Monday, 5 January 2015

Favourite Books and Other Highlights of 2014

These two are my absolute favourites of the year. I cried my eyes out during several parts of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. The scenes aren’t even typical tearjerkers, and I don’t deal with the same problems as the main characters, but with his observant, thoughtful writing style, the author succeeded in making me care a lot about Ari and Dante, and I could relate to them on the more general level of having to figure out who you are and who you want to be. I recommend this to anyone and everyone!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Book Haul: Christmas Presents!

Hello everybody. I know I’ve been absent for quite a while. To put it briefly, I was in a reading slump for more than three months, my mind was blocked up with other things and I had this overall feeling of dullness and lassitude. In addition, I’ve had to make some unpleasant decisions which, hopefully, will turn out for the better in the long run. Anyhow, now I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things, so I thought I’d show you what I got for Christmas. I’m incredibly pleased with my presents this year!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Stacking the Shelves [#9] – Ginormous Haul for No Particular Reason

Hey guys. It’s been a while ... I’ve only read one book in September (The 5th Wave – I’ve posted a short spoiler-review on Goodreads, in case you’re interested in hearing my thoughts about it), so I didn’t exactly have anything to blog about. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t acquire any new books.

Initially, I intended not to buy any more books this year because I wanted to save some money for book-shopping in London next year, but you know how it goes … One thing led to another, and I ended up with 14 new books. Yeah. I know. 
Both I and my mum received a 15€ eBay voucher code, and I just couldn’t pass that up. Then I bought a gift card for a friend, which I didn’t need after all, so there was yet another book-buying opportunity. 
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
With Frankenstein, I now own seven books in the Penguin Clothbound Classics editions, and each one is prettier than the next.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Thank You, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
A few additions to my beloved Penguin English Library collection. I’m particularly excited to check out a few more of Elizabeth Gaskell’s works!

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell 

 The Walking Dead Compendium #1 by Robert Kirkman

Foyles Limited Edition. I could not resist its beauty. I generally don’t like turquoise, but in combination with pink it’s strangely of appealing. And the cover itself is extremely pretty as well, it’s most likely my favourite book cover of 2014.

Finally, I found out that the old Bloomsbury editions of Harry Potter aren’t printed anymore, and I was still missing book 4, 5 and 6; so I had to react quickly. [Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is still in transit.]
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (used copy)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

If you’ve read any of these books, do let me know what you think about them. If you normally shy away from deliberately humorous books—which I do, too—, please try out some Woodhouse! I’ve only read a couple of pages from Thank You, Jeeves yet, and it’s wonderfully hilarious.
It might take a while until I post another book review because I’m doing a reread of the entire Harry Potter series, which is the best method to get back into the reading mood (and a more cheerful mood in general).  
BTW: Even though I don’t want to buy more books for a while, I’m still going to post another book haul before Christmas, as I expect to receive another gift card by the end of October. :) 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

August Wrap Up – On Quick Reads, Benedict Cumberbatch and London

I won’t be doing a TBR for September, because I’m terrible at sticking to it. I’m an awful procrastinator, so as soon as I make a reading list, my brain perceives it as a task, and the procrastination mode will be intiated. Or at least that’s how I think one could explain it. Aaanyway …

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling (3.5/5)
Quidditch Through the Ages by J. K. Rowling (4/5)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (3/5)
Alex + Ada Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna (3.5/5)

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (4/5)
18 post-its for 150 pages
This was a thoughtful novel(la) about the concepts of memory, history, time and remorse. It follows an ordinary man named Tony Webster from his school days to an old age, when he receives a letter that causes him to reflect upon his past. Julian Barnes uses an eloquent diction, and he examines interesting philosophical themes, which creates the impression that he draws upon a big bowl full of life experience. Plus, he mentions my favourite composer, Dvořák, by which he has earned some bonus points.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (4/5) 
Really good, although I don’t claim to have fully understood it in more than the literal sense. 
I enjoyed the mystical elements of the story as well as the overall dark tone with glimpses of light, hope and friendship. Reading the book, I felt as if transported back to my childhood and to the way I experienced and perceived the world around me back then. I’m definitely going to read more of Gaiman’s books; no idea what has taken me so long to pick up his work.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them + Quidditch Through the Ages by J. K. Rowling
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 

Unfortunately, I haven’t posted any original content this month because, most of the time, I didn’t feel like occupying myself with books. Reasons why are stated below.

I alluded to this in my last wrap up, and now it has actually happened: I bought a ticket for Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre in London. If you haven’t heard about it yet, the play will be performed from August till October 2015, and the only details announced so far are that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Hamlet and it’ll be directed by Lyndsey Turner
You have no idea how excited I am about this, and I’m not even a hysterical fangirl—although Sherlock is one of my favourite shows and Mr Cumberbatch appears to be a decent British chap, I don’t believe in obsessing over actors. I just stumbled across this by accident a few weeks ago, and ever since then I’ve been spending my time on the internet creating Google maps and doing research for all the places I want to visit whilst in London. 
It’s been a long-cherished dream of mine to visit the UK (starting with London and Edinburgh) for years and years, but it had never worked out for various reasons. But now it’s finally going to happen, and I’ll also get to see some Shakespeare as a nice extra. I’M CHUFFED TO BITS. It’s ridiculous how much I’m looking forward to emptying all the English bookstores. Be prepared, Waterstones/Foyles/Daunt Books/Persephone Books/..., I’m on my way!
If you have any tips for (bookish) places to visit in London, give ’em to me! Moreover, if by happenstance you’re going to see Hamlet as well, I’d love to talk to you about it! :)

In August, I also rekindled my love for drawing. I’m terrible at drawing things from my imagination—because I have none. Seriously, I always need pictures as a reference. But I’d like to believe that I’m tolerable at drawing portraits and copying other paintings. It just takes so much time that I rarely do it.
At the moment, I’m working on this painting by Edgar Degas, whom I adore because I like ballet. I bought pastels specifically for this, so now I feel like a kid all over again, and it’s nice! I might share the results on my neglected tumblr page or here, if it turns out alright.