Love Story King Style

“She nods. You’re good for the ones you love. You WANT to be good for the ones you love, because you know that your time with them will end up being too short, no matter how long it is.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

I am huge Stephen King fan! Whenever I pick his book it’s something very good and very special. When I started reading King (…12 years old) I never got what was the big deal about  him. Another main-stream author. After  two years, after reading massive amount of his books,  I got however that he’s the best just because no one writes like horror like he does. Often when author writes much, books start repeating themselves, King’s every book is different and has new elements.

“And she sees that the moonlight is losing its orange glow. It has become buttery, and will soon turn to silver.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

Some years have passed since I first read this (need to reread).  Lisey’s Story is a love story with creepy King undertone. The book is about Lisey Landon, a widow of best-selling author Scott Landon. Main character/Powerful character (?) Scott Landon has been dead  for two years and Lisey decides to finally clean his office. Lisey’s Story consists mostly of flashbacks and Lisey figuring out her husband’s manuscript.

“Ninety-eight percent of what goes on in people’s heads is none of their smucking business.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

I like how it was love story, I kind of never expected for King to write this. I also liked that you couldn’t fully guess what it was (not to spoil the book too much) was it psychological or supernatural or both until the very end.  I’d give this book 8/10. I loved the covers. Like seriously, these are perfect ones for this book. And when I unwrapped the book it was even better.

Finnish covers of Lisey’s Story

How-To Read Lisey’s Story

1. If you have never read Stephen King before, I don’t think you should start with this book. You won’t get it and you won’t get the thrill. I think you’ll think it’s odd book. You only get it after you’ve read many other books of Stephen King, maybe you even have to be hardcore Stephen King fan to like this. (Who doesn’t like the king of horror?)
2. If you are a big fan: it’s not as good as The Shining, IT, Pet Cemetary but it certainly beautiful and  I think it’s also more personal for the author. I mean one of the characters is also author. Nothing like Misery, in case you wonder.
3. Read in English of possible, I think translations never catch up with all the word play too well. Secret language: Boo’ya Moon, babyluv,  smucking,  the bad-gunky, rah-cheer, strap it on, SOWISA,  bool. It’s not too long book, about 500 pages.
3. “Smucking”… …
4. I’ve never lost my good night’s sleep over anything I have read. Lisey’s Story isn’t exactly scary either (I was more “scared” reading Duma Key), it’s just a bit creepy.  Creepy, not freaky .And a bit sad because Lisey is widow and love was lost.
5. All the flashbacks (that last for 60 pages) and time jumps might annoy you.
6. There’s this song…The Supremes Baby Love… It kind of suits this book? Don’t you think?

“Bool! The end.”
― Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

How-To Stop Evil Malchiks

“There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days, and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

There are some books that you really strongly dislike. For me A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is one of those few I have on my list. I found it to be so…disturbing. I get why it’s called masterpiece and I partly get why some lewdies give it 5/5 starts but I didn’t like it. I also think there should be age limits to books like this.

“But what I do I do because I like to do.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Clockwork Orange is raskazz about malchik named Alex who likes classical music, especially Beethoven. He lives in dystopian world and leads a gang that loves mindless violence and thinks there is nothing wrong with it. As you might guess, Alex’s road as prestoopnik leads him to jail. There he volunteers for experimental treatment called Ludovico’s Technique.

I didn’t like it because of Nadsat language. It was imaginative and well-invented byt it freaked me out. As native speaker of Russian, I got almost all of Nadsat language but it was like reading very highly bolnoy and oozhassny Russian.

I didn’t like Alex at all and I should have thought he deserved that all yet I somehow felt pitty for him. I have read book both in English and Finnish. The Finnish translator did way too good work with the translation…

I’d give this bok 4/10

How-To Read A Clockwork Orange

1. Definitely read it but I would not want to read it twice (krrrhmm).
2. Can’t give any tips on how to get Nadsat language without looking all the time the words up in the glossary but they say you start to get them and replace them with English ones. When beginning reading, you should look what the words mean to get the context. Helps a lot if you know some Russian.
3. Prepare to think about questions like “how far is too far”, “can evilness be cured” , “what’s wrong with the society”.
4. Ending was disappointing. Some say never to read chapter 21. Freedom of choice.
5. The book was much worse than the movie. Movie was quite watchable, artistic. In book the malchik is 15 and does much more oozhassny crimes. Movie is tame.

“So what is it going to be then, eh?”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

very-inspiring-blog-award-logo-23-6-14
On past Sunday I was nominated for Very Inspiring Blogger Award :) I am very excited about this. I was nominated by A Voluptous Mind. Thank you!! :)

Here are the rules of the award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you

Seven things about me

1. I love to read and I have read over 1000 books. I like “escapism” whether it’s through books or movies or by listening music :) I think they are best things in life.
2. For few days now I have been listening Celtic music. I discovered Adrian Von Ziegler and now have all his songs in my iPod…maybe this will pass.
3. I hate when people try to put me into some box when they ask what do I read. I read both fiction and non-fiction and fantasy, scifi, YA, children’s books…I don’t think it matters, don’t put me into box genre box :)
4. If there would be a possibility, I would love to meet with Victor Hugo or Guy de Maupassant. Victor Hugo because I love every book he has written (well pretty much) and Maupassant thought like I did in some book. So I think I would like to just ask  him “yo, where did you get this idea from?”
5. I want to be writer in the future, but I find it really hard to get characters out of my head into Word document.
6. I love coffee :3 especially dark roast and Mövenpick is the best but hard to find.
7.  I am  a bit of a nerd. I love Doctor Who, Supernatural and all the similar shows, love to read, I like linguistics, love history and playing video games :D

WP_20140630_09_34_03_Pro

There are so great bloggers and I would nominate everyone if it was up to me :) I nominate:

1. The Spice of Variety is blog of my friend for many many years now :) She lives in Hong Kong and blogs about various interesting topics.
2. Ewok Life is travel blog my classmate Anne. As you can see, she is passionate about the topic. She gives good tips for traveling and shares her experiences.
3. EdgarAllanPug is blog by my friend Hanna. She blogs about her everyday life, fashion, movies and other things she likes.
4. Adventures In Wonderland- Not just a travel blog… is blog by Alison and Don with absolutely wonderful pictures of their travels :)
5. is blog by Andrew Lockhart. He writes excellent and deep book reviews and he is also writer and publisher.
6. Eye of Lynx is book blog with beautiful reviews, thoughts and quotes about the books.
7. IaminFinland is blog by my classmate Kit. She blogs about her  international experiences. life stories and what she has learned when living in Finland.
8.honyasbookshelf is book blog by Honya :) I like how she doesn’t limit the book reviews just to “books”
9. Alex Raphael is a blog of a bit all. There’s nature, art, photography, literature, television, movies, lifestyle, food… :)
10.Food Dude: Urban Safari is food blog by John where he  shares recipes and tips how to make delicious and healthy food.
11.50 Pound Monkey on My Back… and ass… and  :D Great and inspiring blog and always makes me laugh
12. Dawn of books is fellow book blogger from Finland :) In this blog you can also find great Finnish books to read (if they are translated).
13.Anatomy of Reading and Other Demented Things has book reviews and other also any other topics. Love the name of this blog, haha :D
14.Cracking the Book’s Spine
15.Book Reviews 1966 is very new blog by Jackie Paulson. She writes book reviews and much more :)

How-To Use the Power of the Books

“A BOOK?! WHAT D’YOU WANNA FLAMING BOOK FOR?…WE’VE GOT A LOVELY TELLY WITH A 12-INCH SCREEN AND NOW YA WANNA BOOK!”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda

Matilda written by Roald Dahl should be favorite book of every little girl who is  loves to read. reader. In fact it should be on favorite-list of all those who love to read as it is story about reading and (voracious) reader. I read Matilda soon after I learned to read and I think my childhood would be emptier without it.

“Matilda said, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda

One of my favorite parts in the book :D

Why I love Matilda is because it’s very creative and story is simple. And I can relate to her love for books.  Matilda discovers her love of books and learns to read by the age of three. At four years and three months, she has read all the children’s stories in the library and ask the librarian what to read.

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda

During this process, I can’t understand rest of her family at all.  My parents were always happy that I read whereas Matilda’s parents are really discouraging. Matilda’s father: ““What’s wrong with the telly, for heaven’s sake?” and Matilda’s mother thinks looks are more important than looks and spends all her days playing bingo. Matilda also has a brother, which is quite hard to remember because he isn’t really there in the book. I think it’s interesting question though why is Michael treated normal while Matilda is neglected?

I also like Matilda because even if she is smart in all the subjects at school (and + telekinesis), she is still kind of… mean like kids often are. For example she lines  her father’s hat with super glue. No one is perfect, although of course his father deserved it.

I would easily give this book 9,5/10

How-To Read Matilda
1.
No matter of what age you are, you should read it. If book seems too long, it’s just because of the big font and lots of funny pictures :)
2.
It is highly nescessary to pick Matilda with illustrations, like by Quentin Blake (I think his are simple so they don’t spoil your imagination), because it adds the enjoyoment.
3.
The names are funny and nice as they tend to be in children’s books, and it’s easy to tell who’s good and who’s not so good… Miss Honey…Miss Trunchbull. All the name-calling was also so talented.
4.
If you read a lot, you can compare your books with ones Matilda has read :D don’t worry too much for Matilda, all will be good.
5.
The movie version is good but not that good, try other books by Roald Dahl in stead.

How- To Become a Narnian

“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Illustrations by Pauline Baynes

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis  is something you must read. I first read these books when I was  eight years old, after that I have (naturally) re-read them countless times. Narnia consist of 7 books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew & The Last Battle. The books are well-written,enjoyable to read and they open you a whole new world.  I think the chronicles turn a bit nostalgic and bittersweet, especially towards the end.

“Things never happen the same way twice.”
― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

Illustrated map by Pauline Baynes

I love when writers talk to readers and Lewis does that in the  storyteller voice “I hope you won’t lose all interest in Jill for the rest of the book if I tell you that at this moment she began to cry. ” One thing that really bothers me about Narnia is what happens to Susan. Nylons, lipstick, and party invitations… Actually, I won’t even go there, I still don’t get it.

I would give these chronicles 9,5/10

“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

How-To Read The Chronicles of Narnia

1. It’s long, doesn’t matter, just read it. I think this book is perfect for anyone who is imaginative.  I would recommend to read the one with all books, they are good invidually but compact form makes it better.  I love the ones with illustrations.
2. You will love the characters (yes,they have their flaws),  especially Aslan,
3. Beware.  It might seem like there are Christian symbols, references to bible everywhere (oh and Greek Mythology). You can ignore this if you want to.
4. Don’t try to hide in every wardrobe you see. Only the most convincing ones.
5. I think the movies of the first and second part are (more than) good. Books are always better than movies but in this case movies (by director Andrew Adamson draw close). Watch them.

Puzzle. Pauline Baynes

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

How-To Book and Breakfast

“Why are breakfast foods breakfast foods? Like why don’t we have curry for breakfast”?
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Book and freshly ground coffee at Wayne’s Coffee Forum, great combination!  Photo by Chryssa Skodra

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And why not to recharge mentally at the same time?  If I have the time and I don’t have to go anywhere, I love to read books in the morning with coffee. When I have the time, I love to go to some small coffee shop. I started to read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Now, I have reached the halfway of the book and I am not sure what to think of it but I am really happy it’s fictional.

“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars  tells a story of 16 year old cancer patient Hazel who attends a support group where she meets and falls in love with 17 year old Augustus. So far I have enjoyed the plot but I wonder if the book is that kind of one that it makes you like it because it has lots of super nice quotable lines,  and melancholic plot but fascinating and funny teenagers? Well I guess I will find out when I finish the book.

How- To Book & Breakfast (read while having breakfast )

1. Pick a great place that you like, preferably some cozy corner by the window, like one at Wayne’s Coffee Forum  (I chose this place because it has lovely atmosphere and friendly service. In case you want to visit the address is:  Simonkatu 8, 00100 Helsinki, Finland) Pick a book you know is good , or the one being  currently being discussed everywhere, or one of your favorite ones.
2. As coffee person, check that in case you  go to a coffee shop, see that it offers good quality coffee like Wayne’s  (and mugs that are the right size! ). Applies to tea drinkers.
3. If you eat, eat first and then have another coffee mug with the book. Careful, you don’t want to damage the book (or worse e-reader).
4. Morning with a book has a tendency to turn into an afternoon with a book…
5. Don’t pick anything too difficult to read, it’s morning after all.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

How-To Admire That Hacker

“Don’t ever fight with Lisbeth Salander. Her attitude towards the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

I love reading detective stories and crime fiction, I like this genre and all countries usually have at least few authors to have written some excellent books. But…there is something special about crime fiction and detective stories written in Scandinavia, especially Sweden. I think the reason for this be that Sweden is often portrayed as safe country but yet in all Northern countries, it’s dark most of the year, we have woods…and then there are the crimes. And of course the authors are talented.

“There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

Millenium is Swedish phenomenon, I enjoyed reading it a lot. The books are highly engaging and characters (…Lisbeth Salander in particular) are fantastic. Even if often in books, the main character can have some issues and something “special” about them, “Wasp”  is uniquely heroic in her flawed life. Story is addictive, first book investigates the murder in the family of Vanger, second one is about Millenium magazine tries to expose sex-trafficking industry in Sweden and is at same time creating the plot for the third book that circles around  problematic and rotten  Säpo – the intelligence agency of Sweden.

I’d give Millenium 9/10

“Dear Government… I’m going to have a serious talk with you if I ever find anyone to talk to.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

How-To Read Millenium

1. I have borrowed pocketbooks of Millenium trilogy from library (for photographing session ;)) and each book was about 700 pages so reserve some time for this reading experience.
2. Ignore the mass popularity of these books, they are worth it. You might not straightly get Lisbeth Salander and what is so special about her but you will be on her side eventually.
3. There are three Swedish movies based on Millenium and one American adaptation. I didn’t really enjoy watching the Swedish movies, so I would skip them. American one I haven’t seen.
4. The original titles are a bit different than English ones, I think that’s something to think about while reading. Maybe also Swedish legislation system and politics…
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo = Män som hatar kvinnor = men who hate women
The Girl Who Played With Fire= Flickan som lekte med elden (translation is the same)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest = Luftslottet som sprängdes = the aircastle that blew up
5. As author Stieg Larsson died of heart attack in 2004 and Millenium was published only after his death, the ending might seem like there’s more. However, I did some googling, there is fourth book of Millenium being published in 2015…Let’s remember to read that one too

“Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

 

How-To Howl

“I am in truth the Steppenwolf that I often call myself; that beast astray that finds neither home nor joy nor nourishment in a world that is strange and incomprehensible to him.”
― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf written by German author Herman Hesse is beautiful self-portrait of a man. Henry Haller finds himself torn between his two selves: man and wolf. He sees himself as a wolf because  he’s a loner, he rather reads his books and listens to classical music and pursues knowledge. He sees himself as man because he likes wealthier living and comfort that comes with it in stead of finding true purpose of life.

Harry is having hard time  with his multiple personalities and one night he is walking in the old part of the city he lives in. He sees sign over door he has never noticed before: “MAGIC THEATER—ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY.”…  “FOR MADMEN ONLY!” He soon meets a woman called Hermione at jazz club and it changes Harry’s  life.

“How foolish it is to wear oneself out in vain longing for warmth! Solitude is independence.”
― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

I liked this book. I think it was nicely structured. In preface of the novel you are presented to Harry of the editors point of view who despises him.  Later it focuses on Harry being the Steppenwolf . I somehow connected with Harry, maybe it was because he reads books, maybe because he is confused about himself and feels isolated.  Maybe at times there’s bits of Steppenwolf in all of us at times.

I did not spend too much time with this book and I didn’t especially think about it in more depth. Like did the magical theater exist somewhere else than in Harry’s mind? Who is Hermione? Why was it those immortals that were talking to Harry and why? I think it might be something to to return to.

I would give this book 8½

How-To Read Steppenwolf

1. Steppenwolf is quite short book, about 200 pages, but it takes you longer to read it  if you really think of all the elements of it. f you are familiar with works of Plato, Mozart, Goethe, Spinoza, Nietzsche you could reflect those to this book.
2. Layers, layers, layers after layers.
3.  Is it for madmen only? Give this book a chance, don’t at least say it was just rambling that didn’t make any sense to you.
4. I think you should try reading this many times in your life and see if it changes something.
5.
If you have liked other novels by Herman Hesse, I am pretty sure you will like this one too.

“You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live.”
― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

The Egyptian

“I, SINUHE, the son of Senmut and of his wife Kipa, write this. I do not write it to the glory of the gods in the land of Kem, for I am weary of gods, nor to the glory of the Pharaohs, for I am weary of their deeds. I write neither from fear nor from any hope of the future but for myself alone. During my life I have seen, known, and lost too much to be the prey of vain dread; and, as for the hope of immortality, I am as weary of that as I am of gods and kings. For my own sake only I write this; and herein I differ from all other writers, past and to come.”
-The Egyptian, Mika Waltari

The Egyptian (Sinuhe, egyptiläinen, Sinuhe the egyptian) is a historical novel written by Finnish author Mika Waltari. Personally, I think it’s the best Finnish book ever to be written. It has been translated to over 40 languages and it is by far the only Finnish to be adapted into a Hollywood film.

The Egyptian (Sinuhe, egyptiläinen, Sinuhe the egyptian) is a historical novel written by Finnish author Mika Waltari. Personally, I think it’s the best Finnish book ever to be written. It has been translated to over 40 languages and it is by far the only Finnish to be adapted into a Hollywood film. (I have seen the film, I think it’s very shallow compared to book.)

The book is set in Ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten of the 18th dynasty.  The plot circles around Sinuhe who is found in the Nile and adopted to family of a poor doctor. Sinuhe grows up and learns his father’s profession and eventually becomes a royal physician. I love this book but it’s quite sad/pessimistic. During the book Sinuhe – he who is alone, feels lost because he doesn’t know of his origins. He falls in love with three different women and none of these relationships work out.  Nefernefernefer whom Sinuhe thinks is the most beautiful woman he’s seen is traitorous courtesan, Crete Minea happens to belong to wrong religion and Sinuhe’s last love bar singer Merit is perfect but they are separated by civil war. Also, every situation Sinuhe encounters seems to have the worst outcome.

There are many themes in this book. Sinuhe rises from humble beginnings, makes some wrong choices and is forced to go out to the world and seek his fortune (have we heard this somewhere before?) Novel describes well the power structure and changes in it and also the underdevelopment of the society in the Ancient Egypt.  The book also observes war (the novel was published in 1945, during/ shortly after the Second World War. Sinuhe goes to see it as he has never seen it before. One of the very important themes are also the religions. In the beginning of the book, in Thebes, they worship Amon as only right god. Later Pharaoh changes and he forces people to worship Aton.

I would rate this book 9+/10.

How-To Read The Egyptian

1. It’s the best book by Finnish author I have ever read. Translation can be hard! to find but it is definitely worth of it! You’ll thank me later. I would recommend the English translation of Naomi Walford.
2. Language is very beautiful and poetic and the  story pulls you in from the first page.
3. It’s hard to believe Mika Waltari never was to Egypt after reading this book, sometimes I forgot it was fiction. There have been some arguments of how historically accurate the book is but I think there are only some points that are non-accurate.
4. The main character and narrator Sinuhe is pessimistic, he has his reasons though. The novel is quite long, about 800 pages.
5. If you like historical novels, I would also recommend other historical novels of Mika Waltari such as The Etruscan and The Dark Angel.

“Sinuhe, my friend, we have been born into strange times. Everything is melting – changing its shape – like clay on a potter’s wheel. Dress is changing, words, customs are changing, and people no longer believe in the gods – though they may fear them. Sinuhe, my friend, perhaps we were born to see the sunset of the world, for the world is already old, and twelve hundred years have passed since the building of the pyramids. When I think of this, I want to bury my head in my hands and cry like a child.”
-The Egyptian, Mika Waltari

How-To Be Unhappy Social Butterfly

Let’s play a game. Take guess in what book I am reviewing. What is it? Was it easy guess? Comment your guess and also comment if this would fit some other book you know.

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

There are multiple adaptations of this book. One of the characters was played by this beautiful Swedish actress in 1935.

I am not the biggest fan of this specific genre, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I read most of the books in this genre at once. I think books in this specific  genre all end a bit too dramatic. (hint!) I did like this more than the other “brick” by this same author.

The title of this novel might fool you a bit as the book is not about one person but it does describe the one person through the lives of three different families or couples that are linked to each other. Each one of this couples have their problems as goes the famous quote of this novel:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

I liked the main character, I can’t not like a person who reads and writes books (oh the amount of whining…) This individual was just pursuing love because of being married to cold and passionless personage and is just  too honest with one’s feelings. This eventually lead into being in social exile and plain misery. I ended up feeling really sorry for the main character. After all, the only flaws of poor creature were to fall in love with the wrong people. Though, no, some part of me kept asking “why?”

I think this book described somewhat well life of the Russian aristocrats (hint hint!) and their feelings and the daily life and also you  learn a lot of the military, war, agriculture! family life, local elections…

I’d give this book 8/10

 Your Guide How-To Read ?

1. This is one of the books that you probably have ready image in your head because of it’s reputation so be careful with that.The plot is somewhat revealed when the two main characters talk about Plato in the beginning of the book (hint!)
2. Pay attention to the meaning of the trains in this novel. (hint:the end!)
3. For me, it was long read. And it takes you lot of hours to read it. It is quite lengthy and the author takes you deep in to the feelings (+ complaining) of the characters and many surrounding happenings are thoroughly explained.
4. Full names of the characters and all the variations can be a bit difficult and confusing.
5. Remember to look into all the adaptations!

“Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.”

How-To Endure Life of a Slave

“Really, it was difficult to determine which I had most reason to fear—dogs, alligators or men!”
― Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

I have to admit that I did not even know about this book before the movie and it took me a long time to realize that there was actually a book too It is kind of embarrassing for me because I usually know the old books (as they are free to read so it leaves no excuse not to read them) and memoirs in particular. I think everyone should read these memoirs and history not to let the same happen ever again. I’d also like to hear book recommendations on this in case you have ones?

12 Years a Slave is memoir of Solomon Northup published in 1853  It is really touching book because it has the  most unique approach.  Northup was a free man born in New York, skilled carpenter and violinist and family man: married to black woman and father of three.  I honestly did not quite understand how this could happen in the first place. Humanity shows it’s  rotten side as two men basically kidnap Northup and sell him into slavery where he is brutalized and close to death on many occasions. It’s very heart wrenching book.

“Life is dear to every living thing; the worm that crawls upon the ground will struggle for it.”
― Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

At the same time, I liked the hope element in the book. Already the title of this book gives you a hint of the happy ending. By that I mean that he was slave for 12 years. Then again, there was only hope for Northup. What about all those who were born into slavery and died in the slavery? And, I of course knew that slavery existed (we all do)  100 years ago and there is still human trafficking all around the world but even though when you are reading books like 12 Years a Slave, you just find it hard to believe that this happened only about 100 years ago…I’d give this book 8/10.

“What difference is there in the color of the soul?”
― Solomon Northup, 12 Years A Slave

Your Guide On How-To Read 12 Years a Slave

1. It is memoir, it is free, it tells a lot of history. No reason not to read it.
2. It is quite short, approximately 200 pages but the ending is very rushed, I didn’t like it and you won’t like it. Is it because of David Wilson, his editor?
3. If you like “slave-narratives”, this is the one you can’t skip. Solomon Northup describes life of the slave, the fear and all depressingly well. The stories of other slaves are heart-breaking.
4. I liked the language, so if you like to read comprehensible old language, you should take a look at this.
5. 12 Years a Slave is quite neutral book. It’s just memoir, in the end he says that he does have no comments concerning slavery, this peculiar institution. Reader can think for oneself what they think of it.

Post Scriptum,

Did you like the Vine? (The video in the beginning) This is how I often like to read classics especially if I am traveling because it is very light. Most people might have book in their bags but why, it’s so heavy! This particular reader is Sony Reader PRS-T1. It is my favorite one because battery lasts for months! , I have currently 102 books there and I think one can download even more + there is also room for MicroSD, the  screen is not illuminated but it does have nice little reading lamp. It’s just like a book :)

How-To Stop Falling Apart

A Million Little Pieces written by author James Frey is a book that you either will want to have in your bookshelf or you will want to keep it far away from there (as it seems to be the case with most).  For me, it was very gripping from the beginning of it and I am so happy for Frey who through this book has become great and popular writer.

“There is no fear. Absolutely no fear. When one lives without fear, one cannot be broken. When one lives with fear one is broken before one begins to live.”
― James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

The book was originally published as memoir. The back cover said:

This is actually not memoir but semi-fictional work, and after it was published,  there has been a lot of talk about man who conned Oprah and A Million Little Lies.  Despite this, I thought  this was still really good book. To me it was obvious  that Frey had colored some bits of it and  I don’t think it really mattered to me in the end that it wasn’t all true.  A Million Little Pieces was after all half-true and also all of it could have happened to someone else. Easily.

I liked the plot, the element of survival and pushing through all the hardships. We all have been through some situation when we feel like we can’t go on, we want to give up or we are too scared to keep doing something. Our inner voices are telling us how weak and hopeless we are. And in Million Little Pieces it’s the addiction to drugs and alcohol and he says no to it.  Other thing that drew me in was the love story. In the treatment facility, James meets Lilly. Woman with cheap plastic watch, black hair and blue eyes.

I loved the characters. And I respect all the people working in the facility center. The clinic where Frey was in, had highest success rate with the clients and it was not much, something about 11%. My favorite characters Especially Lilly, Miles & Leonard .  Leonard, again, is not the person you should like. He runs “small” Italian family business…But he has a big role in the book and he is father character to James.

“The secret to kicking ass in dumbshit Hollywood… Every time you meet someone, make a fucking impression. Make them think

you’re the hottest shit in the world. Make them think they’re gonna lose their job if they don’t give you one. Look ‘em in the eye, and never look away. Be confident and calm, be fucking bold.
That sounds more like the secret to kicking ass in life.
It is, but I was gonna wait and tell you that some other time. “
— James Frey (My Friend Leonard)

I’d give this book 8 (with huge) + /10

Your Guide On How-To Read A Million Little Pieces
1. I’d recommend edition that doesn’t say it is memoir! Because then, it is slightly disappointing to read that it is semi-fictional…
2. Read “A Million Little Lies” and “Man who conned Oprah“, and think how big role it has for you and your reading experience. What if you didn’t know of this?
3. James Frey  has distinctive style in writing… It’s raw and I am not big fan of stream of consciousness (what was the person who invented it thinking?)  but it really opens the mind of that person who is writing.  You get into their minds whether you want it or not. Frey also  keeps repeating same words and often the sentence can consist of one or two words. Sometimes nouns are written with capital letters. So it is very different reading experience.
4. It has too much !!  of good sentences to quote, plot is great, characters are great.
5. It’s sad…sometimes grey humor.
6. The story continues in My Friend Leonard. I think if you love this one  you can not not read it.

How-To Hear the People Sing

indexLes Misérables by Victor Hugo is probably the few books that have so many adaptations. Personally, I think it is the best books ever to be written. Why? Just because.

Because.It has amazing characters.  I think they are very human, none of them are perfect. We always fall for the “good bad Robin Hood like guys” and Les Mis has Jean Valjean. Ex-convict who has just been released after 19 years of imprisonment in the galleys, five years for stealing bread for his starving sister and her children and fourteen more for trying to escape. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? He can’t get a place to stay because of his yellow passport that marks him as criminal. I like how Valjean constantly pulls out Houdini like tricks in the book.

Then there’s Javert. The bad cop. Who’s just really doing his job. Fantine (now I have Anne Hathaway picture of her in my head), Parisian grisette, falls in love, finds out that she is pregnant, is left alone to take care of her illegitimate child and eventually becomes prostitute. Cosette. Fantine’s  daughter, the  Cinderella story of Les Misérables, the Lark who becomes the princess like creature. And dear Eponiné. The girl in the shadows of Cosette. I really liked her. She fell for guy who already was in love with another girl but still sacrificed all. It is full of people and happenings.

 

“Promise to give me a kiss on my brow when I am dead. I shall feel it.”
She dropped her head again on Marius’ knees, and her eyelids closed. He thought the poor soul had departed. Éponine remained motionless. All at once, at the very moment when Marius fancied her asleep forever, she slowly opened her eyes in which appeared the sombre profundity of death, and said to him in a tone whose sweetness seemed already to proceed from another world:
“And by the way, Monsieur Marius, I believe that I was a little bit in love with you.”

It has most beautiful plot and language. I also liked how emotional the book it was, this one made me laugh and cry. Or both at same time. Truly beautiful.Éponine_e_Marius

I love the themes in the book. There’s lot of love and compassion in the book and I think there’s a lot on what does it mean to be human. I like how Hugo had lots of criticism towards French society, social injustice and politics during the 19th century. For example, Valjean stole piece of bread and attempted to escape from galleys few times…and that made him Most Wanted man in France? There was Patron-Minette…and nobody was after them?

Les Misérables has my heart so definitely 10/10.

Your Guide On How-To Read Les Misérables
1. You can read it for free! Yay! For example on Project Gutenberg. Find the one with as many pages as possible. Also, if you have seen the movies and theater adaptations…definitely read the book! It has SO much more! And the other way around ;)
2. Warning: it is huge but has lot to give.
3. Victor Hugo loves you as reader. He talks to you all the time, imagine this and imagine that. It’s really nice. Kind of like someone would read it to you. Once, he does even apologize if something is not accurate.
4. Hugo puts much of time into description. Very wordy book. He describes you Paris, Battle of Waterloo (many many pages in the beginning of the book), sewers of the Paris and slang among other. He seems to have a lot to say about everything.
5. If you want to have inspiration to read about France’s history, you can as well start from Les Misérables.
6. You should have a soundtrack of the Les Misérables prepared on your iPod :p

“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

How-To Discover New Worlds Pullman Style

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman is my favorite fantasy trilogy of all time. It consists of three books: Northern Lights/The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Northern Lights was first published 1995 and trilogy was finished in 2000.

WP_20140306_16_03_35_Pro20140306160434

In first book, we meet Lyra and her dæmon Pantalaimon. We are introduced to a whole new world: one that has been stuck in England’s Victorian era, one that is dominated by Magisterium and most importantly one with dæmons, people’s souls in animal companions. The book is thrilling. It has so many elements that are completely new in fantasy & also characters from around the world. Personally, I was fascinated by the witch with Finnish family name: Serafina Pekkala.
What I disliked was
Lyra. And is not too good if you dislike the main character? She keeps poking her nose into stuff that is none of her business and she also is super irresponsible. Yet she has the talent to read the compass of truth: alethiometer and everyone seems to like her….Alright then. Sure she has her moments.

In the second book, we meet Will.  Who is from our world. Who’s father has left long time ago and who’s mother is lunatic. Will is (among) my favorite protagonist in His Dark Materials. He is everything Lyra is not. When they meet, I hoped that she will learn something from him.
WP_20140306_16_09_19_Pro20140306161402 Will meets two rebellious angels. What sort of surprised me was that book had so fast pace in comparison with the previous book. It was also quite short.In the final third book, what is unexpected maybe that it is the size of first two books combined. I liked how it was mostly focused on Iorek Byrnison, Will and angel Balthamos. I liked how Pullman described the underworld, the land of the death, where Lyra and Will go to find Lyra’s friend. In many movies that I know the place where the dead are is often quite scary. In Pullman’s work, yes it was of course frightening but all they wanted was to touch and hear stories of the sun and wind. I think The Amber Spyglass closed nicely the trilogy even though the ending, in my opinion, was not quite what I expected.
The Mulefa are adorable!
Yay, we meet Kirjava! Mottled in Finnish ;)

I’d give this trilogy 9/10

Your guide on How- To Read His Dark Materials

1. It is a beautiful trilogy but every book can also be read as stand-alone. You should get ones with the drawings in the beginning of the chapters and “Lantern Slides”.
2. You will want your own dæmon (not demon!) If not, you can ask yourself “what is wrong with me” until you will want one.
3. The writer Philip Pullman has been called most unspoken atheist of all time, so be prepared for that if you are more religious or have strong beliefs. It is kind of weird that the series also carry message to adults even if ment for children.
4. It’s better to read His Dark Materials the younger you are. So if you are parent, make your children read this. The awards and nominations this series has is big.
5. It is a bit confusing at times if you don’t read it with passion.
6. Pullman was inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. You may find it interesting.
7. Do not be fooled by thinking “oh what a great book, I’ll watch the movie too”. The movie is inaccurate (and it sucks).

If someone remembers, in 2007, there was this beautiful test where you could find you own daemon on Golden Compass’ website. Sadly closed now. Those who took the test, or take it now, what was/is your daemon?

WP_20140306_16_15_34_Pro20140306161605

How-To Not-Survive Isolated Island with Bunch of Boys

Lord of the the Flies  was the first book written by William Golding. It tells how bunch of British boys plane-crash on inhabited island and how they try to survive. It wasn’t too popular when it was first published but it has gained much attention and popularity on latter years.

WP_20140226_11_23_13_Pro20140226112436

I think I’d recommend this novel only if you are fond of dystopian novels. Because it is entertaining and Golding describes surroundings and what happens on island very well. And I think it is also a book you have to read at least once in your life. Though, I think most of us have read the book in school in some point.

Now, I didn’t like this book at all.  I don’t know if it was World War 2 that made Golding to write such pessimistic book that focuses on how they basically want to maintain level of civilization but turn into savagery. Golding said once that “Wouldn’t it be a good idea
to write a story about some boys…showing how they really would behave”
Let me explain my dislike:
First of all, I didn’t like the characters.
There is Ralph, Simon and Piggy who create order and come up with intellectual ideas. Boys vote Ralph to be their leader. As if. Because here comes Jack , the opponent, who wants to dominate. Not like Jack does have any good ideas…oh wait yeah….the beast whom Jack turns into tribe’s common enemy and common idol. Then Ralph whom we liked in the beginning. Who was good leader. And kind person. Well…he happily goes to bloody pig-hunt and even bloodier dance  afterwards and it turns out he is only behaving civilized because that was
what he was taught to do. What? Whereas, Simon, who is actually kind and who has civilization in some inner part of him  recognizes the truth—that the beast does not exist in physical form on the island but rather it exists within each boy on the island. When Simon tries to approach the other boys to tell them about this, they attack him and kill him. Piggy…let’s not even talk about him. Somehow first you have hope in these boys and then you lose it. Would it really all turn to be so bad?

Then, I wasn’t also too fond of the themes. Basically it tells how cruel people are. Loss of innocence. Constant battle for power. Fear. Twisted wisdom. Religion. Weak versus Strong.

I’d give this book 5/10.

Your guide on How- To Read Lord of the Flies
1.
It’s pretty short, doesn’t take long to read. It will keep your interest and it is entertaining. Something that “blows you away”.
2. It gets very disturbing, depressing, dark and violent, so be prepared for that. It describes how humanity crumbles down, school boys turn to brutes and whole “loss of innocence” concept.
3. Amaze yourself by how well Golding describes fire! Beard! Best ones!
4. I suppose if you want to, then book provides lots of symbolic meanings, psychology and other hidden agendas to think of.
5. You will be annoyed with ending. It was pretty ironic too.

“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”
― William Golding, Lord of the Flies

How-To Grasp the Ring’s Power

WP_20140212_11_49_15_ProThe Lord of the Rings by J. R. R.Tolkien is a legend among the books.
I read it the first time when I was 12 years old. I liked these books very much and of course I always appreciate any author who puts so much effort into creating a whole world for the reader. By the way, if you haven’t read these books, don’t even dare to tell you are reader.

Tolkien describes the characters very well, he also does his best to introduce the reader this new race called hobbits, especially in the first book: The Fellowship of the Ring. I think that through whole series, there a lot of philosophical questions like for example:  who should have the power over One Ring and what/who is good or bad.

I’d give 9/10 to whole depth of the Middle-earth stories, maybe only 8½/10 to LotR alone. I don’t think there really are people who would even dislike this epic story. There’s only people who haven’t read it or put that much effort into reading it.

Your guide on How- To Read The Lord of the Rings

1. It takes time. You can either read the three parts combined or separately. In either case, it is still over 1000 pages.
2. Welcome to Middle-earth. You should start with Hobbit before LotR because it is easier to read and it happens 60 years before LotR. Also it introduces Gandalf and Bilbo to the reader. Afterwards…there is Silmarillion, Children of Hurin…

3. I know there are movies. And most of us have seen the movie before the books. But hey, you can spot all the differences in the book.
4. You can skip the introduction and return to it later if you want to. It’s all about Hobbits to explain LotR if you haven’t read Hobbit (yes, you can skip it)
5. Embrace all the bonus material. There are poems and songs (that some of have really have nothing to do with the story itself), runes. In all together 100 pages of appendix (explaining history, languages…).
6. Don’t think too feminist (if you are female reader), the Middle-earth doesn’t have too many women but the few ones are very powerful.
7. Yay! Bunch of names you play tongue twister with.

 Runes

“I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

How-To Handle Raskolnikov

 

(Spoilers!!) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is perhaps one of the most praised books in the history. It is also the book that many turn away thinking that it is long and somewhat depressing.

All that is true. Honestly, you will either hate this book, love this book or to be unsure what to think of it  for the rest of your life.
C&P  is basically  fascinating book with deep talented description of psychological drama. It is well-written, it has good structure and fascinating characters.

Personally, it took me about half year to read this book. The first 5 months I was struggling to get past the point where Raskolnikov goes to the bar. To make it clear, that happens somewhere in the first 10 pages. Afterwards, I remember that I just kept turning the pages thinking “No-no-no, don’t do that.Why? C’mon now…”

Fyodor…seriously, what’s with all this?

During the most of the book you are dealing with the inner turmoils of the characters, especially one of Raskolnikov. With him, you can ask yourself where the crime ends and where the punishment begins. Because it is one HUGE mind game. Raskolnikov is feeling awful about what he has done: murdered two old hags women with stolen axe (points to writer for using creative murder weapon) but apparently not guilty enough to turn himself in. Other important conflicts you will fgo trough will include questions like: why do girls always fall for bad guys? (classic one, huh?) or why didn’t attorney who had the evidence to bring Raskolnikov to justice not do it?

Surviving trough this, I would give this book 7/10. It  is definitely worth reading! And it is definitely a book that you can brag about having read. Remember to congratulate yourself once you have finished it.

Your guide on How- To Read Crime and Punishment
1. When you start reading, read past the bar point before using bookmark.2. Don’t be prepared for happy endings. They are not common in classics.
3. Be prepared to face criminal madness, poverty, prostitution, love, history, lots of Russians and lots of psychology.
4. Don’t give up! If you have started reading, it is totally worth finishing. It takes a lot of digesting but it is rewarding.
5. Don’t wonder why all the women in the book are either saints or sinners.
6. In the end, don’t wonder too much about :”Why, Sonya? Why did you follow him to Siberia?” No really knows. We can only speculate.
Moreover, you can find the book for free in Project Gutenberg, which is perfect if you like to read books online or in e-form.  In case you absolutely loved the book, you should definitely learn Russian to read it in original.