Reaction to 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner & Thoughts on the Longlist

Hello readers,

The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction has just been announced!

An American Marriage is a really good book, an easy read and the first third of the book was so amazing – to add to that, the topics An American Marriage deals with are really relevant: racism, the judicial system, loyalty, family and marriage, which I think are the reasons why it was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club. It’s a good book for creating discussion, for sure. But it’s not, in my opinion, the greatest book written by a woman in 2018, the most innovative and unique, the most creative. Tayari Jones is an amazing writer, there is no doubt about that. But the Women’s Prize for Fiction is about more than just a good book people will like – it’s about giving a voice to a group of writers who used to be (and still are) constantly silenced and dismissed as “serious” authors. I don’t mind if the main character is unlikable and if the book is not one I loved and will die for – but it needs to have something more, a challenge perhaps on the way it’s written, on the way the main character is, on the plot, anything really. The themes are important and definitely need to be talked about and represented more in fiction, but that does not change the fact that An American Marriage is a conventional contemporary, even if a very good one, and does not bring anything new. So it’s disappointing.

I would have been happy with most of the books that never made it to the shortlist winning the prize, but I’m not surprised by this result at all. The entire prize has been, so far, giving off a vibe of trying to please the crowd instead of challenging it. An American Marriage is the safest book of the entire longlist. It would have been a truly satisfying ending to see The Pisces or Ghost Wall win, they both felt like they had that extra oomph that a lot of the other books don’t. Continue reading

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 Shortlist Reaction – Bland & Boring??

For those who didn’t know, I’ve been making my way through the Women’s Prize Longlist for 2019, together with Rachel, Callum, Sarah, Hannah and Steph! I’ve finished by now 9 and half books, having left some that I expect to be new favorites for last! Today we got the much awaited shortlist, and if you didn’t see it yet, here are the ones that made it:

It’s been a shock to everyone not seeing Ghost Wall & Normal People make the shortlist. I haven’t read those two yet, but from the blurb I’ve been hearing, they were such favorites. That The Pisces didn’t make it isn’t entirely a surprise, but a huge disappointment! This was such a strange, daring book and I hoped it would win the Women’s Prize. The Pisces spoke to me in such a deep level and brought to surfice all kinds of uncomfortable feelings, plus it was quirky and unique and quite brilliant. I’m saddened that the list is immediately less ambitious and original by the simple fact that The Pisces didn’t make it. Continue reading

Giving Star Rating to Books: An Experiment

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Let’s try an experiment.

I am doubtful of star ratings of books. Unlike your average Amazon purchase of household items (“The shelf works well, goes with my furniture! 5 stars”, “This goddamn pair of shoes ruined my life. 1 star”), books are a very personal experience. Ratings are normally done in one of the following ways:

  1. Via emotional response. I LOVED THIS BOOK, 5 stars. THIS MADE ME SOB SO MUCH, 5 stars. It was okay, 3 stars. Wow, the only emotions this provoked on me where utter cringe-y ones, 1 star.
  2. Via categories. Great writing, 5 stars. Terrible plot, 1 star. Final rating: 3 stars.
  3. Via comparison. I actually loved this book, but I can’t give it 5 stars, I gave this other book 5 stars and it was so much better. 4 stars it is.

As for me, I’m a mix of the three. I normally follow my gut response and then, when writing reviews, list as thoroughly the good things and the bad things as I can (without overwhelming the poor reader). This sometimes makes me realize that my gut reaction to the end of the book does not correspond to my overall experience, and I change the rating – I’ve never had that happen for more than 1 star of difference, though. So, in average, I am an emotional rater.

(which are you, by the way? Tell me in the comments)

Continue reading

1 Year of Romance Books (Update on my 2018 Valentine’s Day Post)

Hello readers!

If you remember, on Valentine’s Day I posted that I would try more books of the genre, since this is indisputably the least read genre in fiction for me. So today I am showing what I have read since, what I thought of those books and if they helped change my mind!

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What I read since February 2018

The Wedding Date Jasmne Guillory Wintersong S Jae-Jones Hollywood Dirt Alessandra Torre

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Hummm, I didn’t love neither hate this book. While it was entertaining, I didn’t buy the romance at all. It was just not for me, which was disappointing, being one of the few contemporary romances I’ve ever read. Also I found out that ~sexy scenes on Audiobooks just aren’t for me.
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
I am so in love with this book. It’s got a lush, dark world building, a mysterious Goblin king, a talented main character, there’s lots of music and pain and love. It broke my heart.
Rating: ★★★★★

Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre
This was okay. I gave it 4 instead of 3 stars because the steamy scenes were SO sexy and because the main character had a no-nonsense personality, which I really appreciated.
Rating: ★★★★☆

Continue reading

Dear gringos, the Portuguese word “Saudade” doesn’t mean what you make it sound like

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Hello readers,

It’s national day of saudade in Brazil! Feliz dia da saudade! 🙂

As you know, I am from Brazil, and my native tongue is Portuguese. It’s one of the so-called romance languages, and it sounds, as I’ve been told, like a French person trying to speak Spanish. While I am not sure of the accuracy of this statement (I hardly think I sound French), one thing is for sure: I have seen quite a few articles and books mentioning a particular word from my language that seems to be driving gringos to swoon: saudade.

From Michaelis Dictionary, here is what the word means:

saudade
sau·da·de

sf
1 Sentimento nostálgico e melancólico associado à recordação de pessoa ou coisa ausente, distante ou extinta, ou à ausência de coisas, prazeres e emoções experimentadas e já passadas, consideradas bens positivos e desejáveis; sodade, soidade.

Translation:

Nostalgic and melancholic feeling associated to the remembrance of the person or thing absent, distant or extinct, or the absence of things, pleasures and emotions experimented and already past, considered positive and desirable goods. Continue reading

Scribd: Is it worth it?

Hello readers!

So I have gotten Scribd for a free month trial after reading about it in Misty’s post Apps I Use For All Things Bookish, and decided to write this post about how it went, what I read and how it compares to Kindle Unlimited and Audible! If you’re anything like me, the words “Netflix for books” is sure to catch your attention. So – is Scribd your long-dreamed-of Netflix for books??

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So, starting from the beginning, here is what the app looks like on my phone:

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(yes, I only had 72% of battery at 10:18 AM… but not to worry, I always carry a charger with me)

You have an overview page, where basically shows the books you’ve saved (which works like a wishlist, or a TBR), and you can see recommendations there. You can also go to the other tabs to select recommendations filtered by the format you want: audiobooks, ebooks, magazines…

I do recommend that if you want to try it out, download it on your phone if you can! It’s far more practical to listen to books on the go. Continue reading

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad… Literary Fiction?

Hello readers!

So, literary fiction. The big, bulky books that talk about how we’re all sad and lonely. I LOVE ‘EM.

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Joking aside, literary fiction gets the bad rep of being sort of a snobby genre, because it’s supposed to be so verbose and nothing ever happens and it’s always depressing. So, to read this kind of book, you obviously must be one of those people who love bragging about the books they’ve read to impress people.

Literary fiction tends to look too scary for people, who stay away from it like the plague. But it’s one of my favorite genres ever, and I’m here to defend it! With my life, if I must (hopefully not)

Things I love about literary fiction:

  • Deep, thoughtful characters with realistic flaws
  • Character-centered stories are very revealing about our own nature
  • Forces you to look at yourself and at others through a more empathetic light
  • It touches on subjects other genres are normally too shy to talk about, or they talk about it in a shallow way
  • Beautiful, immersive writing
  • I find it’s an antidote to the pressure of being perfect that social media makes me feel – it’s okay to be sad, depressed and flawed. It’s okay to be deeply imperfect and lead a less-than-perfect life. You’re fine and you’re going to be fine.

There is no exact rule about what to expect from a literary fiction work, although mostly they are contemporary works centered in one character, or maybe a small group of characters. But really, you can find literary fiction mixed with other genres too – YA (albeit rarely, but they exist!), mystery, fantasy, sci-fi… they do tend to be denser in content and can be hard to read sometimes, but ultimately, it feels like taking a deep breath. You face the truth of yourself and the ugly (and beautiful) things of the world. You appreciate what you have a little more.

Can you tell I love it?

Continue reading

Spoiler Discussion on The Raven Cycle

I had added this on my review of The Raven Cycle, but that post ended up so giant that I decided to do a separate post on this!

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1. In book 2, after the whole mess with giant dream creatures battling and all, plus the death of Kavinsky, with plenty of witnesses, how come Ronan didn’t get in trouble? How exactly did the police think it was okay? Did the doctors find a “natural cause” for his death which could be associated with the drug abuse, maybe?

2. Why do electricity/engine gadgets still work after the death of their dreamers? If the animals and people stay in a kind of sleep state, shouldn’t those gadgets also stop working? Or does it only apply to living things?

3. Did anyone else feel that the Gray Man killing his brother in half a sentence was anticlimactic??

4. While of course I’m happy Gansey didn’t stay dead in the end, it felt so disappointing. Of course I wanted Blue and him to be together, but it’s just so… cliché. Also, he must have been dead for 1 minute only. His death was so sudden and he came back so quickly, it was kind of anticlimactic. His second death was such a big thing throughout the books, I expected lots of drama more. Also I didn’t understand exactly how Cabeswater revived him? From my understanding, he isn’t entirely human anymore, he’s part dream, if Cabeswater gave him life.

5. Do Blue and Gansey stay together?? Do Adam and Ronan??

6. The whole “three sleepers” thing must have been a mistake, then? 1 was not sleeping (Gwen), 1 was sleeping (Demon) and 1 was actually dead for hundreds of years. So, even if you suppose Adam’s “waking up” in book 3 counts, we’re still missing one.

7. Oh my god, all they had to do was ask Gwen about her father? They could literally have found him on the last book, in that case, and add 50 pages to it instead of having a full book.

8. I wish Blue had found out about being a ~tree sooner so she could’ve done that a few times throughout the series!

9. I expected so much more drama between Maura and Artemus!!! Where is my drama? Jealousy, explanations? Did he disappear all those years ago because he was called to take care of that entrance to the sleeping demon, or??

10. What majors did they go on to study? Did Blue go to college? Did Ronan get to be a farmer? Did Gansey become a politician? Did anyone go see a therapist??

11. So, with the demon gone, Cabeswater just 100% went back to normal? How was Ronan doing so fine after almost dying dramatically? Did he find a way to keep Matthew in the house, or will Matthew have to go to Cabeswater, too?

 

If you have any thoughts on any of those questions, please let me know in the comments!

 

How my “The Raven Cycle” Readathon went!

Hello readers!

So this last weekend had 4 days because of a holiday plus bridge day in Germany, and I used the opportunity to be constantly fed coffee by my boyfriend while reading The Raven Cycle series. Really, I don’t think I’d drunk this much coffee in such a short time in months!

This is the fantasy YA series I cannot stop hearing about and a lot of people whose tastes in books are very similar to mine simply adore it, so I knew I had to read it immediately to see what the hype was about!

(strong image below for those who hate cracked spines)

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First of all, I’d like to say that all these books looked to be about 300 pages long, but somehow they were all around 430 pages long, which is WITCHCRAFT and messed up my careful planning of how much time I’d need for each. Meaning I got nothing else done in the weekend but reading. I’m glad there was no need to go to the supermarket, otherwise I’d have starved. Continue reading

Classic Books I Want to Read

Hello readers!

Some time ago I published a post named Why I read classics + Why you don’t need to, which got me thinking: which are the classics I do want to read, and why? As said in the post, I am rather picky with classics to read, because most of the time I expect their writing to be boring, even in adventure books. So I do quite some research before adding one to my TBR. Also, a lot of the classics I’ve read are Brazilian, so the “international” classics I haven’t read much. Here are the ones I look most forward to!

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To The Lighthouse Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf, is a book I simply cannot believe I haven’t read yet. I really liked Mrs Dalloway and A Room of One’s Own, and I admire Virginia as a writer and person so much! I need to read this ASAP. It tells the story of a family as they travel to an Island in Scotland in the 1900s. Seems to be a very introspective book. Continue reading