[Additions to my bookshelf] March 15th, 2013

I have recently left my internship and, as a present, the wonderful people who work there gave me a gift card to my favorite bookstore, Livraria Cultura.

As the money was given to me and could be used at a bookstore only, it fits on Rule #2 and I’m allowed to buy books!

Here are the ones I have bought so far (yes, a very generous gift):

1. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy – The links are all to the actual edition I chose. I’m not a big fan on tie-in editions, but in this case I decided to buy the movie cover because a) it was cheap; b) it’s a gorgeous cover and c) tiny-but-gorgeous Aaron Johnson as Vronsky. Judge me if you want!

2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan – Basically because of John Green. I have not the slightest idea what the book is actually about, but having loved An Abundance of Katherines (review here), Looking For Alaska (review here) and The Fault In Our Stars (review on its way), I trust Mr. Green and anything he touches.

3. Van Gogh, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith – After Anna Karenina, this was the easiest one to choose. The edition I bought is hardcover, (decently, it seems) translated to Portuguese (which is, after all, my mother language), with colored illustrations and about 1,000 pages long. And it was considerably cheap – 80 reais, about 40 dollars, which is the original price. A bit heavy to carry around, so it’ll wait for vacations.

4. The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, Jennifer E. Smith – I had never heard about it, but after seing it at the bookstore decided to search for reviews from people whose tastes were similar to mine. I was happy to find out there was a positive review on The Infinite Curio, one of my favorite literary blogs, so I decided to give it a shot. (Also: CHEAP. It costs 16 reais in Brazil, around 8 dollars, and books, even paperbacks, haven’t been that cheap for a while).

4. Wonder, R. J. Palacio – To be quite honest, this was a shot in the dark. I hope I like it, especially since I bought it on hardcover. But I have been hearing a positive buzz surrounding it, so I guess it must be good.

5. The Duke and I, Julia Quinn – Two friends of mine like this author a lot and told me this was a great place to start. It seems to be the first of a series and, according to one of them, every book focuses on a member of a large family, but gives glimpses on the lives of previous couples (a bit like Meg Cabot’s Boy thrilogy, I guess). It also caught my eye that these are basically Jane Austen meets Sophie Kinsella, which must mean a good read. I had to import it, though, and my copy will only arrive in May!

For now, that is all, but there’s still some money left. I’m open to suggestions both on what else to buy and what to read first!

[List] Books read in 2012

2012 is coming to an end and I am quite proud (yes, I don’t keep my expectations too high) at the amount of books I read this year! My college being at strike helped, of course, but I still had to study a lot even when I had no classes, which means a good part of the 29 books I managed to read is still on me, I guess.

Here is the list, with a rating on the side of each title:

  1. Nas Profundezas  (The 39 Clues, Book 6), Jude Watson – 5/5
  2. The Tennis Party, Sophie Kinsella – 3/5
  3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson – 5/5
  4. Watchmen, Alan Moore – 5/5
  5. Matched, Ally Condie – 4/5
  6. Do Contrato Social (The Social Contract), Jean-Jacques Rousseau – 5/5
  7. O Manifesto do Partido Comunista (The Communist Manifesto), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – 4/5
  8. The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan – 3/5
  9. I’ve Got Your Number, Sophie Kinsella – 5/5
  10. Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer – 4/5
  11. O Ninho de Cobras, Peter Lerangis (The 39 Clues, Book 7) – 4/5
  12. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins – 5/5
  13. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins – 5/5
  14. One Day, David Nicholls – 5/5
  15. Mr. Maybe, Jane Green – 1/5
  16. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger – 5/5
  17. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald – 5/5 (Can I give it a 100000/5?)
  18. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien – 5/5
  19. Runaway, Meg Cabot – 4/5
  20. A Dança do Universo, Marcelo Gleiser – 5/5
  21. More Baths, Less Talking, Nick Hornby – 5/5
  22. O Código do Imperador, Gordon Corman (The 39 Clues, Book 8) – 4/5
  23. An Abundance of Katherines, John Green – 5/5 (Review here)
  24. Ein Kater schwarz wie die Nacht, Henning Mankell – 3/5 (Review here)
  25. A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 5/5 (Review here)
  26. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde – 5/5 (Review here)
  27. Jinx, Meg Cabot – 5/5 (Review here)
  28. Hush, Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick – 4/5 (Reread, review in 2013)
  29. Crescendo, Becca Fitzpatrick – 3/5 (Review in 2013)

Any thoughts? How many books have you guys read in 2012?

[Book Review] Jinx

jinx

I love chick-lit. I really do. Some people think that the fact that a book does not involve complex psychological evaluations, a political context or profound metaphors makes it bad; some would say that the writing itself has to be intricate and beautiful if a book is to be taken seriously.

I must, however, disagree. I have always considered the hatred on everything that seems to be successful (Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey and even poor Mr. Justin Bieber) a bit… if I’m being honest, lame. When it comes to arts, I believe a piece of work can, indeed, be judged good or bad, but that judgement needs to take place considering the goals of the artist. I don’t think a living soul would say that Mozart or Chopin weren’t any good because they didn’t have the lyrical complexity of, say, Pink Floyd: they didn’t want to write lyrics in the first place. So if someone dislikes the idea of reading about teens falling in love with vampires or girls having boy issues, simply read something else. If you like a genre and think a piece of work failed to achieve its goal – a catchy chorus, a sweet romance, a supernatural suspense -, call it bad. But let the ones who like these genres consume them in peace.

Having said that, I can now easily explain why I thought Jinx (written by Meg Cabot, published by Harper Teen, 262 pages) was such a nice book: it reaches its goals. The story follows Jean, nickname Jinx, as she moves to New York in an attempt to escape something (yes, a mysterious something) she left at her hometown in Iowa. Jean has the worst luck even seen: from the moment she was born, everything seems to go wrong when she’s around, which, of course, means that sweet neighbor Zach, his dark hair and green eyes, would never be interested in her. The plot’s conflict is mainly centered, however, on her relationship with Tory, her cousin, who seems to be getting a little too fond of the use of not-so-white magic.

Yes, magic. Meg Cabot is such a talented chick-lit author that she can pull anything off, from girls finding out that they are princesses to witchcraft, in short, concise, fast-paced books. Jinx is no exception: it has exactly the right amounts of mystery, romance and humor to keep the reader sat down from the first page until the last. All characters are very well developed and credible, from Jean herself to German au pair Petra and, of course, Zach – the worst sin a chick-lit author could commit would be creating a “prince” that has no personality or that sounds like any other boy from any other novel. Meg, being the experienced story-teller she is, is able to create one of a kind boys in absolutely every book she writes.

Is it profound and introspective? No. Was it written in Shakespeare’s or Scott Fitzgerald’s style? No. But it was never meant to! Sometimes all we want is to read is a simple boy-meets-girl story and Meg Cabot delivers it as brilliantly as very few authors manage to do. Any chick-lit fan would most likely enjoy this fun, sweet book, which is at the same time interesting and well-written, fast and thorough. If I were to rate it, I would give it a 5/5 faster than you can say ‘jinx’!