Gitta's Literary Escapades

Just another reader taking on (modern) classics, best-sellers, award-winners, non-fiction, and (guilty pleasure) chicklit armed with common sense, a brain and feminism.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent  - Veronica Roth

Whilst I was somewhat entertained by Divergent (reviewed here), this book was steadily heading for 2 stars. Although world-building in this series' first instalment lacked a serious understanding of humanity and of the depth of individual character and behaviour, it had somehow been nice to read before going to bed. So what went wrong in Insurgent, you might ask. Why was I, unlike roughly 210,000 people -- c. 95% -- (on Goodreads) not giving this 3 or higher?1

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Beowulf: A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Editions) - Unknown, Seamus Heaney, Daniel Donoghue Beowulf: A New Verse Translation - Seamus Heaney, Unknown

Beowulf: A Verse Translation translated by Seamus Heaney

Viking Ships at Sea

Over the waves, with the wind behind her
and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird
until her curved prow had covered the distance
and on the following day, at the due hours
those seafarers sighted land,
sunlit cliffs, sheer crags,
and looming headlands, the landfall they sought.
It was the end of their voyage and the Geats vaulted
over the side, out on to the sand,
and moored their ship.                    (ll. 217-26a)

 

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SPOILER ALERT!

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood - Charles Perrault Review Series #1

The Tales Of Mother Goose - Charles Perrault, D.J. Munro, Gustave Doré, Charles Welsh

Welcome to the first part of the Charles Perrault Review Series.

An eight-part serialised set of reviews of the famous fairy tales by the seventeenth-century French author.

 

Perrault (1628-1703) originally published his eight stories in his Histoires ou contes du temps passé, aved des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye (Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals: Tales of Mother Goose). The edition I read I found online and has illustrations by the famous artist Gustave Doré (see links below). Each week I will upload a review of one of his tales.

 

 

Reclining upon a bed was a princess of radiant beauty

All these tales are more graphic than their later adaptations by, for example, the Brothers Grimm, and the majority is, therefore, not suitable for (young) children. For tales that contain vivid descriptions of murder or other forms of (serial) killings, I have made an appropriate note at the beginning of the review and have aimed to provide a censured, child-friendly alternative.

 

I have given this book 3.5 stars because it contains five famous fairy-tales combined with some lesser known works, which are still good.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent  - Veronica Roth

Can't get enough of YA dystopian fiction? Crazy for The Hunger Games? Lusting after Peeniss?1 This might be something for you then. I am perhaps a little late to the Divergent party, but I have yet to find decent young adult dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction. Some say it's better than THG, others disagree with a passion. At least it does not have a love triangle...

 

Like all other works of the genre, society has been streamlined in the future at the expense of personal identity and free will. In Chicago, Illinois, this means you take a test that determines your character and thus the most suitable faction. Each has their role in society.

 

Exclusive: take the test to see what faction you would be in!

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SPOILER ALERT!

Losing It by Cora Carmack

Losing It  - Cora Carmack

I admit I lost it; I had to read this book. My friend Jasmin had picked it up and insisted that I read it. Though I normally do not read books I haven't heard of without researching them, I decided to give this a chance.

 

Meet Bliss Edwards, a theatre student in her final year, who, on the brink of graduating, was starting to feel the pressure. That stress every 22 year old has about not having been in a relationship that might result in marriage within a year. Yeah right, but whatever. Somehow, this intelligent, over-analytical girl had some real issues with the fact that she was still a virgin. Time for a one-night-stand, naturally...

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To Read: Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest by Jennifer Crusie

Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest - Leah Wilson, Jennifer Crusie

I grew up watching Gilmore Girls with my mother and my best friend M., and every autumn I (try to) re-watch the entire series. There is just something about red, green, and orange leaves that makes me long for Amy Sherman-Palladino's fast and witty dialogue.

 

So now that Bunheads is officially cancelled, I needed a fix to my GG addiction.

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About

Details 

  • Age 24, female, Netherlands. 
  • Joined Goodreads in July 2011. Joined BookLikes during the "exodus" of September 2013.

 

I was born and raised in the Netherlands, moved to the UK at 18 to study English at Leicester University and I almost have a MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (interdisciplinary, Durham University). These last four years, I've been living in the UK and the Netherlands, 50/50. Leaving England in September 2013, I spent a month in Florence, Italy, before moving back to the Netherlands, where began figuring out what's next.

 

However, half a year later an opportunity for a temporary international assignment presented itself. Therefore, by April 2014, I was back in the UK. This time it was London and for work. I lived here for another 8 months and came back to the Netherlands yet again... I have to admit that I have fallen in love with London and that I plan on finding a permanent job and relocating there indefinitely.

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The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

Say what? Three stars for J. K. Rowling? Yes. Although I am a big fan of her Harry Potter series, The Cuckoo's Calling was just not my cup of tea. Rowling, as always, possesses an invaluable range of vocabulary, which she expertly uses in this detective novel, and it was very well-written overall.

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Vittoria Colonna: With Some Account of Her Friends and Her Times by Maud F. Jerrold

Vittoria Colonna: With Some Account of Her Friends and Her Times - Maud F Jerrold

I quite enjoyed this book. Given that it was written in 1906, it is surprisingly academic compared to the other late nineteenth-century, early twentieth-century biographies and studies of Vittoria Colonna, and Michelangelo Buonarroti.

 

Vittoria Colonna from BarcelonaIt offers a very readable account of the Colonna family, their troubles with the popes of that time (Leo X, Clement VII, Paul II) and the political scene of Europe (Reformation, wars, Henry VIII, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Martin Luther, Juan Valdés, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione, Machiavelli, etc.)

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Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless  - Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti has no soul, she is a praeternatural whose kind is meant to combat those with excess soul: vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. She is also a spinster, who carries a parasol to swat intolerable men away. When a bloodthirsty vampire tries to feed on her, she kills him with it. Where did this clueless vampire come from who seemed to have mist the initiation lesson on how to be a vampire in Victorian London?

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Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth - Reza Aslan

The Fox Interview and the Critique Thereof

I am not afraid to admit that I only found out about this book through the appallingly unprofessional interview on Fox News with Reza Aslan. The video quickly went viral -- which is how I came across it. Slowly and steadily news papers and websites picked up on it. A part of me feels proud for having been more up-to-date than they were this time. The controversy is this: Lauren Green thought the most important question to ask Aslan was why he, as a Muslim, would write a book on Jesus, the 'founder of Christianity'. I wonder; why do the personal life and religious choices of the author matter?

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Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/679384353

Pietro Bembo: Lover, Linguist, Cardinal by Carol Kidwell

Pietro Bembo: Lover, Linguist, Cardinal - Carol Kidwell

It is easy to forget that people experienced the events we read about now, but Kidwell includes insights into Bembo's character which revive him as an individual. I've been dipping in and out of this book for some time now. I needed it for an essay I wrote on Bembo and Castiglione's involvement in the Questione della lingua earlier this year. But this time I needed it for my dissertation on Vittoria Colonna.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Earlier this year, 2013, I was not so keen on Neil Gaiman. I had always heard great things about him. However, the first book I read this year was my first ever Gaiman, Neverwhere, which had come as a bit of a let-down to me (read my review). But, determined not to give up on the author I had heard so many great things about, the author whose works have been made into films like Stardust (2007) and Coraline (2009, I tried again. And I must say, I am so glad I give Gaiman another chance to win me over.

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver  - Lois Lowry

The Giver is a modern dystopian novel which, to me, came as a disappointment to all those true modern classics that created the genre, such as Brave New World, George Orwell, and A Clockwork Orange. Due to the relative shortness of the book (c. 190 pages), I felt that the beginning, world building was too much of a lesson. It was too much information in so little space to fully enjoy it. Everything that happens before the Twelve Year Ceremony is only meant to paint the picture, which is understandable, but could have contained some events.

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Vittoria Colonna: A Study by Alethea Wiel

Vittoria Colonna: A Study, with Translations of Some of Her Published and Unpublished Sonnets - Alethea Wiel

As the title implies, this book offers English translations of Vittoria Colonna's sonnets. For my purposes, however, the Marchioness's poetry is irrelevant. Moreover, no sources are given within the text. As such, Wiel makes claims that she does not substantiate. For academic purposes, this book is, therefore, no longer useful for anyone who wants their own work to be reliable. Sometimes you can trace back the source, for example, when she gives a direct quote. But when she writes that Vittoria 'wrote bitterly to Pompeo Colonna', Wiel does not provide a date of this particular letter.

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Paolo Giovio: The Historian and the Crisis of Sixteenth-Century Italy by T. C. Price Zimmermann

Paolo Giovio: The Historian and the Crisis of Sixteenth-Century Italy - T.C. Price Zimmermann, Paolo Giovio

This is a review of chapters six and seven which discuss the 1527 Sack of Rome and Giovio's subsequent stay with Vittoria Colonna on the island of Ischia.

 

Chapter Six gives a very readable account of the events leading up to the Sack, Pope Clement VII's rule and Giovio's involvement in all this. For example, we are told that as Clement was fleeing the Vatican through the passage way to Castel Sant'Angelo, “groaning and lamenting his betrayal by everybody", Giovio was holding up Clement's robe to speed up the flight. I can almost picture it! The pope, holding his red zucchetto, moaning whilst Giovio has to listen to it all -- understanding perfectly why the soldiers were pillaging the Holy City -- holding up his garments.

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