BookRiot | Published Articles

As I mentioned in this post, I wrote two articles which were accepted for publication on BookRiot.

Better news, yet: I’m becoming a regular contributor for the site! So, alongside the usual contents on this site, get ready to hear from me regarding BookRiot and the articles I get to publish there. I’ll be sure to share them with you.

I’ve been gathering ideas to tackle in the following posts, but if there’s anything book-related that you’d like me to talk about, feel free to send your pitches on the comments, I’m always open for discussion and reflection!

For now, here are the links to the articles that have been published already, I hope you enjoy them.

Why libraries matter – http://bookriot.com/2017/07/13/why-libraries-matter/

The case for re-reading audio – http://bookriot.com/2017/07/12/case-rereading-audio/

Carina.

 

 

 

My Summer Reading | 2017

This year’s big vacation – I always take two weeks off during the Summer to visit my family in Portugal – was a little earlier in the year than usual, and I brought along a very ambitious reading list. Eight books turned out to be the final mark, and here they are, along with the reviews.

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scary how a book that was published in 1985 has a story and writing so fitting for today’s world.
This is written beautifully, with an intriguing and powerful story.

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a delicious tale regarding a grumpy-old-man who finds himself being forced by his neighbours and a set of “misfortune” (in his point of view) to become a not-so-grumpy old man. The writing is engaging and the story and its characters very well crafted. Couldn’t recommend it more.

The Princess Saves Herself in this OneThe Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was alright. A few of the poems were nice, although when comparing it to Milk and Honey (and how can you not when the style is so similar) I must say this is not half as good. I was definitely expecting more, especially in regards to the title.

Grief is the Thing with FeathersGrief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was expecting to like this book more than I did. I understood the poetry in the father and sons’ chapters, but the representation of Grief itself – in the shape of a Crow – was too confusing.

The Reader on the 6.27The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was expecting more reading on trains than it has – going by the title – but altogether, this was a cute story who didn’t dwell too much on the romance regarding the main character, focusing mostly on the importance of kindness and the love of reading.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the real world, I wouldn’t like the protagonist. Then again, in the real world, I could only know as far as my eyes could see and my ears could hear. In the book, we get to actually know the character and, even if we think she is a bit uptight, we get to understand her reasons. I loved this story, although I could tell its twists way too early in the book; well-written and interesting.

The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a few YA book and I’ve been really enjoying them. I decided to read The Sun Is Also A Star after reading the other romance by the author, Everything Everything. I must say that I liked the other one better, but this was also a brilliantly told tale of young love and predicaments. There were a few clichés, but aren’t teen relationships usually filled with them? It takes us on a little trip inside two different cultures as well, so I’m looking forward treadingad more of the author.

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked the book, despite the recklessness of the main character. The premise of a girl wh is grieving writing to dead people while trying to rediscover herself after the death of her older sister is interesting and well-delivered, and I actually got to know a few facts about those dead stars within the story as an extra.

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The premise of this story – Bernardette going missing – is actually the last bit of the whole book and, really, the least interesting aspect of it. Of course I was curious to know how and where did Bernardette go, but the life of a rich neighbourhood in Seattle and the quirks of its inhabitants, their dramas and little-dirsty-wars was actually much more interesting and funny than all the rest.
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I didn’t actually read the whole of The Handmaids’ Tale while on vacation, I had already started it before I left to Portugal.

On this list is also missing A Sociedade Dos Sonhadores Involuntários (roughly translated to The Involuntary Dreamers’ Society) by my favourite author, José Eduardo Agualusa, because I my review is written in Portuguese, but I can assure you it is a wonderful book.

How about you, have you read any of these books? What’s your take on them?

Carina

My Lover, Audiobooks

I had promised a post every Friday. Actually, I had promised a podcast, but this week seems to have flashed before my eyes and since I have a dinner tomorrow here at home, I decided to postpone the blogcast another week. Or, who knows, maybe it will be only for a few days.

Still, it’s Friday (can we blame the lack of podcast on the 13th, instead of my laziness and lack of planning?), so a post it is. Today I’m bringing you the audiobooks I’ve been listening to.

I have a lot of time to listen to podcasts because, as my work is mostly physical – I’m a cleaning lady, not a sexy dancer, in case you were wondering – I can pretty much get away with working whilst listening to things. I used to have trouble focusing on listening to anything other than music but, with podcasts and radio series, I got used to it and taking the step from those to audiobooks was easy.

Now, there’s a part of me who can’t help but feeling that audiobooks are cheating: I’m not actually reading. Then again, I’m being told a story so I did read that book. In theory. Audiobooks are so fun, though, that I’m leaving the guilt aside and I’m enjoying every bit of them.

Biographies, specifically, are a treat. You’re being told someone else’s life story by the author! The tone they set when they were writing is passed on to you, because they are reading it. It’s fantastic.

So far, these are the biographies I’ve listened to:

Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Notebook. It’s quirky, funny, and has just the right ammount of crazy. I first saw Anna on Twilight, I loved her on Pitch Perfect and to discover that she was a child actor, getting to know all of her struggles, the adaptation to living in L.A., and they way she has dealt with relationships and the hollywood bizz is really priceless.

Amy Schummer, The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo. My view of Amy Schumer was a bit ambivalent. I found her funny but I also thought that her humour could sometimes be a bit dry and that she crossed a few boundaries she shouldn’t. After her book I’ve learnt about someone who is just trying to be herself and love herself, who has embraced her flaws and, mostly, someone who knew what she wanted and fought hard to get it. She is hardworking, has no trouble talking about money, has a lot of nerve, and was honest and kind enough to share dramatic life stories, to set an example, to help people. I’m still willing to admit that there are a few things in Schumer’s humour that may bother me, but the book was really funny and, albeit her saying it is not a self-help book, I’d fiercely disagree.

Amy Poehler, Yes Please. It’s almost impossible for me to think of Poehler without envisioning Tina Fey as well. I know they’re not fake twins, but I have this feeling that they complete each other, – at least humour wise – two sides of the same coin, and when I think of one I think of the other. This to say that I have Fey’s biography to listen to next. Eheh. On to Poehler’s book, though: one thing that I have noticed in the biographies I’ve read and listened to, which she points out in the biography as well, is that, as an audience, we have a twisted perception about the timing od fame. Most actors that we suddenly realise are there, have been there for a long time. Years and years of work. They haven’t been in the spotlight, but they’ve been going through nasty jobs whilst building a carreer. This was the case with Amy Poehler. She fell in love with improv at a very young age and then, in and after college, she built up a carreer on improv and comedy. Her book has a lot more to offer than just her life story, though. There are lessons about forgiveness, about relationships, and motherhood, that will make us cry, that will make us feel closer to Amy. We’ll also laugh, a lot. It wouldn’t be Amy Poehler otherwise.

I’m curently listening to Mara Wilson’s Where Am I Now, and I started reading The Gift Of Fear, a book Amy Poehler recommended in her own biography. The Song Of Achilles, that I finished this week, was absolutely amazing.

I ordered three books this month, as per usual, but I’m still waiting for them on the mail. I’ll update it on instagram as soon as they arrive.

As an ending note to this post, I’d like to confide that it is possible to fall in love with two kinds of books at the same time. Audiobooks and printed books both have my heart. And, literally and metaphorically, they both speak to me.

Carina.

How About A Blogcast?

Hello!

It’s Friday again and with it comes another blog post. And a new idea. But first things first.

It’s not like we need an excuse to buy ourselves a present but, in need of one, Christmas seems a good a reason as any. If we can help charity while treating ourselves, it seems too perfect to be truth, right? It isn’t.

Humble Bundle has joined forces with Neil Gaiman, to present us with a bundle of rare and /or no longer edited books by the author, in a pay what you want approach. If you go to the link bellow you can get 8 books for as little as $1, 20 books for $8 or, – go wild! – 25 books for $15 or more, two of which are audio books and you get Gaiman himself reading for you. What’s best: the money goes to charity. So, not only are you getting e-books (PDF/Epub/Mobi) for your own entertainment, you’re actually doing a good deed to free your soul from sin – all at a bargain.

Here is the link to buy it:

https://www.humblebundle.com/books/neil-gaiman-book-bundle

Now, on to the blog. I’ve decided to change the blog format or, rather, add something different to it. From now on, alongside the writing, I’ll publish a blogcast. Basically, an audio version of this blog. That will allow me to have some fun, use my recorder and do two of the things I like the most: talking, and talking about things I love.

Here is the link to the first… hum, episode?

TRJ Blogcast #1 (Soundcloud)

TRJ Blogcast #1 (Youtube)

I hope you enjoy it and I’ll write again next Friday!

Carina.

Update On Life

I haven’t been very productive lately, especially in what concerns to updating this blog. There’s still a lot of things I want to finish – stories, reviews – but I’m in a place in life where I don’t seem to have the motivation to finish things which ask a lot of concentration out of me. One step at a time, I’ll get there. It’s been a year – on November 1st to be more exact – that I moved to this small flat and that I’ve been living on my own, which I still love. I love it here, I’m really happy in this place, both physical and emotionally.

I started meditating on a regular basis – as in everyday – first with the app Calm, which is really helpful but, unfortunately, the free sample ends after the seven days try out and I really can’t be paying monthly for this sort of thing. So, I moved on to another app called Headspace, which fits me better than Calm, and I won’t deny that having been reviewd by Emma Watson might have led me to download it first and foremost.

Calm was really good but it won’t allow your mind to wander. Headspace is a bit more flexible about that, which makes it all easy, specially for someone who can be a bit restless, like me. It isn’t easy to shut my mind completely off.

In other news, and since we are talking about life changes – however small – I also tried out a new app in order to be able to work out often, since I can’t get a gym subscription for now. It’s called c25k and it promises to turn you from a couch potato into an active 5-miles-runner after a few months. Today I did the first half hour and it was not bad: you get a 5 minute warm up, then you alternate between a 60 seconds’ run and a 60 seconds’ walk for 20 minutes, and at the end you get another 5 minute walk to cool off. It’s not heavy and I guess it will help me build up a constant workout pace. I’ve downloaded a yoga app, see if I can go back to practise it on a daily basis. We’ll see how it goes.

(If you haven’t noticed yet, I bought a new phone which has allowed me to download all these apps, my old one wouldn’t. I’m quite content with it, I’ve been using it in helpful ways to make my life easier.)

Yesterday I went to a book fair in Eindhoven. Mostly the books were in Dutch and my Dutch isn’t fluent enough to be able to enjoy a book in that language – a shame, there were some wonderful Agatha Christie collections there – but the Engish section was quite decent. I didn’t feel too attracted to most of the books though, because I didn’t recognise the authors or the titles, but I did find a Neil Gaiman’s book, Fortunately The Milk, which was more than I could have expected. I also bought one book because it contained a review by Erin Morgenstern – who wrote The Night Circus – on the back. This book has a sequel, though, so I’ll have to buy the sequel before reading this one, as they advise on Goodreads. The other book was The Silent Wife, which I recall hearing about somewhere, and seemed promising.

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I just finished reading Saramago’s Blindness – which was raw and cruel but, altogether, it is a fantastic piece of literature – and I have started reading Good Omens, by Gaiman. I’ve been longing to read it since I’ve heard its BBCRadio4 dramatization, which is spectacular and I’ve listened to four times already.

I set a goal for myself of buying at least three books a month, and I do have an ever-growing wish list at The Book Depository. Last month – the month I actually set this goal – I bought Girl With A Pearl Earring, The Graveyard Book – I have read both books before but I didn’t own them; now I do – and Good Omens. I still don’t know for sure which books I’ll buy this month, but I’ll keep you posted. I did create a bullet journal for my books because of that.

Now it’s time to get some headspace, read a bit, and get some rest. Tomorrow I’ll have a free afternoon so I’ll be grocery shopping and, hopefully, running as well. Friday is a holiday so I am really looking forward to the end of this week.

Also, if you want to follow me on instagram or/and goodreads, just click on the links!

tvgj.

Always.

The first Harry Potter book I read, The Philosopher’s Stone, was loaned at the school’s library when I was thirteen, recommended by a friend. It, too, and the ones that followed, have become a friend for life.

Now, at twenty-nine, I have pre-ordered The Cursed Child, and I feel thirteen again.

Mischief managed. 

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_Cover.jpg