Spice up your life with these great books during this terrifying pandemic!

Hello everyone! After having some time to think, I’ve decided to address the fucked up (excuse my french) situation we are currently living in. You may have noticed the whole world is contained in their houses, so it is natural people will seek entertainment on the most popular travel destination available at the moment – the internet.
However, I think this is am incredible opportunity to indulge in a little reading! There are whole worlds waiting to be discovered and you have so much time to be Indiana Jones in this adventure! If not only to be entertained, you could also find a bit of peace by reading about a world not as dark as our own is at the moment…

All that being said, I’ve decided to give you a few recommendations on what to read. I will separate the recommendations into genres. However, I won’t give you any information about what the books themselves are about… I think it is best you simply give yourselves in and explore. (I’ll link my review if I’ve written one, so if you are curious you can read it.)

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Selling Your Soul 101 (or Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe)

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is a surprisingly easy-to-read Elizabethan play. The protagonist (or perhaps he is an antagonist) is Doctor Faustus himself. He is an incredibly vain and arrogant man in search of knowledge. However, his desire to be knowledgeable is insatiable and quickly he wishes to be equal to God. This is beautifully expressed in the prologue when he is compared to Ikarus: „His waxen wings did mount above his reach, / And melting heavens conspired his overthrow.“ Faustus then starts dabbling in magic and conjuring, but his goal is still something much more. He decides to sell his soul to 51nok2bh0uylthe Devil. As he speaks an utterly and unnecessarily melodramatic incantation, Mephistopheles appears. This is the moment in which I lost my shit. Why? You may ask. Well, when the epitome of all evil walked into the room Faustus, our favourite melodramatic queen, was upset. He wasn’t upset because the Devil himself was standing before him. No, he was upset because he thought Mephistopheles was ugly. He then literally asked him to go away and return later, when he would be „prettier“. That’s outrageous…
I knew Marlowe was slinky, but now I know he is outright slutty because of this!
It, however, doesn’t stop there. Faustus constantly speaks about himself in the third person. You can oversee that since he sometimes starts comparing himself to Apollo and God, so it seems quite minuscule in comparison.

You may have noticed Faustus is actually not such an intellectual and is actually a dumbass. A great example is in Scene 3: „How pliant is this Mephistopheles / Full of obedience and humility!“ Faustus, my boy, he is like that because he wants your soul! Ugh…
When the time comes for Faustus to sign the contract there is this whole ordeal with his blood congealing which unables him to use it as ink. This can be explained as divine intervention. It is God’s last try to pull Faustus away from evil. It is unsuccessful because Mephistopheles reacts quickly and melts the blood. And so it is signed. The contract itself is of course very melodramatic. It’s interesting to see how Faustus is ignorant or perhaps simply chooses to ignore the consequences of his actions. This is visible in Scene 5 when after having signed the contract he says: „Think’st thou that Faustus is so fond / To Imagine that after this life there is any pain? / Tush, these are trifles and mere old wives’ tales.“ To which Mephistopheles answers: „But, Faustus, I am an instance to prove the contrary, / For I am damned and am now in hell.“ Faustus gives has no reaction to this and simply continues his rant on what else he’ll do now that he has all the power.

To provide a bit of a moment to chill out, between some of the scenes with Faustus and Mephistopheles, there are scenes with Robin the Clown and Rafe who have adventures of their own. Since Robin is Faustus’ servant, he has stolen one of his magic books. And, just as his master does, he also wishes to use magic in his favour. Robin can’t read well nor does he know Latin, but this doesn’t stop him in demonstrating his „great power“ to Rafe. They fuck around speaking bad Latin, being very emo spooky boys and talking about sex. Name a more iconic couple, I dare you…

In the meantime, Faustus travels Europe with his bad-boy boyfriend. They go sightseeing in many of the most beautiful cities and visit courts. And while Faustus uses every opportunity to enhance his fame and knowledge, even more, he also doesn’t waste opportunities to prank everyone including his holiness the Pope. In this particular occurrence, he asked Mephistopheles to make him invisible so he could steal food from the pope’s hand. Such rascals!

In scene 13, Faustus asks to meet Helen of Troy. He is utterly smitten with her, and again has a melodramatic speech which I’ve decided to feature here because I find it immensely beautiful:

I will be Paris, and for love of thee
Instead of Troy shall Wittenberg be sacked,
And I will combat with meak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest.
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air,
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appeared to hapless Semele,
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa’s azured arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour.

I think this translates Faustus’ fate beautifully. Just as Paris’ love for Helen destroyed Troy, so would Faustus’ love for knowledge destroy him. So, in intertwining these two stories, Marlowe has created a marvelous metaphor and at the same time showcased the beauty of his writing.

9781849434133_new_Faustus proves himself to be a judgy little bitch one more time when Lucifer himself comes to visit him. While Lucifer tries to introduce himself and the Seven Deadly Sins, Faustus strikes again (Scene 7): „O, who art thou that look’st so terrible?“ Oh come on Faustus, the guy only wanted to introduce you to his friends and that’s how you act? Rude.

Even though our power couple, Faustus and Mephistopheles, are having a grand time, everything comes to an end. In the contract, it said that after 24 years of service, Mephistopheles is to bring Faustus’ soul to hell. As time passed Faustus became more and more scared and nervous. Which is a pretty normal reaction… I mean, the guy is being dragged to hell in a few days…
So, in hope to evade his terrible fate, Faustus decided to confide in his friends/colleagues from the university. They were all pretty shocked and tried to make him pray for salvation. However, he was unable to pray since he signed the contract with the devil. And so, midnight struck. And Faustus was dragged to hell. In the epilogue, it says: „Faustus is gone. Regard his hellish fall“.

Terminat hora diem; terminat author opus.

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Jacqueline Terrill – The Hunt | Review

52023991._sx318_sy475_The Hunt by Jacqueline Terrill is a gripping piece of fiction. This action-packed story follows Rachel from the moment her life starts rapidly falling apart. Her husband has changed and seems to have many secrets. After a brief fight, Rachel and her husband Seth part ways. While Rachel believes the separation would be brief, Seth has other plans. In a sequence of unfortunate events, Rachel’s life is turned upside down. She is constantly in danger and is forced to toughen up and stand up for herself. This experience reconnects her with an estranged friend.

This is a fast-paced roller coaster of a story. There is little room for you to start losing focus since there is constantly something going down. It’s a true page-turner. However, as much as this is a positive, it is also a negative. All the ups and downs seemed forced sometimes. For example, it seemed unbelievable for this woman to have four car accidents in a span of a few days (even though there was foul play).
At first, I wasn’t sure I would be finishing this book. I was iffy until I passed the twenty percent mark. It wasn’t boring or badly written. I just couldn’t get into the story and bond with the characters immediately.

I think the characters were created quite well. I would’ve liked to see more depth to them, and since the plot was so focused on Rachel, I would have liked to learn more about her. She seemed focused only on Seth and her misfortune. I understand this might have been a way of showing that due to the way she lived the past thirty years, she didn’t have much happening in her life besides Seth.
Speaking of characters and their relationships. I found it a bit weird how Rachel’s daughter was rarely present. She was used almost as a plot device. She was very undeveloped. On the other hand, I liked the way Rachel’s relationship with Cole developed. It wasn’t forced at all and it was quite enjoyable to read about.

The plot-twist was expected but done well. I would have like to have s bit more than a slight glimpse into the whole conspiracy situation since we did have multiple points of view situation. In the end, everything had a bit of a fairytale happy ever after which was, in my opinion, a bit cheap. I believe a more elaborate ending would have leveled up the whole book. This seemed simply too easy to be realistic.

I must speak of one more thing that rubbed me the wrong way about this book. I didn’t like the whole guns-are-your-friend thing thrown in there. I disliked that a lot!

To conclude, I think this novel isn’t getting enough attention! I would recommend it if you are searching for an easy and gripping domestic thriller.

 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Daniel Newwyn – The Colour of Your Voice | Review

The Colour of Your Voice by Daniel Newwyn is a story that took me by surprise. The beauty of the writing is what dragged me into it.

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Violet knelt down to the ground as the sounds of Turner grew quieter and quieter. She clenched the painting in her hand, her hiccups mixed in tears, bitter. The ground beneath her drenched into a puddle.

The sky changed colour. The colour of the earth was as dark as his voice.

We follow Violet and Turner. She is an abused young painter with a special ability – she can hear colours. And he is a criminal. She is forced to find a way to finance herself and this pulls them together. The physical relationship they have quickly turns into something far more special. The way they interact with each other is beautiful to watch, but all the time I felt to need to see more. I wanted there to be more. The story had so much potential to be bigger. I wished for just a few more pages. The brevity of the story is the reason I didn’t bond with the characters until I reached the second half of it. But, when I bonded with them, it was magical. You can feel how powerful what they have is. The end made me quite sad… I wished there would have been a way for them to avoid it. However, as much as it made me sad, I think it made the story even more beautiful!

Her voice trembled. “Can you promise me something?”

“Tell me.”

“Please. Be alive until then. Be alive to see it.”

“Promise,” he immediately replied. “Bring it here.”

“Please wait for me. I won’t take long, won’t take long.”

I think there is certainly room for improvement. With time, Newwyn’s writing will evolve and I can’t wait to read his future work! I think the way the dual timeline was handled is a bit confusing. The names of the chapters are simply dates when the event took place. I think it would have been less confusing if they were simply numbered and categorized into past or present. This is simply a technicality, however, I think it is worth mentioning.

I recommend this novella to anyone seeking a short, but an emotional read!

 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Corrupt by Penelope Douglas corrupted me

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas is the second romance novel by this author I’ve read. And as well as in Punk 57, Douglas has created a relationship that is “borderline” abusive. It is my understanding this is usually categorized as a dark romance, and I agree.

21981841Since I’ve read one book by this author before I can now say with certainty that Douglas is phenomenal in world-building and developing a plot. I think the plot and the setting of this book are amazing. I haven’t read anything similar before, and the fact that it is so well written only enhances my enjoyment. The story follows Erica and Michael. They are both from a small wealthy community and have been in each other’s lives since they were children. Erica has always been fascinated and in love with Michel, but he has ignored her. And then some shit went down which ended up with Michael’s three friends in jail. Michale and his friends were very respected in their town and have been named the Four Horsemen. And as their biblical namesakes, they wreaked havoc. One night a year, the Devil’s Night, they would put on their masks and run around town doing petty crimes. It all seems a lot like the movie Purge, but PG-13 (even though the shit they pull is certainly R rated).
Using a dual timeline, Douglas tells the story of the Horsemen and Erica in the present. The Horsemen are now out of jail and they are ready for revenge, and for reasons unknown to us, they have decided to take their revenge on her.
Due to a dual point of view, we know how Erica feels about Michael and the others and how she remembers the Devil’s Night that changed their lives, but we also get a glimpse into Michael’s thoughts and doubts about their plans.

I want to start this shitshow of a review by saying I don’t like Michael at all. From page one I knew he was going to be a needy, whiny little piece of shit. The whole bad-boy, I-am-untouchable, I-don’t-have feelings front is so 2015. We get it, you are so macho and strong and you need no woman. Wow. Grow the fuck up, boy. He constantly has these episodes of self-reflection where he tries to justify his current and future behaviour towards Erica. And it gets annoying since it happens in almost every chapter from his point of view. And it is always the same. I can’t live without her. I can’t lose her. Will she love me after I ruin her life. I no longer want to ruin her life. But she ruined my life. Shut the fuck up. No one cares. If you are so in love with her, why don’t you just ask her: „Hey, did you destroy my life and the life of my best friends?“ That’s it. One sentence. But, our dumbass simply can’t form sentences apparently and/or doesn’t have to capability to have the complicated mental process called thinking.

Moving on, as much as I am an elitist and love secret societies and cult-like friend groups it always cracks me up how they call themselves. I mean… the Four Horsemen? It is cool, I admit, but so cringy. How do these boys in romance books make everyone (including newspaper and adults) call them that?
The members of the Horsemen are my enemy Michael, Kai, Will and Damon. As always, one is more gentle and moral than the others, one is diplomatic, one is annoying (Michael, if you needed a hint) and one is deeply disturbed. This is a well-known cliche and I have nothing against it. I just wanted to point it out.

This doesn’t happen often, but I didn’t root for our main couple at all. I myself have a tendency towards enjoying twisted relationships, but what Michael did to Erica was in my mind unforgivable.

“She’s a lot smarter than I thought she was.”

He constantly manipulated her, gaslighted her, he didn’t respect her wishes at all (even the most minuscule things that had nothing to do with him)… not to mention that he made her have sex with him all the time. She didn’t always verbalize that she didn’t want to, but it was clear from her reaction. He simply manipulated her into saying yes. Once time he literally said, and I quote: “Promise you’ll never say no to me. Promise you’ll never keep yourself from me.” What? Did I read that right? Did I, perhaps, lose the capability to understand words and this is simply a misunderstanding? Nah… he said it. And he meant it.
So, can you blame me for not rooting for them? I felt so angry when it was clear that Erica didn’t want to talk to him and he just manipulated and forces his way to her (not to mention that they always ended up fucking). Sometimes she would avoid him and his phone calls because she knew that if he came she wouldn’t be able to say no! You know what that means? One word: abuse.
I really wanted Erica to end up with Kai… he was nice to her. And by nice, I mean that after the air was cleared between them he didn’t act like a complete dick to her. Isn’t that sad?
Michael was very controlling (so sexy, I know…). The pinnacle of his control over her was when he „proposed“ to her. And by proposed to her I mean that he simply put a ring n her finger and told her that from then on they would live together and spend almost all the time together.

„It means that I’m going to do my best to piss you off every chance I get. Because there’s nothing hotter than when you’re mad. And then I’m going to do my best to remind you of how nice I am so that you can’t stop thinking about me when we’re not together.“

Very romantic, am I right? Something every girl wished a boy would do for her… Ugh. I am so grossed out.
Just a little disclaimer: I am not against people being a kinky and doing problematic shit when it is consensual! But, if it starts happening all the time. If it becomes an everyday thing and not a sexual act, that is a sign you should run and seek help!

Let’s chill-out a little bit… I wanted to talk about the fact that every character in both books I’ve read by Douglas seems to be emo! They always listen to those emo, semi-goth and screamo bands that were popular in 2012. It actually gives the book a bit of a fanfiction or a Wattpad vibe. This isn’t something negative, I just find it amusing.

I thought a bit about it and I’ve decided to continue on with this series since I did like Kai and Will more than Michael and I think their stories could be better than this one (by better, I mean less problematic). I’m not yet sure how I feel about Damon. I don’t hate him. I am excited to read Kai’s story next!

And now I want to end this shitshow of a review by saying once more that I don’t like Michael at all.

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The One Where I’m Annoying

You may have noticed I reinvented this blog. However, I doubt you noticed since there isn’t much traffic on it recently. I hope this isn’t because the quality of my work has decreased…
So, I changed the name of the blog into Books and Prejudice which I think is very witty and fun. I changed the design of my blog a bit and started writing “funnier” reviews, but also reviews I think are much more professional. And still, no response.

tenorThis blog has existed for four years and its growth has been quite linear. I am trying to think of something to attract more people. Is the problem that people don’t enjoy reading reviews? Am I an echo of the past in a world of booktube?

Well. I must think of something fast. If you enjoy my work, please leave a comment. I know its such a drag leaving comments, but I need reasurement that there is someone reading! Tell me your wishes, your critique, tell me I’m annoying if you want to!

If you are still reading, thank you! And be safe in these scary times…

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Let’s talk shit about Stephen King’s It

I’ve decided to try a bit of a different approach to this book. It won’t be a book review in a traditional sense, but more of an essay. I will cover some of the main controversy of this book and share my own opinions on it. Also, I will try to research/explain why this book had such an impact. All of this might end up being total bullshit, however, I am pretty excited to try out this new approach to book analysis. If all you’ve read interests you, continue reading… (Since this is my first time writing in this format, your opinions, comments, and heated emotions are most welcome.)

220px-it_coverIt by Stephen King is one of the most iconic books of the horror genre. This book was first published in 1986 and has since been republished many times. The most recent republication was in 2019, and it accompanied the release of It Chapter Two movie.

This book, as we all probably already know, is about a group of friends fighting an evil clown. In a bloody lot of pages, Stephen King brings us into the lives of seven children. We follow them as children in 1958, but also as adults in 1985. Although the narration is done from the third-person perspective we don’t have certain key information until the main characters do. This way King managed to tell the story of protagonists as adults without revealing the end of their story as children. I think this is a great way to tell a story since using time as a literary device frequently makes the story more gripping and interesting. However, my boy Stephen is a bit annoying with the whole „I’ll tell you later“ and „this will be discussed later“ bullshit. Oh, come on, why did you bring it up if you won’t tell me now? Since the book is bloody twelve hundred pages long I will literally forget we even had those fourteen fucking cliffhangers on like the seventy-fifth page when you finally reveal their outcome, Stephen

I find the characters are built almost perfectly. All of the children have their personal struggles which do and don’t relate to the main conflict of the book. This makes them relatable since the ordinary person often has more than one problem at the time (despite how grave one of them is). The children are all very different and have emphasized personalities.
For example, Beverly has clear „daddy issues“ which are completely explainable and convincing. We get a very clear view of her family ambiance and the relationship she has with her parents. This is very important because it enables us to understand her actions better, but also to see her character growth.
Another example, my favourite one beside Beverly, is Eddie. His mother’s Munchausen by proxy syndrome has a big influence on his personality as a child and also as an adult. Adult Eddie, even though he has become even more conscious of his mother’s faults, still has the learned behaviour his mother had instilled in him. However, similarly to Beverly, his character growth is obvious to us as he distances himself from his mother.
One other thing that is done brilliantly is the way King has created the minor antagonists, Henry and Patrick for example. Even though they aren’t as important as the seven main protagonists, we still get a very detailed look into what drives their actions.
Other than building elaborate backstories and personalities for his characters, King also uses dialogue to enrich the characterization. It is quite easy to recognize each character simply by the way they speak. Richie is a joker, Bill stutters, Ben is gentle, etc… This explanation is a bit vague, I know.

I can tell King is also a master in creating the ambiance, especially fear, nobody is surprised here. However, I was often annoyed when the story curved into the lives of minor, unimportant characters and the history of Derry. These parts were, in my opinion, a bit unnecessary and only dragged the plot. Also, I think it broke the brilliant atmosphere that was built. I understand King wanted to present the trauma the whole town had and how it reflected in the present, but it was often to dragged out and (to me) uninteresting.

“I’m Bill Denbrough. You know who I am and why I’m here. You killed my brother and I’m here to kill You. You picked the wrong kid, bitch.

—I am eternal. I am the Eater of Worlds

Yeah? That so? Well, you’ve had your last meal, sister.”

Let’s distance ourselves from the positives for a moment and speak about the elephant in the room. The controversy. Before I read the book I did hear about some problematic elements present in this book, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. From the start, I noticed King is a perv. The frequency of highly sexualized descriptions and actions is alarming. I found it quite weird that King made such comments and described actions in that way. It was completely unnecessary and, in all honesty, it just made me queasy. We must address the event that followed the kids’ fight with Pennywise in 1958. I’m not sure how to approach it. It was gross and it disgusted me. Also, what made it worse is the fact that it came out of nowhere, I didn’t even have time to mentally prepare myself. I guess that’s what King wanted – to surprise you. I just didn’t think the surprise would be so unpleasant.

As I mentioned a few times before, I think this book is a bit too long. I don’t have a fear of big books (often), however, it took me years to get to this one. I believe since I did watch the 2017 and 2019 film adaptations I didn’t enjoy the story fully. I would have been even more immersed in it if I didn’t know the main plot points. However, knowing the story from before, that deepened my emotional connection with the main seven protagonists.
All that being said, I don’t think I would have read this book as fast or even at all if I didn’t listen to it as an audiobook. The sheer size and vastness of it would have suffocated me.
The narrator Steven Weber is excellent. I think his Pennywise voice was incredible, it was so unnerving in the best possible way and it helped build the ambiance even more, in my opinion.

You may have noticed by now that I haven’t spoken one word about scary boy Pennywise yet. Well, dessert comes last, I guess. After all, Pennywise has an alarmingly huge base of groupies who would agree. Do you remember when there were people who called him clown daddy and papawise and thirsted after him when the movie It came out in 2017? What the fuck was that?

akiss

If you want to see more of this abhorrence, click here.

Having had a moment to chill out, let’s get back to the book. Pennywise the Dancing Clown is, in my opinion, a bit underwhelming in the book. There is just so little of him… I think he is an excellent character and I would have liked to read a bit more about him. We did get a bit of an explanation of what „it“ really in the last few chapters of the book. I, personally, don’t like the origin story. The whole turtle thing is just weird and has a magical realism vibe which I don’t think fits in this book. There is „it“ which is raw and bloody and vile, and then there is this turtle creature. I didn’t get what exactly the point of it was and why the protagonists used it as an association with the events that had happened when they were children. Also, what’s up with the way the turtle died? And, after all, how could it die? Aren’t these creatures close to immortal?
Moving on, I must tell you what I found on that fandom wiki website. So, you know how every character has that table where its name, species, origin, etc. is listed? Well, I don’t know why exactly, but when I read that there was a „hobby“ section for Pennywise and the answer was „none“ that really made me laugh.

paavpdqsbtggtmn4smxsThere have been a few adaptations of It, two of which stand-out and are much loved by the audience. The first one is the mini-series starring Tim Curry as Pennywise which was released in 1990. After the release, it had soon become a fan favourite. The second monumental adaptation is the movie duology consisting of It (2017) and It Chapter Two (2019). The duology had brought together a praiseworthy cast, so we had seen Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and many others bring these marvelous characters to life on the big screen.

I enjoyed this book. Not as much as I expected I would enjoy it but still. I can see why it is a fan favourite. My favourite character was Ben. I liked how gentle he was and even though this may be cringy, I really liked the poem he wrote for Beverly. So, it’s not surprising that I was overjoyed when they ended up together!

“Your hair is winter fire
January embers
My heart burns there, too.”

Based on the research I’ve done and the movie adaptations of his other work I’ve watched, it is my understanding that King likes to set his stories in small towns and remote and isolated places. This book is similar, it is set in a small town named Derry in Maine. It isn’t the only location named and visited by the characters, however, the main events are set in Derry.
I’ve read More Evil Than A 15-Foot Spider, an interesting article by Walter Wagner (The New York Times Book Review, August 24, 1986). In this review, Wagner speaks of autobiographical elements in the book. Just as the leader of the Losers’ Club, Bill lives in a small town in Maine, has dreams of becoming a well-known author and stutters, so did King. It isn’t rare for authors to incorporate details from their lives in their work. However, it got me thinking… does King base most of his work in such small and isolated locations to relive this childhood or because he wishes he had had such adventure as a child (and as an adult) or is he perhaps narcissistic enough to make all of his protagonists a metaphor of himself? This is, of course, simply speculation of a person not deeply familiar with his work, so stop being mad at me if you believe I’m absolutely wrong! I guess, in a way, all authors are a bit narcissistic.

“Drive away and try to keep smiling. Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can find and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.”

 

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