Tag Archives: literature

The Bookish Bookin Book Tag (English Version)

30 Mai

This Tag was created by Bekah AwesomeBookNut and you can find the original video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCN0hMesny0

I found the questions interesting, some of them really different from other Tags. So I’ll try to inject variety in my answers as well.

This English Version of the Tag focuses on books published in foreign languages, while its French counterpart will focus on… French books, you guessed it!

Many of these books I’ve read in the French publications, so I’m showing you these.

As per usual, these are my opinions. You don’t like them? I don’t care.

  1. What is a well-loved book that you hated?

I could go with The Great Gasby like in in a previous Tag, but there’s actually plenty of choice here, for I often tend to go against the stream… not by design, mind you, that’s just the way it is. So today, let’s say the two last books in the Harry Potter series. After Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, what a letdown!

  1. What is a guilty pleasure book?

Anything paranormal romance… or romance, period. And I’m currently in the middle of such a guilty pleasure: having just discovered Patricia Briggs, I’m onto the 2nd installment in her Mercy Thompson series.

  1. Have you ever spoiled a book for someone? If so, which book?

I have sort of spoiled parts of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 to my fiancée, but in the end it didn’t interfere much with her reading experience, so I guess it’s OK. And yes, it IS possible to spoil such a book to someone. Kinda.

  1. What book made you ugly cry?

With the hiccups, running snoot and reddening face? I actually have a “made me weep” shelf on Goodreads for those! The latest: A monster calls by Patrick Ness.

  1. What is your latest DNF?

I usually finish my books, or at least attempt to reach the middle point. But I’m no masochist either: if it’s a pain to read, I drop it. Last time was with Edward Rutherfurd’s London. Shame, for the premises were right up my alley.

  1. Which book have you read due to controversy?

I don’t seek controversial material per se. I just sometimes read books that happen to be controversial… which I often discover afterwards, anyway. So, no answer for this question.

  1. Have you read a book where you questioned the authors’ sanity?

You mean, apart from any horror book writer under the sun? Do Stephen King and Cie count? Or, even worse: do the bastards who wrote the Bible and the Quran count? Because these were psychopathic, evil ignoramus.

  1. What is the most cringe-worthy book you’ve read?

Apart from those mentioned in the previous question? Quite a few, but for today I’ll go with Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe (AKA Daniel Easterman). That story is just sick.

  1. What book have you read solely due to the cover?

I don’t cover-by. I’m attracted to beautiful covers of course, especially the fantasy kind, which, given what’s available nowadays on the market, might suck for my bank account. Fortunately, I tend to check the author or the story beforehand.

  1. Name a book you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve read.

I’m not really embarrassed for anything I’ve read, I don’t think. Why is it then I didn’t add Lora Leigh or any other Erotica I’ve read on my Goodreads? You tell me…

  1. Name an unknown book you wish more people knew of.

I’ll go with the recently published Picture of Dorian Gray. Uncensored by Oscar Wilde. This version, the one originally intended by the author, brings a whole new light to his inner life and work. Any fan of the canon (censured) version should read it.

  1. Name a favorite villain.

I LOOOVE a well-written villain. And I know of plenty in literature. But I’ll choose It, from the eponym book by Stephen King, the first one I read by him when I was 13: it left marks, of course. If Pennywise the Clown is not a great villain, then very few are!

  1. Name a book you enjoyed that is outside the norm of genre you usually read.

Without a doubt, World War Z (Max Brooks). I never dreamed of enjoying a “zombie book” this much!

  1. Name tropes you actually enjoy reading.

Love Redeems. Beauty and the Beast. Villains in love. Friendship to the end…

  1. What/who inspired you to join book tube?

I’m not a Booktuber and don’t intend to become one, so no answer for that last question.

Intimidating TBR Book Tag (English Version)

30 Sep

A great Tag for me, since my TBR, or “To Be Read” pile, has reached cosmic proportions lately. Here I will focus on “Foreign” literature. Books in my mother tongue will be dealt with in the French version.

As per usual, these are my opinions, and if you see something you don’t like, you can suck it up like an adult and move on with your life.

Let’s go!

  1. What book have you been unable to finish?

According to my Goodreads shelves, there would be 33 of those, 6 of which deserve a re-read or a second chance because I tried reading them at the wrong time in my life.

However, some books are just not for me. The latest I dropped (after 611 pages – a fair trial by all standards) is London by Edward Rutherfurd. I just couldn’t: the fiction takes over the history of the city waaay too much… and it’s bad fiction, with uninteresting characters and lazy, cliché plot twists.

london_uk

What book have you yet to read because…

  1. …you just haven’t had the time?

All the books still waiting in my TBR. Duh…

  1. …it’s a sequel?

That would be Olympos by Dan Simmons. I read Illium ages ago, when it was first published in France. And I need to reread it in English before I move on to volume 2… And I’m feeling too lazy for this right now.

dan_simmons_ilium

dan_simmons_olympos

  1. …it’s brand new?

I will go with “it’s just arrived on your shelves”, for I mostly buy second hand books. I’d say Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. I just got it and it’s a gorgeous hardcover (hardcovers are growing on me lately). Plus, I’ve been fascinated by Cleopatra for decades now, so I can’t wait to read this one!

cleopatra

  1. …you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

Not to blame the same author twice, but reading London and not being able to finish it because it was boring (which is a shame, especially when you love that city as much as I do), I’m not so eager to pick up Edward Rutherfurd’s New York novel. My copy may be a beautiful hardcover, but it will wait a while on my shelf…

ny-rutherfurd

  1. …you’re just not in the mood for it?

This may apply to most books, for I’m definitely a ‘mood reader’. Still, the Oscar goes to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. No contest. I never seem to be in the mood for that one! I’ve picked it up so many times, only to read a few pages and feel like: ‘meh, it’s not the right time’.

Tale of 2 cities

  1. …it’s humongous?

Size is not a problem for me, I tend to prefer big books anyway. But I have to admit, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy kind of freaks me out. Weird really, for I have tried to read it once already, and made it through a few hundred pages, then dropped it. Moreover, I absolutely LOVE Anna Karenina, so I know War and Peace is right up my alley but somehow, I haven’t gathered the courage to tackle it yet. But it will happen… someday…

getp

  1. …because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

Sorry, I don’t do cover buys, even if I love me some beautiful editions.

  1. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

There are many, in terms of subject matter. But I’d say the one I’m most wary of reading, while being excited as well, is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Yeah. Enough said.

lolita

Pasta Book Tag (English Version)

27 Juil

As usual with those book tags, the English version will mention books originally written in foreign languages, and the French version will deal with French books only.

I like this tag, the questions are quite detailed and creative. Plus, I like pasta.

No disclaimer of any kind, no apology, no trigger warning. We’re talking about books, come on! Grown ups don’t need that kind of BS.

  1. Macaroni & Cheese – The most heartfelt work you ever read

If you mean heartfelt as in sincere, I’d say Christopher Hitchens’s memoir, Hitch 22. Christopher didn’t mince words, even to talk about himself. Loved it.

hitch 22

  1. Spaghetti & Meatballs – A work you know inside and out (like you can twirl with your fork)

It would have to be a book I’ve read several times and for this question I’ll go with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’ve read this so many times, guys… Surprising thing is, after all these years, it manages to retain some of its magic.

armoire magique

  1. Lasagna – A work filled with complex layers

For me, that could apply to almost any kind of ‘magical realism’ book, so I’ll go with one of the all-time masters: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude. The more you read it, the more you feel you’ll have to go back to it to fully understand all the layers of interpretation. Brilliant!

Cent_ans_de_solitude

  1. Stuffed Shells – A work that is attention grabbing (stuffed with goodness) from start to finish

Attention grabbing? How about a huge page turner like Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth?

piliers terre

  1. Penne Vodka – A work for a younger audience with an adult theme hidden inside

For me, that would be Richard Dawkins’s The Magic of Reality, targeted at children aged 9-14, but perfectly fine for an adult who’s curious about the wonders of nature.

magic-of-reality

Either that, or Orwell’s Animal Farm, which was a mandatory read at school when I was like 13, and which develops very heavy adult themes about politics, democracy, etc…

Animal Farm

  1. Elbow Macaroni – A work that is easy to read

I’ll twist that question a little, by adding ‘surprisingly’, otherwise there would be hundreds of candidates! So, a work that was surprisingly easy to read would be Evelina by Fanny Burney. Before starting to read it, I was very doubtful: an epistolary novel, in XVIIIth century English? How would I be able to understand a thing? As it turned out, it was a fast-paced, easy read for me, and a lot of fun too!

evelina

  1. Farfalle (Bow Ties) – A work you would read to catch someone’s attention

I don’t read to catch anyone’s attention. What kind of question is that?

  1. Noodles – A long work that was a great experience to read

I have a genuine fondness for big books (or chunkers), and most of those I’ve read were a great experience. But for the sake of answering, I’d go with Drood by Dan Simmons. I was so totally engrossed in the story that it didn’t feel like 1200 pages at all (in the French mass market paperback). Brilliantly crafted, a true gem.

drood

  1. Lo Mein – Your favorite work of Eastern literature or about the East

I don’t know much about Eastern and Far Eastern literature (yet). I could go with any of the Dalai Lama’s books I’ve read, but that would be cheating, I feel. I’d rather go with a work of literature, in that case James Clavell’s Shogun. Loved it! So much happening, and I’ve always been fascinated by medieval Japan.

shogun

  1. Ditalini – A writer you feel is essential to a particular genre

Stephen King to the horror genre. The guy is so prolific, so important that he simply can’t be overlooked.

Author Stephen King at a press event to unveil the Kindle 2

  1. Favorite Pasta – What’s your favorite pasta?

Bolognese (the Vegan version).

Vegan_Spaghetti_Bolognese_Recipe_001

Classics Book Tag (English Version)

26 Juil

I’ve seen many ‘Booktubers’ do this book tag and, since I’ve always been reading a lot of classics, I felt like: “Why not do this tag?”

It was originally created by Vienna on her blog It’s a Book’s World: http://itsabooksworld.booklikes.com/post/1104267/the-classics-booktag-original

In this English version of the Tag, I’ll limit my answers to classics written in foreign languages. I’ll post a French version of this tag pretty soon, where I’ll answer with French classics only.

BTW, these are obviously MY opinions. No disclaimer. No apologies. No trigger warning and other such nonsense.

Here we go!

  1. An overhyped classic you really didn’t like

Can there be an ‘overhyped’ classic? Maybe so… For me, that would be The Great Gatsby, although Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy) and The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne) aren’t far behind. I really can’t see what the fuss is all about with Scott Fitzgerald’s so-called masterpiece. Everyone seems to love it, but there’s not much of a plot, the style is barren, the characters are barely sketched, utterly uninteresting and unlikable. Not that unlikable characters are necessarily a drawback, they can make a book amazing… when they’re well written. Which is not the case in The Great Gatsby, I think.

great-gatsby-penguin-modern-classics

  1. Favorite time period to read about

This is difficult, I can’t choose one over all others. Sorry!

  1. Favorite fairy-tale

I haven’t read that many fairy tales, but I will go with The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. Forget Disney, the original is bleak, dark and wonderful.

mermaid

  1. A classic you’re embarrassed you haven’t read yet

So many classics, so little time… How can one be embarrassed or ashamed for those he/she has not discovered yet?

  1. Top 5 classics you would like to read soon

I never plan on what I’ll read next, for it depends completely on my mood at the time I finish the previous book.

But those ‘foreign’ classics keep calling my name from the shelves:

  • Fictions (Jorge Luis Borges)

Fictions

  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Brontë)

tenant wildfell

  • Middlemarch (George Eliot)

middlemarch

  • Homage to Catalonia (George Orwell)

homage

  • War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy) getp
  1. Favorite modern book/series based on a classic

I don’t read all the YA re-writing of classics and fairy tales, so I’ll go outside the box for this one. That would be Dan Simmons’s Hyperion Cantos (especially the first book Hyperion) and The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. Both are inspired by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, most notably in their structure. Brilliant!

Hyperion SimmonsAncestor's Tale

  1. Favorite movie version/TV-series based on a classic

I’ll go with a movie for this one, and that would be My Fair Lady, a great adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion.

my_fair_lady

  1. Worst classic to movie adaptation

Any movie adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

  1. Favorite edition(s) you’d like to collect more classics from

I’m not much of a collector, but these are the editions in foreign language I like:

  • Penguin Classics (black spine): they’re very agreeable to manipulate and read (great font).

tenant wildfell

  • Penguin Modern Classics: for the very same reasons, plus I find them arty and classy as hell.

Animal Farm

  • Penguin English Library: especially the old ones with the rubber cover, very nice to handle.

Tale of 2 cities

  • Vintage Classics: with the red spine and arty covers. Love those!

revolutionary-road

  1. An underhyped classic you’d recommend to everyone

Same doubts regarding the notion of ‘underhyped’ classics as with the ‘overhyped’ ones in the first question. But anyway, I’ll go with any of Walter Scott’s novels, which are not talked about on Booktube nearly as much as they deserve. Though I loved Ivanhoe as a child and a teenager, my favourite is The Heart of Mid-Lothian.

Heart milothian