April 28, 2020

Weeckies: The Double, by Peter Kim

Hello, everyone! It's been a while since I've written another Weeckies and I'm very happy that I've returned to it. For the new readers, Weeckies is the weekly short story, which I normally don't post every week, but I promise I'll try 😊

Anyway, I was recently sent a short story by a publisher named The Double by Peter Kim. I was intrigued by the premise and so I was eager to read it. This Weeckies is all about The Double.

The Double is about an old man named Santiago Cervantez. One night, when he returns home and his wife is asleep, the telephone rings. It is from the police station and the officer informs him that his wife is there. Even though Santiago knows that this is impossible, he goes to pick this person and he is shocked to find that it is indeed his wife, but thirty years younger.

I have to admit that this premise sounds very promising. We never get to learn Santiago's age, but if I had to guess, I would say that he is a middle-aged man. Throughout this story, we get glimpses of who Santiago used to be as a young man and who he is today. He is feeling that his life is quickly passing by, taking every good part away. He is desperate to find something that will keep him alive (in the metaphorical sense) and he finds just this thing in Young Miranda. I found this a very relatable trait, even though I'm not middle-aged. I think that feeling that you could have done better is common while growing up.

A thing that comes up a lot throughout the story is Santiago's irritation with his wife. He has reached a point where he cannot even look at her without feeling angry. He despises who she is and the way she acts. However, this became the reason why I couldn't feel sorry for him. Instead, I myself felt irritated with Santiago for his wife. When you are young and reckless, it is easy to love and to be blind to someone's negative trait. But when you spend years together, you fall into a routine and you throw away every pretense.

Santiago's response to the appearance of Young Miranda to me was unacceptable. I can understand the temptation of starting afresh. After all, she is the same person he got married to. However, because she is the same Miranda she is set to become the Miranda he hates in the future. The solution he finds is something radical (which I will not spoil for you). When he does that, comes his thoughts that bothered me the most. He thinks that with Young Miranda he can change the sofa that got old, and fix the fridge. My question is: what didn't he do those things if they were really bothering him?

The solution, the real solution, to Santiago's problem with his wife would be to sit down and communicate with her. If he was bothered by her dress (which was the only thing that was mentioned again and again in the story), then he should have told her so. He shouldn't have blamed Miranda for changing. Not for once, did he stop to wonder how he has changed, and how Miranda feels about him at this point. He only blames her. And this is exactly the reason why he loses both her and the younger version of her.

We cannot always stay young. While we are growing up we are changing, slowly becoming different people. There will always be regrets, but we should always be aware of the people we have become and appreciate what we have. In general, The Double was an enjoyable read for me and it was surprisingly thought-provoking. If you are looking for a quick read with an interesting premise, you can give it a try.

This was it for this week! What short stories have you been reading lately? Would you recommend one for me to read next?

April 24, 2020

Book Beginnings / Friday 56 - Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata

Hello, everyone! What have you been reading this week? Today, it's Friday, so you know what this means! It's time for the two fun weekly memes :)

First, we have Book Beginnings on Fridays, hosted by Rose City Reads. In this meme, we have to share the first sentence (or a bit more) from the book we are currently reading. The second meme is called Friday 56 and it is hosted by Freda's Voice. For this one, we have to share a small snippet from a book, taken from page 56 (or 56% on an e-reader).

This week, I'm presenting you with Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. I'm really into Japanese literature and I was eager to read this book. It is quirky, somewhat dark, but very enjoyable. It is certainly something completely different from what you've been reading. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the quotes from the book!

Book Beginnings:

"A convenience store is a world of sound. From the tinkle of the door chime to the voices of TV celebrities advertising new products over the in-store cable networks, to the calls of the store workers, the beeps of the bar code scanner, the rustle of customers picking up items and placing them in baskets, and the clacking of heels walking around the store. It all blends into the convenience store sound that ceaselessly caresses my eardrums."

In this opening paragraph, we get a very quick description of what a convenience store sounds like. To the protagonist, the convenience store is her sanctuary and so she feels the most comfortable when she is surrounded by these sounds. Of course, later on her life will be turned upside down, but this place is very important.

Friday 56:

"When something was strange, everyone thought they had the right to come stomping in all over your life to figure out why. I found that arrogant and infuriating, not to mention a pain in the neck. Sometimes I even wanted to hit them with a shovel to shut them up, like I did that time in elementary school"

So, in this paragraph taken from page 56 from this book, we discover more about the protagonist's character. This character has a rare condition where she can't understand emotions and her doesn't possess empathy. From a young age she failed to connect to people and so was always socially awkward. Now, she is much older and people keep asking her why she's not married and why she keeps working in a convenience store. (Now that I'm talking about this book, I'm feeling like I should write a review about it).

Anyway, this way the book of the week. Have you read Convenience Store Woman? What do you think of these quote?
Share with me some quotes from the books you are currently reading! 

April 23, 2020

Happy World Book and Copyright Day 2020!

Hello, everyone! Today is the death of anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and  Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. UNESCO has chosen this particular date to celebrate the World Book and Copyright Day.

I found this the perfect occasion to compile another list (you know that I love coming up with various lists). Today, as it is a day dedicated to books, I have chosen to tell you about my favourite books. If you have been following this blog, my picks will not come as a surprise to you. However, if you are a new reader, then (SPOILER ALERT) you will find a LOT of Japanese literature in there. Tell me in the comments below, which are your favourite books of all time!

So, here is my list!

01. Clout Atlas - David Mitchell

What can I say about Cloud Atlas? This book opened my horizons and changed my worldview. It is a very important book for me and I hold it very dear. It is a challenge read, however I would recommend it with no hesitation. 

Fun fact: One of my first reviews was about Cloud Atlas. Even though my writing has evolved since then, it is still one of my favourite reviews :)

02. The Lord of the Rings trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the books of my childhood that I've come back to again and again. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an epic adventure that needs not an introduction. If you haven't already, it is time to do so! Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe it's time for me to re-read it, as well! 

03. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

The classic romance that we all know and (the majority of us) loves. In fact, it is very difficult for me to choose between Jane Austen's novels, as they all touch me in different ways. I chose Pride and Prejudice only because I have read it countless times.

04. The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yoko Ogawa

I can still remember the way that I was feeling while reading this book. This was my introduction to Yoko Ogawa (maybe to Japanese literature as well) and now she is one of the authors that I read without even reading the synopsis of her books. Back then, I wasn't that familiar with the Japanese culture as I am now (I am learning Japanese fyi), but I could still understand the impact that this type of literature would have on me. I have to admit though that I find this title a bit odd. The original Japanese title, translates The Professor's Beloved Equation, which I find a more fitting title to the story.

05. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

If I have to be honest, Never Let Me Go was the first Japanese novel I read. However, I would not classify Kazuo Ishiguro as Japanese literature. No matter if you would or not, I read this book while I was still in high school and I still remember its effect on me. It is so human and emotional. I can't recommend it enough!

06. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

One of my favourite authors that I have still to find a book I disliked is Neil Gaiman. I am fascinated with his work an I find it inspiring. If I have to choose one of his books though, that would be The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It's dreamy, it's whimsical, and it's scary.

07. The End of the Affair - Graham Greene

Oh, how I love a desperate love affair! The End of the Affair is heart-wrenching and I loved every single word of it. It's definitely one of the most emotional books I've ever read!

08. Women in Love - D.H. Lawrence

Women in Love was an eye-opening experience for me. I consider it to be one of the books that has taught me how to feel (if that's even a thing). D.H. Lawrence uses a lot of sex in his books (we all know Lady Chatterley's Lover). However, in this book I was fascinated by the different forms and meanings that sex was expressing. The desire was never meant to be provocative - it stood for something and it enhanced the story. 

09. Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto

Another Japanese novel that shook me and showed me how much you can convey with simple language is Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. I'm still amazed by the show, don't tell that these short stories have adopted. The result? Some of the most touching stories you'll ever read.

10. Bottle Royale - Koushun Takami

Battle Royale is brutal, there is no denying about it. For me, it is a must-read. It is full of violence and dares to look it in the eye. This book, explores human nature.

Fun fact: I have also compiled a Play(list) by the Book for this one.

Bonus #1 (Manga): Orange - Ichigo Takano

The list of my favourite books wouldn't be complete without mentioning at least one manga. From all of my favourites, I have chosen Orange because I find it special. It is a small series, with only 5 volumes. However, it's story was powerful. This manga definitely stays with you for a long time.

Bonus #2 (Graphic Novel): Watchmen - Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons

Here I am, trying to talk once again about Watchmen! It is the greatest graphic novel of all time. When I read it, I discovered that it's more than just the greatest...

Bonus #3 (Short Story): All You Zombies - Robert A. Heinlein

I'm not sure that I can talk about All You Zombies without spoiling the story. Believe me, you will get the BEST experience if you read it without having a single idea. I will only say that it is the best time-travel story of all time!

This was my list! Have you read any of these book?
Which are your favourite books?

April 21, 2020

Review: The Key, by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki

The Key - Tanizaki

Title: The Key

Author: Jun'ichiro Tanizaki

Publisher: Univers

Date of Publication: 5 August, 2004 (first pub. 1956)

Number of Pages: 160

See it on Goodreads: The Key


'This year I intend to begin writing freely about a topic which, in the past, I have hesitated to mention even here. I have always avoided commenting on my sexual relations with Ikuko, for fear that she might surreptitiously read my diary and be offended-' So begins The Key - a forthright and moving tale of a middle-aged man deeply in love with his younger wife. In spite of that love, they have grown physically apart, each unsure of the other's thoughts and desires - until the day Ikuko discovers the key to her husband's diary with its desperate hints of jealousy and voyeurism. The key, she realises, to his very soul.


I've said so in the past and I'll say it once again: I LOVE Japanese literature. I like the subtlety and the abstraction of the language. I like how things are shown and not told. I like how Japanese authors take a story without an intense plot and create something unique that pierces human emotions. With that being said, The Key is an example of all these traits. You might even go as far as to tell that they are too present that you might actually miss them. Before getting into that though, let's take a look at some general information on The Key.

The Key might not be the most important or popular work of Jun'ichiro Tanizaki as this author is known for his novels The Makioka Sisters and Quicksand. However, it was my first time reading this important Japanese author and I have to admit that it won't be the last. The themes of this book are sexual desire, obsession, and jealousy. It is not the first time that I'm reading a Japanese novel that has a triggering story. In fact, Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa was a much more explicit example, and since this theme didn't bother me there, it wasn't a problem for The Key as well.

In The Key, we read the story through the two diaries of a middle-aged couple. Both of them are writing with the intention that the other one is reading it. Nevertheless, they both deny that they do. The two perspectives of these diaries are completely different. 

The man decides that for the first time he will be explicit about his sexual desires towards his wife. He realizes that his drive is failing him and he feels that he is unable to satisfy his wife. This drives him on finding some weird methods that provoke him and enable him to perform every night. His solution is to get his wife drunk until she loses her consciousness and then to examine her naked body. When this method is starting to fail he adds another element, that of jealousy. He provokes his daughter's friend, Kimura, into liking his wife. The farther their affair seems to go the more sexual drive he seems to have. The diary seems to be an extension of this. Even in his deathbed, he wants to read his wife's diary.

On the other hand, we have the woman's diary. Up until a point, the woman is very modest and pretends that she doesn't know what is going on. However, she admits that her desire for Kimura is real and her daughter helps her get closer to him. Despite this fact, she is adamant that she hasn't cheated on her husband and she pleases him every night.

The story begins to get even more perplexing when the man's body shows signs that his health is declining, leading to his ultimate death. This is the point where the truth is uncovered. They have both been reading the diaries of each other. While the man was being honest all along, his wife drove him deeper into his obsession, by writing what he wanted to read. 

The two diaries become a part of an intricate sexual play. The man leaves the key to the drawer, where he locks his diary, in a visible place so that his wife finds it. The woman tries to write the diary in secret, even though she gives her husband indications that she has one. She even tries to seal it with some duct tape, but she never confronts her husband when she notices that the diary has been opened.

The sad truth is that she is in an unhappy marriage, where she never desired her husband. When she decides to give in to Kimura, she discovered what passion is. You can understand this transition from her choice of clothing. At the beginning of the book, she wears only traditional Japanese clothing as she states numerous times that she has an old-fashioned Kyoto upbringing. When she starts her affair with Kimura, she slowly transitions into western clothing and accessories. 

In The Key, there is no clear protagonist and antagonist. The line that distinguishes a character from being unlikeable is very thin. In the beginning, we focus on the husband and all of his questionable actions and pity the wife for being trapped in this marriage. Later, we witness his wife's infidelity and our feelings turn into sympathy. In the end, we realize the deception of the wife - the way she fooled her husband and how she pushed him far beyond his limits. However, I can't help but think that she herself is a victim. 

A very mysterious character in this novel is Toshiko, the daughter of the couple. It is explicitly mentioned that her parents invited Kimura at their place with their marriage in mind. It is even implied that she might have feelings for him. When Toshiko discovers her father's actions she rents a place on her own. During the story of The Key, it is she who helps her mother and Kimura get closer. It is also she who confronts her father about Kimura and her mother and it is also she who secretly gives her mother's diary to her father just before he dies. Ultimately, it is she who sacrifices herself to enable her mother and Kimura to live as a couple. However, this doesn't sound right to me. I can't help but feel that there is a deep understanding between Kimura and Toshiko as if they want to humiliate her. 

The Key is a novel that will challenge and trigger you. When you have finally formed an opinion on a character, it can destroy it at any moment. Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable read and one that I am still thinking about. Erotic obsession is one of the themes that Tanizaki is using on his work a lot, so I think that I'll bump into it again. 

April 17, 2020

Book Beginnings / Friday 56 - Howards End, by E.M. Foster

Book Beginnings on Friday

Hello, everyone! I hope that lockdown is going well for you. What have you been reading? Today, I return to two Friday fun weekly memes, which I enjoy very much.

First, we have Book Beginnings on Fridays, hosted by Rose City Reads. In this meme, we have to share the first sentence (or a bit more) from the book we are currently reading. The second meme is called Friday 56 and it is hosted by Freda's Voice. For this one, we have to share a small snippet from a book, taken from page 56 (or 56% on an e-reader).

So, this week I have chosen Howards End, by E.M.Foster. This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time, but I always felt hesitant on picking it up. However, I have just started reading this classic and I have to admit that I'm already hooked.

Howards End

Book Beginning:

"One may as well begin with Helen's letter to her sister."

I found this opening line very peculiar, to be honest. The first chapter is a series of letters from one sister to another. In those letters, we get to know some basic things about characters that will play a part in the story later on. But if I judge from the other E.M. Foster book I have read (A Room with a View), then this opening line is a good example of his writing style.

Page 56:

“Ruskin had visited Torcello by this time, and was ordering his gondoliers to take him to Murano.  It occurred to him, as he glided over the whispering lagoons, that the power of Nature could not be shortened by the folly, nor her beauty altogether saddened by the misery, of such as Leonard.”

Page 56 takes us in a chapter that introduces us to Leonard - one of the main heroes of the book. In this chapter, we get to know who Leonard and what his situation in life is. He believes that he can break the barrier of his middle-class life through a deeper understanding of the arts and literature. For this reason, he reads Ruskin in this chapter. I rather liked the way that E.M. Foster used the narration of this book in his own narration. I found it unique and refreshing.

Have you read Howards End? Which of classics sits on your TBR list for a long time?

April 13, 2020

Book Recommendations from K-pop MVs

books kpop

Hello, everyone! It's been a bit over three weeks since I've been in a lockdown, and so I thought that I'll try something different. I've done some lists in the past, however this is something entirely new for me. You see, I've been a K-pop fan for awhile (my radio show this season is all about K-pop - if you want to find it, it's Extra-K on Facebook, extrak.show on Instagram, and ExtraKteam on Twitter) and so I found a way to combine K-pop and books. 

In this list, I have spotted various books on K-pop music videos. I did my best to recognize the books shown. So, let's take some book recommendations from some K-pop MVs.

01. Chuu (from LOONA) - Heart Attack

Book Recommendation: Aphrodite Means Death, by John Appleby

Let's kick off this list, with a recommendation from the song Heart Attack, by Chuu who is a member of LOONA. In the music video, we can clearly see the book and it's title. It's a classic Penguin edition, even though I had never heard of this book prior to compiling this list. 

02. SHINee - Countless

Book Recommendation: The Ruby King, by David Eddings

I love SHINee! So, I was pleasantly surprised that Minho was holding The Ruby King in the MV of Countless. I haven't read this book, and I'm adding it to me TBR list 😉

03. GWSN - Puzzle Moon

Book Recommendation: Song from the Sea, by Katherine Kingsley

Puzzle Moon is a great song. In fact, there is a shot of a library, where the member of WJSN (I'm sorry, I don't know their names) picks up this specific book that you see in this screenshot. The book is none other than Song from the Sea. If you are in the mood for a historical romance, then this is the recommendation for you!

04. Jennie - Solo

Book Recommendation: Everyman's Pocket Classics - Love Stories, by Various Authors

Jennie (from Blackpink), in this video, is holding a collection of love stories. It's so fitting in the video, as this shot is shown when she sings the lyric "This is not a touching love story". 

05. BTS - Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Book Recommendation: Demian, by Hermann Hesse

Ok, so in this video we can't actually see the cover of the book that RM is holding. However, in the middle of the song he recites something (luckily in English). This goes: "He too was a tempter. He too was a link to the second.The evil world with which I no longer wanted to have anything to do". This is a quote from Demian by Hermann Hesse, and so we can take this as a book recommendation. I have in fact already read this book, although it was years ago!

06. Hwa Sa - Twit

Book Recommendation: Animal Farm, by George Orwell

This book recommendation comes in the first 3 seconds of the seconds and you cannot miss the title! However, I would recommend that you give this song a listens as it is a bop. Animal Farm is another book from this list that I have already read.

07. JJ Project - Tomorrow, Today

Book Recommendation: The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

Take a look at the frame I have included here. Do you spot anything familiar? There is no way I could ever mistake the cover of The Catcher in the Rye with any other book! It is an iconic cover that is instantly recognizable. But, as you can see JB is also holding a book. There are shots all through the video, but none of them shows that cover clearly, so I couldn't understand which one it is.

08. GOT7 - Lullaby

Book Recommendations: The Crime Writer, by Gregg Hurwitz, The Four Forces, by Jenna Rhodes, State of Emergency, by Patrick J. Buchanan, The Ninth Talisman, by Lawrence Watt-Evans

So, JJ Project from above is a sub-unit of GOT7 that we have here (I'm a fangirl and I can't hide it). In this music video (which is really energetic), JB's setting (yes, the same one as above) is that of a library room. In this shot, he goes to pick up a book and we get a close-up of the shelf. I tried to include some of the titles that I could recognize. 

09. The Rose - She's in the Rain 

Book Recommendation: Dead Poets Society, by N.H. Kleinbaum

In this shot of the She's in the Rain music video, we get to see that the protagonist of the video is holding Dead Poets Society. It's an excellent choice as I have already read it and I can't recommend it enough!

10. Ha:tfelt - Pluhmm

Book Recommendation: Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts

In this music video HA:TFELT is sitting and waiting surrounded by books. There are so many of them, but there are out of focus. I could make out though that one of them was Northern Lights by Nora Roberts!

11. S.I.S. - Always be your Girl

Book Recommendation: Heartbeat, by Danielle Steel

Always be your girl is a cute song. In one scene, the group member (I don't know their names), is trying to reach a book from the school's library, but it's high. Then, her crush steps in and helps her. I just included this book in the list, because we can later see her holding it! I wonder, how could a steamy read such as this be in a school library? 🧐

12. Nell - The Day Before

Book Recommendation: And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos, by John Berger

I close this list with a great recommendation and one that I'll surely add to my TBR list! 

So, this was my list! It was so fun compiling it! Have you read any of those books?
Would you be interested in seeing more content like this?

April 10, 2020

Book Beginnings / Friday 56 - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams

Book Beginnings on Friday

Hello, everyone! I hope you are well and reading interesting things. Today, I'm participating in two fun weekly memes, which I'm very excited about.

First, we have Book Beginnings on Fridays, hosted by Rose City Reads. In this meme, we have to share the first sentence (or a bit more) from the book we are currently reading. The second meme is called Friday 56 and it is hosted by Freda's Voice. For this one, we have to share a small snippet from a book, taken from page 56 (or 56% on an e-reader).

So, this week I'm presenting you with the book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams. It is the second installment of the book series Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and it is a hilarious book.

Book Beginning:

"The story so far:

In the beginning the Universe was created.

This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

Ok, so I ended up sharing three sentences. However, I wanted you to understand the writing of this book. It has plenty of laugh out loud moments, and it captures you from the very beginning (which as we know is called the Big Bang). Anyway, let's see what page 56 holds for us! 

Page 56:

“Delay?” he cried. “Have you seen the world outside this ship? It’s a wasteland, a desert. Civilization’s been and gone, man. There are no lemon-soaked paper napkins on the way from anywhere!”

“The statistical likelihood,” continued the autopilot primly, “is that other civilizations will arise. There will one day be lemon-soaked paper napkins. Till then there will be a short delay. Please return to your seat.”

Page 56 takes us in the middle of the action. It's a strange place and a strange situation that Zaphod Beeblebrox finds himself in. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series is funny because it features some of the more absurd situations, and this particular scene is definitely one of them.

Have you read any of the books of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series? Which was one of the funniest books you have read?

April 6, 2020

Review: Love & Misadventure, by Lang Leav

Title: Love and Misadventure

Author: Lang Leav

Illustrator: Lang Leav

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Date of Publication: 26 April, 2013

Number of Pages: 176

See it on Goodreads: Love and Misadventure


Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. Awarded a coveted Churchill Fellowship, her work expresses the intricacies of love and loss.

Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair- from the initial butterflies to the soaring heights- through to the devastating plunge. Lang Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


There is a time when your heart just needs some love poetry to soothe itself and let the feelings flow. Poems that can put to word what you are feeling and express your inner struggle better that you could ever do with your own words. A very nice example is the above poem - [i carry your heart with me] by E. E. Cummings. However, this is not a review of Cumming's work.

In this review, we are going to talk about the development and failure of a love affair, as is told through the poems of Love & Misadventure, by Lang Leav. This book kept popping up to me and I decided to read it (since I was in that set of mind). Unfortunately for me, I was quickly disappointed. But before digging into that, I have to let you know that I waited for a while before writing this review. You see, the previous book I read was A Lover's Discourse, which I found to be an excellent exploration of the nuances of love. So, I tried to figure out if my disappointment in this collection of poetry originated from the fact that I had read this book before. Upon re-reading some of the poetry though, I realised that my impression remained the same.

Love & Misadventure is divided into three parts - 1. Misadventure, 2. The Circus of Sorrows, and 3. Love. At the beginning of each part, we also have an illustration created by the author. The illustrations had a nice art style, even though they didn't add anything to the book as a whole. However, it got me thinking how can you add illustrations to a collection of poetry to create an impact on the reader? I think that I would prefer to have smaller ones that accompany certain poems, and ones where the girl depicted showed more emotion. Right now, the illustrations are pretty, but the expression is completely blank.

When it comes to the poems (the main problem of the book) I am at a complete loss. I don't want to sound harsh, but I had to stop reading and ask myself "Why am I reading this?" several times. There is no way that these poems could stand on their own. I mean that as a whole, I could force myself to extract a narrative, a story that they tried to convey. Nevertheless, this doesn't improve their quality. The vast majority of the poems reminded me of the poems we used to write as elementary school children, and this is not an exaggeration. A perfect example is the poem Xs and Os:

Love is a game
of tic-tac-toe,
constantly waiting,
for the next x or o.

And that's it. I was reading page after page in hopes that they would improve somehow, but it never happened. I wondered if this was somehow my fault that I was failing to connect with the poems, but I couldn't find a reason to like them. Yes, I understood the basic feeling that each poem tried to express, but it just remained on the surface. I could just write

Hey, do you remember
how it is to have a crush
on someone
and keep getting ignored?

and it could sum up perfectly the spirit of this collection.

Having said that, I have to be fair and admit that the prose poetry included was slightly better and I even enjoyed those pieces. Some had some whimsical elements and I wish there was more of that. I think that it would make the collection much much better.

All in all, Love & Misadventure was a big miss for me. I really enjoy reading love poems and I can't describe my disappointment enough. I'm not even sure if I want to try reading the following poetry collections of Lang Leav. Instead, do yourself a favour and read the above E. E. Cummings once more.

Read more reviews here.

April 2, 2020

Happy International Children's Book Day 2020!

International Children's book day

Hello, everyone! Today, April 2nd, we celebrate the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen and the International Children's Books Day. For this reason, I thought that it would be a great idea to compile a list of some of my favourite children's books.

Children's books have a great variety. Moreover, they are totally different depending on the age of the child. Thus, my list will be a pick for each age group I could think of. Apart from my final pick, I will also refer to several other books that are ideal for that age group. Enjoy!

Age 0-5

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Where the wild things are

Books for children in this age group are normally picture books with a simple story. For me, Where the Wild Things Are shines. Other books suitable for toddlers are Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Goodnight Moon.

Age 6-8

Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White

Charlotte's web

These books begin to have more text, even though the illustrations are still present. Other books that I would recommend for this are group include Pippi LongstockingA Bear Called PaddingtonDiary of a Wimpy KidThe BFG, and Winnie-the-Pooh.

Age 9-11

The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

The competition in the books for this age group is fierce. I didn't know which one to choose. However, I went with the book that I grew up with, which of course is The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Other options include MatildaArtemis Fowl (the 1st book), Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneThe Little PrinceThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, A Wrinkle in Time, The Jungle Book, and Peter Pan.

Age 12-14

The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass

This is a great age group with many interesting choices. All of  the series of books mentioned in the previous age group can be continued as the child grows, as the books tend to be more mature as well. For this reason, I haven't included any second books. My first choice in this category would be once again Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, I've placed The Hobbit in the previous age group, so I'm going to go with another trilogy that I really love, which is His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. Other choices for this age group are The Graveyard Book, The Princess Diaries, The Hunger Games, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and I Capture the Castle.

This was my list! Which is your favourite children's book?

I'll leave you with a quote from Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen quote
Read the whole story: The Butterfly (1861)