Review: The Trial, by Franz Kafka

the trial franz kafka

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Classic, Dystopia, Literary

Goodreads / Amazon

This is one of the books that German students seem to get quite often for their High School language studies, and I am very sorry for all the teenagers being subject to this complex novel. I went into it without much knowledge of the plot, and in fact I do recommend you go that way into it! The next paragraph, as per my usual reviews, has a short description of the synopsis, but please feel free to skip it if you’d like to read the book in the dark. Also skip the last part of the review (helpfully called Spoilers) to not have too much of the story revealed 🙂

The Trial is the story of Josef K., a bank worker who one day wakes up to find out he is being arrested for a crime that he is sure he didn’t commit, and doesn’t know the nature of. He then tries to find ways in which to make his case and obtain an acquittal, but there is never any progress, and just a long, maddening, pointless process full of contradictions. Continue reading

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Mini-Review: Fruit of the Drunken Tree, by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

fruit of the drunken tree ingrid rojas contrerasRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Historical Fiction

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Fruit of the Drunken Tree tells the story of two girls, Chula and Petrona, during the late 80s and then 90s in Colombia, when drug lord Pablo Escobar was active and fear was in the hearts of Colombians. Petrona, a girl who lives in the Invasión, a poverty-stricken neighborhood, starts working for the Santiago family as a maid. Little by little, she gets entangled in the violent, bloody plans of the guerrilhas. The two children of the Santiagos, Chula and Cassandra, are protected from the violence by the money of their family.

This was a gorgeous story, with fear, innocence and hope permeating the pages. I loved the personal way that this shows the reality of so many families in such fearful times. This is such a powerful story, even more so because it’s based on the author’s personal history. I recommend picking this up as a physical book instead of audiobook, because you can enjoy the writing better that way.

Review: The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White Wilkie Collins

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genre: Classics, Gothic, Mystery

Goodreads / Amazon

I am not sure what compelled me to start reading this book, really! I have a personal mission to read as many classics as I care to do, since they interest me much in terms of understanding the society of that time and exploring different writing styles, and also because I like to start drawing similarities/differences between modern literature and classics of the genres. So maybe that’s why?

Also it was free on Kindle (see Amazon link above!), which is always an encouragement. Continue reading

Review: To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

To The Lighthouse Virginia WoolfRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Classics

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This is not a book you can plunge into without knowing what to expect – if you love a good story, with a fast-paced plot, you’ll probably hate this book. This is far more a marriage of philosophy and fiction, full of flowing thoughts of the characters, their emotions spilled all over the internal monologues.

It’s unfair to give this book a simple synopsis, but here it is: To the Lighthouse is about the Ramsays, their eight children and a few friends staying over the Isle of Skye one Summer, and then the book progresses for 10 years, examining the relationship between the characters. Still, I suggest you read it if you love thoughtful, philosophical explorations of the experience of those characters, how they deal with loss, love, marriage, society expectations and so on. For the plot itself it’s hard to recommend the book.

Continue reading

Review: House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton

house of mirth edith wharton

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genre: Classic

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This classic was recommended by a fellow book blogger, and I was curious by it, although not entirely convinced. So I listened to it as an audiobook during my Kindle Unlimited month.

House of Mirth tells the story of Lily Bart, a beautiful girl at the age of 29, who worries about her need to marry soon. To maintain her luxurious lifestyle she must marry rich. She isn’t old money, and is well-aware of the limits of freedom and choice of her sex, so her suit isn’t as easy as she thought. Continue reading

Review: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'EngleRating: ★★☆☆☆

Genres: Classics, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

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So I read A Wrinkle in Time, which I wanted to do for a while now! This is such a beloved classic in children’s sci-fi and fantasy literature, I was very excited to read it and bought it in one of my trips to Brazil as a hardcover.

Synopsis: Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Continue reading

Review: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Classical Fiction, Romance, Gothic

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It is so difficult to rate and review this book. It took me months to go through the first 300 pages (my edition has 656 pages), as the story of Jane’s childhood is deeply bleak, depressing and full of fury. Jane loses both her parents very early, and was taken up by her uncle as a daughter. But once he dies, his wife and children mistreat Jane to any extents they can – even locking her up in a room for hours despite her screams of fear. This causes a deep trauma in Jane, who later on is sent to a charity school.  Continue reading

Review: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby Scott FItzgerald

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Classic fiction

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Trying to review a classic is always a dramatic thing: the book normally becomes a classic when a lot of high schoolers have dissected the text a bunch of times and are sick of it. Reviewing The Great Gatsby required me to watch the Leonardo DiCaprio movie (what a terrible sacrifice) and read analyses and reviews online to help structure my thoughts.

The Great Gatsby is two stories in one: the story of Gatsby and Daisy’s love affair during the roaring twenties, told through the eyes of Nick, and also the story of the decaying American Dream. Continue reading

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood

Rating: ★★★★☆

Recommend: Yes

Genres: Classic Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Alternate History

Add it to your TBR: GoodreadsSkoob

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

The Handmaid’s Tale is a speculative fiction about what would happen to the world and human rights if religious extremists took over. It’s told through the eyes of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. Her sole purpose is to breed – she is sent to the house of a Commander to generate a child by him. Women are no longer allowed to read, to hold jobs, to own things. But Offred remembers life before that, her family, her job, her financial independence, her easy access to knowledge. Continue reading