The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown has been around too much: there were days when I would see more than two references to this books. So, after learning about its amazing plot, I decided to give it a try as part of my free-from-college readings!

4,5/5

Basically, the book deals with three sisters whose father, a professor devoted to Shakespeare, named them after Shakespearian characters and talked to them quoting the great English author.

That said, the book does not seem very attractive. But, as the plot progresses, the reader gets to know each of the three sisters who are very different from each other. They are three grown up women, each with her own problems, issues and a captivating  personality. Also, the way they were brought up has made them different yet you can identify with them and, slowly, you fall in love with the story and the characters.

I loved this book much more than I expected to. The story is perfectly timed so that the reader never loses their interest nor gets bored. And the characters, oh the characters!! Rose, Bean and Cordy are just the neighbors you wanted to be friends with, they have something that makes you instantly attracted to them. Also, the whole setting is perfect and the fact that, thanks to the father, the house is full of books, bohemianly arranged, I would say, makes it a better reading. There were times when I just adored turning the page, staring at the cover or simply, carry the book around anywhere I went (or I’d feel alone).

For those who read it, my favourite character was Bean, who I pictured in my mind as Rachel McAdams. However, I should say the ending was too stereotyped. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but at the same time I would like to question the author about it.

So, The Weird Sisters is already one of my favourite readings for this summer. It just reminded me how much I love books and how they can help readers anytime, anywhere.

The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer was a compulsory reading for a monographic course on the author. I wasn’t very attracted to the idea at first but I quickly changed my mind.

3/5

Basically, The Canterbury Tales is the transcription of the tales of a group of pilgrims competing for a prize: a soup. It is very important to highlight that it is a transcription and it has a lot of oral features, like interruptions. However, most of the tales rhyme and it is difficult to actually imagine someone speaking like that (even in the 14th century!).

Our professor selected some tales for us to read, amounting to 20 in total. However, they could all be linked with one another thanks to their themes or the connection between the narrators. The characters held extensive debates on marriage, sex and appearances versus reality which makes the stories very interesting since each narrator has a different view according to their social class.

It is very difficult to actually write a review on the tales: there were some I loved (The Clerk’s Tale) and others I did not really understand because you need to know quite a lot of history/English and French culture to get the references. However, I can assure you they are a great and complete description of the 14th century, its people and how they were affected by the enormous changes of English history (The Peasants’ Revolt, the Black Death). So, I recommend a great book that actually helped me to understand everything better, as a read-along: The Oxford Companion to the Canterbury Tales. It helps if, like me, you choose the Penguin Edition of the tales, translated to Modern English but keeping the rhyming scheme.

In general, I enjoyed reading such a classic and I was really surprised to find out that many modern thoughts already existed in Medieval times. For example, Chaucer defends essentialism instead of nominalism: that is, like science, what matters is the facts and not the authority of who says it. Also, some post-modern writing devices were already used back in the 14th century which suggests a long narrative tradition.

However, Medieval literature is not really my cup of tea and I found myself struggling with history and Classica literature to understand most of the tales. On the other hand, I think this is the best work for a first approach to English Medieval literature!

Click on The Clerk’s Tale above to read a prose translation to Modern English.

I’m back!!!

Fourth year is over and I’m 100% back! That means lots of fun, summer readings and lots of reviews. Meanwhile, I found this “5 things about me” at a friend’s blog and I’m borrowing the idea. This is a great way to get to know each other better, right?

1. I love watching T.V too much. But good TV, no realities for me. Gimme some good old E.R or Law and Order!
2. I am always cold… Even in summer I workship blankets.
3. I’ve got a lovely bunny as a pet who eats chocolate when I do. Even mint chocolate!
4. I am a medicine geek because most of my relatives are doctors os nurses. I am the odd one out who loves reading and writing…
5. I like stationery in an obsessive way. I love buying pens and pencil cases.

So, any of you who’d like to share 5 things more? Happy summer readings!