How-To Bite

“Once again…welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula

Dracula is an Gothic horror novel written by Irish Bram Stoker. If you know all about this Transylvanian monster through  various adaptations but you haven’t read the book, I warmly recommend you do read it now.

I  really like Dracula because it was among the first vampire books ever to be written and you can see effect of it in all the ‘vampire-themed’ books. I found it to be entertaining how the story was told through various diary entries/ letters by different characters. Dracula is nicely written and it very quotable.

What I found odd was how the characters had time to write their journals and letters in the middle of it all.  Then, I was slightly disappointed with the character of Dr. Van Helsing when I first read Dracula. I think all the adaptations made him seem more heroic and like he had some super powers which he doesn’t. Other characters were not developing during the storyline either. Furthermore, I expected to learn more about the background of Count Dracula himself.

“Oh, the terrible struggle that I have had against sleep so often of late; the pain of the sleeplessness, or the pain of the fear of sleep, and with such unknown horror as it has for me! How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula

I’d give this book 8/10

How-To Read Dracula by Bram Stoker
1.
Don’t even dare to expect anything Twilight-ish or Vampire Diaries-ish or Sookie Stockhouse-ish. Bloodsuckers are bad. This is must read.
2.
You won’t hear much about “vampires”.  You know whom they are, I know whom they are but characters in this novel have no clue.
3. Look for references to other great books.
4. About 500 pages. Enough to chill and thrill. 
5. Dracula is written in form of diary entries which adds very many levels to this novel. Characters are maybe not quite what you expect them to be.
6. You can find this book free in Project Gutenberg.

Happy Halloween! What do you think is the best book to read on Halloween?

Dickens’ Favourite Child

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.”
― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

If you have forgotten how much you love Dickens and how long it has been since you read the famous Oliver Twist, Christmas Carol & Tale of Two Cities, it is time to open gorgeously written David Copperfield.  The story traces life of David Copperfield from childhood to maturity.

In this novel, I loved how vividly the characters were described. In case, you aren’t too  fond of David (who is sometimes a bit senseless), you will find some character whom you will like or love. Additionally, there are some characters you won’t like or whom you will even hate. Personally, I enjoy a bit more reading a book that has various memorable characters.

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

The narrator of the book is  David as his older self. Novel is written as if it was diary where David remembers his boyhood. Sometimes the titles of the chapters  portray the chapter and what happens to David: I am born, I fall into Disgrace, I make another Beginning, I fall into Captivity, another times the titles can also consist of one word: Depression, Intelligence, Tempest, Absence remaining just as expressive.

I found David Copperfield to be quite sad book though at same time it was still full with adventure and had it’s attempts of humour every once in a while.

I’d give this book 9½/10

How-To Read David Copperfield or The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (which he never meant to publish on any account)

1. You can download this book for free on Project Gutenberg, GoodReads, Smashwords (and various other pages). You can also find in audio form on many pages.
2. Find the one with pictures, it makes reading more enjoyable.
3. Another (lovely) brick of a book. If you don’t like long books and this is your first Charles Dickens, read slightly shorter Oliver Twist.
4. I would recommend to read this book slowly, for example 30-50 pages every day, then pause for a week. This gives you time to be drawn into the story and the characters (and the enjoyment  lasts longer) and not to discard it off as dull.
5. If you like books that are written like they were diaries of that character, you will love David Copperfield.
6. If you love Charles Dickens, Victorians & descriptive novels, don’t miss this!
7. There are several movie adaptations you might want to see.

“I know enough of the world now to have almost lost the capacity of being much surprised by anything”
― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

What Charles Dickens book is your favorite and why?

How-To Live Counterclockwise

“You died around twenty years ago. While you were  dead something happened to the time: it reversed itself. So you’re back. How do you like it?” ― Philip K. Dick, Counter-Clock World

Philip K. Dick is my favorite science fiction authors. I can not understand why in his times he was more or less underrated author. I think if I could be any author in this genre, I would choose PKD as I often think of the same ideas he put into paper.

“…we all lie to ourselves; we tell our own selves more lies than we ever do other people.”
― Philip K. Dick, Counter-Clock World

In Counter-Clock World, as revealed on the title of the book, the time is reversed.  In fictional 1998, the dead are re-born in their own graves and dug out. Old-born live their lives in reverse and eventually end back to the womb. From Tomb to Womb (as book was translated in Finnish).  I like the book because it is original and  I don’t think anyone wrote about this before PKD.  There are some inconsistencies, however, I wasn’t too troubled by them.  For example, sdrawkcab klat ro klaw t’nod nrob-dlo eht , although I think it would have made the book genuinely confusing. Of course, we know it’s counter-clock world,so I do understand why not everything, for the sake of the book and the reader, is happening backwards (goodbye is hello though) . Or maybe it is not inconsistency because it’s not counter-clock world as there are people who are still… ‘new-born’?

I didn’t like any of the characters in the novel as they weren’t made too likeable. I believe that CCW concentrates more on the plot and ‘from tomb to womb’ concept so characters were basically just created in purpose of telling a great story.

“Could I come along? Ann Fisher asked. ‘I’ve never seen old-born in his first hours back…I understand they have a certain, special expression, on their faces. From what they’ve seen.”
― Philip K. Dick, Counter-Clock World

I would give this book 7/10.

How-To Read Counter- Clock World
1. Book is short, a bit over 220 pages, fast read if you read much.
2. It’s kind of weird. How everything is reversed (eating, smoking).  Yet not quite everything.
3. As the author does not go too deep in explaining how everything reverses, you can stop before the next chapter and use your imagination. How the everyday habits change?
4. The idea of the book of is very entertaining, however, if this is the first of PKD for you I would not recommend it. You should rather read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (So very known movie was made of this book…) or The Man in the High Castle (my first PKD book).
5.  If you are a fan of PKD/this book/this genre then you might want to look into  the short story called Your Appointment Will Be Yesterday.

Post Scriptum.
Is Counterclockwise actual word?

How-To Be A Good Fireman

Fahrenheit 451: the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

 I have wanted to review this book on my blog for quite some time but it meant that I would have to come back to it once more. Fahrenheit 451 causes very mixed feelings in me. I hate it because it’s so twisted that in this dystopian, the  job of the firemen is to burn books. Burn books. Because they are forbidden as they are the source of discord and unhappiness.

Yes, and at same time I love F451. Yes, they burn the books but why do they burn them. What is the message it delivers. Do we have any hope left in the world we live in now?

When I first read this novel, I lived in my happy-pink-book-reading-bubble where I did not check what is the book all about on internet and was too young to hear of these great classics in school…which was good. I had just discovered the whole sci-fi genre and I  thought Fahrenheit 451 would be something closer to Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles or ‘The Illustrated Man’, maybe in some sense, I even expected something more similar to the style of Philip K. Dick. It wasn’t.

“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”  ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I’d give this book 9/10

How-To Read Fahrenheit 451

1. It’s so very short. Reading this novel will hardly take you any time at all.  Like less than 200 pages and yet this book makes you feel much more and express yourself  much more than so many other (longer) books.
2. Maybe you’ll think twice when you have a conflict whether to read a book or to watch tv after reading F451.
3. Not suitable for pyromans.
4. How Western civilization is enslaved by the media, drugs and conformity… is this is so far from reality?
5. Oh, did I mention that they burn books? Because they supposedly make folks unhappy?  It’s heart-breaking. I do not recommend this book for bookishly over sensitive bookworms.

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Post Scriptum
No books were harmed in making this blog post.

Teen Smart Enough?

“Trust me. I’m a genius.”
― Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl

Hey book cover freaks ;) pure gold are they not

Artemis Fowl written by Eoin Colfer is one of the series I grew up with. First book was published in 2001 when I just about learned to read and there was a new book nearly every year and the last one was published two years ago.  I begged my parents to buy these books for me for Christmas present every year and I kind of made them spend long time to get the hardcovers of the books (thank you  for getting me the hardcovers  ^^)
… At some point I was worried that they would not interest me anymore but I think Artemis Fowl series are suitable for anyone’s interest. It has the  perfect amount of fantasy combined with science fiction and imagination and you also grow to like characters a lot.

“Who or what inspires you?”
“I must admit that I often read my own articles in scientific journals and inspire myself.”
― Eoin Colfer, The Artemis Fowl Files

What I enjoyed about Artemis Fowl (when I was young) is that he is not too much of good kid…he is more like…tech-geek antihero, rebellious teen sort of person. Yet at the same time he is this criminal mastermind who doesn’t have a choice to do anything different than he does (krrhm) as his father is missing or not there and his mother is not well. I also enjoyed a lot seeing him grow as character during this series, and he actually starts caring more at some point. My favorite characters included also Butler (the fictional bodyguard everyone wants to have) and Holly Short (the strong female).

What else…fairies, centaurs,  trolls, dwarves all presented from original point of view.
I would give this series 8+++/10

Why they can’t keep the same design through the whole series?

How-To Read Artemis Fowl

1. The Code is quite fun. You should definitely pick the first book and start translating the string of Gnommish symbols. It’s best to use The ‘Artemis Fowl Files’ guidebook for that. A bit time consuming but totally worth it.
2. Prepare to be excited about learning Latin…or maybe it was just me.  I actually learned my first phrases in Latin from the first book of this series… “Aurum Potestas Est”. And I also learned (somewhat) much about Greek mythology.
3. I would say Artemis Fowl is more for the young readers because they are more easy to read and plot is more simple (+ maybe a bit repetitive at some points)  but for me it never mattered whether the book said it’s for children or not. I would say that these series is also for both boys and girls. If you don’t read these, don’t let your kids to grow old without Artemis Fowl!
4.  Artemis Fowl has it’s own humour. Sarcasm. Wittiness.  I loved the sarcasm Artemis always had. It wasn’t too dark but you won’t like this if you don’t like or don’t understand sarcasm.
5. This series consists of eight novels, I don’t find them to be especially long to read…fast-paced!
6. Great books always make you go through rollercoaster of different emotions and that is what this will do to you.
7. Skip the comic books you might encounter.

“Stay back, human. You don’t know what you’re dealing with.”
― Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl

How-To Read Finnish Dystopian

“Water walks with the moon and embraces the earth, and it isn’t afraid to die in fire or live in air. When you step into it, it will be as close as your own skin, but if you hit it too hard, it will shatter you .”
― Emmi Itäranta, Memory of Water

Nowadays I never read or especially like Finnish literature (except few books), because I often find that books of Finnish authors miss something. Sometimes it’s the plot, sometimes it’s the language. Often I read a book through and I end up thinking that I didn’t  really get what it missed but something it lacked. . This is why I was really surprised to find myself reading Emmi Itäranta’s debut Memory of Water (Finnish: Teemestarin kirja = The Tea Master’s Book).

What I liked about this book was that the setting was in Finland and plot and characters were original. I liked Noria as not so many dystopian main characters live very privileged life. I also liked the fact that in this dystopian world, somehow there was strong tea drinking culture (poor coffee drinkers) and tea ceremony.The writing was beautiful, use of words was excellent in this book and the fact that Itäranta translated the book herself (I think?) makes the English kind of nicely different.

What I really  did not like about this book was how the plot was built very well  and then the ending was rushed. I waited for the next level for the whole book and there never was one. And the ending seemed a bit fake. There could have been much potential to take things slower and turn this book into trilogy.

I would rate this book 6½ – 7/10.

Death is water’s close companion, and neither of them can be separated from us, for we are made of the versatilitiy of water and the closeness of death. Water doesn’t belong to us, be we belong to water: when it has passed through our fingers and pores and bodies, nothing separates us from earth.”
― Emmi Itäranta, Memory of Water

How-To Read Memory of Water
1
I think you will find the setting to be interesting: Finland! Also the book has common and less common Finnish names that make reading interesting. At same time if you are Finn, names aren’t so typical that they would annoy you.
2. 260 pages and ending seemed a bit rushed to me and I hoped there could be a sequel but I doubt that there will be. I was disappointed as I was expecting something much more from this book and Finnish literature in general but I don’t regret reading this book.
3. I liked how it was realistic: China is the most influential country, there is plastic and junk everywhere and something has gone wrong with the weather so that Noria, the main character, has never really seen what snow looks like.
4. Philosophical, I liked how Itäranta described the water as element (as you can see in the quotes and pictures)
5. Book has been translated well into English but of course you could always try learn Finnish ;) Personally, I think both titles match the book well. Finnish: Teemestarin tytär and English: Memory of Water.

And Then There Were None

“Oh, yes. I’ve no doubt in my own mind that we have been invited here by a madman-probably a dangerous homicidal lunatic.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None is a masterpiece written by the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie. I won’t probably spoil the book by telling that there are ten people (of whom 8 were invited) on an isolated island…and then there were none. I really like how Christie develops the plot because basically  you know what will happen because of the nursery rhyme. You know that there are ten persons on the island and they all die. Yet it doesn’t turn boring in any point because you are wondering about “how will it happen” and “when will it happen” and “who is the killer” (!!) and those questions kind of keep you up all night reading this novel.

“One of us in this very room is in fact the murderer.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

I liked the development of characters also. First they seemed a bit random and -BAM- they all  have some dark secret in common.Why I like this book and Agatha Christie, and why I think she is very rightfully called the queen of crime is because she writes as if she was forming this big puzzle you no one has ever seen before. Piece by piece, corners first.

“It had come about ex­act­ly in the way things hap­pened in books.”
― Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

I would rate this book 9½/10

How-To Read And Then There Were None

1. When I read this book first time, I read it by it’s original name ‘Ten Little Niggers’ and with the original nursery rhyme and name of the island! You will discover that there are plenty of re-titled and re-edited and re-whoknowswhat versions of this book. I kind of don’t get it at all  so not to be rude (and not to be racist)  but find the original one somewhere.
2. This book is just perfect for autumn! Read it!  If you liked this/ didn’t like this, you should try reading adventures of Miss Marple or of  Poirot.
3. I was quite young when I first read this novel and I liked it a lot (=read it without putting it down).  But I think you should be more mature as reader to truly get what is it that makes this book so good.
4. This book is quite short and fast read but the plot and element of mystery build up really nicely during the book.
5. You will love the ending! Seriously, there is no way you can guess who the murderer is. You should guess though, it makes it all a lot better. Christie is called Queen of Crime for a reason.

(Sorry for using N word) I do think the version with the rhyme that has ten little niggers is better. Does it really matter whether they are little niggers,  little Indian boys or little soldiers? …What do you think?

Beautiful Child

Safety is the most basic task of all. Without sense of safety, no growth can take place. Without safety, all energy goes to defense”
― Torey L. Hayden

 Beautiful Child written by Torey Hayden is a true story about a girl called Venus who is highly unresponsive seven-year old. Hayden, the author of this book, is an educational psychologist and a special education teacher. The setting of the book is in her classroom where she teaches five students: an aggressive and loud 9-year-old Billy, 8 year old Jesse who has Tourette’s, six year old twins who had suffered FAS and Venus who is so unresponsive that Hayden assumes she is deaf. However, Venus does talk to her older sister Wanda (actually her mother) and after getting unintentional bump on the school playground, Venus starts crying and screaming and reacts this way every time someone touches her.

“Yeah, it’s hard. It’s really, really hard. But ‘hard’ is not ‘impossible’.”
― Torey L. Hayden

I found this book (and all of Hayden’s books) to be highly inspiring and touching. It was interesting to follow how all the students advanced in their studies and how they changed during the time when Hayden was their teacher. I still don’t get how Hayden could be so patient with the children and how she gives so much of support to these children. I also like that she tells that it’s not easy, and she is also frustrated about a lot of things mentioned in the book. Still, if I would have her job, I would probably  have some serious mental breakdown during the first days so the work she does is admirable (which makes her writing admirable).

I’d give this book 8½/10

How-To Read Beautiful Child

1. At least for me reading nonfiction is a lot harder than reading fiction. That is especially the case with books like this. Children are so sweet and innocent and they should be protected. And then some have just really bad parents. This is why I wouldn’t recommend this book for too young readers (would recommend to 13+).
2. What I like about Hayden’s books, including Beautiful Child is that they have a happy ending. Hayden discovers what the problem is and how to help the children.
3. Hayden has great story-telling skills, so you get pulled into her memoir very easily. The events  take place during one school year, so the pace of the book is very fast and it keeps your interest. It’s not very long book  either, nearly 400 pages.
4. Even if it is very serious book, it is quite funny at times as the students of hers get in funny situations.
5. If you like this book and you haven’t read other books by Torey Hayden, I recommend you do. Other as powerful book is David Pelzer’s A Child Called ‘It’.

“Perhaps the greatest magic of the human spirit is the ability to laugh, at ourselves, at each other, and at our sometimes hopeless situation. Laughter normalized our lives”
― Torey L. Hayden

How-To Travel & Read

You might wonder, how can one have time to read when traveling. But at least I have noticed that during two weeks long vacation I am getting pretty desperate to read something. And even if I am not actually traveling, I use different ways of transport every day. Here’s how to get most out of reading when you are traveling:

Books& Coffee is my favorite combination. This pretty white travel mug for hot and cold drinks is  from Wayne’s Coffee Forum

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpufV

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Reading on the Road

traveling and reading

Reading in Paris. Credit: malias

There are countless opportunities to be traveling and reading: on buses, beaches, planes, in airports or just enjoying a spring day sitting by the Seine. Especially if you’re going solo, you’ll likely be flipping pages over and over again.

But you don’t need to carry around a stack of books to do it!

Here are some tips on how to to handle your bibliophile habits while on the road without having to take your library:

- See more at: http://www.airtreks.com/ready/packing-and-gear/reading/#sthash.NZCMA4Tj.dpuf

Paperbacks! I like paperbacks because they are light and you can fit them better in the back and you don’t regret as much if something happens to them while you are traveling or commuting. You might also borrow it to your friend or just leave book in your own language in some place as “I was here” tag.

“I think of my pile of old paperbacks, their pages gone wobbly, like they’d once belonged to the sea.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Still cold Frappé when I started re-reading Egyptian.

Electronic readers: I adore my e-reader because it has now 134 books and they all fit to nicely to my bag. I also like it even more because when it gets dark because it has this comfortable small light! Do books have that? No: you have to find a flashlight.

“CUSTOMER: Hi.
BOOKSELLER: Hi there, how can I help?
CUSTOMER: Could you please explain Kindle to me.
BOOKSELLER: Sure. It’s an e-reader, which means you download books and read them on a small hand-held computer.
CUSTOMER: Oh OK, I see. So . . . this Kindle. Are the books on that paperback or hardback?”
― Jen Campbell, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

PowerKiss Your Phone @ Wayne’s and continue with your favorite book!

Apps: My personal favorite is Fiction Book Reader. Don’t use Abode Reader to read books, you will still spoil your eyes. Adobe is good for other files and different documents.

How-To Travel & Read

1. See that you have book with you or space to buy a book! For bookworms, I would highly recommend to get that e-reader and also have app in your phone that supports reading books. Such as Fiction Book Reader.
2. Be sure that you take the chargers for your gadgets. Or that you know places like Wayne’s Coffee where you can stop for a cup of  coffee and read a book AND give your phone a PowerKiss!
3. Leave that brick home. You don’t seriously need a 1000 pages long book when you are on road all day. Moreover, buy/borrow only the books you can carry= 1-3 (unless you are like me and like to carry heavy book bags in stead of going to the gym…)
4. Bookcrossing is wonderful idea, basically it means  if you know where to look, you can find a book anywhere anytime.
5. If you are true reader, always have a book with you, don’t get so desperate that you start to look whether or not your hotel room has a bible…because seriously no good :D

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”
― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

Love Story King Style

“She nods. You’re good for the ones you love. You WANT to be good for the ones you love, because you know that your time with them will end up being too short, no matter how long it is.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

I am huge Stephen King fan! Whenever I pick his book it’s something very good and very special. When I started reading King (…12 years old) I never got what was the big deal about  him. Another main-stream author. After  two years, after reading massive amount of his books,  I got however that he’s the best just because no one writes like horror like he does. Often when author writes much, books start repeating themselves, King’s every book is different and has new elements.

“And she sees that the moonlight is losing its orange glow. It has become buttery, and will soon turn to silver.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

Some years have passed since I first read this (need to reread).  Lisey’s Story is a love story with creepy King undertone. The book is about Lisey Landon, a widow of best-selling author Scott Landon. Main character/Powerful character (?) Scott Landon has been dead  for two years and Lisey decides to finally clean his office. Lisey’s Story consists mostly of flashbacks and Lisey figuring out her husband’s manuscript.

“Ninety-eight percent of what goes on in people’s heads is none of their smucking business.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

I like how it was love story, I kind of never expected for King to write this. I also liked that you couldn’t fully guess what it was (not to spoil the book too much) was it psychological or supernatural or both until the very end.  I’d give this book 8/10. I loved the covers. Like seriously, these are perfect ones for this book. And when I unwrapped the book it was even better.

Finnish covers of Lisey’s Story

How-To Read Lisey’s Story

1. If you have never read Stephen King before, I don’t think you should start with this book. You won’t get it and you won’t get the thrill. I think you’ll think it’s odd book. You only get it after you’ve read many other books of Stephen King, maybe you even have to be hardcore Stephen King fan to like this. (Who doesn’t like the king of horror?)
2. If you are a big fan: it’s not as good as The Shining, IT, Pet Cemetary but it certainly beautiful and  I think it’s also more personal for the author. I mean one of the characters is also author. Nothing like Misery, in case you wonder.
3. Read in English of possible, I think translations never catch up with all the word play too well. Secret language: Boo’ya Moon, babyluv,  smucking,  the bad-gunky, rah-cheer, strap it on, SOWISA,  bool. It’s not too long book, about 500 pages.
3. “Smucking”… …
4. I’ve never lost my good night’s sleep over anything I have read. Lisey’s Story isn’t exactly scary either (I was more “scared” reading Duma Key), it’s just a bit creepy.  Creepy, not freaky .And a bit sad because Lisey is widow and love was lost.
5. All the flashbacks (that last for 60 pages) and time jumps might annoy you.
6. There’s this song…The Supremes Baby Love… It kind of suits this book? Don’t you think?

“Bool! The end.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

How-To Stop Evil Malchiks

“There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days, and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

There are some books that you really strongly dislike. For me A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is one of those few I have on my list. I found it to be so…disturbing. I get why it’s called masterpiece and I partly get why some lewdies give it 5/5 starts but I didn’t like it. I also think there should be age limits to books like this.

“But what I do I do because I like to do.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Clockwork Orange is raskazz about malchik named Alex who likes classical music, especially Beethoven. He lives in dystopian world and leads a gang that loves mindless violence and thinks there is nothing wrong with it. As you might guess, Alex’s road as prestoopnik leads him to jail. There he volunteers for experimental treatment called Ludovico’s Technique.

I didn’t like it because of Nadsat language. It was imaginative and well-invented byt it freaked me out. As native speaker of Russian, I got almost all of Nadsat language but it was like reading very highly bolnoy and oozhassny Russian.

I didn’t like Alex at all and I should have thought he deserved that all yet I somehow felt pitty for him. I have read book both in English and Finnish. The Finnish translator did way too good work with the translation…

I’d give this bok 4/10

How-To Read A Clockwork Orange

1. Definitely read it but I would not want to read it twice (krrrhmm).
2. Can’t give any tips on how to get Nadsat language without looking all the time the words up in the glossary but they say you start to get them and replace them with English ones. When beginning reading, you should look what the words mean to get the context. Helps a lot if you know some Russian.
3. Prepare to think about questions like “how far is too far”, “can evilness be cured” , “what’s wrong with the society”.
4. Ending was disappointing. Some say never to read chapter 21. Freedom of choice.
5. The book was much worse than the movie. Movie was quite watchable, artistic. In book the malchik is 15 and does much more oozhassny crimes. Movie is tame.

“So what is it going to be then, eh?”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

How-To Use the Power of the Books

“A BOOK?! WHAT D’YOU WANNA FLAMING BOOK FOR?…WE’VE GOT A LOVELY TELLY WITH A 12-INCH SCREEN AND NOW YA WANNA BOOK!”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda

Matilda written by Roald Dahl should be favorite book of every little girl who is  loves to read. reader. In fact it should be on favorite-list of all those who love to read as it is story about reading and (voracious) reader. I read Matilda soon after I learned to read and I think my childhood would be emptier without it.

“Matilda said, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda

One of my favorite parts in the book :D

Why I love Matilda is because it’s very creative and story is simple. And I can relate to her love for books.  Matilda discovers her love of books and learns to read by the age of three. At four years and three months, she has read all the children’s stories in the library and ask the librarian what to read.

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda

During this process, I can’t understand rest of her family at all.  My parents were always happy that I read whereas Matilda’s parents are really discouraging. Matilda’s father: ““What’s wrong with the telly, for heaven’s sake?” and Matilda’s mother thinks looks are more important than looks and spends all her days playing bingo. Matilda also has a brother, which is quite hard to remember because he isn’t really there in the book. I think it’s interesting question though why is Michael treated normal while Matilda is neglected?

I also like Matilda because even if she is smart in all the subjects at school (and + telekinesis), she is still kind of… mean like kids often are. For example she lines  her father’s hat with super glue. No one is perfect, although of course his father deserved it.

I would easily give this book 9,5/10

How-To Read Matilda
1.
No matter of what age you are, you should read it. If book seems too long, it’s just because of the big font and lots of funny pictures :)
2.
It is highly nescessary to pick Matilda with illustrations, like by Quentin Blake (I think his are simple so they don’t spoil your imagination), because it adds the enjoyoment.
3.
The names are funny and nice as they tend to be in children’s books, and it’s easy to tell who’s good and who’s not so good… Miss Honey…Miss Trunchbull. All the name-calling was also so talented.
4.
If you read a lot, you can compare your books with ones Matilda has read :D don’t worry too much for Matilda, all will be good.
5.
The movie version is good but not that good, try other books by Roald Dahl in stead.

How- To Become a Narnian

“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Illustrations by Pauline Baynes

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis  is something you must read. I first read these books when I was  eight years old, after that I have (naturally) re-read them countless times. Narnia consist of 7 books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew & The Last Battle. The books are well-written,enjoyable to read and they open you a whole new world.  I think the chronicles turn a bit nostalgic and bittersweet, especially towards the end.

“Things never happen the same way twice.”
― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

Illustrated map by Pauline Baynes

I love when writers talk to readers and Lewis does that in the  storyteller voice “I hope you won’t lose all interest in Jill for the rest of the book if I tell you that at this moment she began to cry. ” One thing that really bothers me about Narnia is what happens to Susan. Nylons, lipstick, and party invitations… Actually, I won’t even go there, I still don’t get it.

I would give these chronicles 9,5/10

“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

How-To Read The Chronicles of Narnia

1. It’s long, doesn’t matter, just read it. I think this book is perfect for anyone who is imaginative.  I would recommend to read the one with all books, they are good invidually but compact form makes it better.  I love the ones with illustrations.
2. You will love the characters (yes,they have their flaws),  especially Aslan,
3. Beware.  It might seem like there are Christian symbols, references to bible everywhere (oh and Greek Mythology). You can ignore this if you want to.
4. Don’t try to hide in every wardrobe you see. Only the most convincing ones.
5. I think the movies of the first and second part are (more than) good. Books are always better than movies but in this case movies (by director Andrew Adamson draw close). Watch them.

Puzzle. Pauline Baynes

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

How-To Book and Breakfast

“Why are breakfast foods breakfast foods? Like why don’t we have curry for breakfast”?
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Book and freshly ground coffee at Wayne’s Coffee Forum, great combination!  Photo by Chryssa Skodra

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And why not to recharge mentally at the same time?  If I have the time and I don’t have to go anywhere, I love to read books in the morning with coffee. When I have the time, I love to go to some small coffee shop. I started to read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Now, I have reached the halfway of the book and I am not sure what to think of it but I am really happy it’s fictional.

“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars  tells a story of 16 year old cancer patient Hazel who attends a support group where she meets and falls in love with 17 year old Augustus. So far I have enjoyed the plot but I wonder if the book is that kind of one that it makes you like it because it has lots of super nice quotable lines,  and melancholic plot but fascinating and funny teenagers? Well I guess I will find out when I finish the book.

How- To Book & Breakfast (read while having breakfast )

1. Pick a great place that you like, preferably some cozy corner by the window, like one at Wayne’s Coffee Forum  (I chose this place because it has lovely atmosphere and friendly service. In case you want to visit the address is:  Simonkatu 8, 00100 Helsinki, Finland) Pick a book you know is good , or the one being  currently being discussed everywhere, or one of your favorite ones.
2. As coffee person, check that in case you  go to a coffee shop, see that it offers good quality coffee like Wayne’s  (and mugs that are the right size! ). Applies to tea drinkers.
3. If you eat, eat first and then have another coffee mug with the book. Careful, you don’t want to damage the book (or worse e-reader).
4. Morning with a book has a tendency to turn into an afternoon with a book…
5. Don’t pick anything too difficult to read, it’s morning after all.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

How-To Admire That Hacker

“Don’t ever fight with Lisbeth Salander. Her attitude towards the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

I love reading detective stories and crime fiction, I like this genre and all countries usually have at least few authors to have written some excellent books. But…there is something special about crime fiction and detective stories written in Scandinavia, especially Sweden. I think the reason for this be that Sweden is often portrayed as safe country but yet in all Northern countries, it’s dark most of the year, we have woods…and then there are the crimes. And of course the authors are talented.

“There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

Millenium is Swedish phenomenon, I enjoyed reading it a lot. The books are highly engaging and characters (…Lisbeth Salander in particular) are fantastic. Even if often in books, the main character can have some issues and something “special” about them, “Wasp”  is uniquely heroic in her flawed life. Story is addictive, first book investigates the murder in the family of Vanger, second one is about Millenium magazine tries to expose sex-trafficking industry in Sweden and is at same time creating the plot for the third book that circles around  problematic and rotten  Säpo – the intelligence agency of Sweden.

I’d give Millenium 9/10

“Dear Government… I’m going to have a serious talk with you if I ever find anyone to talk to.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

How-To Read Millenium

1. I have borrowed pocketbooks of Millenium trilogy from library (for photographing session ;)) and each book was about 700 pages so reserve some time for this reading experience.
2. Ignore the mass popularity of these books, they are worth it. You might not straightly get Lisbeth Salander and what is so special about her but you will be on her side eventually.
3. There are three Swedish movies based on Millenium and one American adaptation. I didn’t really enjoy watching the Swedish movies, so I would skip them. American one I haven’t seen.
4. The original titles are a bit different than English ones, I think that’s something to think about while reading. Maybe also Swedish legislation system and politics…
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo = Män som hatar kvinnor = men who hate women
The Girl Who Played With Fire= Flickan som lekte med elden (translation is the same)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest = Luftslottet som sprängdes = the aircastle that blew up
5. As author Stieg Larsson died of heart attack in 2004 and Millenium was published only after his death, the ending might seem like there’s more. However, I did some googling, there is fourth book of Millenium being published in 2015…Let’s remember to read that one too

“Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

 

How-To Howl

“I am in truth the Steppenwolf that I often call myself; that beast astray that finds neither home nor joy nor nourishment in a world that is strange and incomprehensible to him.”
― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf written by German author Herman Hesse is beautiful self-portrait of a man. Henry Haller finds himself torn between his two selves: man and wolf. He sees himself as a wolf because  he’s a loner, he rather reads his books and listens to classical music and pursues knowledge. He sees himself as man because he likes wealthier living and comfort that comes with it in stead of finding true purpose of life.

Harry is having hard time  with his multiple personalities and one night he is walking in the old part of the city he lives in. He sees sign over door he has never noticed before: “MAGIC THEATER—ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY.”…  “FOR MADMEN ONLY!” He soon meets a woman called Hermione at jazz club and it changes Harry’s  life.

“How foolish it is to wear oneself out in vain longing for warmth! Solitude is independence.”
― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

I liked this book. I think it was nicely structured. In preface of the novel you are presented to Harry of the editors point of view who despises him.  Later it focuses on Harry being the Steppenwolf . I somehow connected with Harry, maybe it was because he reads books, maybe because he is confused about himself and feels isolated.  Maybe at times there’s bits of Steppenwolf in all of us at times.

I did not spend too much time with this book and I didn’t especially think about it in more depth. Like did the magical theater exist somewhere else than in Harry’s mind? Who is Hermione? Why was it those immortals that were talking to Harry and why? I think it might be something to to return to.

I would give this book 8½

How-To Read Steppenwolf

1. Steppenwolf is quite short book, about 200 pages, but it takes you longer to read it  if you really think of all the elements of it. f you are familiar with works of Plato, Mozart, Goethe, Spinoza, Nietzsche you could reflect those to this book.
2. Layers, layers, layers after layers.
3.  Is it for madmen only? Give this book a chance, don’t at least say it was just rambling that didn’t make any sense to you.
4. I think you should try reading this many times in your life and see if it changes something.
5.
If you have liked other novels by Herman Hesse, I am pretty sure you will like this one too.

“You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live.”
― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

The Egyptian

“I, SINUHE, the son of Senmut and of his wife Kipa, write this. I do not write it to the glory of the gods in the land of Kem, for I am weary of gods, nor to the glory of the Pharaohs, for I am weary of their deeds. I write neither from fear nor from any hope of the future but for myself alone. During my life I have seen, known, and lost too much to be the prey of vain dread; and, as for the hope of immortality, I am as weary of that as I am of gods and kings. For my own sake only I write this; and herein I differ from all other writers, past and to come.”
-The Egyptian, Mika Waltari

The Egyptian (Sinuhe, egyptiläinen, Sinuhe the egyptian) is a historical novel written by Finnish author Mika Waltari. Personally, I think it’s the best Finnish book ever to be written. It has been translated to over 40 languages and it is by far the only Finnish to be adapted into a Hollywood film.

The Egyptian (Sinuhe, egyptiläinen, Sinuhe the egyptian) is a historical novel written by Finnish author Mika Waltari. Personally, I think it’s the best Finnish book ever to be written. It has been translated to over 40 languages and it is by far the only Finnish to be adapted into a Hollywood film. (I have seen the film, I think it’s very shallow compared to book.)

The book is set in Ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten of the 18th dynasty.  The plot circles around Sinuhe who is found in the Nile and adopted to family of a poor doctor. Sinuhe grows up and learns his father’s profession and eventually becomes a royal physician. I love this book but it’s quite sad/pessimistic. During the book Sinuhe – he who is alone, feels lost because he doesn’t know of his origins. He falls in love with three different women and none of these relationships work out.  Nefernefernefer whom Sinuhe thinks is the most beautiful woman he’s seen is traitorous courtesan, Crete Minea happens to belong to wrong religion and Sinuhe’s last love bar singer Merit is perfect but they are separated by civil war. Also, every situation Sinuhe encounters seems to have the worst outcome.

There are many themes in this book. Sinuhe rises from humble beginnings, makes some wrong choices and is forced to go out to the world and seek his fortune (have we heard this somewhere before?) Novel describes well the power structure and changes in it and also the underdevelopment of the society in the Ancient Egypt.  The book also observes war (the novel was published in 1945, during/ shortly after the Second World War. Sinuhe goes to see it as he has never seen it before. One of the very important themes are also the religions. In the beginning of the book, in Thebes, they worship Amon as only right god. Later Pharaoh changes and he forces people to worship Aton.

I would rate this book 9+/10.

How-To Read The Egyptian

1. It’s the best book by Finnish author I have ever read. Translation can be hard! to find but it is definitely worth of it! You’ll thank me later. I would recommend the English translation of Naomi Walford.
2. Language is very beautiful and poetic and the  story pulls you in from the first page.
3. It’s hard to believe Mika Waltari never was to Egypt after reading this book, sometimes I forgot it was fiction. There have been some arguments of how historically accurate the book is but I think there are only some points that are non-accurate.
4. The main character and narrator Sinuhe is pessimistic, he has his reasons though. The novel is quite long, about 800 pages.
5. If you like historical novels, I would also recommend other historical novels of Mika Waltari such as The Etruscan and The Dark Angel.

“Sinuhe, my friend, we have been born into strange times. Everything is melting – changing its shape – like clay on a potter’s wheel. Dress is changing, words, customs are changing, and people no longer believe in the gods – though they may fear them. Sinuhe, my friend, perhaps we were born to see the sunset of the world, for the world is already old, and twelve hundred years have passed since the building of the pyramids. When I think of this, I want to bury my head in my hands and cry like a child.”
-The Egyptian, Mika Waltari

How-To Be Unhappy Social Butterfly

Let’s play a game. Take guess in what book I am reviewing. What is it? Was it easy guess? Comment your guess and also comment if this would fit some other book you know.

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

There are multiple adaptations of this book. One of the characters was played by this beautiful Swedish actress in 1935.

I am not the biggest fan of this specific genre, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I read most of the books in this genre at once. At once…yeah I know what you think. I think books in this specific  genre all end a bit too dramatic. (hint!) I did like this more than the other “brick” by this same author.

The title of this novel might fool you a bit as the book is not about one person but it does describe the one person through the lives of three different families or couples that are linked to each other. Each one of this couples have their problems as goes the famous quote of this novel:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

I liked the main character, I can’t not like a person who reads and writes books (oh the amount of whining…) This individual is  just pursuing love because of being married to cold and passionless personage and is just too honest with one’s feelings. This eventually leads that this character  is in social exile and lives in plain misery. I ended up feeling really sorry for the main character. After all, the only flaws of the poor creature wasto fall in love with the wrong people. Though, no, some part of me kept asking “why?”

I think this book described in a very talented way the life of the Russian aristocrats (hint hint!) and their feelings and the daily life and also you  learn a lot of the military, war, agriculture! family life, local elections…

I’d give this book 9/10

 Your Guide How-To Read ?

1. This is one of the books that you probably have ready image in your head because of it’s reputation so be careful with that.The plot is somewhat revealed when the two main characters talk about Plato in the beginning of the book (hint!)
2. Pay attention to the meaning of the trains in this novel. (hint)
3. For me, it was long read. And it takes you lot of hours to read it. It is quite lengthy and the author takes you deep in to the feelings (+ complaining…) of the characters and many surrounding happenings are thoroughly explained.
4. Full names of the characters and all the variations and “nicknames” can be a bit difficult and confusing.
5. Remember to look into all the adaptations!

“Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.”

How-To Endure Life of a Slave

“Really, it was difficult to determine which I had most reason to fear—dogs, alligators or men!”
― Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

I have to admit that I did not even know about this book before the movie and it took me a long time to realize that there was actually a book too It is kind of embarrassing for me because I usually know the old books (as they are free to read so it leaves no excuse not to read them) and memoirs in particular. I think everyone should read these memoirs and history not to let the same happen ever again. I’d also like to hear book recommendations on this in case you have ones?

12 Years a Slave is memoir of Solomon Northup published in 1853  It is really touching book because it has the  most unique approach.  Northup was a free man born in New York, skilled carpenter and violinist and family man: married to black woman and father of three.  I honestly did not quite understand how this could happen in the first place. Humanity shows it’s  rotten side as two men basically kidnap Northup and sell him into slavery where he is brutalized and close to death on many occasions. It’s very heart wrenching book.

“Life is dear to every living thing; the worm that crawls upon the ground will struggle for it.”
― Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

At the same time, I liked the hope element in the book. Already the title of this book gives you a hint of the happy ending. By that I mean that he was slave for 12 years. Then again, there was only hope for Northup. What about all those who were born into slavery and died in the slavery? And, I of course knew that slavery existed (we all do)  100 years ago and there is still human trafficking all around the world but even though when you are reading books like 12 Years a Slave, you just find it hard to believe that this happened only about 100 years ago…I’d give this book 8/10.

“What difference is there in the color of the soul?”
― Solomon Northup, 12 Years A Slave

Your Guide On How-To Read 12 Years a Slave

1. It is memoir, it is free, it tells a lot of history. No reason not to read it.
2. It is quite short, approximately 200 pages but the ending is very rushed, I didn’t like it and you won’t like it. Is it because of David Wilson, his editor?
3. If you like “slave-narratives”, this is the one you can’t skip. Solomon Northup describes life of the slave, the fear and all depressingly well. The stories of other slaves are heart-breaking.
4. I liked the language, so if you like to read comprehensible old language, you should take a look at this.
5. 12 Years a Slave is quite neutral book. It’s just memoir, in the end he says that he does have no comments concerning slavery, this peculiar institution. Reader can think for oneself what they think of it.

Post Scriptum,

Did you like the Vine? (The video in the beginning) This is how I often like to read classics especially if I am traveling because it is very light. Most people might have book in their bags but why, it’s so heavy! This particular reader is Sony Reader PRS-T1. It is my favorite one because battery lasts for months! , I have currently 102 books there and I think one can download even more + there is also room for MicroSD, the  screen is not illuminated but it does have nice little reading lamp. It’s just like a book :)

How-To Stop Falling Apart

A Million Little Pieces written by author James Frey is a book that you either will want to have in your bookshelf or you will want to keep it far away from there (as it seems to be the case with most).  For me, it was very gripping from the beginning of it and I am so happy for Frey who through this book has become great and popular writer.

“There is no fear. Absolutely no fear. When one lives without fear, one cannot be broken. When one lives with fear one is broken before one begins to live.”
― James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

The book was originally published as memoir. The back cover said:

This is actually not memoir but semi-fictional work, and after it was published,  there has been a lot of talk about man who conned Oprah and A Million Little Lies.  Despite this, I thought  this was still really good book. To me it was obvious  that Frey had colored some bits of it and  I don’t think it really mattered to me in the end that it wasn’t all true.  A Million Little Pieces was after all half-true and also all of it could have happened to someone else. Easily.

I liked the plot, the element of survival and pushing through all the hardships. We all have been through some situation when we feel like we can’t go on, we want to give up or we are too scared to keep doing something. Our inner voices are telling us how weak and hopeless we are. And in Million Little Pieces it’s the addiction to drugs and alcohol and he says no to it.  Other thing that drew me in was the love story. In the treatment facility, James meets Lilly. Woman with cheap plastic watch, black hair and blue eyes.

I loved the characters. And I respect all the people working in the facility center. The clinic where Frey was in, had highest success rate with the clients and it was not much, something about 11%. My favorite characters Especially Lilly, Miles & Leonard .  Leonard, again, is not the person you should like. He runs “small” Italian family business…But he has a big role in the book and he is father character to James.
“The secret to kicking ass in dumbshit Hollywood… Every time you meet someone, make a fucking impression. Make them think you’re the hottest shit in the world. Make them think they’re gonna lose their job if they don’t give you one. Look ‘em in the eye, and never look away. Be confident and calm, be fucking bold.That sounds more like the secret to kicking ass in life.
It is, but I was gonna wait and tell you that some other time. “— James Frey (My Friend Leonard)

I’d give this book 8 (with huge) + /10

Your Guide On How-To Read A Million Little Pieces
1. I’d recommend edition that doesn’t say it is memoir! Because then, it is slightly disappointing to read that it is semi-fictional…
2. Read “A Million Little Lies” and “Man who conned Oprah“, and think how big role it has for you and your reading experience. What if you didn’t know of this?
3. James Frey  has distinctive style in writing… It’s raw and I am not big fan of stream of consciousness (what was the person who invented it thinking?)  but it really opens the mind of that person who is writing.  You get into their minds whether you want it or not. Frey also  keeps repeating same words and often the sentence can consist of one or two words. Sometimes nouns are written with capital letters. So it is very different reading experience.
4. It has too much !!  of good sentences to quote, plot is great, characters are great.
5. It’s sad…sometimes grey humor.
6. The story continues in My Friend Leonard. I think if you love this one  you can not not read it.

How-To Hear the People Sing

indexLes Misérables by Victor Hugo is probably the few books that have so many adaptations. Personally, I think it is the best books ever to be written. Why? Just because.

Because.It has amazing characters.  I think they are very human, none of them are perfect. We always fall for the “good bad Robin Hood like guys” and Les Mis has Jean Valjean. Ex-convict who has just been released after 19 years of imprisonment in the galleys, five years for stealing bread for his starving sister and her children and fourteen more for trying to escape. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? He can’t get a place to stay because of his yellow passport that marks him as criminal. I like how Valjean constantly pulls out Houdini like tricks in the book.

Then there’s Javert. The bad cop. Who’s just really doing his job. Fantine (now I have Anne Hathaway picture of her in my head), Parisian grisette, falls in love, finds out that she is pregnant, is left alone to take care of her illegitimate child and eventually becomes prostitute. Cosette. Fantine’s  daughter, the  Cinderella story of Les Misérables, the Lark who becomes the princess like creature. And dear Eponiné. The girl in the shadows of Cosette. I really liked her. She fell for guy who already was in love with another girl but still sacrificed all. It is full of people and happenings.

“Promise to give me a kiss on my brow when I am dead. I shall feel it.”
She dropped her head again on Marius’ knees, and her eyelids closed. He thought the poor soul had departed. Éponine remained motionless. All at once, at the very moment when Marius fancied her asleep forever, she slowly opened her eyes in which appeared the sombre profundity of death, and said to him in a tone whose sweetness seemed already to proceed from another world:
“And by the way, Monsieur Marius, I believe that I was a little bit in love with you.”

It has most beautiful plot and language. I also liked how emotional the book it was, this one made me laugh and cry. Or both at same time. Truly beautiful.Éponine_e_Marius

I love the themes in the book. There’s lot of love and compassion in the book and I think there’s a lot on what does it mean to be human. I like how Hugo had lots of criticism towards French society, social injustice and politics during the 19th century. For example, Valjean stole piece of bread and attempted to escape from galleys few times…and that made him Most Wanted man in France? There was Patron-Minette…and nobody was after them?

Les Misérables has my heart so definitely 10/10.

Your Guide On How-To Read Les Misérables
1. You can read it for free! Yay! For example on Project Gutenberg. Find the one with as many pages as possible. Also, if you have seen the movies and theater adaptations…definitely read the book! It has SO much more! And the other way around ;)
2. Warning: it is huge but has lot to give.
3. Victor Hugo loves you as reader. He talks to you all the time, imagine this and imagine that. It’s really nice. Kind of like someone would read it to you. Once, he does even apologize if something is not accurate.
4. Hugo puts much of time into description. Very wordy book. He describes you Paris, Battle of Waterloo (many many pages in the beginning of the book), sewers of the Paris and slang among other. He seems to have a lot to say about everything.
5. If you want to have inspiration to read about France’s history, you can as well start from Les Misérables.
6. You should have a soundtrack of the Les Misérables prepared on your iPod :p

“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

How-To Discover New Worlds Pullman Style

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman is my favorite fantasy trilogy of all time. It consists of three books: Northern Lights/The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Northern Lights was first published 1995 and trilogy was finished in 2000.

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In first book, we meet Lyra and her dæmon Pantalaimon. We are introduced to a whole new world: one that has been stuck in England’s Victorian era, one that is dominated by Magisterium and most importantly one with dæmons, people’s souls in animal companions. The book is thrilling. It has so many elements that are completely new in fantasy & also characters from around the world. Personally, I was fascinated by the witch with Finnish family name: Serafina Pekkala.
What I disliked was
Lyra. And is not too good if you dislike the main character? She keeps poking her nose into stuff that is none of her business and she also is super irresponsible. Yet she has the talent to read the compass of truth: alethiometer and everyone seems to like her….Alright then. Sure she has her moments.

In the second book, we meet Will.  Who is from our world. Who’s father has left long time ago and who’s mother is lunatic. Will is (among) my favorite protagonist in His Dark Materials. He is everything Lyra is not. When they meet, I hoped that she will learn something from him.
WP_20140306_16_09_19_Pro20140306161402 Will meets two rebellious angels. What sort of surprised me was that book had so fast pace in comparison with the previous book. It was also quite short.In the final third book, what is unexpected maybe that it is the size of first two books combined. I liked how it was mostly focused on Iorek Byrnison, Will and angel Balthamos. I liked how Pullman described the underworld, the land of the death, where Lyra and Will go to find Lyra’s friend. In many movies that I know the place where the dead are is often quite scary. In Pullman’s work, yes it was of course frightening but all they wanted was to touch and hear stories of the sun and wind. I think The Amber Spyglass closed nicely the trilogy even though the ending, in my opinion, was not quite what I expected.
The Mulefa are adorable!
Yay, we meet Kirjava! Mottled in Finnish ;)

I’d give this trilogy 9/10

Your guide on How- To Read His Dark Materials

1. It is a beautiful trilogy but every book can also be read as stand-alone. You should get ones with the drawings in the beginning of the chapters and “Lantern Slides”.
2. You will want your own dæmon (not demon!) If not, you can ask yourself “what is wrong with me” until you will want one.
3. The writer Philip Pullman has been called most unspoken atheist of all time, so be prepared for that if you are more religious or have strong beliefs. It is kind of weird that the series also carry message to adults even if ment for children.
4. It’s better to read His Dark Materials the younger you are. So if you are parent, make your children read this. The awards and nominations this series has is big.
5. It is a bit confusing at times if you don’t read it with passion.
6. Pullman was inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. You may find it interesting.
7. Do not be fooled by thinking “oh what a great book, I’ll watch the movie too”. The movie is inaccurate (and it sucks).

If someone remembers, in 2007, there was this beautiful test where you could find you own daemon on Golden Compass’ website. Sadly closed now. Those who took the test, or take it now, what was/is your daemon?

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How-To Not-Survive Isolated Island with Bunch of Boys

Lord of the the Flies  was the first book written by William Golding. It tells how bunch of British boys plane-crash on inhabited island and how they try to survive. It wasn’t too popular when it was first published but it has gained much attention and popularity on latter years.

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I think I’d recommend this novel only if you are fond of dystopian novels. Because it is entertaining and Golding describes surroundings and what happens on island very well. And I think it is also a book you have to read at least once in your life. Though, I think most of us have read the book in school in some point.

Now, I didn’t like this book at all.  I don’t know if it was World War 2 that made Golding to write such pessimistic book that focuses on how they basically want to maintain level of civilization but turn into savagery. Golding said once that “Wouldn’t it be a good idea
to write a story about some boys…showing how they really would behave”
Let me explain my dislike:
First of all, I didn’t like the characters.
There is Ralph, Simon and Piggy who create order and come up with intellectual ideas. Boys vote Ralph to be their leader. As if. Because here comes Jack , the opponent, who wants to dominate. Not like Jack does have any good ideas…oh wait yeah….the beast whom Jack turns into tribe’s common enemy and common idol. Then Ralph whom we liked in the beginning. Who was good leader. And kind person. Well…he happily goes to bloody pig-hunt and even bloodier dance  afterwards and it turns out he is only behaving civilized because that was
what he was taught to do. What? Whereas, Simon, who is actually kind and who has civilization in some inner part of him  recognizes the truth—that the beast does not exist in physical form on the island but rather it exists within each boy on the island. When Simon tries to approach the other boys to tell them about this, they attack him and kill him. Piggy…let’s not even talk about him. Somehow first you have hope in these boys and then you lose it. Would it really all turn to be so bad?

Then, I wasn’t also too fond of the themes. Basically it tells how cruel people are. Loss of innocence. Constant battle for power. Fear. Twisted wisdom. Religion. Weak versus Strong.

I’d give this book 5/10.

Your guide on How- To Read Lord of the Flies
1.
It’s pretty short, doesn’t take long to read. It will keep your interest and it is entertaining. Something that “blows you away”.
2. It gets very disturbing, depressing, dark and violent, so be prepared for that. It describes how humanity crumbles down, school boys turn to brutes and whole “loss of innocence” concept.
3. Amaze yourself by how well Golding describes fire! Beard! Best ones!
4. I suppose if you want to, then book provides lots of symbolic meanings, psychology and other hidden agendas to think of.
5. You will be annoyed with ending. It was pretty ironic too.

“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”
― William Golding, Lord of the Flies

How-To Grasp the Ring’s Power

WP_20140212_11_49_15_ProThe Lord of the Rings by J. R. R.Tolkien is a legend among the books.
I read it the first time when I was 12 years old. I liked these books very much and of course I always appreciate any author who puts so much effort into creating a whole world for the reader. By the way, if you haven’t read these books, don’t even dare to tell you are reader.

Tolkien describes the characters very well, he also does his best to introduce the reader this new race called hobbits, especially in the first book: The Fellowship of the Ring. I think that through whole series, there a lot of philosophical questions like for example:  who should have the power over One Ring and what/who is good or bad.

I’d give 9/10 to whole depth of the Middle-earth stories, maybe only 8½/10 to LotR alone. I don’t think there really are people who would even dislike this epic story. There’s only people who haven’t read it or put that much effort into reading it.

Your guide on How- To Read The Lord of the Rings

1. It takes time. You can either read the three parts combined or separately. In either case, it is still over 1000 pages.
2. Welcome to Middle-earth. You should start with Hobbit before LotR because it is easier to read and it happens 60 years before LotR. Also it introduces Gandalf and Bilbo to the reader. Afterwards…there is Silmarillion, Children of Hurin…

3. I know there are movies. And most of us have seen the movie before the books. But hey, you can spot all the differences in the book.
4. You can skip the introduction and return to it later if you want to. It’s all about Hobbits to explain LotR if you haven’t read Hobbit (yes, you can skip it)
5. Embrace all the bonus material. There are poems and songs (that some of have really have nothing to do with the story itself), runes. In all together 100 pages of appendix (explaining history, languages…).
6. Don’t think too feminist (if you are female reader), the Middle-earth doesn’t have too many women but the few ones are very powerful.
7. Yay! Bunch of names you play tongue twister with.

 Runes

“I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

How-To Handle Raskolnikov

 

(Spoilers!!) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is perhaps one of the most praised books in the history. It is also the book that many turn away thinking that it is long and somewhat depressing.

All that is true. Honestly, you will either hate this book, love this book or to be unsure what to think of it  for the rest of your life.
C&P  is basically  fascinating book with deep talented description of psychological drama. It is well-written, it has good structure and fascinating characters.

Personally, it took me about half year to read this book. The first 5 months I was struggling to get past the point where Raskolnikov goes to the bar. To make it clear, that happens somewhere in the first 10 pages. Afterwards, I remember that I just kept turning the pages thinking “No-no-no, don’t do that.Why? C’mon now…”

Fyodor…seriously, what’s with all this?

During the most of the book you are dealing with the inner turmoils of the characters, especially one of Raskolnikov. With him, you can ask yourself where the crime ends and where the punishment begins. Because it is one HUGE mind game. Raskolnikov is feeling awful about what he has done: murdered two old hags women with stolen axe (points to writer for using creative murder weapon) but apparently not guilty enough to turn himself in. Other important conflicts you will fgo trough will include questions like: why do girls always fall for bad guys? (classic one, huh?) or why didn’t attorney who had the evidence to bring Raskolnikov to justice not do it?

Surviving trough this, I would give this book 7/10. It  is definitely worth reading! And it is definitely a book that you can brag about having read. Remember to congratulate yourself once you have finished it.

Your guide on How- To Read Crime and Punishment
1. When you start reading, read past the bar point before using bookmark.2. Don’t be prepared for happy endings. They are not common in classics.
3. Be prepared to face criminal madness, poverty, prostitution, love, history, lots of Russians and lots of psychology.
4. Don’t give up! If you have started reading, it is totally worth finishing. It takes a lot of digesting but it is rewarding.
5. Don’t wonder why all the women in the book are either saints or sinners.
6. In the end, don’t wonder too much about :”Why, Sonya? Why did you follow him to Siberia?” No really knows. We can only speculate.
Moreover, you can find the book for free in Project Gutenberg, which is perfect if you like to read books online or in e-form.  In case you absolutely loved the book, you should definitely learn Russian to read it in original.