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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My Thoughts on Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov |IcthusBookCorner (my biggest review yet)

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about a book that did nothing but worsen my mental state, Lolita by Nabokov.

I’ve talked about this book on my bookstagram (follow me there if you want to follow my readings more closely), and I had a lot of feeling while reading it. This book was published back in 1955, and it is now considered a classic by a lot of people. You probably know it is a book about and from the perspective of a paedophile, Humbert Humbert. It follows him during his middle age as he finds himself obsessed with the nymphet Delores Hayes.

I had been hearing about this book my whole life and knew people either loved it or hated it, so I decided to put it off for a while in fear. Once I finally decided to read it, I went into it with no preconceived judgements so it wouldn’t ruin the experience.

The first thing I need to say about this book is that I loved the writing style, really really loved it. Can we talk about the fact that Nabokov isn’t an English native speaker? I applaud Nabokov’s mastery of the English language. He uses English better than most writers whose first language is English. He is daring with his words; he is pure genius. It is the type of writing I love, you know? It’s poetic, and it’s not sparse, and he uses flowery language.

In the beginning, it was quite tolerable, but as it went on became progressively more upsetting. The first person narration was making me feel sick. Sometimes it physically hurt me to read this book, like someone was squeezing my heart. Never in my life had I read a book that made me this uncomfortable. I’m just glad I’m someone who can enjoy a book and dislike the main characters, otherwise I’m pretty sure this book would have killed me.
Because it’s first-person narration, we are inside Humbert’s head, and the problem is that this person’s head is a terrible place. We have to be beholders of grooming, gaslighting and abuse. Humbert has no redeeming quality, which is both terrible for the reader but the only correct choice. Nabokov created a character that no one could pity because he (Humber) is just a horrifying human being. However, the author was still able to create a multi-dimensional character, and that is not usual and something I appreciate. There is a lot of depth, there is a lot to dig into, I love it.

This book was notably hard to read, but for some reason, I couldn’t stop. One reason for this was, like I said, the writing. Even so, there was something else, something that made me want to know what was going to happen next, something that got me hooked.

The book is divided into two parts. The first one is before the abuse, and it follows Humbert from his pre-adolescent self to when he gets to be a disgusting human to Lolita. The second part accompanies him from the moment the first part left off to when the book is supposedly being written. The first half of the book was much easier to read than the second, most likely because there is a smaller amount of sexual assault.

The only negative aspect of this book, for me, is the last two chapters. The book could have an amazing ending, but, for some ulterior motive, Nabokov decided to go with underwhelming.

To end this, I feel the need to say a few things. First of all, I don’t believe this book romanticizes or glorifies paedophilia. From what I read from the author, and what I gathered from reading Lolita itself, I believe Nabokov wanted to create a reality which the average person wouldn’t have access to. He wrote one of the most brutal accounts of abuse there is. I think this is an important piece of literature, if not one of the best.

Finally, I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to everyone who can get into a story without liking the main character and to whom abuse is not a severe trigger.

Bye, keep on reading.

Fascism and Democracy by George Orwell – Book Review | IcthusBookCorner

Hello hello, everyone! Today, I will be talking about Fascism and Democracy by George Orwell. If you know me personally, have been around my social media lately or have followed my blog for a while, you know I am a massive Orwell fan.

Fascism and Democracy is a collection made of five essays Orwell wrote during World War Two. The titles are Fascism and Democracy, Literature and Totalitarianism, Freedom of the Park, Review of “The Invasion From Mars” and Visions of a Totalitarian Future. In this small book, Orwell talks about the principles of democracy and the possibility of future reform. The author also tries to understand the future of literature and free speech overall during violent times when fascism is imminent. 

Orwell offered a compelling portrayal of a nation and world where norms and ideals could no longer be taken for granted due to the oppressive political powers. The essays also serve as reminders of the fragility of freedom. I loved them all equally, but there was this part in the first one, if I remember correctly, where Orwell lays out the common arguments given by fascists, refuting them all in simple terms afterwards.

The five essays never felt like historical texts but felt deeply modern in their concerns, due to all the things mentioned. If there is a quote I can use to sum up this book it is: “The feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world, this prospect frightens me much more than bombs.”

I feel like this the perfect companion for anyone reading 1984. It helps you understand the author’s political stance, giving almost zero opportunity for misunderstandings regarding his fictional work.

This book was part of the bibliography I used to write my post on George Orwell and “Orwellian” as a Concept. Check it out if it interests you or if you want to know more about the author.

I recommend this small book to anyone looking to learn more about politics, especially about the importance of democracy and how fragile freedom and democracy are. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading. 



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Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer by Wendell Berry – Book Review | IcthusBookCorner

I will try to create a coherent text about my opinions on this book. The keyword here is TRY.

This book by Wendell Berry, an American poet, novelist and environmental activist, is an argument for a life lived slowly. It is also a discussion on technological progress and his ideas about a more simplistic society.

The first part of this book consists of the essay with the homonymous title. The second part includes the author’s response to the letters he received from critics regarding the essay.

I was angry while reading the text and neither because I was opposed to the opinions stated in Berry’s text nor to the reactions it caused. I was angry due to how the discussion was handled by both the author and the critics. I agreed with most of the point Berry was trying to make however I did not agree with some of his proposed solutions. (Namely, the way he talked about his wife as if all women agreed with what she agreed on doing for her husband.) Here is where I believe the critics were right to call Berry out, although I am not okay with the way they did so.

If you read it in a group or a classroom setting, it will lead to plenty of interesting discussions. The book is very much a document of its time, which is fantastic to look back on, and it was a quick read and easy to get through.

However, as far as arguments go there is not much logical structure to the text, and there is a self-indulgent style which I don’t appreciate. I might have been just expecting more from this than what I got.

Overall, I think this is a good read and would recommend it for anyone looking for a fast-paced book on slow living (how ironic) and in general, sustainability-related texts. I didn’t rate this book, as I usually do, sorry for that. Hope this was useful or at least entertaining (I don’t think this was entertaining for anyone besides me though.)

Bye bye, keep on reading.


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Link to the book:

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

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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You can find the author at:

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