I think we all try not to spread negativity on our blogs, but a negative review is at times just irresistible. I am now recovering from a rather bad reading spell, having read a number of disappointing books recently, and have decided on this tag to both vent my feelings and maybe ward off others. This is a re-worked by me tag which I first spotted at The Bookish Mutant and the original creator is The Reader’s Game. If you decide to do this tag as well, I would love to read your answers.
A Disappointing Debut
The Moviegoer  by Walker Percy. I know how popular and admired this book is, but I only found it exasperating and disappointing. I love films, books with existential themes and New Orleans-set novels, so I assumed this would be a perfect book for me. I was wrong, and I still do not understand how this book could have won the National Book Award in 1962 over such books as Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, Heller’s Catch-22 and Yates’s Revolutionary Road (one of my favourite books). Having said all that, I do have Percy’s Lancelot  on my TBR and it looks like I may like it more.
An Author with a Novel You Love, and a Novel You Dislike
Kazuo Ishiguro. I love his book The Remains of the Day  and dislike his most recent sci-fi novel Klara and the Sun . In fact, since I read the book my dislike for it only deepened. The film rights for this book have already been acquired, and for those who cannot wait that long, there is another similar film to check out – Kogonada’s After Yang , a tale about one family’s coping strategies after their artificial intelligence “helper” has broken down. Amazingly, as I write this, I am also becoming aware that Kogonada was actually influenced to make this film by one of the quotes from Percy’s The Moviegoer! (talking about coincidences).
I spotted this interesting book tag at Anne with A Book (original creator – Betweenlinesandlife) and decided to post my answers to it, too. I am not tagging anyone specifically, and everyone is free to participate! Philosophy is such a rich and diverse field of study – everyone’s answers will be different (and interesting)!
1. Thales is considered the first known philosopher. Which text introduced you to philosophy or which text would you like to read to get you into philosophy?
I cannot remember my first philosophy book or author, but in high school I read both Immanuel Kant‘s theory of ethics and deontology, and Jeremy Bentham‘s work on utilitarianism, as well as books by Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil  and Thus Spoke Zarathustra ). The Myth of Sisyphus  by Albert Camus started my passion for the philosophy of existentialism.
2. Karl Marx is a political philosopher, turning the world upside down with the Communist Manifesto. Which political event or event in history would you like to read more about in fiction?
I would like to read more about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and have already put on my TBR list Paul Ham’s book Hiroshima Nagasaki . I also want to read more about the fall of Nazi Berlin and the siege of Leningrad in 1944.
There are many character types in fiction and I have decided to create this tag to showcase some of them, taking inspiration from this website on writing. The first five character types presented below simply reflect the characters’ roles in a story (there are seven such roles overall), while the last five are typical archetypes (there are twelve overall, as categorised by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, among others).
I. Protagonist: “The main character of the story is the protagonist” – Klara from Kazuo Ishiguro’s sci-fi novel Klara and the Sun 
Klara is a very curious choice for a protagonist and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before with such an unusual narrator. Klara and her vision of the world are presented convincingly and the readers are constantly wondering how much of a “human” Klara really is or is becoming. It is precisely when we follow Klara’s “mental-processes” that Ishiguro’s new novel really “shines”, which also means the beginning is one of this novel’s strengths.
I spotted this book tag at Anniek’s Libraryand thought it would be fun to do. The original creator is theYouTube Channel Bookables.
I. How many books are you planning to read this year?
I never set myself goals to read a specific number of books (if anything, I need to set myself goals to read less, because my free time is all about reading, as opposed to doing other beneficial activities!). I think I read around 80 books last year, so I think I may do about the same this year.
II.Name five books you didn’t get to read in 2020, but want to make a priority in 2021?
I spotted this tag on Clemi’s Bookish World, and though I am not a Taylor Swift fan (or maybe I am and just don’t know it yet), I decided to post the tag because the questions are interesting. My answers somehow ended up to be more French than intended, and I omitted the category: “Peace: A book character you’d die for because you love them so much” because I could not decide on just one. I am tagging everyone who is interested in doing this fun tag.
– The Tenant(Le Locataire chimérique) by Roland Topor – After finishing this psychological, existential book, I really did not know what to make of the ending – but it is definitely thought-provoking. The book astutely explores alienation and the search for identity in a big city as the main character begins to realise that his neighbours may have nefarious designs upon him. The film of 1976 is equally good.
I haven’t previously posted this tag, and I thought it would be fun – I have seen it on both the Literary Elephant and There’s Something About KM blogs. I have also skipped the questions on “best sequel” and “newest fiction crush” because, so far this year, I haven’t read a good sequel nor had a fiction crush.
Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2020
That’s a tough question – it will probably be Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red– I enjoyed the murder mystery there, the intellectual and historic atmosphere, and the ending. The Silent Cry by Kenzaburo Oe was my other memorable read.
New Release You Haven’t Read But Really Want To
Death in Her Handsby Ottessa Moshfegh (the author of Eileen  and My Year of Rest and Relaxation ).
The synopsis to Death in Her Hands reads that this is a novel “of haunting metaphysical suspense about an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds a cryptic note on a walk in the woods that ultimately makes her question everything about her new home” (Goodreads). I also need to pick up The Truants by Kate Weinberg.
I saw this bookish meme on Laura, Rachel & Callum’s blogs and have decided to post my answers to it, too (the creator of this tag is Roof Beam Reader). The rule is that you must use only books you have read this year to answer the questions below without repeating any of the book titles. It looks like my version of this tag came off much darker than I initially intended it to be (so my answers contain dark humour). As usual, I am not tagging anyone, and anyone is free to participate.
I spotted this tag first on youtube since I follow one book reviewer there – Eric, and decided to post my answers to this tag, too. The creator of this tag is ArielBessett, and I have also seen this tag at Whimsy Pages(Alex’s blog) and at The Book Prescription. I am not tagging anyone for this tag, and everyone is welcome to participate.
I. Is there a book that you started that you still need to finish by the end of the year?
The Maias (Os Maias)  by José Maria de Eça de Queiroz. After I enjoyed The Crime of Father Amaro, I thought I would read another book by this author – Os Maias, a realist family saga, which was also recommended to me by Susana at A Bag Full of Stories. I am still to finish this Portuguese classic even though I started it about three weeks ago, but I do have an excuse – it is 715 pages long! I am enjoying it so far and I think it will be a five-star read for me.
II. Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?
Every time I think of autumn or winter, I think of some nice crime mystery to read. I think it is so nice to read something like that in a warm home when there is snow or rain falling outside. I will be reading some detective stories by Andrea Camilleri (The Shape of Water and The Snack Thief will probably be my next reads). I also want to re-read The Essex Serpent , which I enjoyed very much when I first read it. Given its slightly gothic, dark atmosphere and setting, it will also be the perfect autumnal transition. Continue reading “The End of the Year Book Tag”→
I read a lot of non-fiction books (see also my list of 10 Fascinating Non-Fiction Books), so I decided to create this tag to draw attention to some fascinating books in the non-fiction genre. As usual, I do not tag specific bloggers and, if you read non-fiction, feel free to participate.
I. What non-fiction book would you recommend to everyone?
Quiet  by Susan Cain; introverts will feel at home with this book – more so than with any other book out there. This book is about introversion and how introverts can make a real impact in this world, especially if others differentiate them from shy people and let introverts flourish and achieve things in an environment that suits them best. Modern society is so preoccupied with “fast-business”, “first impressions” and with “immediate, loud success” that there is often no place for the quietness of thought, and deep analysis and insight that come from prolonged thinking and solitude. Our modern, commercialised society also does not seem to concern itself that much with honesty or loyalty (something that can only be seen through long-term relationships – a forte of introverts), but is all about expert communication skills, fast advertising and the “right” kind of external presentation (a forte of extroverts). Susan Cain makes it clear that, unlike in the West, Asian countries regard silence as a sign of deep intelligence, while talking is a sign of that in the West, and makes examples of introverted people who revolutionised the world or became leaders. The thesis of Susan Cain is that introverts have much to offer, including in the positions of leadership, if only others can shed stigma concerning “quiet” people and realise that they too can make an invaluable societal contribution. Continue reading “The Non-Fiction Book Tag”→
I. Pumpkin Spice Latte: A Book That Everyone Criticises But Is Actually Delicious:
Osceola, the Seminole by Mayne Reid.
This is a book that some say is only “for children” and “cannot be compared to the works of Jack London or Robert Louis Stevenson”. Well, I have another opinion. This book is THE book of my childhood, alongside other books by Mayne Reid, such as The Quadroon  and The Scalp Hunters . Osceola, the Seminole has a great sense of adventure and induces warm feelings of friendship and romance. If you liked Jack London’s The Sea-Wolf , then you should also check out The Boy Tar  by Mayne Reid. Continue reading “The Pumpkin Spice Latte Book Tag”→
I saw this tag on Kristin Kraves Books (the original creator is Peace, Love, Veggies), and decided to give it a go because astrology is a fascinating esoteric study area (I am a Scorpio, btw). Each of the twelve zodiac signs has its own core personality description, and the headings below roughly reflect these descriptions. For example, the Libra sign is associated with balance in life, and, therefore, below is a request to name a book that is neither good nor bad (an equilibrium between good and bad is reached), and the sign of Leo is associated with power, pride and bravery, and, thus, there is a request below to name courageous characters in a book. As usual, I am not tagging anyone in particular, and everyone is welcome to participate.
I. ARIES – Name a book you’ve read that was full of fire, desire, and passion
Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) by Laura Esquivel
When I think about boundless passion in books, this book by Mexican author Laura Esquivel just pops into my head instantly. Pedro and Tita’s forbidden love in this story is electrifying, and this story is about cooking and delicious food, too (Mexican recipes are included). Continue reading “The Astrology Book Tag”→
I decided to create this tag because I read a lot of books translated from a foreign language, and sometimes I read books in Spanish and Russian. In my blog, I often try to bring attention to books translated from another language and there are many gems to discover in this category. I am not tagging anyone and everyone is free to participate.
I. A translated novel you would recommend to everyone:
Silence by Shūsaku Endō (translated from the Japanese)
Itis easy to choose some Russian classic here, but I thought I would bring attention to this novel by Shūsaku Endō. This 1966 historical fiction novel tells of a Jesuit missionary sent to Japan in the 17th century at the time when Christians were persecuted. This powerful novel explores many themes, including the strength and limits of faith and belief, betrayal, and religion vs. particular culture and history. There is also a movie of the same name directed by Martin Scorsese, who is probably the world’s biggest fan of this book. Continue reading “The Translated Literature Tag”→
I saw this tag at The Orangutan Librarian and decided to post my answers to it too. I will probably end up being hated for some of my opinions below 🙂 but a confession is a confession.
I. Which book, most recently, did you not finish?
Celestial Bodies by Jokha al-Harthi (translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth). This is the recent winner of the International Booker Prize and, naturally, I wanted to read it as soon as possible. It is a tale of three sisters and their relationships in Oman. It is told through various characters’ perspectives, not only of the sisters’ but also of their children and husbands, apparently. I read first twenty or so pages, and though I liked the beginning, reading about the perspective of Mayya, one of the sisters, when other characters started telling about themselves, my attention veered off and I did not finish the book. I promised to myself to come back to this novel to finish it. The book has all the qualities of an important novel and I especially love that it is set in Oman, portraying a different culture.Continue reading “The Book Blogger Confessions Tag”→
I saw this book tag at Nut Free Nerdand decided to have a go at it (I changed slightly the original tag). I am not nominating specific people for this tag and anyone who wishes to participate is free to do so.
I. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel
This is easy – Susanna Clarke’s amazing fantasy bookJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell should get a sequel. There are still some questions that remain about the story and the story finished in such a way as to hint that there may be a continuation.
II. Totally should’ve had a spin-off series
The Harry Potterbook series. Ok, I know what everybody is thinking, but, please, hear me out. We had Harry’s story in seven books; we had additional books published by Rowling on quidditch and fantastic beasts; and we had screenplays that showed the magical world of America in the eighteenth century. But, I think it would be a great idea to have a spin-off series where we can see the magical world in a historical context. Hogwarts was founded in 990 A.D., and it will be interesting to see students studying at some historical point in time, such as maybe in the middle ages and to see how fashion changed and what spells were in fashion – to see the magical world as a historical fiction with new characters. Perhaps, references can be made to magical schools in Latin America or Africa, etc. The great thing about this is that the Harry Potter events would not be muddled with or changed since the action in any spin-off can take place centuries before Harry Potter. Continue reading “The Totally Should’ve Book Tag”→
Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient  adapted from the novel of the same name  by Michael Ondaatje.
The English Patient is far from being the most faithful adaptation, but Minghella (The Talented Mr Ripley ) conveyed the spirit and atmosphere of the novel perfectly, and the film boasts great performances from Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche. The score by Gabriel Yared (Betty Blue ) is one of the most beautiful ever produced, too.
II. What do you consider to be the best book-to-film adaptation?
Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides  adapted from the novel of the same name  by Jeffrey Eugenides.
In my opinion, some of the best ever literary adaptations include Gone with the Wind , Rosemary’s Baby  and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , but there is still something very special about Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, so I choose that film. It is a beautiful, haunting adaptation which remains largely faithful to the source material. Coppola did an amazing job conveying the suburban claustrophobia and hidden despair and tension of the girls.Continue reading “The Literary Adaptation Book Tag”→
I noticed this tag yesterday at Madame Writer, and decided to give it a go because Mardi Gras is a fascinating tradition and New Orleans, the place where it is famously celebrated, is a special place, indeed. The original tag can be found at RandomlyBookishGina. Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is another name for celebratory Carnival events, when people can enjoy themselves by eating and drinking as much as they want before the Lent season begins. It is celebrated around the world in Roman Catholic countries as a Carnival, and, apart from a big celebration in New Orleans, US, there are also big events taking place in Venice, Italy and in Brazil.
I. Designated Driver: What re-read book is reliable to get you out of a reading slump?
I do not really have “reading slumps”, but I can re-read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History  to remind myself why I love “contemporary” books. This is a book that ticks all the boxes for me: intriguing character studies, a slow slide into the macabre, and beautiful language, among many other things. I highly recommend it. Continue reading “The Mardi Gras Book Tag”→
Flip That Page has created the Greek Mythology Book Tag, and since this is a popular type of posts on wordpress.com, I also thought I would give it a go. I also slightly re-worked the original tag framework.
Zeus (Jupiter): God of the Sky and Thunder / King of the Gods
Favourite book: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Richard Yates has created a fascinating, heart-breaking account of one couple – the Wheelers who simply want “to live” by deciding to go Paris and settle there permanently, breaking from the culture of conformity that pervaded the 1950s US. This marvellous novel is beautiful, a bit traumatic, but always moving.
Poseidon (Neptune): God of the Seas and Earthquakes
Book that drowned you in feels: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
There is something emotional, evanescent and indeterminate about Kazuo Ishiguro novels, but The Remains of the Day has got to be one of his most moving novels. While reading this novel, one cannot but feel about the whole situation of opportunities lost and never recovered, and think deeply about the nature of duty, responsibilities and how the tiniest and most mundane details/attention can sometimes mean the world to some people, and everything should be seen in its context. Continue reading “The Greek Mythology Book Tag”→