Review: The Undertaking

Posted 23 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Undertaking
By: Audrey Magee
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises ‘honeymoon’ leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them.

When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to.

Reminiscent of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, this is an unforgettable novel of marriage, ambition, and the brutality of war, which heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new voice in international fiction.

I must’ve picked this book up how many times before committing myself to reading it, lol. I first heard of it when it was longlisted a few years ago for the Baileys Women’s Prize in fiction, the premise sounded interesting.

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Review: A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe

Posted 22 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems
By: Fernando Pessoa
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

This is the largest and richest volume of poetry by Pessoa available in English. It includes generous selections from the three poetic alter egos that the Portuguese writer dubbed “heteronyms” – Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Alvaro de Campos – and from the vast and varied work he wrote under his own name.

This book has been following me around the internet–on Goodreads, on the Book Depository whenever I’m on there–so at long last I caved and picked up the book when I bought a whole bunch of poetry books earlier in the autumn season. I figured why not, could read some more books and works written by Portuguese authors, ad I was curious that this was considered the largest collection available from this poet in English. So my curiosity was piqued enough.

Unfortunately his poetry isn’t quite my type. I can see why he intrigued many readers over the years, his poems are quite autobiographical in that he puts to words the thoughts that come to his mind. And the themes and structures that authors and poets in his time were playing around with can definitely be found in these pages, both the ideas and the way he conveys them. There’s some mirroring in some of his poems, repetition…Some of his poems are told like a story, a conversational narrative. There were a few poems that stood out for me, but for the most part I just could not connect with his poems. They reminded me of stream of consciousness or post-modern works that I never could quite enjoy.

So in the end, whilst I appreciated that I finally got around to reading his works, I didn’t enjoy it or connected with it as much as I thought I would. Maybe something was lost in translation, I’m not sure.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from the Book Depository

December Updates

Posted 30 December, 2017 by Lianne in Website / 3 Comments

And here we are, at the end of another year. It has, suffice to say, been a very busy year for me and I reckon that busy-ness will continue into 2018. As a result there are going to be some major changes happening here on the blog to reflect the changes happening in my life. But firstly, this is what happened over here at the blog for the month of December (despite of the hiatus):

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  1. Because of the hiatus, the only books reviewed this month are Faraway’s Sad Birds Still Sing (review) and Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
  2. For this month’s So You Want to Read…, I focused on the classic Russian author Ivan Turgenev. You can check out that post over here. For all my previous recommendations under this feature, check out this tag.
  3. It’s that time of year in which we do the annual end of the year book survey, hosted by Jamie @ Perpetual Page-Turner. It’s been a rather odd year in reading for me but nonetheless you can read my answers to the survey over here.
  4. I did a little unboxing post last week of two items that came some time ago: the Hippo Noto that I backed on Kickstarter and an A5 notebook cover from Shopot. You can read that unboxing over here.
  5. On a final note, my latest poetry collection, Of Frost and Fury, is available now! You can read my journey on how it came about over here.
  6. And now for the big news: I decided not to renew my url. I had been weighing this for the last month or so and decided, I’m not as engaged in the book/blogging community as I used to, my influx of visitors isn’t much anyway, and related on the second change happening here on the blog, my activity here has dropped. So I figured to let the deadline slide. So in January this blog will revert back to its hosted url, which is http://http://eclectictales.insanitysandwich.com/blog. Which means some changes will be made to the header of the layout and whatnot but the blog is sticking around (for now)! The second major change is just that I won’t be posting every day like I’ve done in previous years as there’s just not that much material to post right now. I’m just too busy with work and school and my poetry publications and my other hobbies and interests to keep up with blogging as I did before…
  7. And on that note: the blog will once again be going on hiatus as I’m going to be busy with the end of semester/exams/craziness all around x_x

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And that’s more of less it for this December! Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas/holiday season, and wishing you all a Happy New Year! 🙂

8th Annual End of the Year Book Survey

Posted 29 December, 2017 by Lianne in Meme / 2 Comments


(image source)

Jamie @ Perpetual Page-Turner‘s End of the Year Book Survey is back this year and whilst this year didn’t feel like as big a reading year as previous years, nonetheless I read some great books. It’s always fun to recap at the end of the year 🙂 To those interested, here’s my previous years’ entries.

And without further ado:


2017 Reading Stats


Number Of Books You Read:
According to my personal record that I’ve been keeping track of, I’ve read 133 books last year

Number of Re-Reads:
According to said list, 16 books

Genre You Read The Most From:
According to Goodreads, the genre I read the most from this year was poetry. Not surprised; I did indeed read a lot of poetry 😛



Best In Books


01. Best Book You Read In 2017? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)
I’m too lazy to list everything out so I’m just going to refer to my TTT list from last week


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