viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2013

Nonfiction November: New Additions to My TBR

Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness and Leslie from Regular Rumination are hosting Nonfiction November. It's a blogging event to celebrate nonfiction! Participants are encouraged to read more nonfction during the whole month. On Mondays, there will be a question related to the genre.

Behold: this is going to be all over the place. That's how I roll these days.

When I saw this challenge at the end of October, I was so excited for this! I've been wanting to make a dent on my nonfiction TBR for a while, and I thought the weekly questions were really cool. However, life has been sending me curveball after curveball during November - it has been a crazy month. And December won't be better. I have been through many rough changes in my life. But I'm thankful that some of those changes have brought incredible opportunities with them. The awful part is that I have almost abandoned blogging! 

I haven't been able to participate on the event as much as I'd have liked to, and I haven't been reading that much either. The only nonfiction I've started reading is The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, and I'm liking it so far, but I'm barely 100 pages in. I didn't lie when I said I enjoyed reading nonfiction about WWII. But I've been reading all your blogs - instead of cutting down my TBR. And now it has tripled in size!

Karen at Candid Diversions is responsible for half of the additions to my TBR. Her WWII-centric list for 'Becoming the Expert' is amazing. While I was already familiar with some of the titles she mentions, I haven't yet read most of them. The books I'm most looking forward to reading are The Battle of Britain, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers and Savage Continent.


I've also added some science books, like The Lives of a Cell (thanks to Katie at Doing Dewey), or books about reading, like So Many Books, So Little Time (thanks to Book Mammal). And you guys have sparked my interest in foodie nonfiction! I've added quite a few titles of that category to my TBR, thanks to Joy (like Relish) and to our host Lu (like Fair Food or Tomatoland).


Even if I haven't participated that much, the event has been a fun one. I'm looking forward to next year's Nonfiction November. Thanks to the hosts and to everyone who has participated for this wonderful event!

miércoles, 13 de noviembre de 2013

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) - Agatha Christie

Summary from Goodreads:

When a wealthy heiress is murdered, Poirot steps out of retirement to find the killer. As the master detective makes his way through the list of suspects, he finds the solution in an elaborately planned scheme almost impossible to believe.

This is Agatha Christie's first published novel, the first featuring Hercule Poirot, and the first I have read as well. I had an idea of what to expect because I had previously seen a couple of Poirot films - the Peter Ustinov ones. Now that I have read the novel, I have to say that he nails the eccentric Belgian detective.

The story is narrated by Lieutenant Hastings, who is on leave at Styles Court and an old friend of the family. Soon after he arrives, Emily Inglethorp, the matriarch and step-mother of John and Lawrence Cavendish, dies of strychnine poisoning. As the events occur during WWI, Poirot happens to be on exile near Styles Court and, as a friend of Hastings, decides to help solve the case.

I have to admit that I am a little sad that the war background wasn't better explored, but (judging solely from this novel) Agatha Christie's mysteries aren't exactly deep novels. I breezed through The Mysterious Affair at Styles, but couldn't help myself from rolling my eyes extra-high when it came to certain clichéd depictions - Jewish spy, knightly idealistic gentleman, saintly nurse, indomitable and jealous exotic beauty, or stoic and sensible English lady. Cozy mysteries are full of these types, but Christie wasn't the first one to stock up on them. As I read, I couldn't stop thinking about A.C. Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Even the duo military narrator - eccentric detective has similiraties with that of Watson and Holmes. However, Christie made them distinct from their predecessors: Hastings is way more uptight and full of himself than Watson, while Poirot isn't nearly as aloof or socially awkward as Holmes.

It is a fun novel, but I'm affraid the details won't stick. The mystery itself is a classic whodunit. So classic that I was constantly reminded of the Appointment with Death film - even the solution is similar. The motive is clear (money), the cause is known (poisoning, which I heard it's a Christie's classic), and the array of suspects is varied. I'm usually good at guessing the killer, but, guided but the confused narrator, my suspicions went from character to character without settling. That made it even more of a page-turner, so I'm not complaining.

viernes, 8 de noviembre de 2013

Book Blogger Hop: When do you post your reviews?

The question for this week is: Do you post your book reviews as soon as you have completed the book or do you wait a few days?

Sometimes, my head starts composing reviews of its own accord while I'm reading the book. The only thing I can do then is jump to write the review as soon as I finish reading. Those are the easiest reviews. 
Sometimes, though, I know what I want to talk about but I can't put my thoughts into words. I try to come up with a list of what I liked and disliked about the book, sleep on it and expand the list until it looks like a review.

In any case, I try to write my book reviews as soon as I can, so I can capture my reaction to the book in question. However, when it comes to posting them, it's a completely different matter. When I started this blog, back in April, I posted them as soon as they were written. I've only recently started to feel comfortable with a blogging schedule, and now I try to post book reviews once a week, every Wednesday.

jueves, 7 de noviembre de 2013

The Classics Club: November Meme

The Classics Club monthly meme is another way to bring members of The Classics Club together.
A meme rewind: Pick a classic someone else in the club has read from our big review list. Link to their review and offer a quote from their post describing their reaction to the book. What about their post makes you excited to read that classic in particular?
Since it's the first time I participate in the Monthly Meme, I hadn't done this question before. I decided to choose a classic that I love and then read some of the reviews about it. Well, I hit the jackpot right away! I went to read reviews of Anna Karenina, and found Ellie's review.

Ellie blogs at Lit Nerd and her about page convinced me of her awesomeness. In her own words: Ellie, London, Nerd. Her review is funny and spot-on! Let me sample this for you:
What an emotional roller-coaster  I mean, PHEW, I feel pretty drained right about now. AK should come with a health warning or something to allow those of a sensitive disposition (by this I mean myself, obviously) to prepare themselves for such an emotional reading experience.
With that start, it was impossible to stop reading. And impossible to not follow Lit Nerd from now on!

miércoles, 6 de noviembre de 2013

The Map of the Sky (Victorian Trilogy #2) - Félix J. Palma

Summary from Goodreads:

A love story serves as backdrop for The Map of the Sky when New York socialite Emma Harlow agrees to marry millionaire Montgomery Gilmore, but only if he accepts her audacious challenge: to reproduce the extraterrestrial invasion featured in Wells’s War of the Worlds. What follows are three brilliantly interconnected plots to create a breathtaking tale of time travel and mystery, replete with cameos by a young Edgar Allan Poe, and Captain Shackleton and Charles Winslow from The Map of Time.

I finally got to read the second novel of the Victorian trilogy by Félix J. Palma. If you have been following this blog, by now you know that I love Palma's fiction: I've reviewed The Map of Time and an untranslated short story collection, The Private Matters, and plan on reading and reviewing his backlist.

I had high expectations regarding this book. I really, really loved The Map of Time, and wanted to like the sequel just as much. Alas, although I really liked it, I thought it wasn't as good. It starts slowly. With that, I mean that the first hundred pages are static plot-wise, the characters aren't written to be liked, and I had a hard time getting into the novel. But past that initial obstacle, we find again Félix Palma's characteristic quirky voice and brisk pace, and the rest of the novel is really worth that initial effort. It is, however, much darker and grimmer than The Map of Time. Here's the book trailer (in Spanish, but it is still beautiful and easy to understand without words):

martes, 5 de noviembre de 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can't Wait to Get my Hands On

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that anyone can answer. All you have to do is link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post and add it to the Linky widget.

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

lunes, 4 de noviembre de 2013

Nonfiction November: Nonfiction Favorites

Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness and Leslie from Regular Rumination are hosting Nonfiction November. It's a blogging event to celebrate nonfiction! Participants are encouraged to read more nonfction during the whole month. On Mondays, there will be a question related to the genre.

I've realized I have not read a single nonfiction book this year! And I don't want to look at past years stats, because it would only be too sad. I'm a lousy nonfiction reader! So I seized the opportunity the moment I heard about Nonfiction November. Sadly, I have many fiction books that need to be read. Or not so sadly. I love to have book stacks overload. Anyway, even if I won't be reading solely nonfiction, I wanted to participate with at least a couple of books.

Today's question is What is your favorite piece of nonfiction? I'm afraid I'm not really qualified to answer the question. I've noticed that I like reading about:

Spanish grammar (it's my native language)
History, specifically the Second World War
Women: evolution of gender roles through history, women who made a historical difference, feminism

Click the covers if you want to know more about my choices. And sorry about the couple in Spanish that haven't been translated, but I really really liked them when I read them and couldn't bring myself to leave them off the list.