Top Ten Tuesday (25)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can list any kind of top 10 that is related to books, authors, and reading in general.

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This week’s topic is Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books You’ve Read In The Past Year Or So.

I’ve noticed that the guys over at The Broke and the Bookish chose to select books they read that have 500 reviews or fewer on Goodreads. Since only a few books I read in the last year meet these criteria, I’ve included a few of my 2015 reads.

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Romeo and Juliet in Palestine: Teaching Under Occupation by Tom Sperlinger
It offers an interesting insight into the daily life of students in the occupied territories, and because it’s a relatively short one it’s a good option for someone who doesn’t have the time to commit to a longer book.
Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday (25)”

2017 Bookish Goals and Reading Challenges

pexels-photo-172367So at the start of this new year I thought it was about time I’d re-evaluate the way I look at reading and my reading habits in general, because of late I’ve been reading less and less and I really miss it. In order to break this cycle I feel I need to make some necessary changes to the way I read.

First of all I want to stop setting myself challenges when it comes to reading or, in case I do feel like entering a challenge of some sort, ensure that what I’m trying to do is manageable and with very little to no pressure.

Continue reading “2017 Bookish Goals and Reading Challenges”

2016 End of Year Book Survey

This wonderful survey was created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner, and it offers a great insight into and overview of your year in books.

Sadly I didn’t read that many books this year, so I hope my survey isn’t too repetitive. The problem is that I just didn’t have that many titles to choose from!

If you’d like to participate in this survey you can. Just make sure to give credit to Jamie, and you can also link back to your survey over on her blog.

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© The Perpetual Page-Turner

So, without further ado, here’s my bookish survey of 2016

Stats
Number Of Books You Read: 16
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Crime Fiction

Continue reading “2016 End of Year Book Survey”

Top Ten Tuesday (24)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can list any kind of top 10 that is related to books, authors, and reading in general.

TTT3W

This week’s theme: Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

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Okay so I know I’m a terrible fangirl for not having bought/read this one, but I’m kind of in two ways about it. Some people love it, others hate it, which is why I’ve been a bit hesitant thus far. But I wouldn’t mind finding a copy of it under the Christmas tree!

Syrian Dust: Reporting from the Heart of the War by Francesca Borri

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Not exactly light reading, but I saw an interview with her recently which was really interesting and made me want to read her account of living in and surviving Aleppo.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday (24)”

Book Haul (17)

Since I haven’t done one of these in ages this is going to be quite a big haul. I still continue to try and limit the amount of books that I buy, but sometimes I just really can’t resist (and sometimes you gotta treat yourself, right?)

So here’s what I’ve bought in recent months:

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Quite a pile, I know. And they’re all very different types of book as well. Sometimes I see book blogs that are very centred around certain types of genres, but I’m not the type of person to read only a certain genre almost exclusively. I am interested in a wide variety of topics, which is reflected in the books that I buy.

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These three I got at a charity shop about two months ago, and all together cost me about €4 (total bargain!)

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
I’ve been meaning to read this one for years now, and I feel kind of bad about the fact that I still haven’t read it. But the fact that I’ve now got a copy means I’m 1 step closer to actually reading it. It’s a start.

Innocent Traitor – Alison Weir
This book centres around Lady Jane Grey and her 8 day reign. Weir is famous for her historical non-fiction, but has also written a few amazing historical novels. I’ve read three so far and they were all great, so I’m pretty excited about this one.

The Glass Palace – Amitav Ghosh
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, yet I’ve never read anything by Ghosh before. I mainly picked it up because it got good reviews and because I could get it so cheaply. Will definitely report back one I’ve read it.

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I bought these two books when I was in New York City at the end of April. I got both of them at The Strand.

Someday, Someday Maybe – Lauren Graham
Okay, so I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, and I’ve recently rewatched all 7 seasons. Not only that, but I’m eagerly awaiting the revival that will air later this year on Netflix. And I’m not ashamed to say that my love for Gilmore Girls was my main reason for buying this book. I pretty much finished it on the plane flying back from NYC, and I LOVED IT. Lauren Graham is such a funny lady, which is definitely reflected in the books. Review to follow, so I won’t say too much about it now. But it’s great!

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
As you can read in my review of Half of a Yellow Sun, I was shocked when I realised how little I knew about the Nigerian-Biafran War. Things Fall Apart is one of the many texts that Ngozi Adichie used for her research, and of course Achebe is a household name when it comes to African literature. So when I came across this book at The Strand, especially since I was in the middle of Half of a Yellow Sun, I just had to get it.

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And last but not least, these two books.

Through the Language Glass – Guy Deutscher
I’ve been meaning to get this book for ages. It’s a much disputed concept within the field of linguistics about whether the language you speak influences the way you perceive the world around you. As someone who speaks several languages I am inclined to say that it has a definite influence on the way you view the world, but that’s just me. There are many linguists who would not agree with me on this. So yeah, I am really excited to read this one!

Memoirs of an Early Arab Feminist: the life and activism of Anbara Salam Khalidi – Anbara Salam Khalidi
Combine the Middle East and feminism and you’re pretty much guaranteed to pique my interest. I had never heard of her until I happened to stumble upon this title whilst browsing Goodreads. I read some of her backstory and immediately decided to order a copy. I got it in the post a few days ago, and this will definitely be the next book that I’m going to read!

So that’s my book haul for now, and it’ll certainly keep me busy for a while 😀

Have you bought any new books recently?

Review: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

576650Title: Half of a Yellow Sun
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Published: January 1st, 2007
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 448
ISBN: 0007200285

Review
Once in a while you come across a book that will stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished it. Half of a Yellow Sun is one of those books. Even though its subject material is heavy and complex, it drew me in and wouldn’t let me go.

I started reading it on a long train ride from Lyon to Brussels. By the time I’d arrived in Brussels I was well beyond 200 pages into the book. The next day, on our flight to New York, I read another big chunk of it. I finally finished it a week later on our flight back. It’s very intense reading material and I must admit that I’ve had a few bad dreams because of it, but I just had to finish it.

What makes this book so good is a combination of a fascinating, though at times gruelling piece of history that’s not often written about, but above all it’s Adichie’s beautiful writing style. From page 1 it just grabs you and keeps you wanting more.

Apart from telling a family’s story, it also tells the story of a tragic and short lived nation, that barely had the chance to ever really begin. Biafra is a word that, for most people, will always be connected to the notion of famine and conjures images of emaciated children with swollen bellies. But most people don’t know the story behind these images, are not aware of the conflicts that preceded and ultimately led to that situation.

Even though I love history and would consider myself to be reasonably well read, in this instance I, too, belonged to this majority that didn’t really have a clue about the tragic history of Nigeria and Biafra in that early post-colonial period. This is why I feel this book is so important, not just as a work of fiction, but as a way of making a reasonably unknown period of history accessible to a large number of people.

It has made me interested in a country that I had previously known very little about, and I am sure that I will be reading more about Nigeria sometime in the future.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

My rating: heartheartheartheartheart

 

On My Bookshelf (12)

In this feature I showcase books that remain on my shelf, unread and impatiently waiting to be picked up.

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It’s been a while since I did one of these, but unfortunately the number of unread books on my bookshelf hasn’t really gone down. This isn’t because I haven’t been reading but because, in spite of all my best efforts, I keep buying new books! The book I’m showcasing you this time is one that, like so many, has been taking up shelf space for quite some time now, and gives me a sense of guilt ever time I glance at it in passing. I’ve heard so many great things about it, which is why I don’t really understand why I keep putting off reading this book. It’s Possession by A.S. Byatt. I’ve not read any of her work yet but like I said, I’ve heard a lot of great things about her writing so it should be good!

Synopsis
“Literary critics make natural detectives,” says Maud Bailey, heroine of a mystery where the clues lurk in university libraries, old letters, and dusty journals. Together with Roland Michell, a fellow academic and accidental sleuth, Maud discovers a love affair between the two Victorian writers the pair has dedicated their lives to studying: Randolph Ash, a literary great long assumed to be a devoted and faithful husband, and Christabel La Motte, a lesser-known “fairy poetess” and chaste spinster. At first, Roland and Maud’s discovery threatens only to alter the direction of their research, but as they unearth the truth about the long-forgotten romance, their involvement becomes increasingly urgent and personal. Desperately concealing their purpose from competing researchers, they embark on a journey that pulls each of them from solitude and loneliness, challenges the most basic assumptions they hold about themselves, and uncovers their unique entitlement to the secret of Ash and La Motte’s passion.(Goodreads)

Book Haul (16)

So lately I’ve been trying to stop myself from buying too many books, and instead focus on the books I already own. I’ve been doing pretty well if I may say so myself and I went for months without buying any new books. But when I went to the Netherlands a few weeks ago to visit family and friends I have to admit I caved and ended up buying two new books. In my defence though, one’s a second hand book and the other one a Dutch book which would’ve been difficult to get hold of otherwise, so I feel that, in this instance, it was okay to buy new books.

The first book I bought is The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts, the real-life horse whisperer. I’ve admired him for years for the way he treats horses and the remarkable way he’s managed to learn the ‘language of horses’. I’m reading it at the moment and it’s so inspiring. I would love to buy a young horse sometime in the near future, and when I do I will definitely be using his method to train my horse.

I bought this at the second-hand book market in the centre of Amsterdam, and I only paid €4 for it so it was a great bargain!

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The second book I bought is Papegaai Vloog over de IJssel by Kader Abdolah. It’s his latest book and hasn’t been translated into English yet, so unfortunately I can’t give you the English title. A few months back I wrote a review for one of his other books, The King, which you can find here. I’m really looking forward to reading this new one, because so far I’ve loved everything he’s written and I’m hoping this one will be just as enjoyable to read.

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I’m really going to try to make myself read both these books before I even think about buying any new ones, so the next book haul might not be for a while yet (but who knows?).

Have you bought any exciting new titles recently?

Top Ten Tuesday (23)

Hi guys, so it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday. I really love this meme because it’s so diverse and it really forces you to think about your favourite reads, literary tropes, and many other things. This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and if you run a book blog and want to participate, go check it out!

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This week’s topic is Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS from the past 3 years. I think this is a great one because I love reflecting and looking back on the wonderful books I’ve read in the past. Since we’re only a few months into 2015 I’ve chosen books that I read in the period from 2012-2014.

2012

  • Ken Follett – The Pillars of the Earth
  • Elif Shafak – The Bastard of Istanbul
  • George R.R. Martin – A Game of Thrones
  • Dawn French – A Tiny Bit Marvellous

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2013

  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Shadow of the Wind
  • Khaled Hosseini – And The Mountains Echoed
  • Elizabeth Chadwick – The Summer Queen

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2014

  • Kader Abdolah – The King
  • Ruby Wax – Sane New World: Taming the Mind
  • Alexander McCall Smith – 44 Scotland Street

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I could’ve picked a few more books from the past few years, but since I had to limit myself to just 10 I had to think about this carefully. If you take part in this TTT list, leave me a comment so I can check our your picks! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday (22)

So it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and as I’m posting it it’s only just still Tuesday (but it’ll be Tuesday for another few hours in some parts of the world so that totally counts, right?)

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This week’s topic is a pretty cool one, which is why I just had to do it. It’s: Top Ten Favourite Heroines From Books (or TV shows/films). Pretty cool huh? Mine will be a combination of the two, because there are awesome heroines in every medium.

1. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series.
This one should go without saying really. She’s smart, she’s brave, but she doesn’t have to sacrifice her femininity in order to be all of those things.

2. Danaerys Targaryen – A Song of Ice and Fire
She gets bullied and abused by her brother, sold and forced to marry the leader of a brutal gang of warriors on horseback. So what does she do when her husband dies? She takes control and leads that unruly troop into battle and tries to free as many slaves as possible. Oh yeah, badass.

3. Vianne Rocher – Chocolat
What I love most about her is that she stays true to who she is and what she believes in, but at the same time she accepts and respects people’s differences and doesn’t try to convince them of her ways, even though that’s exactly what they’re trying to do to her.

4. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games (the book version!)
She’s an admirable character and a likeable heroine because she gets thrown into a situation and tries to make the most of it. She sacrifices herself in order to save her little sister from inevitable harm, which is one of the most selfless things a person can do for a loved one.

5. Matilda – Roald Dahl
She’s probably the best role model for young girls there is. Matilda teaches girls that it’s okay and even good to be smart and different, and that you should stand up for what you believe in.

6. Precious Ramotswe – The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Her love for people and her country, and her general philosophy and outlook on life are simply amazing. If I had to choose the wisdom of one fictional character to live by, it would be the wisdom of Mma Ramotswe.

7. Lucie Pevensie – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia #2)
She’s the first one to discover Narnia behind the wardrobe, and sets events in motion that eventually lead to saving the the magical land. She’s inquisitive, loveable and loyal, which is why I love her so much.

8. Ishraq – The Order of Darkness series
I love her because she’s a highly intelligent woman living in the Middle Ages, who basically doesn’t give a shit about the fact that women are supposed to be subservient slaves. She’s had an education, has knowledge of science, medicine, mathematics, and languages, as well as being a pro at martial arts. She doesn’t need to be saved from sticky situations. In fact, she’s the one doing the actual saving most of the time!

So that’s all from me for now. Who’s your favourite fictional heroine?