zondag 31 juli 2016

William Shakespeare: Richard III

Hi

It’s been a few years since I read William Shakespeare. I’ve been collecting his works in these Wordsworth Classic editions and when I saw they had a few at the Boekenfestijn I just had to buy the ones I was missing.
My copy consists of 107 pages play and 60 pages of introduction, notes and glossary.

Because I’m not a scholar or even a language student I find it very hard to write a review about these classic works. Not just Shakespeare but Dickens, Austen and other classic writers too.
That’s why I won’t even attempt to review Richard III.
It would take me way too long to write something and I couldn’t possibly add to the massive amount of existing literary criticism about the subject.

So I will just say that I enjoyed the play and I loved the historical information in the introduction. It made me Google Richard III, his family and the Royal Dynasty at the time.
A book that accomplishes that is a good book.

3 STARS

Happy reading and I’ll see you tomorrow with my July Wrap Up.
Helena

zaterdag 30 juli 2016

Charles Dickens: David Copperfield

Hi again

Finally finished Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. It took me the whole month partly because it’s a very long and slow book, partly because I haven’t been feeling very well and partly because my husband and I have been pretty busy around the house.
My copy has 982 pages of story and 3 pages about the book by Matthew Arnold.
I got my beautiful book at the Fnac.
You can find my Charles Dickens reviews here.

“Dickens's epic, exuberant novel is one of the greatest coming-of-age stories in literature. It chronicles David Copperfield's extraordinary journey through life, as he encounters villains, saviours, eccentrics and grotesques, including the wicked Mr Murdstone, stout-hearted Peggotty, formidable Betsey Trotwood, impecunious Micawber and odious Uriah Heep.
Dickens's great Bildungsroman (based, in part, on his own boyhood, and which he described as a 'favourite child') is a work filled with life, both comic and tragic.
The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.”

I really enjoyed David Copperfield.

Dickens’ characters are brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It’s amazing how different they all are and how much I loved most of them. Betsy Trotwood has to be my favorite. I love her.
The characters are obviously very stylized, but that’s his style and they really come alive after just a few chapters. We understand where they’re coming from and why they act the way they do. That doesn’t mean I like them, but I can see what and who made them do certain things.
The story is emotional, sad and funny at the same time. There are a lot of details and descriptive passages but it’s never boring and it makes for a beautiful novel. I felt like I was living there, with these characters, going through everything they were going through.
The prose is wonderful; rich, descriptive and vivid.

But there are a few things that bothered me.
First and foremost; Dora. Dora annoys me so much. She’s been brought up to marry a rich man and be beautiful and she doesn’t want to be anything more than that. That’s what makes me mad (and sad). She doesn’t want to understand what everyone is talking about, she doesn’t want to run her house properly and she can’t cope with any sort of feedback. She cries, says David is mean and blubbers about not being good enough. I mean, really? I know Dickens mocks her himself, but I couldn’t quite get past it to enjoy her character.
Secondly; David is so, so gullible, naive and passive. There were moments throughout the book where he deserved a few shakes to be honest.

I really enjoyed David Copperfield and I would definitely recommend it.
The more Dickens I read, the more I love him.

4 STARS

Happy reading!
Helena

Bookhaul: Brussels

Hi everyone

My husband and I went on a daytrip to Brussels to see The Harry Potter Exhibition.
After enjoying that (a lot) I paid the various English bookshops a visit.

Here’s what I got:

I can’t wait to get to them!

Happy reading and I’ll see you (very) soon.
Helena

donderdag 21 juli 2016

Bookhaul: Amsterdam

Hi everyone

Some of you might have seen my Instagram pictures of the familyholiday to Amsterdam.
My father, husband and I spent some time bookshopping and I’m very happy with the books I got.
You can never have too many books. :)

Here they are:

Happy reading!
Helena




vrijdag 15 juli 2016

Joe Abercrombie: Last Argument of Kings

Hi

Last Argument of Kings is the third book in The First Law by Joe Abercrombie.
My copy has 670 pages and I got it from Bol.
You can find all my The First Law reviews here.

                                *   SPOILERS   *

The book reads rather slow but is very, very absorbing. It’s fast paced, dark, powerful, complex, and different enough from other Fantasy books I’ve read so far to be interesting.
Abercrombie is a very accomplished storyteller. The writing is sharp, witty, to the point and easy to read. The dialogue isn’t amazing but it’s good. And it’s funnier than you’d think if you like irony.

I still don’t like Ferro’s character. She has served her purpose in this book and gone insane. She hasn’t grown, there’s still only one thing on her mind and she kind off peters out. Very unsatisfying.
Logen surprised me and I loved that. We always knew he isn’t a nice guy but he might be the one who started the war by pushing Bethod so far. This raises the question if Bethod ever was as bad as we (along with every character) were led to believe.
And Bayaz! Who saw that one coming at the start of the first book? I did by the third one but not when I started the series. I truly wanted him dead, and preferably I’d do it myself. Everything he does has only one reason; to benefit himself. His mask has come off.
Abercrombie actually managed to make me care for Jezal because of his treatment by Bayaz. I felt so sorry for him. He has realized the good he can do and he’s not allowed to.

In the end, the different, seemingly unrelated storylines come together in a truly, epic finale. I absolutely loved this huge battle scene and its repercussions.
It’s not a happy end for most of them. West dies (that hurt), Bayaz betrayed every one of them, Logen is back where he started, Ferro has no idea what she should be doing and Jezal is a puppet king.
Few of them got what they wanted or deserved, whether it be good or bad but I loved the ending Glokta got. He is my favorite character. The Jezal-Ardee-Glokta thing made me smile quite a few times.

The ending was too vague though. I would have liked more questions answered instead of raised. Abercrombie clearly wants to write more books about these characters or set in this world.

The book has got it all. There’s compassion, betrayal, lots of violence and torture, jealousy, unrequited love, madness, rage, loyalty, manipulation (lots of manipulation) and surprise.
Last Argument of Kings is a very dark, gritty and bitter book.

Highly recommended series! It has a few faults, but those aside I really enjoyed reading the books.

4 STARS

Happy reading!
Helena

vrijdag 8 juli 2016

Robert Jordan: The Path of Daggers

Hi

This is the eights book in The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
It has 563 pages and that makes it the shortest book in the series.

*    SPOILERS    *

I’ve got just a few things to add to my previous reviews. By now you will all know that I love most characters, the battle scenes and the multiple POV’s. You’ll also know that I heartily dislike the all the bickering and that I truly hate Elayne and Faile.

The changing of the weather with The Bowl of the Winds was one of my favorite parts. All of them working together, despite their differences, towards one common goal. I loved it.

I never really liked the Dark One’s ability to bring someone back to life. If people die, they should stay dead. Villains get no real punishment and there should be consequences for their actions. It works in the series because it is explained and we understand why it’s possible but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The hunt for the Black Ajah is a very exciting, satisfying storyline and I really enjoyed those scenes.
Matt is absent and I missed him.

The Seanchan are pretty terrifying. Their channelers actually believe themselves to be dangerous monsters who should be kept on a leash. They are quite ridiculous as a people and they have utterly stupid notions, but they are very well written en truly believable.

That’s it.
The Path of Daggers is book 8 and it’s difficult to write a review about a book in such a big series without saying the same things over and over again.

4 STARS

Happy reading!
Helena

maandag 4 juli 2016

My 2016 Reading Goals – First Update

Hi

Six months have passed since I first made my 2016 Reading Goals and I wanted to give you an update on how they’re going.
I made four goals and I’m making great progress with all of them.

Reread the Harry Potter series

I finished the fifth book in the Harry Potter series last month so (sadly) there are only two more to go. Doing great on this one.

Read a Wheel of Time novel every other month

On track with this one too. I’ve so far finished three Wheel of Time novels since the start of the year and I’ve got three more to go.

Read a Dresden Files novel and a Discworld novel every month in between

This goal is going great too. I’ve read three Dresden Files and three Discworld novels so far.

Read at least 75 books in 2016

I have read 58 books since the first of January. However, I will not yet raise my initial goal of 75 books for two reasons. First; there are still quite a few big books on My TBR. I will be reading David Copperfield this month and The Stand in August for example. Second; I’m not feeling very well and my reading is suffering. Obviously I don’t want to put more pressure myself.
And lastly, my husband and I want to do a lot of work in and around to house this summer and the following months (and years).

How is your reading going so far? Are you happy with the books you’ve been reading?

Happy reading!
Helena

vrijdag 1 juli 2016

Wrap Up: June 2016

Hi everyone

June was a pretty good reading month considering how busy I’ve been.

But I overdid myself; I put too much pressure on my reading and reviewing this month. I haven’t been feeling very well, I’m excessively tired and it’s starting to reflect on my reading.

I will be reading and reviewing, I just can’t say how much. It all depends on how I’m feeling and how we are progressing around the house with everything we’ve planned this summer.

And now for the fun part.
In June I read a total of 4158 pages. That’s 416 pages per book or 139 every day.

Here are the books I read with links to the respective reviews.


Did you read something you’d like to recommend?

Happy reading!
Helena