Review: The Flowers of Evil

Posted 28 December, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Flowers of Evil
By: Charles Baudelaire
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The Flowers of Evil, which T.S. Eliot called the greatest example of modern poetry in any language, shocked the literary world of nineteenth century France with its outspoken portrayal of lesbian love, its linking of sexuality and death, its unremitting irony, and its unflinching celebration of the seamy side of urban life. Including the French texts and comprehensive explanatory notes to the poems, this extraordinary body of love poems restores the six poems originally banned in 1857, revealing the richness and variety of the collection.

Firstly, if you look him up on le Google, he’s got the creepiest photo O_o Anyway, I was first introduced to Charles Baudelaire’s poetry when I read the small collection French Love Poetry (review) earlier this year. I had not read much French poetry to date so I decided to check out this book.

While I was reading this book I was pondering how this book was considered to be modern poetry and why it was considered as revolutionary as it was. Subject-wise his poems about urban life, the prostitutes that fill the French streets, the physicality of his poetry. It’s hard to describe as it’s something to read for yourself and discover but it does feel different compared to other 19th century poetry that I’ve read (granted, they were English poets too, but that’s neither here nor there). His poems about love and about death were especially interesting, but his poems about the Poet and their role was also poems that caught my attention.

This is a pretty tiny review but it bears getting its own post as this is a fairly famous French poet by my understanding. This edition that I read was pretty cool too because the original French was on one side and the English translation on the other, if you’re like me and like to read what it’s like in its original language (or a completionist like me). I can’t say a particular poem stood out for me but I did post a line that I really enjoyed on Litsy. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for new poetry to read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Review: Sad Birds Still Sing

Posted 27 December, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Sad Birds Still Sing
By: Faraway
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Sad Birds Still Sing is the highly anticipated debut book of poetry from the anonymous author known as ‘Faraway’. With one of the quickest rises to social media stardom in author history, in six short months, Faraway has become one of the most recognizable figures on the platform they write on – Instagram (@farawaypoetry). With a following of 200,000 and growing, Faraway has gained attention and shares from superstars like Jessie J, Brenna D’Amico, and many more. Their writing style is minimalistic, hopeful, and full of life and character. In this debut, Faraway takes the reader on a journey of discovery, with a message of hope as the main artery running through the pages. Sad Birds Still Sing fearlessly dives into the depths of the human condition, tackling topics such as new and old love, loss, depression, self-harm/love/awareness, parenting, dreaming, and much, much more. They are here to prove to the world that every emotion is valid and necessary, and that “it is still beautiful when sad birds sing.”

I have been following Faraway on Instagram for most of the year now and have been enjoying their poetry, so much so that I started wondering when they will be compiling it into a book. Well, they finally did publish a compilation in early October and I snatched it up as quickly as I could 😛

The book is divided into four sections, somewhat thematic, like I’m following a narrative, but the themes mentioned above–of life and love and loss, depression and of the future–are interwoven all throughout. Their poetry is a perfect example of micropoetry, but unlike Leav Lang or Nayyirah Waheed, I feel like Faraway’s poetry is stripped down but still poignant, not bogged down by stylistics or attempts at something…I don’t know how to even describe it. The point is, I can connect to a lot of the poetry that they write; you can feel the longing in their poetry, or at least I felt it. And it’s a reassuring read in that, despite of the lowness expressed in some of the poems, it also reassures that there will be better days, you will find love, it will be okay.

So yeah, if you’re into poetry by Rupi Kaur and others, definitely check out Faraway’s poetry 🙂

Rating: ★★★★½

Follow the author on Instagram || Order this book from The Book Depository

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 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! 🙂

Of Frost and Fury — My Second Poetry Collection!

Posted 22 December, 2017 by Lianne in Writing / 0 Comments

So during my hiatus from the blog I had been dealing with work and catching up with school. But what also happened during my hiatus was that my second poetry collection was finalised and released into the world! I present to you Of Frost and Fury: Poems Written in the Land of Volcanoes and Giants 🙂

I’ve been teasing a bit about this since I got back from Iceland and Denmark (especially from Iceland). The idea came to me as I was organising my journals after I had returned from my trip; I had a notebook filled with writings that I had done whilst travelling, mostly poetry, and was thinking about how I was going to incorporate it into my next general collection. I then realised that I actually had enough material to compile a standalone collection.

The idea to present it as a mixed media, incorporating photos I took during the trip, came as I was sifting through my photos from said trip. I’ve long used Blurb in the past and have enjoyed the quality of their publication. I thought it would be cool to include the photos of the scenery I’ve seen, sharing it alongside the lines I wrote. And so this project came to be.

There were setbacks, of course–school kept me from sitting down and editing it thoroughly in one go, then there was details with Blurb (apparently to sell it on Amazon et al I needed to have made the book using Bookwright, a program I do not like, not BookSmart, which I had been using for years). So that was me around November , but after a few takes and back and forth with proofing, I finally finished it earlier this month. I’m still waiting for it to be completely listed as available online–it is listed on and Barnes and Noble, but I noticed has it listed at some ridiculous price and it’s not showing up on AbeBooks and the Book Depository. I’m also not sure how to go about posting it on the Blurb Bookstore directly; it’s weird that there’s no option for there to be both (both on the Blurb Bookstore and on other sites; it made me choose one or the other). Anyway, something to think about in the new year.

Anyway, on to the preview (from what I posted so far on my poetry account, @shallibeapoetinstead):

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