Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Witches

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


These can be “witch books” or books that happen to feature witches as characters, whether they are main characters or side characters. 

So, to be completely honest, I haven’t read that many great “witch books” so for some of these answers I’ve taken the term in a broader sense. Here goes the list!

1. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

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This is the first book in the Discworld series in which the witches appear, though there are more of them in the series. As I’ve said many times before, Discworld series is fun and clever at the same time, and I think everyone can find something they like in these books. Even the book titles are witty – rites sounds the same as rights – equal rights. Which is fitting because the main character is a girl who wants to become a wizard, not a witch, even though girls are supposed to be witches while boys are supposed to be wizards. It’s a silly rule and she decides to break it.

2. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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The Three Witches are crucial for the plot of this great play. Also, The three witches from the Discworld series are actually inspired by the Three Witches from Macbeth. Pratchett’s second witch novel, Wyrd Sisters, alludes to Shakespeare many times. The title of the novel is also a nod to Macbeth. Witches in Macbeth are called Weird Sisters (or Weyward), and weird here comes from the Anglo-Saxon wyrd which means fate or destiny. The name tells that witches are foretellers of fate, which also makes them connected to Fates from the Ancient mythology.

3. Wicked by Gregory Maguire

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To be honest, I like the ideas presented in Wicked more than the actual execution, but I still think this book is worth mentioning. I’ve actually never seen the musical, which I’ve heard is great, but maybe one day… And, of course, The Wizard of Oz is another great book with witches. 😉

4. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

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Now this is the case when I mention witches in a bit broader sense. Narigorm is a rune-reader, but she is also much more… I can’t actually reveal anything else because it would be a spoiler, but I certainly think she could be considered a witch. Company of Liars is a very interesting, atmospheric book, set in the Middle Ages, and I would really recommend it. You can read more of what I thought about it HERE.

5. Bright Air Black by David Vann

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Bright Air Black is a retelling of the myth of Medea. Is Medea really a witch? This could be debated, but the other character certainly do call her that. And it’s an amazing book worth mentioning every time I get the chance. 😉 You can read more about it HERE.

And that’s it! Do you have any books with witches to recommend?

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Totally Should’ve Book Tag

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Hello, people! I was tagged to do this fun tag by the lovely Anna @MyBookishDream – thank you so much! Here are my answers:

1. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Sequel

I don’t think I have an answer for this one… I prefer stand-alone books, so I don’t think any of the books I like would’ve benefited from a sequel. Maaaybe it would be nice to have another book by Ellen Evert Hopman in her trilogy about the Celts. Each book has it’s own story, especially the last one, so it wouldn’t ruin anything, and I would like to read more about that period in history.

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2. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Spin-Off Series

I’ll have to agree with Anna on this one, some Harry Potter spin-offs would be great! The Founders Era sounds particularly interesting. But, not to repeat the same answer, I would love to read a spin-off about Natalie Oscott from The Memoris of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. I loved her, and I think her story would be very interesting since she’s a female inventor in a Victorian-like world.

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3. An Author Who Should Write More Books

Honesty, most of my favourite authors are dead. XD I’ll have to go with Elen Evert Hopman again. She did write quite a lot of non-fiction, but I’d really like to read more fiction from her. Her books are mostly historical fiction, but they feel so magical.

4. A Character Who Totally Should’ve Ended Up With Someone Else

These questions are obviously very hard for me. XD I’m not a big “shipper” so I don’t really know… I don’t really have a couple I hate.

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I don’t really like books being turned into movies… Oh, my, I sound like a real hater in in this post! XD But, yeah, I prefer books to stay books, and movies to come up with original plots. If I had to pick, I’d definitely say The Vampire Chronicles. Yes, it’s been done before, but I’m ready for a new one. Apparently, a tv show is in the making and I really hope it will be great.

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6. Totally Should’ve Kept The Original Covers

I literally have no answer for this one… Soooo, can I turn it around? The old cover I saw for The Daughter of the Forest was pretty, but the new one blew me away with its simplicitly. I think it’s prettier that the original one. Unfortunatelly, I think the other two books in the series haven’t been published with new covers yet…

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7. Totally Should’ve Stopped At Book One

I think The Vampire Chonicles should’ve stopped after book three. Maybe the books about Armand and Marius could stay, as spin-offs, but I think the first three were perfect and the rest was just too much. Tale of the Body Thief wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t like Memnoch the Devil at all. I’ve recently read Prince Lestat, and I enjoyed it at first, and was happy to meet the characters again, but in the end I though it was meh

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And, that’s it! I won’t be tagging anyone this time, but I hope some of you will do this tag! 😉

Classic Spotlight: Preface to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

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Hello, bloggers and other visitors! I recently noticed a hashtag on Instagram called Classics Thursday, and it gave me the idea to start a similar “meme” here on the blog. I’ve seen it on @katha_logisch and I’m not sure who the actual creator is, but I hope they don’t mind my idea of writing posts to accompany the Instagram photo. I’ve actually been thinking about making my blog and my Instagram more connected, so this is one way to do that, too. Anyway, the plan is to write a post about a classic on Thursdays (probably not every Thursday, but as often as I can manage).

My first Classic Spotlight post will be about one of my favourite classics, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. Well, actually, it won’t be about the book, but the author’s Preface, which is a very important piece of feminist writing. In the preface, Anne Brontë responds to those who found her book too scandalous (and, sadly, her sister Charlotte was one of them). Some found it especially concerning that the author of such a book is female.

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In the novel, Brontë writes about alcoholism, and the suffering of a woman whose husband is an alcoholic. The  main character, Helen Huntington, leaves her husband to protect her son from his father’s influence, aware of the gossip and scandal her decision might cause.

What’s interesting to me is that Helen never actually divorces her husband – she even comes back to take care of him as he is dying. She is also extremely pious. Nothing Helen does is truly scandalous. Today, no one would find the novel too graphic either. And yet, that was how it was perceived. This opens some questions about censorhip and the many books that get banned even today for similar reasons.

This is what Anne Brontë writes in defence of her novel:

“…when we have to do with vice and vicious characters, I maintain it is better to depict them as they really are than as they would wish to appear. To represent a bad thing in its least offensive light is, doubtless, the most agreeable course for a writer of fiction to pursue; but is it the most honest, or the safest? Is it better to reveal the snares and pitfalls of life to the young and thoughtless traveller, or to cover them with branches and flowers? Oh, reader! if there were less of this delicate concealment of facts – this whispering, ‘Peace, peace,’ when their is no peace, there would be less of sin and misery to the young of both sexes who are left to wring their bitter knowledge from experience.”

I have to agree with Anne Brontë completely. Life can be gruesome and horrible, and literature should be allowed to present it as it is. I know some people are sensitive to graphic imagery, and that is fine, they should be warned about it so that they can avoid the books which disturb them. However, this doesn’t mean that such books should be banned. Literature, and art in general, has the right to question and to provoke. Anne Brontë’s words are a voice against censorship. She also writes about equility, and says:

All novels are, or should be, written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.

Quite opiniated and maybe not as meek as she was usually protrayed to be, eh? You can read the entire preface by Anne Brontë HERE, it is great, and short.


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Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Aren’t Set In/Inspired By The Western World

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


* Talk about books that are set outside of the Western World (so outside of North America and Western Europe) or if they are SFF, books that aren’t inspired by those places (so no medieval setting fantasy!) *

Sadly, I’ll have to cheat a little bit in this one… And I say sadly because it’s quite embarrasing that I’ve read so little books that are not set in the Western World. This has to change! So, since some of these books are not entirely set outside of the Western World, I decided to make a list of more than five books. Actually, I made a list of five and then an additional list of three fantasy books or books with fantastical elements that aren’t set in our world, but are inspired by a non-Western country. Here are my picks:

 

Books set in the real world

1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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This is quite a cheat since most of the book is set in the US, but part of it is also set in Nigeria. It also speaks about race and being a black woman in the Western World, so I think it is an important read.

2. Honour by Elif Shafak

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Another book that doesn’t quite fit the theme, but parts of this book are set in rural Turkey. It also speaks about immigration and being treated as “The Other”, but it also speaks about the problems people face in rural Turkey, about religious fanaticism and how easily it can be spread. It’s a powerful, painful read with no idolisation. And Shafak’s writing style is beautiful. I can’t wait to read another book by her.

3. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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This graphic novel is not entirely set in Iran, because it too deals with immigration. I learned a lot from it, and I highy recommend it to everyone.

4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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This book is absolutely wonderful! And so sad. It deals of two Afghan women whose lifes get intertwined. As Hosseini himself said, it’s a tribute to all the Afghan women who suffered so much. Just go and read it!

5. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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This book is so different and mystical that it almost feels like it sould belong to the fantasy category. It’s an interesting portrayal of South Korean society, and a story of a woman’s desire to find herself despite the said society and it’s norms.

Books set in a fantasy world or with fantastical elements

1. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

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Pyramids is a stand alone novel within Terry Pretchett’s Discworld series, and it is mostlx set in Ankh-Morpork, a land which is inspired by Ancient Egypt. Terry Pratchett’s books are fun and clever, and this one is no exception.

2. Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

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This book is set in the real Ancient Egypt, with the addition of some supernatural elements. Queen of Kings is a bit strange, but I liked it, though to be honest I’ve read it a long time ago so who knows what I would think of it now. XD In the book, Cleopatra doesn’t kill herself but instead makes a deal with goddess Sekhmet who then possesses her body. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but interesting.

3. Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

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While the main character on these fantasy novels is from a country based on Victorian England, in each book she travels to a different part of the world. For example, in the Tropic of Serpents she travels to places based on African countries, later on she travels to places based on The Middle East etc. The books also touch upon the subject of colonisation, which is something I was very happy to find in books about dragons.

What are some of your favourite books that are not set in the Western World? I’d really appreciate your recommendations! 🙂

Top 5 Wednedsday: Books I’ve Felt Betrayed by

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


Beware the Ides of March! What books (or characters) did you feel betrayed by, for whatever reason…big or small. 

It’s an interesting topic, so let’s get started:

1. Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice

First of all, I LOVE the first three books of The Vampire Chronicles. Love them to pieces and always will. The fourth one, Tale of the Body Thief, was not that good but, though I had some issues with it, it didn’t disappoint me completely. Memnoch the Devil was quite bad… And that made me so sad. From the day I read it, I decided to treat The Vampire Chronicles as a trilogy, because it really went downhill for me. Still, Lestat is amazing, so everything is forgiven. XD

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2. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I loved The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, so when the third book in the series came out I was more than excited. Though The Prisoner of Heaven ties up the two previous books, it wasn’t as magical as they were. It was, and I’m so sad to say it, quite boring…

3. The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I didn’t expect much of this book, but when I started it I though I might be wrong. It seemed it would be interesting. And then – it wasn’t. I don’t care about the forbidden love of the two main characters! I wanted magic, and danger, and mystery! But a forbidden love story was all I got.

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4. The Fire by Katherine Neville

This book is a sequel to The Eight, a book I found very interesting. It is a perfect example of why I prefer standalones to series. This sequel was completely unnecessary. And boring. Though I read these books quite a lot of time ago, I still remember the general storyline of The Eight, but I have forgotten what happens in this one. I only remember the disappointment.

5. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

I really though I would love this one. The premise seemed great, and many people love it. In the end, I didn’t like it at all. Reading it was a painful experience to me and I almost didn’t finish it. Don’t hate me, please!

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So, that’s it! No hard feelings, eh? 😉

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

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Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


In collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, this week’s topic is to talk about your favorite science fiction and fantasy books of all time. I was hard to choose just five, but here are my picks. Also, I mostly like the not-that-traditional approaches to both fantasy and science fiction so these might not be exactly what you are expecting. Still, I think they fit the category:

1. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

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Terry Pratchett is amazing, and I love his Discword series, though I have many more books to read from it. Small Gods is my favourite so far, and it is one of the books in Discworld series that can be read as a standalone. It’s both fantasy and satire, with Pratchett’s incredible wit and humour.

2. Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

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The Ketty Jay is a flying steamship, and her crew are pirates. Well, sort of. This book is part steampunk, part fantasy, part science fiction, but mostly adventure and fun! I love it, and the characters are amazing, deeply flawed but still lovable.

3. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

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This is a very unique book. It’s a retelling of several tales from the Russian folkore, all put into one strange but beautiful story which tackles many different themes. This book is hard to describe, but I found it incredibly interesting, and Valente’s writing is great.

4.  A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

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In this book, the main character, Lady Trent, basically lives my dream. She goes on an expedition to study dragons. The way in which dragons are portayed here is exactly how I imagine and like them – they are intelligent, magnificent animals. They are not evil (I really don’t like when dragons represent evil and have to be slain), nor do they speak human language. They are just a part of the world, living their own lives in their own way.

P.S. The gif is from Pete’s Dragon, a wonderful Disney movie that made me cry.

5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Yes, I know what you are thinking: Do you have to include Frankenstein in every list you make?! Well, I guess I do. Come on, this is the book that started science fiction! How can I not include it? Also, it’s perfect.

Honourable mention: Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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This series is a honourable mention because I still haven’t read The Conjuring of Light, but I can’t wait to! Shades of Magic took me by surprise – I liked it more than I thought I would. I think what I liked most are the characters, and the unique world. Vicious is another amazing book from this author, which combines science fiction and superheroes, and deals with the notion of good and evil. Highly recommend that one, too.

Another honourable mention: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Not in the top five only because I think everyone’s heard of it and it does not need introduction. However, this book is a gem! It plays and jokes around with fantasy themes, the characters are more than memorable, and it’s really a fun story.

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This was a great topic, so you have to forgive me for mentioning more than five books. 😉 Can’t wait to read your posts, I really need more recommendations!

Happy blogging! 🙂

Top 5 Wednesday: Fictional Jobs I’d Want to Have

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Top 5 Wendesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on the Goodreads group.


This week’s topic, as the title says, is to choose five fictional careers you’d want to have. This one was a bit hard for me, since there are not many truly fictional careers in the books I’ve read. In the end, this is what I came up with:

1. Magizoologist (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)

Do I even have to explain this? Studying magical creatures is the best! Also, this means I’d be a witch, and that’s something I really want to be. 😉

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2. Dragon naturalist (A Natural History of Dragons)

This career is similar to the previous one. In the book, Lady Trent goes on an expedition to study dragons. I love dragons, and I would love to do the same!

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3. A member of the Ketty Jay crew (Tales of the Ketty Jay series)

An airship pirate? Count me in! Yes, the characters of this series get in a lot of trouble, and the captain doesn’t always know what he’s doing, but as the story progresses they really become one big family. And everyone is crazy in their own way. XD

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4. Digidestined (Digimon)

I’m not sure if this can be considered a job, but Digidestined are children chosen to travel to the Digital World and raise their Digimon. Together, they fight the evil Digimon that threaten the Digital World. I loved Digimon when I was a kid, more than Pokemon. It had a better and more complex story, and I was never really comfortable with the idea of Pokemon fighting one another for no apparent reason… Anyway, I’d love to have a Digimon friend. 🙂

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5. Antari (Shades of Magic series)

Not really a career either, but Antaris who have the rare ability to travel between different worlds are often “employed” by the rulers of Londons to carry their messages. Now, I have to be careful with this one, because it’s dangerous. I have to admit I’m not quite sure if I really want this, but I do love magic and the idea of travelling between worlds is a very appealing one. To be honest, I didn’t know what to put as my last pick, it was between this and being a superhero but “with great power comes great responsibility” and I’m not sure if I want that kind of pressure. XD

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So, those are my picks. What do you think, would you like to have one of these jobs?