August Book Haul!

Hello guys! I’m back from my vacation (which you’ll read about soon) and ready to show you what I bought in the last month of summer (buhuu). I did spend quite some time with my boyfriend in a bookstore in our hometown, but when we arrived in Milan (spoiler alert), we probably spend hours and hours at Feltrinelli (a big bookstore chain in Italy) and other independent bookshops. Therefore, here are all the book I bought on our bookish adventures! P.S.: I sorted them after publisher house, series, or language, so it will be easier to talk about them.

Books I bought at home

J.R.R. Tolkien books. I recently read The Hobbit, so of course I have to keep going discovering the wonderful universe created by Tolkien. I received The Silmarillion from my BF (awesome random gift! #relationshipgoals), but The Fellowship of the Ring I bought myself. I decided that late autumn would be the perfect time to read these books, for some reason, so I’m saving them for that time of the year.

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IMG_0110IMG_0111Signet Classics. My boyfriend and I love the Signet Classics we recently discovered existed! Lately, we’ve been buying more books from them. This month, I bought The Decameron, which I’ve been meaning to get into for a while, and Crime and Punishment, which I read a few years back, but would want to re-read, now that I’m older (and grown up? -maybe). Their covers are simple, but so nice, and the price is really affordable for a couple of crazies who can’t stop buying books and stationary.


Books I bought in Italy (Milan)

Art-related books. We visited a lot of museums and collections in Milan, but the most beautiful was The Brera Gallery (also known as Pinacoteca di Brera). We got a book about the Gallery itself, so we would explore its history a little bit more, and I also got a little book about Hayez, since he is an artist I don’t know anything about.  I also got a beautiful bookmark which depicts a close-up of the famous Hayez painting, The Kiss.

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Penguin books. At Feltrinelli I bought Alice Adventures in Wonderland, to add to the beautiful Penguin English Library Editions I already own (featured here).
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The photo session was going well, until Tilda cat decided to interrupt. She’s such a camera lovers, you can’t stop her!

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Still by Penguin, I got Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. It’s my first book by Hornby. If you follow my Instagram or Goodreads, you know that I read this book in three days and loved it! (spoiler alert: a review is coming soon, so stay tuned!)

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Collins Classics. I saw the movie Twelve Years a Slave, I liked it, but I am curious to read the book.

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A beautiful Vintage book. I almost bought J from BookDepository a few months ago, but then decided not to, since I was short on money. Now, as soon as I saw it, I decided to get it. P.S.: the Vintage books are so beautiful!

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Books in Italian. These two book have nothing in common, except they’re both in Italian. La Schimia di Hartlepool I got because I loved the cover and the style. Poesia in forma di Rosa caught my eye because I didn’t know Pasolini wrote poetry, and thought I would love to read it.IMG_0095


These are all the books I got in August. For now, I am planning on not buying any more books. My TBR list is long enough, I don’t have that much space left on my bookshelves, and I spent enough money on books this year. Probably I won’t be doing a Book Haul post for a while, but there will be reviews and Wrap Ups, and other (hopefully) interesting posts I am working on.

Questions for you: What books did you get this month? Do you ever feel like you have enough books for the time being, or do you think there is no such thing as too many books?

The Color Purple by Alice Walker | review

  • Title: The Color Purple
  • Published: 1982
  • Author: Alice Walker
  • Original language: English
  • Genre: Fiction, Epistolary Novel

The famous 1982 epistolary novel by Alice Walker has been read, reviewed, studied by many. Today, I am joining the crowd and I will try to write a short personal review.

IMG_0042In a few words, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, the protagonist, and her sister, Nettie, and all the people they encounter throughout the 30 years they live apart from each other. Celie starts by writing letters to God, and then to Nettie, once she finds out that her unloving and abusing husband was hiding Nettie’s letters from her. Nettie doesn’t receive Celie’s letters, but she keep writing to her, in this way the story being unveiled from the two perspectives in an unique way.

My thoughts:

Continue reading “The Color Purple by Alice Walker | review”

Bookish Stuff Friday no.6 – bookmarks and page markers!

If you are anything like me, you know you have some bookmarks somewhere, but you can never find them nor have time to go get them, so you use anything handy as a bookmark: receipts, coasters, another book, phone, cat… Well, I tried to find some cute and inventive bookmark and page marker designs, that would make you (and me) always want to use them. I hope you enjoy this week’s Bookish Stuff Friday!

Cute Landscape Sticky Page Markers

These sets of page markers are just too cute! It adds a creative touch to reading. Just mark the pages where your favorite quotes are and you end up with a lively, personalised landscape! Win-win.


Sprout Bookmark

Continue reading “Bookish Stuff Friday no.6 – bookmarks and page markers!”

Underground by Haruki Murakami | review

  • Title: Underground
  • Published: 1997
  • Author: Haruki Murakami
  • Original language: Japanese
  • Genre: Non-fiction

In spite of the perpetrators’ intentions, the Tokyo gas attack left only twelve people dead, but thousands were injured and many suffered serious after-effects. Murakami interviews the victims to try and establish precisely what happened on the subway that day. He also interviews members and ex-members of the doomsdays cult responsible, in the hope that they might be able to explain the reason for the attack and how it was that their guru instilled such devotion in his followers. (source: goodreads.com)

Context:

In 1984, Shoko Asahara started a cult known as Aum Shinrikyo (translates to ‘Supreme Truth’). His studies of Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism made him believe that he was ‘the enlightened one’, the only one after Buddha, and that the world would end soon. He soon gathered young followers who were willing to give up all their fortune to Asahara. In 1995, there were about 40.000 followers. Shoko Asahara used the money he (the cult) gathered from followers (there was also an entry fee) and from the businesses they run to make sarin, a poison gas that affects the nerves and muscles. Sarin was first used in 1930 by Nazi scientists, and it since became a chemical weapon.

On March 20, 1995, five selected Aum members released sarin gas on three Tokyo subway lines, from packages they punctured with the tips of umbrellas, and walked away. The liquid in the packages quickly turned into gas, and commuters started to feel ill. Most of them recount runny nose and eyes. Several passengers noticed the punctured bags and thought that was the cause of the smell and their ill state, but they didn’t know what was in them. The subway staff didn’t know how to deal with the situation, as they would carry out the bags containing the sarin, and wipe the floor of the subway with newspaper and let the train continue on its route. Twelve people died that day, but a lot more suffered from side-effects. Murakami interviewed 35 victims of the gas attack and 9 members and ex-members of Aum, in hope of capturing the event from the different perspectives: those powerfully affected, those who easily escaped but still had some affter-effects; Aum members who believe the attack was justifiable and those who still find it hard to believe it was Aum’s hand who did this.

 My thoughts on the book:

In my naivity, I never heard of the Tokyo Gas Attack, this book being my first contact with the event. After reading Murakami’s book, I looked more into the whole affair and I was shocked, for many reasons. It is hard to understand how a group of people or a single person believe they can decide on other people’s lives, and not suffer from some mental illness. But then again, cults are not something new to the face of the Earth, and we all know how easy it has been over the course of history for large groups of people to be manipulated in assuming certain beliefs (the examples are too many, and all around us). The point of the book isn’t to judge, it is to present to the reader several points of view. I also don’t believe that it’s necessarily intended for the reader to form an opinion at the end of the book (although it’s impossible not to), but to realize the impact of the gas attack and realize the media usually manipulates reality too. Most of the Aum members interviewed had no idea of such attack, more so, they explain how many of the things that the media tells us about them was false. They weren’t all yes men, they weren’t all blindly following the leader. Some, if not most of them had doubts about the beliefs of the cult and some practices, and they questioned them on several occasions. They were not brain washed. Not all of them, at least.

Another media flaw was that they failed to elaborate what actually happened, and eventually they ‘forgot’ about it. Murakami believes that people have to remember what happened and Japanese people have to aknowledge the incident, not just let the authorities deal with it. It is an ugly memory, but it’s also part of their history.

I find Murakami’s book to be moving and heartbreaking, as the testimonies recount so many horrific stories. What I love about the book is that more than teaching us about the 1995 gas attack, it depicts the Japanese culture and the common Tokyo commuter. You, as the reader, learn about their values, their views on life and their routine. It’s an interesting look inside the Japanese people.

From my point of view, Murakami reached the goal he intended with writing this book. It was a difficult experience,reading this book, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot from reading Underground. I would recommend it to everyone.

4/5 stars

Have you read it? What are your thoughts?

Sunday read

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This is just a short post about the book I started reading this Sunday morning, Underground by Haruki Murakami. It is actually my first encounter with Murakami. I’m at page 70, but I already love this. The book, that is, not the horrific event. I love the idea of documenting different people’s experience in relation to the Tokyo Gas Attack. In my ignorance, I haven’t even heard of the…incident, let’s call it that. I am learning about it as I read this book and I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for the victims/survivers. I am glad that Murakami decided to collect these stories. I will write more about my thoughts on this after I finish the book, as there is still more than half a book for me to read.
What are you reading this weekend? Have you read Underground? Do you enjoy Murakami’s work? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section.