I can’t believe it’s already September! Seems like yesterday summer was just rolling in and I had just finished classes, lol. Anyway, as with every year, here’s some of my favourite boks read between the first week of June and today. Moreso than last year I haven’t read as much as I used to; I’ve been busy at work and meeting up with people and trying to work on other projects. But I did read whenever I can.
In no particular order:
- The remainder of the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn (see author tag) — Okay, I was purposely putting off finishing the series because I never want it to end, lol. But it was fun to finally get around to the younger Bridgerton siblings’ stories and romances and just hang out with the Bridgerton clan as a whole 🙂
- Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (review) — Neil Gaiman’s books never disappoint and I was happy to finally read the last of his full-length novels that I haven’t read. I love how he draws on other mythologies and legends, and evokes that sense of wonder and mystery in his stories.
- Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (review) — Okay, I didn’t rate it as amazing-AMAZING but it was the perfect summer read; had me glued to the page figuring out what happened to the plane and who amongst the cast of characters had a hand in events.
- Still Water by Amy Stuart (review) — I loved her debut novel Still Mine (review) so I was excited to read the follow-up. It did not disappoint, adding more questions to the characters we already know and delving deeper into their survival and their sorrows.
- The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich (review to follow) — I cannot stress how important this book is and the stories that Svetlana Alexievich was able to record and collect from the Soviet women who served during the war.
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 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?
Happy Canada Day! It’s a long weekend up here, which is nice, and to celebrate everything Canadian, I’ve decided to put together a wee list of some of my favourite books by Canadian authors that I’ve read in the past year (2015 – 2016).
Edit (09 July 2016): A little late as I’ve been away at the end of June/start of July, but you can consider this post as part of this month’s edition of So You Want to Read… (see previous posts)
- Still Mine by Amy Stuart (review) — I read this book earlier this year and it’s absolutely marvelous! Very atmospheric, foreboding, and mysterious; you’re not quite sure who to trust in this wee mining town in the middle of nowhere, and the protagonist is fighting her own past demons whilst searching for clues to the whereabouts of a missing woman. I’ve mentioned it recently how it’s a perfect vacation read, but it’s a great read any time, really.
- Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis (review) — This was last year’s winner of the Giller Prize, which prompted me to check it out (plus I got some verbal recommendations when I was at the bookstore shortly afterwards). It was absolutely stunning, from the premise of bringing human consciousness to this group of fifteen dogs to capturing the essense of human experience. Not to mention from the Canadian standpoint it gives a curious/change of perspective of the city I live in.
- Family Furnishings by Alice Munro (review) — No list of Canadian literature is ever complete without mentioning Alice Munro 😛 I selected this title, the latest compliation of her works, because it’s all around a solid collection. I found I prefer her later stories to her earlier ones–much easier to get into, the themes and scenarios interesting–and think this is a great starting point if you’ve never read anything by her before.
- Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (review) — Joseph Boyden is a quite a big author up here, writing about Aboriginal experience in Canadian history and about Aboriginals and their lives as a whole. I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of his books until this year and suffice to say it was quite a read! I learned a lot about the Aboriginal contribution to the Canadian forces during World War One as well as a myriad of other topics such as the residential schools and the serious issue of morphine addiction. Can’t wait to read more books by him!
- The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (review) — Any book by her, really (see author tag), but to date this title has to be my favourite from her. It’s absolutely atmospheric, feels like you’re almost in northern Scotland, at Slains, facing the sea. Both storylines–the 17th century one and the present day one–were absolutely enthralling, I couldn’t quite put it down once I started reading it. I’ve enjoyed almost all of her books save for one of two but if you’re new to her works or want a sample of her storytelling, this is definitely the book to check out.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And that’s my list of recommendations of books to check out by Canadian authors! Have you read any of these titles? If so, what did you think of them? If you haven’t read any of these, well, now’s your chance! I’m hosting a flash book giveaway where you can win your choice of book from the above five titles* 🙂 This giveaway is open internationally so long as The Book Depository ships to your country. This giveaway will run until 08 July 2016 at 11:59PM. A winner will be selected the following day and will have 48 hours to respond to the email so please make sure you enter a valid email address! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at webmaster [at] eclectictales [dot] com. Bonne chance! 😀
* – If you’ve read the above titles by Alice Munro, Joseph Boyden, or Susanna Kearsley, I’d be happy to send you a book of theirs that you haven’t read.
Edit: Congrats to the winner of this giveaway, Denise! I hope you enjoy the book of you choice. Thanks again to everyone who entered!
You may have noticed this week amongst the book community that Shakespeare’s life and works has been of much discussion as we celebrate his 400th death anniversary (or thereabouts). For the past week I’ve been posting up reviews of recent adaptations that I had watched, but I decided whilst I was reading quotes and the like on Twitter that I wanted to do something else as well. I’ve already compiled my list of favourite plays (see here) but this time I would like to talk about my most memorable characters that I’ve encountered in Shakespeare’s places. Because there’s been a few 😉
In no particular order:
- Touchstone from As You Like It (review) — He’s actually the reason why I wanted to compile this list to begin with. He’s absolutely hilarious, and so witty, so it was absurdly amusing to read and watch his survive in the Forest of Arden, away from court, where his wit would languish amongst the shepherds and laymen. But he had some of the best lines and scenes of the whole play so yeah, very memorable (and Dominic Rowan’s performance in the 2009 stage production was absolutely perfect (see post)).
- Malvolio from Twelfth Night (review) — Kind of tough call to say who was the most memorable character for me from this play as I love it to bits but Malvolio and his yellow stockings, yo, how could one forget that?
- Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet (review) — Another scene-stealer, he’s pretty hilarious to the point of craziness but he injects so much life and energy to his scenes, especially in contrast to Romeo’s lovestruckness and the looming tragedy ahead. I reckon it’s one of those roles actors love to take on.
- Mark Antony from Julius Caesar (review) — I re-read the play recently and while his “Friends! Romans! Countrymen!” speech is one of my favourites hands down from Shakespeare, I love how his character sort of flourished after Caesar’s death and he really goes after the conspirators in a rather sneaky way that no one suspected (well, we know he’s out to get them, but the stage characters don’t!).
- Beatrice & Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing (review) — There’s no way I could choose one over the other, the sparks were crazy electric with these two and really stole the show with their endless bantering.
- Richard III from Richard III (review) — Omg this guy. He’s such a smooth talker as he’s manipulating everyone around him and working his way to becoming king. His schemes are elaborate and he’s pretty ruthless at getting what he wants, but you can’t help but feel rather astounded at the way he went about it all and planned everything out.
- Hamlet from Hamlet (review) — Naturalemente. Though it took a second read years later to really appreciate the complexity of what Hamlet was going through and the situation that was before him. Definitely puts the complexity of human uncertainty and existentialism to the forefront here.
- Iago from Othello (review) — That bastard.
- Titus Andronicus from Titus Andronicus (review) — Actually, this entire play, but anyway… D= Titus Andronicus really takes revenge to a whole new level here.
- The Gatekeeper from Macbeth (review) — The only humourous element in the whole play, which is such a stark contrast that it ended up quite the highlight 😛
And that’s my list of Shakespeare characters that I found most memorable! What about you, which Shakespeare characters stood out for you? Let me know, I’d love to chat with you! 🙂
Wow, how is it September already? Seems like yesterday that summer was just starting…As some of you know, the end of summer usually means my seasonal wrap-up reading-wise, something I started doing a few years ago, where I list out my top six favourite reads from the first week of June to the first weekend of September (why this time frame and why six, I don’t know, it was an arbitrary choice that stuck over the years). Now, granted, this summer’s a little strange because a) I read a lot in the preceding months so all my reviews are scheduled and backed up…so some of my favourite reads below may not have reviews up yet (not that this is an issue or anything, but it hasn’t happened before and I find it a bit strange tbh) 😉 and b) my reading schedule went out of whack because of my consoliation over the summer 😛 I was reading more textbooks and course notes than actual books T___T
But anyway, without further ado, six books I read over the summer that I loved:
- Rachel Bach’s Paradox trilogy (see author tag) — I read the first book, Fortune’s Pawn (review) last year and was absolutely itching to read the next two books in the trilogy. I normally take forever getting around completing trilogies but this has to be one the fastest I’ve ever gotten around to reading 😛 Love love love this trilogy; readers of bad-ass female protagonists and space opera will want to check this out.
- Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins (review) — Guys, this book has been on my want-to-read list for years, why the hell did I take so long getting around to it? The writing was absolutely gorgeous and the story totally drew me in. I’ve never been anywhere near the Cinque Terre region but makes me want to go there so very much 😀
- Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members (review) — Another book I had been eyeing for a while (though not at long as Beautiful Ruins!) but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the lead character’s unapologetic, passive aggressive letters to staff, ex-wives, colleagues, friends, students, etc.
- Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan books (review #1; the rest will be posted next week) — Guys, #FerranteFever is real. I read these books in one weekend, I was just absolutely absorbed into Lila and Elena’s lives and world. My review cannot do it justice how amazing this book is. Go check it out now 😛
- Lindsey Kelk’s Always the Bridesmaid — My review of this novel won’t be live until sometime in October (*gulp* That’s how far in my scheduled review posts are at) but omg this book was such a delight, it was the perfect summer read. It reminded me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, Pride and Prejudice, and Miranda but set now (as opposed to Bridget Jones set in the 1990s). The references are very much current; it was hilarious and aww and cringeworthy (at times) but I totally emphathised with Maddie the whole way. Definitely worth checking out!
- Max Wirestone’s The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss — My review of this book won’t be going live here on my blog until October/closer to the publication date, but suffice to say I loved this book. It was funny, the mystery was intriguing, the characters were interesting, the gamer/geek culture references 😀 Definitely a book to keep an eye out this autumn (especially if you’re a fan of Veronica Mars and Ernest Clive’s Ready Player One (review)).
And of course, some honourable mentions that didn’t make the above list but where nonetheless fantastic:
- L. Frank Baum’s The Wondrous Wizard of Oz (review to follow later this month)
- Sigal Samuel’s The Mystics of Mile End (review)
- Dean Palmer’s The Queen and Mrs. Thatcher (review)
- Philip Slayton’s Mayors Gone Bad (review)
- Susanna Kearsley’s Season of Storms (review)
- Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings (review)
- Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians (review)
- Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea (review forthcoming)
- N.K. Jemisin’s Dreamblood duology (reviews forthcoming)
And that’s my list for summer this 2015! 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?