2017/07/29

BOOK HAUL:
JULY

Strange to think we're already at the brink of August and that summer is almost over already. I'm not too sad about it though - right now I've got a couple of weeks off work and I'm just going to enjoy what's left of the season. I'm planning on spending my days doing one of my favorite things; reading! And eating ice-cream!

Anywho, here are the books I got this month! Hopefully I'll get to loads of these while I'm on holiday!















Hope you're all having a great summer and a lovely day!
SHARE:

2017/07/28

2017/07/27

2017/07/26

BOOK REVIEW:
THE POWER BY NAOMI ALDERMAN

Title: The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Published: 2016
Language: English
Pages: 340
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
Following a group of characters from different walks of life, this tells the story of what happens to the world when women realise they have an electrical power in their bodies - a power that makes them stronger than men.


Review:
I had pretty high expectations for this book after it won the Baylies Women's Prize for Fiction this year, and I'm sad to say I'm slightly disappointed. I think it's a good and solid book, but my expectations were too high.

The world that is created in this book is fascinating and realistic, probably because it's so very close to our own current world. The discussions on gender are very interesting, as well as some of the prominent powers in our society; money, politics and religion. I found the religious aspects particularly interesting.

I've read some reviews that say they felt there were too many characters in this book, but I'm at the opposite end of that; I wish there were more. When a book is taking on the entire world and its structure, I feel there should be more voices in it. I do think the characters in here are great though, but I feel like they're not giving us the full picture.

There's just a little bit something missing from this. Maybe it's the writing style, maybe it's the characters, I can't quite put my finger on it. It is worth the read if you like dystopian novels though, and it's an interesting look at gender, power and the world in general.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
*AFFILIATE LINK
SHARE:

2017/07/25

AMAZING AUTHORS:
ROBERT K. MASSIE

About a year back, I was perusing a bookstore in downtown Oslo - I was a bit early and a friend was a bit late, so I had some time to kill - and I happened upon this lovely book in the history section; it was a biography about Catherine the Great. Now, I didn't even know who she was, but I liked the cover and I'd been trying to read more nonfiction, so I bought it.

Later that evening, the subway massively delayed and I'd finished the other book I was reading, so started the biography and I was immediately sucked into this world of Russian history, all because of the intriguing writing of the wonderful Robert K. Massie.


Born: 1927
Nationality: American
Genre: History, Biography
Most Notable Work:
- Four books studying the House Romanov

When I was younger, I never thought I had much interest in history of any kind; history classes in school were dreadfully dull and focused mostly on remembering certain dates and people that were just names in a book. I was, however, incorrect. History is fascinating; it's filled with incredible stories and wonderful tales. What history needs to make it fascinating though, is a good storyteller - and that's exactly what Massie is. 

The books I've read by Massie are huge volumes, stretching over decades. Somehow though, he makes them feel like a breeze (or as close to a breeze as these kinds of books can possibly get). He conjures up the worlds these people lived in and the people themselves become flesh and blood on the page, they become more than a picture of a painting on a page. They become real and the worlds inside his books become colorful and vibrant.

If you have any interest in history at all, this is an author you simply must read. Even if you think you don't care about the Imperial Family of Russia, after reading these, you'll be fascinated. Trust me.

Books I've Read:

Books I Want To Read:

The Book To Start With:

Now, this is a very loose suggestion - you can start with whichever of his books you like. I started with Catherine the Great and didn't suffer for it. However, if you want to get the timeline right, this is the best to start with, as the Romanov story starts with Peter. Then you can read about Catherine the Great and understand all the references in it. Then, you can move on to Nicholas and Alexandra, and finally read the one I still have left; The Romanovs: The Final Chapter.

You can also start with Catherine the Great as it is perhaps his most readable one, or Nicholas and Alexandra, because it's closer to our time and easier to connect with.

I couldn't find any interviews with Massie that I wanted to share, but I did find a Author Spotlight video by fellow booktuber A Book Olive (which you should subscribe to, if you haven't already), where she talks a bit about both the author and the four books I've mentioned.


I hope I've peaked your interest a little bit, and if you decide to pick up one of his books: happy reading!
SHARE:

2017/07/24

BOOK REVIEW:
A CONCISE CHINESE-ENGLISH DICTIONARY FOR LOVERS BY XIAOLU GUO

Title: A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
Author: Xiaolu Guo
Published: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 304
Rating: 4/5


Summary:
While exploring different words in the English language, a love story between a Chinese immigrant and an English man is revealed.


Review:
This book was unconventional, gripping and fascinating - not words I use often with love stories. I picked up this book after having read an excerpt from it in the form of a Vintage Mini, because I just needed to finish the story. And it was both a wonderful and somewhat sad experience.

The voice of the main character is amazing, so realistic I honestly thought for a while that this was nonfiction. The way the story is told, by exploring different words is fascinating and works really well. Language is a constant theme throughout the novel and binds the whole thing together.  It's also really fascinating to see these cultures come together in these two people and to see them both clash and merge; there's a certain humor to it that is quite delightful.

I will say the story dragged on a little bit towards the end of the middle, but other than that, it was excellent.

I would highly recommend this if you like what is a bit of an unorthodox love story, filled with life, culture and getting to know oneself.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
*AFFILIATE LINK
SHARE:

2017/07/22

BOOK REVIEW:
TROPHIC CASCADE BY CAMILLE T. DUNGY

Title: Trophic Cascade
Author: Camille T. Dungy
Published: 2017
Language: English
Pages: 70
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
This collection explores life, death, motherhood and nature.


Review:
This was quite a good collection, but I'm afraid parts of it went a little bit over my head.

My favorite poems were the ones dealing with motherhood, and the discussions on how that changes a person. It's simply but beautifully written, and I especially like how some of the poems are spread across the pages. It adds a sort of rhythm to it that's really interesting.

One of my favorite poems is called "Ultrasound";

I will wait for you as cicada wait
through winter, their August song
harbored in the last thunder clap
of the season. I will wait, as I wait
through any drought, for the lesson.

I will wait for you as the colloquy waits
on polyphony; wait for you as the bunting
waits on the berry. I will wait for you,
as I wait through all the hedgerows.
I will wait for the clearing.

I will wait as the tide pool waits. I will
wait as the upturned leaf before dawn.
The hangar for its zeppelin. The student
for her marks. I will wait. I will wait,
untying lace, for the double binding.

As I wait for the green grandeur of luna moth,
wings once apprehended then gone
out of sight, I will wait for you. I will
wait as your infant tongue will wait
unaquainted, for the first taste of cherry. 
p. 11

I think this is a pretty good collection to check out if you enjoy modern poetry and the themes this brings up. It's definitely worth the read for poetry lovers.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
*AFFILIATE LINK
SHARE:

2017/07/21

2017/07/19

BOOK REVIEW:
DECEPTION BY ROALD DAHL

Title: Deception
Author: Roald Dahl
Published: 2016
Langauge: English
Pages: 304
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
This book contains ten short tales dealing with deception in various forms.


Review:
This is my first adult read by Roald Dahl and I'd say this was quite a good collection of stories.

I found this book to be entertaining, enjoyable and well written. The overall subject matter of deception is interesting and in some of the stories, quite surprising. The tales do vary quite a bit in depth and length, as well as in quality, but there were quite a few stories in here that I adored.

I'll admit some of the stories were frankly a bit dull, but overall, it's a book worth reading if you like short stories with a British edge. Personally, I'm definitely going to read more of his short story collections, because when the stories are good, they're really good.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
*AFFILIATE LINK
SHARE:

2017/07/18

BOOKSTAGRAM SPOTLIGHT:
@BOOKWORMULINA

It's time to look at another account from the eternity-long list of people I love on Instagram: this time it's the wonderful @bookwormulina.






Go follow!
SHARE:

2017/07/17

BOOK REVIEW:
LIFE FOR EACH BY DAISY ZAMORA

Title: Life For Each
Author: Daisy Zamora, Dinah Livingstone (translator)
Published: 1994
Language: English (translated from Spanish)
Pages: 70
Rating: 4/5


Summary:
In this collection, Nicaraguan poet Zamora explores life, death, womanhood and politics.


Review:
This was an absolutely lovely collection.

Personally, I found most of the poetry in this really easy to understand and connect to, there's no up in the air nonsense. The writing is raw, honest and lyrical, and I like how it moves through different themes. The poetry I struggled with the most was the political poetry though, but I suspect that's because of a lack of knowledge from my side, concerning the issues she brings up.

One of my favorite poems from this was "Another Time":

We return to the place where we were happy
together with new friends.
We sit facing one another
and your hand no longer reaches for mine under the table.

In the shade
the tables we used to sit at are empty.
The midday sun whitens the cocoa plums
on the highest branches,
guavas glisten green among the leaves.

There is warmth between us,
we are like two old friends.
With tenderness, laced with sadness
I look at the tables and chairs,
standing inert and lonely.
p. 39

There's real passion in this collection and it seeps out of the pages. It's heartfelt and beautiful, and I would highly recommend it if you like poetry.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
*AFFILIATE LINK
SHARE:

2017/07/15

BOOK REVIEW:
THE HANDMAID'S TALE BY MARGARET ATWOOD

Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Published: 1985
Language: English
Pages: 479
Rating: 5/5


Summary:
Set in a future world in the Republic of Gilead, Offred is a handmaid, whose only purpose is to bring forth children for the elite.


Review:
This book was mesmerizing.

The world Atwood creates in this book is insane, frustrating and oddly realistic. It doesn't take long before you realise something has gone terribly wrong with the world, but you constantly want to know more and things are revealed slowly throughout the book until you sit there thinking: wow! The writing is sharp, subtle and lovely and the story flows seamlessly between the past and the present.

The characters in this are great and it's easy to connect with the main character. Seeing the rest of the characters through her eyes was really interesting as well; you can't really get to know all of them, because she never does, but still, you manage to create a picture of them and find out what they represent. There's a mystery to all of them though, which is something I really liked.

The themes of the book are thought-provoking, disturbing and horrifying. Although the world in this is far from ours, it's not that far away, which is what makes this so very good.

I fail to truly express my thoughts on this book, but I can tell you that I absolutely loved it. I think it's somewhat of a modern masterpiece and it's quickly made it to my list of favorite books. I would highly, highly recommend it.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
*AFFILIATE LINK
SHARE:

2017/07/14

© The Book Castle | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig