Unique Blogger Award

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I have a quick, fun little post for you today! The lovely Ellie @bloggingfordopamine nominated me for the Unique Blogger Award, and asked some interesting questions. Now, it’s time for me to answer.

First, the rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

And here are my answers:

1. I have so many books I’m looking forward to reading this year. What’s your most anticipated 2018 read?

It is (or actually was) Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, which is now my current read. And it’s great so far, I’ll definitely write a post about it soon. Another book I really want to read is The Sagas of the Icelanders, a collection of old Icelandic tales and sagas. It’s a huge book, but I’m sure it will be worth my time.

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2. When I was younger, I was obsessed with Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now that I’m older, I have even more admiration for her character. Are there any childhood favourite characters that you appreciate even more now that you’re older?

I can’t really think of one specific character for this question, but the characters from Winnie-the -Pooh as a whole really mean a lot to me. I loved then as a child, and when I reread the book I realized just how wonderful they are. They are all flawed – Piglet is always anxious, Eeyore is depressed, Pooh doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time… But they are all supportive of each other, and accept their friends the way they are. For example, they try to mae Eeyore happy on his birthday, but they don’t expect him to change and instantly stop being sad. And they say the sweetest, most innocent things. Oh, I just love how pure those books are.

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3. My blog has changed so much since I started it. What was the topic of the first ever blog post you wrote?

My first post as a silly “introduction”. Not really interesting. XD And the first real one was about my favourite books of all time. I guess I could do a new one, since there are some books that should definitely be added to the list.

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Now, here are the questions I came up with:

1. A monster breaks into your home! (Gasp!) But it’s not a very dangerous one, don’t worry. It’s just lost, poor thing. It can easily be scared, and then it will go into the wild and live happily ever after. But you need to scare it. The only thing that comes to mind is to throw a book at it, because you’re standing next to your shelves. You obviously don’t want to throw and possibly destroy a book you love, so you grab a book you don’t like and you don’t even know why you still have it. What book do you choose?

2. You’re walking down the street, minding your own business, and you find a magical lamp. (You now it’s magical because it sparkles. Or something.) And what do you do – you rub the lamp of course. You know how these things work! And, yes, a genie comes out and says he’ll give you any superpower you want.
“But, I thought I was supposed to get three wishes!” you say.
“I’m the genie, I know how this works! You get a superpower!”
You shrug and accept the offer. A superpower is still great. Which superpower do you choose?

3. I’ll keep this one shorter, I promise. XD Now, you have superpowers, but you still need help because you’re new at the whole supernatural thing. Which character (from a book or tv show) would you choose to be your partner and best friend?

Now I will nominate some people, but if anyone wants to answer these questions, feel free to do it. I’m interested to hear your answers. 🙂

Anna @mybookishdream

Chelsea @spotlightonstories

Lola @lolaetlavie

Sarah @dragonsandzombies

Jewel @foxynerdyrebelle

Naty @natysbookshelf

Luna @bookishluna

Izzy @thinkingandinking

Maniacal Book Unicorn @maniacalbookunicorn


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My Top 5 Non-fiction Reads of 2017

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I made my Top 10 Books of 2017 list a few days ago, but it was actually a list of my favourite novels from last year. This was intentional, because I’ve read some great non-fiction books in 2017, and I wanted to make a separate list for those books.

These are, of course, books that I’ve read in 2017, not books published in 2017. And this list is in no praticular order since these books are all quite different, and all great. Anyway, here’s my list:

1. Romantic Outlaws; The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon

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This book is the most “bookish” one on the list. As it says in the title, it’s a dual biograpy of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, and it’s just perfect. It’s very detailed, and it really gives the reader a sense of everything these women went through, and the world they lived in. I would highly recommend it to everyone interested in these two writers and thinkers, Romanticism, feminism, and just literature in general.

“[A Vindication of the Rights of Woman] outlined the evils of the present state of society, and introduced solutions that would redeem men as well as women. Yes, men. From the first page to last, Mary emphasized that women’s liberty should matter to everyone.”

2. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

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This book left such an impression on me that I wrote my longest post ever after reading it. Even if you’re not a vegetarian or a vegan, I think you would learn a lot from this book and the things that are happening not only to animals, but to the entire environment because of factory farming. It’s well-researched book, and the author talked to many people on different sides of the debate. And no, there are not just two sides – things are not that simple. I think that the fact that Jonathan Safron Foer writes novels also helped to make this book very readable, and well-written.

As told by Kafka’s close friend Max Brod:

“Suddenly he began to speak to the fish in their illuminated tanks. ‘Now at least I can look at you in peace, I don’t eat you anymore.’ It was the time he turned strictly vegetarian.”

3. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

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This is a book I would recommend to everyone who loves nature. It was very interesting and I learned so much from it! We, humans, are destroying everything. And our lack of knowledge isn’t helping, either. So, let’s learn! The point of this books it that trees (and plants) are living beings and they deserve respect. They also deserve that we try to understand them better.

“If we want to use forests as a weapon in the fight against climate change, then we must allow them to grow old, which is exactly what large conservation groups are asking us to do.”

4. The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer

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If you like reading about everyday life in different historical periods – this is the book you’ve been looking for. Also, it’s a perfect book for anyone interested in the Middle Ages. I always thought history should be taught this way – give students a real sense of how it was like to live back then. History is nnot just a list of kings and queens, a list of conflicts and wars. And it’s interesting to compare other time periods to our own. For example:

“When people declare that ‘children have to grow up so quickly these days’ they should reflect on this fact. Medieval boys are expected to work from the age of seven and can be hanged for theft at the same age. They can marry at the age of fourteen…”

5. De Profundis by Oscar Wilde

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This is a different kind of non-fiction, so if you’re someone who likes to read memoir-like non-fiction, this is my recommendation for you. De Profundis is a long letter Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas  while he was imprisoned in Reading Gaol. It’s his reflection on his sentence, his life, his plans for the future, philosophy and literature. It’s amazing to read Wilde’s deepest thoughts during the probably hardest time of his life. I wrote a little post about what he says about nature which you can read here.

“But it is a very unimaginative nature that only cares for people on their pedestals.”

And that’s my list! Do you have any non-fiction recommendations? I’d love to know!

My Top 10 Books of 2017

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The time has come to look back on all we’ve read in the last year. Or not. Totally up to you.

I did look back, and decided to compose this list. It’s in no particular order, because I’m too indecisive, and the books are quite different one from the other so I would never be able to rank them. I’ll just put some similar books next to each other. Also, I’ve written posts abut some of these books, so I the title is clickable, you can go read the post. 🙂

The first two books that I’m going to mention are vampire books. I really wanted to find some interesting vampire books, especially after I was a bit disappointed by Prince Lestat, and in the end I managed to find these two which made me really happy.

1. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

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I’ve never read ASOISAF. And I’m not sure I ever will… But this book made me realize that George R.R. Martin is a great writer. The book is set in the 1850s USA, and it’s historical fiction as much as it is paranormal/vampire fiction. I loved the way Martin used the vampire legends, and made them his own, without straying too much from the source. It’s also a book about how dark humanity is, how prejudiced people can be, and just how capable they are of committing horrible deeds such as enslaving other people. It was a great read, and much more than a vampire novel.

2. The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverly Lee

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I would never have heard of this series were it not for Instagram, because that’s where I met Bevery Lee. So thank you Instagram! The series is very atmospheric, and the characters are interesting. It follows a boy, Gabriel, but also quite a few other characters – some of them supernatural. I don’t want to reveal too much, since I’ve read the first two books (the third is not out yet) and I might spoil everything to you, but if you want a good supernatural novel, I think this might be it.

Now let’s move on to my favourite fantasy book (trilogy, actually) of this year. I haven’t read that much fantasy this year, but this series was so good it made up for this lack of fantasy reads.

3. The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

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This is the last book in the series, and the reason I put this one on the list is because I feel like it’s always hard to end a series in a really satisfying way. I loved the first two books, but the way everything ends is perfect. All the characters are very flawed, and nothing is sugar-coated or romanticized. I liked that the writing was slow-paced, and that the author focuses so much on the inner struggles of the characters, besides everything that is going of in this fictional world. Inquisitor Glokta is my favourite. He’s far from being a loveable character, but I love reading his snarky inner monologues. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers!

The next three books all feature magical elements, but in a subtle way. They are fantasy combined with historical fiction.

4. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Daughter of the Forest is a retelling of the fairy tale “The Six Swans”, but it’s also so much more than that. The Germanic tale, collected by the Grimm brothers, is in this case set in Ireland and Britain and interwoven with Celtic mythology and folktales. It is magical, but it also feels very real; the fantastical and the historical creates one whole, one wonderful story. It is also a story which speaks against war and the hatred of others. And it’s wonderfully written. I enjoyed this book immensely!

5. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

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If a book is set in the Middle Ages, I’m immediately intrigued. If the Middle Ages are actually described in a more historically accurate, and less clichéd way, I fall in love with the book. Yeah, I’m simple like that. XD But this book is so well written, atmospheric, and mysterious. The characters all have a story to tell – literally and figuratively. They are all hiding something, and they are all lying about something. The story revolves around finding out the truth, and the destructive power of lies. Again – both literally and figuratively. The book is also inspired by the Canterbury Tales, since all the characters set off to a journey together in hope to escape the plague. It’s a great read, and I’ll definitely read more Karen Maitland’s books.

6. Bright Air Black by David Vann

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This one is not really historical fiction, but a myth retelling. It’s the story of Jason and Medea from Medea’s point of view and it’s just perfect. Brutal, but perfectly so. I loved diving into Medea’s mind. She’s a sorceress, a devotee of the witch-godess Hecate, and her powers and brutality really show in this book, but at the same time it’s hard not to find simpathise with her. The book is written so well, it feels like it transports you to a different world.

In the end, I have some literary fiction (I guess) books, with no magic, or paranormal.

7. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss

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This novel is historical fiction. It’s set in Victorian England, and follows mostly female characters and their struggles to become more than society allows them to be. The main character, Ally, want to become a doctor. She’s focused on her cause, the fight for equal treatment of women and men in medicine, and become the best person she could be. Her perfecionism becomes a great burden, and she suffers from what I presume are panic attacks. She’s also under constant scrutiny of her mother who is trying to save suffering women, young prostitutes, and the poor, but is at the same time too harsh on her daughters. She wants them to know that they live in abundance while others suffer, and does it in a rigid, adamant manner. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s Ally’s sister May who seems to conctantly find a way to disobey her mother’s restrictions, their father the painter, and his friend who constantly hangs out with the girls… So many interesting relationships, and human struggles in one book.

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Well, you’ve all heard of this one, so I won’t talk about it too much. I should have read it earlier, but I’m so glad I finally did. And the series is great, too!

9. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

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You need a little patience for this one, but it’s worth it! The psychological portrayal of characters is amazing! The story mostly follows Maggie and Tom Tulliver, a brother and sister, and their relationship since early childhood. The novels also speakks of the expectations that the women of the time had to meet. The protagonist, Maggie, is strong and smart, but the society she lives in makes her ignore both of those traits. The biggest tragedy of this novel is the fact that she could’ve achieved so much, but was not allowed to. There are also some great side characters, especially poor Philip who is constntly judged because of his physical appearence. This book is truly a classic.

10. The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir

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I talked about this book recently. It’s one of the last books I’ve read this year, and it’s amazing! It’s a collection of three stories, and every story follows daily life of a woman who is going though something bad in her life. None of these women are perfect, but the emotions and thoughts expressed in these stories are so raw and sincere, it really feels like you’re reading someone’s diary.

And that’s it! I hope you had a great reading year and that the next one would be even better! What are some of your favourite books from last year? If you did a similar list please feel free to link it to me, I’m really interested to read those posts! 🙂

Currently Reading: The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir

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Everyone’s heard of Simone de Beauvoir (or at least everyone should have). She’s mosty known as a feminist, social theorist, and political activist. She’s the author of The Second Sex, a book on women’s opression which became one of the most important feminist works.

Simone de Beauvoir was also a fiction writer, though her works read almost like memoirs. The Woman Destroyed is a collection of three long stories, and so far I’ve finished the first one, “The Age of Discretion”, and since the description says all of the stories deal with similar themes, I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts of this story, before reading the others, as an introduction to de Beauvoir’s fiction.

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“The Age of Discretion” is written in first person, and it follows the intimate thoughts of the unnamed main character. Both the main character and her husband are intellectuals, she’s a writer and he a scientist. Their conversations are interesting and at times philosophical, as is the entire story. “The Age of Discretion” is, therefore, a quite erudite read, but at the same time it’s very sincere and human. It deals with everyday thoughts, insecurities, selfishness, and vanity. It’s about those little thoughts we have, but never dare express. Thoughts that belong to us, even though we don’t want to admit it.

Maybe it was during those moments, as I watch him disappear, that he exists to me with the most overwhelming clarity: his tall shape grows smaller, each pace marking out the path of his return; it vanishes and the street seems to be empty; but in fact it is a field of energy that will lead him back to me as his natural habitat: I find this certainty even more moving than his presence.

The story deals with the main character’s relationship with her husband, her son, and her own self – the past and the present, the constant change and passing of life. When it comes to her husband, she ponders on many questions. Does he still love her? Is he tired of her? Would another woman have made him happier? She cannot answer those questions, and sometimes her insecurities create more problems. She thinks too much which leads to misunderstandings.

The relationship with her son is even more complex, since he decided to take a past she did not intend for him. She feels he had made a mistakke, and cannot accept his decisions. She wants him to be a different man than he is now, and it’s hard for her to accept that. He decides not to be a professor, not to become an intellectual, and she acuses him of being greedy and only thinking about earning more money. Was that the real reason? It’s hard to tell, but for the main character it’s a great disappointment. She is watching her son become the kind of person she despises. He is not the person she tried to shape. He is his own person now, not a reflection of her ideals, and she feels that she’s losing him.

He will turn into a stranger.

The main character also struggles with her work, as her new book gets bad reviews. She sees that she’s getting old and fears she can no longer produce anything fresh and important. The world around her is changing. She is changing.

The sight of the changing world is miraculous and heart-breaking, both at the same time.

The “discretion” from the title really captures the tone of the story well. This story is mostly about things left unsaid, things we presume, though sometimes falsely, and things we are afraid to admit to ourselves. Expectations versus reality. It’s a wonderfully written story of human nature, without sugar-coating, but, in the end, still somewhat hopeful. It also shows how fragile we all are, how full of doubts.

What is an adult? A child puffed with age.

I feel like I don’t have to emphasize that I really liked the story, but, yes, I did, and I’m looking forward to reading the other two in the collection. What do you think? Have you read The Woman Destroyed? Are you interested in reading it?


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The Fall for Books Tag

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Soooo, Autumn is almost over, and I still haven’t posted this tag. I haven’t posted anything lately, actually… I won’t go into details, but, you know, life happened, and I just needed some time away. Another reason is that, even though I really want to go back to writing this blog, I’m just not feeling very inspired at the moment. I want to make this blog better, but I’m not sure how, so I just stopped writing. Anyway, let’s do this fun tag and hope for the best, shall we?

Thank you dear Rachel @paceamorelibri  for tagging me, and I’m sorry it took this long. :*

THE RULES

  • Please link back to this post so I can see your answers!
  • Have fun!

One of the first books you fell in love with:

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. That’s the first book I remember falling in love with. The characters were plush toys which talked, and I was obsessed with plush toys (I still am, to be honest). What child doesn’t want their plush toys to come alive? My favourite was Eeyore. Sad little donkey stole my heart forever.

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A book you knew you were going to love from the first page

There are a few, but the last book I fell in love with from the very beginning was Bodies of Water by Sarah Moss. This book deals with many important topics, mostly the position of women in Victorian England, but it’s also very subtle. It is full of details, emotions and thoughts of the main charater(s). This is the first Sarah Moss book that I’ve read, but I will definitely read more.

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A book you didn’t think you would love as much as you do

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo. I’ve read it for college, and I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect it to become one of my favourite books ever. It’s so sad, but the author also makes some jokes which was unexpected. I just loved everything about this book! P.S. The Disney film is different, of course, and much happier, but it’s still the darkest Disney film. And I think it’s really underestimated!Just listen to the villain, Frodo, singing Hellfire. It’s terrifying and amazing!

The character who will always have a place in your heart

Well, I already mentioned Eeyore. XD So for this question I’ll say Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, because she’s the first who came to mind. I loved her. And, also, some Harry Potter characters, of course.

Character you love on the page, but would never want to meet in real life

I usually really like flawed characters, though I’d probably not like them in real life. Now, my favourite character from comics EVER is Poison Ivy. I just adore her! But, in real life, she’d probably be very terrifying. That’s why I love her. 😉

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Literary couple you will ship until the day you die

Lestat and Louis from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I mean, who doesn’t ship them, right?

An author whose writing style you fell in love with

Daphne du Maurier, definitely. She is able to draw me into the story and create a wonderful atmosphere. I just wish I could write like that, create something that would truly make the readers feel what the character is feeling, and experience the world of the novel.

A book recommended to you by a friend/family member that you quickly fell for too

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was recommended to me by a friend, and I loved it. It was so heart-wrenching and wonderful. The author actually dedicated it to Afghan women, who suffered so much throughout history, and are still suffering. He tells the story of two women, and I just can’t say who I liked more.

Piece of book-related merchandise that you had to own

I actually own more comics merchandise than book merchandise. I have two Spider-man and two Deadpool T-shirts, and this Spider-man mug. I also have a tiny Kafka mug, which is for decoration, not to drink from.

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An author whose works you love so much that you auto-buy/borrow their new releases

I really can’t think of one… Most of my favourite authors are dead. XD But I assume Sarah Moss might become one of those. Han Kang, too.

And that’s it! I’ll tag a few people now, and I hope you’ll have fun with the tag (bot no pressure to do it if you don’t want to). 🙂

Anna @mybookishdream

Beatriz @booksnreviewsohmy

Amanda @acourtofbooksandlove

@bookowly

Lana @lifeinwordsandlyrics

Julie @juliedavide


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Quote for Thought: Nature in Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis

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Well, I may be misusing the title. Yes, this quote might spark some questions, but more than anything it’s a quote so beautiful you’ll want to simply enjoy it.

“Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none ay track my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.”

De Profundis is a long letter Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, whom he called Bosie, while he was imprisoned in Reading Gaol.

I may not agree with Oscar Wilde on everything, but I found De Profundis very captivating. I loved reading Wilde’s thoughts on art as much as I liked reading about his feelings and the way he’s coping with his imprisonment. His final words, the ones quoted, left a lasting impression on me. Just a paragraph ago, I was reading his interpretation of Hamlet, and than he turned it all around, and became very personal. The entire text is like this. It’s scholarly and emotional at the same time, it’s personal but with many universal thoughts.

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The idea of finding comfort in nature has always co-existed with alongside the idea of technological progress. Humans have always tried to separate themselves from nature. We built houses, towns and walls. We developed a civilisation (or civilisations). But, of course, we cannot live completely divided from nature. Sometimes, it seems like we’re not aware of that. We are destructive. We suck the life out of our planet. And, apparently, we choose to deny that any of the problems we’ve created even exist, or we just don’t care. Yes, there are many people who are trying to make a difference, but they are still just individuals. Not much is changing on the global scale.

People get scared of spiders, flys, and other insects, though most of them are completely harmless. We fear nature. We always have. We don’t want anything to disturb our secluded lives, without relizing that the world we have created is probably just as dangerous. Society doesn’t treat everyone fairly. “Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me”, Oscar Wilde says. How many people have felt the same?

I’m not pretending to be better or more intelligent that other people. I’m exactly the same. (Except for the fear of spiders. I like spiders, but there are insects that make me feel uneasy.) I don’t have a solution, nor do I think there really is one. A perfect world doesn’t exist. Still, we should think about it. Try to do little things, or even big things, that may make a difference. The idea of nature as something wild and dangerous may be woven into the very fabric of our being, but the idea of nature as a nurturing mother is just as powerful. And I think it’s a very important part of who we are.

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?