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Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke – Book Review | IcthusBookCorner

Hello hello, everyone! The book I’m reviewing today is Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. This book is a collection of ten letters written by the Austrian poet Rilke to the young Franz Kappus while he was an officer cadet in Wiener Neustadt.

I first time I ever heard of Rilke was while watching one of * e m m i e *’s older videos. The way she talked about his work reminded me a bit of how I speak about Saramago’s books, so I knew I had to give it a try. Before reading this book, I had the chance of reviewing an arc for the English translation of his Poems to Night, but I knew Letters to a Young Poet would be an entirely different experience.

This book is both exceptional and profound, even somewhat philosophical when pointing out how life can influence our art. It’s easy for the readers to put themselves in Kappus’ shoes and read Rilke’s bits of advice as if they were for them. 

It’s also quite interesting to get to know the author’s considerations on love, disease and solitude and how he believed all three of these were of extreme importance for the human experience and therefore for the art we create. Rilke does this with humility and solidarity rather than putting himself in a somewhat superior position, which brings out sheer intimacy in his words. 

All I can put into words about this letter collection is that Rilke’s writing is graceful and fascinating, making us feel like he’s speaking directly to us. I evidently gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading. 


Link to the book: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Letters-to-a-Young-Poet-by-Rainer-Maria-Rilke-Charlie-Louth-translator/9780241252055

The Last Ten Books Tag | IcthusBookCorner

Hello, people of the internet! Today, I’m going to be doing the Last Ten Books Tag, which I came across on Golden Books Girl. Let us get into it!


The Last Book I Gave Up On

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. This book killed my soul. I really want to try to read it again one day, but I guarantee the was haunting me. I do have the worst possible edition to read this book the font is tiny and not even a bit floppy. 

The Last Book I Reread

This was a very recent read, and it was The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which I reread almost every year! I will always love this book. It was the first book I ever read by myself when I was a kid, so I hold it very dear to me. 

The Last Book I Bought

The last book I bought was Selected Essays by George Orwell. As you probably know if you have read a few of my other posts I am a massive Orwell fan and have some of his essays in physical format, but they are all so tiny that it is not worthwhile to have them in separate books. It hasn’t arrived yet, as of the day I’m writing this post, but I’m expecting it to be here tomorrow. 

The Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t

Not something I remember ever having done. I might have back in school because of mandatory reading, but it isn’t something likely to have happened. 

Last Book I Wrote in the Margins of

I do not usually write in must of my books, but one I did write on was A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. In my opinion, that is a perfect example of a masterpiece. This culminated in me wanting to both highlight everything and writing what I was feeling everywhere. MASTERPIECE, MY FRIENDS. 

Last Book That I Had Signed

Easy! It was my copy of Hunting Midnight by Richard Zimler. Zimler was at Lisbon’s Book Fair and I wanted him to sign my copy of his book but I got embarrassed and one of my friends pushed me towards him. Looking back, I should have used the opportunity to speak with him about his books but stupidity has no limits sometimes. 

Last Book I Lost

I’m one of those people who lose things all the time and it’s exhausting to some extent. However, I can proudly let you all know that I never lost a book in my life. 

Last Book I Had To Replace

One time a family member lent me a book and it took me a while to pick it up. Once I did, I noticed that the book spine was torn. I then decided to buy a new one to give back and kept the torn on for myself. To this day I don’t know if I did tear that spine or not. 

Last Book I Argued Over

I am not one to argue over books. I believe everyone is allowed to their own opinion, especially on things such as books.

Last Book You Pre-Ordered

I have never pre-ordered a book in my life. I tend to buy most of my books second hand if possible and because of that, it ends up being rarely possible for me to do that. Not to mention, when I don’t go for second-hand books the ones I tend to want to read have usually been out for a while.


I’m extremely excited to tag four of my favourite bloggers Eleano Sophieanotherbookworm, Roro is Reading and Rosie Amber. I’d love for you to follow them and check out their blogs.

What would you answer to these topics? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments!
Bye, keep on reading.


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Letters to Jupiter by Lotté Jean – ARC Review | IcthusBookCorner

Letters To Jupiter is Lotté Jeans debut, a collection of poetry that delves into what comes with the fragility of the mind and soul.

This poetry collection is both easy to read and to interpret. With this, I don’t mean it is lesser poetry or that it does not covey any meaning or emotion. There are plenty of zingers throughout the book and hidden connotation and messages too. The prevailing motif through the collection is mostly self-love, while still exploring other related topics such as toxic relationships, family dynamics and quite a bit of introspectiveness.

The poems I enjoyed the most were the ones which explored family dynamics and the effects these have on oneself. I also appreciated the poems that sounded, for me, a bit more intimate, almost like confessions, where the author had a more introspective voice. 

From what I saw, the poetry had no pattern nor fixed metre and was in what I believe in English is called freestyle. I believe this collection is likely to be labelled insta-poetry due to both the theme and how short most of the poems are. I mean no harm when saying this, I think people are starting to lose the stigma around this new style of poetry which can only be a good thing. I was genuinely surprised by the writing and balance of almost every poems. Given the shortness of poems, the reader can tell each word served a purpose which I personally appreciate. Not to mention, the fact that each poem is written by an anonymous narraror somehow helps people reading to put themselves in the situation presented.

All in all, Letter to Jupiter is a light easy to read collection. I recommend it for anyone who loves both this type of poetry and looking into themes of youth, self-discovery, self-love. I’ll be giving this book 4 out of 5 stars because after a while it got a bit repetitive and the themes explored were something I was not in the mood for at the time.

Bye, keep on reading. And don’t forget the book is out today.

(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All of the opinions are my own and this did not affect my review in any way.)


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8 Books I Plan on Reading in 2021 | IcthusBookCorner

What is up people?

Today I’m going to talk about eight books I plan to read in 2021. I’m not a tbr list type of person, but this allows me to focus on my reading goals for this year without making me feel restricted. So without further ado, let’s dive into this glorious list.


Unholy Ghosts

I’m going to start this list with a book that will be obvious if you have been following me since I first started this blog and this is Unholy Ghosts by Richard Zimler. This book was first published in 1996, I believe, but was translated into Portuguese last year (2020). Unholy Ghosts is about a man who decides to leave the United States and look for a new life in Portugal when he finds out that his most talented student tests positive for HIV and threatens to take his own life at the age of twenty-four. This pick isn’t a surprise because if you know me you know I love Zimler’s books and I’m sure this one will be just as amazing.

Out of Africa

The second book I want to read is Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen). I can once again say that you aren’t new here this won’t be a surprise, you can probably find one of my blog posts from 2017 where I talk about wanting to read this book. It has been on my tbr pile for five years now I can’t keep looking at my shelves and see it there. I don’t really know muck about this book except that Hemingway said it was a good book and here on the blog we believe in Hemingway’s word.

War and Peace

The third book I’m bringing to the table is War and Peace by Tolstoy. I’m a massive fan of Russian classics, even though I haven’t read that many. I loved Anna Karenina, Mother and How Much Land Does a Man Need and loved them with all my heart. If you don’t know what this book is about it focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 while following three main characters and studying their humanity.

The Lower Depths

Continuing with Russian literature we have The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky. Apparently, it is the best known of Maxim Gorky’s plays and since I love Gorky’s work I feel like I must read this play. The theme of this play is the harsh truth versus the comforting lie and that seems really interesting.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The fifth book I plan on reading this year is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. (It’s becoming increasingly obvious that I feel the need to read all the classics.) This book is the tale of a young man who purchases eternal youth at the expense of his soul. It’s the only novel written by Oscar Wilde and it received a lot of backlash from reviewers with it first came out.

Orlando

Next on the list, we have…drum roll, please… Orlando by Virginia Woolf. If you follow me on social media you probably know that I’ve been fangirling Woolf like a crazy person. I read A Room of One’s Own and now I’m reading Three Guineas, from where I stand they are both masterpieces of non-fiction. So my little brain thinks it’s time to try to read her fiction. The book is about someone that undergoes a mysterious change of sex at the age of 30 and lives on for more than 300 years into modern times without ageing.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller

The seventh book is If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino. The first time I heard of this book was while watching one of Emma Angeline’s videos on youtube (her channel is amazing, please go check it out). She talked about the book with such enthusiasm that, on that exact moment, I knew I had to read it. It’s about a reader trying to read a book called If on a winter’s night a traveller, emphasis on the TRYING.

Notes from Underground

And finally, the last book on this list is Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. (Yes, yet another Russian classic. Who knew?) This book presents itself as an excerpt from the rambling memoirs of a bitter and isolated retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg that remains unnamed. I don’t know much more about this book but you know, Russian literature is Russian literature.


And that is my list of books I really want to read in 2021. If you liked the list, please let me know. I’ll make a part two because I could very well go on with this, there are a lot more books I want and plan to read this year. Also, let me know the books you plan on reading in 2021 because I really want to know what you are looking for to read this year.

Bye, bye, bye. Keep on reading!


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Death at Intervals by José Saramago – Book Review

“The following day, no one died.” This is the first sentence and the overall premise of Death at Intervals (published in the US as Death with Interruptions), a novel by the Portuguese nobel winner José Saramago whos magical realism is already known, first released in 2005 in Portugal.

With his bold and courageous originality, Saramago uses diverse fantasy elements as a mean to convey his message. José Saramago does this brilliantly creating a story that is impossible to forget. Much like his other books, Death at Intervals manages to get the readers to think about their deeper selves. His rather controversial writing style is, in my opinion, brilliant and showcases how comfortable the author is with his own mind, creating something fairly similar to someone speaking their mind most fluently.

This work is informally divided into two parts when it comes to motifs/themes. The first is the most satirical and politicized, dealing with the practical aspects of the issue of the end of mortality: in this one, Saramago explores the hypocrisy and demagogy from booth the government and the church, the smugness of the king, the interests of entities in whose activity have practical implications, such as nursing homes, insurance companies and funeral homes.

The second part of the book details the particular, the sentimental, being Death the main protagonist (in this book death is female). It’s an interesting study of human love in its varied circumstances and consequences, managing to make important reflections on the concept of death on a more personalized level and contributing to the fantastic characterization of human nature. This characterization is always one of Saramago’s main goal, which always splendidly fulfilled.

Overall, and as you can probably tell, I really loved this book. I liked the way the author approached the subject: real, inevitable and natural; especially in the first part. It is so smoothly and effortlessly done that we can only stand back and appreciate the perfect fusion of what is said and the way it is said. In my opinion, no one writes quite like Saramago.

I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
Bye, keep on reading.


Links to the book:
https://www.wook.pt/livro/death-at-intervals-jose-saramago/19943326
https://www.bookdepository.com/Death-at-Intervals-Jose-Saramago/9781784871789?ref=grid-view&qid=1612468086302&sr=1-1

The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House by Audre Lorde – Book Review

This book is a collection of essays on the power of women by the self-described black, lesbian, mother, warrior and poet, Audre Lorde.

The collection has four essays: Poetry is Not A Luxury, Use of Erotic, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, and Uses of Anger. Every single one of these essays touches on different topics that concern women, and black women in specific; focussing on issues of womanhood, black identity, the LGBTQ community, and the vital roles that art and community must play in overthrowing the patriarchy.

This little book is loaded with heavy, theoretical ideas but Lorde’s writing is amazing enough to draw most of us in, and I found myself nodding along to must of it. These essays remain true to this day and her judgement and criticisms are as sharp and insightful now as they were when she first wrote them.

My favourite essay was, without doubt, the Uses of Anger. I found it to be as important as fitting with the times, while also being unapologetic and brilliant.

Her urge to unity and intersectionality is flawless due to the assurance that these do not mean conformity but accepting everyone’s individual traits.

Overall, I would highly recommend this essay collection about feminism and intersectionality to everyone, but especially if you’re looking for intersectional texts.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading. 

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett – Book Review

First of all, I want to thank my lovely friend Mónica for lending me her copy of this book. Terry Pratchett is her favourite author, so I asked her which of his books I should read from him, this was her recommendation. It’s all on her.

Small Gods is the 13th book in the Discworld series and it was published in 1992. It’s about Brutha, a novice priest of the God Om, who possesses a perfect memory. Brutha can’t read, he’s regarded as a bit dumb and it’s known that he will be a novice priest forever. However, unlike everyone else in the book, he is the only one that believes in Om. Everything in this book happens because of Brutha, who truly believes while still being a good and noble person.

Pratchett is an excellent writer, I found his style to be funny, touching, not to mention how great he was at making references to religions in our world and criticizing them as part of the book’s world.
The only negative aspect for me was the repetitiveness: Om’s lack of power and constant fretting about it, Brutha’s earnest but naive loyalty, and Vorbis’s malevolent determination are repeatedly pointed out and it gets quite annoying after a while.

As you can probably tell, the cons weren’t enough to make me dislike it and I found the book to be really well executed. The author brought light to problems in organized religion that need to be discussed and did so while making me laugh.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Bye, keep on reading.


Links to the book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15798103-small-gods
https://www.wook.pt/livro/small-gods-terry-pratchett/1500093

George Orwell and “Orwellian” as a Concept

Given the current surge of people calling everything they see around them “Orwellian” and doing so incorrectly, I thought I would just come here and try to explain the meaning of the word.

The term was named after the British author Geoge Orwell because of one of his most famous books, the novel “1984”. In his book, Orwell illustrates an oppressive society under a totalitarian government. The word “Orwellian” is often used solely to mean authoritarian, using the term in this way not only fails to fully convey Orwell’s message, but it also risks doing something he tried to warn against.

The government showed to us in “1984” controls its people’s actions and speech in obvious ways, such as watching and hearing their every move and word with punishment waiting for anyone who defies authority. But there are other forms of control which are not so obvious. People are overwhelmed with endless propaganda consisting of made-up facts and statistics, which come from the “ministry of truth”.

Here another term comes into place, “doublespeak”. In “1984”: the military is called the ministry of peace, labour camps are called joycamps, and political prisoners are detained and tortured in what is called “the ministry of love”. Doublespeak is when words are used not to communicate meaning but to weaken it. This has an effect Orwell calls “doublethink”, which is essentially cognitive dissonance, leaving the individual completely dependent on the State’s definition of reality.

These concepts aren’t something that can only happen in totalitarian states, but that could potentially take place in democratic societies. And this is why we can’t use “authoritarian” and “Orwellian” as synonyms.

Orwell was opposed to all forms of totalitarianism and spent most of his life fighting against anti-democratic forces. He was deeply concerned with how such ideologies propagate, giving a great amount of importance to the role of language when it comes to shaping our thoughts and opinions as individuals and as a society.

I would also really like to mention Orwell’s work is often used as being against communism and as well as fascism. Even though it is very much against fascism, as it should, we can’t call Orwell’s novel anti-communist if anything it was anti-capitalism and mostly anti-authoritarian. I say anti-capitalism because fascism is mostly a result of far-right ideologies, as seen throughout history and nowadays as well in a lot of different countries, such as the USA with Trump and Brazil with Bolsonaro, for example. Not to mention, Orwell himself was a democratic socialist which goes against the idea right-wight people have of him being against socialism.

With all this being said, I highly recommend you pick two of his non-fiction books that will make you understand his political ideologies and why he was so anti-totalitarian regimes. These books are Politics and the English Language and Fascism and Democracy.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful and I’m sorry if my rambling went on for way too long.

Bye, keep on reading.

Poems to Night by Rainer Maria Rilke – Book Review

Poems to Night is a poetry collection of twenty-two poems by the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

To be honest, I don’t think this was the best to start with Rilke’s work, but since it was sent to by Pushkin Press in exchange for a review, I went with the flow.

I truly loved most the poems however, there were a few which I found difficult to connect with a bit. All things considered, I can’t know if this is because of Rilke’s writing or due to the translation, we all know poetry is something hard to get right when translating. 

Rilke does not bother us with useless long verses which the only use is to fill pages, or with unnecessarily complicated rhymes. He gives the reader an insight into the connection one has with the world around themself and one’s mind. As you can see in the following verse:

“Is pain – as soon as the ploughshare,
labouring, naturally reaches a new layer –
is pain not good? And what can it mean, the last
interrupting us in the depths of such affliction?”

I think that given the year we have had; there are certain feelings brought out in these poems that we can relate to today, those of isolation and loneliness, which we can track to the author’s time during WW2. These are the things many of us have to deal with at night before we drift off to sleep.

All in all, this is a beautifully written book collection with a good translation, as fas as my translation knowledge goes. I recommend it to anyone who likes poetry as well as to anyone in search of a book to get in tune with their feelings and emotions.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.  

The Classics Book Tag

Hello, people of the internet!

As you can probably tell by the title of this post, today I’m going to do the classics book tag. I’m aware that this tag is almost as old as the internet itself, but you know I love classics so, here I am.  
So, let us start!

  • An overhyped classic you really didn’t like.

My answer is a common one, which is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. This book was far too melodramatic for my liking. Personally, if the plot is more drama intense I need there to be a self-awareness from the characters, which is not the case in this book.  

  • What is your favourite time period to read about?

I have to go with the late 19th century and the yearly 20th century. There is a revolutionary feel in books from that time which I love. 

  • Favourite fairy-tale.

I’m not an avid fairy-tale reader or fan. So, I don’t know. I had a Grimm Brothers’ book when I was younger I liked, does that count? 

  • What is the most embarrassing classic you haven’t read yet?

I have never read a book by Jane Austin, feel free to judge me. I picked up Sense and Sensibility once and just wasn’t feeling it. 

  • Top 5 classics you would like to read (soon).

I do know this one, I have a list:

  1. A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf.
  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.
  3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
  4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
  5. And the one I just bought, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. 
  • Favourite movie version/tv-series based on a classic.

The 1954’s adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four by the director Rudolph Cartier. 

  • Worst classic to movie adaptation.

I don’t know. I really don’t like the 2012’s adaptation of Anna Karenina but I highly doubt it’s the worst classic to movie adaptation, it’s just not for me.

  • What is your favourite edition you’d like to collect more classics from?

Easy, Oxford World Classics. They have both a good font and a nice size. Not to mention, the introductions and notes. Love it. 

  • An underhyped classic you’d recommend to everyone.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy! I have to recommend Mother (in the original: Мать) written by Maxim Gorky in 1906. It’s about revolutionary factory workers, as well as the story of the radicalization of an uneducated woman/mother. It’s amazing!

So, that is it. That is all I have for you today, hope you enjoy. Talk to you next time.
Bye, keep on reading!