May 2, 2019

Reading Challenge 2019

Now that 2019 is here, it's time to set the new reading challenge! I'm keeping the same challenge that I did the previous 3 years, although I have yet to complete it! This year, I feel very positive. Let's do this!

So, in 2019 I will read:
  1. a novel from Europe: Machines Like Me, by Ian McEwan
  2. a novel from Middle East: Not Just Yet, by Mohamed Abdel-Maksoud
  3. a novel from East Asia: Naoko, by Keigo HigashinoYoko Ogawa
  4. a novel from North America: King Suckerman, by George Pelecanos
  5. a novel from South America:
  6. a novel from Oceania: 
  7. a novel from Africa
  8. a novel that won the Man Booker Prize
  9. a novel than won the Pulitzer Prize
  10. a novel written by a Nobel Prize recipient
  11. a play
  12. a book of poetry: 
  13. a collection of short stories
  14. a manga
  15. a superhero comic
  16. a non-superhero comic
  17. a classic
  18. a non-fiction book: Feminists Don't Wear Pink (And Other Lies), Various
  19. a memoir/biography
  20. a novel that won the Nebula Award
So, this is it! This is the fourth year that I'm doing this challenge, and I'm really happy that it will "force" me to read more diverse books. Feel free to join me!

Play(list) by the Book - Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro

literary paylist

Hello everyone! 

How have you been as of late? 

It's certainly been a long time writing here, but I am still reading like crazy! And upon reading, I'm always happy to discover books that mention many songs in them, and therefore give me the chance of creating another Play(list) by the Book. This year has been one of change, and one thing that I have begun is a radio show called Play(list) by the Book. The playlist that you'll discover today, was first presented in the radio (I'll put a link at the end of the post for those who want to discover the show). 

So, this Play(list) by  the Book comes from the book Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro. It's a collection of five short stories, all around music. I have to admit that this is one of my favourite playlists, as it consists of many jazz songs. Sit back and enjoy - ideally in the darkness with a glass of wine.

As per usual, the playlist consists of songs mentioned in the book. I have also included songs of the artists and albums mentioned in the text. In those cases I have chosen a song that I really like. In Nocturnes finding the songs was fairly easy, and I didn't face any problem.

Find more playlists at: Play(list) by the Book

September 17, 2018

Play(list) by the Book: The Woman who Wouldn't, by Gene Wilder

Hello, everyone! I've recently came upon The Woman who Wouldn't, by Gene Wilder and I loved it. So, I was more than happy when I realised there were enough references for a Play(list) by the Book. You see, the main protagonist in this book is a violinist, so he refers to plenty of musical pieces. Naturally, all of them are classical, so sit back, relax, and enjoy!  

This Play(list) by the Book is actually filled with masterpieces. The majority are Violin Concertos and String Quartets. I didn't include the pieces in their entirety because the playlist would have been too lengthy. Instead I chose a movement from each, so that you could get a taste of what they are like. Feel free to search for the whole pieces as well! Or, of you need any help, leave a comment below and I'll help you find the piece you're looking for.

Find more playlists at: Play(list) by the Book

June 30, 2018

Play(list) by the Book: Romancing the Beat, by Gwen Hayes

Hello, everyone! By now you know well enough that when I read a book that qualifies for a Play(list) by the  Book, I'm thrilled! I really love composing those playlists, no matter if they contain songs that I already like, hate, or I haven't heard before. So, when earlier today I picked up Romancing the Beat: Story Structures for Romance Novels, by Gwen Hayes, I was more than happy to discover that the author offered me a great playlist. This one it's sort of an '80s mix, and if you listen closely to the songs you do realise that they progress the same way as a romance story does. Anyway, sit back (or dance) and enjoy!

As I've said above, this playlist was an easy one to compose (thank you so much Gwen Hayes), because the author mentioned both the song and the title. The one song that I couldn't find anywhere was Be Near Me by the Thompson Twins. Instead, I included Hold me Now. Does any of you know this song? 

Find more playlists at: Play(list) by the Book

June 27, 2018

Review: Artemis, by Andy Weir

Title: Artemis

Author: Andy Weir

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Date of Publication: November 14th, 2017

Number of Pages: 305


Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.


Andy Weir will always have to compete with himself! Undoubtedly, The Martian was a big hit and it was only natural that Artemis would be compared to his first novel. Indeed, the main problem of Artemis is that it feels similar to The Martian, not that much story-wise, rather than all the things concerning the characters and general tone. Nevertheless, Artemis is a fun and easy to read novel.

Jazz Bashara is a moonchild. Not in the sense of Rory Gallagher's song, but literally. She grew up in Artemis, a city built on the moon. Life there is rather expensive and she struggles to make ends meet. In fact, she always has trouble with the law, as she smuggles various things into the city. These circumstances force Jazz to accept a job with a prize too good to be true, although it involves sabotaging the city's oxygen supply.

Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story, if this job went according to plan! Now this is the point where I think that the story takes a turn for the worst. I can't help wondering how much more enjoyable this book would be, if it was just a good old heist story! But in Artemis we have a book where everything gets out of control, a big "mafia" company gets in the way, and the stakes become as high as saving the entire city's population. It feels unnatural, and although Jazz certainly has the resourcefulness to survive, I'm not sure that I agree that at the end of the day she becomes the hero. But I have to comment that I love the fact that even though she saves Artemis, she is still in danger of facing the consequences of her previous actions. It gives the much needed sense of reality.

Another thing that I love about Artemis is that finally, in an Andy Weir book, we have a hint of a romance. And I say hint, because there is neither an action concerning this, nor a word, only bits and pieces that could possibly lead to something between Jazz and Svoboda. This makes me think of Jazz more of woman, not just the outlaw, the resourceful, carefree kind of person that she is in the rest of the book.

This brings me to the best part of Artemis in general, its characters. Jazz is a great character. Just like Mark Watney, she has a strong sense of humour, a will to survive whatever might come in her way, and an ambition to rise from her current situation. I like that she embraces her current self and she realises that what she does is questionable. Her relationship with her father is difficult, but it makes sense that she comes from a traditional, strict, and religious environment. In reality, the whole book becomes enjoyable because if Jazz's character.

The rest of characters have their moments in the novel, although I'm not convinced that I really got to know anyone that well. There are certain traits of them that I find compelling, like Rudy's sense of duty, and Dave's true friendship. The one character, that is gradually built as an important one in the book, but I find utterly unnecessary, is Kelvin Otieno. Through the e-mails that he exchanges with Jazz we learn some things about our protagonist, but mostly we learn things about him. Normally, I wouldn't mind, but why should we care when he doesn't play a role in the story? I would expect more from a character that appears at the end of every chapter.

All in all, Artemis is an enjoyable read. It has its flaws, but the tone is light-hearted, and it's full of action. It has more action than The Martian, if I dare say. For those reasons, I would gladly recommend it to those who want something easy and fun to read.

My rating is:

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