Sunday, 24 September 2017

Victober 2017 TBR

Hello, beautiful people!

This year, I've decided to join #Victober, a read-a-thon focused on reading Victorian literature during the month of October and hosted by Katie (Books and Things), Ange (Beyond the Pages), Kate (Kate Howe) and Lucy (Lucythereader). While you don't have to read a certain number of books for this readathon (read one book? You did it!), there are challenges for those interested and that's what I based my TBR off (I'm very competitive with myself when it comes to readathons). Oh, and as October means Halloween, my TBR also is inspired by that because I want to get in the mood.

The challenges are:

  • Read a Victorian book by a Scottish, Irish or Welsh author
  • Read a lesser-known Victorian book (less than 12.000 ratings on Goodreads)
  • Read a supernatural Victorian book
  • Read a Victorian book that someone recommended to you
  • Read a Victorian book by a female author

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde // Read a Victorian book by a Scottish, Irish or Welsh author

If you didn't know, Oscar Wilde is an Irish writer and while I have yet to read what he wrote, I've been admiring him for such a long time and went to an exhibition about him in Paris last year. October is the month I will finally read The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I couldn't be more excited, because I know I'm going to love it and it's a short read, which is perfect for a readathon!

2. Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell // Read a lesser-known Victorian book

Elizabeth Gaskell's Gothic Tales is, without a doubt, the book I'm most excited to read for Victober. I discovered Elizabeth Gaskell last year with North and South, which I absolutely loved, and read Wives and Daughters this September. When I discovered she had written gothic short stories (and that they aren't that known), I was over the moon. When I read the description of the contents of this edition, it made me so curious, take for example: The Poor Clare, which is about "an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman's bitter curse", or Lois the Witch is "a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria". It seems like a perfect read for Halloween time and I can read one of the novella whenever I want, which is also perfect for readathons.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker // Read a supernatural Victorian book

I've been saving up Dracula for October, because I think it'll be the best month to finally read it. I've been meaning to get to it for such a long time and I hope I won't be too terrified (we never know with me). I'm very curious to finally read it, as I've only read about vampires in young adult novels (*cough* Twilight *cough*), but I want to know the real deal with vampires. My friend Clara loves this book and said it changed her opinions on vampires, so I trust her.

4. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins// Read a book that someone recommended to you

I first heard about The Woman in White on my favourite blog (which is in French, sorry), and it intrigued me so much. Victoria (mangoandsalt) absolutely loved it and I've wanted to read it ever since. Andreea (Infinite Text) also said we could count this one as her recommendation, so it definitely fits in this category. Anyhow, once again, I thought it was a perfect read for October, as it's a mystery novel and it is said to be "the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism". Moreover, if you want to read The Woman in White for Victober, there is a Goodreads group, because it's a popular choice for this year's Victober and it's way less intimidating to read a big book (around 700 pages) with other people.

5. Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon // Read a book by a female author

Lady Audley's Secret is a very famous Scandal novel and I have to say that the title intrigues me. From what I gathered, it's about an anti-heroine, morality and madness in the Victorian age. Besides, this novel apparently established Mary Elizabeth Braddon established her as the main rival of the master of the sensational novel, Wilkie Collins. I'll be reading Wilkie Collins for the first time in October, so I thought it would be interesting to be able to compare the two.

Are you taking part in Victober? What are your favourite Victorian novels?

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

London Book Haul (part 2)

Hello beautiful people!

I was in London this week-end, which means I bought books... Again. In my defense, I won't have a lot of them to buy for a little while (with the exception of two that I'm planning to read in October) and Penguin English Library editions are my ultimate weaknesses. I'm very happy because I found most of the books I wanted to read for Victober (a readathon that makes you read Victorian literature in October), which is so exciting.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I have to say I had only seen Wonder Woman in the Justice League animated series before 2017, so I only knew the basics about her. However, I was so excited about the movie that released this year as well as this book, for it's written by Leigh Bardugo. I'm actually currently reading because I was very curious to discover Bardugo in something different and I'm really enjoying it, even though it wasn't what I was expecting. It's giving me huge girl power vibes, I'm all about that.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

If you don't know this about me, I'm obsessed with Outlander. I started watching the show last year and after sobbing so much at the end of season 2, I decided I would read the books, because I wasn't going to wait a year. Thinking season 3 would release in March (I was so innocent), I read a book a month and finished Voyager in December, telling myself I wouldn't read Drums of Autumn until the end of season 3. Little did I know that in September 2017, I would still have a week to wait *sobs*. I haven't read an Outlander book in eight months, how did I survive (I could have read the Lord John Grey novels, but not just yet)? Anyhow, I now have Drums of Autumn, but it would make no sense to start it now, I'll hide my copy until season 3 is over (I will try at least). But I'm so excited to read it, it hurts.

I have to confess I still haven't read The Picture of Dorian Gray and I had no excuse, except I didn't own it. As a matter of fact, I went to an exhibition about Oscar Wilde (which was absolutely amazing) in Paris last year and it made me want to read every single word he ever wrote, for it was full of beautiful quotes and I need to read them in context. Anyhow, I'm so looking forward to finally read The Picture of Dorian Gray this October.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White is considered to be one of the first among mystery novels and combines Gothic horror with psychological realism, which makes me quite curious about it. I haven't read anything by Wilkie Collins yet, but I have heard he is a friend of Charles Dickens and that's enough for me. Besides, I've only heard great things about this one. It sounds perfect to read near Halloween. 

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

I first heard about this book in The Infernal Devices, which put it on my 'want to read' list straight away. From what I've gathered, the main character is an anti-heroine and (obviously) has a secret the reader is trying to discover. The Penguin English Library edition for this one is absolutely stunning and it's been calling to me for a long time, 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I read Wuthering Heights in French about seven years ago (I can't remember exactly, but it was summer and I also read Jane Eyre) and it became one of my favourite books ever. I've been wanting to reread it in English ever since I started to read in that language and as I've recently read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë... Well I realised how much I missed this book and wanted to reread it.

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

Speaking of Anne Brontë (the underrated sister *sigh*), I finally read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in August and adored it, it's now one of my favourite books ever. Anne only wrote two novels and her first one, Agnes Grey , was inspired by her experience as a governess. It's quite a short novel (under 200 pages), which should make it quick to read and I'll probably read it this month, as I'm that excited to read it.

Girlhood by Cat Clarke

I still haven't read anything by Cat Clarke yet, but I liked the cover for this one (even if it's VERY pink) and it was in the 'buy one, get the second at half price' section at Waterstones, so I got it with Wonder Woman to have that (how to be weak when it comes to buying books, a memoir by yours truly). I've heard good things and apparently it's a YA mystery? I need to read more of those.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling (20th anniversary edition)

Technically, my boyfriend bought it for me. So I didn't buy it and it's okay (I had said I wouldn't)? The thing is, it was thirty minutes before the time of the epilogue, we were at King's Cross, I had to have a Harry Potter book with me. Besides, it showed my Ravenclaw pride and we all shouted our house names in the train station, so... *shrugs* We also got free Hogwarts Express tickets because we answered to a Harry Potter quiz so there you go!

Lots of love,

Friday, 1 September 2017

A Love Letter to Harry Potter // 19 Years Later

19 years later for Harry, 10 years later for me.

Hello, beautiful people!

Today is the day. As I'm posting this, it's eleven a.m. in London, September 1st, 2017 and I'm at King's Cross, probably about to burst into tears, because it is the day of Harry Potter's epilogue. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been out for ten years now and for some of us, it's been ten years since we have closed the book and had to say goodbye to Harry Potter (except we never really did).

The first time I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I was eleven and I promised myself: "on the day of the epilogue, Lucie, you will go to London and the wheel will come full circle". I don't know why I wanted to do this, maybe it was a way for me to say "I was there on this very important day for the Harry Potter series". For me, being in London on that very day has been a dream for years, through all of my rereads of the series, through the days I was lost in my own life and it's finally there. Maybe I'll go to Hogwarts and never come back to the Muggle world. It would be better in a way.

Harry Potter has always been important in my life, for I started to read it when I was about five years old (and no one believed I had actually read it, except for my parents). It was the beginning of my life as a reader and it always stayed with me, with every new book and movie. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I never got to watch the first movie in theaters because my parents thought I was too young. But I went to all the others and dressed as a Ravenclaw for the last ones.

I was that teenager who bought magazines to have Harry Potter posters everywhere in her room, who reread the books each summer with a purpose (making a list of all the characters mentioned that went to Hogwarts, or a list of all the spells, I'm such a Ravenclaw), who read and wrote fanfictions. Once, I made friends on the train to scout camp with a girl because of our shared love for Harry Potter and I'll always be sad I don't have any contact with her anymore because we were so young (Audrey, if you ever stumble upon this, do you remember "Roguinou chéri d'amour" and how you were one of the best friends I've ever had for those two weeks? I still miss you and it's been eight years).

Harry Potter made me learn so much about human nature and it taught me to try to be proud of who I was. Sure, I love Hermione as much as everyone else, because I was the know-it-all in class when I was younger and I could relate to her so much. But it's Luna Lovegood who changed my life. I used to say my name was Lucie Lovegood, I let my hair grow out to look like her, I was the proudest Ravenclaw in the world because of her. I wasn't scared to be weird or to dress in bright colours because of her. To this day, she is one of my biggest inspirations and I will never be able to thank J.K. Rowling enough for creating her character. Besides, she marries a Scamander and I love Newt so much, basically she's a true role model.

I could go on about Harry Potter forever, but I think this love letter to Harry Potter is already long enough. This series shaped who I am and I will forever be grateful. Thank you for everything*, J.K. Rowling.

*the seven books in the series, that is

What about you? What did Harry Potter bring into your life?

Lots of love,