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How did I do on my 2021 (really small) TBR? | IcthusBookCorner

Hello fellow humans!

So, in case you didn’t know, in February 2021, I published a post telling you all about the 8 books I really wanted to read that year: 8 Books I Plan on Reading in 2021. I’m here to let you know that I didn’t complete the said TBR list. 

I did, however, read 5 of those books. I reckon that in this case, 62.5% is not that bad. Here is how I rated them all…

  1. Unholy Ghosts by Richard Zimler: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
  2. The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 (This was just the perfect read for me.)
  3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
  4. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
  5. Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Overall, that is 4 four star ratings and 1 five star ratings.

I obviously read more than 4 books this year, many of which have an available review on my blog. Therefore, I will be posting a *2021 in Books* type of post later this week.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think about them? Are you planning on reading any of these books in the future?

Bye!


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Wings, by Larisa Shepitko – Film Review

Wings was Larisa Shepitko’s debut feature after she graduated from the famous All-Russian State Institute for Cinematography.

The film follows forty-one-year-old Nadezhda Petrukhina, a once WWII Soviet pilot, now living a quiet but unsatisfactory and ordinary life as a principal at a trade school. While treasured and respected by the generation that experienced the same War, Nadezhda struggles to connect with the generation that followed hers. She disapproves of her daughter’s (Tanya’s) choices in men and worries that her daughter might discover she is adopted.

The film is filled with a sense of neverending alienation deepened by a rich array of subject matters. These topics create a cracking portrait characterized by remembrance, grief, longing, and the struggles that come with getting older. 

The film is a superb character study that, surprisingly, ends up providing more hope than sorrow. Maya Bulgakova’s portrayal of Nadezhda has incredible nuance. She effortlessly conveyed the profound, wounded warmth of the character underneath the thick exterior of sombre uprightness. That final closeup of her eyes filled with tears while in the cockpit gave me a punch of sudden sadness!

Wings has a strong sense of Russian postwar nationalism, but it is not afraid to explore the morally ambiguous ramifications of that same nationalism on the human mind. Managing to also explore femininity through the lens of feminism while the movement was picking up steam worldwide.

I recommend this film to everyone who enjoys contemplating human existence and is interested in Soviet cinema. Please, let me know what to think about it.

Bye!


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As You Like It by William Shakespeare – Book Review|IcthusBookCorner

“All the world’s a stage”, said Jaques.

This was the first Shakespeare play I read in English, I had only read “Hamlet” in Portuguese before. I honestly enjoyed it a lot, even though I had some difficulties getting into Shakespeare’s language and writing style at first. At the moment, having read “Much Ado About Nothing“, I feel like I’m much more comfortable with his writing. 

“As You Like It”, a five-act comedy by William Shakespeare, was written and performed around 1599 and first published in the First Folio of 1623.

This play has two main locations: the court that Frederick has taken over from his brother (the rightful Duke), and the Forest of Arden (where the Duke and his followers live in exile).

The central theme of “As You Like It” is love, much like other comedies by Shakespeare. It’s a light-hearted and amusing read where there is disguise, family feud and romance. However, while reading it, I kept thinking about how it might also be about the fluidity of gender, how it could be interpreted as an analysis of queer identity both of gender and sexuality. It is light, has loveable characters, happy messages and not to mention amazing quotes! 

Rosalind was my favourite character in this play. She represents an excellent and ahead of its time female character, whom I enjoyed reading as she experimented with her recently discovered liberties as Ganymede. This is, Rosalind disguises herself as a young man (Ganymede), for the majority of the play, to pursue the man she loves and advise him on how to be a better, conscientious companion and lover. 

In contrast to Jaques, who refuses to have an all-in approach to life and always has something to say about the stupidity of those around him, Rosalind gives herself fully to every moment of her existence.

That is pretty much it, I have nothing else to say about this play. Let me know if you have read this before or watched any of the film adaptations.

Bye, keep on reading.


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Mr Palomar by Italo Calvino – Book Review|IcthusBookCorner

Mr Palomar is a 1983 novel by the Italian writer Italo Calvino. Its original Italian title is Palomar.

It is a work of fiction but reads more like a philosophical understanding of the world we live in. There is no plot but rather an organized account of varied observations made by the main character, whose name is Mr Palomar.

In a series of tweety-seven stories or analyses, he takes his everyday experience from the world as a series of problems in looking and interpreting the nature of reality itself. These episodes or essays sometimes have an aura of magic, spiritual introspection, or philosophical experiences.

The author’s words are beautiful and candid, or at least the translation (William Weaver) is. Calvino chooses his words so carefully and wisely that not one sentence seems expendable. This book is nothing like anything I’ve read before.

Mr Palomar views each object of his attention in length, as a whole, in its details and even possible variations. I reckon everyone at some level can relate to him quite a bit, at least everyone whose mind wanders off or who sets themselves to mull over the puzzles of life. My favourite chapter was titled “The Universe Looks at Itself”, I found the way in which the protagonist beholds the universe to be breathtaking and, I believe I feel like that because it’s pretty similar to the way I do it.

I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys flowery prose and likes to contemplate the human experience. Please, let me know what to think about this book.
Bye, keep on reading.


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My Thoughts on “Much Ado About Nothing” (play and film)

I watched and read Much Ado About Nothing, and here is what I think.

First, let’s talk about the 1993 film. It is wonderfully acted, let me tell you. With the magnificent ensemble of Keneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington and Kate Beckinsale, who could expect anything less?

I have to give all due respect to the cinematographer (Roger Lanser) for using the landscape available so beautifully. Not to mention, the soundtrack (Patrick Doyle) goes amazingly well if the overall absurdist feeling of the film. Overall, the directing style (Kenneth Branagh) was suitable for the story being told.

Just like the original play, this film manages to maintain its fun, lively and light feeling, while somehow adding to the play’s Pythonesque tone.

Listening to Emma Thompson reciting Shakespeare is an entire experience in and of itself, which I didn’t know I needed. What’s more, I believe I feel a bit in love with Denzel Washington, but that is neither here nor there.

Now, allow me to explain the plot. Claudio catches a glimpse of Hero and is immediately in love, and by her expression, she lets us know she reciprocates. While this is happening, Benedick and Beatrice are becoming aware they too are attracted to each other. However, unlike the other pair, their passion is expressed through quarrels and insults.

Since this is, what I would call, a Shakespearean romantic comedy, there is quite a bit of mockery, farce, zingers, and there is melodrama beyond contempt, but it all is right in the end.

The original play is known as one of Shakespeare comedies, and it was written around 1598. But let me tell you, it was only one step from falling into tragedy.

The play’s action is remarkably gamelike. There are dances, eavesdropping, disguises and misunderstandings, which gives us a lighthearted and upbeat pattern.

Something I realized after watching the film was that the play was very much dominated by two side characters. I found myself overlooking the main couple and rooting for Beatrice and Benedick. I reckon this is the result of their intellect and strength when compared to that of other characters in the story. However, I also believe they are afraid of rejection and of being the object of ridicule, so they choose to pretend they hate each other’s guts, for that reason too.

Beatrice is, without a doubt, my favourite of all Shakespeare’s characters. She is both sharp and fierce. Beatrice invented feminism, and we are just living but her rules.

I truly enjoyed this play, mainly because it overflows with wit and has a beautifully engaging set of characters. Furthermore, I applaud the play’s exploration of relevant themes such as betrayal, hypocrisy, and gender roles. (I can’t believe Shakespeare really brought light to the problem with gender roles.)

Please, let me know what to think about this film and play if you have watched or read it. And your experience with Shakespeare overall.
Bye, keep on reading.


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My Thoughts on Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – Book Review|IcthusBookCorner

TW: Death, Depression, Sexual harassment, Rape, Suicide

The synopsis of this book goes something like this:
“Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.”

I’m not quite sure what I think about this book. Let me explain!

I’ve read Murakami before… I read Kafka on the Shore back in January 2020, and it is still one of my favourite books of all time. I’m genuinely in love with Murakami’s writing style, with his eloquence, his world-building, how when he describes food you can actually taste it, and when he describes a place you feel like you are actually there. He has obviously mastered his language, and the translator of his work is a genius.

One of the other reasons, I think, Norwegian Wood strikes a chord with readers is for its themes of mental illness and suicide. Mental health is not the most discussed topic, least of all in the 80s when this book was first published.

There are, however, a lot of problems in his books. I probably didn’t notice these in Kafka on the Shore because of its lack of relevant female characters.

All the female characters in this novel feel cartoonish, one-dimensional and are emotionally dependent on men. Most male characters are self-centred, and our male narrator spends most of his time objectifying the women around him. Not to mention that, for some inexplicable reason, every woman in this book wants to have sex with the main character. This is particularly baffling because the main character has nothing, NOTHING going for him.

Moreover, there is an entire rape scene described in detail in chapter 6, which is not only extremely disturbing but completely irrelevant to the plot.

All in all, I’m unable to rate this book. The immorality present in this story is not something I can compare to Lolita, for example, where it is very much intended given the overall purpose of that specific narrative. I feel like the misogyny present in Norwegian Wood is very likely to be a subproduct of Murakami’s mindset. If that is the case, I need to contemplate how that changes how I approach his writhing.

Please, let me know what to think about this book.
Bye, keep on reading.


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March Wrap Up | IcthusBookCorner

Another month has passed, and I started feeling sad for only having read two books, even though I had read seven books the month before. Uni started again, and this time I really had a lot to do because of my thesis. March was a difficult month for me…

This feeling of failure was starting to haunt me a bit, then I realized there was no reason for me to feel like that. I read two AMAZING books that I loved, and if you ask me, that is much better than reading a large number of mediocre books.

Both books were read in physical format: one is mine, and the other was borrowed from my local library. Both books were fiction, one written in the late 70s and the other written in 2014.

I read All The Light We Cannot See and If On a Winters Night a Traveler. If I remember correctly, I gave both these books 4 stars. The first book is historical fiction set during WWII and was part of a buddy read I did on Instagram. The second and last book is an Italian classic which is seen as one of the most important postmodernist novels.

I won’t go into more details because even though I haven’t been posting that much, I intend to write reviews for both of them. Please, hold me accountable for that.

So, I have a few questions for you! How was your reading month in March? What was your best read? What are you currently reading? What books are you excited for in this coming month? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed your march readings.
Bye, keep on reading.


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I know I didn’t post anything last week, don’t come for me! |IcthusBookCorner

Hey there people! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Today I’m here to ramble on with you, nothing bookish.

Probably no one cares, but I haven’t posted anything since my birthday, and that was a scheduled post. To be honest, I got a bit tired of posting two times a week, and it got to a point when I had no idea what to post. I didn’t feel like writing reviews, and I was, overall, burned out.

I’ve always enjoyed talking about books and films, and it’s something that brings me joy. That is why I created this blog: to express myself and find people who love books as much as I do.

At the end of 2020, I decided to create a regular posting schedule again, and it was fine. (Mind you that I’ve had this blog since 2016, which is a long time.) In the beginning, this new attempt at organized content was amazing. It was so good that I had the idea to monetize the blog. I was excited by the interactions and visitors I had for my review of Death at Intervals and took it as a good sign. It was a stupid idea! I now felt forced to post even if I had nothing to say, and I felt like people weren’t interacting with me as much as they once did, which lead to me feeling like I was talking into the vacuum. (And by the way, I made no money so far, it was a stupid idea.)

Now, I feel like I’m now back on track, but I’ll probably only post once a week (two if I feel like it). I want to write a sort of essay on “The Shawshank Redemption” and “A Pocket History of Human Evolution”, and I also really want to write my reviews for “All The Light We Cannot See”, “If on a winter’s night a traveller” and “Notes from Underground”. As well as other things that I don’t want to reveal because I think they are better as a surprise. (I’ll post my March Wrap Up as soon as I can.)

Once again, I hope you are all doing well and living a Covid-19 free life. It was nice to talk to you all.
Bye, keep on reading.


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Birthday Book Tag | IcthusBookCorner

Hey there, everyone! It’s my birthday today, and I’m officially an old lady. Mentally and emotionally, I’ve been an old lady for a long time now. Well, this means I can finally bring you this super fun tag I saw over at Jawahir the Bookworm. They told me the original creator is Antonia @ Always books. Go check out their blogs if you feel like it. Let’s get into it!


BIRTHDAY CAKE — a book with a plot that seems cliché but you adore it anyway.

I don’t know! This question is quite hard. As you can probably tell from the reviews I post, I don’t usually read “cliché” type books. I tend to read a lot of non-fiction and poetry which obviously don’t contain clichés. (And I’m not saying this to be “#different”, please don’t hate me.)
I got it! I have to choose Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. This book was quite a wild card for me. I was looking for something different from what I usually read; I need fluff, cuteness and lightness. That was precisely what Pumpkinheads gave me. It’s far from the best book I ever read or anything, but it was a fun read. I did adore it, but it was very much cliché.

PARTY GUESTS — your most anticipated book release for this year

If I’m being honest, I have no idea what books will be released this year. I really what to read Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender and The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, but I’m pretty sure these are both books from last year. Can I just say those, please?
Wait, I know one! It’s The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton(yes yes yes yes I remembered one) Do I need to explain my anticipation? The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is set in the ’70s, and it’s about and afro-punk duo. AMAZING

BIRTHDAY PRESENTS — a book that surprised you with how much you loved it.

This one is obvious, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it. It had an interesting title and was on sale, so I wasn’t expecting much. It ended up being one of y favourite books of 2020. I loved learning about Hemingway’s life in Paris and his life as a young author. Truly magnificent.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY” SONG — a book that certainly deserves all the hype it got.

I don’t know if I’ve recently read a book that had a lot of hype surrounding it. Maybe, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly! Was there hype? I feel like it had because of the film. Honestly, it was an interesting book. I was expecting a bit more, but it’s a good book for what it is.
It talked about the civil rights movement, NASA and women of colour working at NASA and kicking ass.

HAPPY MUSIC — a book with some very beautiful and truly meaningful quotes.

I don’t know if their beautiful, but they are meaningful and relevant, Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis. This book is a must for anyone looking for insight into the connection between different forms of oppression. This book was objective, concise and exactly what I was hoping for.

GETTING OLDER — a book that you read a long time ago but you think would appreciate more if y ou read it as a more mature reader.

For this one, I’m choosing The Appointment by Herta Müller. I read this book way too young the got nothing from it. I think I was 13 when I read it, and it was overall a boring experience. The book is about a young clothing-factory worker living during a totalitarian regime if I remember correctly, I really need to reread it.

SWEET BIRTHDAY MEMORIES — a book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life.

Well, here I have to mention Blindness by José Saramago. I read this book at a difficult time during my mid-late teens. This was actually the book that made me fall in love with books again. It made me realize I needed book and literature to escape what I was going through.
If you haven’t, I highly recommend you read this book, it’s perfect. The man got a noble for a reason.


I hope you enjoyed this tag. It was super fun for me to think about these questions/topics. Please, let me know if you have ever read any of these books and what books you would choose for these topics.
Keep on reading.

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Exploring Bookstagram’s Habits |IcthusBookCorner

Hello, hello, everyone! Today I decided to bring you something different.

I recently joined bookstagram (@icthus_book) and was interested in people’s habits regarding their book consumption inside the bookstagram space. So I did some polls, questions and quizzes to see what was going on. This post will show us what is up with the bookstagram community.

The questions I asked include:

  1. Do you use a reading tracker?
  2. Which reading tracker do you use?
  3. If you don’t use one, why not?
  4. How long have you been using a reading tracker?
  5. Do you buy used or new books, or do you read library books?
  6. Do you use audiobooks?

As someone how has been using Goodreads for years and is now changing to StoryGraph, I was interested to see how people track what they read. Or if they track at all. From my research, 21% of people don’t track what they read at all, and 79% of people do track their readings.

When it comes to what people use to track their readings: 78% of people use Goodreads, 15% of people use StoryGraph, and 7% of people use a notebook or a planner. 

I asked people who said they don’t track their readings why they don’t do so. One of them said they were, quite literally, assaulted in the message section of one of the online trackers. Some people said they don’t read enough to feel the need to track the books they read. Lastly, some people just said they had never thought of tracking the book they read.

The second part of the “research” was about the type of books the people of bookstagram consume. As someone who buys most books second-hand, I was intrigued by the results of the inquiry. I found out that 73% of the people that follow me mostly buy new books, rather than used books. Which is okay, like the planet doesn’t thank you (nor does your wallet if we are being honest, but who am I to judge?). I also found out that only 27% of the people that follow me buy used books, rather than new ones. Lastly, no one chose the option of mostly using library books, which is mind-blowing.

The last thing I wanted to know was if people used audiobooks a lot or not. I personally don’t use them that much. I read/listen in maxim to 2 audiobooks a year, and I do it together with reading the physical book (most of the time). 

The results were that 65% of people don’t use audiobooks, while 35% of people use them. I guess this is pretty normal, but I was expecting more people to listen to audiobooks for some reason.

Well, I hope you found this interesting. If not, at least I had fun. I love stats and inquiries and other things like this, so if you have any ideas please let me know. Please, let me know what you would answer these questions.

Bye, keep on reading. 


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