Book Review – milk and honey

This is the first poetry book I review and I must say I am proud of myself. I am proud of myself because I have evolved from the scholastic mentality of hating poetry because we were force-fed it for so many years.

We can say I started with a bang. “milk and honey” is one of the most famous contemporary poetry works and it sold over one million copies in order to make it to the top of the New York Times’ bestseller list. The author is a woman called Rupi Kaur who, in her works, decided to analyse hurt, depression, love, healing, femininity, and abuse.

This book is divided in four parts: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing. All these parts are mended together by the awareness of the author of what she deserves, and that is the best. It explores all parts of being a woman, a person of colour, a heartbroken human, someone who wants to heal. She shares her past experiences of lost love and abuse and she lets us know that hurting in normal and that healing will come. Putting one’s soul on paper in the way that she did is admirable and reading these pages felt like getting to know somebody. Somebody who comes from a different cultural background than I, yet somebody who’s heart felt the same hurt I felt.

Talking about formalities, this is not the same poetry we were taught in school. There are not many rhymes and rather than musicality we find obvious meaning which hits you in the face.

If I were to give this book, or should I rather say soul, a score based only on the themes explored, I would give it a 10/10.

Unfortunately, personal taste comes into play, and I am still in love with Dante’s poetry, where you are embraced by rhymes and music.

Score: 8/10

Thank you for reading.

xx

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Book Review – A Game of Thrones

I finally gave in to the Game of Thrones craze and decided to ask as a gift the first book of the series, A Game of Thrones, and the special companion book, The World of Ice & Fire. I read the first one quite quickly and I am halfway through the companion book, but since it is full of “historical” events, I get bored easily and I prefer to only read a bit at a time.

Let me start this review by saying that if you have watched the first season of the HBO series, you already know what happens in the first book. It is 99% the same thing.

In case you do not know anything about this series, it follows the life and adventures of various characters, from various points of view, living in Westeros, a fictional land. I would say, if we were to collocate it chronologically, that it would be set in fictional medieval times.

The whole plot is based on games of power and the fight between various houses, especially Lannister and Stark, with a side of Targaryen. Telling you about the characters would ruin everything for first time readers, so I cannot reveal too much. I can only say that my favourite house is House Lannister and that my favourite character is Tyrion Lannister, a very intelligent, overall good, and witty man.

There are no bad things that I can say about this book, to be completely honest. Okay, it is very long, but it is extremely worth it. The length is proportional to how much information is contained and how many dialogues George R.R. Martin had the fantasy to conjure.

I have already gotten the next two books of the series and I promise I will review them as soon as possible.

Score: 10/10

Thank you for reading.

xx

 

 

Book Review : Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I finally got the chance to buy this book and I read it on my way back from Australia; I finished it right before landing in Rome. I wanted to get my hands on it ever since it came out, but I wanted it in English, not Italian, so this was my chance. I bought it at a duty free shop in Brisbane Airport.

So, as you might already know, this is not an actual book as much as it is the screenplay used for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play that everybody has been going crazy over this past year.

The plot picks up 19 years later, right where the last film ended. We have a new set of characters, some of whom get introduced in this book anew. You will immediately notice that time and action move very quickly and that the whole dynamic has changed. Harry is now a father dealing with a son he does not understand, Hermione is juggling being a mother while also being Minister of Magic and Professor McGonagall, well, she keeps dealing with insane students.

I will not give anything away, since it is a very interesting book and it keeps, despite the new characters, giving us a glimpse into the world be all know and love. It does really feel like being back at Hogwarts, but from a different perspective. Humour is very present and I actually found myself laughing more than twice at certain passages (hint: Ron was always present).

Unfortunately, there is one aspect I did not like of the book, not because it was unpleasant, but because it did not convince me. You will understand what I am saying if and when you read the book, since it is a pretty big part of it. Being used to JK Rowling’s writing, who only revealed the mysteries of the series in the last book, coming face to face with such an important event without it being accurately premeditated sort of left me hanging.

All in all, I am very glad I am part of this world again and I loved every single page. It was a pretty fast read and I do whole-heartedly recommend it.

Score: 9/10

Thank you for reading.

xx

Book Review : 1984

I finally finished reading this book. I think I have been reading it for two months and today I finally read the last 150 pages.

Let me start by saying that this is not a book for everybody. Of course, everyone can read it, but not everyone can understand it. You need to have studied a certain amount of modern history to understand the historical references and the political changes and systems.

That being said, this book is a classic. It tell the story of a dystopian world, divided into three big sections, so to say, which are always at war with one another. The story is set in London, part of Oceania, where the main character, Winston Smith, works for the outer (political) party. Until here, everything seems ordinary. But the way the world works is completely messed up, according to our ideals : the inner party controls everything, as in every movement a person makes, every facial expression, everything they learn since birth. They modify history and turn rebel individuals into brainless puppets, who end up agreeing with the party, after various forms of physical and psychological torture.

Winston Smith is, in fact, one of these rebels who becomes an ally of the Brotherhood (an association of rebels) and tries to defy the system, if not by facts, by thoughts. Most of the book, about 80% of it, explains the background of the way the world works and why it works that way. The remaining 20% is concentrated towards the end and it was, for me, the most frustrating and angering part, since everything in it is against my morals and modern thinking. It goes as far as denying that the force of gravity exists or that our Solar System is heliocentric, saying that it is the party who controls everything. It felt as if I was a spectator who could not do anything about the situation, which is how Winston himself felt. I do think that George Orwell was very smart by doing that and it makes you, after reading the book, want to take a stand against oppression of thought. It shows you what the world should never be like, but could be, since there are many power-hungry people out there.

All in all, this book was very eye opening and I only realised that towards the end. It may seem boring in certain passages, but it all adds up.

Score : 8/10

Favourite Books

I am a reader. I am a hardcore reader. I am a traitorous reader.

I love reading and immersing myself in life stories of other people, historical or fictitious. I tend to read about anything, whether it is a biography or a sci fi novel, although I very rarely read anything that has to do with romance; but on my very very long list of books I want to buy and read there are a few classics which revolve around the theme of love.

I used the term ‘traitorous’ to say that I am not extremely loyal to the art of reading, which means that I have periods of intense fanaticism and periods of no reading at all; and I hate myself for that. I know I can devour books in 3 days, but I get lazy and distracted. Don’t judge.

I also believe in the vital importance of reading the classics. I feel there is a reason why they are called that and that reason is because they have shaped the modern day mentality.

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This above is my library. It is not big, unfortunately, and there are some books that I still have to read. The titles are obviously in Italian, although I have decided to buy English books in their original language, to practise even more this amazing language.

I will now make a list with my favourite books of the lot, although each and every one holds a place in my heart. The list will not be a “top 10” sort of list, but a mere listing of the way they are arranged in the photos.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

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Okay, do we even have to talk about this? This whole series was, is and will always be my childhood. From the books, which I devoured in two days, at the most, to the films, which you can see above the books themselves. I also own the three additional books and the Harry Potter Film Wizardry.

I cannot express my gratitude to Queen Rowling since I do not know words grand enough to talk about her creations.  This series will always hold a special place in my mind. Slytherin to the day I die.

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

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“It follows Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon and the gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris’ Louvre Museum. They are stunned to discover bizarre riddles that lead them to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci, seemingly left by the museum’s late curator, Jacques Saunière minutes before his death. Their race to discover the closely guarded secret held by Saunière uncovers a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus having been married to Mary Magdalene.” This was taken from danbrown.wikia.com

And not just that, but the whole series revolving around Robert Langdon, the symbology professor at Harvard, which includes “Angels and Demons”, “The Lost Symbol”, “The DaVinci Code” and “Inferno”. I still believe that the Code is the most interesting one, maybe because it revolves around the almost legendary figure of Leonardo, such an enigma even today. The way the plot is constructed makes you actually reflect and reason and every move is linked to the next, therefore curiosity will get the best of you. Always.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

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This was Stephen King’s first work that I read and it was a cultural shock : I was not used to such an intricate and particular way of writing, having read very few books before this. The way he describes particularly gruesome scenes of slaughter or mental breakdowns is extremely cold and realistic at the same time. This is a collection of novellas, all centred around the figure of the Woman, who seeks revenge or justice, or is the reason why the action happens, in one way or another. My favourite is the last one, “A Good Marriage”, which was also adapted into a movie and I suggest you should watch it although, in my opinion, the novella is much better. It is better to imagine horror than to see it on a screen.

It by Stephen King

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Get used to Mr. King’s name, since he is my favourite modern day author. “It” is the longest book I’ve ever read (1000+ pages) and I even had to take a break from reading it, losing focus at times; it was all my fault, I agree, because the book is so intense and well written and could have no faults. We all know the plot :

“The novel is set in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, where a malevolent, shape-shifting, child-killing monster (referred to simply as “It”) lurks in the sewers and storm-drains.

In 1958, Bill Denbrough, Mike Hanlon, Ben Hanscom, Eddie Kaspbrak, Beverly Marsh, Richie Tozier and Stan Uris (who call themselves The Losers’ Club) each have horrifying encounters with the creature which takes on the shape of their greatest fears (but Its most prominent form is that of a sadistic, balloon-wielding clown called Pennywise).  The Losers decide to hunt down the creature and destroy It. The narrative jumps forward to 1985, when murders are once again taking place in Derry. Mike Hanlon, the only one of the Losers who has remained in Derry, is convinced that the creature has returned and calls each of the Losers reminding them of the promise they made as children. Each of the six other Losers have gone on to success and wealth, but had completely forgotten about their childhood’ s friendships and traumas. They all return and begin piecing together their hazy memories.” This was taken from stephenking.wikia.com

This is the kind of book I would call a classic and a must-read.

The Shining by Stephen King

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“Isolated for months on end Jack Torrance, an abusive alcoholic writer has been given the responsibility of caretaker of the famous “Overlook”. With his beautiful and strong willed Wife- Wendy and misfit son Danny, the three will come to learn that they are not alone in the Hotel which they reside in.-The Overlook is much more than a five-star resort. Discover the shocking scandals and gruesome truth, that haunts this Hotel so, in…The Shining!” Taken from stephenking.wikia.com

This is the last King book I am mentioning here, but at the same time it is the most intense and purely horrific in my opinion. Behind the apparent horror and mental troubles there lay much more important problems, revolving around family and love. At least that’s what I took from it. I do own “Doctor Sleep”, which is a continuum of the book mentioned above, and it is next on my list.

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino

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This is an Italian must read. Its title (originally “Il Barone Rampante”) says it all : the story is about a baron who lives in the trees and decides to never get off; it narrates his entire life (from his brother’s point of view), from when he puts foot on his first tree to the day he dies. It has many underlying themes and it is, in my opinion, a quick read and also a fun one, from the very first page, which describes his unconventional family. If you want a piece of refined Italian literature, you should start with this.

Violent Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini 

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This is my most recent read and to be honest, I started with the wrong foot, since it was assigned by my Literature teacher, and therefore I adopted a hostile approach towards it. But I finished it and I felt like a piece of me got torn apart. The book narrates the post-WWII life of Roman 18 to 20-year-olds, and it is focused on Tommaso, a troublesome guy. It is written in dialect, so it will probably not have the same effect in English, but it is worth a try. It is excruciating and it is most definitely an eye-opener. There are also a lot of politics involved and even if, judging by the language used, it was written for common people, I think there are many important themes that should be analysed in this work of art. It was also made into a film.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 

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“Humbert Humbert is a European intellectual adrift in America, haunted by memories of a lost adolescent love. When he meets his ideal nymphet in the shape of 12-year-old Dolores Haze, he constructs an elaborate plot to seduce her, but first he must get rid of her mother. In spite of his diabolical wit, reality proves to be more slippery than Humbert’s feverish fantasies, and Lolita refuses to conform to his image of the perfect lover.” Taken from amazon.com

This book was the hardest piece of literature I have ever had to read. Skipping the unorthodox plot, the way this book is written is chaotic but organised, clear but confused, all at the same time. I had to often re-read pieces here and there to get a general idea, but regardless, it is one of the classics and Nabokov’s style is unbeatable.

 

So there’s that. I will keep you guys posted on any new books I read.

xx