Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Little Prince

Original title: Le Petit Prince
Author: Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
Translators: Ros and Chloe Schwartz
Publisher: Macmillan Collector's Library
Publishing date: 2016
Pages: 135

Considering how much I love this book now, it's actually kind of a funny story that The Little Prince was the only book I never wanted to read. I remember it was one of the first books I've ever picked up to read for school when I was very little. But I couldn't get into it and I didn't like the first two drawings at all, for drawing was, like, my second self and I was craving for something different by that time. And so I just never finished the book and also never intended to do it. And the fact that everybody was raving about it made it even worse. It just struck me that the book was too difficult to understand and everybody was lying about reading it just to make themselves look cool. But when I had been working in a bookshop in London, some girl stopped before a little stuck of The Little Prince's and, without knowing she was being observed, said to herself: "Oh, this book. It's such a beautiful story..." And then she nodded her head, as if it hadn't been her who just said it, but completely agreed with the statement. I guess, this was the first impulse that made me finaly overcome my impenitence regarding this book and challenged me to read it.

"To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world...”

I am so glad I did it, for this book really deserves all the hype it gets. If you pay attention to the story, you'll be able to find what you're looking for in it. It was so beautifully written, and this time I even loved the illustrations. I din't expect it at all, but I actually cried a little bit when I came upon the quote which you can see above. In the concept of the story, it was very touching. Something about it just make my heart ache. The whole book made me feel a little bit of hope in the world around me, which is actually why I think it's more of a book for grown-ups than for children. When I was trying to read this book as a child, I didn't need such a reminder. Back then I saw hope everywhere. The funny thing is that things haven't really changed since then, only the way I see them has changed. So I guess that the hope I felt back then is still here waiting for me to see it. The Little Prince is one of those precious things which help me to find the way to it...

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Great Expectations

Author: Charles Dickens
Publisher: SPLINTER
Publishing date: 2012
Pages: 571

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."

The story follows Philip Pirrip - Pip for short - who is in his infancy forced to steal some food and a file for a fugitive who threatens to kill him otherwise. And this deed haunts him from then on. When Pip falls in love with a rich and cold-hearted young lady, Estella, to which guardian Mis Havisham he keeps company time to time, Pip begins to hanker for being a genteman who would be worthy a beautiful Estella. When his wish comes true, he doesn't realize where his sudden wealthiness might lead him to...

"Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape."

Great Expectations was the third book I've read by Charles Dickens (the previous ones being A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist), so I believe that I have been acquinted with his work quite properly, although I have yet to cope with some of his largest tomes. As you may know, I am a huge fan of A Christmas Carol. It's one of my all time favourite books, for sure. Oliver Twist I also love, but Great Expectations is undoubtedly the best of all. It's quite possibly the most beautifully written book I've ever read, yet it's surprisingly easy to read and understand. Charles Dickens is such an quotable author. His sentences are in my opinion ones of the finest and most truthful in whole literature. I admire his work utterly. And Great Expectations is the one book of his I've connected with the most. I honestly found myself between the pages of this book. And I related to Pip entirely. I mean, he is certainly quite difficult character to like, since he does so many mistakes that lead him to all sorts of unfortunate affairs. But I am able to understand his wishes and dreams, for I've had them too. He just feels real to me, and the whole book seems like his most sincere confession. And it's not a reader's business to judge, only listen.

"So throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise."

Charles Dickens is a master when it comes to the characters. They are so precisely crafted. And I couldn't help feeling for them. I was scared by them, also touched and amused, I feared for them too, and often felt allied to them. Some of them were so nice and the others rather horrid or downright weird. Either way, I just loved reading about them all. I also enjoyed the settings of this novel. It was highly interesting to visit London in Victorian era. Even though the skyline of the city wouldn't be recognizable at all for Charles Dickens nowadays, I think that some of the things about the place haven't really changed since his age. And I absoltely adored his description of the main city od England. It was stunning and mesmerizing. Just like the book itself. Even if I knew the basic storyline beforehand, there were many things which took me by surprise. Great Expectations is surely an amazing classic to read for anybody who yearns for beautiful language and thrilling plot at the same time...

Ratings: 5/5

Friday, 3 March 2017

Sarah Dessen Book Club #2| Just Listen

Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing date: 2016
Pages: 371

Annabel seems to have it all. Everybody imagines her to be perfect and having an amazing life full of loving people and exciting events. But there are things that Annabel keeps deep down in herself and even, or especially, her own mom doesn't know. Some kind of serendipity throws her together with Owen, whom she always expected to be scary and reclusive. But she soon learns that nobody is what you first suspect them to be. Owen will share his love for music with Annabel. And step by step Annabel will learn how important it is to open herself to the people she loves...

"Don't think or judge, just listen."

This is not the first time I am writing about this book on my blog. I had actually written a review on it already, but it was many years ago, so I might as well go ahaed and try to do my best to express my feelings about this book again. If you follow me continously, it won't be surprising for you to hear that I freaking love this book. In fact, I consider it as one of the most influental books in my whole life, if that says something. I think that because it came to me in the most important time, it had a really great impact on me. In this book Sarah Dessen helped me to see many things differently. I stopped being so immersed in my own problems after reading it. I also realized that I was not the only one person having issues. And I learnt that it's okay to have flaws because nobody expects from you to be perfect. And just as Kirsten found comfort in taking care of herbs and Annabel in listening to music, I started to think about what I could do with my free time. And so I established this blog which has become a big part of my life since then. So I've really gained a lot since reading Just Listen for the first time five years ago...

"No matter how much time has passed, these things still affect us and the world we live in. If you don't pay attention to the past, you'll never understand the future. It's all linked together."

It was amazing to re-read this book after such a long time. I was so surprised by how many things I forgot about it. I think I needed some reminders of the important things in life, therefore I am really glad I had a chance to pick this book up again. I found the main characters highly inspiring and I loved reading about them. Sarah Dessen writes about people willing to change themselves. They are still full of hope and optimism, even if they experienced really bad things. And I admire that about them a lot. That's the reason why I like reading Young Adult novels, even though I am not a teenager anymore. It's so easy to lose your ideals when you're getting older. And it's really not that hard to conceive hatred for people in general, once you've experienced some kind of betrayal. But to see these young people being so passionate and open, is something that makes me want to be like them. Therefore I adore Sarah Dessen for her writing. She created these characters which means she herself believes in better of the world...

I can't recommend Sarah Dessen's books enough. I would like to encourage everybody to read them, for I am convinced you'll find something in them that will resonate with you. Whether you need a little bit of hope, love or faith, you can find it in her novels. There's plenty for everyone. And if there'll come some time in your life when you'll need some more, you can always come back and find what you need in her books again...

Ratings: 5/5