December 26, 2017

The Reading Book Post, December 26th


Hello, everyone! Merry Christmas!! I hope you had a great time. As I've informed you yesterday, The Reading Book Post was delayed for today. So, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week:


  • One of the films I can't wait to watch is definitely The Shape of Water. Until then, let's just take a peek at the film's world from the making-of book. I JUST CAN'T WAIT!!!!

  • Now this is a quite interesting recommendation list: Librarians pick the books everyone should read in each decade of his/her life. Maybe I should read The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson.

  • Are you pumped up for 2018? Well, looking at those 60 book titles that we are expecting in the following year, I'm looking forward to it! Which book's publication are you expecting?

  • Which Famous Female Author Are You? Take the quiz to find out! I got Sophie Kinsella, and I find her books quite enjoyable so I'm happy with the result. Which author did you get?


December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

via Pinterest


Merry Christmas, everyone! All the best wishes for this special day :)
Now, the countdown for the New Year's Eve has begun!

The Reading Book Post is delayed for tomorrow, 
while an overview of 2017's reading is on its way!

December 24, 2017

Review: Almost Midnight, by Rainbow Rowell





Title: Almost Midnight

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Date of Publication: November 2nd, 2017

Number of Pages: 144






Summary:

Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year's Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time . . .

Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.

Midnights was previously published as part of the My True Love Gave to Me anthology, edited by Stephanie Perkins and Kindred Spirits was previously published as a World Book Day title.

Review:

So, I've been thinking whether Almost Midnight would be a Review or a Weeckie. I decided on the first, since it features two short stories. Even though I had already read one of them some years ago, as it was featured in My True Love Gave Me collection.

As you'd expect from two holiday season short stories, these are really cute and heart-warming. Midnight is a story of two friends that are really in love with each other, while Kindred Spirits is about sharing a common passion with somebody else. In reality, I could easily imagine both of those stories as a full-length novel.

Midnight is just as the title suggests. Two teenagers meet at a New Year's Eve party and start hanging out. The story follows three consecutive years of those parties and how the feelings of the girl, Mags, change towards Noel. It's so hard not to skip a bit! This is seriously one of those cute stories that really make you feel good and dream of being in love again! Plus, the name Noel is as Christmas-y as it could get - I love it!

I could never guess the plot of the next story though, Kindred Spirits. It's about Elena, who really likes Stars Wars and decides to join the line outside of the local theatre, in order to attend the premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ok, I won't lie! This story appealed to my inner nerd, and as a few days ago I went to the premier of The Last Jedi, I felt this story extremely close to me. Apart from that, the line consisted of just three people (with Elena), and one of them turned out to be a guy from our protagonist's school. I won't spoil it for you, but I really really would love to see what would happen next between those two!

While both of the stories were enormously enjoyable, there is generally one drawback with short stories in general. Character development is lacking. I knew that, and I was actually prepared for this. You get a glimpse of these characters, and by the time that you feel that you might be reaching to a better understanding of their way of thinking the story is over. This fits perfectly Elena and Gabe, as those two seem to have a great chemistry and a past that would make a more lengthy story interesting.

All in all, Almost Midnight is a quick yet enjoyable read. It's feel-good and heart-warming for a Christmas night with a cup of hot cocoa and some gingerbread cookies!


Have a Merry Christmas, everyone!

  

December 18, 2017

The Reading Book Post, December 18th


Hello, everyone! Another week that brings us even closer to Christmas and, of course the New Year 2018.. I think that it's about time for the New Year's Resolutions! But, next week will be the one when we will back at 2017 as a whole, and decide on 2018's goals! Until then, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • Of course you remember Devil Wears Prada. Well, get ready for another novel, but this time following the story of Miranda Pristley! The novel is called When Life Gives You Lululemons, and you can read an excerpt!

  • As the end of the year approaches, many dictionaries name the word of the year. So, Oxford Dictionaries have pronounced "Youthquake" the word of 2017! I think it fits, what do you think?

  • But, since 2018 is near, how about taking some book recommendations from Harvard professors? I've already noted a couple of the titles mentioned!

  • This is fun: Take a new technology and a successful novel, throw them together, and get ready to be entertained! This actually happened, when an AI Program wrote an entire chapter of Harry Potter Fan Fiction. Yes, it's true..and it's hilarious!

  • We all have a favourite Jane Austen hero. But, a gentleman named Fitzwilliam Darcy just outshines the rest of them. How about we give the spotlight to a Henry Tilney? I rather liked him from the very beginning!


  • Which Infamous Star-Crossed Lovers Are You And Your Partner? Take the quiz and find out! I got Tristan and Isolde, how about you?


December 13, 2017

Play(list) by the Book: Revival - Stephen King


Hello, everyone! I'm so glad that many of the books that I've recently read have their own Play(list) by the Book. Of course, when I pick up a Stephen King novel I expect that there will be a lot of songs montioned. So, here is Revival with one of the biggest playlists that I have created for this segment. Enjoy!




In this playlist, as you already know, I include all the songs mentioned in the novel, as well as all the albums, artists, and lyrics mentioned. In such a lengthy playlist, it's only natural that I didn't know some songs, and artists that Stephen King included in his text. The first song that I couldn't find was called Sugarland. Another song that was a mystery to me was called Aloona Ana Kaya, by the Excellent-Board Brothers. An unknown artist to me was George Damon with his album Damon Does Gershwin, although I have a hint that he might be fictional. Lastly, two groups that I couldn't find any infomation were Vo-Lites and the Staples Sisters. If any of you know anything about any of these gaps in my playlist, please let me know!


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

December 11, 2017

The Reading Book Post, December 11th


Hello, everyone! The Reading Book Post is officially in the mood for Christmas! And I, myself, am dreaming of all of the gingerbread cookies I'm going to enjoy during the season. And, of course, all of the books that Santa will bring me. Which book would you like to receive as a present?

Until then, let's see the most interesting literary news of the previous week: 

  • Many things were heard about Johnny Depp's casting in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Now, J.K. Rowling has broken her silence about this particular casting as Grindelwald. What did you think of this casting?

  • We all know Agatha Christie and, of course, her famous detectives - Hercules Poirot and Ms. Marple. But here are 15 mysterious facts about the author that I doubt you've heard before!

  • Christmas season is the best! And what makes it even better are all of those wonderful Christmas stories that we can read. Here is a list of all-time-favourite books about this season.

  • And if you just want to read something more modern and yound adult-ish, then you can get some recommendations from this list.

  • Which Classic Dr. Seuss Book Defines You? Take the quiz to find out! I got Green Eggs and Ham, whitch one did you get?


December 9, 2017

Play(list) by the Book: Watchmen - Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons


Hello, everyone! So, as I've promised you here is another Play(list) by the Book. This is one from -probably- THE BEST graphic novel ever, Watchment by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons! This is a great playlist, with songs that fit the mood of the story. Sit back, and enjoy!




As per usual, I included in this playlist all the songs that were mentioned in the graphic novel, as well as songs from the artists, albums and lyrics mentioned. From all of the names included in the graphic novel I couldn't find any composer named Andrew Lang, just the Scottish author. In the graphic novel, the albun Are We Not Men? by Devo was mentioned. Although I chose one song (as I always do), the title of the album was so suitable for the story, that I couldn't leave it out, without a special mention. Lastly, jamaican dub was mentioned by Doctor Manhattan, and since I didn't have any true knoweledge of this genre, I found a random song by Johnny Clarke. If you happen to know a better representing song of this genre, please let me know!


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


December 7, 2017

Review: Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman





Title: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company

Date of Publication: February 7th, 2017

Number of Pages: 299





Summary

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Review

There is no better way to begin this review than stating that I love mythology and fairy tales. Indeed, I grew up with all those Greek myths with the 12 gods. Also, Celtic fairy tales are among my favourites. Curiously enough, I had never read anything concerned with norse mythology, although I was aware of Odin, Thor, and Loki. So, you can imagine that I was excited that Neil Gaiman's latest book would be a collection of such myths. Plus, Gaiman's take on these myths would certainly be interesting.

Loki, from an Icelandic manuscript
First of all, I have to comment on the order of the stories. Yes, there are 15 stories in this collection, but they are placed in a -sort of- chronological order. Even though I am a complete beginner to norse mythology, I was able to witness the creation of the world and by the end of the book its end. Of course, in between those two narrations there are plenty of adventures that made all those gods so famous. I was even able to witness the creation of Thor's famous Mjolnir, his warhammer, as well as other artifacts that the gods use.

But being a beginner in norse mythology also has its downside. Not being familiar with those myths, I couldn't actually find out if those retellings were in fact close to the core that they should have. I mean, if a book dealt with greek mythology (I'm looking at you Mythos) I could easily tell if the feel was right. I don't mind for certain things and actions to change in a retelling, but I am always looking for the things that made them distinctive. So, in this case I can't really be the judge of the fidelity of those myths to the original ones. I will only refer to the enjoyment of these adventures, although I do have a hint that the original ones might be slightly darker.
Thor, fishing for Jormangandr

Having made my position clear, I can finally say that these stories are pure fun! We see where the world came form, and we have a bunch of guys that seek knowledge, in Odin's case, adventure, in Thor's case, and even mischief, in Loki's case. There are adventures here, like all of the long gone heroes have to boast about. There is fighting and scheming, hidden plans and causes for celebration, there is hope, and despair, there is form-changing and what-are-you-even-doing-Loki moments, there are gods, frost giants, dwarves, and all of those creature! And there is plenty of mead!

It's funny to think that every Thor's venture came from something that Loki had started. In fact, their whole relationship is better described by Gaiman's own words:
"There were things Thor did when something went wrong. The first thing he did was ask himself if what had happened was Loki’s fault. [...]. So he did the next thing he did when something went wrong, and he went to ask Loki for advice."
BUT let's get things straight: Loki is Odin's blood brother, NOT Thor's (I'm sorry Marvel fans).

One thing that I'm not sure about in Norse Mythology is character development. Apart from the relationship between Thor and Loki, and a little bit of Odin, we don't really get to find out the true colours of each one of the characters. And there are many of them. Nevertheless, it's not a common thing in mythology not to dig into human psychology, and so this could be something forgivable in this context. Although I can't hide that I was a tiny bit disappointed by this. In the end, these are retellings - you can go wild!

All in all, Norse Mythology is a very enjoyable read. These are stories to satisfy every fantasy fan, even the ones that aren't familiar with mythology. They trigger the imagination, like every myth should, so for me the retellings achieved what they ought to. I might not be familiar with the original myths, but now I feel like I have an idea about what norse mythology is about.

December 4, 2017

The Reading Book Post, December 4th



Hello, everyone! It's been a while since I've written a Reading Book Post, but here you have it: the first Reading Book Post of December! I'm already thinking what Christmas novel I'm going to read next. Do you have any recommendation? 

  • Gayle Forman, the author of If I Stay, has a new book coming on March 27, 2018. You can now see the cover of I Have Lost My Way, which is available for pre-order!

  • Wow! This must be one of the most impressive libraries I have ever seen! It's located in Binhai destrict in Tianjin, China. Well, I'vw just added one more dream vacation spot!

  • What if classic novels were written in the modern time? How would they even be called? Twitter users have come up with the most hilarious suggestions by using the #MakeClassicNovelsModern. I would definitely read Tess of the d'Uberdrivers, please someone make it happen!

  • Books: we love them, we read them, we collect them. But after a while, books begin to get old and damaged. Can't we do something for our books to remain in great condition? These are some helpful tips for all of the bookworms!

  • Earlier this year we lost the great playwright Sam Shepard. But his last novel, Spy of the First Person, is yet to be published. You can hear Michael Shanon read an excerpt from the upcoming novel.

  • Dictionary.com has announced that the word of 2017 is complicit. It's no wonder that such a word is used to describe this year..

  • Which "Cards Against Humanity" Card Defines Your Life? Take the quiz to find out! My card is "David Bowie flying in on a tiger made of lightning"! This is AWESOME! What's your card? 


December 2, 2017

Play(list) by the Book: The Gunslinger


Hello, everyone! 

My long break from The Reading Armchair is officially over, and I'm coming back with my most favourite segment (probably), the Play(list) by the book! The truth is that this Play(list) by the Book had been created on my Youtube channel since summer, and it was available there for some, as are some other playlists that I'll be posting the following weeks.

This playlist is from the first instalment of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, called The Gunslinger. It's a fairly small one, so sit back and enjoy!




The rules for a Play(list) by the Book are the same: every song, artist, album, or lyric that is mentioned in a book is included. In the more general cases, like mention of just an artist's name, I choose a song that I feel that it fits the story the best, or simply the song by this artist that I like the most. In The Gunslinger I didn't really expect to find enough songs, but the master, indeed, found a way to mention some even in this post-apocalyptic world!


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


May 31, 2017

Play(list) By the Book: American Gods


Hello, everyone! When I picked up American Gods I was certain that a playlist would be needed. Indeed, there are so many song and artist references in this novel that I didn't face any trouble to fill it. The edition of American Gods I own also includes an interview with Neil Gaiman, an essay by the author himself called How Dare You?, and an American Gods novella, named The Monarch of the Glenn. These three bonus materials added some songs of their own to the playlist. The result is quite lengthy, so sit back and enjoy!





The rules are, as usual, simple. Songs and artists mentioned in the text belong to the playlist. Also, when an album is mentioned I pick a song from it. Sometimes, when there are lyrics in the novel, I try to find to which song they belong.

Nottamun Town, the song that begins the playlist, is a town that Shadow visits, and since there is a well-known song I couldn't leave it out. San Francisco was included because Wednesday used it in order to describe their visit to this particular city ("The flowers in your hair are optional"). Lastly, Glass by Bat for Lashes was included because of its opening lines: Bilquis is reciting verses from the Song of Solomon, and this particular song begins with the same particular verses (I will rise now/And go about the city/In the street's/Broadways I seek/Him whom my soul loveth).


In the beginning of the second chapter, there are some lyrics of an "old song" that I don't recognise. My research didn't bear fruit, so if you happen to know which song this is I'd really love to know! The lyrics are:
They took her to the cemet'ry
In a big ol' Cadillac
They took her to the cemet'ry
But they didn't bring her back


If you want to dig in a little deeper you can also listen to the albums that are mentioned. Those are the following three: Dream Cafe, by Greg Brown, 69 Love Songs, by Magnetic Field, and King of America, by Elvis Costello.


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

May 5, 2017

Play(list) By the Book: Heart-shaped Box


Hello, everyone! Another novel, another playlist. This time the novel is none other than Heart-shaped Box, written by Joe Hill. Its protagonist is an aging rock star, so don't be surprised that the vast majority of the songs that are included belong to this particular genre. If, by any chance, you are a fan of rock music, like myself, then you are sure to enjoy it. 



As per usual, the rules for this Play(list) by the Book were simple: songs and artists mentioned in the novel were in. But Heart-shaped Box had its own difficulties, because the protagonist was a rock star. As it would be expected many songs that were mentioned were imaginary, written by himself. Nevertheless, the playlist turned out to be quite lengthy even without those imaginary songs. 

Another thing that troubled me, while creating the playlist was the fact that many band members, from groups that were already included in the list, were mentioned. Some of them, in fact, have their own solo careers. Names like Kurt Cobain, Trent Reznor, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Bonham, Joey Ramone, and David Grohl. For this one I need your suggestions: Should I include them or not?

Finally, the names of some music publishers, record companies, and generally types of music appeared in Heart-shaped Box. This was exceptionally hard for me, as on the one hand I didn't have extensive knowledge on any of them, and on the other hand they include many artists, records and song. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can search for Folkway Records, Tin Pan Alley, and music of the Ozarks.

P.S. When I found out that Ramones would be one of the bands that I would be the one to pick the song for the playlist, I couldn't resist the temptation to include Pet Sematary. What more fitting than to include a song inspired by the book written by Joe Hill's dad, Stephen King?


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

March 20, 2017

The Reading Book Post, March 20th

The Reading Book Post - literary news

Happy First Day of Spring, everyone! You might have guessed, but this is my favourite season and so I'm happy! Anyway, my reading this week was mostly manga (I can't resist), but I've also started digging in Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Besides, March is the month when I have to read a horror novel. Anyway, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.


  • Beyond James Bond, who is first literary spy that comes to mind? It's none other than George Smiley, the famous spy created by John LeCarré. Well, after 27 years, the well-known spy will return! John LeCarré's new book will see the return of Smiley, and I'm so excited about it. The book will be called A Legacy of Spies and is due on September 5, 2017.

  • Love audiobooks, and love Stephen King? On top of that, do you love James Franco? Well, then you 're going to love this: James Franco will narrate Stephen King's The Dead Zone. The audiobook will become available on April 25, 2017.

  • This is a collaboration that I never guessed that could happen. I'm talking about the collaboration between Black Eyed Peas and Marvel. Yes, a new graphic novel, called Masters of the Sun - The Zombie Chronicles, will hit the shelves in July. The story was written by none other than will.i.am. 

  • Many of us have struggled to read James Joyce's Ulysses. But now there is hope! A new game, Joycestick, is developped by Boston University in order to expose this difficult work to broader audience. What's most is exciting is that this is a virtual reality game!

  • Really sad news. Bernie Wrightson, the well-known horror comic artist, has passed away at the age of 68. 

  • The sad news have no end! Derek Walcott, the poet who was awarded with the Nobel-prize in literarure, has passed away at the age of 87.

  • Can You Identify The World Famous Author By A Book Title? Take the quiz to find out! It's mostly classics, so I'm sure you'll do great!

March 6, 2017

The Reading Book Post, March 6th


Hello, everyone! Spring is finally here, and we are officially just a little less than 2 months away from The Handmaid's Tale and American Gods tv series. I can't wait! Also, this month there are some pretty interesting books coming up, such as The Roanoke Girls, by Amy Engels, Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor, and Hunted, by Meagan Spooner. Well, March seems to be a promising month! Anyway, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • We've known for some time now that Stephen King will collaborate with J.J. Abrams for a new tv series, called Castle Rock. Not much has become public. We only have a cryptic teaser. What is your guess?

  • Looking for new comics? IMAGE has just announced 15 new series! I certainly have set my eyes on a couple of them! 

  • See the beautiful cover and read an excerpt from the upcoming YA novel Things I'm Seeing Without You, written by Peter Bognanni. The book will be released on September 26, 2017.


  • Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Donald Trump is impressive. So, what more natural than co-writing a satirical novel about the new President? The book will be called You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump. The famous actor will co-write it with Kurt Anderson and it will hit the shelves on November 7.


  • How we all love Dr. Seuss' stories! Here are some stories behind some of his most popular once of them.


  • It turns out that there are books that teach you how to be an adult. Yes, you've read that right! You can here the comedian Andy Richter narrate one of them, that deals with The Hangover. I need this full series! 


  • Are You A Realist Or An Idealist Based On The Synonyms You Pick? Take the quiz to find out! It turns out that I'm an Idealist, what about you?


February 28, 2017

February Wrap-Up


Hello, everyone! It's been a while, but I've finally decided to post a monthly wrap-up. In this post I'll let you know of my reading and the progress on my reading challenges. February was a good month, as I read some pretty interesting books. I only hope that my luck with the novels I'm reading will continue.


First of all, let's see what I posted in February:


Now let's see how my reading progressed:
  1. Finished
  1. Currently Reading


Secrets of a Summer Night is a historical romance novel, the first instalment of the Wallflowers series. In my reading challenge February was the month that I had to read a romance novel, and so I have successfully completed it. As for the main challenge, this month I've checked out the collection of short stories by reading the book Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman.


Reading Plans for March

In March, I plan on finishing Ethan Frome, the book that will check out the classic book  from my reading challenge. As for the monthly challenge, the theme is horror, and I've decided to read Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill.

As for future posts you'll have to look for in the blog, are reviews of The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman, and Ethan Frome. You can also expect some Weeckies, one of which will most definitely be Story of Your Life, by Ted Chiang. 

February 27, 2017

The Reading Book Post, February 27th

The Reading Book Post - literary news

Hello, everyone! We've reached the end of February. I know that this a literary news segments, but let's face it: the talk of the day is the Oscars! I was rooting for Arrival, at least for the category of best adapted screenplay. It was based on Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life (look for it in an upcoming Weeckies). Anyway, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • Darya Shnykina has won the Book Illustration Competition. Her drawings have been selected to illustrated a new edition of Mansfield Park from The Folio Society. How I love book illustrations!


  • Did you love Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng? You can now read an excert and see the cover from her upcoming novel. Little Fires Everywhere will hit the shelves on September 12th, 2017.


  • A new Avengers TV anime and manga is coming to Japan! Marvel Future Avengers will debut in the summer season, while the manga adaptation is set to appear in the April issue of Bessatsu Coro Coro Comics Special magazine.

  • A long lost novel written by Walt Whitman was found! It's a 36,000 word serialized story, named Life and Adventures of Jack Engle. The story was last seen in print 165 year ago!


  • Tom Hanks, the beloved actor, will publish his first short story collection. The collection contains 17 short stories, is called Uncommon Type and is due on October 24, 2017.


  • New words were added to the Oxford Dictionaries. Those are the words clicktivism, haterade, otherize, and herd mentality. None of those is a positive one!


  • If you love tea, and books, then you need these literary teas! The best thing about them in the book-shaped tin package. I just love it! 


  • Which Fairy Tale Was Actually Written About You? Take the quiz to find out! I got Little Red Riding Hood, how about you?


February 25, 2017

Review: ICO - Castle in the Mist, by Miyuki Miyabe




Title: ICO - Castle in the Mist

Author: Miyuki Miyabe

Publisher: Haikasoru

Date of Publication: August 16th, 2011 (first published in 2005)

Number of Pages: 370





Summary

When a boy named Ico grows long curved horns overnight, his fate has been sealed - he is to be sacrificed in the Castle in the Mist. But in the castle, Ico meets a young girl named Yorda imprisoned in its halls. Alone they will die, but together Ico and Yorda might just be able to defy their destinies and escape the magic of the castle.

Review

This is definitely one of the most special book cases I've encountered so far. In case you didn't recognise this cover, this is a book adaptation of the PlayStation 2 game ICO. I am aware that this is a popular game and there definitely will be some who have actually played it (and loved it). But there also will be some of you who haven't even heard about it. Having said that this book was a must for me as well as for the video games to books challenge, being an ICO adaptation. I would even gladly read a Shadow of the Colossus adaptation, and even one of the most recent one The Last Guardian. Yes, this team creates interesting games, with touching stories that in the hands of skillful writers can become great books. Having said all that, ICO - Castle in the Mist lives up to the expectations that this video game has set.

Ico is a young boy, who is unlucky enough to be born with horns in his head. This means that he a sacrifice and in a certain age he has to go to the Castle in the Mist, never to leave again. Nobody knows what happens to the sacrifaces there, not even anyone wants to talk about it. So, Ico is resigned to his fate and goes to this castle. There he meets a mysterious girl, Yorda, who is also trapped in this castle. Every time she touches the young boy he sees images of times long gone, and bit by bit the story of the forbidding castle is revealed. The only way for Ico and Yorda to survive is to trust each other and cooperate. But will they be able to win the Queen and lift the curse from the Castle in the Mist?

Ico - Castle in the MistJust from this decription it's plain to see the plot of this book is that of a pure fantasy novel. It's a battle against evil. It really has all the elements that makes such a story great. A young protagonist who can't really understand what is happening to him, another young protagonist who really tries to break free from the evil that has bound her all those years, it has visions of the past, it has a menacing villain and her minions, it has the discovery of a long forgotten book which describes the way that the curse can be lifted, it even has the death of a dear friend.

But what does this novel actually add to the story, if you've played the video game before? Well, for one it's interesting to see the two different points of view. In the first and the last chapter we follow Ico. In this way, we learn what he feels and we learn what he thinks. This is a big deal, as in the game he doesn't use any actual words. We get his backstory and so we feel about him. Ico - Castle in the Mist doesn't begin from that dark room in the castle as in the video game. It rather begins on the village where Ico grew up. There is also a very interesting chapter from Yorda's point of view. She has a flashback where all of her memories come back to her and we learn everything about the Queen and her pact with the Dark God.

The ending doesn't change at all from the video game. It all ends in the beach where Ico meets Yorda again. I liked it very much. It leaves room for hope and I can't help guessing what they would have done. Would Ico return to Toksa village with Yorda? Could he restore the horned-men's reputation? I could almost see the possibility of a sequel here.
    
The other thing that I really liked in this version of the story is the description of the places. Having seen them before, it was natural to expect them to be described in some way. Miyuki Miyabe managed to bring all of the familiar sceneries with great detail. But it was never tiring. When the language tends to be descriptive I normally lose my interest, but this isn't the case with Ico - Castle in the Mist. The language is indeed descriptive in this book, but somehow it's full of tension and I couldn't put it down. Plus, what the castle really does is add more elements to the epic atmosphere.

The thing that was a little lacking in this novel was actually the one that I never imagined it would. I'm talking about the action. There were time when Yorda was in danger by those mysterious creatures-minions, but Ico always found a way to fight them easily. The final battle with the Queen felt rash. It was like Ico followed a predestined root, the kind you'd a expect a player would follow after watching a walkthrough video.

Ico - Castle in the MistAlso, one of the things that made Ico such a unique game was the holding of the hands. You literary run around this castle with Yorda holding hands! In this novel, this wasn't the case. I mean, of course there were moments that they held theirs hands, but it was only used when Ico needed to see a vision from the past, and just then.

Overally, Ico - Castle in the Mist is a great adaptation. It's a fantasy novel at its roots and it doesn't disappoint. This is a rare case for books that come from video games, and it certainly can be read by anyone. Even if you haven't  heard of this video game before but you like fantasy then you're going to love it!

In this case, it's a tie between the video game and book adaptation. So, the score becomes:


Scoreboard


February 22, 2017

Play(list) by the Book: The Handmaid's Tale


Hello, everyone! By now it's no secret that Play(list) by the Book is one of my favourite things to create. I just love finding out all those musical, and sometimes lyrical, references in the novel that I read. And it's even more delightful when I do find such references in books that I didn't really expect to find some in them, like The Handmaid's Tale. Let's face it: when you read Haruki Murakami, Nick Hornby, or David Mitchell, you know that there will be a lot of songs mentioned in the book. But when I started reading The Handmaid's Tale, I never expected to find familiar songs and lyrics in this dystopian setting. But there it is! It might not be a lengthy playlist, but it still is. I hope you'll enjoy it!




As usual the rules are the same. Every song and artist that is mentioned in the book goes in the playlist. Every lyric that is mentioned, qualifies the song for the playlist. In this one, I added the Lithuanian folk song (Kalėdų rytu rožė inžydo), not because it was mentioned but because there was a tape found with the title Folk Songs from Lithuania. I thought that it would be fit for such a song to be included here.


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

February 20, 2017

The Reading Book Post, February 20th

The Reading Book Post - with the most interesting literary news of the previous week

Hello, everyone! I have to admit that so far I've been lucky with my reading. Since the beginning of 2017 I've read some amazing novels, like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and I'm currently reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I only hope that I'll be just as lucky in the months to come. Anyway, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week (so many exciting news!).

  • This is the first and biggest (and most exciting, to be honest) news of this week: Philip Pullman has announced The Book of Dust trilogy. This trilogy will be set in the world of his much beloved His Dark Materials trilogy (actually Lyra will be featured in two of the three new books) and I can't hide how much I'm happy about it! The first book of the new trilogy is yet to be named, but we already know that it's due on 19 October 2017. I've already marked my calendar!

  • The next exciting news of this week concerns one of my favourite authors and one of my favourite books, Neil Gaiman and his novel Neverwhere. 20 years after the publication of Neverwhere, the author has announced that he's writing the sequel. The book will be called The Seven Sisters, but we know nothing else about it yet.   

  • MISFIT CITY is the new monthly comic book series by BOOM! imprint, written by the screen writer Kirster "Kiwi" Smith and Kurt Lustgarten, and art by Naomi Franquiz. It sounds pretty interesting because of its Goonies inspired setting and plot (just look at the first cover). The series will hit the shelves in May 2017.

  • Adorableness alert! How about some comics with Funko versions of very popular characters, like Ghostbusters, and The X-Files? To be more precise, this May will be published five one-shot comic books with Funko-fied heros. The books will be Ghostbuster, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The X-Files, Strawberry Shortcake, and Judge Dredd 

  • Until recently the only way to find out what Marcel Proust looked like was through one of his photographs. But a Canadian professor claims that he has discovered some footage with the French writer. It's a black-and-white video from a marriage that took place in 1904. 

  • Mr. Darcy, a name - many feels! The fictional man responsible for all of our unrealistic expectation of men. But did he actually look like Colin Firth (because let's face it we all have his image in mind)? Look what Mr. Darcy would actually look like in 1790. I'm not shocked, he'd actually still be good-looking.

  • Oh, how I love to listen to actors read stories! It doesn't matter if it's Tom Hardy reading a bedtime story, or Benedict Cumberbatch reading just anything, I absolutely love it. Today I'm sharing with you a video featuring Zach Galifianakis reading the story Next Big Thing, written by Gibby Haines. It's a little scary though, so listen to it with the lights on!

  • Which Dark Fantasy World Do You Belong In? Take the quiz to find out! I got Ink by Alice Broadway, which world did you get?

January 16, 2017

The Reading Book Post, January 16th


Hello, everyone! I'm so pumped up with this year's reading challenges that I've already made a quick list of the books that I'm going to read. In fact, just yeaterday I finished reading Arabian Nights and Days, written by Naguib Mahfouz. This book qualifies as a book from the Middle-East and as January's historical novel. Let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • Marlon James, the author of the novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, announced that he's planning on writing a fantasy series. To be more specific, he describes it as "an African Game of Thrones". The first book of The Dark Star trilogy will be called Black Leopard, Red Wolf.


  • Any fans of the Greenglass House? Good news for you, as Kate Milford is preparing the sequel, which will be called The Ghosts of Greenglass House. You can now see the cover, as well as read an excerpt from the book that will hit the shelves on October 3, 2017.


  • Last year, we watched and we loved The Night Manager. The BBC's mini series was adapted from John LeCarré's novel with the same name. Now we can all rejoice, as the same team team will adapt another John LeCarré's novel, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold

  • I had never really noticed before, but Klaus from A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Harry Potter look very much alike! Once you see it, you can't actually forget about it! I'm amazed.

  • What goes best with books? It's certainly tea! And author George Orwell had many tips on how to prepare and enjoy your tea properly. And there are just too many!

  • Could this really be happening? E.L. James confirmed that she is in talks with theatre bosses, in order to adapt Fifty Shades of Grey into a musical. I'm not sure though how can this series work as a musical.

  • Can You Match The Superheroes to Their Arch Nemesis? Take the quiz to find out! If you're a keen comic book reader then you'll find no trouble with this one, as for me I've still got some catching up to do!


January 8, 2017

Book Adaptations to look for in 2017


Hello, everyone! Every year there is a tone of movies, tv series, and even video games that are actually book adaptations. So, I couldn't resist making a list with all those book adaptations that we should all look for in 2017 in the big and small screen.

Here are the 17+1 Book Adaptations to look for in 2017:

1. A Dog's Purpose

Release Date: 27 January 2017

Director: Lasse Hallström

Starring: Britt Robertson, Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid

Summary: A dog looks to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners.

Comment: It's about a dog (several dogs actually), how can you resist such a movie? And if I judge by my reaction in Marley and Me, I will be crying the whole time.


2. Tulip Fever

Release Date: 24 February 2017

Director: Justin Chadwick

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan

Summary: An artist falls for a young married woman while he's commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.

Comment: It's a historical drama. Furthermore it's about an artist. And it features a forbidden love. Well, I don't need another reason to watch this movie!


3. Wilson

Release Date: 24 March 2017


Director: Craig Johnson

Starring: Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern

Summary: A lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.

Comment: There is no way I'm going to miss this movie! If you love Daniel Clowes' graphic novels like I do then put it in your calendar. If you have any doubts, just remember Ghost World and give it another thought.


4. Wonder

Release Date: 7 April 2017


Director: Stephen Chbosky

Starring: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay

Summary: A young boy born with a facial deformity is destined to fit in at a new school, and to make everyone understand he's just another ordinary kid, and that beauty isn't skin deep.

Comment: This gem of a book promises to make one of the finest movies of 2017. When I read Wonder back in 2012 it moved me and I really hope that this film will provoke the same emotions in me.


5. The Handmaid's Tale

Release Date: 26 April 2017


Director: Reed Morano (3 eps.), Mike Barker (2 eps.)

Starring: Jordana Blake, O.T. Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Elizabeth Moss

Summary: Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

Comment: This is the first tv series in the list, and I can't wait! What can I say about this Margaret Atwood's novel? It's one of the greatest dystopian novels! The series will have 10 episodes. Also, Hulu has already showed us that it can make great book adaptation, after they released 11/22/63, by Stephen King, starring James Franco in 2016.


6. The Circle

Release Date: 28 April 2017


Director: James Ponsoldt

Starring: Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, Karen Gillan

Summary: A woman lands a job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, where she becomed involved with a mysterious man.

Comment: I expect this to be a powerful movie. The novel raised many serious questions, and please make this a film with the same concerns. Plus, I like the casting!


7. Everything, Everything

Release Date: 19 May 2017


Director: Stella Meghie

Starring: Amanda Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose

Summary: A teenager who's lived a sheltered life because she's aleergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.

Comment: A beloved YA romance! If you loved this novel (and I know that there are a lot of you), then you won't want to miss it.


8. Captain Underpants

Release Date: 2 June 2017 


Director: Rob Letterman, David Soren

Starring: Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, Kristen Schaal

Summary: Two mischievious kids hypnotize their mean high school principal and turn him into their comic book creation, the kind-hearted and elastic-banded Captain Underpants.

Comment: This is going to be HILARIOUS! I mean, just look at the cast. And this is the only animated feature in this list!


9. My Cousin Rachel

Release Date: 14 July 2017


Director: Roger Michell

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger

Summary: A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

Comment: It's yet another historical drama. This is enough reason for me to watch this movie. End of story.


10. The Dark Tower

Release Date: 28 July 2017 


Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Katheryn Winnick

Summary: Gunslinger Roland Deschain roams an Old West-like landscape in searcch for the dark tower, in hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world.

Comment: It's truth that Stephen King's novels usually make good movies. The Dark Tower series is an exceptionally popular one, and let's face it Idris Elba is the perfect casting for the Gunslinger!


11. It

Release Date: 8 September 2017


Director: Andrés Muschietti

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher

Summary: In a small town in Maine, seven children known as The Losers Club come face to face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise.

Comment: The second Stephen King novel in this list. There is actually a mini series adaptation of this novel back from 1990. Will this movie live up to its scary predecessor?


12. Murder On the Orient Express

Release Date: 22 November 2017

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Kenneth Branagh

Summary: Renowned Belgian detective Hercules Poirot investigates the murder of a wealthy American traveling on the Orient Express, the most famous train in the world.

Comment: This is one of my favourite adventures of Hercules Poirot! Apart from the novel, already exists an excellent adaptation of it from 1974. But I want to watch this new one mostly out of couriosity. How will be Kenneth Branagh as the famous detective?


13. Annihilation

Release Date: 2017

Director: Alex Garland

Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thomson

Summary: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expendition where the laws of nature don't apply. 

Comment: It's Annihilation and it's Alex Garland! These two facts are enough for me to be super excited for this film. I hope that they will announce the release date soon, as well as some teaser/trailer. 


14. Graceling

Release Date: 2017

Director: TBA

Starring: TBA

Summary: A smart, beautiful young woman lives in a world where select people born with an extreme skill -- called a Grace -- are feared and exploited.
Comment: I love this fantasy series, and I can't wait for an adaptation of it! Unfortunately, we don't know anything about it yet.


15. On Chesil Beach

Release Date: 2017

Director: Dominic Cooke

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff

Summary: A drama set in the early 1960's and centered on a young couple on their honeymoon. 

Comment: It's no secret that Ian McEwan is one of my favourite authors. On Chesil Beach is my second favourite novel of his (after Atonement). Plus, he wrote the movie script himself! 


16. American Gods

Release Date: 2017

Director: David Slade (3 eps.), Adam Kane (2 eps.), Vincenzo Natali (1 ep.), Guillermo Navarro (1 ep.), Floria Sigismondi (1 ep.), Craig Zobel (1 ep.)

Starring: Demore Barnes, Gillian Anderson, Yetide Badaki, Dane Cook, Ian McShane

Summary: A recently released ex-convict named Shadow meets a mysterious man who calls himself "Wednesday" and who knows more than he first seems to about Shadow's life and past.

Comment: Another favourite novel written by a favourite author. This is another 10 episode tv series to look for in 2017. This is a must-watch whenever they decide to release it!



17. Let it Snow

Release Date: 2017

Director:  TBA

Starring: TBA

Summary: Three unexpected romances take place over the course of one Christmas Eve.

Comment: We don't know anything yet about this upcoming movie, but it's safe to assume that it will be released at the end of 2017. Indeed, it will be the ideal holiday movie! 







Bonus:
18. Seasons of Heaven

Release Date: TBA

Studio: AnyArts Productions

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Summary: Seasons of Heaven is about a post-apocalyptic world, which has undergone some dramatic events. Thankfully, there are some survivors. The game will focus on Yann, a telepathic boy with Asperger's Syndrome, and his French bulldog, Ani. His parents, Elise and Tim, are part of a larger group of survivors, including James and Sarah, their son Thomas, and two other children called Nina and Ana.   

Comment: I have to be honest here: I've never heard of this novel. Could it be because it is a French novel? Does an English translation exist? Well, the game trailer is beautiful, and I can't wait to play it!

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