9 Jun 2015

Teaser Tuesday #10

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.
The rules:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser is from Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt:


1987. There's only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that's her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life--someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.  

At Finn's funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn's apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she's not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.  

My Teaser: 

'To everyone at Finn's funeral, I was just the niece. I stared out the car window and understood that I was in place where nobody knew my heart even a little bit.'

Please let me know what you think of this week's teaser and don't forget to leave a link to your TT post in a comment down below! 

8 Jun 2015

Top 5 classics I want to read

1. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them." 

 Being an English minor I had American literaure courses and I feel slightly embarassed that I haven't picked up The Catcher in the Rye so far, not even when it was a compulsory read for me. I'm quite curious about this one, just simply haven't had the time to look into it yet. I'll make sure it won't stay this way.

2. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Hardy's powerful novel of swift sexual passion and slow-burning loyalty centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men - respectable farmer Boldwood, seductive Sergeant Troy and devoted Gabriel - making her the object of scandal and betrayal. Vividly portraying the superstitions and traditions of a small rural community, "Far from the Madding Crowd" shows the precarious position of a woman in a man's world.

The movie is coming out soon and I've long since promised myself I'd give Hardy another try (I want to (re)read Tess of the D'Urbervilles too).

3. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Lawrence tells the story of Constance Chatterley's marriage to Sir Clifford, an aristocratic and an intellectual who is paralyzed from the waist down after the First World War. Desperate for an heir and embarrassed by his inability to satisfy his wife, Clifford suggests that she have an affair. Constance, troubled by her husband's words, finds herself involved in a passionate relationship with their gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. Lawrence's vitriolic denunciations of industrialism and class division come together in his vivid depiction of the profound emotional and physical connection between a couple otherwise divided by station and society. 

A book that was banned after its publication due to its detailed descriptions of sexual acts. Well, let's see what shocked the people back in the beginning of the 20th century!

4. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

In this brilliantly perceptive novel, a middle aged professor living in California is alienated from his students by differences in age and nationality, and from the rest of society by his homosexuality. Isherwood explores the depths of the human soul and its ability to triumph over loneliness, alienation and loss.

I own Christopher and his Kind from Christopher Isherwood, but, since that's more of a biographical novel, I thought I don't want that to be the first book I read from him. A Single Man seems to be a good place to start. It would count as an item for my LGBT challange too. Not to mention that after reading I'd like to watch the movie with Colin Firth...

     5. Persuasion by Jane Austen

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

 The next book on my Jane Austen reading list. I hope it won't disappoint.

What is you favourite classic? Why? Don't hesitate to share it with me in a comment below!

Did you like this top 5...? What other top 5s would you care to read?

7 Jun 2015

Review - The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes

Title: The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet

Author: Myrlin A. Hermes

Rating: 4/5 stars


A Divinity scholar at Wittenberg University, Horatio prides himself on his ability to argue both sides of any intellectual debate but is himself a skeptic, never fully believing in any philosophy. That is, until he meets the outrageous, provocative, and flamboyantly beautiful Prince of Denmark, who teaches him more about both Earth and Heaven than any of his books. But Hamlet is also irrationally haunted by intimations of a tragic destiny he believes is preordained.

When a freelance translation job turns into a full-scale theatrical production, Horatio arranges for the theater-loving prince to act in the play-disguised as the heroine! This attracts the attention of Horatio′s patroness, the dark and manipulative Lady Adriana. A voracious and astute reader of both books and people, she performs her own seductions to test whether the "platonic true-love" described in his poems is truly so platonic. But when a mysterious rival poet calling himself "Will Shake-speare" begins to court both Prince Hamlet and his Dark Lady, Horatio is forced to choose between his skepticism and his love.

My thoughts:

The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet is quite an enjoyable prequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It deals with a love triangle including Horatio, Hamlet and a baroness, who is none other than Shakespeare’s Dark Lady. The story tangled, untangled and tangled again like Shakespeare’s own tales and all the while I didn’t mind being caught in the middle – and not because the plot was that engaging (it was on okay level for me), but because I liked coming across all those delicious Shakespeare references. They were well-placed; some hidden, some half-veiled, some laid bare for the naked eye and as a true Shakespeare geek I enjoyed the hunt for them.

I cannot say I liked Myrlin A. Hermes’ take on the characters – gosh, I totally hated Hamlet and could have throttled him sometimes –, but you know what? This book works regardless how differently the characters are written compared to the image you have of them inside your head. The writing and the Shakespearean setting drew me in and when I read about Gertrude’s thoughts on her husband and Claudius or Polonius’ past, I was grateful the writer took time to write this novel. 

Horatio was again anything like the Horatio of MY mind; sometimes I liked him and sometimes I found him awkward and naive. It was like the first half of the book was about him struggling to accept his own bisexuality (he always emphasised Hamlet’s androgyneousness, mostly his femininity), in the second half he kept finding excuses for Hamlet when he didn’t visit him for weeks (c’mon Horatio, he’s not worth it, get over him!) and in the end he accepted what he could get, but hey, Hamlet itself is a tragedy after all, so that was alright. 

The happenings in the original drama were visited through Hamlet’s dreams and fears, Shakespeare’s story about the Danish prince was put together piece by piece like a puzzle. I liked that the whole picture in the end wasn’t the one I expected to see.

Hamlet is not your favourite play from the Bard? Don’t worry, because you’ll find parts in this book that follow the patterns of Shakespearean comedies (cross-dressing, yay!). There are references to some of his other tragedies as well (e.g.: Romeo and Juliet, Othello), not to mention the sonnets from which quite a few lines are inserted and used in the novel. 

I’m not sure someone who hasn’t read Hamlet could take away as much from this book as someone who has. I’m not even sure it is possible to understand The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet without knowing Hamlet to some extent, therefore I only recommend this to those who are familiar with the play and are true admirer of Shakespeare.