Category: Lists


So You Want to Read… (Christopher Marlowe)

Posted 24 May, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

I was pondering for a while as to who to feature for this May edition of “So You Want to Read…” I sometimes schedule posts based on the time of year, what holidays are coming up, etc. It took a bit of pondering, but in the end I decided to go with Christopher Marlowe (see author tag), a contemporary of William Shakespeare’s (see author tag) and whose works I more or less read at this point. I find his works are much darker and much more dramatic than Shakespeare’s, entertaining if not a bit abrupt and unpolished at times. He’s definitely a playwright to check out if you’re looking to read beyond Shakespeare.

The following thus are three works by Christopher Marlowe that I’d recommend to start with:

  • Edward II (review) — Okay, perhaps it’s a bit bias that I’ve set this play first as it is one of my favourite plays, but it is easily the most accessible of his works. Events escalate pretty quickly and the character drama is absolutely fascinating to read/listen/watch unfold. Edward II is such a drama queen and you can’t help but feel bad for him but at the same time he is clearly out of his league as everyone around him is machinating for their own power. My review expands on my thoughts a lot more on the play but suffice to say I highly recommend starting here if you’ve never read any of his works.
  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (review) — This play is probably his most notable work–or at least that’s my impression when I look him up, it’s the first title listed–and for good reason as it explores the idea of what happens when you make a bargain with the devil. It completely veers into the fantastical and the darkness is quite apparent in this work but it explores concepts like good and evil and ambition and piety. It’s weird, but it’s different.
  • Hero and Leander — Okay, kind of weird to include an incomplete poem here but I found it to be rather beautifully written and it contains some familiar phrases such as “Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?”



And that’s about it for this list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Christoper Marlowe for the first time! If you’ve read any of his works in the past, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which plays have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part III)

Posted 17 April, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

Another month, another edition of “So You Want to Read…”! For this month’s edition, like previous years, I’ve decided to focus on Poets, in conjunction/celebration of National Poetry Month. You can see my previous recommendations here and here. As regular readers of my blog know, I’ve been reading a lot of poetry in the past year so this year’s edition has quite the variety of poets to read from 😛 It was actually quite hard to put together this year’s list as I was trying to make the list both eclectic but also accessible.

So without further ado, here’s five poets I recommend checking out (funnily enough I placed them in a sort of chronological order; also, whilst last year featured all male poets, this year’s list features all female poets):

  • Anna Akhmatova — She’s considered one of the greatest Russian poets of the twentieth century (and as a side note, I actually did study her works a bit when I was in university) and a prominent figure in the Russian cultural intelligentsia scene of the time. The topics of the poems varies from love and loneliess to Russia and her experiences during the Second World War. It’s hard to describe but she elevates even the simplest of objects in our lives to a moving artistic rendition. The Everyday Man’s Pocket Poets compilation (is an excellent starting point to reading her works.
  • Sylvia Plath — I had read The Bell Jar (review) years ago but funnily enough had never read her poems until now. I went with Ariel (review) because I’ve seen it referenced to a lot more, and I’m happy to have read this collection first. In retrospect of course it’s sad reading her works knowing she was going to take her life, and her poems reveal the internal struggles she was going through. Her choice in metaphors and allusions are odd and curious, but they lend a uniqueness to her work and her way to approaching topics.
  • Kate Clanchy (see author tag) — I first encountered one of her poems, “Patagonia”, years ago in an anthology book and it remains a favourite of mine because of the interlink between travel/far-off places and love. Her collection Selected Poems (review) is a good place to start if you’ve never read anything by this poet because it takes selections from her three poetry collections. The themes she tackles in her poems range from relationships to childbirth, and her use of imagery and language is different in a way I can’t truly describe, deftly used, I think.
  • Rupi Kaur — You may have seen her collection milk and honey (review) everywhere last year–I certainly did, which was why I ended up picking it up! And the buzz is certainly well-deserved; her poems are raw, and some of the subject matter she addresses are darker, more revealing, eye-opening, and in the end liberating.
  • Lauren Eden — I forgot how I came across her collection Of Yesteryear (review) but both the title and the book cover caught my attention. Her poems are no more than a few lines (personally I prefer shorter poems) but they’re not only lyrical but hits the point–and the feels–home. It’s different from the other poets mentioned on this list but definitely worth checking out for something different.



And that’s my list of poets to check out! Have you read any of these poets’ works? If so, which ones and did you enjoy them? Which poets or poetry books would you recommend? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Soren Kierkegaard)

Posted 22 March, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 1 Comment

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

I was pondering for a while as to who to feature for this March edition of “So You Want to Read…” I sometimes schedule posts based on the time of year, what holidays are coming up, etc. It took a bit of pondering, but in the end I decided to go with Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher and writer from the 19th century. I first encountered his works when I was in Grade 12 high school and took a philosophy course. It was his concept of the leap of faith that solidified my interest in his works, and since then had been slowly getting around to reading his works. The list might not appeal to everyone has his works can lean heavily on spiritual philosophy and what people nowadays see as an early form of psychology, but nonetheless I find he quite acutely pinpoints some realities about the human condition in an eloquent and rational way.

So, to anyone interested in reading a bit of philosophy for a change and have always wanted to check out Kierkegaard’s works, here’s my recommendation on where to start:

  • The Present Age: On the Death of Rebellion (review) — Possibly the most easily accessible of all of his works, this particular work of his is especially timely in with the current political climate as he discusses about the mass media and its role in shaping society and the public’s response to information. There is a latter essay included in this collection, “Of the Difference Between a Genius and an Apostle,” which may initially strike readers as an odd addition but it does make sense as to why it was paired with “The Present Age.” Anyhow, I strongly recommend starting here for first-time Kierkegaard readers to get a flavour of his writing and thought processes.
  • Either/Or (the first part at least) — This book is actually a collection of essays and writing fragments. I recommend reading the first bit as they’re merely a collection of thoughts that Kierkegaard has about life, the human condition, love, etc. They’re interesting and incredibly astute; I found myself nodding my head for much of this segment as I agreed with many of the conclusions he came to about life.
  • The Sickness Unto Death — Okay, it was a toss-up between this book and Fear and Trembling. Both I think are equally famous when you think Kierkegaard but while the latter is shorter, The Sickness Unto Death may appeal more as his discussions serve as some predecessor to psychology and a deep analysis of the self, of despair, of the human condition and the mental process. Like most of his writings, a lot of his ideas are still deeply rooted to Christian theology but his conclusions are nonetheless interesting and the material he uncovers along the way fascinating.



And that’s my list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Soren Kierkegaard for the first time! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Amanda Grange)

Posted 21 February, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 2 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

For this month’s edition of “So You Want to Read…”, I’m going to focus on books written by Amanda Grange (see author tag). By mid-last year I had more or less gotten around to reading all of Grange’s Jane Austen hero diaries save one (sorry, I have no interest in reading Wickham’s perspective on events. Henry Crawford, on the other hand, is another story…) and figured it would make a great focus for this feature. Grange does such a wonderful job in presenting familiar Austen stories from the perspective of the hero and add to characters we already know and love. I cannot recommend her books enough!

So without further ado, here’s three books from the diaries series that I’d recommend to start with:

  • Captain Wentworth’s Diary (review) — Not surprising in that Persuasion (review) is my favourite Jane Austen novel, but Amanda Grange’s novel from Wentworth’s perspective just adds so much more to the character and to events, not only filling in the spaces on Anne and Wentworth’s relationship the first time around, but also sort of confirms my line of thinking that Wentworth definitely wears his heart on his sleeve 😛 Nonetheless it’s a great intro to Amanda Grange’s books, I think, adding a bit of something before and after the events of Persuasion.
  • Mr. Knightley’s Diary (review) — Another excellent diary from Amanda Grange, I think what’s especially great about this book is how not only does it capture the sly humour of Emma (review) but again really adds to the character of Mr. Knightley (omg, he has friends?! Like, outside of Emma and Mr. Woodhouse? (c’mon, I’m sure that would’ve been Emma’s response to such new information 😛 )). Even if Emma isn’t you’re favourite Austen novel (definitely not up there for me if I had to rank her books), it does offer some fresh appreciation for the story, at least in my experience 😉
  • Colonel Brandon’s Diary (review) — Okay, I knew Colonel Brandon was awesome in Sense and Sensibility (review) but this book brought that realisation to new heights *hearts and stars* He went through so much crap and disappointment when he was younger that you’re naturally rooting for everything good and decent to happen to him for the rest of his life. And this book just confirms the idea that he’s got this sort of Cinderella story, this second chance at love and happiness. Again, it’s great when books really add to the original story and build on what we know of the characters.



And that’s my list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Amanda Grange for the first time! If you’ve read her books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (CLAMP)

Posted 18 January, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 4 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

New year, new edition of”So You Want to Read…”! Actually, this post was supposed to go live last month but with the migration and the issues that arose from that, this post got bumped to this year 😛 I decided to shake things up for this round of the feature and focus instead on another medium, manga, with the manga artists known as CLAMP. Of all the manga artists out there, they are the ones I’ve read the most series from save for some of the earlier ones that I’m sure would’ve made this list in some form had I read them. I hadn’t, but nonetheless I have read enough I think to put together a list by them. Suffice to say I love CLAMP’s work (then moreso than now, for reasons not mentioned here) because of their art, the scope of their stories, the magic

  • Cardcaptor Sakura — If you follow anime and manga, this is definitely a title that should’ve cropped up at one point or another. I had watched the anime first before reading the manga, and suffice to say it is a solid outing from CLAMP with a story tightly told in 12 volumes about a girl that needs to collect a series of magical cards back into a book she accidentally opened (that’s a poor explanation, sorry!) and wrapped up quite nicely that doesn’t leave any massive story threads open like they’ve been doing in later series. The art is also lovely, light and dreamy (no heavy lines) that sort of reminds me of Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon.
  • Wish — As some of you may know, I don’t cry that easily whilst reading. Lots of things I read make me sad, but the eyes do not suddenly become clouded or anything with water. This manga is one of the few titles that have left me with tears springing in my eyes. I won’t say why, but suffice to say, yeah, it was affecting enough that I had to stop reading for a while to recover. But it’s a wonderful manga! (And short too, at 4 volumes) Definitely up there as one of my favourites 🙂
  • Magic Knights Rayearth — Another one of their early titles, and definitely a classic! It’s about three girls who travel to another world where they have mecha suits and they fight bad guys in that world (it’s been a long time since I’ve read this, I forgot who the big bad was here). It’s absolutely kick ass, and like the first two series that I’ve mentioned the storytelling was pretty cohesive, tight, and fast-paced.
  • Kobato — I hesitate to recommend this manga just because it ties in to some of their larger works Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and xxxHolic but I don’t think you need to have read those two series to enjoy this series. The premise is whimsical and wonderful: to have her wish granted, Kobato has to do a series of good deeds, which each good deed adding a star to her wish bottle. But like any CLAMP manga it has its fair share of ;_; moments. My only quibble about this series is that I wished it was a volume longer so that they could properly wrap it up! (the final volume felt a little rushed) Nonetheless it’s a fantastic series.
  • X/1999 — Like Kobato, I hesitate to recommend this manga because it was never completed! (I think I read the manga artist in charge of this series got sick and couldn’t finish it) However, I do want to recommend it because it’s totally different not only from the other manga titles I listed here but also from other manga titles that the artists have created: it’s darker and grittier, with the end of the world upon them and families and factions fighting each other and starcrossed lovers thrown in there. The tragedy is ripe in this series, and yet story-wise it was quite the read, you are really rooting for everyone to just survive through this ordeal! The feels are real here, which is why I was absolutely crushed that they didn’t go ahead and finish this series…



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by CLAMP for the first time! If you’ve read their manga, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂