Small Gods by Terry Pratchett – Book Review

First of all, I want to thank my lovely friend Mónica for lending me her copy of this book. Terry Pratchett is her favourite author, so I asked her which of his books I should read from him, this was her recommendation. It’s all on her.

Small Gods is the 13th book in the Discworld series and it was published in 1992. It’s about Brutha, a novice priest of the God Om, who possesses a perfect memory. Brutha can’t read, he’s regarded as a bit dumb and it’s known that he will be a novice priest forever. However, unlike everyone else in the book, he is the only one that believes in Om. Everything in this book happens because of Brutha, who truly believes while still being a good and noble person.

Pratchett is an excellent writer, I found his style to be funny, touching, not to mention how great he was at making references to religions in our world and criticizing them as part of the book’s world.
The only negative aspect for me was the repetitiveness: Om’s lack of power and constant fretting about it, Brutha’s earnest but naive loyalty, and Vorbis’s malevolent determination are repeatedly pointed out and it gets quite annoying after a while.

As you can probably tell, the cons weren’t enough to make me dislike it and I found the book to be really well executed. The author brought light to problems in organized religion that need to be discussed and did so while making me laugh.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Bye, keep on reading.


Links to the book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15798103-small-gods
https://www.wook.pt/livro/small-gods-terry-pratchett/1500093

Poems to Night by Rainer Maria Rilke – Book Review

Poems to Night is a poetry collection of twenty-two poems by the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

To be honest, I don’t think this was the best to start with Rilke’s work, but since it was sent to by Pushkin Press in exchange for a review, I went with the flow.

I truly loved most the poems however, there were a few which I found difficult to connect with a bit. All things considered, I can’t know if this is because of Rilke’s writing or due to the translation, we all know poetry is something hard to get right when translating. 

Rilke does not bother us with useless long verses which the only use is to fill pages, or with unnecessarily complicated rhymes. He gives the reader an insight into the connection one has with the world around themself and one’s mind. As you can see in the following verse:

“Is pain – as soon as the ploughshare,
labouring, naturally reaches a new layer –
is pain not good? And what can it mean, the last
interrupting us in the depths of such affliction?”

I think that given the year we have had; there are certain feelings brought out in these poems that we can relate to today, those of isolation and loneliness, which we can track to the author’s time during WW2. These are the things many of us have to deal with at night before we drift off to sleep.

All in all, this is a beautifully written book collection with a good translation, as fas as my translation knowledge goes. I recommend it to anyone who likes poetry as well as to anyone in search of a book to get in tune with their feelings and emotions.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.  

End of Year Book Survey 2020

**2020 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 31 (not my best year)
Number of Re-Reads: none
Genre You Read The Most From: Non-fiction, both feminist and anti-Racist literature

Here we go!


  • Best Book You Read In 2020?

It has to be a tie between A Moveable Feast by Hemingway and Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I read the first one this month after a reading slump and it really got me back into the mood to read. The other I read during January before were all it by this neverending pandemic and all I can say is that I’m glad it was my first book by Murakami. 

  • Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

For this one I have t go with How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. The concept looked really good but unfortunately, the delivery and writing were not. I can’t tell you if it’s only this book, or if it’s her tone or outlook in general I disliked, the only thing I can say is that it was overall a disappointment. 

  • Favourite new author, you discovered in 2020?

I have to keep with the first answer and say, Murakami and Hemingway. 

  • Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

No doubt this title belongs to The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. I was so glad to confirm my love for H. G. Wells’ books. Highly recommend this one to all the sci-fi fans. 

  • Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Moby Dick by Herman Melville just because I feel like I need to give it another chance. I feel like if I re-read it, I might actually really like it. 

  • Favourite cover of a book you read in 2020?

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, it’s just so cute. 

  • The most memorable character of 2020?

Nakata from Kafka on the Shore we all need to collectively hug him. 

  • Most beautifully written book read in 2020?

Death with Interruptions (or in the original title: As Intermitências da Morte) by the great, the best, the only José Saramago. We all know I love his writing with all my soul, nothing new. 

  • Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?

I have to go with Death with Interruptions by Saramago or Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis.

  • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez. I just needed to read all of his small books first before picking up Hundred Years of Solitude get to know his writing style. 

  • Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020

This is easy:

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

This has to be the most beautiful, most honest paragraph to ever be written. 

  • Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?

The shortest is the essay Fascism and Democracy by George Orwell and the longest is obviously Moby Dick. 

  • Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

I know this one, it has to be Nakata and the truck driver from Kafka on the Shore. Just so sweet and pure, aaaaaah. 

  • Favourite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Death with Interruptions by Saramago, my love for his books is the most authentic form of love.

  • Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Death with Interruptions by Saramago! It this getting repetitive? 

  • Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020?

It was a very dry year for me, book crying wise. No triers, whatsoever. 

  • Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

Poems to Night by Rainer Maria Rilke. Some of the best poetry I have ever read. 

  • Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Suffragettes from the Little Black Classics collection. The part about the anti-suffragette movement was infuriating.


Well, I guess this is it. Let me know if you read any of the books I mentioned and what books fit these questions regarding your reading year.

I what to thank The Perpetual Page Turner for once again sharing with us her Annual End Of Year Survey, please go check out her blog.

Bye, keep on reading.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – Book Review

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast is Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of his time spent in Paris after the war and beginning of his writing career. He was living alongside other writers such as Gertrude Stein, Joyce, Pound, Madox Ford and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

One day, I was roaming around a book shop, as one does, and came across this book. I felt this unspeakable urge to buy this book knowing nothing about it whatsoever. Once I got home and searched it on Goodreads, I saw it had more than four stars I thought to myself: “Nice to know this was not a waste of money”. It sat on my bookshelf for about a year, I picked it put this month and simply could not put it down for a second.

In this book, you read about someone becoming a writer and romanticize about it overlooking the fact that Hemingway describes going hungry somedays so that his wife and child could eat. I loved reading about the friendship between Hemingway and Fitzgerald and getting to see the perception the author had of him as both a person and a writer. It was just so heartwarming.

Every chapter in A Moveable Feast is sort of a little story from his life. You get a varied idea of what he was up to and came to realize that he had kind of a problem with gambling, most likely because he thought it was the only way he had to make money.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it.

“I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and go on from there.” – Ernest Hemingway

Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad – Book Review

“I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.” – Peggy McIntosh

Me And White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad is a pioneer, anti-racism book for people holding white privilege to begin examining and dismantling their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.

Far too often, I see white people blaming other white people and declaring them as the problem that causes racism, to distance themselves from the problem. I was happy to see that being addressed in the book.

If like me, you were always taught that racism is bad and that people should all have the same rights and opportunities, this book still serves as an excellent tool for digging out internalized messages regarding race that you might not have been aware of.

The only negative aspect I have to point out is that the book starts with multiple separate chapters about the author when the intent of the book is not to get to know the author but to critically analyse your privilege, which to me felt slightly off.

Needless to say, I have learned a lot. The questions didn’t allow for any hesitation, and I know that, though I have a lot of work to do, I now have basic knowledge on how to continue the work.

I recommend it as a tool for anyone who is or wants to be anti-racism. (and if you don’t want to what are you doing reading this)

I gave this book 4 out of 5 starts.

Given the current social climate, instead of telling you to keep on reading, I’ll provide you with a website which has both petitions and donations for you to take part in. Remember that what is happing right now in the US is not a US problem, there is racism in every country and our responsibility is to take action.

Stay safe and resist the oppression!

Link: https://biglink.to/forBLM

She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics . . . and the World, by Caitlin Donohue – Book Review

She represents is a non-fiction title written by Caitlin Donohue. It brings light to 44 powerhouse women around the world.

First of all, I’m glad African and South American women were mentioned, however, in my opinion, the book would have had more impact if the approach had been even more global (more Asian and European women) since it focused mainly on women in the United States. The author gives us a summary of these diverse and interesting women in less than 3 pages per person. Not to mention, I was extremely happy to see a wide range of political ideologies represented.

The background stories come to life as a result of the references to their personalities or personal anecdotes. Those make the woman in power feel more relatable. I found the artwork to be both inviting and full of life (and I believe there might be more artwork to come, given it was only an arc).

I reckon this book would be nice for those seeking to learn more about women in politics, current political circumstances.

Thank you to Caitlin Donohue, Zest Books, and Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Don’t forget that She Represents releases on September 1, 2020.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur – Book Review

More than its predecessor, The Sun and Her Flowers discusses an even wider range of topics. This poetry collection discusses sexual assault, gender inequality, racism, feminism and family.35606560._sy475_

With this new collection, Kaur opens up the dialogue to even more important topics, giving emphasis to friendship, to how we treat our planet, greater attention to social stigmas of beauty while giving focus to bonds between mothers and daughters, which made me enjoy this second book by Kaur a lot more. By expanding her topic range, she allowed more people to feel connected not only her work but to other individuals as well. Which means, so many more people can find comfort through the words printed on these pages.

I read The Sun and Her Flowers in one sitting, and while I enjoyed it for the most part, there was a good chunk of poems I just couldn’t connect to. I don’t blame the author, it’s normal given that not everyone feels connected to the same topics.

Just like I stated in my review of Milk and Honey, Kaur writes in an emotive way, not to mention that the metaphors she uses are exceptionally powerful and have the capacity linger on your mind.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. And I truly recommend it if you are into contemporary poetry.

Bye, keep on reading.

 

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard – Book Review

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard is an adaptation from two speeches she made in 2014 and 2017 where she tracks what women’s relationship with power has been, from ancient myths to current online discourse.36525023._sy475_

The book starts with Beard stating “Women in the west have a lot to celebrate; let’s not forget.”, reflecting on how times have changed since her own mother was born, a time when women did not have the right to vote. At the end of the text reflects on what can be done and ventures that power needs to be redefined, not womanhood.

Beard draws connections I had never before thought about, between classical imagery and modern politics, the cultural precedents for the oppression of women in the oldest literature, managing to completely blow my mind. Though in contemporary times women have achieved much more “power” as traditionally defined, such as political power,  she notes that women’s political is rather curtailed.

Overall, I really enjoyed it, I underlined so many passages from it, and I really liked thinking more about our understanding of power as a society. I can not recommend it enough!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

Cadernos de Lanzarote: Diário I de José Saramago – Book Review

Alo alo, habitantes da Internet!

Acho que é a primeira critica que aqui escrevo em português, mas como as únicas cópias que encontrei deste livro foram em português e castelhano não pensei que fosse útil para ninguém fazer isto em inglês. No entanto, tenho muito mais receio de escrever em português, talvez por ser estranhamente mais intimo, por favor não julguem. Bora nessa!

cadernos-de-lanzarote-diario-i.jpg

Este primeiro volume de Cadernos de Lanzarote trata-se do diário mantido por Saramago no ano de 1993 (ou 94 ainda não percebi bem), enquanto morou na ilha em causa juntamente com Pilar. Neste diário o autor foca-se maioritariamente em episódios quotidianos, algumas reflexões filosóficas e claro na sua opinião implacável sobre inúmeros tópicos.

Sendo Saramago um dos meus escritores preferidos, era inevitável ler estes pequenos diários. Para falar verdade, não esperava adorar este livro, afinal de contas é um diário (um exercício que pode ser visto como narcísico, tendo em conta que o autor sabia que ia ser publicado). Foi uma leitura rápida que me deixou ainda mais apaixonada pela escrita deste autor maravilhoso. Saramago salta-nos das paginas dos livros e ficamos perante aquilo que parece ser uma verdadeira modéstia que seriamos capazes de esperara de um autor como ele.

A simples descrição do seu dia a dia deixa-me maravilhada e as conversas que conta ter com pessoas que fazem parte da nossa memoria e cultura coletiva criam em mim um quê de inveja e simultaneamente de respeito.

Foi uma leitura leve e divertida que me levou para dentro da mente de um dos meus escritores preferidos. Recomendo o livro a todos os que apreciam a escrita de Saramago e claro para aqueles que tencionam entender melhor a vida do artista.

Dou ao livro 4 em 5 estrelas.

Adeus e não se cansem de ler!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Book Review

I have two words to describe this book: MEANINGFUL DRAMA.

I’ve always been afraid of picking up Anna Karenina, I have a problem with big books, I’m always afraid I won’t like them and afraid to end up forcing myself to read them, as I do with all the books I end up not liking (I just can’t dnf a book). When books over 800 pages came along, I became truly afraid. As you can easily understand, forcing myself to read 800+ pages of something that doesn’t bring me joy is quite more dreadful than 300 unfulfilling pages.IMG_20190711_223955_408

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy is a Russian classic written in the nineteenth century. To me, the book serves to show us how difficult life can be and that all families have their own problems. It’s, in essence, a story about life at its core.

The writing is magnificent, the author manages to talk about farming methods, political policies, or philosophical discussions without making you feel bored. He’s also able to betray every single character in a flawless manner, you truly get to know and understand everyone’s perspective on life and on what is going on in the story.

If there is one problem if the story it’s the amount of drama, which might as well be a “me” problem. From time to time I had to stop and read other things in order to reflect on everything that was going on. There are so many subplots I just couldn’t keep up without before taking a step back.

Tolstoy has this incredible power of being capable to show how one person can change their mind, how a person, can become so infatuated with something or someone and then with the blink of an eye, the feeling can change (this made me think a lot about relationships and so on).

Anna is the heroine and the villain, you love her and you hate her, you want her to be okay and then at times you just want to shout “don’t be so stupid and start accepting the consequences of your actions!” HOW DID TOLSTOY MANAGE TO DO THIS??????

This book portrays an impulsive affair, a man questioning his beliefs, an unpleasant divorce and a woman questioning her mental health. All these are still incredibly relevant nowadays, ergo its timeless appeal.

Instead of listening to me, I recommend that you read it for yourself.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.