Readings of Lately

Before I posted my Dolores Redondo review last week I realised that it had been a month since I had last written anything for the blog. I realised that a few weeks had gone by pretty quickly, mostly reading and writing and trying to read and write a bit more for the blog. However, I just ended up reading lots, and writing lots… for my PhD. My reading patterns have been erratic to say the least, with Saturday afternoon binge-reading sessions, and less than 15 minutes devoted to reading from Monday to Friday. The fact that I love crime fiction but have decided to make a job of my passion is not helping either, as I usually find myself looking for a non-crime read during the evenings. So, here’s what I’ve been trying to do:

I visit my local library every week browsing the Spanish literature section in search for my next read. I am not well-read in Spanish literature. Actually, I’m not well-read in Spanish at all. Even though I have read some feminist classics such as Nada by Carmen Laforet and Las edades de Lulú by Almudena Grandes I can’t really think of more books that I would enjoy (recommendations VERY  welcome!). Last week I borrowed Isabel Allende’s La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits) in an attempt to discover Latin American magical realism and I miserably failed at reading the book. Or even opening it. I’m giving it another try in a week.

Also from the local library I am giving a try to best-sellers in English – now translated into Spanish – that I am not sure I would enjoy. After learning a bit about romance from C, a professor that I connect with during my degree, and from Wallace Yovetich from Book Riot, I decided to give romance a try. I thought it would be a good exercise to try to separate what I have been conditioned to enjoy as woman in patriarchal society and my feminist awakening. I borrowed L.S. Hilton’s Maestra and as I write this, I’m considering returning it to the library…

For my PhD I have been reading American crime fiction and crime fiction theory, as well as working on a few articles and projects which I’ll share in due time.

So, this is what’s been going on behind the silence of the blog. I hope I get to reading crime fiction soon, and meanwhile it is lots of TV, walking the Puppy and sleeping in my little free time.

Halloween Reading

Hi, everyone!

As you know Halloween is just around the corner and although I had planned on joining the R.I.P Reading Challenge, life had other things in mind for me. I finally got a new computer, it’s purple and I’m in love with it. I am also quite pleased Windows 10 has nothing to do with my last experience with Windows 8, and it’s Apple-proof, meaning that if you’ ve been an Apple hardcore fan for the last 7 years like I was, you’re safe! Windows 10 is easy peasy.

But, but! Going back to reading. This does not mean I will not be doing any scary readings this year. I am a sacredy cat and I would rather stay away from horror movies thankyouverymuch. However, I can do some dark reading, or rather, some dark crime fiction reading. So, here are my two choices for 2016. I do not think I will finish them as I will be working this weekend, but I want to have something adequate to read in Halloween.

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  • The Ice Lands by Steinar Bragi is the story of 4 friends who get lost in the Northern part of Iceland. I have already started this one and Bragi masterfully suggests there is something off either between the friends or the envioronment, but I can’t guess what it is.
  • Rawblood by Catriona Ward reminded me so much of Crimson Peak and Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ but from a feminine point of view, that I had to give it a try.

Both are review copies, so thank you to Penguin and Orion for them.

And you? Have you joined R.I.P? What are you reading? And, if not, do you have any scary reading/writing plans for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Happiness in a Suitcase! Cardiff Book Haul

Remember when I went to the UK for a week and all I could tweet about was food and books? Well, there was a reason! The lovely Lucy – who you can already follow on Twitter for anything on children’s literature and crime fiction – took me second-hand book shopping in Cardiff the three days I was there. One day, we even went into Waterstones three times, much to my embarrassment, and much to Lucy’s delight. But, while I was there I thought: I can get the brand new books that I know about online in Spain, wouldn’t it be better if I used this precious time to browse second-hand book shops? So we did. Here are my purchases:

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From top to bottom:

Darkly Dreaming by Jeff Lindsay.- This was actually one of Lucy’s copies of the first instalment in the Dexter series, but she kindly gave it to me when I said – to her surprise – that I had never read any Dexter.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (*) (£3.5).- This book has been hugely popular online for a while now because it contains one of the most unlikable female main characters in the history of modern literature. Can’t wait to see what I make of her.

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell (£1 ).- When O’Farrell’s latest novel came out some weeks ago, most bloggers who know me pretty well and who have amazing taste in literature were surprised I had never read of her works. I thought of starting with the latest, This Must Be the Place, but Naomi suggested I gave The Hand that First Held Mine a try first. Couldn’t belive it when I found it for one pound.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (*) (£3.5).- Again, yet another well-known and respected author whose works I have never read. This one comes highly recommended to me for the crime fiction elements on the story.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie (£2).- This book came out this year, and I found my copy – slighlty damaged, but with the text intact – at the W&H clearance section. I first heard about McKenzie’s book on Twitter referenced as the new Bernadette.

Women, Health, and Medicine by Agnes Miles (£4).- I was not looking for this book, but I found it at the Oxfam shop and a few chapters seem to perfectly fit my thesis. It was published in 1990 and it covers women as doctors, as well as women as patients, and how gendered the medical practice actually is.

I really, really enjoyed all the book browsing and book shopping not only because it is quite difficult to find good books in English in Spain, but because we have a 21% tax imposed on them, and the only legal discount applied to books is 5%. Imagine my happiness at finding books so cheap!

The books marked with (*) were purchased at TroutmarkBooks, a second-hand book buying and selling shop in the Castle Arcade. They have a wonderful selection of anything from contemporary novels to farming books, all arranged alphabetically by the author’s name. Their general fiction and crime fiction selection is mostly priced between £2.5 £3.5, and they even have Palgrave academic books for £20, when their usual price is up to £150. If you are ever in Cardiff, I highly recommend you spend a few hours browsing TroutmarkBooks, and if you are travelling make sure you leave extra space on your suitcase for the books!

(C) Cardiff Arcades

TroutmarkBooks – (C) Cardiff Arcades

The stationery offer in the UK is quite impressive as well, and I found the perfect planner for the 2016 – 2017 academic year – starting 1st August, ending 31st July – at The Works. Of course, it is pink:

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And last, but no least, I found a border collie cuddly toy at Hamley’s that stole my heart – and my brother’s and my mother’s – and helped me cope with my dog-less days. But, again, I had no space left, and it was quite expensive at £20. (But look at that face! It shall me mine!).

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All I can say is that I had the best of times, and I owe Lucy and her partner a lot for making me feel at home all the time and spoiling me rotten for three days. She even taught me to cook scrambled eggs (UK version!). Cardiff is now my second home and I can’t wait to go back as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I have all these books to keep me entertained.

Quick Personal Update: Summer is Here!

For the last couple of weeks I have been trying to post a review per week and visit your blogs as frequently as I could. But it somehow felt cold and distant, because I usually share more than just reviews here. This week I also have a book to review, don’t worry,  but it’s June already and I have realised I had not posted a Personal Update since February. Isn’t it about time?

The first thing I want to tell you is that I finished watching the first episode of Marcella last night and I am in love. I had heard wonderful things about both the TV show as a crime show, and Marcella as a female character. I even read this piece on The Pool about Marcella’s parka, which I desperately need right now even though it is summer and I would probably melt. Also, can we talk long hours about her fringe? It’s just perfect.

Marcella

I have been reading and writing lots for my PhD thesis, submitting papers, articles and proposals. So much so, that I have fallen into a writing routine that makes me feel productive and happy. The only trouble here is the 9 hours of sleep I need every night in order to remain nice and not a monster, and my incapability to get out of bed unless I have a train to catch because there is only one each hour and I can’t afford to lose it. Actually, losing that train could cost me a morning’s work. Staying in bed half an hour more? Is it really going to change much, isn’t it? (Yes, it is… I am learning it the hard way).

Puppy

Look out! It’s sunny and warm and everyone is passing their final exams – good luck to everyone taking them – and I am still working from morning til evening. I read and write every day, but I have been out of a job since December, so I am also trying to find any kind of job related to editing or writing. No such luck for the moment, I’m afraid. However, I have had some positive feedback on my CV, which is always a nice thing to hear.

A lot of new books have arrived, and I have not told you anything about them, but there is a reason. There is always a reason. Meanwhile, I am reading After You Die by Eva Dolan, the third installment in the Zigic and Ferrera series, and it is even than you could imagine. Dolan is mastering the art of writing diverse, complex and socially responsible crime fiction. No wonder her last novel Tell No Tales is shortlisted for the Theakstones Novel of the Year Award. Congrats, Eva!

Tell No Tales

By the end of June I will back in the UK and I cannot wait to reunite with my friends and colleagues. Also, let’s be honest, I can’t wait to spend a few hours in Waterstones. Are there any novels that I should be buying on the spot?

I will be joining Cathy Brown’s #20BooksofSummer this week. Cathy is challenging us to read 10, 15 or 20 books this summer. You can read more about the event here. I am signing up for 10 books, as I don’t usually count what I read for my PhD as ‘books read’.

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So, that’s everything for now. I hope it’s not 4 months until I post a personal update again because I want to keep the blog as updated with my reading and writing life as it is possible. Happy reading x

 

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

Hi, everyone! There have been barely no updates this past months because I have been sick – nothing serious – but after a second round of antibiotics for quite a case of tonsillitis I’m hopefully back on the mend after a second round of antibiotics. This means I haven’t read much, although I managed to finish reading The Woman Who Ran by Sam Baker and I will reviewing it soon.

If you follow me on Twitter, you must have seen my doubts about my current read. Because of my PhD I decided to buy a few forensic crime fiction novels and give them a try. One that came highly recommended to me was Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter (Grant County #1). I bought it last October along with the first installment in the Rizzoli & Isles series by Tess Gerritsen and have only recently given it a try. I was disgusted, and scared and found it quite gritty. Okay, maybe not that disgusted or scared, but reading felt like one of those disturbing Criminal Minds episodes you’d rather not see when you’re home alone. I posted about my feelings on Twitter and two great fans of the series who know me quite well as a reader recommended I kept on reading. So, the moments I’m feeling better I’m giving the book a second try.

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I also bought a second-hand edition of Déjà Dead (Temperance Brennan #1) by Kathy Reichs after binge-watching Bones while sick. If I was ranting about Slaughter being graphic in a disturbing way, turns out only forensic anthropology could comfort me. Talk about ironies!

I have also been thinking about joining Tiny Letter and write a weekly ‘column’ on themes that I’m passionate about but that would not necessarily fit the blog such as make-up, hair, growing-up, travelling, love, bags, and anything in between.  If I finally do, I will post about it here for anyone interested in reading my rants and proclamations of love for matte lipstick 🙂

That’s all for now. I will hopefully post a review this week, so keep an eye on the blog. I would also love to know what have you read this month, and if you’ve discovered any new authors. Twitter has been full of praise for Joanna Cannon’s The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, and Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman.

January Books

Hi, there!

January has been a great month for books, mainly because Christmas in Spain last until the 6th of January and it was my birthday on the 27th. But I also got some very interesting review copies from publishers, so thank you!

Gifted

The Lake House by Kate Morton

I asked the Three Wise Men for Kate Morton’s latest work knowing that I would love it, but it was even better than I expected. The Lake House (2015) is Morton’s best work til now, and the edition is to die for. Highly recommended for book lovers in general.

Kate Morton The Lake House

Gloria Steinem’s WORKS

The boyfriend bought me Gloria Steinem’s biography My Life on the Road (2015) – as recommended by the one and only Margaret Atwood – for Christmas and a new 1985 edition of her iconic work Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions for my birthday.  I haven’t read anything by Steinem, so I am very excited to get to know both her as a feminist role model and an activist.

Gloria

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

My lovely baby brother – who is actually almost 22 but never mind – told me I could ask him for whatever I wanted for my birthday. After thinking of all the different shades of pink lipstick I could get I realised that there was only one thing I wanted: another book by Gone Girl’s author Gillian Flynn. I chose Dark Places (2009) as I heard the film adaptation starring Charlize Theron is a really good one and, since I knew I would end up watching it sooner rather than later, I would rather read the book first.

Flynn's Darkest Places

 

Borrowed from the Library

Bodies That Matter (1993) by Judith Butler and Historia de la sexualidad I (History of Sexuality Vol I, originally published in 1976, my edition is the 2006 Spanish translation by Ulises Guiñazú) by Michel Foucault are key reading for my thesis. I thought of buying them second-hand as they are both landmarks in postmodern theory, but I also love using libraries, and I don’t think I make the most of the access I have to quite a wide range of books. Also, if we do not use them, libraries will get no funding, no support and we all know what is happening in the UK right now. So, I borrowed both copies from my school library for a month. I have already read History of Sexuality and it is really, really good.

Library Books

For Review

I finally got a very advanced review copy of Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome #3 book Tastes Like Fear, which I can’t wait to read. I am a huge fan of the series, and if you haven’t read the two previous installments in the series I highly recommend you do before book 3 comes out on the 7th April, 2016.

The Pool’s founder Sam Baker got her crime novel The Woman Who Ran published and everyone says it’s one of the books of the year. I started it last night and I couldn’t be happier today is Sunday because it’s one good page-turner. Published on the 28th of January.

I was offered a review copy of Benjamin Black’s Even the Dead by Penguin Random House and I couldn’t refuse. I have had a love affair with Ireland ever since I can remember and Black’s hardboiled Quirke are the perfect way to get lost in mid-century Dublin. Also, he is a pathologist. need I say more? Published on the 28th May, 2015.

I discovered Where Love Begins by Judith Hermann (translated by Margaret Bettauer Dembo) at Savidge Reads and I immediately knew it was the kind of thriller/character study I needed to read. Also, it is a translated book, which would add some diversity to my TBR pile. Just perfect. Out in April 2016.

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins was everywhere on Twitter last week and I couldn’t help myself. All I know it is a dystopian story set in California and this is Watkins’ second book, and first novel. Published on the 29th September 2015.

Books for review (January)

These are the new additions to my ever-growing TBR pile. Did you add anything to yours? Let us know in the comments below!