Category: Lists


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?

So You Want to Read… (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Posted 22 August, 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 August again to everyone! For this month, I decided to feature (surprise, surprise) Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The season prompted me to choose him next, but also because I recently re-read his works (and in the case of three of his works, actually typing up reviews for them). I first read his books around 2007/2009 when I was in university but because of my work load especially in grad school I never got around to reviewing his works properly, though I greatly enjoyed them. He may seem daunting–Nobel prize-winning and all–but his writings are really such a treat.

First time checking out his works? Here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • Strange Pilgrims (review) — A great introduction. The book features twelve of his short stories, ranging from the dramatic to the strange with varying doses of magical realism, but all of them featuring Latin American characters and experiences. I think it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone in this book and there should be a story somewhere in here that will strike first time readers.
  • Of Love and Other Demons (review) — In my review of this book I mentioned that the story reads like a dark fairy tale and like Romeo and Juliet punctured with elements of madness, sickness, exorcism, and tense family relations. It’s a relatively short tale but Gabriel Garcia Marquez does a lot within the story.
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold (review) — A short tale that can be read in a day but it leaves the reader wondering and piecing together the clues from hearsay as to why a whole town knew that Santiago Nasar was going to be murdered and no one did anything to stop it. Raises questions about society and values and the group mentality.



And that’s my list! Of course there’s still a handful of his other works that I haven’t read but I think these are excellent books to start with if you’re picking up his works for the first time. If you’ve read his 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… (Federico Garcia Lorca)

Posted 14 July, 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™‚

So for this month’s edition of “So You Want to Read…”, I’ve decided to focus on Federico Garcia Lorca, another Spanish artist but from the early twentieth century. It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten now as to how I first stumbled across his works but I haven’t looked back since; I’ve read both his poetry and his plays and I consider him to be my absolute favourite poet. I love the feelings he evokes through his imagery, his use of words, that sense of duende. If you’ve never read any of his works, here’s the three I recommend starting with:

  • his early poetry (review) — He’s written a number of collections, but I love his early works the most, his ghazals. Honestly I could just say pick up his poetry, period, but I do find my least favourite are his poems from New York; they’re a little longer, he was trying a different form, and it just didn’t quite work for me compared to his other poems. But do check the review link I posted there and the one over here for a sampling of some of his poems.
  • Blood Wedding (review) — From the four plays I’ve read by him, this one stands out the most in my memory. The tragedy is on a number of different levels, that sense of inevitability in the decisions that these characters make, and the imagery evoked here is just fantastic. Re-reading the plays again two years ago this still stood out for me.
  • Yerma (review) — This play was depressing but it’s quite a study in a marriage lacking in communication, lacking in direction where both parties have different outlooks and goals in life, gender roles and personal fulfillment. My heart really went out for Yerma.



And that’s my list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Federico Garcia Lorca! Have you read any of his works? If so, which one is your favourite? Which titles have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚