Category: Lists


So You Want To Read… (Poetry)

Posted 1 April, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 6 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new 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 April! I decided to do this post earlier than usual because it is National Poetry Month and thus for this month’s So You Want to Read… I will be featuring poets. I do read poetry on occasion, but I’m not a big reader of it or anything. It is an art I’d like to read more of, hence my goal at the start of 2015 to read more poetry collections, but I understand that it’s not for everyone: it is something to savour more. Nonetheless, I thought to spotlight on a few poets for those who may be interested in checking out some poetry this month, especially for starters who want some more accessible poems πŸ˜‰

  • Federico Garcia Lorca — Hands down my favourite poet ever. I forgot how I first encountered his works–it was from coming across one of his ghazal poems, but I don’t remember where I encountered it on the internet–but I was immediately intrigued. It was haunting, but the imagery his poems evokes were fascinating. Reading his poems, I love how simple and short they are, but filled with imagery and emotion, with longing and despair and love. I have his poems in the bilingual edition (with original Spanish on one side; Collected Poems (review) for example), which is cool and adds to the experience.
  • William Shakespeare — His sonnets, of course πŸ˜› I finally got around to reading the whole batch last year (review) and was amazed at how diversified they were. We studied a few when I was in high school, but it was interesting to read his poems as a whole. I think they’re a great place to start, especially as some of his love poetry are very famous.
  • T.S. Eliot — For a more modern flavour, I can finally see why some have said that T.S. Eliot embodies the confusion of the early 20th century. Indeed his poems do evoke that sense of aimlessness that came about around the period of the world wars, and touches on the feelings of uncertainty and doubt. The Waste Land and Other Poems (review) is a great collection worth checking out.
  • Emily Dickinson — I only finally gotten around to reading her collected works recently (review to be posted later this month) but I’ve often encountered her poems here and there and in miscellaneous collected poetry volumes. The themes she touches on are varied–on love, on life, on the passage of time, of nature–and the different styles she’s embodied are pretty interesting. Not to mention her poems are pretty short so it’s easy to pick up a poem or two here and there πŸ™‚
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning — Another poet whose collected works I only got around to recently (again, review to be posted later this month). Her style is different from Emily Dickinson’s but the passion and focus of her poems in Sonnets from the Portuguese are wonderful, with a few well known ones you’ve likely encountered elsewhere πŸ˜‰

I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading some poetry! What do you guys think? Do you read poetry often? Who are your favourites? Whose works would you recommend?

Edit: For emerging poets, check out Versopolis, supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme. The platform aims to spotlight and provide exposure for new European poets.

So You Want to Read… (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Posted 25 March, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 6 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new 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™‚

For this month, I will be featuring J.R.R Tolkien, and in a rather nerd moment, I have specifically scheduled this post for March 25, which is an important date in Middle Earth as it is the day the One Ring was destroyed and the Free Peoples of Middle Earth won against the forces of Sauron. Today is also Tolkien Reading Day; you can find out more about the event and my post on the day in this post.

But moving along, I know there’s a lot of apprehension when it comes to checking out Tolkien’s works; you may have seen the movies and are keen to check out the books but either saw how long they are and heard how difficult it is to get through them. I understand. Perhaps you want to try some of Tolkien’s other works before sinking in to LOTR in the meantime?

  • The Hobbit (review) — The perfect introduction, especially as some events do lead right into LOTR. The writing of course is a lot different compared to LOTR, a little more whimsical and directed for a younger audience. But it is a good book for all ages, a lot of funny moments but also moments of bravery and wonder.
  • Tales from the Perilous Realm (review) — Maybe you want to check out some of Tolkien’s short stories. This collection is a nice one, filled with magic and dragons and humour. There’s also an essay at the end that gives readers a taste of Tolkien’s academic writing and thinking, pondering on the faery-tale stories and their origins. There’s only one section that ties in to Middle Earth but you don’t have to have read LOTR to read that portion.
  • Letters from Father Christmas (review) — This was the most recent Tolkien book that I’ve read and I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to it! It’s such a precious book of letters written by Father Christmas to Tolkien’s children, complete with drawings and little stories of what he and his companions have been up to prior to every Christmas. Absolutely delightful, an excellent book for all ages, families, etc. πŸ™‚

I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading any of his titles! Are there any other J.R.R. Tolkien titles you’d recommend to new readers (prior to LOTR or the Silmarillion)?

So You Want to Read… (Georgette Heyer)

Posted 16 February, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 6 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new 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™‚

For this month, I will be featuring Georgette Heyer (see tag). I honestly forgot now how I was introduced to her works, but they are the perfect books to check out if you’re a big fan of Jane Austen’s works. They can be funny, the family drama intriguing, the romances lovely, and very much aware of the Georgian and Regency period (the fashions, the language, etc.).

So without further ado, here’s 5 books by Georgette Heyer that I’d recommend as starting points:

  • Venetia (review) — My first Georgette Heyer novel. This book got plenty of good reviews on GoodReads, and with good reason. It was fun, the characterisations fantastic, the development of the romance slow but well-developed (Damarel and Venetia had a very good friendship before it deepened further).
  • Frederica (review) — I love this novel and love recommending it as a Georgette Heyer starter novel because the story revolves on the subject of family, Regency society and human desire and ambition (and of course the romance between Lord Alverstoke and Frederica πŸ˜› ). Frederica’s family is such a delight to read each sibling with their own interests and goals; their dynamic together is fun to read.
  • The Reluctant Widow (review) — Georgette Heyer wrote a few Gothic-themed novels (well, two), this book being one of them. If you’re looking to start one of her books but want something more mysterious and adventurous and light on the romance, I’d recommend this book (the romance is still present, but it’s not the main storyline by any means). It’s an intriguing novel, and the main character Elinor finds herself in a very strange situation, but the family dynamics here was also interesting to read, and I honestly laughed out loud at a few instances. Oh, and did I mention that this is my favourite Georgette Heyer novel? (tough choice, to be honest)
  • Arabella (review) — Another popular title, I akin this book rather closely with Jane Austen’s works. It focuses a lot on the fashion of the period, as well as the subject of courtship and marriage. To put a twist on things, of course, there’s a matter of keeping up appearances/mistaken assumptions involved that makes the story even more intriguing/fun to read.
  • Cotillion (review) — I was honestly having a little difficulty thinking of what book to take up the fifth slot on this list. In the end I went with this novel because I remember thinking how mad this book was when I read it. Kitty Charing comes up with a pretty elaborate scheme to catch the attention of a particular gentleman (as well as strike back at the condition imposed on her inheritance). The results are craziness and hilarity and plenty of entertainment.

I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading any of her titles! Do let me know if it is of any help πŸ˜‰

Have you read any of Georgette Heyer’s works? If so, which of her books would you recommend for a first-time reader?

List: Romance-Related from Yester-Year

Posted 14 February, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 2 Comments

I didn’t participate in Top Ten Tuesday this week, instead opting to do this post. I’ve done a number of romance and Valentine’s Day-themed lists in the past and figured to share them again. Many of my answers haven’t really changed, and I’d recommend many of the stuff (whether they be books or movies) over and over again πŸ˜‰ Feel free to browse, comment, share your own favourites! πŸ™‚

Enjoy! And, um, happy THAT day πŸ˜›

So You Want to Read… (Patricia A. McKillip)

Posted 21 January, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 16 Comments

I’m starting a new feature here on my blog called “So You Want to Read…” which is pretty much what the name suggests. Right now I think it’ll be a monthly thing just because I don’t know if I’ve read enough from certain authors to compile such a list πŸ˜‰ I think it’ll be fun though, not to mention I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to fellow readers πŸ™‚

So, for my inaugural post, the author I will be featuring is Patricia A. McKillip (see tag). Readers of my blog know that I’ve been reading a ton of books by her in the last two years. I had seen her books in the bookstores for such a long time and heard of her in passing in the fantasy circles (though not enough IMO) so I decided to check out her books. The first book I read from her was Ombria in Shadow (review), one of her later books, and absolutely fell in love it her writing and storytelling. They’re so lyrical and beautiful and mysterious. Plus, in a genre filled with trilogies and series, sometimes it’s nice to read a fantasy story that’s contained in one volume (big plus!) πŸ˜‰

So without further ado, here’s 5 books I’d recommend by Patricia A. McKillip if you want to start reading her books:

  • Winter Rose (review) — Hands down my favourite novel by Patricia A. McKillip. I also think this is Patricia A. McKillip at her best: the writing is absolutely gorgeous (found myself just sitting there and dwelling over a sentence every now and then because of how beautiful she’d describe a moment or a feeling or a change in scenery), the plot intriguing and mysterious, the characters wonderous, their lives interwoven by the mystery. Oh, and it’s a sort of is a retelling of the Snow Queen, which was pretty cool too.
  • Alphabet of Thorn (review) — The historian part of me was very pleased with this novel because one of the themes that the story touches on involves the study of history, the overlap between history and myth, storytelling (which I mentioned reminded me vaguely of Carlos Ruiz Zafon). The world-building was especially fantastic to explore and discover.
  • In the Forests of Serre (review) — Someone pointed out that this book employed some Russian fairy tale elements in its story, which prompted me to pick it up immediately πŸ˜› But it’s a fantastic tale nonetheless, and a very good example of a Patricia A. McKillip story where there’s so much more to the plot than meets the eye. The characters that populate this novel are multi-layered, their characterisations strong; I remember feeling very amused and intrigued by all of the character interactions.
  • Ombria in Shadow (review) — This was a pretty good opening book for me despite it being one of her later titles. The story leans more towards political intrigue than the use of swords, but there’s plenty of mystery and sorcery happening behind the scenes to keep the reader intrigued.
  • Od Magic (review) — In some respects, this novel feels a little lighter in fare compared to the other books listed because the magic involved has to do with nature and things that grow, but it’s also a very rich book thematically, touching on themes of risk and restriction, illusion and possibility. Another excellent piece of worldbuilding on the author’s part, and I remember feeling quite delightful about the story.

Bonus recommendation! If you’re looking for or are in the mood for something a little darker/more sombre, I would recommend The Book of Atrix Wolfe (review). Still a magical read, but it touches on themes of regret and guilt and loss.

I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading any of her titles! πŸ™‚ You can find plenty more books of hers that I read from her author tag.

What do you think of this new feature? Will you be checking out any of Patricia A. McKillip’s books? Or if you do read her books, which ones do you recommend for new readers? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!