My thoughts on

My thoughts on: best book covers

Hi everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the books you are currently reading! My reading is progressing gradually so that’s definitely good news!

Today I’m coming back with a post from my own series called My thoughts on. I haven’t done a single post from My thoughts on in a very long while! This time I want to share some of my thoughts on best book covers – of course, best in my opinion!

Do you also have some books that you simply like because of their covers? It is not a very common thing of course because we should like books based on what’s written in them! But there are certain books that I can’t take my eyes off and that can sometimes influence my opinion about them. Again, it all depends on an edition of a book – a lot of books can have even up to hundreds of different editions and covers – so we shouldn’t just judge a book by its cover. But we can still admire the beauty of covers!

1.

The Martian

I think The Martian‘s book cover is quite universal and I am not surprised about that! It beautifully reflects Red Planet’s atmosphere and it’s just absolutely stunning.

2.

The Cloud Atlas

I have actually read The Cloud Atlas with a different cover, but I do remember this one very well! It’s thousand times better than the film cover and I think it’s one of the most beautiful covers of all time.

3.

Verity

I think there is something very marvelous about Verity‘s cover. It’s very mysterious and definitely catches your eye. And these colours!

4.

Station Eleven

I haven’t read Station Eleven, but that’s one of the books I am looking forward to reading the most. Just look at the cover! Isn’t it enough to make you want to read it?

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Does the proverb ‘don’t judge the book by its cover’ apply to you? What are your favourite book covers? Let me know in the comments below! ☺️

Other

Thank you for 100 followers!

I can’t believe it myself but I’ve just hit 100 followers on WordPress! Thank you everyone who follows my blog and is regular reader here, I don’t know what I would do without you all! ❤️

When I started this blog back in August last year, I didn’t know what I expected from it. I had no idea what I was doing, what I was supposed to write about, and what my blog would look like in the future! Now, it is finally getting into a more confirmed form and I’m really happy than more than 100 of people are following me and my crazy thoughts! 😉

Let’s hope I will stay as committed to my blog and reading as I’ve been till this time! I am hoping to get even better, but for now, my plans is to read, read, read, and once again read.

Massive thanks to everyone once again and happy blogging! ❤️

The Classics Club

The Classics Club: The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck

I’ve been John Steinbeck’s fan since I was a teenager. In case you don’t know him, he is an author of such books as Of Mice and Men or East of Eden and a Nobel Prize laureate from year 1962. This short novel The Moon Is Down has been waiting for me for a very long time – I got the book at a Book Festival in my town years and years ago! Do you want to know what I thought about it?

I’m tired of people who have not been at war who know all about it.

John Steinbeck, The Moon Is Down

An unnamed town is being invaded by unnamed occupants. Both citizens and invaders have to learn to deal with the new reality they found themselves in; they soon realise that life they knew before is long gone, and that human nature is incredibly unpredictable.

I am quite biased when it comes to John Steinbeck’s works because I am simply a massive fan of his writing. He is one of my all-time favourite authors and as a committed fan, I just can’t say anything bad about his books! It’s not a surprise then that I absolutely loved The Moon Is Down and that my review here is going to be a totally positive one! But still, his books are always very interesting reads to me and I am looking forward to every single one that I haven’t read before. In terms of The Moon Is Down, this one was particularly interesting because it deals with war and themes of democracy, hierarchy and conquest.

As with almost every war book, we are presented with a variety of character portraits during wartime. Also, as with almost every Steinbeck’s book, we are given a very deep study of human mind, human relationships and human nature. Combine these two and you have a beautifully written book about war aggression and resistence. On one hand, there are invaders, including Colonel Lanser, Captain Loft and Major Hunter; on the other hand, there are townspeople: Mayor Orden, Doctor Winter, George Corell and Annie. Each of the characters is so unique in their portrayal and behaviour that it would take agees to present them separately; but one very important things is, they are not simple creatures and human nature is truly unpredictable.

There is no clear division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. I think this is what lies at the core of many of Steinbeck’s books – ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are relative terms. There is no clear division between ‘invaders’ and ‘townspeople’, because even if we think in such terms, we will find that the justification of someone’s actions might lead to completely something else. Colonel Lanser might be the leader of the invading troops, but is he the ultimate leader? Mayor Orden might be the mayor of the town, but does he really have any power at all? Annie, mayor’s cook and no one else than a simple housemaid, rises to the position of the leader of resistance and eventually has much more power than Mayor himself. George Corell is a well-liked citizen of the town, but is he really who everyone think he is?

Steinbeck makes us sympathize with both sides. He shows that both invaders and citizens are not easy people and that during war, nothing is purely black and white. While most of the war stories are fairly one-sided, this one offers a lot of insight into human nature and shows how difficult it is to justify someone else’s actions. During war, there are no real winners or victims – everyone is a winner, but everyone is also a victim.

Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars.

John Steinbeck, The Moon Is Down

As I mentioned before, I love Steinbeck’s writing and I am really afraid I will just love whatever book of his I will find in my hands. The Moon Is Down might not be that elaborated as East of Eden for example, but it’s nevertheless a beautiful study of life during a war. This is yet another great book of John Steinbeck and a must-read war book for everyone. I totally recommend it.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Wrap-Up

Quarterly Wrap-Up 2021

Hi everyone, I hope you are all doing okay! Do you also feel the upcoming spring? March is coming to an end, which means more beautiful weather and sunny days! This also means my first Quarterly Wrap-Up of year 2021!

I don’t read that many books in order to sum up my weeks, or even months. I really wish I could read loads, but I am a very picky and slow reader, and that is why I can’t share with you what I’m reading that often! But I hope you still wouldn’t mind if I shared with you my thoughts about my reading from the last quarter of the year! 😊

In the past 3 months, between January and March, I have read 10 books altogether. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad result, but I remember I used to read much much more back in a day (back in a day when I wasn’t so picky and slow with everything! 😉).

  • 2 of them were a part of my Classic Club challenge.
  • 3 of them have been read as a part of collaboration with a local publishing company that I am currently being involved with!
  • the rest 5 of them are books I have been given via NetGalley.

My average rating so far is 3,7, and the number of pages I have read is (approximately) 3,179.

  • The Lakehouse – my first book of the year which turned out to be a really good thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed! You can find my review here.
  • Little Women – a part of my Classic Club challenge, this was another great story that I absolutely loved. My review can be found here.
  • From the Ashes – a fantasy book I read as a part of my collaboration with a local publishing company.
  • Jack’s Path – a philosophical book I read as a part of my collaboration with a local publishing company.
  • Earthlings – a mysterious horror book by a contemporary Japanese author. You can find my review here.
  • White All Around – a short, yet sweet graphic novel. My mini-review is to be found here.
  • Finding Fate – a YA book I read as a part of my collaboration with a local publishing company.
  • Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – a modern feminist nonfiction. You can find my review here.
  • The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank’s diary was a part of my Classic Club challenge; a marvelous book! My review is here.
  • Like Streams to the Ocean – an inspirational and spiritual fiction book. You can find my review here.

With spring and summer months ahead, I am hoping to read some really good books. I have already started some as part of my Classic Club challenge that I want to finish soon, and I do hope the upcoming months are going to be only better in terms of my reading! There are a lot great books on my mind for when the summer has arrived!

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What was the best book you have read so far in 2021? Have you read any of those books? Let me know in the comments!

Review

Book Review: Like Streams to the Ocean by Jedidiah Jenkins

I’m coming back with another review, this time it’s Jedidiah Jenkins’s Like Streams to the Ocean: Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are. The book captured my interest when I was looking for something more inspirational to read, and so there we are! Do you want to know what I thought of it?

I wonder how much of who we are comes down to doing what we know we’re good at, and avoiding what makes us feel small.

Jedidiah Jenkins, Like Streams to the Ocean

In this collection of essays, the author talks about things that are of great importance to us and that shape our entire lives, like family, friendships, love. The book is divided into eight sections: Ego, Family, Home, Friendship, Love, Work, Death, and The Soul, and each of them gives us a different perspective on each of these aspects.

Like Streams to the Ocean is an easy and inspirational read. Jedidiah Jenkins speaks about all those things in our lives with a very heart-warming and non-judgemental attitude, and gives a lot of interesting tips and pieces of advice on how to make our lives worthwhile. I think the best word that can describe this book is sweet. Jedidiah Jenkins’ writing is very sweet and hopeful, and this is what I liked the most about this book! I loved the parts about family and home the most and how the author talked about these topics – I think they really resonated with me and I could understand them a lot (I didn’t really found the part about work that interesting for example, simply because I couldn’t really relate to it!). In terms of content, the book definitely offers modern and interesting outlook on life and this is the biggest advantage of it. In terms of writing, as I mentioned above, it is inspirational, sweet and warm, and makes the book a

On the other hand though, I feel like this books has been too sweet and too hopeful at times as well. It is one of those books that carries a very universal message – look for happines in your life, get to know yourself, don’t be like others, and sadly, this universal knowledge blends into one big stream of thoughts at some point during reading. Like Streams to the Ocean isn’t something new nor innovative, it is simply the author’s thoughts and opinions on a lot of matters regarding our lives. Which is great really! But I think I’ve read too many books like that in my life already and this one didn’t change my personal opinions on anything, nor did it make a big impression on me.

For some of us, it’s like we’re all born with a mysterious mission, something that bugs us from day one. Mine has been a love for the natural world.

Jedidiah Jenkins, Like Streams to the Ocean

Like Streams to the Ocean was an easy and pleasant read to me! I wouldn’t call it a life-changer, but it has definitely brought some warm into my reading days, and even though I am most probably not going to remember it for a very long time, it was worth giving a shot and recommend it for those of you who are looking for something lighter and more inspirational to read!

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Book Tag

The Philosopher Book Tag

March is flying by! I have finally some more time to do reading and I started a couple of good books that I really enjoy so far. There is still no sign of the end of the pandemic, but let’s hope for the best and keep our fringers crossed for the beautiful spring that is yeat to come! ☀️🌳

I haven’t done any book tag in a while and I thought it’s about time I shared some of my thoughts with all my readers. I found this very intersting tag at Anne with a Book and it was originally created back at Between Lines & Life. I like philosophy and couldn’t resist to take part in this 2in1 (philosophy and books) tag!

So, let’s get to the Philosopher Book Tag!

1. Thales is considered the first known philosopher. Which text introduced you to philosophy or which text would you like to read to get you into philosophy?

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about introduction to philosophy is Albert Camus’s The Plague. I read it in school when covering existentialism and I greatly enjoyed it. It’s one of the few philosophical books I read to be fair and one that I admire the most.

But what does it mean, the plague? It’s life, that’s all.

Albert Camus, The Plague

2. Karl Marx is a political philosopher, turning the world upside down with the Communist Manifesto. Which political event or event in history would you like to read more about in fiction?

This is a very difficult question for me because there are so many historical events that I would love to read about! If I wanted to settle on one event though, it would be from more recent history – I would absolutely love to read a fiction book about Polish workers’ strikes in 1988 that led to the end of Communism. I haven’y yet found a book that deals with this topic!

3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau highly influenced The Enlightenment, a period which introduced critical thinking to the common people. Which book or author forced you to think more critically?

The Midnight Library was definitely a book that made me think about my life more critically! I love how it focused on the meaning of life in the simplest possible way, and I absolutely love the idea behind multiple versions of our own lives.

4. Voltaire once said: ”I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”. Which is a popular book everyone seems to love but you didn’t?

It might not be a big surprise, but I didn’t love The Night Circus AT ALL. This book was just soooo not for me and I struggled with it immensely. I did not like the writing style, I could not understand the characters at all, and it was just so over the top for me. It was one of the biggest reading dissapointments in my life.

5. Hannah Arendt – doomed controversial even by her friends, Hannah Arendt did not shy away from telling what she thought was true. Name a book that will leave readers uncomfortable, but tells an important story.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink was definitely one of the most uncomfortable books I read, yet it tells a very important story. I read it two times and I think it’s a must-read for everyone.

6. “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” A wonderful quote from Nietzsche out of “Thus spoke Zarathustra”. Which book do you go back to for its beautiful writing?

If I were to pick one book just for its beautiful writing, it would be Life of Pi. I didn’t like it that much as some people did, but it’s definitely beautifully written. The film is even more beautiful!

7. Jean-Paul Sartre raised the question “What is literature?” in one of his books. What is good literature for you?

Hmmmm, this one is tricky. I think “good” and “bad” are very arbitrary words and what is good for one person, isn’t necessarily good for the other. Good literature for me are books that I really enjoy and books that deal with difficult, yet interesting topics. It is a very wide definition of good literature, but I think everyone would agree with me to some extent 😉

8. Albert Camus – which book did you have to keep pushing through because you really wanted to understand it’s meaning?

From more recent books, I think that would be Frankenstein. I did have to push through it a little bit because I didn’t entirely enjoy it, but I definitely wanted to understand it properly. Especially that you have to get to the vry end of the book in order to understand its meaning!

9. Which are the three philosophers you would love to sit down and have a chat with?

Aristotle, John Locke and Noam Chomsky – these are my three absolute favourites that I would love to have a cup of tea with and talk about science, empiricism and language philosophy!

If you feel like joining me in this fun tag, you are very welcome to! Happy reading everyone!

The Classics Club

The Classics Club: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Anne Frank’s diary is regarded as one of the most important books about WW2 and of the most important world classics too. February/March is also said to be Anne Frank’s death anniversary (her exact date of death is unknown) and I thought I would commemorate it by reading the book. It’s been on my TBR list for as long as I remember; I’ve never had a chance to read it when I was younger (and I actually don’t know why!), so the day finally came and I finished it not so long ago. Do you want to know what I thought of it?

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. 

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

The diary is an account of a Dutch girl Anne Frank who was in hiding with her family during German occupation of the Netherlands. In her diary entries, she describes her typical days in hiding, struggles with the relationships while in hiding, her thoughts and feelings about the world, and her aspirations for the future.

The only thing I knew about Anne Frank and her family prior to reading the book was the fact that they were Jewish and were in hiding during the occupation. I know, that’s not a lot, but as I said before, I never had the chance to read and even though I’m quite interested in World War II literature, Anne Frank’s diary was always a mystery to me. I had therefore some expectations in terms of the book, and I am happy to say The Diary met them!

First of all, I can’t believe how incredibly personal her diary is. Obviously, it’s a diary, so why wouldn’t it be? But at the same time, I felt amazed at how much time, effort and thought Anne put into describing the details of her life, and how open she was when talking about different topics. I’ve found out that there are actually a few versions of the book, altered throughout the years so they would meet publishing requirements, which only shows how unconventional Anne was with her ideas. It is simply impossible not to sympathize with her and her outlook on life, and I think as for a 13-year old (and then 14-year old) girl, she showed such great maturity and intelligence that I was just left in total awe.

It is also one of those stories that might seem shallow and trivial at the first glance (it’s only a diary of a teenage girl, right?), but when we get deeper into it, we realise what an important part of history it actually is. We never learn at school what life for people in hiding looked like, even though people in hiding during WW2 were a big part of history. I think that sometimes such stories are even much more needed than many of those political, war-driven stories, simply because they make us more connected to the actual real people. That’s why I liked how personal Anne’s story is, because she honestly doesn’t omit a single part of family’s life and we can truly have an insight into this everyday, “boring” day of a family in hiding.

Also, the language. I am still impressed that Anne Frank was only 13 year old when she started writing the diary, and I also know that it’s a work in translation for many people, but still. It’s beautifully written, with so many powerful ideas that Anne inadvertently conveys, and her style of writing is so eloquent and inspiring. Again, it’s amazing how she made her life in the Annex an inspirational story about life and survival.

In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl is one of those books that really make you think. It was a great read that I really enjoyed. I still can’t believe how I haven’t read it before. I kind of wish I had read this book in my teenage years because it would make me understand Anne a littile bit more, but nevertheless, I am still glad I finally got it in my hands!

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Book Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish #2: How Has Blogging Affected Your Reading?

Happy 1st of March everyone! 💐❤️ I love the spring vibes we’ve got here already. My mood has immediately changed as well, simply because everything seems so hopeful. Now that I’ve got a break at uni, I am hoping to read more books this March and be generally a bit more active here on my blog. Life gets better when you finally have some sunshine and warmer days are slowly approaching.

I’ve decided to join in for another Let’s Talk Bookish post, this time answering a question How Has Blogging Affected Your Reading? Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books and Dani at Literary Lion where the girls and the participants discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

I would never have thought that blogging would bring such a change to my life. At first, I thought that I would simply write reviews of books I’ve read and read other reviews of people I’d follow, but it’s much more than that. Blogging is actually a much more advanced version of keeping your personal diary with all book reviews, thoughts, ideas and recommendations, while keeping other people (here, readers and followers) entertained!

It’s great to have a personal space like that where you can simply be yourself and expand your reading-writing skills. That means, I also thought that blogging would never affect my reading. It’s always the reading that powers the blogging, so I would never have imagind how blogging could have any influence on me reading books!

It turned out, it has influenced it. First of all, my book taste has changed – I can finally properly admit what I like and dislike, and I can see a pattern in terms of books I choose to read! I am also more aware of my time-management skills, especially when it comes to combining reading a book and then writing about it. I’ve become more critical in terms of reading – I am more confident in talking about ideas presented in the books, I can finally see all those massive details that I peviously used to miss, and I know how to talk about books I like, and especially, those I don’t like.

On the other hand, sometimes it does feel like reading has turned into more of a job thing. Now that I know that there are strings attached to reading (since I will either have to write about a book or simply think about it in a bigger context), it does make you enjoy reading slightly less. Maybe you all have any tips on how to make reading more enjoyable and not make such a big deal out of it?

All in all, I do think that blogging has affected my reading in a very positive way! Even though I started blogging not so long ago, I can even see a difference between me from August 2020 and me now. I do hope blogging will bring me a lot of fun in the years to come and that I will learn even more about writing, reading, managing my blogging life and simply enjoy books more! 😊

Review

Book Review: Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

I’ve come across Florence Given’s book by accident and since it’s presented as a feminist nonfiction, I had to give it a go. I always enjoy a good nonfiction book, especially when it gives me a lot of insight into a new topic or idea, or simply deepens my knowledge in a topic I’m already familiar with. Feminist literature has been my go-to genre for a very long time, so Women Don’t Owe You Pretty was an obvious choice. However, did it meet my expectations?

But remember that anyone who tells you you’re “too” anything is using the word because they are threatened by your capacity to grow, evolve and express your emotions.

Florence Given, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty

The book explores the topic of modern feminism, with a lot of references to problems of identity, sexuality, racism, homophobia, sexual assualts and relationships, and it is supported with Given’s illustrations. It is said to be an introduction and a “leap” into feminism, and it’s supposed to re-shape our deeply enrooted values of toxic traits and patriarchy.

Florence Given’s book is a very personal and empowering story of modern women that I did relate to on some levels. There were quite a few inspirational passages, especially regarding social and political issues, social media use and beauty standards in the modern world, and the book is in general a big self-help story to all those insecure women who want to change their lives for the better. The writing is easy-to-follow with clear messages, the book is well-designed and there are a lot of explanations of different basic terms (also thanks to the glossary at the end of the book). Unfortunately, this is where the positives of the book end for me.

In overall, I feel very dissapointed with the book. It seemed fairly unoriginal and while it could succeed as a basic self-help and introductory book into feminism, it did not meet my expectations as a book that was meant to be a “milestone” in feminist literature. There is nothing really in there that hasn’t been said before by much more qualified and/or experienced feminist activists, and the content is very repetitive at times, focusing solely on the author’s personal experiences with dissapointments in her adult life. While most of the views are fairly empowering, the majority of them do not enhance the story in any way and rather, they made me roll my eyes (simply because they all seem to circulate between the sayings “men are trash” and “be your own love of your life”). I also did not agree with most of the theories and ideas in the book. For example, I did not fully grasp the idea behind sexuality as presented from Given’s perspective (surely the only reason why women go for men isn’t because they seek external validation from them?).

Florence Given talks a lot about privileges, queerness, love and body positivity, but for me, the way she shaped her views is filled with spite and bitterness. She refers a lot to her own personal trauma, and while it is okay to include references like that, it is not okay not to include other women’s perspectives on the matter (especially when she mentions diversity so often). Maybe it’s my very subjective feeling after the last chapters of the book, but it did not get a whole-heartedly positive outlook on the life as presented by Given. If the book was meant to encourage me to live a liberated life as a woman, it unfortunately failed to do that.

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty would have helped me if I had read it 5 to 10 years ago. It is informative, but only to a small extent. Maybe it would fit someone else’s expectations more, but sadly, the only part of the book I really enjoyed were occasional empowering sayings, the design and the easiness in terms of the writing. Do not get completely discouraged though, because I do hope the book can be enjoyed! But maybe only by people who just start their journey with modern feminism.

Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I have been given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My opinions here are my own.

Other

February Book Haul

February is such an unproductive month. It feels like one of those months in-between all those other months when I’m just waiting for it to be over. In times of coronavirus, I feel especially confused and I have no idea what I am supposed to do with myself. How are you all handling situation with the pandemic and what does it look like in your country?

On a positive side, I’ve got some amazing books to share with you that I have recently bought or been provided with for a review! Check out my list below:

  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King – I bought this one in a second-hand shop. I am trying to read more of Stephen King’s books because for some reason I am sooooo behind his works that it’s pretty embarassing. I’ve been meaning to read The Gunslinger for such a long time now and I’m so happy I finally found a copy!
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – I also bought this one in a second-hand shop. I’ve never read anything by Anne Tyler before so I’m very curious about A Spool of Blue Thread. I don’t have high expectations, but the synopsis sounds very interesting. Also, I quite liked the cover 😉
  • Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given – I’ve been given Women Don’t Owe You Pretty via NetGalley. It’s a nonfiction book about feminism so quite obviously I had to go for it. I have already started reading it, so stay tuned for a more detailed review!
  • Cardiff, by the Sea: Four Novellas of Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates – this one has been waiting for me on NetGalley for a very long time, but I am hoping to have it finished in February (if time allows for it). Cardiff in Wales is my favourite place in the world, but the title of the book refers to an American version of the city. I really can’t wait to read this one and I think this is going to be my cup of tea.
  • A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams – this one has also been patiently waiting for me on NetGalley. I don’t usually read that many thrillers (this year has definitely been somewhat of a thriller-y year for me so far!), but something about A Dark and Secret Place made me really interested in it.

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I hope you all are having an amazing, sunny day filled with a lot of books! Happy reading everyone!