this is a 50/50 if I get to it. This book is on my brother’s eReader so it’ll depend when he’s not using it. I’m not in any rush to read it, if only because it’s been a while since I read the first two books of the series and there’s a possibility of me just blitzing it when the fourth book comes out in the fall. Plus, my brother’s comments about the book are still rather fresh in my memory =P (he likes to do that when he’s reading a book–not spoilerish or anything but his impressions are there)
  10. The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory — Could use a bit of fantasy in my spring TBR pile. I’ve never read any of Mercedes Lackey’s books (been meaning to but yeah, never got around to them) and I’ve had a copy of this book sitting around for aaaaaaaaaages, lol. Maybe it’s time…

And that’s my list for this week! What books are on your TBR list this spring? 🙂

Review: Alys, Always

Posted 11 March, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Alys, Always
By: Harriet Lane
Format: Paperback; courtesy of the publisher & GoodReads First Reads programme

On a bitter winter’s night, Frances Thorpe comes upon the aftermath of a car crash and, while comforting the dying driver, Alys Kyte, hears her final words. The wife of a celebrated novelist, Alys moved in rarefied circles, and when Frances agrees to meet the bereaved family, she glimpses a world entirely foreign to her: cultured, wealthy, and privileged. While slowly forging a friendship with Alys’s carelessly charismatic daughter, Frances finds her own life takes a dramatic turn, propelling her from an anonymous existence as an assistant editor for the books section of a newspaper to the dizzying heights of literary society.

I received a copy of this book through GoodReads; the premise sounded fascinating–I always enjoy a good, contemporary novel and a story involving family dynamics and the protagonist entering a totally different section of society. Contains spoilers ahead! (I will note it in my review because it’s just too hard not to avoid it =P)

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Review: The Perfume Lover

Posted 11 March, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Perfume Lover: A Personal History of Scent
By: Denyse Beaulieu
Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publisher & GoodReads First Reads programme

What if the most beautiful night in your life inspired a perfume? When Denyse Beaulieu was growing up in Montreal, perfume was forbidden in her house, spurring a childhood curiosity that became an intellectual and sensual passion. She pursued this passion to Paris, where she now lives, becoming a respected fragrance writer. But little did she know that it would also lead her to achieve a perfume lover’s wildest dream.

When Denyse tells a famous perfumer of a sensual night spent in Seville under an orange tree in full blossom, wrapped in the arms of a beautiful young man, the story stirs his imagination, and together they create a scent that captures the essence of that night. As their unique collaboration unfolds, the perfume-in-progress conjures intimate memories, leading Beaulieu to make sense of her life through scent—a sort of Eat, Pray, Love of fragrance. Throughout the book, she weaves the history of perfumery into her personal journey, evoking the masters and the masterpieces, the myths and the myth-busting, down to the molecular mysteries that meld our flesh to flowers.

The Perfume Lover is an enticing account of the complexity of composing a fragrance, and a uniquely candid insider’s view into the world and history of fragrance.

I kindly received an advanced reading copy of this novel from Penguin Canada through GoodReads. I don’t read a lot of memoirs or nonfiction these days, nor is perfume a major feature of my everyday life (it’s there, I use them every now and then but beyond that I don’t know much about it), but the premise of this book was interesting.

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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