To Reread, or Not to Reread

Bookish Chats

 

Every once in a while, a wave of nostalgia engulfs me and I feel the urge to reread a well-loved book.  Sometimes, I let myself return to those worlds I love and those characters I hold dear, and the feeling of opening up one of my most worn novels is delightful. But most of the time, I feel the pressure to pick up those new releases that have been sitting on my shelves for a while and are getting older by the minute. 

I think that most of us, avid readers who are making their reading life public via a bookish community, sometimes feel pressured to read certain books. Or to read, period. 

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3 Books That Will Get You Into the Halloween Mood

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When the leaves start turning shades of orange and yellow, my soul sings. When the cold creeps through the layers of my coat and fuzzy scarf, I feel invigorated. And when the month of October comes to an end, my inner child takes a gasping breath and watch in wonder as the houses are cloaked in black and orange and a gloomy atmosphere pervades the air. 

When it comes to my reading tastes during that perfect time of year, anything that sends chills down my spine or transports me into a world full of nightmarish creatures will curb my voracious appetite for the creepy. This month I read three strikingly different books that, surprisingly so, are all three of them perfect for the Halloween season.

Whether you like books that make your blood curdle or that bring back sweet childhood memories, you shall find one in this list that fits your tastes. Happy reading🎃!

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THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt: How I Went from Loving It to (Almost) Hating It

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SYNOPSIS

The Secret History follows a group of six eccentric college students who, under the influence of their Classics professor, become obsessed by the way of living and thinking of those they study.

But this obsession will only bring out the worst in them, and when an unforeseen yet pivotal event occurs, they are ready to do anything, even the unthinkable, to prevent their downfall. 

At the center of this tale converge fierce jealousy, unhealthy friendships and a good dose of moral corruption which will, inevitably, lead to the most terrible acts of desperation. 

GENRES: Contemporary, Mystery


The title says it all: The Secret History started out strong and ended up being a huge disappointment. Curiously enough, this is a well-loved book on Goodreads and most people who’ve read it will tell you it’s one of the best books they ever cracked open.

I cannot say that I agree.

The Secret History is an incredibly dense and complex book that deals with a lot of dark themes. My main problem with it is that Donna Tartt didn’t always tackle them properly… or at all. I think it’s also interesting that I was blown away by a fraction of this book, and then reached a point where I just couldn’t bear the characters or the plot anymore. 

So, if you care to hear an unpopular opinion or maybe challenge your own positive opinion about The Secret History, well, feel free to tag along for the ride!

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THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell: When Old NY Gangsters​ Wield Illicit Magic

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SYNOPSIS

While magic once thrived in New-York, only a few remaining Mageus now show an ability for it. Esta Filosik, like any other Mageus living in New York, is confined to the island of Manhattan by the Brink, a magical barrier erected by the Order and meant to steal the power (and often the life) of any Mageus who crosses it. 

All her life, Esta has been forced to hide her ability to manipulate time for fear of being punished by the Order. Secretly, she has also been trained to travel in the past and steal magical artifacts from under the Order’s nose until she’s ready for the most hazardous heist of all, the one that will change everything.

This time, Esta must change the future by traveling back to 1902 and stealing the Order’s most precious book before a man known as the Magician gets ahold of it and destroys every chance the Mageus have at freeing themselves from the Brink. What Esta didn’t expect, though, was to find this world brimming with magic and ruthless gangsters so alluring, and to find herself torn between securing the future of all the Mageus and staying true to those she has come to hold dear in the past. 

 

GENRES: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult


THIS BOOK IS A MASTERPIECE. 

I could end this review right here because, let’s be honest, this is pretty self-explanatory. But I will indulge in the pleasures of a rave that, hopefully, you will have just as much pleasure reading. 

First, let me tell you that The Last Magician is hugely underrated. Why doesn’t everybody talk about this book all day and dream about it all night? With its lively writing style, badass characters, and engaging plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, The Last Magician qualifies as one of the most underrated YA fantasy books. 

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4 Reasons to Add THE LOCKSMITH’S DAUGHTER by Karen Brooks to Your TBR

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SYNOPSIS

When Mallory Bright comes back to London after a scandal has destroyed her reputation, she is unable to get back into her old life. Her father, a famous locksmith, then seeks the help of his old friend, Sir Francis Walsingham, to find employment for Mallory. 

Sir Francis, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster and Secretary, draws Mallory into his own web of secrets and network of intelligencers. Under a false identity, Mallory must use her sharp mind and remarkable skills to unmask Catholics and traitors. 

Soon, she realizes that her espionage entails serious consequences she could never have foreseen for both the guilty and those she loves the most. When everything and everyone is at risk, Mallory will have to decide where her loyalties lie and what she is willing to do to save herself and her loved ones. 

 

GENRE: Historical Fiction


The Locksmith’s Daugther was a wild ride. Full of secrets and intrigue, filled with love and affection, this is a solid, brilliantly crafted historical fiction novel. 

It will punch in the gut. Make you weep buckets and shudder in horror and wish you could hold Mallory Bright in your arms at times. But you will also close the back cover with a small smile trailing on your lips. 

If you think an emotional train wreck of such is not for you, or you need further convincing to actually go on Goodreads and add this book to your To Be Read pile, keep reading. I put together a list of 4 reasons why you should pick up The Locksmith’s Daughter when in search of your next historical fiction read. 

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Should You Bother Reading THE SHAPE OF WATER?

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The year is 1962. Elisa Esposito, mute her whole life, works as a janitor at Occam Aerospace Research Center in Baltimore, along with her friend Zelda. 

Elisa’s monotonous life takes a turn when she meets with the amphibious man who is kept in the Center to be studied by Richard Strickland, the soldier who captured him in the Amazon. Elisa and the creature automatically feel drawn to each other and start to communicate with sign language. Soon, they develop a deep love for each other. 

Strickland, obsessed with the creature in a twisted way, wants to dissect it before the Russians get ahold of it. To save her beloved from the hands of Strickland and the Russians, Elisa, with the help of her friend Zelda and her neighbor Giles, must orchestrate a plan to sneak the amphibious man out of Occam unnoticed. 

 

GENRES: Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi, Romance


As most of you probably already know, The Shape of Water is also a movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. It was released at the end of 2017 and received numerous awards since it came out.

Until recently, it was unclear to me whether the movie was based on the novel or the other way around, since the book was released only a short while after the movie. Turns out the answer is neither of the foregoing options.

I found out in an article that The Shape of Water was actually Daniel Kraus’ idea, not del Toro’s, and that Kraus shared his idea with the famous director when they were working together on some other project. Del Toro loved it, and together they decided to make a movie and a novel out of it. Both were written simultaneously and independently, though del Toro and Kraus talked a lot about where the story would go as they were working on it. 

The result? Two extremely similar stories, with just a couple of differences. In this case, is the book really better than the movie? Or can you get the most out of the story by watching the movie only?

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Is TIN MAN by Sarah Winman the New CALL ME BY YOUR NAME?

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36676536 SYNOPSIS

Ellis and Michael were thrust into each other’s path when they were twelve. Quickly, they became the best of friends and the close friendship they shared, which helped them deal with the joys and pains of growing up, somehow blossomed into something more along the way. 

Years later, Ellis is all alone. His wife, Annie, died in a car accident a few years ago and his childhood friend and first love, Michael, is nowhere in sight either.

Lonely and grief-stricken, Ellis recounts the events leading to his marriage with Annie and his losing touch with Michael. When given a box full of Michael’s possessions, Ellis burrows into Michael’s diary and finally finds what answers he needed to fill in the blanks in their story. 

 

GENRES: Contemporary, LGBT


When I first read the synopsis of Tin Man, I couldn’t help but compare this book to André Aciman’s masterpiece, Call Me by Your Name. First love between two young men and some unfortunate circumstances that prevent them from ending up together? Yes, please! 

Those who have the misfortune of knowing me in real life know ALL about Call Me by Your Name—whether they wanted to or notbecause I made it my mission to share my unconditional love for this story. I also wrote a review stating the reasons why you should read the book and watch the movie, so feel free to check it out if you’re interested in knowing my thoughts on the subject.

Since I love this story with all my heart, it is no surprise that I feel drawn to books built on a similar premise. In a way, Tin Man also sounds like a follow-up to Call Me by Your Name. While André Aciman’s novel solely focuses on Elio and Oliver’s whirlwind romance from its blossoming to its end, Tin Man explores a darker side of first love: what comes after it ends and how is one supposed to go on when that kind of unbounded love has been taken away from them. 

So, today I want to look into the similarities and the differences between Call Me by Your Name and Tin Man and let you know if fans of André Aciman’s incredible novel should go into Tin Man with such high expectations. 

Continue reading “Is TIN MAN by Sarah Winman the New CALL ME BY YOUR NAME?”