August 31, 2015

The Reading Book Post, August 31st


Hello, everyone! Are you ready to welcome the fall? I am and I can't wait for the weather to become chillier. Anyway, tomorrow I'll be travelling all day long. But, as every Monday, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • Sad news. Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author of books such as Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat has passed away last week at the age of 82. Many people from the literary world paid him tribute.


  • Have you read The Shepherd's Crown yet? Author Neil Gaiman has revealed that Terry Pratchett had a different ending planned for this novel, but he died before he could get it down on paper.

  • The Japanese book company Kinokuniya has bought 90% of the first print of Haruki Murakami's upcoming collection of essays. The reason for this is to rival online book retailers. Novelist as a Vocation will be published on September 10, 2015.

  •  Warm Bodies has a prequel novella! It's called The New Hunger, it was originally self-published in 2013 and it will be officially released on October 6. You can now read an excerpt.


  • Scarlett Johannson went to court, in order to block the translation in English of a French novel, that is about the relationship between a man and the star's look-alike. The novel The First Thing You See will be eventually be published in the UK in September. 

  • Freedom of speech is one of the issues that concern me. Who better to speak about controversial books, censorship threats to graphic novels than Neil Gaiman? This was one of the most interesting interviews I've read so far. 

  • Last week, I told you that Morrissey will release his first novel at the end of September. Now, we can see the cover. List of the Lost will be published on September 24 by Penguin.

  • Guess the Book by Food Quotes. This quiz is for the hungry ones!


Review: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen


Title: Mansfield Park

Author: Jane Austen

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Date of Publication: 1814

Number of Pages: 507

Find it at: Book Depository

Summary

Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords' influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen's most profound works.

Review

Mansfield Park was the only novel by Jane Austen that I had only read one time. So, when I decided to participate to Austen in August I got the opportunity I was seeking to reread it. Although I liked it the first time I read it, I appreciated it in a totally different way the second. This happened because I didn't consider it as a romance, I didn't expect any and I wanted to become a judge of the characters. And what a world this opened to me!

Fanny Price grows up with her wealthy relations, the Bertrams, in Mansfield Park. She grows up accustomed to different behaviour than her cousins since she is in a totally different position than them. To be honest, she is never allowed to forget it. The way her aunt Norris and her cousins behave to her is unbearable at times, the boys are excluded since Edmund seems to care about her and Tom doesn't really care of anyone. But she neve complains and she is always grateful for all the things that are offered to her. She is almost too good to be real.

Her character becomes more obvious when the Crawfords come into the neighbourhood. All of her cousins become enchanted by them, both of the girls fall in love with Henry, and Edmund falls for Mary. They forget everything that propriety demands. Although Maria is engaged she doesn't even try to show her preference to a man different than her fiance. And in a time that their father is absent. By this point, we learn the Fanny is in love with Edmund and it's so painful to see her observe all of his attentions to Mary Crawford. One of the saddest scenes of the novel is the one that Edmund wants to participate in the play, but he doesn't want to admit it and tries to reason Fanny into urging him to do so.

Edmund for me is unforgivable. He is constantly obsessing over Mary that his judgement is blinded. He sees her faults, but he chooses to ignore them. He understands that she is not the right woman to be a clergyman's wife, but he still nurses the hopes that she will change her mind. His feelings for Fanny are the ones of a brother and this doesn't change in the end, so I can't really understand how he fell in love with her. Besides, they are first cousins!

Henry Crawford is a complex character. He is easygoing and likes to flirt. But he normally knows where to stop. I believe that he genuinely loves Fanny and that he wants to marry her, he's just easy to fall into temptation. This is what ruins his chances in the end.

In Mansfield Park, it's very interesting to see how young wealthy people are behaving. Well-bred girls show no respect to their absent father, firstborns neglect their responsibilities towards an estate that doesn't have the same profit as before, and even aunts the encourage such behaviours. While reading it, you cannot help but think Is Fanny the only reasonable one there?

All in all, Mansfield Park is a very enjoyable novel. Fanny is well-liked and you can only feel bad for all the things she has to endure and all the things she has to remain silent about. There are so many characters here that don't have the acceptable behaviour, but are portrayed so well that it proves the fine writing style of Jane Austen. I would recommend it to anyone, but beware, don't expect any grand romance. You will definitely be disappointed if you expect one.

So, my advice is...

Ride to Mansfield Park!  

August 29, 2015

Confession Saturday: Dear Cadence


Hello, everyone! Confession Saturday is a weekly feature, in which we will have the chance to express our feelings towards certain characters. This time of the week we will choose one character and write to him/her about all the things we would like to say. We can explain why we like or dislike each character, which of his/her actions we don't understand and generally whatever comes to mind. 


This week I'm going to write a letter to Cadence, the young protagonist of the book We Were Liars (2014) by E. Lockhart. This is a thrilling novel with a lot of twists and turns and you can't really see the end coming.


Dear Cadence,

your situation is grave. I don't even know where to begin, but you definitely need psychological help.

The trauma you had to get over was impossible, to be honest. I would lose it as well if I were in your position. It might be a relief though that you couldn't really remember anything. Or maybe it was what it made it even worse because when you finally remembered, it came as a second shock. And it was a shock for all of us. 

You should have planned the whole mission differently. You should have left a little room for mistakes and alternations of the last moment. I can't propose anything better, but I'm sure that if the four of you had thought about it more thoroughly then you would have succeeded. 

I'm not sure how I feel about you. I guess I like you, but my compassion is stronger. 

Yours,
Aeriko

August 27, 2015

Thursday Quotables: Edmund Bertram's Diary


Hello, everyone! Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. Every week we highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.


As much as I love reading the classics, I equally love reading their retellings. This is one such case. Edmund Bertram's Diary (2007) by Amanda Grange gives us the story of Mansfield Park through the eyes of the gentleman, Edmund Bertram. I'll share with a passage in which Edmund encounters for the first time Mary Crawford. I found the description lovely.

I scarcely know what I am writing, for I have had such a jolt to my feelings that I am quite dazed. I returned from estate business this afternoon to find a beautiful young woman in the drawing room. I caught a glimpse of her profile first and felt my pulse quicken, and when she turned her face towards mine, the hope flashed through my mind that Tom would not care for her after all, for she was the most charming young woman I had ever seen. She had bright. dark eyes and dark hair, with a clear brown complexion and a smiling mouth, whilst her figure was small and dainty. She was a complete contrast to Maria and Julia, whose tall fairness, as they sat next to her, set off her dark loveliness like two willowy reeds setting off a forest pool.

Have you read Edmund Bertram's Diary? Which is your favourite fan fiction? 

Blogger Recognition Award, '90s Movie Book Tag and Book Cover Guessing Challenge

Hello, everyone! I was invited to do some tags/awards and now that I finally got the time, I'll do them all in this post. It might be a long one but bear with me. I will also say beforehand that I won't tag anyone. You can all consider yourselves tagged and do them if you find them interesting :)

Blogger Recognition Award


Rules:


  1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give this award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.
  2. Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. List who you nominated in your post. Make sure to attach the award yourself!
  3. Comment on each blog and let them know you've nominated them. Provide a link to your award post.
  4. Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night. That way, anyone can find the original post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

My story:


I've always been an avid reader. But I wanted to challenge myself. So, I thought of doing themed reads, it would also be a great chance to read some of the books that are in my TBR list for a long time. Then, I got the idea of sharing those themed reads with the blogosphere and this is how The Reading Armchair came to be. The first themed read (although I didn't call it like that) was David Mitchell's novel in chronological order, then I continued with a Japanese themed read and recently I finished with the funny books themed read. The upcoming theme will be all about books adapted to/from video games.


Advice to new bloggers:

  1.  Don't press yourself! You should always read books that you are interested in reading. I know it's great to have people ask you to read their novels, but you shouldn't push your limits. If you enjoy what you do then this will show on your blog as well.
  2. Be social. Be sure to answer to the comments people leave on your posts and try to visit and read their content. Apart from showing respect, it's also a nice way to create bonds among the blogosphere!


'90s Movie Book Tag

Thank you Julia @ For the Love of Books for tagging me :)

1. She's All That - Name a book couple that are an odd pairing but they still fit together perfectly

This couple would be Rosie and Don Tillman from The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

2. 10 Things I hate about you - a book or series that you have a love/hate relationship with

Kafka on the Shore, without a second thought. Although I wasn't particularly close to this novel, I've been thinking about it ever since I read it.

3. Clueless - A character that is totally clueless, but you love them anyway

Would Emma Woodhouse be too obvious, since Clueless is an adaptation of this novel? Well, I guess Emma it is. I like her no matter what!

4. Titanic - A book that made you cry

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. I couldn't stop crying at the end.

5. American Pie - A book that made you laugh

That's an easy question since I've just finished the funny books themed read. Napalm & Silly Putty by George Carlin.

6. Can't Hardly Wait - A book with a crazy party

I'd say the Artemis Fowl series. They all are so different and the situations are always getting out of hand.

7. Cruel Intensions - Name a character you can never fully trust

Hugo from The Bone Clocks. He is charming and intelligent, but he also seems capable of doing great evil.

8. Name your favourite "boy next door" or "girl next door" couple

Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss. Such an adorable couple!

9. Scream - A book with a memorable villain

The Lord of the Rings series? I go classic again, but this is the book with the ultimate fight between evil and good. 

10. The Craft - A book with Witches

All Souls Trilogy. What more can I say? An excellent series!

Book Cover Guessing Challenge


Thanks a lot to Fiona @ A Girl Between the Pages for tagging me for this one!

So, in this one I'll choose four book covers and I'll try to guess the plot of the book. Will I succeed?



My guess: A girl meets accidentally a guy, they like each other but they get lost. They meet again after a while and in the end all ends well. 

Goodreads Summary:
Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games--or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? 
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl--as a friend? 
On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

The result:
Not one but three girls. And I'm not sure if the three of them face romantic problems. I guess I was completely wrong.



My guess: This is definitely a mystery. There is a wedding that takes place in the woods and someone gets murdered. Then our protagonist tries to solve it, in order to survive herself.

Goodreads Summary:
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. 
In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house 
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her? 
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room. 
But something goes wrong. Very wrong. 
And in the dark, dark room… 
Some things can’t stay secret forever.

The result:
I was part right. It is a mystery, but I'm not quiet sure what actually happens. Is the invitation for a wedding? The cover says so.



My guess: This one seems a typical historical novel. A poor girl who sells matches (?) meets an heiress and they become friends. But society doesn't allow it and they go against it.

Goodreads Summary:
Nellie Dowell was a match factory girl in Victorian London who spent her early years consigned to orphanages and hospitals. Muriel Lester, the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder, longed to be free of the burden of money and possessions. Together, these unlikely soulmates sought to remake the world according to their own utopian vision of Christ’s teachings. The Match Girl and the Heiress paints an unforgettable portrait of their late-nineteenth-century girlhoods of wealth and want, and their daring twentieth-century experiments in ethical living in a world torn apart by war, imperialism, and industrial capitalism.

The Result:
I was so close! Ok, there are a thing or two that I couldn't guess but this is definitely a success!



My guess: This book is set in the far future. There is an evil alliance that took over the space and there are also some rebels who try to resist (I'm a Star Wars fan). And they live in constant danger of getting uncovered and getting killed.

Goodreads Summary:
Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself. With no other resources at his disposal, Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the cyborg crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. But as he closes in on the secret, a killer closes in on him. Because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason — and if that reason is uncovered, the universe—and reality itself — could be irrecoverably altered…

The result:
I was completely wrong! It's not even set in future. Oh, well...

August 24, 2015

The Reading Book Post, August 24th


Hello, everyone! The lucky number for the Classics Club Spin is 5. So, from my list, I'll have to read Daniel Deronda by George Eliot until October 23. I'll better start reading it soon. Also, the next themed read will be (most probably) books adapted to/from video games. If you have any suggestions please let me know. But, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • The Hugo Award Winners 2015 were announced. Among the winner is the Chinese Author Cixin Liu for the novel The Three Body Problem. Note: why so many No Award this year?


  • Are you as excited as I am about The Girl in the Spider's Web, the new installment of the Millenium series? If yes, you can now read an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming novel.


  • We are only two months away from the publication of The Slade House, the now David Mitchell novel. The UK cover was revealed and it's absolutely stunning. Also, if you're a twitter user look out because the author will begin a new twitter story from one of the characters of the new novel, which will lead to The Slade House.


  • The University of Texas has acquired the archives of the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. The archives cost the university a little over a million dollars and they include a discarded first chapter of the novel The Remains of the Day.


  • Morrissey has decided to write a novel. Its title is List of the Lost and it will be published at the end of September. The exact date of publication will be made public later this week. 

  • Can you Guess Which Numbers are Missing from These Book Titles? Take the quiz to test yourself! Also, Which Coming-of-Age Novel Should you Read This Fall? Find out from this quiz. I should read The Vacant Swing by B.N. Henry. What did you get?

August 22, 2015

Confession Saturday: Dear Lady Chatterley


Hello, everyone! Confession Saturday is a weekly feature, in which we will have the chance to express our feelings towards certain characters. This time of the week we will choose one character and write to him/her about all the things we would like to say. We can explain why we like or dislike each character, which of his/her actions we don't understand and generally whatever comes to mind. 


Today I'll write a letter to Lady Constance Chatterley from Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) by D.H. Lawrence. She is a woman in an unsatisfactory marriage and has the courage to fight for what she wants. 


Dear Connie,

first of all, we have the same name. This doesn't happen often in literature, so I was so happy when I found out about it. And in a novel I've read numerous times and I love.

I'm not sure that I like what you did. Cheating is always cheating, no matter why it happened. Your husband is so cold towards you and your marriage is clearly not a happy one. But divorce wasn't easy at the time and there was also the differences in classes. This brings me to the thing that I like about you. You stood up for what you wanted. You needed contact, you needed to feel wanted and loved and when you found those feelings you didn't let them go. Again, I'm not saying that what you did was right, but you did offer some of the most sensual scenes in literature.

I don't know what I would do if I were in your position. I admire that you were brave enough, especially towards the end, but I don't know if I would be like that. I hope you didn't lose what you had with Mellors as the time went by.

Yours,
Konna 

August 21, 2015

The Classics Club Spin #10


The Classics Club is doing another Classics Club Spin. In this event, all the Classics Club members are called to read a classic book within a certain amount of time. But it's not that simple. Each one who wants to participate makes a Spin list, then the Club announces a certain number and the book that it's in that list's number is the one that you have to read. In the last spin, I read Dracula by Bram Stoker. I can't wait to find out which classic I'll have to read for this one!

So, here is my list:
  1. Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  2. Nana by Emile Zola
  3. Flatland by Edwin A. Abbot
  4. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  5. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
  6. Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  7. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  8. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  9. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  10. Howards End by E.M.Forster
  11. Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy
  12. Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  13. La Dame aux Camelias by Alexander Dumas-fis
  14. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  15. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  16. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  17. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  18. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  19. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  20. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
From these books I'm eager to read Wives and Daughters, Sons and Lovers, Parade's End and Howards End.  The ones I am afraid of are Nana, Lorna Doone, Flatland and La Dame aux Camelias. Anyway, on Monday we'll learn the lucky number.


August 20, 2015

Thursday Quotables: Lips Too Chilled


Hello, everyone! Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. Every week we highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.


Today I'll share you a few haikus from the book Lips Too Chilled (2014) by Matsuo Basho. They are all so simple and beautiful. I love them.





Have you read any haikus? Which one is your favourite?

August 18, 2015

Review: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby


Title: Funny Girl

Author: Nick Hornby

Publisher: Penguin Viking

Date of Publication: 2014

Number of Pages: 342


Summary


Make them laugh, and they're yours forever...

It's the swinging '60s and the nation is mesmerized by unlikely comedy star Sophie Straw, the former Blackpool beauty queen who just wants to make people laugh, like her heroine Lucille Ball.

Behind the scenes, the cast and crew are having the time of their lives. But when the script begins to get a bit too close to home, and life starts imitating art, they all face a choice.

The writers, Tony and Bill, comedy obsessives, each harbour a secret. The Oxbridge-educated director, Dennis, loves his job but hates his marriage. The male star Clive feels he's destined for better things. And Sophie Straw, who's changed her name and abandoned her old life, must decide whether to keep going or change the channel.

Review


My expectations for Funny Girl were pretty high since I was familiar with the other novels of Nick Hornby and I've enjoyed them a lot. In fact, whenever I would pick one of his books I would devour it within a day. Moreover, Funny Girl happened to be the last novel of the funny books themed read (the last one being a graphic novel) and I really wanted to have a nice finale.

First of all, I loved the setting of this novel. The '60s for the British comedy fit perfectly the plot. Sophie Straw wanted only one thing: to make people laugh. But she was in a decade when they were all men. Tony, Ernie, Eric, Ernie... There was nobody called Lucy or Barbara in that lot. There were no funny girls. Even her manager wanted her to pursue a career as a model, not star in a comedy series. It felt like a miracle of some sort that she managed to do so well.

But this decade also felt distant to me. I'm relatively new to comedy, so I had hardly heard of any of the comedians mentioned. When I researched the names for the Play(list) by the Book I began to understand the style of comedy that was popular then and so I felt more in context.

Although the title of the novel is Funny Girl, it's ultimately not only about Sophie. It's about five people getting together at the right time to create something innovative for television. Indeed Barbara (and Jim) was created when Tony and Bill met Sophie, their producer Dennis recognised the fresh idea and Clive saw his chance to become a tv star. Each one of them had their own lives and secrets, but they had found a point of communication that enabled them to reach success. As it usually happens in every relationship, this thing didn't last forever. Boredom, feelings of getting stuck, confusion of the fictional situations of the series with the reality were some of the things they all had to face.

The writing was the typical writing style of Nick Hornby. Quick-witted, funny, easy-to-read, but able to reach into the heart of the characters. Sophie wasn't as funny as I was expecting, but she was very likeable. The rest of the characters were also unique, each with their own history and choices they needed to make. But what impressed me the most is the fact that this could actually be the story of how a television series was created. Barbara (and Jim) was fictional, but I could imagine a pilot episode airing in Comedy Playhouse and then go on for several seasons.

All in all, Funny Girl sucked me into its world and left me feeling like I really knew Sophie, Dennis and the rest of the characters. It was a really quick read and I wish it were a little longer. Even though it wasn't perfect, I would recommend it to everybody. Don't hesitate to pick it up!

So, my advice is...

Be charmed by Sophie Straw from Blackpool!

August 17, 2015

The Reading Book Post, August 17th


Hello, everyone! We're in the middle of August and I'm eager to welcome the fall. The funny books themed read is coming to an end (review for Funny Girl will be posted soon), so if you have any suggestions for the next themed read please let me know. Moreover, a new feature will be posted on Wednesday. You will learn more in two days. For now, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • Written in 1914 The Story of Kullervo, a novel by J.R.R. Tolkien will be published on August 27, 2015. The novel is based on the Finnish poem Kalevala and it was originally published in an academic journal.

  • George R.R. Martin revealed that the ending of A Song of Ice and Fire series will be bittersweet. More precisely, he said that he was influenced by the ending of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and aims for this kind of tone. Hopefully, The Winds of Winter will be released next year.

  • Judith Kerr, the author and illustrator of children's novels such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, will publish her first novel since 1978. The 92-year-old writer delivered the manuscript earlier this year and Mister Cleghorn's Seal will be released on September 10, 2015.  

  • 473 answers from Haruki Murakami's online advice service were gathered by the Japanese publisher Shinchosa in a new hardcover book. The author insisted on the digital publication of all the 3,716 answers, which if printed would number a total of eight volumes. Both of those editions are, for the time being, only in Japanese.

  • Wink Poppy Midnight, the YA mystery is the third novel by April Genevieve Tucholke. But it is due for release next year. Now, you can see the cover and read an exclusive excerpt. I have to admit that it got me pretty interested!

  • Marvel has announced the new series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, in which Jack Kirby's 1978 Devil Dinosaur will team up with Lunella Lafayett or Moon Girl. The series will be written by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare and it will be illustrated by Natacha Bustos.

  • Which Austen Heroine Are You? You can find out in this quiz. I got Elinor Dashwood and I have to admit that she's the one I've always felt closer to! Who did you get? 

August 15, 2015

Confession Saturday: Dear Captain Wentworth


Hello, everyone! Confession Saturday is a new weekly feature, in which we will have the chance to express our feelings towards certain characters. This time of the week we will choose one character and write to him/her about all the things we would like to say. We can explain why we like or dislike each character, which of his/her actions we don't understand and generally whatever comes to mind. 




As I've already told you this year I'm taking part in Austen in August. I'm currently reading Mansfield Park, but today I've chosen to write to one of my favourite male characters. Captain Frederick Wentworth is the male protagonist of the Jane Austen's novel Persuasion (1818). He is a complex character and undoubtedly one of the most popular of the Austen's gentlemen. 


Dear Captain Wentworth, 
Dear Frederick,

You ruined me! Along with Mr Darcy, you are the ones to blame for my high expectations in male behaviour. But every time I read your story I can't help feeling admiration for you.

I like the fact that you are not perfect. You are loyal and caring and emotional, but you are also vindictive and careless. Anne hurt you and so when you saw her again you wanted her to understand that you moved on and you wanted to underline the fact that you were a very desirable bachelor. You thought that it was only a harmless flirt, but you were holding your feelings against Anne. I believe that you meant for her to see you and you wanted her to feel the pain. It was fortunate that no-one got hurt from your behaviour. This thing made you real, a human being with real emotions.

It's a little ironic to write a letter to you since one of your most famous actions is the letter you wrote to Anne. I can't even count the times I've read it. I hope someday I'll get one just like that.

Yours,
Aeriko  


August 14, 2015

Play(list) by the Book: Funny Girl (Comedy Edition)



Hello, everyone! I'm so happy to be able to do another Play(list) by the Book. This one is unique, as the playlist includes comedians, comedy series and radio shows. Naturally, the videos are longer, but they are really funny. Most of them are from the 1960's and I learnt many things while researching for the creation of the playlist. Enjoy the comedy edition of Play(list) by the Book




Similarly to the previous playlists I included every comedian, comedy series, radio shows and talk shows mentioned in the novel Funny Girl by Nick Hornby. Some series were named in the novel, such as I Love Lucy, Lucy in London and Till Death Us Do Part. But other series I have chosen are because they star one of the actors/actresses mentioned by the author. I tried to include series from the 1960's, in order to remain true to the time of the novel. You will excuse my decision to include Robin Williams' interview in Parkinson talk show, he's much missed. 

This playlist is ideal for all the comedy lovers. Enjoy!


Previous Play(list) by the Book here

August 13, 2015

Thursday Quotables: Irish Fairy and Folk Tales


Hello, everyone! Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. Every week we highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.


I love folk tales. So, today I'll share with you a passage from an Irish tale from Irish Fairy and Folk Tales (1888) by W.B. Yeats. 

The description is so vivid, you can almost picture the scene!

The first beams of the rising sun were just gliding the lofty summit of Gleena, when the waters near the eastern shore of the lake became suddenly and violently agitated, though all the rest of its surface lay smooth and still as a tomb of polished marble, the next morning a foaming wave darted forward, and, like a proud, high-crested war-horse, exulting in his strength, rushed across the lake toward Toomies mountain. Behind this wave appered a stately warrior fully armed, mounted upon a milk-white steed that sprang after the wave along the water which bore him up like firm earth. The warrior was O'Donoghue, followed by numberless youths and maidens linked together by garlands of delicious spring flowers, and they timed their movements to strains of enchanting melody.

This is a part of the folk tale The Legend of O'Donoghue.


Which is your favourite folk tale?  

August 12, 2015

Review: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert



Title: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Andy Kubert

Publisher: DC Comics

Date of Publication: 2009

Number of Pages: 128




Review

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? This is the question that this two-part comic is trying to answer. The very end of Batman. The title, as Neil Gaiman explains in the foreword, is a pun to Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, which is the conclusion to the mythology of Superman. It feels appropriate and suits perfectly the feel of the story.

The plot is quite simple. Batman is dead and all of the characters, Albert, Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, attend his funeral. Each of them offers a different version of Batman's story and death. This way, this comic can work as the final Batman story in any given occasion. But the last few pages left me in awe. Both the art and the conclusion of the story were excellent.

I know that it's a common thing in comics for the heroes to die and then return again with a way or another. This version though felt different. Batman kept trying to fight crime in Gotham and his own demons, but he always ended up getting killed. It was the natural ending we all expected, despite the futility. Batman fell while fighting and it felt right. Besides every mythology needs some closure and we are offered one here.

I won't hide that my admiration for Neil Gaiman's work is growing as I read more of his bibliography. Indeed, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? is Gaiman at his best. It would be so easy for this comic to end up just another Batman issue, but what we finally get is what Batman means to the author. He shows his respect to all the previous writers, but he never loses his personal take of the superhero.

But, the art style was also magnificent. It's dark and it's distinctive. I loved every villains' car. There were so many details that added to the final result. And those final pages! You have to see them with your own eyes.  

If you love superheroes, but if you don't as well, if you are familiar with comics, but even if you're not, don't hesitate to read this one! Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? is dark and impressive. I can't recommend it enough. This is what happened to the caped crusader.

So, my advice is...

Ride the Batmobile!

August 10, 2015

The Reading Book Post, August 10th


Hello, everyone! I know, I was the one that told you that my vacations were officially over and then I just ran to a music festival for the weekend. Anyway, now I'm back for good and I have many ideas. First of all, I think I'll finally start writing something of my own, but this is something to wait for the future. Also, I'm thinking about launching another weekly feature on the blog, so wait for it in the next few days. But, as every Monday, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • The David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy 2015 were announced. Among the winners is Brandon Sanderson with his novel Words of Radiance. Also, the Royal Society has announced the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2015 shortlist. The winner will become known on September 24, 2015. 


  • A long forgotten F. Scott Fitzgerlad short story has just been published in The Strand Magazine in its summer issue. The story is called Temperature and it was unpublished until now.

  • I love colouring books. I found it a very relaxing, yet creative activity to do. But the thing about them is that they're gradually becoming more and more complex. This is a very interesting article on this fact. What do you believe? 


  • What Pet Should I get? the new book (or recently discovered work, to be precise) by Dr. Seuss was published on July 28, 2015. It has already sold 200,000 copies in just a week and so it has become the publisher's fastest-selling picture book. 


  • Brazenhead Books, the secret bookstore of New York, closed last month. It was illegal that's why it was strictly introduced only by word of mouth. Here's a goodbye to this unique bookshop.


  • It's Snoopy's birthday today! The fact is based on a 1968 Peanuts storyline. The producers of the new film The Peanuts Movie have released a video with instructions on how to draw this famous character. Grab your pens!

  • Hilary Liftin has been ghostwriting for people like Miley Cyrus and Mackenzie Phillips. Now, she published a novel under her own name. The novel is called Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper. 

  • The Shepherd's Crown, the last Discworld novel, will be launched with a midnight reading on August 26, 2015. The tickets for the event were sold out after a few minutes they became available. 


  • The audiobook version of White Man's Problems by Kevin Morris is read by a lot of stars, like Matthew McConaughey and Minni Driver. You can listen to two exclusive clips from the stories The Plot to Hold Hands with Elizabeth Tremblay, read by Trey Parker, and Mulligan's Travels, read by Matt Stone. 




  • Which Nostalgic 90's Book Are You? Take the quiz to find out! I got The Picture of Dorian Gray (what? 1890's??). Which book did you get?

August 8, 2015

Confession Saturday: Dear Rosie


Hello, everyone! Confession Saturday is a new weekly feature, in which we will have the chance to express our feelings towards certain characters. This time of the week we will choose one character and write to him/her about all the things we would like to say. We can explain why we like or dislike each character, which of his/her actions we don't understand and generally whatever comes to mind. 


New: I've just added a Linky Tool to Confession Saturday, be sure to leave your links there! You can submit your links throughout the whole week.


This week I'm writing a letter to Rosie from the novel The Rosie Project (2013). She is an interesting female character and she makes a great couple with Don. I still haven't read the second book The Rosie Effect, but my expectations are set high.


Dear Rosie,

I'm really torn between liking you and disliking you. Although you are interesting and I'd like to be your friend I can't stand the way you behave!

You are the smart type, the one that studies psychology, but you hate to act like it, I really like this fact about you. But I hate it when you act cool. No, you are not a femme fatale. You got close to Don for only a reason, to get his help in order to find your biological father. Yet there is this strange attraction, but you still insist on playing it cool. What were you thinking? That Don would get it? He needed a Wife Project, did you seriously believe that he would know how to react?

At least you got your happy ending. Or did you? I'm a little afraid of reading what happened next. Please don't make me hate you. Please!

Yours,
Aeriko 

August 7, 2015

Review: Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth by John Moe


Title: Deat Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth: And Other Pop Culture Correspondences

Author: John Moe

Publisher: Three Rivers Press

Date of Publication: 2014

Number of Pages: 304

Summary

We all know how Darth Vader shared his big secret with Luke Skywalker, but what if he had delivered the news in a handwritten note instead? And what if someone found that letter, as well as all of the drafts that landed in the Dark Lord’s trash can? In the riotously funny collection Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth, John Moe finally reveals these lost notes alongside all the imagined letters, e-mails, text messages, and other correspondences your favorite pop culture icons never meant for you to see.

Like a like a bonus track to a favorite CD or a deleted scene from a cult movie, Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth offer a fresh twist on the pop culture classics we thought we knew by heart. You already know part of their story. Now find out the rest.

Review

I couldn't pick up Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth a better time of the year. It proved to be a really easy and quick read, with a lot of pop culture references. In collections like this, everyone can find something to like.

But an essential condition for this book to work is that you have to be familiar with each reference. In my case, I loved Vader's letters, Captain Kirk's log and the engineer's notes from the recording of Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. The most hilarious part was The Exchange between Neal Hefti, creator of the Batman TV theme song, and the show's producer. Who hasn't heard Batman, Batman, Batman, Nananananananana Batman? It was really awesome to read how John Moe imagined how it came to be. 

Moreover, I can't understand how the author acquired the Top secret British intelligence notes on the fates of Agents 001 through 006. It was enlightening about why Bond has this certain way of acting and why his face is constantly changing. Another shocking document in this book was the Note to Clark Kent from the maker of his new glasses. I mean, we all know that he looks like a certain superhero, but how can a pair of glasses distort his image so much that nobody recognises him? 

It appears that the writer has acquaintances in the music industry as well. As I have already revealed we learn the whole story behind the making of the album Rumours through the eyes of the engineer. If you are a fan of Fleetwood Mac like me, then you'll love this part. But these are not the only documents concerning really popular musicians and songs. We read the Notes on "Sweet Child o' Mine" as delivered to Axl Rose by his editor. The lyrics were almost altered and the song would never be the same again. Finally, Leonard Cohen text messages Leonard Cohen whilst writing a new song gives us insight on how this songwriter created one of his most well-known songs. You can easily guess which one.

Throughout this book, there was a running gag of Rejected Superbowl Halftime Show Proposals. I have to admit that this was the worst part for me. Not all of them were uninspired, but most of them felt like it. But it was only a small part of the book, so it didn't really bother me. I can't really complain about anything.

All in all, Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth is a very enjoyable book. It brought laughter to me in more than one cases and it was just what I needed. I didn't have any problem with the pop culture references since most of them are well-known, so my enjoyment wasn't spoiled. I would recommend it to everybody, especially if you want a really quick read or something easy to read between heavier books. 

So, my advice is...

Join the Walker's (Notable Zombies') forum!           

August 6, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award


Thank you so much to Bookfreak 101 @ Confessions of a Bookfreak for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

The rules for this award are:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten blogs.


Bookfreak 101's questions:

1. What is your favorite book to movie/ Which book to movie are you looking forward to the most?
The Princess Bride, I can't seriously pick which is my favourite from the two. Both the novel and the film are amazing! This year I anticipate the movie adaptation of The Martian, I hope that I won't be disappointed.
2. Which book that you have read so far this year have the best cover (pretty, cool, simply beautiful ...)?
The Diary of a Provincial Lady has an amazing cover (I love floral so much!). But I will also say the covers of the manga Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride), I can't really tell which one because they are all gorgeous.
3. Name one book that makes you really nostalgic and why.
Matilda by Roald Dahl, I remember how I loved it when I first read it and I still do.
4. Which book is the first one you remember Reading and how old were you when you first read it?
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. My sister had a copy of this novel and I was always fascinated by the illustrations.
5. Why did you start blogging?
Because I wanted to share my love for books.
6. Name three books that you thought you'd love but ended up hating.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Dracula by Bram Stoker and Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
7. What is the most important thing in a book, do you think (the characters, the plot, the writing style, etc.)?
The ideal book would be a combination of all those things, but I'll just be realistic here. I prefer books with characters I can relate to and an emotional feel. I also like thought-provoking novels.
8. What makes you interested in reading a book (the cover, someone recommended it, the synopsis, etc.)?
Mostly the synopsis. But when I know and like an author sometimes I just pick up the book without looking at anything. 
9. What are your top 3 authors of all time?
David Mitchell, Neil Gaiman, and Jane Austen.
10. What are your top 3 books (or series) of all time?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.


My questions:

1. Which book do you anticipate the most in 2015?
2. Which is your favourite place to read?
3. What type of characters are you more inclined to like?
4. Which is the worst genre for you?
5. If you wrote a novel what would it be called?
6. How would your ideal book cover be like?
7. Which standalone novel do you believe that deserves a sequel?
8. Which novel/book series would you like to be adapted to graphic novel(s)?
9. What was your most recent book purchase?
10. Which was the book that made you emotional the most?


My nominees:
Aditi @ Book Stop Corner
Julia @ For the Love of Books
Carrie @ The Book Goddess
Mehsi @ Twirling Book Princess
Emily @ Paperback Princess
Melissa @ Around the World in Books
E.A. Walsh @ Don't Judge a Book By its Cover
Sinead @ Less Reality, More Books
Nita @ Book Choose

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