Tag: Books: Recommendations


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™‚

Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 15 August, 2017 by Lianne in Meme / 9 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Ten book recommendations for ___________

I had to think long and hard for this topic this week as a) I’m painfully behind in my television shows and movies and b) I feel like I’ve covered so many books from all kinds of genres and character types. So for this topic, I decided to just go with quirky reads as I was reading some pretty zany reads around the time that I put this list together πŸ˜›

In no particular order:

  1. The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde (see author tag) — Pretty much my inspiration for this week’s list as I just finished reading two more books from this series at the time that I started thinking about this topic. I love how this series is such a mash-up of genres: alternative timeline/1980s, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, a meta on books/reading/storytelling…It can be pretty funny, pretty zany, but also pretty heartwrenching. It’s a book lover’s delight. If you haven’t read this series, I cannot recommend it enough.
  2. The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett (see author tag) — I love the worldbuilding in these books and on the outset it may seem like merely fantasy but the satire in these books are absolutely astute and loaded, not the humanity of the characters (ultimately) and of course the quintessential British humour involved.
  3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (see post) — Never got around to writing a proper review for the novel but the off-beat and dry British humour always reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s books, just set in space. The novel just starts with Arthur Dent just wanting his hangover to go away and he ends up getting whisked off to outer space as Earth is demolished to make way for an interstellar highway. And that’s just the beginning…
  4. The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone (review) — Geek culture meets mystery in a Veronica Mars-esque manner (complete with the observations on the people she meets)? Yeah, it makes for a bit of a zany read xD (and yay that there’s another two installments to this series!)
  5. The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn by Boris & Arkady Strugatsky (review) — This book was so quirky! Poor Peter Glebsky just wants to enjoy his downtime in peace and quiet and finds himself not only surrounded by some really strange vacationers staying at the inn but lands himself in the middle of a mystery and odd alien events that felt a bit like an episode of The X-Files.
  6. The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman (review) — Speaking of protagonists who wanted little things and ended up getting thrown into some crazy events, here’s another book with quite the premise: Egon Loeser just wanted to get laid and ends up taking quite the romp across 1930s Berlin and elsewhere…It gets pretty mad. But it’s also pretty funny.

  7. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (review) — For something a little less sci-fi-y/genre-mashing, here’s a book set in the contemporary times. The zaniness stems from this Ukrainian family living in England, in particular these estranged sisters trying to deal with their elderly father and this really young woman he wants to marry whom they think is out for his money. This little blurb doesn’t even do it justice, my book review outlined some of the mad things they had to deal with. Hence why it’s on this list πŸ˜›



And that’s my list for this week. Couldn’t quite think of ten but seeing as I mentioned a few series this week, it should be enough πŸ˜‰ Have you read these books/have some of these books on your wish-to-read pile? 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™‚

So You Want to Read… (Arturo Perez-Reverte)

Posted 15 June, 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™‚

For this month’s “So You Want to Read…” I’m going to be featuring books by Arturo Perez-Reverte . Now granted I haven’t read his Adventures of Captain Alatriste series, but I think I’ve read enough from his standalone that have been translated to English to put together a list like this. Plus, I’ve enjoyed his novels to date; he brings different periods of Spanish history to life through his novels, which are also chock-full of intrigue, suspense, and mystery.

So without further ado, here’s some books by him to check out from him if you’re interested in reading his books for the first time:

  • The Flanders Panel (review) — Hands down my favourite novel by this author and one I recommend the most from the titles I’ve read thus far. It was such a riveting read; if you’re a fan of really thoughtful suspenseful mysteries, this book is definitely worth checking out. The mystery, the piecing together and guessing who the culprit is, the fascinating cast of characters…Yeah, I don’t know what else to say about this novel except to check it out!
  • The Club Dumas (review) — This is probably Arturo Perez-Reverte’s most popular title, and with good reason. Mystery, suspense, secret societies and good ol’ literature–I definitely understand why they recommend this book if you’ve enjoyed Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind (review) (I myself picked up this novel because of it). I need to re-read it myself as the book refers a lot of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers (review) and I only got around to that title a few years afterwards but it’s a thrilling and fascinating read even if you haven’t read the classic. It’s also a lot darker in tone, as I recall, but definitely worth checking out.
  • The Fencing Master (review) — Perhaps a bit of an odd choice as I even admitted in my review that it took me a second reading to really appreciate what this novel was about and what it was trying to get at. If you’re not familiar with 19th century Spanish history, this book is certainly an eye opener because Spain was a bit…stuck, for lack of a better word, torn between values and practices that considered arcane at this point and the tumultuous ideas and developments of present-day Europe and beyond. There’s a lot of ideas floating around in this book but also plenty of mystery and intrigue.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Arturo Perez-Reverte 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™‚