Category: Lists


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

Posted 27 April, 2018 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! 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Anyway, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I figured it’s a good time to bust out these feature again and talk about some of the poetry books and poets that I would whole-heartedly recommend on checking out, whether you’re already a big reader of poetry or if you’re checking them out for the first time.

  • Louise Labe — Ever been in love (reciprocated or unrequited)? Well, her poetry captures it all–the highs, the lows, the hopes, and the in-betweens. What’s also really cool if you’re a language buff or enthusiast is that the NYRB collection is bilingual so you can read the poem in its original French or Italian (review).
  • Miguel Hernandez — Easily hands down my second favourite Spanish poet after Federico Garcia Lorca. His use of imagery, the emotions that he captures in his words is just amazing and gripping…I don’t know what else to say about his poetry, it’s something to experience; I’m so glad NYPB published his works for an English-speaking audience (review).
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti — I likened his poetry to that of Federico Garcia Lorca’s; there’s something about his use of imagery, the sparse but perplexing and illuminating themes he tackles in his works. This collection of selected poetry (review) is the only one I could find that’s available in English but it’s worth checking out, especially as I hadn’t encountered much Italian poetry until last year.
  • Faraway — There’s a lot of micro-poets out there on Instagram that it can perhaps be a bit fatiguing. But I’ve been following Faraway on Instagram for more than a year and what I find that resonates with me with their work is how, despite its briefness and its micro nature, it doesn’t feel bogged down in stylistics compared to Leav Lang or Nayyirah Waheed; it’s accessible and they write about experiences and feelings we can relate to on a daily basis. Anyway I was delighted to see they collected their poetry into a book, Sad Birds Still Sing (review).
  • Anne Michaels — My brief review of her latest collection, All We Saw, won’t be published here on the blog until…next week, I believe, but nonetheless her sparse but introspective prose has definitely resonated with me. I can’t believe I didn’t read her stuff sooner…and she’s Canadian! Based here in Toronto! But yeah, her work first caught my attention when Penguin Random House, in promoting her latest book, posted one of her latest poems (not included in her latest collection by the way, which was a bit of a bummer), May Love Seize You.



And that’s my list! Do you read poetry? Curious on checking these out? If you want to check out more poetry, there’s of course my poetry books to check out 😉 Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Ivan Turgenev)

Posted 26 December, 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! 🙂

And here we are, it’s December once again and so it’s another round of So You Want to Read…! I’ve been having a lot of fun putting these posts together and I hope you also have been discovering a lot of new books through these posts. I’ve been getting busier in the past year so like many things, this feature will also be re-jigged in the coming year. It will still be featured in 2018 but I think the frequency might change depending on how the year shapes up and how much content I have to share. I’ll repeat the news in the December updates 🙂

So anyway, for this month I decided to feature Russian classic author Ivan Turgenev. As winter begins to roll in, I have a tendency of turning towards the Russians; there’s something about the weather and the classics that just work together, and of course Russian winters also come to mind. Turgenev is one of my favourite Russian authors around, his stories are rich and characters and plots are fleshed out without sacrificing the underlying themes that he wants to discuss and vice versa. First time reading Ivan Turgenev’s works? Here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • Fathers and Sons (review) — This was my first Turgenev book and it remains my absolute favourite from him (and one of my top favourite books ever, period). I had to read it for my Imperial Russian history class in university and it remains in my mind the perfect example of seamlessly balancing storytelling with sociopolitical commentary; I could not put this book down when I started reading it.
  • Home of the Gentry (review) — Another excellent novel from Turgenev about a man who returns home, disillusioned by his failed marriage, and is confronted not only with contrasts between living conditions and experiences but also possibilities of the future. There’s a few different themes that Turgenev explores in this book but is nonetheless excellent and quite the page-turner.
  • Rudin — If you want to start with something slightly shorter in length, there’s Rudin. It was easy to slip into the story and it’s sort of like a precursor to Fathers and Sons in that the novella explores the idea of the superfluous man and contrasts in generations and ideas of the Slavophiles verses the Westernisers in terms of the future of Russia. So if you want to read something like Fathers and Sons but not necessarily start with that book, you can start with this one (albeit it is not as fleshed out as the former).



And that’s my list! If you’ve read Ivan Turgenev’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! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Posted 17 November, 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! 🙂

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? 🙂
  • 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 🙂 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! 🙂

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

Posted 15 November, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 2 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! 🙂

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! 🙂