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. 


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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. 


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Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer by Wendell Berry – Book Review | IcthusBookCorner

I will try to create a coherent text about my opinions on this book. The keyword here is TRY.

This book by Wendell Berry, an American poet, novelist and environmental activist, is an argument for a life lived slowly. It is also a discussion on technological progress and his ideas about a more simplistic society.

The first part of this book consists of the essay with the homonymous title. The second part includes the author’s response to the letters he received from critics regarding the essay.

I was angry while reading the text and neither because I was opposed to the opinions stated in Berry’s text nor to the reactions it caused. I was angry due to how the discussion was handled by both the author and the critics. I agreed with most of the point Berry was trying to make however I did not agree with some of his proposed solutions. (Namely, the way he talked about his wife as if all women agreed with what she agreed on doing for her husband.) Here is where I believe the critics were right to call Berry out, although I am not okay with the way they did so.

If you read it in a group or a classroom setting, it will lead to plenty of interesting discussions. The book is very much a document of its time, which is fantastic to look back on, and it was a quick read and easy to get through.

However, as far as arguments go there is not much logical structure to the text, and there is a self-indulgent style which I don’t appreciate. I might have been just expecting more from this than what I got.

Overall, I think this is a good read and would recommend it for anyone looking for a fast-paced book on slow living (how ironic) and in general, sustainability-related texts. I didn’t rate this book, as I usually do, sorry for that. Hope this was useful or at least entertaining (I don’t think this was entertaining for anyone besides me though.)

Bye bye, keep on reading.


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Link to the book:

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. 

George Orwell and “Orwellian” as a Concept

Given the current surge of people calling everything they see around them “Orwellian” and doing so incorrectly, I thought I would just come here and try to explain the meaning of the word.

The term was named after the British author Geoge Orwell because of one of his most famous books, the novel “1984”. In his book, Orwell illustrates an oppressive society under a totalitarian government. The word “Orwellian” is often used solely to mean authoritarian, using the term in this way not only fails to fully convey Orwell’s message, but it also risks doing something he tried to warn against.

The government showed to us in “1984” controls its people’s actions and speech in obvious ways, such as watching and hearing their every move and word with punishment waiting for anyone who defies authority. But there are other forms of control which are not so obvious. People are overwhelmed with endless propaganda consisting of made-up facts and statistics, which come from the “ministry of truth”.

Here another term comes into place, “doublespeak”. In “1984”: the military is called the ministry of peace, labour camps are called joycamps, and political prisoners are detained and tortured in what is called “the ministry of love”. Doublespeak is when words are used not to communicate meaning but to weaken it. This has an effect Orwell calls “doublethink”, which is essentially cognitive dissonance, leaving the individual completely dependent on the State’s definition of reality.

These concepts aren’t something that can only happen in totalitarian states, but that could potentially take place in democratic societies. And this is why we can’t use “authoritarian” and “Orwellian” as synonyms.

Orwell was opposed to all forms of totalitarianism and spent most of his life fighting against anti-democratic forces. He was deeply concerned with how such ideologies propagate, giving a great amount of importance to the role of language when it comes to shaping our thoughts and opinions as individuals and as a society.

I would also really like to mention Orwell’s work is often used as being against communism and as well as fascism. Even though it is very much against fascism, as it should, we can’t call Orwell’s novel anti-communist if anything it was anti-capitalism and mostly anti-authoritarian. I say anti-capitalism because fascism is mostly a result of far-right ideologies, as seen throughout history and nowadays as well in a lot of different countries, such as the USA with Trump and Brazil with Bolsonaro, for example. Not to mention, Orwell himself was a democratic socialist which goes against the idea right-wight people have of him being against socialism.

With all this being said, I highly recommend you pick two of his non-fiction books that will make you understand his political ideologies and why he was so anti-totalitarian regimes. These books are Politics and the English Language and Fascism and Democracy.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful and I’m sorry if my rambling went on for way too long.

Bye, keep on reading.

Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers – Book Review

First of all, I want to thank Chronicle Books for the ARC.

I found the premise for Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman and Kaley Bales to be super interesting, the introduction made me super excited to read the rest of the book and I thought this book was a neat take on a biography.

It’s such a unique idea, and honestly one of the most informative books I’ve ever come across. However, I found the transition from written biography to graphic novel mode was often disorienting. Within the illustrated sections, I found that the script font used was difficult to read and the font used in the rest of the book quite unattractive. The images themselves I liked, they were cute but nothing out of this world.

I found the stories of the women interesting, but the writing of the stories not so much, which is sad. More often than not, I was reading just in hopes to see if the chapter on the next writer/author was any better. 

With that being said, I think this book has a place on a shelf of a child with interest in literature and whose parents/teachers are enlighted enough to want their kid/student to read about the power of female authors. 

To sum up, I ended up liking the concept more than the actual book itself and maybe it was just not that well executed. I think the book has potential but needs significant editing and changes before being published. I think it is also very important to mention that the book is very euro-centric and I think it’s time to stop associating classics exclusively to white authors. 

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

Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis – Book Review

Woman, Race & Class is a non-fiction book about the connection between racism, class prejudice and white feminism.

Having read Angela Davis before (Freedom Is a Constant Struggle) I had already been introduced to the political activist’s narrative. However, this book was a pleasant surprise. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle is a collection of interviews and speeches, so it ended up being a bit repetitive, whereas Woman, Race & Class was objective, concise and exactly what I was hoping from it.

Angela Davis breaks down how misogyny, racism, and classism have shaped our society. She pays special attention to how white-dominated middle-class social movements have repeatedly forsake solidarity with both working class and black people in behalf of political convenience, as well as displaying how the biased goals of white reformists have allowed capitalist oppression throughout history.

This book moved through the atrocities of slavery, lynching and, overall, racist discrimination, especially by the feminist movement of the 20th century. Reading it, I felt outraged and angry towards my very own privileges.

Women, Race & Class is organized in such a way that everything you read sounds like new information even though we know it’s all connected which was exactly the book’s intent. The biggest take from this book is an extremely important one: INTERSECTIONALITY MATTERS, and sometimes we forget how much.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 starts.

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.