Rambling on about “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell |IcthusBookCorner

The first thing I want to do is try and explain why I picked up this book in the first place. I read online that North and South was great as a political and/or historical analysis. I am quite interested in both history and politics, especially how those two interact with each other. So when I read that this book was a good portrayal of the class war going on during the Industrial Revolution, I knew I had to pick it up. 

I started to read this book at the beginning of the year, but I stopped doing so almost right away. The first few chapters weren’t really my cup of tea. Not in an unpleasant way, it just felt like any other classic from the 19th century, and that wasn’t what I was looking for. I was expecting this incredible social/economic critical masterpiece which wasn’t happening. When, for some reason, I decided to pick it up again, the aspect (or concept) I was looking for in the first place just appeared before my eyes.

Now, I wanted to try and explain why given what had been said about the book, I thought it would be such a good representation of the time it is depicting. But before, I want to emphasize that I have no higher education in political science or history. So whatever I say here, please that it with a grain of salt.

As I said, the book was written and set during the middle of the 19th century. As we know, the Industrial Revolution was what preceded Feudalism, and what gave birth to Capitalism as we know it today. When we first step into Industrial Revolution, the military aspects of Feudalism were no longer accurate to their original form, but the economic system we were living in was pretty much Feudalism. One of the first places where this change began to happen was in England (where the book takes place) because there is a crazy amount of coal there which was used to make machines work. (please don’t come to this blog for knowledge, I don’t know what I’m saying)

Anyway, the novel touches on several topics that I find incredibly compelling. These include union politics, middle-class rebellion, Industrial Revolution, industrial discontent, gender roles present in Victorian society, and, for those who enjoy it, there is plenty of romance to fill your little hearts.

In this novel, Gaskell navigates the complex exchange between different stations of society. The author does an incredible job exposing the complex nature of the struggle between employees and employers. Incredibly, she gives each character a personal relationship with the struggle, rather than letting them become caricatures. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote what is, for me, a nearly perfect novel. My only complaint is really just the amount of romance, but that is a “me thing”.

I am incredibly excited to read her earlier book (Mary Barton), which is the story she actually intended to write. This, according to the introduction available on the Oxford World Classics edition of North and South.

North and South is probably one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. If you are into politics, history, and classics in general, I highly recommend it.

Bye, keep on reading. 


You can find me at:

12 CLASSICS I WANT TO READ IN 2022 |IcthusBookCorner

If you have been following my blog for a while now, you know I usually make one of these lists every year. The books on this list are the ones I hope to read rather than my top priority for the year. I don’t see them as the books that I have to read because, when it comes to it, I truly am a mood reader, and I have never been able to fully finish one of these lists. As per usual, I will choose books that I already own. This year, I will go for classics, as you might have read in the title (specifically ones that intimidate me, because I probably want to fail). Honestly, I just really love reading classics.

Last year, the list only contained a book that actually intimidated me (one of the two I did not read). Because of that, I have decided to add it to the list again this year, as well as some books that I have acquired more recently (which make me really excited).

So, enough rambling, let us get to the books!

  1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: I got this book soon after reading Anna Karenina, which made me fall in love with Tolstoy’s writing. War and Peace focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 while following three main characters and studying their humanity.
  2. The Leopard (Il gattopardo) by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: A lot of friends and people I trust when it comes to books really love this book, so I decided to trust them. The Leopard is a story of a decadent and dying aristocracy threatened by the forces of revolution and democracy.
  3. Man’s Fate (La condition humaine) by André Malraux: A family member with an impeccable taste in literature gifted me this book for Christmas. I am super hyped to read it. This book is an account of a crucial episode in the early days of the Chinese Revolution, foreshadows the contemporary world and brings to life the profound meaning of the revolutionary impulse for the individuals involved.
  4. My Childhood by Maxim Gorky: I shared my adventure of getting this book on my social media recently… it was pretty fun. In short, I went to a second-hand bookshop (Bookshop Bivar) and found a cute vintage edition from 1965 of this book. When I went to pay, the lady at the counter told me Gorky was her favourite Russian writer, and I couldn’t stop gushing because he’s mine too. This is the first volume of a trilogy recounting the author’s childhood and youthful memories. Fatherless, abandoned by his mother, he tells about his unhappy childhood with his grandparents.
  5. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare: There isn’t much to say about this choice. Last year I started to actively read Shakespeare’s plays (having read Hamlet long before), and this is just the continuation. I have no clue what this play is about…
  6. Macbeth by William Shakespeare: Much like A Midsummer Night’s Dream this is just a continuation of what I started last year. I find it difficult to not know what Macbeth is about, but if you don’t know: this play follows the Scottish general Macbeth after being told by three witches that he will be King of Scotland. (If you haven’t, watch the 2021 adaptation with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.)
  7.  The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov: I was recommended this book by a friend from uni and bought it right after. I read Heart of a Dog by the same author in 2021 and thought it was just okay, but I have high hopes for this one. This book’s synopsis is literally: “One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka.” Who on earth wouldn’t want to read this?
  8. Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.: I just want to read this to get a bigger insight into the civil rights movement in the united states. This is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King Jr.. I believe this is where the quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” comes from.
  9. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams: I love plays! They are usually an easy read but no less packed with social commentary. It is supposed to present a sharp critique of how institutions and attitudes of postwar America placed restrictions on women’s lives. Super hyped to read this!
  10. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: I just love Russian classics, in case you could not tell. This is a family tragedy centred around a father and his sons. It is narrated from varying perspectives. The story begins around 1865 when the brothers return to their hometown after many years away from home.
  11. Orlando by Virginia Woolf: I read both A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas and, from where I stand, they are both masterpieces of non-fiction. It is time to read her fiction. The book is about someone that undergoes a mysterious gender change, at the age of 30, and lives on for more than 300 years into modern times without ageing.
  12. Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis: I have never read anything by Machado de Assis and believe that to be a crime. Please, don’t send hate my way. The novel intends to be an autobiography written by the unreliable Bento Santiago, a lawyer from Rio de Janeiro.

That is it! Those are all the books on my list of classics I want to read in 2022! If you liked the list, please let me know. Have you read any of these? Do you have any books you really want to read during 2022? Let me know!

Bye, keep on reading. 


You can find me at:

January + February 2022 Books |IcthusBookCorner

There is not a whole lot to report from these two months. During both January and February, I had a lot of trouble focusing not only on books but on most things life is made of… So no more ramblings, let’s just get straight into the books!

I read 5 books during the last 2 months:

  1. O Essencial sobre os Elementos Fundamentais da Cultura Portuguesa by Jorge Dias
  2. Causas da Decadência dos Povos Peninsulares by Antero de Quental
  3. The Single Hound by Emily Dickinson 
  4. Le Petit Nicolas et les Copains by René Goscinny
  5. Os da Minha Rua by Ondjaki

Regarding the languages, I read 1 book in English, 1 book in French, 3 books in Portuguese. Let me clarify that the book in French is a children’s book, and I read it mainly just to practice my very low-level French skills.

O Essencial sobre os Elementos Fundamentais da Cultura Portuguesa & Causas da Decadência dos Povos Peninsulares

The first book is basically an anthropological study about Portuguese people and their collective cultural identity. It was written in the 80s and, because of that, I feel like it is not really as current as it could have been, even though some of it still rings true. The only thing I really didn’t like was how it talks about Portuguese colonialism and imperialism as if to excuse it. And doing so by saying it wasn’t as bad as colonialism from other European countries. (We are against colonialism and imperialism on this blog.)

This was the exact same problem I had with the second book, even if in a slightly different way. Overall, I enjoyed Causas da Decadência dos Povos Peninsulares much more than I enjoyed O Essencial sobre os Elementos Fundamentais da Cultura Portuguesa. And this is because it talks about Portuguese and Spanish history and politics throughout the centuries explaining why the entanglement of those led to a cultural and scientific decline of the Iberian people compared to other countries.

Fun fact: Antero de Quental was part of the “Geração de 70”, an academic movement, from Coimbra, in the 19th century that revolutionized various dimensions of Portuguese culture. (Unlike colonialism, this is something we stand for on this blog.)

The Single Hound

I have always loved poetry, and some poets manage to pull my heartstrings with what appears to be little to no effort. When, in reality, we all know that writing poetry is incredibly hard.

I recently rediscovered Emily Dickinson, and what a joyful experience it has been. The range of feelings she can make me feel using so few words is out of this world.

I highly recommend this poetry collection if you are interested in poetry overall.

Le Petit Nicolas et les Copains

Honestly, there is not a lot to say! It is just a delightful set of short stories about our main character, Nicolas, and his friends. They are always fighting and getting into trouble, just like kids do. It is a sweet, silly, quirky, and quite a realistic book regarding its depiction of childhood. (but it’s not a book you read because of its realism, you know?)

Like I said before, I read it to practice my french. It was recommended to me by a friend who is a fluent speaker, she said it is really good due to its correct grammar and use of language. 

Os da Minha Rua

My review of this is already available here on my blog. Please go read it! All I can say is that Ondjaki is a genius, and I want to read everything by him. 

Bye, keep on reading. 


You can find me at:

Os da Minha Rua by Ondjaki – Book Review|IcthusBookCorner

Ondjaki was born in Angola, in 1977. This is something I could choose not to tell you because if you were to read this book, you would figure that out by yourself.

He is a brilliant author who has published a long list of books and who has won many different awards. But in my opinion, what makes him one of the best writers alive today is how he manages to capture the entire essence of what he chooses to write about.

As I see it, this book is an anthem to childhood, friendship, family, the discovery of life and all the emotions that come with it. And because of that, this book helps us relativize the minor difficulties of life and reminds us of a time in our own lives when it was easier to just relax and be happy. Another compelling aspect of this book is that we can see how this boy’s life is entangled with his country’s political and historical turning-points. 

The book itself is organized in short stories, which one a different memory of our main character. And just like most childhood memories, these short stories come with smell, sound, flavour, … And this explosion of senses transports us into the life of the young boy we are following.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’ll, without a doubt, be looking for other books by Ondjaki.
Bye, keep on reading. 


You can find me at:

How did I do on my 2021 (really small) TBR? | IcthusBookCorner

Hello fellow humans!

So, in case you didn’t know, in February 2021, I published a post telling you all about the 8 books I really wanted to read that year: 8 Books I Plan on Reading in 2021. I’m here to let you know that I didn’t complete the said TBR list. 

I did, however, read 5 of those books. I reckon that in this case, 62.5% is not that bad. Here is how I rated them all…

  1. Unholy Ghosts by Richard Zimler: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
  2. The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 (This was just the perfect read for me.)
  3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
  4. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
  5. Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Overall, that is 4 four star ratings and 1 five star ratings.

I obviously read more than 4 books this year, many of which have an available review on my blog. Therefore, I will be posting a *2021 in Books* type of post later this week.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think about them? Are you planning on reading any of these books in the future?

Bye!


You can find me at:

Mr Palomar by Italo Calvino – Book Review|IcthusBookCorner

Mr Palomar is a 1983 novel by the Italian writer Italo Calvino. Its original Italian title is Palomar.

It is a work of fiction but reads more like a philosophical understanding of the world we live in. There is no plot but rather an organized account of varied observations made by the main character, whose name is Mr Palomar.

In a series of tweety-seven stories or analyses, he takes his everyday experience from the world as a series of problems in looking and interpreting the nature of reality itself. These episodes or essays sometimes have an aura of magic, spiritual introspection, or philosophical experiences.

The author’s words are beautiful and candid, or at least the translation (William Weaver) is. Calvino chooses his words so carefully and wisely that not one sentence seems expendable. This book is nothing like anything I’ve read before.

Mr Palomar views each object of his attention in length, as a whole, in its details and even possible variations. I reckon everyone at some level can relate to him quite a bit, at least everyone whose mind wanders off or who sets themselves to mull over the puzzles of life. My favourite chapter was titled “The Universe Looks at Itself”, I found the way in which the protagonist beholds the universe to be breathtaking and, I believe I feel like that because it’s pretty similar to the way I do it.

I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys flowery prose and likes to contemplate the human experience. Please, let me know what to think about this book.
Bye, keep on reading.


You can find me at:

Birthday Book Tag | IcthusBookCorner

Hey there, everyone! It’s my birthday today, and I’m officially an old lady. Mentally and emotionally, I’ve been an old lady for a long time now. Well, this means I can finally bring you this super fun tag I saw over at Jawahir the Bookworm. They told me the original creator is Antonia @ Always books. Go check out their blogs if you feel like it. Let’s get into it!


BIRTHDAY CAKE — a book with a plot that seems cliché but you adore it anyway.

I don’t know! This question is quite hard. As you can probably tell from the reviews I post, I don’t usually read “cliché” type books. I tend to read a lot of non-fiction and poetry which obviously don’t contain clichés. (And I’m not saying this to be “#different”, please don’t hate me.)
I got it! I have to choose Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. This book was quite a wild card for me. I was looking for something different from what I usually read; I need fluff, cuteness and lightness. That was precisely what Pumpkinheads gave me. It’s far from the best book I ever read or anything, but it was a fun read. I did adore it, but it was very much cliché.

PARTY GUESTS — your most anticipated book release for this year

If I’m being honest, I have no idea what books will be released this year. I really what to read Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender and The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, but I’m pretty sure these are both books from last year. Can I just say those, please?
Wait, I know one! It’s The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton(yes yes yes yes I remembered one) Do I need to explain my anticipation? The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is set in the ’70s, and it’s about and afro-punk duo. AMAZING

BIRTHDAY PRESENTS — a book that surprised you with how much you loved it.

This one is obvious, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it. It had an interesting title and was on sale, so I wasn’t expecting much. It ended up being one of y favourite books of 2020. I loved learning about Hemingway’s life in Paris and his life as a young author. Truly magnificent.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY” SONG — a book that certainly deserves all the hype it got.

I don’t know if I’ve recently read a book that had a lot of hype surrounding it. Maybe, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly! Was there hype? I feel like it had because of the film. Honestly, it was an interesting book. I was expecting a bit more, but it’s a good book for what it is.
It talked about the civil rights movement, NASA and women of colour working at NASA and kicking ass.

HAPPY MUSIC — a book with some very beautiful and truly meaningful quotes.

I don’t know if their beautiful, but they are meaningful and relevant, Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis. This book is a must for anyone looking for insight into the connection between different forms of oppression. This book was objective, concise and exactly what I was hoping for.

GETTING OLDER — a book that you read a long time ago but you think would appreciate more if y ou read it as a more mature reader.

For this one, I’m choosing The Appointment by Herta Müller. I read this book way too young the got nothing from it. I think I was 13 when I read it, and it was overall a boring experience. The book is about a young clothing-factory worker living during a totalitarian regime if I remember correctly, I really need to reread it.

SWEET BIRTHDAY MEMORIES — a book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life.

Well, here I have to mention Blindness by José Saramago. I read this book at a difficult time during my mid-late teens. This was actually the book that made me fall in love with books again. It made me realize I needed book and literature to escape what I was going through.
If you haven’t, I highly recommend you read this book, it’s perfect. The man got a noble for a reason.


I hope you enjoyed this tag. It was super fun for me to think about these questions/topics. Please, let me know if you have ever read any of these books and what books you would choose for these topics.
Keep on reading.

You can find me at:

My Thoughts on Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov |IcthusBookCorner (my biggest review yet)

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about a book that did nothing but worsen my mental state, Lolita by Nabokov.

I’ve talked about this book on my bookstagram (follow me there if you want to follow my readings more closely), and I had a lot of feeling while reading it. This book was published back in 1955, and it is now considered a classic by a lot of people. You probably know it is a book about and from the perspective of a paedophile, Humbert Humbert. It follows him during his middle age as he finds himself obsessed with the nymphet Delores Hayes.

I had been hearing about this book my whole life and knew people either loved it or hated it, so I decided to put it off for a while in fear. Once I finally decided to read it, I went into it with no preconceived judgements so it wouldn’t ruin the experience.

The first thing I need to say about this book is that I loved the writing style, really really loved it. Can we talk about the fact that Nabokov isn’t an English native speaker? I applaud Nabokov’s mastery of the English language. He uses English better than most writers whose first language is English. He is daring with his words; he is pure genius. It is the type of writing I love, you know? It’s poetic, and it’s not sparse, and he uses flowery language.

In the beginning, it was quite tolerable, but as it went on became progressively more upsetting. The first person narration was making me feel sick. Sometimes it physically hurt me to read this book, like someone was squeezing my heart. Never in my life had I read a book that made me this uncomfortable. I’m just glad I’m someone who can enjoy a book and dislike the main characters, otherwise I’m pretty sure this book would have killed me.
Because it’s first-person narration, we are inside Humbert’s head, and the problem is that this person’s head is a terrible place. We have to be beholders of grooming, gaslighting and abuse. Humbert has no redeeming quality, which is both terrible for the reader but the only correct choice. Nabokov created a character that no one could pity because he (Humber) is just a horrifying human being. However, the author was still able to create a multi-dimensional character, and that is not usual and something I appreciate. There is a lot of depth, there is a lot to dig into, I love it.

This book was notably hard to read, but for some reason, I couldn’t stop. One reason for this was, like I said, the writing. Even so, there was something else, something that made me want to know what was going to happen next, something that got me hooked.

The book is divided into two parts. The first one is before the abuse, and it follows Humbert from his pre-adolescent self to when he gets to be a disgusting human to Lolita. The second part accompanies him from the moment the first part left off to when the book is supposedly being written. The first half of the book was much easier to read than the second, most likely because there is a smaller amount of sexual assault.

The only negative aspect of this book, for me, is the last two chapters. The book could have an amazing ending, but, for some ulterior motive, Nabokov decided to go with underwhelming.

To end this, I feel the need to say a few things. First of all, I don’t believe this book romanticizes or glorifies paedophilia. From what I read from the author, and what I gathered from reading Lolita itself, I believe Nabokov wanted to create a reality which the average person wouldn’t have access to. He wrote one of the most brutal accounts of abuse there is. I think this is an important piece of literature, if not one of the best.

Finally, I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to everyone who can get into a story without liking the main character and to whom abuse is not a severe trigger.

Bye, keep on reading.

Book Adaptation Tag |IcthusBookCorner

Hello everyone, hope you are having a great week!

It is time for another tag. Today I am doing the Book Adaptation Tag because I was tagged by the amazing Eleanor Sophie. I’m super excited, this looks so much fun. Let us get into it!


What is the last book adaptation movie you saw?

I think it was the Portuguese film The Mystery of Sintra, an adaptation of the book The Mystery of the Sintra Road, written by Eça de Queirós and Ramalho Ortigão. I never read the book, so I have nothing to compare it to. 

What book movie are you most excited about?

Uuuuuuh, maybe Nomadland??It is based on a non-fiction book, and I feel like it is really up my alley.

Which upcoming book movie will you definitely not see?

I cannot think of any! Probably any of which I wouldn’t be interested in reading the book either. 

Which book movie would you NEVER watch again?

EASY! Alice Through the Looking Glass, this film was really just a waste of time and money. TERRIBLE!!

Is there a movie you saw that made you want to read the book if you had not yet?

Yes, yes, yes! If Beale Street Could Talk, this film was just perfect. PERFECT, I tell you. Now I really want to read the book by James Baldwin.

Conversely, is there a movie that made you never want to read the book?

Not that I can remember! That would only happen if it was a film that is really not my thing, and I went into it knowing it is not my thing. Am I making any sense?

Name an adaptation that has almost nothing to do with the book it is supposedly based on.

Honestly, I cannot think of any film I have seen that have been that different from the book. It might come to me later, but right I have no answer for this.

Have you ever left the theatre during a movie adaptation because it was so bad?

No! If I paid for it, I’ll be there till the end. I would also prefer, in that situation, to watch the entire film just to have good points to trash it later on. 

Do you prefer to watch the movie first, or read the book first?

Book first for sure! I almost always read the book first. I love both cinema and literature a lot. But it is easier to have a good book rather than a good adaptation. A film adaptation is like an interpretation of an interpretation so it’s easier for things to get lost. So reading the book first is always a good idea. While watching the film first might put you off of reading the book.

How do you feel about movie adaptations that age characters up? (ex. Characters that are in middle school, but in the movies, they’re all 18+)

On the one hand, most of the time, teenagers in books do not act like teenagers in real life, which annoys me. On the other hand, having 20-year olds and 30-year-olds playing highschoolers is just as annoying.

So, I guess I’m with Eleanor on this one. 

Do you get angry when the actors don’t look like you thought the characters would?

I mean, if a character is a person of colour and the actor chosen to play them is white… that irritates me. Otherwise, I’m okay with it, I guess. 

Is there a movie you liked better than its book?

It is rare for me like a film better than a book, but it has probably happened before. The only thing I can think of now is the TV series adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend series.

Name a book that you would love to see as a movie.

Let me think about this! Death at Intervals by José Saramago would make an amazing adaptation. I can feel it. Honestly, just fund me so I can do it myself. 

I’m going to tag:


You can find me at:

The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House by Audre Lorde – Book Review

This book is a collection of essays on the power of women by the self-described black, lesbian, mother, warrior and poet, Audre Lorde.

The collection has four essays: Poetry is Not A Luxury, Use of Erotic, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, and Uses of Anger. Every single one of these essays touches on different topics that concern women, and black women in specific; focussing on issues of womanhood, black identity, the LGBTQ community, and the vital roles that art and community must play in overthrowing the patriarchy.

This little book is loaded with heavy, theoretical ideas but Lorde’s writing is amazing enough to draw most of us in, and I found myself nodding along to must of it. These essays remain true to this day and her judgement and criticisms are as sharp and insightful now as they were when she first wrote them.

My favourite essay was, without doubt, the Uses of Anger. I found it to be as important as fitting with the times, while also being unapologetic and brilliant.

Her urge to unity and intersectionality is flawless due to the assurance that these do not mean conformity but accepting everyone’s individual traits.

Overall, I would highly recommend this essay collection about feminism and intersectionality to everyone, but especially if you’re looking for intersectional texts.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.