Category: Lists


So You Want to Read… (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Posted 17 November, 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! πŸ™‚

And here we are, it’s November…For this edition of So You Want to Read…, I decided to feature Rainer Maria Rilke (see author tag). His poetry seems fitting for these autumn days when the temperatures are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and you’ve broken out your sweaters and off to Starbucks for their seasonal items. I got around to reading his poetry in 2015 and just fell in love with his work and the nature imagery and his choice of words to express certain feelings…Anyway, here’s my recommendations on where to start if you’ve never read any of his work:

  • The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Briggs (review) — This is the only novel he’s every written and it’s more of an experience as the main character finds himself reminiscing about the past and experiences he had. All the while he’s meditating on a number of different topics and ideas. And did I mention it was beautifully written? πŸ™‚
  • Letters to a Young Poet — I could’ve sworn I had reviewed it at some point as a mini-review but anyway, definitely required reading for everyone who’s into writing. His letters are encouraging, thoughtful and meditative, and overall just a boost-me-up especially when you find yourself wondering if your writing will make it or if it’s worth it. It’s also an interesting look at the way he approaches writing.
  • Duino Elegies (review) — I read this as part of The Poety of Rilke (see review). This one stood out for me with the mix of nature and religious themes, the contemplation of life, death, and existence, and contains some of the most stunning lines I’ve read from him. Of all of his poetry, it’s a good place to start just to get a sense of how he writes an what he writes about.



And that’s my list! I hope it helps πŸ™‚ If you’ve read any of Rainer Maria Rilke’s works, 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! πŸ™‚

List: Books That Left Me Misty-Eyed (Part II)

Posted 15 November, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So earlier this year I finished reading Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You (review). I read from a lot of readers and bloggers either on their blogs or on Twitter or GoodReads that they had cried at the end of the novel, but I found that my own eyes remained dry–not a single prickle of moisture. Whilst the book left me with a lot of thoughts about the story in general, it also left me wondering which books left me quite emotional and/or teary. You could say the following list is an update of this list I compiled back in 2012 (or this list from 2014).

  • The Book of Joby by Mark Ferrari (review) — This book continues to stick out in recently read memory that left me quite teary-eyed (and in public transport, no less). In my review I mentioned the passage that left me in that state; it was a beautiful quote that, especially in that particular time in my life when I read the book, moved me enough to tears.
  • The Devilish Mr. Danvers by Vivienne Lorret (review) — When you read all the crap that the book’s heroine, Hedley, went through growing up, you’d be crying for her too.
  • Hollow Heart by Viola di Grado (review) — This book is heartbreaking and I really felt for the character.
  • When A Scot Ties The Knot by Tessa Dare (review) — I think I mentioned it in my review but there was this one scene towards the end that had me tear up because of the lead heroine. I just wanted to hug her and tell her not to give up and that everything will be all right (and kick everyone’s arses who were being super unhelpful in the process).
  • Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks (review) — His books have managed to provoke the tears in the past, and I thought this book might be a bit different given the subject matter, but nope, found myself tearing up towards the end of this book. I won’t say why here, but suffice to say it tugged at me.



And that’s my list of books that left me fairly teary-eyed! Have you read any of these books? What do you think? What books made you teary recently?

So You Want to Read… (Robert Shearman)

Posted 25 October, 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! πŸ™‚

Happy October! For this edition of So You Want to Read…, I decided to feature Robert Shearman (see author tag). Seemed fitting as Hallowe’en is around the corner and his short stories can be pretty strange and eerie, just perfect for the season. Think Neil Gaiman but even more out there. But at the same time his stories really touch on some deeper human conditions and reactions to situations. I’m always excited when I learn that there’s a new collection of short stories out there by him because I know I’m in for a treat.

First time reading Robert Shearman’s works? Here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • Remember Why You Fear Me (review) — This was the first book I read by him, it still remains a favourite by him and the first I’d recommend. Perhaps especially perfect for the Hallowe’en season as some of the scenarios sound especially macabre, the collection is quite solid and thematically it’s quite rich.
  • They Do The Same Things Different There (review) — I described this collection as quite eclectic in that I found myself wondering a lot of the times what’s so different about the setting of the story or what’s the odd feature about this story and that. There’s still the eerie/creepy factor to them but again they’re thought-provoking and quite clever.
  • Tiny Deaths (review) — This collection was pretty interesting in that the overarching theme of death and its various manifestations and impact really bound the stories together (well, except one, IMO; might’ve missed the linking detail there). Sure, some of the stories were familiar as they reappeared in the above two volumes, but nonetheless it’s a great collection on the whole.



And that’s my list! If you’ve read Robert Shearman’s 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! πŸ™‚

So You Want to Read… (Ian McEwan)

Posted 15 September, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 5 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! πŸ™‚

Another month, another edition of So You Want to Read…. For this month, I decided to feature Ian McEwan (see author tag), one of my favourite authors. There’s just something about his use of language, his prose, the stories he writes about that really draws you in and/or piques your interest. I wanted to read a considerable amount of his works before finally putting together a list, and I believe that now is the time to share my list of recommenations πŸ™‚

First time considering Ian McEwan’s writings? Here’s my list of books on where to start:

  • Atonement (review) — My first McEwan book and it remains one of my all-time favourite books. It introduced me to his wonderful writing; the best way I can describe it is that he’s just able to find the right word for every thought and feeling that flickers across these characters’ minds and experiences. It’s a devastating read to be sure, and it left me thinking about the characters and how one simple action unravelled lives and changed trajectories. Fun fact: this has to be one of the longest book reviews and book dissections I’ve ever written on this blog πŸ˜›
  • Amsterdam (review) — My second McEwan book, it remains quite high up there on my list of recommendations. Perhaps a bit more clinical in approach and structure, it nonetheless showcases all of McEwan’s power of prose and use of language, not to mention the complexity of the characters and the fragility of relationships.
  • The Children Act (review) — I’ve read a number of McEwan’s books since Amsterdam that, whilst interesting, failed to hit the same heights as the first two books I mentioned. With The Children Act, McEwan not only delivers his signature character drama amidst controversial/current issues but also grabbed the reader’s attention from the very start, slipping readers into his protagonist’s life and thoughts from the get-go. Following Fiona Maye for the first half of the novel and what she does in her job was just fascinating to read and I think she’s a character that first time readers will want to follow from start to finish of this book.
  • Bonus: On Chesil Beach (review) — Don’t be fooled by the slimness of this book: Ian McEwan manages to cram a lot of complexity into this short tale of newly-weds on their honeymoon in 1962. I initially didn’t include it on my list because it’s a really quiet drama and character study; you really need to sort of settle in and read this book carefully to really appreciate the nuances of what the author is trying to tell. It is by no means a quick read. But it’s worth the mention because it really showcases McEwan’s ability to really get into the thoughts of his characters, right down to every ugly thought that you’d hide from the world.



And that’s my list! If you’ve read Ian McEwan’s 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! πŸ™‚

Books: Summer Wrap-Up [2017 edition]

Posted 2 September, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

And here we are, at the end of another summer. I hope everyone had a lovely summer, whether you’ve been on holiday or just relaxing–I know mine has been a little nutty, to say the least! And as always, I like to feature some of my favourite books read between the first week of June until, well, today. I haven’t been reading as much compared to previous years (I was actually surprised by the number of books I read last month, it’s far less than my usual number) but nonetheless I had a few favourites (which, of course, many of these reviews won’t be up until the next few weeks). In no particular order:

  • Selected Poems by Miguel Hernandez — From the moment I read the first poem included in this collection, I knew I would love his poetry. I love the imagery he uses in his poems, the feelings he captures…Definitely a collection I will revisit again and again.
  • Love Sonnets and Elegies by Louise Labe — Another collection that grabbed me from the start. She really captures the feelings of love in such a way, in all of its forms…And this collection was bilingual, which was really cool too.
  • China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan — Oh man, this series has been such a riot to read so far. This book was even crazier to read than the first book, with all of the glitz and high-end products and rich people problems and the contrast between mainland rich people and those based in Singapore, not to mention throwing in some traditional Asian values about family and appearance. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
  • Another Viscount in Love by Vivienne Lorret — I love Vivenne Lorret’s books. Her Season’s Originals series had a slow start with the first volume but it really picked up as the series progressed and I was quite happy to see she released a novella to wrap up the series featuring one recurring character who’s been unlucky throughout.
  • Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde — Of all the four books in the series I read to date, this book was most satisfying in the culmination of all of the ongoing storylines happening in Thursday Next’s life, the timey-wimey-ness of it all, and of course the healthy dose of Shakespeare included somewhere in the plot πŸ˜€ Probably tied with the first book as my favourite in the series!
  • Hyperion by Dan Simmons — Why did I not get around to this book sooner? It was wondrous, but the heart of the book, about the human experience, was mesmerising and powerful. I really enjoyed the Canterbury Tales-esque set-up (amusing considering I didn’t enjoy CT on the whole at the end). Can’t wait to get my hands on the second book!



And of course, some honourable mentions that didn’t make the above list but were nonetheless great reads:

  • Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book (review)
  • Mhairi McFarlane’s Here’s Looking at You
  • Georgette Heyer’s The Quiet Gentleman
  • Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Maybe in Another Life (review)



And that’s my list! What were some of your favourite reads this summer (or winter, depending on where you are in the world)? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? Interested in any of them?