The 3rd 12 Books of 2017

UprootedNaomi Novik

A modern fantasy story with kings, queens, dragons and wizards. The story is a fascinating tale where good and bad is not so black and white. It is a bit predictable at times, but interesting none the less. I found the protagonist a bit annoying at times and the characters are not as well developed, so the story is driven by the plotline. 4/5

The Colour PurpleAlice Walker

This book is based on a time after the slavery. It follows a woman who is passed from her fathers home to her husbands home as she is passed on. It discusses her depressive life, women’s position in the world at that time and the family life. It sounds depressive, but the plotline gets more positive the more you read it and I absolutely loved the characters in the book. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Versions of UsLaura Barnett

This book tells a story about two people with three different scenarios of how their lives might have happened and how they will end up in some way together no matter what. It discusses love, infidelity, regular family life and unsupportive relatives. This book reminded me of One Day in a way, but not as romantic. Still, it made me shed a few tears. 3/5

ParadisoDante Alighieri

The second book of the Divine Comedy tells how the protagonist is climbing into heaven through the different levels of purgatory where souls are repenting for their misgivings before they can get to heaven themselves. The third book is a bit harder to read than the first one, especially as the characters can be unknown which makes the relevance hard to understand. There is an appendix where it explains most lines, but it is even harder to go back and forth while reading. 3/5

The Secret HistoryDonna Tartt

A book that surprised me a lot! A different type of murder mystery, where the murder itself is not the mystery but the reason behind it. It is a very sophisticated book with interesting characters and setting where they study classics. Made me also interested in studying classics, or at least reading more about it. The book is long but reads well and I found every chapter interesting. 4/5

Cradle to CradleWilliam McDonough

I’ve written a whole post about this book before and you can read about it here. It introduces a design philosophy where nothing is wasted and all the ingredients are collected and reused again. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The PowerNaomi Alderman

The power is a dystopian story. It entertains the idea that women get a new part in their bodies which gives them electric powers and therefore power over men. The book follows several interesting characters both female and male through this time when men are afraid and take rash decisions to protect themselves and women get aggressive. The book provides an interesting idea of how people might react in such a situation. This was a fascinating book and I would definitely recommend reading it. 4/5

FatedBenedict Jacka

This is definitely a young adult fantasy book which follows the protagonist while he fights bad mages. Some beings in the story are interesting, but the plot is very predictable, names unimaginative and it is very cheesy most of the time and made me cringe hundreds of times. I didn’t enjoy how he wrote about women, which wasn’t rude but not considerate as well. 2/5

PurgatoryDante Alighieri

The third book of the Divine Comedy was even harder to read than the second. In it the protagonist is trying to get used to heaven, understand it and love everything, especially God unconditionally. It is hard to understand and very slow to read although it is not long. 3/5

Nicholas and AlexandraRobert K. Massie

A history book telling the story of the last tsar and tsarina of Russia. It is a sad, although, highly fascinating explanation on how they lived, what were they like and why the people of Russia misunderstood them, and how all of it resulted in a revolution. You really get a sense of what their lives were like and what it was like being an aristocrat in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Paper MagicianCharlie M. Holmberg

The story is about a young woman who has just graduated from a mage school and is now set as an apprentice to a paper mage where she is to become a paper mage herself, although she is not looking forward to that as she would rather do any other magic than paper. The story takes her on a horrific adventure to save her master and fall in love with paper magic. The storyline moves well but is naive and a bit childish. 3/5

FashionChristopher Breward

This is a book on the fashion history, however quite superficial at that. It was lead by the emergence of the designer and their fame. The book did introduce quite many interesting points on why history moved with fashion in a certain way, but it missed many other factors. The language was dry to read and therefore the book was not very enjoyable. 2/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

What books have you read recently?

With love,

Lii

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The 2nd 12 Books of 2017

I’ve been really good with reading this year and already finished my 24 book goal that I had set for myself for this year. If you missed the review on the first 12 you can read it here. Here’s to fishing I will manage to write a third one before the end of this year as well!

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Good Girls RevoltLynn Povich

A story about how the women of the Newsweek sued their bosses, because of the discrimination towards women in pay and title. The book observes the lawsuit and what led to it in the 70’s, in addition to what are the women’s rights and conditions at the newspaper now.  The book is not told in a story telling way but is rather a report of the events. However, it is very interesting to read about what the conditions were then and now and to acknowledge how long it still is to be truly equal, even though the book only considers journalism. I really enjoyed it, although felt spurts of anger every now and again. 4/5

An Artist of the Floating WorldKazuo Ishiguro

This is a second book I read by Kazuo Ishiguro and I instantly recognised his style. The writing flowed smoothly and it was enjoyable to read. I am not usually interested in reading when travelling, especially when flying, but this book didn’t leave my hands when I was travelling. However, as in his other book, the main character in this book as well was oblivious of what was going on around him and was wondering it through out the book. Unlike the other book, in this one what the main character was oblivious about wasn’t really explained and I felt the books ending was abrupt and confusing, which is a shame as I enjoyed reading it.

The story itself is about a Japanese old man who used to be an artist before and during the Japanese revolution and the second world war. At his older age, he wonders how Japan has changed since the war. How women are more outspoken, people don’t respect quite the same values and Japan isn’t the glorious country it once was. It was interesting learning about the Japanese history from this point of view, but the ending kind of ruined it for me. 3/5

A Girl In ExileIsmail Kadare

I chose to read this book because it was easy to carry with me on a flight, but the impulse buy wasn’t quite worth it. The story is about a famous author in an eastern European country where after a revolution the Royals have been shunned from the public eye and locked/controlled in small towns from where they are not allowed to leave. A young royal girl is in love with the author and when she dies he gets entwined into the investigation. This all sounds more fascinating than it is. Most of the book tells of what is going in the author’s head and his struggles with the situation. 2/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

CosmopolisDon DeLillo

Is a story about a rich business owner who drives on his limousine through a day, has sex with multiple people and is paranoid for his life. He gets into weird situations and seems to have lost his interest in life. Ir is an odd story and I found it really hard to relate tot eh protagonist. For being such a thin book it was surprisingly hard to read. 2/5

Big MagicElizabeth Gilbert

I read this book because I was interested of the praise it’s gained in the social media. I really liked Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and thought I might like this one as well. I was right. This one is more of a self-help book than a novel, but it is full of the positivity with which Gilbert wrote ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. The book was full of positive affirmations and offered ways of thinking about creativity which lets creativity flow and reduces the pressure from it all. Truly uplifting and motivating book! 4/5

Cabaret of PlantsRichard Mabey

I got this book as a birthday present and read it through a couple of months before bed time enjoying the world of plants. The book was fascinating with the history of discovery and research of plants accompanied by illustrations and beautiful photography. It was too exciting so that I got good nights sleep, but exciting enough that I wanted to reach for it every night before bed. The book was very well written. I don’t really know much about plants and I wanted to keep reading this beautiful book. I loved to learn about the rare plants, the oldest trees and the plant weirdoes. I would definitely recommend reading this one! 4/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Orphan Master’s SonAdam Johnson

Not a book for the light hearted. Although it was easy to read due to the easy flow of the writing, it tells a story about North-Korea and the most horrible things the people are faced with there from torture to slavery. The story is about a man who grew up as an orphan and how he went through his life through a series of obstacles that should’ve left him dead, but somehow he lived. I thought the book was very interesting, but it left me shaken. The book was well researched and believable, although not relatable and felt more of a dystopian novel. 4/5

A Box Of Stars Beneath the Bed

This was another book that I was reading before going to sleep. It is a perfect for it with so many different and beautiful short stories written by different authors. Even if you don’t like all of the stories there will be several that will stay with you! 4/5

I Am MalalaMalala Yousafzai

I’ve already written about this book a couple of times when being inspired by tit. It is an autobiography by Malala Yousafzai who grew up in Pakistan, fought for girls right for education and got shot by the Taliban. It was interesting to read about her growing up in a Muslim country where people just want to live in peace but are int eh mids of Talibanisation. Really open your eyes to what Muslim is about and how terrorism affects us all. 4/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Architect’s ApprenticeElif Shafak

A story is about a young boy’s (Jahan) growth into manhood as an elephant mahout and an architects apprentice in Istanbul. Strange, unexplainable things are happening to Jahan and their building sites, whilst Istanbul’s population keeps growing and it is hit with one after another problem. The book is about Istanbul, love, bureaucracy, friendship with people and animals and perseverance.

I found this book a bit tough to read and felt that many parts of the book didn’t make sense. There were many story buildings which just unravelled or dropped out without explanation. In addition, the protagonist, Jahan, seemed to be very lucky through out the book that made it quite unrelatable. It was still interesting, but not the best book in the world. 2/5

The Heart Goes LastMargaret Atwood

A second book I’ve read by Atwood. In this book, compared to Handmaid’s Tale there was less remembering old times and the story builds on a straight timeline. It was about a couple who live in the USA during a time when 50% of the population is unemployed. A businessman comes up with a solution for the anarchy and offers people a twin city to live in. One month they live in beautiful houses, having jobs and security, and the second month they live in prison. It is a self-sustaining city and everything looks perfect. But it feels as though something else is brewing behind the closed doors. Although the book sounds like another dystopian story, the dystopia is within the love relationships, which it follows much more intently.

The book was easy to read and interesting, but not quite as good as Handmaid’s tale. 3/5

InfernoDante Alighieri

The first book from the Divine Comedy trilogy by Dante. I was afraid to start the book if it was too hard to read, but it wasn’t really. It is written as though it is one continues song and to make sense of what is happening you do need to concentrate on it. The harder part is the people discussed in the book who are from the 1700’s or before from history and other tales that the story slightly builds on. There is an accompanying explanation for each canto (chapter) at the end of the book though.

The story is about a man who is taken on a tour through the different levels of hell. It is interesting to read what was considered the worst sin at that time! 3/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

What have you been reading lately? Can you recommend any books for me?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Trivia and Books

The Game of Trivia – Quite frankly I like almost any kind of trivia game or a quiz, although I only have two on my phone. In addition to having Trivial Pursuit and two extra packs for it, lately, we have been playing ‘name the artist and the song name’ while playing songs from Spotify and doing a bunch of movie quizzes. We also went to do a pub quiz at a local pub. We didn’t do too well, but had fun! Although, when you are used to going to bed early, sitting in a pub, in the middle of the week, till late was quite tiring!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trivia and Books - byLiiL

Midday Walks – As I work from home I am cooped up inside sometimes for days, without realising it. So I decided to do midday walks to break up my working day, to get some blood flowing through my veins and get some fresh air. So far so good. I am more focused when I work and my back doesn’t heart from sitting all day long! Thankfully the weather has been great!

Anthony Day – After writing about his podcast he commented on it and I got starstruck, smiling for the rest of the day! I also listened to more of his podcasts and realised he does do occasional interviews as well, which diversify the sustainable podcasts he makes. He told me about some future plans for the podcast which I cannot wait to listen to! If you missed the previous post about his podcast you can find it here.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trivia and Books - byLiiL

Lunching – I really love to have the occasional lunch with a friend in the middle of the day and last week I had two, one at Kothel and one at Hyndland Fox. Both great lunch and brunch places with delicious food. Lunch with a friend is an amazing way to get out of your head, discuss what is brewing in your head and just have fun. It definitely freshened my days and got new excitement into my work. And if you are in Glasgow, I recommend visiting both places!

The Heart Goes Last – I really like the way Margaret Atwood writes and I love reading dystopian novels. This was not an exception. I enjoyed reading this book and finished it in no time.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trivia and Books - byLiiL

Inferno – And because the previous book was so quick and pleasurable to read I finally was brave enough to start reading Dante, which has been standing in my bookshelf for at least two years. Although the book is written in prose, it is not quite as hard to read as I imagined. I guess after I read Silmarillion nothing else can come close to the difficulty level.

Crown – I finally finished watching the first season of the show about the Queen – Crown. It really was well made and I enjoyed following the story. I enjoy tv shows about history and Royals, and although this was not too far back in the history, it was still a time when I wasn’t alive and didn’t know much about. Very fascinating!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trivia and Books - byLiiL

How was your week?

With love,

Lii