SBC | Week 5

*if you have no idea what's going on, here's an explanation!
So, the first book I actually finished this week was started on Sunday evening and finished in the early hours of Monday morning. It was that good. I'm talking about The Art Thief by Noah Charney. It's a story that takes place in Rome, Paris and London. In a little church in Rome, a precious Caravaggio is stolen. In a basement in Paris, a Malevič vanishes. In London, the National Gallery obtained a new painting which is supposed to bring them fame, but it disappears from the restoration room. Investigations are lead in each of the countries, but later, they come to realise that these disappearances might be more connected that people believe. 
This book is... a plot twist. Just a major plot twist. You don't suspect who's the thief, who's the conspirator, which is the original painting and which one isn't. Just... give it a read. It's so amazing. The descriptions of locations and everything is so true and let's not forget the 3 or 4 page descriptions of paintings and symbolism and all that jazz. It was right up my alley and I loved it. 5/5

Both of the following works came from these two beautiful books!
The second book that I started on Monday and finished on Tuesday was Persuasion by Jane Austen, which wasn't my first Austen novel I've ever read (I'll give you one shot at which one was my first... yes, you guessed it, Pride and Prejudice), but it was certainly my favourite of the two. It's about a girl called Anne Elliot, who is doomed by a very spendy and not at all kind family, who has to move to Bath because of her father's debts. Shortly before she leaves, she goes to visit her family not far away from Kellynch, which was her hometown, so to speak. There, in the company of relatives, she meets her old love who she was engaged to eight years ago and then, her life turns upside down.
The thing about Jane Austen novels is that they're written with very lengthy descriptions, very little dialogues (and even those aren't written as straight-forward responses, they're described as thoughts and emotions of the person who's supposed to say it) and it can be a bit off-putting, but when you're reading it on your own, without distractions or music in the background, it makes such a difference and you really appreciate the writing. Also, if you can, go see the film/mini-series/whatever first, because that makes it a lot easier to read for beginners with classical literature (like me). You can really feel Anne's emotions, she's basically a character you can relate to very much (and she's really cool for that time!) and when everyone treats her like shit (including Frederick, thank you very much), it feels like you're the one who's hurt. It's a book that does talk about feminist topics, so it was an interesting read and I really recommend it, if you want to study "women through the ages and the attitude towards them" (sounds like a college course or something). 5/5

Sticking along with the classical literature maraton, I read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (again) from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon and it's so clearly my favourite, because it's a massive parody of the gothic-horror genre that was popular at the time with the people. It's about an 18-year-old girl called Catherine Morland, who is invited to stay with friends in Bath. There, she makes the acquaintance of the Tilney family, who sooner or later invite her to stay with them in their home, Northanger Abbey. Because she's very much into novels and mysteries and murders, her imagination leads her into trouble and she realises that not everything is as it seems on the first glance.
This is certainly a very adorable novel, slightly bubbly, very teenagery, mostly that. I think that this would be a great first novel to read if you're only getting into the classical genre, because it's so easier to read, Catherine is definitely a character that a lot of the younger people will relate to (although she's 18, she sometimes acts like she's younger, so that's why). It's a love story, but the thing with Austen's novels is that you won't get that big proclamation-of-love scene (well, you get that sometimes, but never the aftermath). That being said, you can still see the development of the relationship and it's very adorable and I love it. 5/5

Since I haven't been behaving normally for a person of my age (speaking correctly and not in slang, listening to too much classical music, craving for walks with friends, that sort of thing) after reading two Jane Austen novels in a row, I needed something quick, hilarious and easy-to-get-through to read, so I picked up It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers by Louise Rennison. I think I've spoke of this book before and it's about a 14-year-old girl called Georgia and it describes her teenage problems with boyfriends, enormous breasts, facial flaws and that sort of thing. It's a really twisted, slightly naughty coming-of-age story, almost like Bridget Jones for teenagers. The humour is really British, I think I now know the origins of my sarcasm and the writing is just hilarious. The things her younger sister says, what she says are all really hilarious and it made me wet myself from laughter the first time round. It's not as extreme nowadays, but it's still very funny and quirky and quaint. 4/5.

Going back to classical literature, I read the first part of the Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (and the cover is so horrendous, I will spare you the sight of it). I will admit, I did wish to read it purely because I am quite a fan of the BBC TV-show/mini series/whatever you want to call it. Basically, it is about this guy called d'Artagnan (and it kind of bothers me that he doesn't have a first name) and he comes from the countryside to Paris to join the King's Musketeers and basically, it's about all of his adventures he has with the legendary three musketeers.
Even though I knew the series was very loosely based around the actual books, I was quite surprised that it was completely different (I mean, the characters are the same, the backstory of each individual character is the same, but that's about it). There wasn't so much talk around Constance and Milady, but there was still enough to leave you interested into those characters to continue reading the series. The story is actually very easy to follow, the characters are really likeable, it's a very easy read and I liked it, but not necessarily loved it. I constantly had the feeling that I read half of the book and that none of the action had actually taken off. Maybe my expectations were just too high, but I still liked it and will definitely continue reading the series. 4/5

I also started reading For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway and it's my first Hemingway I've ever read and I am really liking it so far (I can also share the story of how I got the book: there was an open-air market in a town nearby and there was a bookshop and there were loads of books and you had to bargain for them, but there was a twist. You bargained for it with arguments, so reasons why you think the price of the book should be lowered. The set price was 20€ and I managed to get it down to 7€, while attracting quite a public and arguing with a literature student and sassing him out completely. It was a really fun experience and I loved doing it. Definitely have a go if there are things like that somewhere around your hometown, because it forces you to think on the spot and use all the knowledge you got out of all the books you've read and it's just amazing).

16/25 books read for SBC 2014. 


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