Orhan Pamuk – My Name is Red – Thoughts

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My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk is one of the most strange yet interesting books I’ve ever read. I would describe it as sumptuous. It wasn’t an easy read, it requires a lot of attention and focus. I admit sometimes I got lost into it.
The story centers around the murder of a miniaturist, who was working along with others on a book celebrating the life of the Sultan in Istanbul. Who is the murderer? Someone who didn’t want the book to be completed? Another miniaturist?
The aspect I’ve found the most interesting is the way this story is told. Every chapter narrates the events from the point of view of different characters, with the first chapter introducing us the victim. The corpse talks to us. And as the story unfolds, we can read a chapter in which a drawing talks to us, even a color.
As I said, it’s a difficult read, but definitely a satisfying one.

Unboxing PageHabit – #mypagehabit

IMG_20170710_142018 (1)Finally, after a month from my order, my first PageHabit box arrived safely home!
Here I am unboxing it for the first time!

The lovely box – mystery – contains the debut novel “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” by Matthew J. Sullivan:
“When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind.”
I’m very excited to start reading this one, it definitely looks promising. Moreover, inside the book, you will find notes from the author regarding details about the book.

Inside the box, along with the book, a letter by the author, some books-related goods such as a bookmark, a case (inside which my kindle fits just perfectly!), a lovely pin, and a card explaining how PageHabit, thanks to our purchases, can make donations to support children’s literacy.
Following, two more photos from the unboxing:

If you want to purchase a PageHabit box, just head over to: pagehabit.com and select your favorite box among mystery, literary fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and much more.

Lawrence Block – Ombre. Racconti ispirati ai dipinti di Edward Hopper – Riflessioni

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“Ombre” è una raccolta di racconti ispirati ad alcuni tra i numerosi dipinti di Edward Hopper.
I dipinti di Hopper sono particolarmente affascinanti, proprio perché soffermandosi ad osservarli si possono immaginare tante storie diverse. Ho avuto la fortuna di poter visitare una mostra a lui dedicata, ed é incredibile quanto ci si senta attratti dalle sue tele, quanto sia impossibile non immaginare che storia possa nascondersi all’interno delle sue opere.
Questa raccolta cerca proprio questo. Fornire una trama, un tessuto ai colori e ai silenzi delle opere di Hopper.
I miei racconti preferiti sono “La stanza sul mare” di Nicholas Christopher, “Nighthawks” di Michael Connelly, “La sala della musica” di Stephen King, e “Autunno, tavola calda” di Lawrence Block (che è anche il curatore di questa raccolta). Proprio quest’ultimo racconto è basato sul mio dipinto preferito di Hopper, “Automat”, ed è una storia che cattura, sembra essere l’unica possibile per descrivere ciò che accade nel dipinto. Alcune storie mi sono piaciute meno, ma in fin dei conti si tratta di gusti, e di diverse interpretazioni.
Trovo meraviglioso che tanti autori diversi si siano cimentati nel creare una storia attorno ad una serie di dipinti ricchi di profondità, di silenzi, di enigmi.
Block ci racconta nell’introduzione che per uno dei dipinti un autore non è riuscito a consegnare in tempo il proprio racconto. Ci invita quindi a finire noi la raccolta, creando una storia per il dipinto “Cape Cod Morning”. Io ci ho provato, scrivendo un breve racconto in inglese, qui

Cape Cod Morning – A Story

In the book “In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper”, by Lawrence Block, he writes in the Introduction that there was supposed to be an additional story along with the ones published, but the Author couldn’t deliver his story on time, “and so, Gentle Reader, we’ve provided you with an eighteenth painting, and isn’t it a compelling one? Have a look at it, take it in. There’s a story in it, don’t you think? A story just waiting to be told . . . Feel free to tell it.” 

This is the painting, “Cape Cod Morning”, by Edward Hopper:

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And this is my story, “Cape Cod Morning – A Story”

“Do you think it might rain today?”, asked Alice looking outside the window. It seemed a wishful thinking. The sun was high and strong in the sky, making the grass that grew all around the house seem even more golden than it already appeared.
“Rain? Does it look like a rainy day to you?”, May answered, from the other side of the room. “Why, anyway? Do you want a storm so you won’t have to go out with me?”
“It’s not you that I don’t want to go out with”, replied Alice, still looking outside, as if searching for something, waiting for something.
She loved that part of the house, that window. She would sit there for hours, reading a book, or just staring outside at the infinite sea of golden grass, or at the nearby wood’s confines. She always found that wood fascinating. So close, yet so far away. You couldn’t see past the first line of trees, and beyond that, it was like the color black had absorbed everything.
“Hello? Are you still here?”, May asked. Once again, Alice went somewhere else.
“I’d rather stay here, just you and I, you know”, Alice’s tone was soft, almost a whisper.
“Come on, you need to see the outside world from time to time. You need to meet people. You know I love staying here with you, but how can a day out hurt?”. May smiled and took Alice’s hand, “and besides, at the end, we always come back here, just you and I.

Alice smiled. She wished it could always be just her and May. And the house. Their house. Protected by the wood and the golden sea.
“Just a few hours, do it for me?”. How could she say no to her most important person, to her world, her salvation? May was everything she had hoped for in life.
Sometimes, while sitting in front of her favorite window, Alice would think about how her life changed since she met May, and since they moved in the old house.
Before that, it was as if her life had been on hold, waiting to take a path, any path. She was stalling, she wasn’t living. She felt alone, she felt like she couldn’t tell what was in her heart, to anybody. Until she met May. In a bookstore, of all places. Alice’s favorite. May worked there since a few days when she helped Alice find a book. And as she would find out later, much, much more than a book. She helped her find herself again. From that day, their lives changed. It became just one life, their life.
Alice was jealous of every single second she could spend with May.
She was like their white house: strong, solid. She was everything Alice wasn’t; she felt she was more like that wood right beside their house. You never knew where her thoughts could end, you couldn’t see past her surface. She was inaccessible to everyone. Everyone but May.

Alice kept May’s hand in her hand and finally gave up: “Fine, you win… but you pay!”. May kissed her temple.
Alice gave one more look outside the window before following her out of the room. She’d be back here tonight, on her cozy sofa, watching the sun going to sleep with May at her side, a book in her hands, reading for her until they would both be too tired to keep their eyes open.

And the wood and the golden sea would always be there to guard them.

Vintage Minis

 

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Image Source: @penguinukbooks (IG)

Vintage Minis is a new series of twenty books, with selected works from some of the most important Writers around the world (Virginia Woolf, Louisa May Alcott, Marcel Proust, Salman Rushdie just to name a few).
These books are about twenty different subjects such as sisters, home, death, calm, depression. Subjects that we have all encountered in our life, most of them at least.
The concepts of the books’ covers are all very beautiful, which surely helps a lot in attracting the curiosity.

 

Find out more about these twenty books, and have a look at the animated books’ covers at: penguin.co.uk/vintage/vintageminis – You can also take a quiz and find out which of the twenty books you should start reading first (In my case, I should start with “Calm”!), and if you live in the United Kingdom, you can enter a competition to try and win all of the twenty Vintage Minis!

Affinity Konar – Mischling – Thoughts

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Mischling by Affinity Konar is one of the toughest reads I ever encountered in my life.
This novel tells the story of 12 years old twin sisters Pearl and Stasha, who are introduced to the horrors of the Second World War in the most horrific way possible. They become part of “doctor” Mengele’s Zoo in Auschwitz, in 1944. This zoo is populated with children who bear a special interest to him. Pearl and Stasha go through horrors that go beyond human grasp. Because even though this is a novel, Mengele’s horrors are not. It’s difficult to imagine that he was a human being, who put children through the most horrible sufferings to satisfy his needs. He made the most abominable experiments on young children, twins especially.
Even though their childhood is being taken away from them, Pearl and Stasha find comfort in one another, in that particular connection only twins possess.
Until, one day, Pearl disappears. And Stasha ‘s last ray of hope seems to shatter.
From now on, we follow two different paths: Pearl and Stasha’s, and when the camp is finally liberated by the Red Army we begin a new journey, we go through what they go through, both of them using the power of hope to keep going, to keep fighting.
Until the very end, that will make you cry, and cry.
An amazing writing, powerful and soft at the same time.
These are two quotes that I will not forget:

“This is how I walk, I told myself. One step, then another. This is how I walk in memory of Pearl, the girl whose every step could have been musical, and for all time.”

“In my forgiveness, their failure to obliterate me was made clear.”

Page Habit – New Book Subscription

18485647_1040679542730688_4256749525427958796_nToday I want to share this new beautiful book subscription called Page Habit.
The monthly boxes are divided into categories, you simply have to choose the one the suits best your interest (mystery, literary fiction, fantasy and so on).
Moreover,  with every box purchased, a donation is made to support children’s literacy.
I joined Page Habit today, and I can’t wait to receive my first box!

<< Check out Page Habit.com >>

Paula Hawkins – Into The Water – Thoughts

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I always try not to have too high expectations after reading another book by an author I enjoyed reading the first time.
It is, I think, useless to compare The Girl On The Train with Into The Water, as they are completely different stories, completely different atmospheres.
I enjoyed reading Into The Water, but I wasn’t fascinated by the story as it happened with The Girl On The Train. I have several issues with it.
The first one being the massive presence of characters. There are just too many. Sometimes, it’s a bit confusing, remembering that A is the wife of B, who’s a friend of C, who is connected with D, who’s the mother of E. Moreover, none of these characters is fully explored. We just get a glimpse into their life, but not enough, in my opinion. I think it would have been nice to get a deeper focus on Jules and her relationship with her sister. There were traces of it, but merely hints, not enough to really care about the sisters. Same problem with the other characters, you can’t really care about them, because you’re not given material enough to actually care.
There’s not a pivotal moment of revelation, and the end felt quite toned-down, it didn’t leave me satisfied.

Graphic novel adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird

 

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Source: penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

This is such a wonderful news! Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of my favorite books, and I think a graphic novel of this story will give an incredible touch.

 

William Heinemann Publisher Jason Arthur has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, for a graphic novel adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird from Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg Associates.

The graphic novel adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird will be published by William Heinemann on 1 November 2018.

You can read more at: penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

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“Who had invented the light bulb?”
Take three men with uncommon minds. Three geniuses: Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, George Westinghouse. Take a young lawyer named Paul Cravath. Put him in the New York of 1888. Give him the hard task to figure that out.
“The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore is a novel based on true events. All the characters portrayed really existed, almost all the events described really did occur.
This is by far one of the most fascinating books I have ever read.
A novel based on true occurrences, with personages who really existed and who made history, yet it looks like a story only a very gifted novelist could have imagined, given the amazing facts that happened.
You will be completely absorbed by this story, you will root for Paul and Tesla, and you will hate and then be surprised by Edison.

“Refraction, he called it. The way the light is broken up into component colors when it passes through a prism. I felt like a refraction of a person. So many different shades that layer to create the illusion of a solid thing. I was only what was reflected back in others.”

“Who had invented the light bulb?”.
You will be surprised…