2016/04/29

BOOK HAUL: APRIL

Oh sweet April, you've come to an end. I quite enjoy April, it's like the promise of spring and warmer weather. That being said, it's rained a fair bit, but that's perfect for reading, isn't it?

I've gotten quite the collection of different kinds of books this month, all of which I am very excited to read.

I also have to mention that these are not actually all the books I got this month; I got a bunch of comic books and graphic novels, so many that I felt the need to make a separate haul.













I hope you've all had a wonderful month! Let me know if you got any new, interesting books this April!
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2016/04/28

BOOK REVIEW:
BLOOD DIAMONDS BY GREG CAMPBELL

Title: Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World's Most Precious Stones
Author: Greg Campbell
Published: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 280
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
First discovered in the 1930's, the diamonds of Sierra Leone have funded one of the most savage rebel campaigns in modern history. This is the gripping tale of how diamond smuggling works, how the rebel war has destroyed a country and how the policies of the diamond industry allowed it all to happen.


Review:
This was a very interesting book, and one I think would open the eyes of a lot of people.

I have to start off by saying that blood diamonds are not a new concept to me and something I'd already read about. Therefore, a lot in this book felt a little bit dry and hard to get through, because I already knew. It also feels a bit dense in some areas, not because of the topic, but because of the writing.

That being said, this is an important book about a piece of African history rather few people are aware of, which is a little bit insane, seeing as it not only happened fairly recently, but there was actually quite a bit of international drama around it. Though the war in Sierra Leone is officially over, this is a good example of how many of us in the Western world screw other people over for something that isn't even that valuable. I think this book is good to read to shed some light on the fact that what we believe is rather innocent here might affect someone else somewhere else.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book though, is the way the writer captures different kinds of people he meets. You get to meet victims, criminals, politicians and so on, and it all sheds a fascinating light on how different people think in difficult situations.

Overall, this is a book I would highly recommend reading if you're new to the topic of blood diamonds and the history of the war in Sierra Leone.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads

PS: As you might have noticed, the cover has a sticker that says "the story behind the movie". The movie in question is Blood Diamond from 2006, which I can highly recommend. It's one of my favorite movies, because not only is it beautifully made and has magnificent actors in it, it's quite eyeopening as well.
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2016/04/27

BOOK REVIEW:
VACANCY BY JEN LEE

Title: Vacancy
Author: Jen Lee
Published: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 24
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
A dog named Simon has been forgotten by his owners, breaks free and teams up with a racoon and a deer, and together they venture into the woods.


Review:
This was a short and sweet little thing, and I don't really have that much to say about it.

This is a story that reflects how animals think and expresses fears, thoughts and excitement, though it doesn't really go that deep into it. I kinda wished it did though, as I felt there was something slightly lacking. I suppose it is rather difficult to pack much of a punch into 24 pages.

That being said, it was entertaining for the short time it took to read it. I was a bit sceptical about the art at first, but it does really suit the story, as it captures the mood quite well.

This graphic novel is a short, sweet and enjoyable, and I bet a younger audience would really love this.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/04/26

TOP 5: NON FICTION BOOKS SET IN AFRICA I WANT TO READ

One of my favorite movies is Blood Diamond from 2006, and I'm currently reading the book behind that movie. I've realised I've read very little books about Africa, it's history and conflicts, which I want to fix. So, here are five books about it that I want to read.

I've actually found quite a lot of books like this I want to read, so there will be a part two sometime in the near future.

The Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children by Roméo Dallaire


This is a book about child soldiers, this book offers enlightened and daring approaches to the problem of child soldiers and insightful solutions to eradicate it. The author was first exposed to this horrifying reality in 1994 as the leader of a UN peace keeping force, and has since made it his mission to end the use of child soldiers.

Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela


A very important historical figure, Nelson Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist who spent 27 years in prison and ended up as the president of South Africa. That's about all I know about him, so I thought it could be interesting to read more about him.

We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch


In 1995, Philip Gourevitch went to Rwanda to investigate one of the most horrifying genocides since Hitler's war against the Jews. A genocide in which close to a million people were murdered in the span of a hundred days, while the rest of the world did nothing to stop it.

A Human Being Died That Night by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizlea


This one sounds really interesting. The full title is actually A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid, and it's the story of Pumla, a psychologist who grew up in a black South African township, reflects on her conversations with Eugene de Kock, the commanding officer of death squads under apartheid. She has these conversations with him by visiting him in a maxium security prison.

Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir


This is one woman's true story of surviving the horrors of Darfur, where one of the worst genocides during the 21st century occurred in the early 2000s. 


Heavy topics, I know, but also important. I never learned about any of this in school, so I think it calls for a bit of self-education.

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2016/04/24

BOOK REVIEW:
GEISHA OF GION BY MINEKO IWASAKI

Title: Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Most Foremost Geisha
Author: Mineko Iwasaki, Rande Brown (translator and writer)
Published: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 334
Rating: 4/5


Summary:
This is the real life story of Mineko Iwasaki, a highly successful geisha who left her parents at the age of five, to live 25 years within one of the most mysterious and rare cultures in the world.


Review:
I picked this up on a whim, seeing as I've always found Japanese culture interesting, especially the tradition of geisha. And this one really opened my eyes.

Now, right away, I couldn't help drawing parallels to Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and when I looked it up, I realised I wasn't completely off. Golden interviewed Iwasaki before writing his book, as background information, and she later sued him for having revealed confidential information. She also felt Memoirs was an inaccurate portrayal of the life of a geisha, and decided to write her own story, which I applaud her for, seeing as its an unwritten rule to never reveal too much about their world.

I felt like this book really cleared up a lot of mysteries and misconceptions around the geisha culture. I actually found it quite educational, and though I never took Memoirs as a true depiction, this captures a much less dark and dramatised world. In some ways, I wish I had read this one before I read Memoirs, as I think it's nice to know the truth first, then enjoy a fictionalised version of that. I would say I probably enjoyed Memoirs more, but this book gave me more, if that makes sense.

I also have to say, nearing the end, I was really rooting for Iwasaki and felt like I really got to know her.

I would highly recommend this book if you're interested in the culture and mysteries of the world of geisha.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can get the e-book on Amazon
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/04/22

2016/04/21

BOOK REVIEW:
SAGA VOLUME 5 BY BRIAN K. VAUGHAN

Title: Saga Volume 5
Author: Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Fiona Staples (artist)
Published: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 152
Rating: 4/5

This is the fifth volume in the Saga series. You can read my review of the other volumes here:
Saga Volume 1
Saga Volume 2
Saga Volume 3
Saga Volume 4

As this is a book in a series, this review might contain spoilers.


Summary:
The Saga series continues with uneasy alliances and strange new worlds.


Review:
This was another great addition to the Saga series. I've been really excited to read this and wasn't disappointed.

The art is still fantastic. I absolutely love it, especially the use of colours and the way the artist draws the characters.

This volume spends quite a lot of time tying up loose ends, and there's a slew of subplots going on. Personally, I'm far more interested in the main stories, so I do wish there was a bit more focus on that. I do also, as usual, wish this was longer, because I just can't get enough!

As previously stated, I would highly recommend this series for adults who enjoy graphic novels.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/04/20

BOOK REVIEW:
NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND BY FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY

Title: Notes from the Underground
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Constance Carnett (translator)
Published: 1864
Language: English (translated from Russian)
Pages: 141
Rating: 2/5


Summary:
Our narrator and anti-hero has withdrawn entirely from society and this comprised of his rambling memories and opinions on political and philosophical questions.


Review:
So, this is a highly acclaimed novel, so I had quite high expectations for this. After having read it, I find myself on the fence.

One one hand, the themes and philosophies in this book is undoubtedly interesting. The main character is a fascinating anti-hero that rubs you the wrong way on occasion and makes you think.

On the other hand, I found that this book didn't grab me or make me want to pick it back up. It felt like a chore to get through. I felt no real connection to the story or the character or often even the themes, and the result of that is that I found certain parts of this dreadfully boring. It feels long and often unnecessary, which is sad when in reality, it's a rather short book.

Perhaps it was just a little too high brow for me. It's a book I am glad to have read, but it was clearly not for me.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/04/19

TOP 5:
BOOKS BY AGATHA CHRISTIE I WANT TO READ

So, I have, ever since I discovered her, had a great love of Agatha Christie. But it's been a while since I've read a book by her, so I thought I would share five of them I want to read soon!

And Then There Were None


One of Christie's most famous books, I can't believe I haven't read this one. As far as I know, it's about a group of people who have got together on a private island, and they're picked off one my one, by a mysterious murderer.

The Man in The Brown Suit


The first book in the Colonel Race series, this follows a young woman armed with a single clue to solve a mystery, while the murderer struggles to get rid of her.

Poirot Investigates


I've tried to read the Poirot mysteries in order of publication (though it's not necessary), but I seem to have skipped this one. So definitely want to read it soon, because I love Poirot.

The Secret Adversary


This is the first book about Tommy and Tuppence, and after high recommendations from my mother, I really need to read this one soon.

Murder in Mesopotamia


Because I love, love, love mysteries set in exotic places. They're the best!


Have you ever read any Agatha Christie, and if you have, which one is your favorite?

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2016/04/18

BOOK REVIEW:
THE DUMB HOUSE BY JOHN BURNSIDE

Title: The Dumb House
Author: John Burnside
Published: 1997
Language: English
Pages: 205
Rating: 5/5


Summary:
Inspired by the Persian myth of the Dumb House - a place where children were kept and never exposed to language, to find out if language is innate or learned - a man creates a twisted version of this experiment.


Review:
I had quite high expectations about this book, and although it was a bit different than I had imagined, I absolutely loved it.

I had thought the focus of this book would be the main character's experiment, but there's so much more to it than that. It's more of a character study, one of a very disturbed individual. I especially enjoyed reading about the main character's relationship with his mother and his family.

This book just pulled me in from the start. It's just so fascinating to meet these characters, to see how they progress and slowly learn how insane they really are. Things are revealed slowly and it keeps the suspense up. On top of that, it's beautifully written.

I could not put this book down. I would highly recommend this book if you enjoy classical literature with a fair bit of horror.


You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/04/17

BOOKSTAGRAM SPOTLIGHT: @IGREADS

Today's bookstagram account is a little bit different. It's mission is to bring together the bookstagram community and it features many different bookstagram accounts. I've found so many favorites by following them, people I wouldn't have found otherwise.

While they reblog other bookstagrammers, they do have a certain style overall that I really like.






Et bilde publisert av books | Let's connect! (@igreads)



Go follow!

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