Seeing by Saramago – Book Review

Seeing by Saramago is, to a certain degree, a dystopian novel about nameless city, ruled by nameless people, in a unknow year. 23558980

What would happen if 80% of the population of the capital decided to turn in blank ballots for the elections? After reading this book I’m still not quite sure but it certainly gave me an idea.

After having had time to take in the results of the elections, the government decides that the outcome must have been the result of some form of conspiracy. They decide to put the capital under siege, needless to say, this had no impact whatsoever on the population, who continued to live their lives as if nothing had happened.

This leads to the government taking increasingly hostile actions against the capital, blocking it off from the rest of the nation, taking over the press, using excessive surveillance, committing disloyal actions against their own citizens and after a while going after scapegoats to bring everything back to normal.

The first part of the book was rather slow, but 100 pages in I started to get into it and feeling more and more drawn into the plot. Most like in any other Saramago’s novel you have to be mindful of the long paragraphs with the dialogue embedded instead of pulled out as quotes, which if you have read anything by him before you have grown accustomed to.

This book is a brilliant political satire, which I was expecting, and my love for Saramago’s books remains, as it was, indestructible. When characters from Blindness started showing up halfway through the book my heart just gave in.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to every single soul that inhabits this planet.

Bye, keep on reading.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Book Review

I have two words to describe this book: MEANINGFUL DRAMA.

I’ve always been afraid of picking up Anna Karenina, I have a problem with big books, I’m always afraid I won’t like them and afraid to end up forcing myself to read them, as I do with all the books I end up not liking (I just can’t dnf a book). When books over 800 pages came along, I became truly afraid. As you can easily understand, forcing myself to read 800+ pages of something that doesn’t bring me joy is quite more dreadful than 300 unfulfilling pages.IMG_20190711_223955_408

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy is a Russian classic written in the nineteenth century. To me, the book serves to show us how difficult life can be and that all families have their own problems. It’s, in essence, a story about life at its core.

The writing is magnificent, the author manages to talk about farming methods, political policies, or philosophical discussions without making you feel bored. He’s also able to betray every single character in a flawless manner, you truly get to know and understand everyone’s perspective on life and on what is going on in the story.

If there is one problem if the story it’s the amount of drama, which might as well be a “me” problem. From time to time I had to stop and read other things in order to reflect on everything that was going on. There are so many subplots I just couldn’t keep up without before taking a step back.

Tolstoy has this incredible power of being capable to show how one person can change their mind, how a person, can become so infatuated with something or someone and then with the blink of an eye, the feeling can change (this made me think a lot about relationships and so on).

Anna is the heroine and the villain, you love her and you hate her, you want her to be okay and then at times you just want to shout “don’t be so stupid and start accepting the consequences of your actions!” HOW DID TOLSTOY MANAGE TO DO THIS??????

This book portrays an impulsive affair, a man questioning his beliefs, an unpleasant divorce and a woman questioning her mental health. All these are still incredibly relevant nowadays, ergo its timeless appeal.

Instead of listening to me, I recommend that you read it for yourself.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – Book Review

This book follows Tom, a young rebellious boy who lives with his aunt Polly, a very strict but caring woman. General consense says the purpose of this book is to “capture the spirit of american boyhood in the pre-civil war era”.

A lot happens to Tom in this book, he fells in love with the new girl in town, witnesses a murder, makes others paint his fence, pretends to be a pirate and goes off to live in a nearby island, makes the town believes he and his friends have drowned, among a lot of other things. As you can see he was a busy child.

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The treatment of extremely important issues in this novel was very appealing to me. Even though it is considered a children’s book it talks about murder and rape. There is also a lot of racism in this book, but I don’t know how intentional it is given that it was written in 1876.

The use of English from the 1800s together with the use of now considered archaic words certainly toke me some time to get used to. A big drawback for me was the fact that I couldn’t seem to feel empathy for Tom whatsoever, which is something that has never stopped me from enjoying a book but he just reminded me of those really mean children who need to hear the word “no” more often.

With all that being said, I found this to be an okay book, I went into it really excited expecting to be one of the best books I would ever read but it was just a quick, entertaining read, not that there is anything wrong with that. I recommend it if you want to get a perspective of what life was like during pre-civil war time in the united states.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

Renée Stone: Murder in Abyssinia by Birmant Julie – Book Review

My thanks to NetGalley and Europe Comics for a review copy of this book.

This book follows Renée Stone, a successful English mystery novelist. This is the first book of the series, set in 1930 and Stone finds herself in Ethiopia for the coronation of Haile Selassie I.43880310

This book was ok, but that it. I enjoyed the mystery element of this story and the illustrations were satisfactory but besides that, I don’t think there is much more to this comic book.

The main character is supposed to be an independent woman (which doesn’t sound very 30’s to me but I’d be okay with that) however she does not come across like that at all. Renée spends a big chunk of the novel lusting over one of the male characters and most of the time she waits for them to decide what to do, I would be okay (mind the book is set during the 30s) if this if she wasn’t described as “modern for her time” type of woman. For me, the lack of a tied up conclusion didn’t really suit the story.

For someone who loves a mystery, and doesn’t mind any of the cons I stated above, this is an enjoyable book.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

Mother by Máximo Gorki – Book Review

There is a story behind this book and I feel like I need to tell it before I review it. If you want to go straight to the review go ahead, I’ll use a line to separate this from the review.

The first time I ever saw this book I was probably around 12. It was on a living room cabinet, which meant it wasn’t my mother’s since her books have always been kept at our home office bookshelf. I remember asking my father what book it was and remember him saying it belonged to my grandmother. For 12 year old me this was meaningless and I just went on with my life.

I came across this book again about a month and a half ago (on my twenties). I once again asked my father about the book. This time the story was more detailed. You might not know but Portugal had a dictatorship that lasted about 41 years, which ended in 1974. My grandmother only ever lived inside this dictatorship, but I’d say she was pretty different from the women of her time.

This book was basically forbidden due to its socialist message, which means that if she had been caught with it she would have ended up as a political prisoner and most likely tortured to death. According to my father, she always kept the book under her bedside table just in case there was a swoop.

Even though I never met my grandmother I can for sure say that all my rebellion comes from her. Not mention that from the stories my dad tells me, she was probably an extraordinary lady who valued both education and culture, which is something I look for in every person I ever encounter.


REVIEW:

Mother follows the life of Pelágia (Pelagueya for the English edition), Pavel’s mother as she enters her son’s world when he embraces socialism and starts bringing home forbidden books. The author describes a group of factory workers in the small Russian community at the beginning of the Russian revolution.img_20190124_164321_107

It’s mainly a story about a woman, from the beginning of the last century, overcoming her political ignorance to become involved in the revolution, and for me, she is the true protagonist of this novel.

It was slow at times but the reality brought out by the author was outstanding. The way the author described the struggle of the working class from the perspective of a mother, was honestly outstanding. I really liked his style of writing: having lines spoken anonymously by anyone in the scene, it’s like we are inside the characters minds. Given its revolutionary intentions nowhere does the book become preachy.

This book was an emotional rollercoaster but it is for sure not just another book to pass the time, you need to take time to connect with the characters. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that likes history or is at all interested in this “revolutionary” type of book.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.