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2 Years Blog Anniversary & Giveaway!

2 years of blogging!! So I decided to host a giveaway, to enter the giveaway, just follow the directions on Rafflecopter below. I’m giving away Etsy Gift Card for 20€ (approx. 21$). There are lots of ways to enter. Pick one, or pick all! The giveaway (opens at 12.00 am today) will close at 12.00 am (GMT +2) on Monday February 29th. The winner will be notified within 24 hours.

GIVEAWAY

How many years have you been blogging? Why did you start blogging?

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Hope you all are having amazing winter holidays! Happy New Year 2016!

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The Unknown Soldier

“God damn you, I’ll put a bullet through the first one of you who takes a step back­ward!”
― Väinö Linna, The Unknown Soldier

The Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon sotilas) is author Väinö Linna’s first major novel and his other major work besides Under the North Star. Published in 1954, it is a story about the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union as told from the viewpoint of ordinary Finnish soldiers. In general, I avoid reading Finnish books because I don’t get ‘high’ from reading them and they are often very dull. However, I like Tuntematon sotilas (The Unknown Soldier). It took me a very long time to read it through but I’m glad I finished it. I like how it represents some kind of a Finnish collective consciousness.

“The things we have to do, we do – otherwise, we might as well be Lulu’s chickens on the loose.”
― Väinö Linna, The Unknown Soldier

The prose is short, direct, and to the point. It was a very different from reading it in English than in  Finnish. I like the scale of different characters in Tuntematon sotilas. There are Finns from different parts of Finland, speaking in different dialects, from different backgrounds and social classes and having very different personalities and characteristics.  I also liked how well this book represented Finland during Continuation War. Nation was still  torn apart after the Finnish Civil War and in WW2, many who had fought on opposite sides, fought now on the same side.

4/5 stars

Tips
1.
If you like war tales and  if you don’t know what happened in Finland during World War II, this might be interesting read for you. It’s gritty and realistic and it describes Finnish soldiers all the way behind god’s back, in the very small little corner of World War II. 
2.
Finns are not great with small talk so here’s something to discuss :D I think every Finn has read this book / or they have definitely read Under the North Star. 
3.
You should read this if you like books that have great dialogue. 
4.
The novel has approximately 338 pages, I wasn’t especially fond of the translation though I read that Penguin Books had published a new English translation of the book in this year. Of course,  I think it’s hard to translate books like this.
5.
If you’re looking for more Finnish literature like this, Väinö Linna has also written a trilogy called Under the North Star which follows closely life of Finnish family during Finnish Civil War.

Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää! Happy independence day, Finland!

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Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a different world. I think it was my mother who first read me Alice in Wonderland when I was a little girl. There is mostly no plot or any kind of sense with Alice in Wonderland, however you could also see it as story where a young girl learns about herself, journey of self discovery. I love the number of characters in both books, my favorite characters are perhaps Cheshire-Cat and Mad hatter. Cheshire- Cat is always smiling and talking in nonsense riddles. Mad hatter is well…mad.

“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There is a sequel to Alice in Wonderland.  It’s set six months later than the earlier book. In sequel, Alice enters to an alternative world by climbing through a mirror. Sequel differs from first volume in several respects: Alice is older, it makes more sense, it’s much longer, everything is kind of a bit more mature compared to first installment, oh it has Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Both books are very enjoyable to read, however I like Alice in Wonderland a bit more.

4/5 stars

“Speak in French when you can’t think of the English for a thing–
turn your toes out when you walk—
And remember who you are!”
― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Tips

1. These book are perfect for you if you like literary nonsense and books by Roald Dahl.
2. I didn’t recall how ridiculously short Alice in Wonderland was,  so it is a perfect read if you want to read a “classic” but don’t have time for War & Peace. Book is about 92 pages long.
3. Alice in Wonderland was first published in 1865, that’s 150 years ago! Wonderful excuse to read it, isn’t it? You must find an edition with illustrations.
4. There’s no plot, no sense and yes, it’s kind of a silly book (Alice in Wonderland).
5. You can download Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass for free at Project Gutenberg.

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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V for Vendetta

“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.”
― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd. In these comics, there is alternate dystopian vision of Britain in the 1990s. The fascist Norsefire party has exterminated its opponents in concentration camps and rules the country. Comics follow V, an anarchist, who starts a revolution to bring down the government.

I like V. I adore V as character. He’s very well created. We can see him as hero fighting for a noble cause  or we can think that he is simply a maniac causing a lot of chaos with supernatural powers and brilliant mind. He is a mystery. I also like how the plot enwraps, all the little surprises you don’t see coming and everything you could quote in V for Vendetta … Quotes, they are bulletproof.

“Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody. Everybody has their story to tell.”
― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Graphic novels like this are always a bit twisted and they’re supposed to be like that. I am a bit conflicted about Evey, V’s protégé. First of all she’s very young. Second of all, she’s kidnapped by this mysterious man in a mask who holds her prisoner, brainwashes her for her own good and in the end Evey nearly falls in love with him. But hey let’s not read too much into that.

I don’t see anarchism doing any good and I don’t support anarchism, however I understand portrayal of anarchism in arts, especially in dystopian worlds like this one. I think it goes along with the vigilantes and freedom fighters in comics and literature in general (Robin Hood, Green Arrow, pirates etc….). We are given two ultimatums in these comics: fascism or anarchism so I understand the appeal of anarchism. Though, in the end, we don’t know what happened after.

5/5 stars

Tips

1. If you’ve never read graphic novels before but you’d like to try it out, here’s one you should start with it! Unless you don’t like dark stuff, in that case turn away from V for Vendetta.
2. Perfect November read! And if you like this, read Watchmen by Alan Moore, there are connections to V for Vendetta.
3. Content: dystopian Britain, violence, anarchism, fascism, twistedness, death and destruction.
4. MOVIE! If you’re not going to read the comics, see the movie because V is awesome in flesh. One of my all time favorite movies. (And he is just a freedom fighter in movie.)

“Remember, remember the fifth of November of gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gun powder treason should ever be forgot.”
― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta
Do you read comics?
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Helsinki Book Fair – Day 3

Day 3

Check out post #1: Helsinki Book Fair – Day 1 & 2

9-11:  Third day started with brunch intended for the book bloggers. During this brunch many Finnish authors (Kaisa Haatanen, Simo Hiltunen, Katja Kettu, Erkka Mykkänen, Vuokko Sajaniemi, Roope Sarvilinna, Jussi Seppänen and Saara Turunen) told briefly of their books, described their writing process and answered to many questions book bloggers had. In the end of the brunch, famous Russian author Mikhail Shishkin told about his book ‘Maidenhair’. Author also discussed achieving immortality through writing or through art in general. Very lovely brunch, it was wonderful to meet other bloggers as well as hear how authors had written their books.

Received three lovely books: Yöperhonen by Katja Kettu, Neidonhius (Finnish translation) by Mikhail Shishkin and Lampaan vaatteissa by Simo Hiltunen. Can’t wait to read them!

11.30-12.00 Artemi Troitski and Luke Harding discussed Russia, KGB and murders of Anna Politkovskaja and Boris Nemtsov. Troitski used to work together with Politkovskaja in Novaya Gazeta and there was a new book from him translated into Finnish. This was very interesting topic and discussion. Both journalists/authors remained hopeful that perhaps one day there would be streets in Moscow named after Politkovskaja and Nemtsov.

12.oo – 12.30 Arman Alizad & Meeri Koutaniemi: Riisuttu Suomi. Meeri Koutaniemi is Finnish photojournalist. Arman Alzad is best known for the martial arts series Kill Arman as well as many other tv shows. In their new book they have interviewed Finns from all walks of life to really cut through the Finnish society.

Arman Alizad and Meeri Koutaniemi discussing their new book Riisuttu Suomi

13.00-14.00 Mikko Porvali: Pirtusodan CSI

Mikko Porvali is Finnish non-fiction author and detective and he has just published his new novel which is called in Finnish: Sinisen kuoleman kuva. In his books main characters are police officers in 1920s Finland. In this event he explained how hard police work was during that time. From 1919–32 Finland was under prohibition and it was enforced by law. Soon after prohibition alcohol was smuggled from abroad to Finland in unprecedented amounts. Stopping smuggling was very hard because police back then had very few cars and boats in their use. There was a law accoring to which police had to sell cars and boats they acquired from criminals so before the law was changed, smugglers could often buy their vehicles back. What also made police work harder was that there was no name register in Finland before 1920, so basically you could change your last name 5 times a day. Finger prints were first accepted in Finland only in 1927 ( 25 years later than many other European countries).

Porvali currently works as detective so I think it’s very interesting to read his novel about police. This was perhaps my favorite event at the book fair (maybe I have a calling for this profession).

Book fair continues in Helsinki still today, however I am coming down with something so I had to skip the fair today -_-

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Helsinki Book Fair 2015 – Day 1 & 2

Helsinki Book Fair (Helsingin Kirjamessut) is an annual trade fair for books held since 2001. It is held in Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre. This year event is held 22-25 October.

Day 1 – Thursday

Russia is the theme country this year at Helsinki Book Fair and it has  influenced the program highly.  On Thursday, there was a lovely event where hosts read poems of Korney Chukovsky. Chukovsky is known for his poems for children, he is basically Dr.Seuss of Russia. Hosts of the event also explained the history and meaning of his poems and they also told more about Chukovsky himself. There was also a lot of discussion all around the book fair on freedom of speech in Russia and both Finnish and Russian authors discussed what kind of challenges literature faces in Russia.

This was my first book fair so I think I was overly excited about the program, my original plan had way too many seminars and author interviews.  In the end, my first day at Helsinki Book Fair consisted pretty much of shopping… I bought many second hand books (there was a second hand book fair at same time yay) some new books and lovely bookish bags and notebooks. Kind of wrecked my budget in the process.

Day 2 – Friday

On second day, I did plenty of book shopping, however I managed to visit many different events as well.

10.30 – 11.oo  Finnish hockey player Jarkko Ruutu talked about his biography Jumalainen näytelmä (written by Tuomas Nyholm). It was fascinating to hear about Jarkko’s life in US and in NHL. I was surprised to learn how hockey player who is practically worshipped in Finland was once hated in US.

16.30- 17.00 Sofi Oksanen discussed her newest book ‘Norma’. Sofi Oksanen is a wonderful author. Her books Puhdistus (Eng.Purge) and Kun kyyhkyset katosivat (Eng. When the Doves Disappeared) explore Estonia’s terrible wartime through fictional stories. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to read Norma yet.

17.00-17.30 Luke Harding: The Snowden Files (Finnish translation: Snowden – maailman halutuin mies). I have read Harding’s previous book ‘Mafia State: how one reporter became an enemy of the brutal new Russia’ and it was stunning. For a while it seemed like no one would dare to write about Russia truthfully anymore and most authors seem to discuss same old topics over and over again. And then Harding did it, something new and something amazing. I haven’t read The Snowden Files yet but based on his interview, it sounded very worth of reading.

I´ll continue this post on Sundaywith day 3. Stay tooned

To what book fairs have you been to? Have you read books written by Finnish authors?

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How- To Survive… On Mars

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”
― Andy Weir, The Martian

 The Martian is a science fiction novel written by Andy Weir. It was self-published in 2011 and then re-released in 2014. In the novel, six person crew evacuates from Mars due to severe sandstorms. During evacuation, one of the crew members, Mark Watney, is impaled by an antenna. Mark is presumed dead so the crew sets their course back to earth.

Except that Mark Watney is not dead.
He is now stranded alone on Mars.

 I was hooked from the very first page of The Martian. “… and my Wikipedia page will say “Mark Watney is the only human being to have died on Mars”. And it’ll be right, probably”.  I loved the originality of this novel. There are plenty of ‘robinsonades’ and there are books set on Mars but so far I haven’t read one that would combine these two.

“I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’ I experimented with potato skin tea a few weeks ago. The less said about that the better.” ― Andy Weir, The Martian

Way this novel was written was entertaining. Mostly the story was told by Mark through journal entries, however there were also parts that were set on earth once they realised Mark was not dead. Sense of humour in this book… is astonishing. Several lines made me laugh though then I remembered that poor guy is kind of stuck there, however Mark is just hilarious character. And MacGyver- moments. I love MacGyver- moments.

5/5 stars. Crazy good.

Tips
1.
This is a must-read for all scifi fans.
2. If you’re interested about NASA, Mars, space, mathematical details, growing potatoes on Mars and if you like MacGyver solutions in books…definitely worth reading.
3. Book itself is quite short, however you should reserve time to read it. I couldn’t put it down without knowing how would it all end.
4.There’s huge hype around this book now. If possible, don’t build upexpectations. If you don’t expect anything, you don’t get disappointed. And I want everyone to like this book.
5. Unrelated… however I found this funny: 9GAG

“I guess you could call it a “failure”, but I prefer the term “learning experience”.”
― Andy Weir, The Martian

Have you read The Martian? What did you think of it?
If you haven’t, would you like to?

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That’s Black House You Feel

“The mad King, the bad King, the sad King. Ring-a-ding-ding, all hail the King!” ― Stephen King, Black House

Twenty years after the events of The Talisman, Jack Sawyer has repressed the memories of his adventures in The Territories and his hunt for the Talisman. Jack works as lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department where he is asked to help catch a serial killer called Fisherman. Except, everything is not what it seems. Fisherman is an agent of the Crimson King and his task is to find children who can serve as Breakers.

“What you love, you must love all the harder because someday it will be gone.”
― Stephen King, Black House

Black House is a Stoker Award nominated novel first published in 2001. Talisman is one of my all-time favorite books, its sequel Black House doesn’t come quite as close though it was still highly entertaining book for me. When Stephen King and Peter Straub collaborate, it works. It’s hard to tell who wrote what and who thought of what. Only difference I can tell is that in comparison with other books by Stephen King, there are more fantasy elements.

“The King is in his Tower, eating bread and honey. The Breakers in the basement, making all the money.”
― Stephen King, Black House

“RIGHT HERE AND NOW, as an old friend used to say, we are in the fluid present, where clear-sightedness never guarantees perfect vision.”
― Stephen King, Black House

I like reading dark and edgy books and that’s exactly what Black House delivers. And all the references to other literary works of Stephen King…I love references.  I’d like to give this 5 stars, however it wasn’t as good as Talisman so 4/5 stars.

Tips
1.
 You’ll love this if you like horror, mystery, fantasy, suspense, gore, dark humour and weird stuff all mixed together.  I guess you should still read Talisman first. If you have read it, it’s not exactly same.
2. I’d recommend this for the die-hard fans of Stephen King. Or  if you like The Dark Tower series (plenty of links and references). If you’re a ‘casual’ Stephen King (or Peter Straub) reader, or just a fan, this book may disappoint you. Not the best book to start with King or Starub
3. Interesting characters. Alternate worlds.
4. Rambling. Craziness. Messiness. Reminded me of Hearts in Atlantis.
5. Heartwrenching.

“Case closed, game over, zip up your fly.”
― Stephen King, Black House

 

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El Narco – The Bloody Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels

“It is a medicine. And it cures pain. All pain. It cures the pain you have in your body and the pain in your heart. You feel like your body is mud. All mud. You feel like you could melt away and disappear. And it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. You are happy. But you are not laughing. This is medicine, you understand?”
― Ioan Grillo, El Narco: The Bloody Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels

Anyone who watches TV and reads newspapers, knows what is going on in Mexico. Ioan Grillos El Narco: The Bloody Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. I decided to read this book because I generally know what Mexican drug war is all about, yet I didn’t know when it started or why or details on how. El Narco explains it all, book is divided in three parts:  I History, II Anatomy and III Destiny. I think that titles of the chapters describe these three parts very well.

History: Poppies, Hippies, Cartels, Tycoons, Democrats, Warlords.
Anatomy: Traffic, Murder, Culture, Faith Insurgency
Destiny: Prosecution, Expansion, Diversification, Peace

El Narco is well-written, I like how Grillo builds this book on personal experiences of the people he has interviewed and how he tells us all sides of the story: views of ordinary people, different agencies, federal police, army, members of Congress, lawyers, activists, gang members, smugglers and drug addicts.

4/5 stars.

Tips
1.
If you want to buy this book or borrow it from the library, you might find it easier under the name: El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency.
2. 
Upsetting to read due to fair amount of violence and injustice. And the numbers are horrifying.
3.
Great book if you’d like to learn more about drug wars in Mexico, if you like history and generally enjoy reading nonfiction.
4. El Narco concentrates on stories of the people and because of this it may seem more like a collection of essays than a book.
5. I liked the chronological order and how the parts were built. It seemed logical.

“As tens of thousand of bodies pile up, a strategy of silence won’t make it go away. In Spanish, they call that “using your thumb to block out the sun.”
― Ioan Grillo, El Narco: The Bloody Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels

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Memoirs of a Geisha

“This is why dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes they consume us completely.”
― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

I was very fascinated with Japanese culture when I was a teenager and my friend warmly recommended me to read Memoirs of a Geisha and to watch the movie adaptation. Memoirs of a Geisha (first published in 1997) by Arthur Golden describes the life of Chiyo/Sayuri. She is a young girl from a fishing village. Her parents are very poor and her mother is ill and as result Chiyo ends up in Geisha house.

“We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.”
― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

I liked the writing style. It was slow-going, deep and almost poetic. I am no expert on Japanese writing but it made me feel like Sayuri herself had written it (that’s partly why it’s  somewhat hard for me to believe that man wrote it, man born in western country). All the metaphors were stunning. You can express pain plainly as pain or you can express different shades of pain or any other emotion.

I usually don’t read and don’t like romance element in books, yet in Memoirs of a Geisha love story was bittersweet.  Whole story seemed realistic, Sayuri didn’t choose life of geisha or to fall in love but it happens, life happens. I pretty much love everything about this book. 5/5 stars.

“The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.”
― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

 How- To Read Memoirs of a Geisha
1.
Very educational. You’ll learn of geisha rituals (singing, dancing, music and tea ceremony lessons) and training as well as Japanese culture and history. I don’t know if it is entirely accurate (and hey it’s fiction) but it makes you look up the facts and novel that makes you do that is really worth reading.
2.
I believe you’ll love this if you like books by Paulo Coelho and if you like to read stories that focus on one person and journey of that one person. Not too heavy book, about 500 pages. If you like action and fast pace this maybe is not the best book for you.
3.
Dont judge the book by its covers but I love the book covers from the movie. Sayuri’s eyes are lovely and it makes it easier to pick that book up and start reading it. And I loved little flower illustrations in the beginning of each chapter.
4. Look into the life of Mineko Iwasaki and her book Geisha of Gion.
5. Nothing to do with the book but movie adaptation is well done.

Have you read Memoirs of a Geisha? Do you like reading memoirs in general?

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Top Ten Characters I Just Didn’t Click With

Top Ten Tuesday is meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Characters I Just Didn’t Click With.

b4597-toptentuesday

1.Bella Swan/ Twilight series

2. Scarlett O’Hara / Gone With the Wind

3. Patrick Bateman /American Psycho

Though I guess it would be scary if anyone clicked with him.

4. Anastasia Steele / 50 Shades of Grey


5. Romeo and Juliet


6. Professor Umbridge / Harry Potter


Let’s say there’s one more reason to dislike pink color.

7. Hazel and Augustus / The Fault in Our Stars


They weren’t that annoying but more I think about it the less I want to think about it.

8. Edmund Pevensie /Chronicles of Narnia

He wasn’t that annoying in the end though…

9. Joffrey Baratheon/ A Song of Ice and Fire

10. Victor Frankenstein/ Frankenstein

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Blogger Recognition Award

Long time since I’ve been doing these and I just love these awards. It’s been a while haha,  I was nominated by Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles and  Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks Thank you! This award was originally created by Eve @ Edge of Night.

~ Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.

Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post.

~ Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.

~ Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night. That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

I’ve been blogging for 1½ years.  I participated in blogging course in my uni  in the beginning of 2014 and so  Read & Survive was born. My course ended long ago, May 2014 but my passion for blogging remained.  I love reading and talking about books and it’s great just to see people who love books as much as me :)

Hmm…some advice :D

~ In your blog, about you page would be nice :) Also search button (and list of all the books you have reviewed so far (if it’s not too many). It makes it easier to read your blog and easier for you to find your reviews.

~ You can review books (just review the book you last read, your childhood favorite, book you want to read next), you can write tips how to read some book, your bookish opinions, questions, feelings, memes, quotes. Do what you want and what interests you :) otherwise blogging will become boring and you’ll feel like it’s must do not what you like to do.

~ Use same browser, and keep your browser up to date with all the Java, flash stuff. Also it’s good idea to clean your blog every once in a while. Create new pages, sub pages, categories they are helpful for you and for others.

~ Use tags. How do you think we’ll ever find you on here? Use long tags, short tags, unique tags.

Take your own pictures or use commons, use free pictures. Of course sometimes you have no choice but to steal someone else’s picture or gif image because they rock and I’ve done it and I think everyone here has but fair warning haha.

~ It depends of a book blogger but if you want followers, comments, likes and shares on your blog, go check out what others are doing. You’ll make new friends too! Also, there are many fun awards, participate in those! :)

~Don’t give up and don’t whine. Blogging is hard. It takes lots of time writing blog posts, taking pictures, reading other blogs, commenting on other posts and between all the reading and blogging, you still have to have a real life. We are all in the same boat and if you don’t feel like blogging anymore, go to Goodreads or Instagram or use twitter to express your bookish thoughts :)
Honya
Marilag
Chrissi

Stefani
Lynn
Christa

Alex Raphael
Jaay
Sarah

MJ
Lumentide
Charis

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Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught Zombie Literature 101

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.Today’s topic is Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught…  And I decided that I’m going with zombies. Here are top ten zombie books I think everyone should read.

b4597-toptentuesday

1. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman


2. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks


3. Cell by Stephen King


Anyone talking on a cell phone after a particular event becomes an aggressive, bloodthirsty zombie” :)))

(4. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson…vampires…)

5. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks

6. Autumn by David Moody
7. Patient Zero by Jonathan Marferry


8. Monster Island: A Zombie Novel by David Wellington
9. Zombie Britannica by Thomas Emson
10. The Passage by Justin Cronin

Do you like zombies? Recommendations? Happy TTT

Pictures kindly borrowed from internet.

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Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

“I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

The nation of Panem is formed from a post-apocalyptic North America. It consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of superiority of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

“You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

“Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when it’s morning again, they’ll wash away
Here it’s safe, here it’s warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

There were many things about Hunger Games that I didn’t like.  I wasn’t fond of the characters though I don’t think they were that bad either. I often put myself in their situation, if I would be 16 years old girl living in Panem what would I be doing… so Katniss was great female protagonist! I didn’t like the romance in the books, I think there should have been more or less of it, now it was slightly confusing and that love triangle didn’t make any sense. Catching Fire seemed to suffer of sequel-ism meaning the first book in the trilogy was really good, Catching Fire was just about okay and Mockingjay was good again.

“That if desperate times call for desperate measures, then I’m free to act as desperately as I wish.”
― Suzanne Collins, Catching

There were more things I liked about Hunger Games than disliked though. Hunger Games was basically like a reality television gone really wrong. Technology and the way citizens of Capitol acted has been evolving completely around this televised event. And the same applies to the poor districts, after apocalypse. Trilogy has a good, entertaining and fast-paced plot and the setting of post-apocalyptic America is great. The books don’t tell us what exactly has happened and when but it must have been something terrible to turn the world into Panem. I also liked how you could see the works and books influencing this trilogy.  I would rate the trilogy 4/5.

How- To Read Hunger Games
1.
Hunger Games is for you if you like dystopian novels, adventure and if you are a fan of Divergent trilogy, Rick Riordan and YA books in general. If you don’t like these books, Hunger Games isn’t for you. Or if you don’t like reading hyped books or if you generally stick with classics or nonfiction.
2.
Hunger Games is, in my opinion, suitable for ages 12+, for younger readers Collins has written ‘Gregor the Overlander’. Somehow I also feel  like Hunger Games is more for girls and other series are more for boys. I mean with the bugs and all that…
3.
Pretty easy and fast to read, some violence but not too bad, it’s targeted for teens after all.
4.
It’s kind of like reality tv :) but better because it’s a book.
5.
Please read a short story named “The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson. It obviously inspired Suzanne Collins greatly and it’s probably the best short story I have ever read.

Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy? What are your thoughts? Is it just me who didn’t like the ending?

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Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

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1. Hermione Granger / Harry Potter

2. Matilda Wormwood /Matilda


3. Tyrion Lannister /A Song of Ice and Fire

4. Cath / Fangirl


5. Anna Karenina / Anna Karenina


6. Bastian Balthazar Bux / The Neverending Story


7. Meggie Folchart / Inkworld

8. Theresa “Tessa” Gray / The Infernal Devices

Link your TTT in comments :)
Is Hermione on your list too?

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How the Lion Fell in Love with the Lamb

“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…” he murmured. I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word. “What a stupid lamb,” I sighed. “What a sick, masochistic lion.” ― Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

Any book series that has sold over 120 million copies deserves respect. Also, books that changed how people see vampires deserve lots of respect. Books that make people read are great. First part in Twilight series is very fast-paced, Twilight is like roller coaster. One event after another. I like that. So there is a girl named Bella, she moves to small city called Forks and falls in love with Edward, who (surprise!) is a vampire. It’s genius idea! When Twilight was first published, humans didn’t fall in love with the vampires, they were terrified of vampires and Meyer turned it upside down. I do prefer my vampires scary though and what I didn’t like about Twilight was the same thing that I liked, the fast pace. I don’t usually like romance in literature and it seemed like Edward and Bella fell in love with each others in what…nanoseconds? It lacked depth.

“Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second-hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me.” ― Stephenie Meyer, New Moon

Next part was the New Moon. “For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen”. Obviously! And when Edward moves away to protect Bella, I wish the Bella was less depressive. Luckily, then she finds out something new about Jacob. In general, I don’t get Bella and Edwards at all in the series. You’ll maybe like Bella because she is so normal. But I just don’t get how girl who reads  is that normal? And that stupid…and she sure complains a lot. Maybe it was all that first person narration that I didn’t enjoy. And Edward…  I just ask myself, if I would be 100 years old vampire, would I hang out in school all day long?  And vampires don’t sleep so hey I will go and watch Bella while she sleeps is creepy, not sweet o.O  My favorite character was maybe Jasper, he at least didn’t pretend to be anything else that what he was.

“Forbidden to remember, terrified to forget; it was a hard line to walk.” ― Stephenie Meyer, New Moon

In the third book, Eclipse, “newborn” vampires have been created to battle the Cullen family and murder Bella, meanwhile Bella is compelled to choose between her relationship with Edward and her friendship with Jacob.  I don’t get love triangles and Eclipse seemed to be concentrated on that and it was really long read compared to two previous books.  In Breaking Dawn Bella and Edward are happily together and then BAM! Plot twists were crazy and especially Renesmee…I did not see that coming. I was disappointed with the ending as well, I was expecting something more and something more dramatic.

“Now you know,” I said lightly, and shrugged. “No one’s ever loved anyone as much as I love you.” ―Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn

What I like in Twilight series is how original it is (whole sparkling vampires concept and vampire and human falling in love) and plot twists were good and unexpected I think Eclipse and Breaking Dawn could have been divided into two books because both books were over 600 pages.   I never have been a big fan of Twilight series (characters + romance) and I don’t like books that become so hyped, so 2,5-3/5.

How-To Read Twilight Series
1.
If you like romance genre, you’ll like this way more than if you don’t. And if you like more YA.  Also, it’s “a vampire story for people who don’t like vampire stories”. I think if you love Dracula, you better not read this.
2. Kind of similar to Vampire Diaries.
3. First two books in the series are quite short and fast to read, next two books are longer.
4. If you don’t like first person narratives, better not read this. Or if you need interesting and complex characters in your books.

Have you read the Twilight Series? What do you think of the Twilight Series? 

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Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015.b4597-toptentuesday

I haven’t had very much time to read this year (as my Goodreads kindly reminds that I am x books behind my goal). Here are my top ten books I’ve read in 2015 so far:

1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?”
This book was spectacular. The Goldfinch shows raw human emotions, complex characters and complex situations.Best book from Donna Tartt so far.

2. Half Bad by Sally Green
“The trick is not to mind.
Not to mind about it hurting.
Not to mind about anything.”
Half Bad has great first line! I was hooked immediately to this book because of that. Refreshing new kind of fantasy. Books in the series have lovely covers.

3. White Fang by Jack London
Click to see my review of this book.

4. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami | “The reason why death had such a hold on Tsukuru Tazaki was clear. One day his four closest friends, the friends he’d known for a long time, announced that they did not want to see him, or talk with him, ever again.” If you like Murakami books, this won’t let you down. So simple and beautiful  style of writing.

5. Olin Anders Breivikin asianajaja (nor.Det vi kan stå for) by Geir Lippestad | Book by Geir Lippestad who was defense attorney of Anders Breivik, Norwegian terrorist who shot dead over 60 youngsters Workers’ Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utøya. This book helps you to understand Norwegian law and  Norwegian court system (which is very similar to one in Finland) and I think it described well author’s job as lawyer.  Especially foreigners called him Devil’s advocate without understanding the situation or the Norwegian law.

6. The Magicians by Lev Grossman | As George R R Martin says in the back cover “The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea”. I am not sure why so many readers expected this to be more like Harry Potter. Surely The Magicians can’t be mistaken for or even be compared with chidren’s books. I enjoyed this book. I loved all the references (even to Harry Potter and Hogwarts) and expressions in Russian and Latin. Characters are well developed, story is well-told. Looking forward reading rest of the trilogy.

7. The Battle For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi | The Battle for WondLa was the last book in the WondLa trilogy. Illustrations in the book are fantastic and the story is unique. I loved the world, the characters and the strong female heroine Eva Nine.

8.The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (illustrations by Chris Riddell) | I love Neil Gaiman. Everyone should read this! The Sleeper and the Spindle has beautiful illustrations and plot twists that you don’t see coming. Highly entertaining.

9. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
“Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind… When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.” Usually, I don’t enjoy reading short stories. However, I am always happy to make an exception. What is unique and beautiful in these ten short stories is how Alice Munro writes about very dark matters. There is pain and there is horror and seemingly ‘too much happiness’. And that leads to horrible events. I loved the descriptions of characters and objects (trees), it was distincts way of thinking and it is what I appreciate in authors. cLast story was my favorite one. Not only does Munro depict the life of Sofia Kovalevskaya, she also manages to fill the story with fantastic cultural references and give accurate picture of what countries and nations(and people and their problems) were like in 19th Century.

10.Winterling by Sarah Prineas
Sarah Prineas is American fantasy author. Her books are mainly targeted for children (and for people like me who adore fantasy). Sarah. P writes fantasy exactly how I want it to be written. It’s funny, it has new elements and it’skind of a rollercoaster and I have never been disappointed with her books. Sometimes, I wrote author ‘fan email’ and she even replied…I was so happy. Winterling  is a wondeful book.

Have you read any of these books? What is your top ten? What have been the best reads for you this year?

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Top 3 Books on Open Innovation

I recently  attended Open Innovation 2.0 Conference in Espoo, Finland (on June 8-9). It was organised by the European Commission DG CONNECT, Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group (OISPG), Intel Labs Europe, Aalto University and the City of Espoo and supported by Dublin City Council. This conference inspired me to write a blog post about open innovation and books you could read on this topic. Below I have listed three books on open innovation I think everyone should read.
Open Innovation 2.0 Conference. Photo: Kim Ekman
Open Innovation 2.0 Conference. Photo: Kim Ekman
The Crowdfunding Revolution: How to Raise Venture Capital Using Social Media
The Crowdfunding Revolution. Published in 2012. Image: Goodreads
The Crowdfunding Revolution by Dan Marom and Kevin Lawton
The Crowdfunding Revolution is a guide on crowdfunding and how it can be used to tap into a “collective intelligence”. Moreover,  it shows how to get to the forefront of  the new world of venture financing. Book was divided in three parts: The Road here, The Crowdfunding Campaign and The Road Ahead. I was not too familiar with crowdfunding  before so it was good to have thorough explanation of it in the first part and I enjoyed the insights on the future of crowdfunding and social media. I had an opportunity to talk with the authors, Dan Marom, shortly during the OI2 Conference in Espoo.  He said that his third book Crowdfunding: The Corporate Era will be published soon. I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

Democratizing Innovation
Democratizing Innovation. Published in 2006. Image: Goodreads.
Democratizing Innovation by Eric von Hippel

Innovation is rapidly becoming democratized. Users, aided by improvements in computer and communications technology, increasingly can develop their own new products and services. Eric von Hippel looks closely at this emerging system of user-centred innovation.” Professor Eric von Hippel was awarded during the Innovation Luminary Awards Ceremony (centerpiece of Open Innovation 2.0 Conference) for Democratizing Innovation. Von Hippel has graduated from distinguished Harvard University, he is innovation professor at MIT Sloan and he has developed numerous crucial theories in innovation. You can read ‘Democratizing Innovation’ here: http://evhippel.mit.edu/books/

Orchestrating Regional Innovation EcosystemsOrchestrating Regional Innovation Ecosystems. Espoo Innovation Garden. Editors: Pia Lappalainen, Markku Markkula and Hank Kune
This book tells about innovation ecosystem and it describes area called Espoo Innovation Garden in Finland. This region ( Helsinki-Uusimaa) is among the most prosperous metropolitan areas in Northern Europe. It’s the centre of Finland’s economic activity. There is a high concentration of large companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises in the area—both Finnish and international ones. Also, the headquarters of companies like Kone (elevators) Fortum (energy), Neste Oil (oil refining and marketing), Rovio (Angry Birds) and Nixu (cybersecurity), among many others are located in Espoo Innovation Garden. If you’d like to read ‘Orchestrating Regional Innovation Ecosystems’ click here: http://bit.ly/1FyZyJW

Would you be interested to read these books? Have you read good books about open innovation?

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How- To Be a Sophisticated Psychopath

“I’m into, oh murders and executions mostly. It depends.” ― Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is a brutal satire of the American upper class in New York in 1980’s. Anti-hero Patrick Bateman is the main character and narrator who works in Wall Street and earns six-figure salaries a year. Bateman is narcissistic, vain and materialistic. Also, he is a serial killer.

“I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning” ― Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

I read this book for the first time some years ago when was in high school. I put this book in same category with Clockwork Orange. I acknowledge that Easton Ellis writes very well and this is very powerful book (in many disturbing levels). I liked this book as in my opinion there’s too much violence and it is written in a way that I find grotesque but no special or original. Also,  there was too much psychopath-ism, I missed creativity. Title fits the book well.

My rating for this book: 1,5/5. It’s best terrible book I know though (along with Clockwork Orange)

How-To Read American Psycho

1. Very powerful book, satire-part  is highly entertaining if you’re looking for good satire. Unique style and content. 2. Talented book (?) as Norman Mailer said: “How one wishes this writer was without talent!” 3. If yo enjoyed Clockwork Orange, you might like this too. If you didn’t like CO, you should skip this. 4. I never have thought of it, but some interpreted that everything happened in Patrick’s head. I don’t know which point of view is more disturbing. Half way through the book I felt like it had nothing new to offer anymore. 5. American Psycho is very graphic and violent book. If you don’t like long descriptions of women being chopped up, you probably shouldn’t read this.

“All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.” ― Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

Have you read American Psycho? What did you think of it? They tell me movie is much better and not nearly as disturbing, should  I watch it?

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Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books

TTT is meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic Top Ten Inspiring Quotes From Books. It is so hard to pick just ten… 

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1. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
— Neil Gaiman (Coraline)

2. “It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
— Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)

3. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
— George R.R. Martin (A Dance with Dragons)

4. “Pain is the feeling. Suffering is the effect the pain inflicts. If one can endure pain, one can live without suffering. If one can withstand pain, one can withstand anything. If one can learn to control pain, one can learn to control oneself. ”
— James Frey (My Friend Leonard)

5. “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

6.“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

7. “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

8. “What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

9.“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

10. “So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

What are your favorite inspiring quotes? Why?

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A Tale of Two Cities

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities  is 16th novel of Charles Dickens published in 1859. It’s set (as title tells) in two cities: London and Paris and it tells the strory through two families, English one and French once.  It’s a tale of chaos, espionage and adventure before and during the French Revolution.

I love how many characters this book has compared to its length.  There are gravediggers, puppet lawyer, kind hearted banker and great main characters: mysterious Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton and woman Lucie Manette whom both of the main characters love. I also like the language and how characters use French idioms: “What the devil you do in that galley there?

“You have been the last dream of my soul.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

I really enjoyed reading this book. I love both cities London and Paris and books around French revolution have always been my favorite ones. Also, I tried not to mention it but somehow I thought of Les Misérables when re-reading this.

I’d give this book 4/5 stars.

How-To Read A Tale of Two Cities

1. You can find it for free in most languages in Public Domain or Project Gutenberg. You can also listen audio version of the novel. Moreover, you can have a look at original manuscript of the novel, not that it is readable.. As for hard copy, find one with pictures, it makes reading more entertaining.
2. It’s descriptive, dramatic theatrical, ironic. If you have thing for French Revolution, go for it. It takes quite much concentration to focus on this book.
3. It has nice length, about 500 pages. It’s one of the shorter books of Dickens.
4. If you are not native English speaker,  and planning to read it in English, you might want to read this in electronic form and with device that has dictionary so you can look up the words.
5. Ladies, this book might have one of your favorite male characters ever. Sydney Carton.
6. If you don’t like Dickens or find his novels hard to approach, try reading at least 100 pages of Tale of Two Cities before you quit. Same goes if you are required to read this book in school. Don’t give up. People say it’s single book they have enjoyed reading in high school.

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Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Check In With

TTT is meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Characters You’d Like To Check In With “(meaning, the book or series is over and you so just wish you could peek in on the “life” you imagine they are leading years down the line after the story ends)”. I could only think of 8 books, mostly all in YA/fantasy genre.

b4597-toptentuesday1. Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials
2. Harry Potter characters
What if lightning scar aches?? o.O

3. Tobias “Four” Eaton from Divergent trilogy
4. Katniss and Peeta from Hunger Games


5. Eragon and Saphira from Inheritance Cycle

6. Shrike from the Mortal Engines
This series ended all wrong…
7. Twilight Saga characters
Maybe it was not so happily ever after?
8. the Boy form the Road by Cormac McCarthy
Because seriously what happened there?

What characters would you like to check in with?

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Ten Books For Readers Who Like Fantasy

It’s Tuesday again :) TTT is meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Ten Books For Readers Who Like _______
I chose fantasy because it has always been and will probably always be my favorite genre. And my list has book series mostly…sorry for that! The books in this list are in no particular order.

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1. Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling
2. Doomspell trilogy by Cliff McNish
Something I call “pure fantasy”. How magic and witchcraft works in Doomspell books is so deeply thought over, element of magic is better than in Potter and that’s why you should read this.
3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
All my childhood I wanted to have daemon.  I was obsessed with them for a long time. His Dark Materials has really good writing, parallel universes, beautiful written characters. You’ll like this if you liked Harry Potter, though it’s much more darker…just READ IT!
4. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
(and The Tawny Man Trilogy… and Soldier Son Trilogy). Robin Hobb is probably my most favorite fantasy author. Her books stun me. I can be disgusted by the main character of her books and then I end up loving them very very much. Very few authors are capable of that.
5. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
Before I read The Name of the Wind I was beginning to feel very disappointed with fantasy authors. There was nothing new, nothing interesting, nothing “epic”. Name of the Wind proved  me wrong. It proved me that there are still authors who are capable of writing epical fantasy. You’ll love this if you loved Song of Ice and Fire.
6. Lord of the Rings and Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
If you haven’t read these…You should. March 25 is the annual Tolkien Reading Day…perfect time to start ;)
7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis
8. Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
9. Discworld by Terry Pratchett
I haven’t read all 40 books of the Discworld books. You don’t gave to start reading Discworld from the beginning, you can read any book you want to. Inhabitants of Discworld include wizards, witches, trolls and dwarves. It’s kind of ridiculous fantasy, nothing really makes sense and it’s kind of ‘messy’ world but it’s what makes it good.
10. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin
Epic, epic, epic. Only reason why you as fantasy lover might not like these is that it takes author forever to write o.O

What’s your TTT? Link it below and I will check it out. OR comment! :)

 

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Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Theme of this week: Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To. I’ve wanted to do Top Ten Tuesday meme for ages already!! Now I finally didn’t miss it! Or I am not sure does it mean you can post this any day after the Tuesday too? Anyways… Book releases I wanted to read in 2014 but didn’t get to TT__T. In no particular order. Pictures kindly borrowed from Goodreads and The Broke and the Bookish :D

1. Panic by Lauren Oliver
Because I really liked all other books by Lauren Oliver: Delirium trilogy & Before I Fall so I want to see in what style she continues to write. Because the name of the book is interesting. Because so many have read it and liked it…

2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Because it reminds me of Lana del Ray song:Gods and Monsters … I love this song Because it has lovely covers. Because I have read the previous parts. Because it’s what I call new kind of fantasy, something unique in the plot.

3. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Because previous parts of Mercy Falls had very nice covers and werewolves had problems with adapting to the temperatures so it was something new. Because I can’t leave book series unfinished.

4. Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Because I want to finish the series. Because I like the author. Because I remember those two being separately in the covers but now they’re together.

5.Princess of Thorns Stacey Jay
Because it’s somehow hilarious to think that Sleeping Beauty’s daughter has a daughter and that she is warrior princess. Because I expect it to be really good.

7. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Because I haven’t read a single book of Marie Lu and I want to know what she writes and how! Because of the title! Because of the Goodreads quote: I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside...it sounded very hmmm revengous…

6. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Because twins are not that common in literature. Because it sounds interesting. Because the covers are almost messy.

 8. We Were Liars by E.Lockhart
Because it had so mixed reviews in Goodreads. Because there’s a mystery element and I haven’t read proper mystery in a long time (not sure if this is even a mystery book). Because I want to know why everyonewere so frustrated about the end of the book.

9. The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
Because you gain deep understanding of whatever he writes about. Because this book will be the kicks. Because I want to understand more about how our brains function and more about for example “smart pill”. Because I love how logically Michio Kaku explains everything.

10. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Because it’s kind of related to what I am studying. Because he was one of the guys who founded Pixar. Because I love Pixar movies. Because he worked with Steve Jobs and other greatnesses. Because it’s genius management in Pixar. Because I might get inspirated.

What are your “Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To”?
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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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Book Review: “Nothing to Envy” by Barbara Demick

Excellent review written by my friend. Check it out! :) I read Nothing to Envy  sometime ago and Barbara Demick has excellent way to write, I recommend this for everyone to read!

Variety as Life Spice

North Korea has been a communist closed state and I have been wondering what the ordinary lives of their citizens are.  After reading a well-known non-fiction called ‘Nothing to Envy’ by an American journalist, it does familiarize me with North Korea’s development and reveal those brutalities happened inside the territory, for instance, hard labour was used to punish the unpatriotic ones.  What even more spine-shivering is that people snubbed and didn’t have faith to each other, even to their family members through strict monitoring and frequent reporting to the Party.  Worse still, the lethal famine occurred in mid-1990s placed them into an awkward plight and constituted a menace to myriads of innocents lives.  Cruel though the fact was, being the breadwinners in the entire family, they still had to meekly accept it by leading a hand-to-mouth life through different means.  After a spate of mishaps, some of the North Koreans were trying to escape to South Korea or cross through the river to China, although being treated harshly, they still arrived to…

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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

 

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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

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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

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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.”

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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 :)

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.