October 31, 2016

The Spooky Reading Book Post, October 31st


Spooky Halloween, everyone! Strange and creepy creatures walk outside tonight...Beware!

  • Sally Timms and the other members of the paranormal club visit the Slade House, in order to uncover its secret. None of them is ever seen again!


  • A young scientist named Victor gives life to a creature, doomed to be feared and alone for eternity. Frankenstein's monster is coming to seek revenge!


  • Count Dracula has left his castle!!! BEWARE! Count Dracula has left his castle! He'll come by the sea...


  • Louis Creed is ready to bury his son's cat at the Pet Sematary. Please, you have to stop him! Don't wake the dead! It won't end well...


  • The students of a random class in the future Republic of Greater East Asia are forced to kill each other. Who will be the sole survivor of this Battle Royale?


  • The "Other Mother" and "Other Father" of Coraline try to trap her in their world. Don't open the hidden doors of your houses, it's dangerous!




  • Gregor Samsa woke up today not quite as himself...He felt rather buggy! The Metamorphosis was real!


  • Giurescu has awaken with the help of Isla Haupstein! Will Hellboy set things right?


  • "The Tooth Fairy" has already killed a whole family in Alabama, and another one in Georgia. Will Dr. Hannibal Lecter help the police catch the serial killer?


This is it for today! As you've noticed this is more a horror books recommendation list, rather than the typical Reading Book Post. It will be back to normal next week!


October 29, 2016

Review: Utopia, by Thomas More




Title: Utopia

Author: Thomas More

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Date of Publication: March 2nd, 2010 (first published in 1516)

Number of Pages: 176





Summary

In Utopia, More paints a vision of the customs and practices of a distant island, but Utopia means 'no place' and his narrator's name, Hythlodaeus, translates as 'dispenser of nonsense'. This fantastical tale masks what is a serious and subversive analysis of the failings of More's society. Advocating instead a world in which there is religious tolerance, provision for the aged, and state ownership of land, Utopia has been variously claimed as a Catholic tract or an argument for communism and it still invites each generation to make its own interpretation.

Review

Utopia is probably one of the most demanding books I’ve ever read. Not only the writing style of Thomas More is so specific, but this particular novel challenged my own ideas. Anyway, Utopia was always one of those books that have been sitting on my to-be-read list for years, and I did mean to actually read it. I finally got to read it due to the ClassicsClub Spin #13. I won’t hide though that I wasn’t too thrilled with my luck with this spin. So, I reluctantly read it, and even more reluctantly I’m reviewing it.

Utopia literally means “a place that doesn’t exist” although today this is a word with an entirely different meaning. So when Thomas More is describing the distant land of Utopia he is talking about a civilization that doesn’t exist. And can’t exist, if I might add. Anyway, let’s take things from the very beginning. Thomas More travelled abroad and in this particular travel a friend of his acquainted him to Raphael Hythloday, who had just returned from his travels all around the world. He had seen many wonders, but the one thing that deeply moved him was Utopia. And so, after the urging of the writer he described every aspect of this ideal society.

We made no inquiries after monsters, than which nothing is more common; for everywhere one may hear of ravenous dogs and wolves, and cruel men-eaters, but it is not so easy to find states that are well and wisely governed, declared Thomas More. This is completely true, and if there were such an ideal society, I’d love to hear everything there is to it. The rest of the book is the narration of Raphael of what he witnessed during his stay in Utopia.  

But how is the Utopian society so much different? How can such an ideal society exist? How can all of the citizens be content with just a single system? These are the questions that still torture me. Before anything else, I have to admit that I am not a political person. I have my beliefs but I’m never too passionate about them. Well, Utopia made me realize how much I care when they are talking about the most important thing for me: personal freedom.

First of all, in the island of Utopia there is no such thing as a property. All of the goods are stored in warehouses and given equally to all of the citizens. The houses do not own locks, as every ten years the Utopians change houses. The objective of each citizen is to offer something to the society. The most important job in Utopia is agriculture and for this reason everyone has to spend at least two years in the countryside in order to learn the craft. They also learn other crafts, such as carpentry and weaving. Only a select few, who show a tendency for learning during their early years, learn how to read and go on to become officials and priests.

For me, each of these citizens is the same person with a different face. There is no fashion - all of them have to wear the same woven clothes. But this isn’t what bothers me at all! None of them has the freedom to decide for himself what he would like to do. He has to act solely for the society. He can’t travel without a special permission, he can’t choose the way he spends his life, and he can’t have his own views concerning pleasure. And above all, there is not even a hint of privacy in Utopia. I’ve always esteemed the individual, and reading all of the above things, I was shaken. Such a society, for my own way of perceiving the world, would be a nightmare. Even though there are a few things that I’d love to see in our actual societies, I couldn’t deal with the absence of the individual.

Another thing that baffled me was that slavery exists in Utopia. I thought that in such a society that everyone is trying to offer their best for their society that there wouldn’t be in need of slavery. The slaves are doing all of the hard labour and they are either prisoners of war, or Utopians that broke their law. They find it such a disgraceful thing since they could not be restrained by the advantages of so excellent an education, and so they are judged worthy of harder usage. For my ideal society slavery should never exist.

As for the good parts of Utopia there are still things that even today we find controversial. The first issue is free health care. What is more important in a society than to offer to the citizens hospitals and care whenever they need it? Another issue is euthanasia. Well, this is definitely a controversial one. Should one decide whether he wants to die? We have still a long way to go, until we truly realize the mindset and the suffering of these people. Other things that I liked are premarital sex and divorce. Yes, nowadays they are so common, but this book was published in 1516. I wouldn’t go as far as punishing adultery with slavery, though.

Utopia was an interesting read. It wasn’t an easy one (imagine if I’d read it in Latin!) and it did challenge my own views more than a few times. The problem I had was that its ideas are so different from the fundamental view of the world that I have. Nevertheless, I realize why this is an important book. I’m sure that when it was published those very same ideas were revolutionary, even unthinkable. Be prepared for a book with an argument after another, complex sentences and many ideas that will challenge your worldview. 

October 24, 2016

The Reading Book Post, October 24th


Hello, everyone! Halloween is approaching and the spooky mood is definitely on the air! Meanwhile there are a lot of news that shook up the literary world those past few weeks. Let's take a look at what happened the previous week.

  • Tiffany McDaniel has won the Not the Book Prize 2016 with her novel The Summer that Melted Everything. The novel was one of the most popular titles that were nominated for the prize both if the public and the judges.


  • The Folio Prize is returning! The prize was suspended last year after the withdrawal of its sponsor, but it was announced the it will return in 2017. This time the award is expanding its categories, since now it will include non-fiction books as well as novels.


  • A tragic loss for the comic world! Steve Dillon has passed away at the age of 54. Dillon's most well-known work was his DC/Vertigo series The Preacher, while he is also known for The Punisher and Hellblazer.


  • The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature definitely steered the literary world. Bob Dylan has not yet to make an announcement concerning the prize. A few days ago it was added in the website that he is the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, but apparentely this statement is now gone. What do you think about this year's Nobel Prize in Literature?


  • Can't get enough of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children? I have some good news for you! A new Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children trilogy is coming! In this new trilogy the adventures of Jacob Portman, Miss Peregrine and the rest of the children continue. The first book of the trilogy is expected in fall 2017.


  • The authorship of Shakespeare's plays has been questioned numerous times through the years, Now, an international team of 23 academics believe that Christopher Marlowe was working on Shakespeare's plays and that he deserves a credit in future editions. 


  • On October 21st we were celebrating Wonder Woman's birthday. But because we love to read into things, Wonder Woman wasn't the only strong woman who celebrated her birthday that particular day. I'm talking about Ursula K. Le Guin and Carrie Fisher!


  • Elena Ferrante has written a children's book! And it's a little creepy! Take a look at some of its beautiful illustrations, that were created by Mara Cerri.


  • Marvel often comments on current affairs with its comic books. The latest comic is named Madaya Mom and it's about a Syrian mother trapped in a town. And you can read it for free!


  • It was about time! Amazon is releasing a limited edition of Kindle Paperwhite designed specfically for reading manga. The product will, of course, be available in Japan!


  • Can You Identify These Classic Children's Books? This quiz is trickier than you'd expect as the description of each book is made with emojis!


  • Which Spooktastic Book Should You Read This Halloween? Take the quiz to find out! I got The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Which one did you get?


October 20, 2016

Play(list) by the Book: Deadpool v Gambit




Hello, everyone! Long time, no see! But what a better comeback than with a Play(list) by the Book, one of my favourite segments of the blog. So, today we have a playlist based on all the songs and artists that were mentioned in Deadpool v Gambit. It's a really small playlist, so you'll be able to listen to it in just one sitting. Enjoy!




As usual, the rules for the playlist were the same. If a song was mentioned, it was in. If an artist was mentioned then I picked a song that I personally like. If there were certain lyrics mentioned, then I tried to find the song that they came from. Deadpool v Gambit didn't have a tricky song, so everything is included.


Find more playlists at: Play(list) by the Book

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