Monthly Archives: April 2015

April Updates

Posted 30 April, 2015 by Lianne in Website / 6 Comments

Ahh, April. Seem liked yesterday I was saying adios to March, welcoming Easter and Spring and here we are at the end of April and at the cusp of summer (seriously, it feels like it was never spring. I’m okay where we are, I don’t want it to get any hotter). Anyway, here’s what has been going on at my blog for the month of April:


  1. Books reviewed this month include: Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (review), Bee Ridgway’s The River of No Return (review), and Jeanne Mackin’s The Beautiful American (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
  2. ARCs reviewed this month include: Jacques Kornberg’s The Pope’s Dilemma (review) and Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake (review). You can check out all of the ARCs that I recently read in this tag.
  3. Only one movie review was posted this month: The Book of Kells (review)
  4. On the theatre side of things, I watched and reviewed 2011’s Much Ado About Nothing produced at the Globe (review). Such fun–and highly recommended! 🙂
  5. For So You Want to Read… this month, I focused on poetry as it’s National Poetry Month. You can read the post of my recommendations here. For all my previous recommendations under this feature, check out this tag.


And that’s about it from me this month! Can’t believe we’re already a quarter into 2015…How was your April? Hope everyone is having a lovely week–on to May 🙂

(Not my gif; seems fittig moving ahead ;))

Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 29 April, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

a.k.a. the poetry edition 🙂 I made it a point this year to read some/more poetry, so that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since January. I’ve been reading them in bouts, which is a nice break from reading the heftier novels on my shelf and whatnot. Without further ado, poetry books read and reviewed:

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
By: Emily Dickinson
Format/Source: eBook

It is here, in “The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson,” that we witness her singular poetic depth and range of style. Collected are the first three series of her posthumous publishing career coming out respectively in 1890, 1891, and 1896. The myth that surrounds Dickinson’s life is enhanced by the ethereal quality of her poetry. With the coming of New Criticism in the 1930’s and 40’s, Dickinson experienced unprecedented posthumous acclaim, solidifying her place in American letters. Dickinson’s idiom is as varied as her meter, and her unconventional use of punctuation, metaphor, and image make her an innovator of the lyric akin to many of the early modernists. These poems examine love, death, and nature with an effortless yet complex tone and voice. Now one of the most read and admired American poets, Dickinson’s poetry continues to resonate with readers.

I’ve long heard and encountered Emily Dickinson’s poems in passing, but I never focused on her works before. Reading her collected poems is quite an experience because it enables its reader to see the progression of her poetic style. Much of the themes were pretty consistent over the years, though there are notable emphasis on particular themes as the years progressed, a deeper reflection into life, death, and the passage of time, many of which are insightful and lovely to read. I think my favourite poems from her come from the earlier stages of her writing; it’s not just because they are shorter, but there’s something about shorter poems that capture words and feelings succinctly.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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Movie: The Secret of Kells (2009)

Posted 28 April, 2015 by Lianne in Entertainment / 2 Comments

A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers.


I’ve been especially curious about this movie ever since watching Song of the Sea (review) recently. I did hear of it when it was nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscars but I didn’t follow-up on checking it out then. The premise sounds really interesting and given the style of artwork these animators employ, I had no doubt it would be a fascinating film to watch. Spoilers lie ahead (albeit behind a spoiler cut…but still)

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Review: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Posted 27 April, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 12 Comments

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
By: Marina Lewycka
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In this comic first novel, two estranged sisters living in England discover that their addled elderly father, a Ukrainian war refugee and expert on tractors, is planning to marry a young, enormous-breasted woman who sees his modest pension as her ticket to capitalist comfort. The sisters put aside their differences, and embark on a spirited campaign to save him from boil-in-the-bag dinners, slovenly housekeeping, and such extravagant purchases as a broken-down Rolls-Royce. In the midst of these machinations—which include long-winded letters to solicitors, venomous gossip, and all-out spying—Lewycka stealthily reveals how the depredations of the past century dictate what a family can bear.

I read this book back in 2009 after learning that it had been longlisted for the Man Booker and I believe the former Orange Prize (now Baileys Women Prize); the title alone was a curious one. I had really enjoyed it then; it seemed especially fitting to read it as I was taking a course in Ukrainian history at the time and understood all of the historical events mentioned throughout the novel. I had been meaning to revisit this novel as I don’t remember much of the story, and had been wanting to put my thoughts down here at my blog somewhere.

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Review: The Beautiful American

Posted 24 April, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Beautiful American
By: Jeanne Mackin
Format/Source: Paperback; won a copy through France Book Tours

From Paris in the 1920s to London after the Blitz, two women find that a secret from their past reverberates through years of joy and sorrow….

As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing sixteen-year-old daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emerged from the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts to survive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter’s life. Lee suffers from what she witnessed as a war correspondent photographing the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

Nora and Lee knew each other in the heady days of late 1920s Paris, when Nora was giddy with love for her childhood sweetheart, Lee became the celebrated mistress of the artist Man Ray, and Lee’s magnetic beauty drew them all into the glamorous lives of famous artists and their wealthy patrons. But Lee fails to realize that her friendship with Nora is even older, that it goes back to their days as children in Poughkeepsie, New York, when a devastating trauma marked Lee forever. Will Nora’s reunion with Lee give them a chance to forgive past betrayals…and break years of silence to forge a meaningful connection as women who have shared the best and the worst that life can offer?

A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional women.

I first heard of this novel when France Book Tours hosting a book tour for this novel late last year. The premise sounded really interesting and I was very happy when I learned that I had won a copy of the novel. It was staring at me quite a bit recently on my bookshelf (it’s sitting near my laptop so I always see it) so I decided to pick it up and read it.

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