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

First 12 books of 2017

How To Be A WomanCaitlin Moran

This is a kind of CaiMoran’sorans autobiography of how she sees she is a woman. It is funny and witty and has many forward thinking ideas, but I would not agree with her on all her points. She goes through many important stages in a woman’s life; getting the period, getting married, boy crushes, boobs etc. And the thing I was thinking throughout the book is “I wish I had this as a teenager”. It would have made me feel that what I am going through is normal, although she didn’t make these things sound normal.  3/5

Shadows of the WorkhouseJennifer Worth

Small glimpses of life in the middle 20th century London. It is a portrayal of lives of people who were struggling during that time. The workhouse, the living conditions in that time in London and how people treated each other. I laughed reading this book, I cried, I smiled and I wanted to hear more. It is excellently written and I would recommend this to everybody! 4/5

First 12 books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas

I can’t believe it took me this long to read this classic. It followed the story of D’Artagnan and his musketeer friends. Their blind trust and courageousness. It is an adventure, chivalry and comradery. Quite unexpected. It is not the fastest book to read, but very intriguing and I really wanted to finish the story. I was so excited to learn, as well, that the book is based on real-life events and people, among them D’Artagnans memoir. 3/5

PersepolisMarjane Satrapi

This is actually a two piece graphic novel, which I finished so quickly! Based partly in Iran where the main character Marjane is growing up during the recent Islamic revolution and partly in Europe where she moves as a teenager. It explains what is is like living in this type of a country and what people do to keep their sanity. And later on, it explores Marjane’s feelings of superficial and ignorant Europeans. I recommend everybody to read this one as it opens your eyes to a new culture and the world. The story is so current and I think everybody should read it! 5/5

Me before YouJojo Moyes

If somebody doesn’t know what this book is about I am surprised. It is about a girl who is kind of lost in her life and finds excitement and drive to her life while working as a career to a quadriplegic man. It is a sweet, but also a very sad story. It does keep you reading to find out what happens in the end, although it is quite expected. 3/5

UtopiaSir Thomas More

A story about a world that some might find a dream, other too constrictive. It is a world of the perfect piece, community and one goal. It is an interesting read and it certainly woke my imagination and I instantly wanted to comment on what I was reading. It was a slow book to read, because of it’s monotonous tone. A philosophical read that will make you think. 2/5

The Buried GiantKazuo Ishiguro

One of my favourite books of all time. This book was mystical fantasy. The whole story was a dreamlike tale of a couple’s adventure. The elderly couple struggle upon many challenges, which are directly related to the problems in the real world. Would you like to remember everything or something better to leave unsaid? This story will make you think and it will make you cry, but it is so beautifully written it made me instantly want to read all of the author’s books! Absolutely beautiful book! 5/5

First 12 books of 2017 - byLiiL

My Life On The RoadGloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem’s biography of her travels and experiences when she was travelling to India or around the USA. It is at a time when the women’s movement was firing up and the USA elected their first African American president. This book is a wonderful group of tales about people, how empowering they can be and how when they unite they can make things happen. It was inspiring and at parts very depressing. This book was very concentrated on political and women’s movements, but it provided me with a good insight into the late 90’s of the USA. So Interesting! 4/5

Career of EvilRobert Galbraith

The third book in the Cormoran Strike series and still keeping it strong. I love a good detective book and J.K. Rowlings rich and surprising writing. In this book, Cormoran and his assistant Robin are faced with a serial killer who is threatening them. It is written from both of the heroes view as well as the villains. There are unexpected turns in the love life, there is the deepening relationship in the workplace and the disgusting mind of a serial killer. If you like a detective novel, read this book! 4/5

Animal FarmGeorge Orwell

This book tells a story about farm animals that fight off the human’s of the farm and revolutionise how the farm is kept. At the core, it is about freeing the animals from the human bondage and seeing how new power makes the animals behave. It is interesting to see how these animals start to seem more human the more you read it and how easy it is to manipulate people’s minds through slow propaganda. Interesting but quite depressing! 4/5

1984George Orwell

Very much like the Animal Farm, 1984 follows what seems like a ubiquitous place. A very communist world where people are not allowed to think for themselves, where even though it is supposed to be communist there is a small group of people who are in command and everybody is perfectly manipulated into the same mould. Where love is forbidden, children are coached to spy on their parents and nobody is your friend. Everything is for the good of the republic. It tells about an older man who wakes up to different views and hopes that there is resistance among the people in this country, that it wouldn’t always be like this. This story made me think of North Korea. I don’t know if North Korea is like this, but this is the closest to what I can imagine and it is very horrifying! This book will make you thankful of being in the world that you are in and in the wrong hands good give ideas of how to make it worse. 3/5

The Underground RailroadColson Whitehead

A recent Pulitzer prize winner, this book tells a story about a girl who escapes slavery with the help of the underground railroad. It tells a story of the time when slavery was ending, but people didn’t know what to do with the African Americans. In the south they were a property, in some states they were banned, in the north some became free. In each case, there were difficulties with the people around them. White people were afraid of them and thought of ways of how to minimise their threat, how to elevate themselves. It was an interesting and a quick read, which thought me a lot about the horrible way people were treated at that time. Although, I am not sure if I like that the underground railroad was portrayed in such a literal way, as it made me very confused. 3/5

 

What books have you read in 2017?

With love,

Lii

2016 Favourite Books

As I mentioned in my goals post I managed to finish 21 books in the year 2016. Although, there were a couple which I found a drag to read in general the books were interesting and they brought enjoyment into my daily life. I thought, I should mention my favourite ones to you if any of them would inspire you to read as well.

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

I know Why The Caged Birds Fly – Maya Angelou

The first autobiography by Maya Angelou, where she tells the story of her childhood from a southern American state. How she was raised by her grandmother, how she missed and adored her mother, her relationship with her brother and how she found the world around her. Although, depressing at times, mostly I found the book intriguing and easy to read. It definitely made me want to read more of her books.

#Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso

I am sure everybody knows what this book is about. Half-motivation half autobiography I loved reading about Sophia’s life and how she came about creating such a successful fashion company. I was so motivated to do and work for my goals that I had problems sleeping. I am sure this won’t happen to many people, so those of you who are looking to be inspired with their goals I recommend this book.

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

Silkworm – Robert Galbraith

Is the second book in the Cormoran Strike crime novels by J.K. Rowling pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I loved the first book, mainly because I love a good crime novel and because I love the way J.K. Rowling writes. She can really hold the reader in suspense and make a great twist in the end. Cormoran Strike novels are long, but they don’t feel that way. I read it in just a couple of days. Gruesome murder and a mystery to solve. So if you like J.K. Rowlings writing and crime novels I definitely recommend this one!

How To Make Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

This book was recommended by one of my favourite bloggers so I decided to try it out. It is a self-help book, but the reason I liked it was the stories behind every ‘lesson’. Where Dale writes about what rules you should follow when conducting yourself with new people who you would like to make a good impression on, he writes with examples set by real people, mostly great previous leaders. While reading you think how each rule is kind of obvious, but it is he examples and the stories that really make you remember how you should conduct yourself in public. Definitely a good read!  I think this book would be of assistance to everybody. It is not a book about making close friendships, but really about how you should be thinking when communicating with other people so that they will want to hear more from you.

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

Overdressed – Elizabeth L. Cline

I’ve told you about this book. It tells about the problems of fast-fashion to this world and especially to the people. If you want to read more of my thoughts on it, check out this post. Again, I think everybody should read this book. Not, because it is enjoyable, I mean it really is not, but because you will understand more about what you are buying.

Schoking Life Of Elsa Schiaparelli

This I have told you about as well. The autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli is not for fashion lovers only, but for those who want to read about a strong woman, who made a business success, who lived through the war and who seems to be in her own world. She has a unique view on how to do business and really, she is quite an inspiration to read as well!

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I do not understand how it took me such a long time to read this book. It could be that I wouldn’t have understood the message before, or maybe it would have opened my eyes much earlier. I don’t know. However, I think this was my favourite book of the year. It seemed absolutely surreal, it kept me guessing and wanting to read more and in the end, I was completely surprised. If I only remember one book from the year 2016, it is this. And it has inspired me to read more of Atwood’s books! Now I can’t wait until the tv-show will come out!

 

What books where your favourite last year?

With love,

Lii

Happy 2017 Goals

Happy New Year! I know I am a bit late, but this being the first post in this year I just had to celebrate it! As I was working very hard just before the holidays, I spend my free time literally just resting, relaxing and eating. I had planned to make goals for the following year and lot’s of other things that I don’t usually have time for, but hey ho, the relaxing really rejuvenated me and now I am ready for this year. Last year was the first when I really made goals. I was not happy with my life at that point, mainly because it had no direction and once I had thought about where I want to get I started making goals to keep me in focus. Turns out last year, although many would say was hard and unfortunate, was for me personally enjoyable and successful. I am pretty sure this is due to making goals and not using time on something I don’t see has any place in my life. So naturally I made goals for this year as well and will share few of them with you.

Happy 2017 Goals- byLiiL

Self-Development

If you have been reading my blog, you might have noticed that I like to develop myself, my skills and learn new things. So most of my goals are in some ways to do with self-development.

  • Learn German – I have been studying german on Duolingo for ages, but I always seem to forget to do it and fall back. Now I am planning to really stick with it raise my fluency score.
  • Read 24 books – This was my goal last year, but I felt short of it by 3 books. I got stuck on a book, which wasn’t bad it just wasn’t moving forward. This year I will beat this goal!
  • Do yoga consistently on a weekly basis – I love doing yoga, but when I get busy and tired I talk myself out of it. I know how good yoga is for me, so I need to be stronger than that and get a grip. 3 times of yoga a week and I am sure I will feel better!
  • Develop my photography skills – I’ve had some lovely comments here on my photography, which I absolutely love to read. I like taking photographs and I want to improve in it. Mostly I want to improve the style of my photography and train my eye to take good photos.
  • Learn more about sustainability, especially withing textiles – I need to read more blog posts, articles, books and watch documentaries on this. Although, I think often that I know a lot I know I have only scratched the top of the issue.
  • Learn to keep plants alive and thriving – I love plants and flowers, but do not seem to be able to keep most of them alive. I seem to be over watering everything except for my succulents which I leave week after week unwatered and they are thriving. I will get a book on how to care for my plants and will do my best at keeping them alive. If there is anybody who would like to help me with this I would love some advice!

Happy 2017 Goals- byLiiL

What are your goals this year?

 

With love,

Lii