Red Lipstick Case

Recent Posts

Read-O-Rama Read-A-Thon TBR

No comments
I started writing my regular blog in Czech two weeks ago and now I feel like I don't know what to write about when it comes to books. I need to work on my reviews, especially because a lot of book I'm gonna be reading in next few months will be for my European literature class so I need to make more notes I usually do.

However, this week (since today, 8th of March to 14th) there's a Read-O-Rama Read-A-Thon going and I decided to join in. It might be a bit hard for me to keep up with all the school I have, but I'm hoping to finish at least some of those book, if not all 7. Here are the books I picked for the 7 challenges:

Book from you TBR jar: Kazuo Ishiguro: A Pale View of the Hills

I don't have a TBR jar but because most of my books I have in my apartment in Prague are unread, I just went to, put in a number I though might correspondent with a pile I wanted to read from and this one happened.

Book with green on the cover: Jaime Hernandez: The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S.

I didn't realise when I was picking this up this is a second book in the graphic novel series so I'll have to read the first one, but like I said, a graphic novel, so it should be fun to read.

Book that has "RAMA" in the title: Petra Hůlová: Macocha

Took me a while to pick one that's not too long and has all the letters in, but I succeeded! This is a book by a Czech author that I got for my birthday couple years ago and I'm excited to finally dive in.

Diverse book: Ben Aaronovitch: Moon Over Soho

The reason I picked this book, second in the Peter Grant series, is that the main character, Peter, is a person of colour. And since this one has to do with his family (or at least I think so) I thought it would be a good one to read. It is not as diverse as other book I could have picked but I already started on it and I want to finish it.

Book with flowers on the cover: Gertrude Stein: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

This could count as a book I'm supposed to read for my class so I won't feel like I'm not doing anything at all...

Contemporary book: Melissa Pimentel: Age Sex Location

I'm not a huge fan of contemporary contemporaries (as in I read a lot classics and 20the century ones could be considered contemporaries) but I've picked this one because it sounded interesting when I heard a youtuber talk about it. So we'll see.

Finish a series: John Updike: The Women who got away

This is technically cheating but I don't really have a series I could finish in one week (and I usually have only book one or two) so I picked the last one, number 20, in Penguin Great Loves series. I figured this could do and also - I am to read Updike for my class.

The last challenge is to read 7 books, which might or might not happen. Since I have a problem with sticking to reading lists, I might actually pick something else just to keep reading. And it's probably going to be something for a class, I recently started on Updike's Witched of Eastwick and and Singer's Satan in Garay so I might just finish these.

Dedications. | Inspired by BookTube

No comments
Sanne from Books and Quills made a video on dedications found in books and I suddenly felt inspired. I went through some of my books to find some interesting ones. It seems like authors dedicate their books mostly to their family members and don't bother to make the dedications interesting (which I totally get but...)

I picked five dedications - actually these are the first five interesting ones I read but you know... these authors were already a promise of something creative.

Toni Morrison: The Bluest Eye

"To the two who have me life
and the one who made me free."

I've got only the Czech edition of The Bluest Eye and even though the dedication doesn't sound that beautiful in Czech, it still struck me when I opened it. And by peeking in a copy of Beloved I found out Toni Morrison's dedications are probably always special.

Michael Chabon: Telegraph Avenue

"To Ayelet, from the drop of the needle to the innermost groove"

So far I've read only one of Michael Chabon's books and this is not it. And unfortunately I didn't like it as much as I hoped I would. However I think I'm gonna pick this one up just for the dedication (and the music!).

Helen Oyeyemi: The Icarus Girl

"This is all for
Mary Oyeyemi
(Sorry about that time I pretended to be the Angel of Death.)
and the other 'Tony, from before."

I somehow can't really decide why I like this one so much. It just resonates with me for some reason.

Neil Gaiman: Unnatural Creatures

"For Bigfoot, for the time travelers, for the pirates, for the robots, for any boring people (who obviously aren't actually secret agents in boring disguise), for people in space rockets, and for our mothers - N.G."

Leave it up to Neil Gaiman to write a very special dedication. It's not just to whom it is dedicated but the way it is written. His writing is always so beautiful and I loved this whole short story collection, it's brilliantly put together.

Caitlin Moran: Moranthology

"To the bit in Bottom where Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson hit the gas man with a frying pan forty-two times. I learned so much from you."

This one just seems to sum up Caitlin Moran so brilliantly! It's her in one simple, very weir dedication.

Wednesday Reads #2 (February 25, 2015)

No comments
So I managed to up my currently reading pile by two books. Actually by three, because I've read one book out of it.

I finished Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and I have written a review. To be honest, I still don't know if I like it or not. I'm bit undecided and I think I will give Chabon another chance (I also bought another of his books so... well).

I've read Georges Rodenbach's Bruges-La-Mort because I'm suspecting it to be one of the book on the list for my literature class. We learned about it last week but we haven't got the complete assigned reading list so it's just a wild guess for now. The book doesn't have much of a plot but I liked it and I'm thinking about writing a review for it (probably with some other assigned books).

And I have read one graphic novel - Cyril Pedrosa's Three Shadows, I'll write about it after I finally make a comic book wrap up.

I'm slowly but surely getting through The Master and Margarita but I got into bit of a reading slump so I don't know how well it will go. I hope to finish by tomorrow.

As for the books I added to my currently reading, it's Alice Bechdel's graphic novel Fun Home which I'm loving but I want to read it slower than the other graphic novels. I just feel like savouring it for a while instead of just flying through it.

Another is Virgil's Doomed Love out of the Penguin Great Loves collection. I've now successfully bought 14 out of 20 of these and so far I've read only one (and I've read one of them before). And since Virgil is number one I figured I'll start with that one now.

And the last one of the added books is Ben Aaronovitch's Moon Over Soho - second book in the Peter Grant series. I've only read the first chapter in this one but I think it just might get me over my (hopefully short-lived) reading slump. We'll see.

Michael Chabon: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

No comments
Chabon's debut novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh tells a story of Art Bechenstein who just graduated from college and is about to spent summer in the city. And what a summer it is, with all the new people he's meeting and with his father coming to town more often than before.

"At the beginning of the summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business."

I was warned that I might not like Chabon's writing. Or more so that I might not like the way he uses his characters to prove a point or get to the place the main character is supposed to be at. And that's exactly what I didn't like, but it like the rest of it. I liked the writing in general, I liked the treatment of the setting, I like the descriptions. But overall I'm not sure I an count as a Chabon fan.

I do enjoy slow-paced books with very little action and base in character development but I rarely enjoy coming-of-age stories in general, especially the ones centred around rich guys. But I didn't hate the story because of that. What I didn't like was the way character (that is other than Art Bechenstein) were treated as a means to an end and he way they were stereotyped. That Arthur had to be promiscuous because he was gay and that Phlox had to be pretentious because she was a French student (very little of them are as pretentious as her in my experience) and the fact that she was easily hated as a homophobic while Arthur was very easily loved just because they were competitors didn't sit well with me. And might be even worse by the fact that a person who has a tendency of putting themselves in the middle of bad relationship(s) have no sympathy from me what so ever.
I also expected more from Clevelend's character, I didn't feel a thing at the end. I think that was because the tragedy of his story is dulled some way or another.

It is however easy to say why it appeals to so many people. The reasons are probably the same as to why it doesn't appeal to me. But it certainly didn't discourage me from reading another Chabon.

Wednesday Reads #1 (February 18, 2015)

No comments
Since I'm terrible with updates I've decided to put up another thing that should end up regular and since I have the most free time from uni at Wednesdays (a day I can hardly spell), it's gonna be a Wednesday Reads (yay!).
I'll start with listing all the books I've tagged as "currently reading" on my Goodreads account, the books on the top are the ones I'm actually reading at the moment, the rest is books I've started reading and put down for one reason or other. In each other post update I will summarise what I've read (out of the books I already started or out of the others lying around my flat) or what I've added to the currently reading pile.
At the moment, there are 26 books marked as currently reading, here they are:

#1 - Michael Chabon: The Mysteries of Pittsburg
This is the one I'm actually currently reading and hoping to finish today, tomorrow tops. I picked it up as a debut novel point of a 2015 reading challenge even though I actually own another two books by this author I haven't read yet (Telegraph Avenue and The Yiddish Policemen's Union - in Czech translation). I plan to read all of them in short time so I could buy The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay but I might actually buy it sooner just for the sake of buying it.

#2 - Nora Ephron: I Feel Bad about My Neck
A collection of essay that I'm reading because I want to get rid of the book. It's in Czech and I think the translation is particularly bad but I've already read quite a few of the essays so I'm keen on finishing it. However I can't promise it's gonna be soon, there might be something that's just more important...

#3 - George R. R. Martin: A Clash of Kings
I've started A Clash of Kings ages ago (December 2011 to be exact) and stopped about 50 pages from the end and I wasn't really interested in finishing it any time soon. However I decided to carry around my e-reader more and just slowly finish it, chapter by chapter (which actually means only couple rides to school). So I should be finally done with it and could more on to the next book (or the first part of the next book).

#4 - Jay McInerney: Story of My Life
I've bought this one about a week ago on one of my shopping sprees and started reading. It's actually quite good even for reading it in translation so it's one that's going to get read very soon I hope.

#5 - Nova Ren Suma: The Walls Around Us
This is one of the book I've received from NetGalley for a review (and I believe the review was already due but shh!). The problem with this one is that I have in only on my computer and I can't send it to my Kindle - that makes it difficult for me to read. However the book is quite intriguing so I think I will finish reading it - even if it should be only during lessons that I don't need to listen to but actually need to attend.

#6 - Ed Piskor: Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker
I knew about this comic book for quite some time but I've never got around to read it. Now I've got a copy from NetGalley so I'm going to finish it very soon. Sunday probably. I always binge-read comics on Sundays...

#7 - Brandon Sanderson: The Final Empire
It's the year of Cosmere and that means reading lots of Brian Sanderson. I've already started a bit of Final Empire and it's fantastic, I have to finish it until the end of February so that means next week (fingers crossed).

#8 - Julie Plec: The Originals: The Rise
I've never watched The Originals as a TV show but I did watch some episodes of Vampire Diaries and the original vampires always seemed intriguing so I've decided to give it a try (also via NetGalley).

#9 - Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere
Started about a year ago I never got past 25% on my Kindle but I feel like I'm very close to actually getting into it more. The story is great but it's never the right time to get into a Gaiman story. However with new semester I should be compelled to do some good quality procrastination so here's my option numero uno.

#10 - Vojtěch Lindaur: Glastonbury
I've written about this one before and never finished it. I actually want to but I'm not so much interested in non-fiction these day so it might be kind of hard to do so.

#11 - William Trevor: Bodily Secrets
This is one of the Penguin Great Loves, I've already collected several of these but read only one so far. I started Trevor's short story collection but then got to reading something else. However these small books are good for carrying around so I might be able to read it in my breaks from school or so on.

#12 - Jane Austen: Mansfield Park
I started to read this classic for a read-along but none of us readers got very far in Austen novels so I stopped halfway through. I just need to find the will to read it.

#13 - Michel Faber: Under the Skin
Michel Faber is very popular in Czech Republic right now so I've decided to pick up one of his book. I chose Under the Skin mainly because I wanted to see the film with Scarlett Johansson but I didn't finish it yet.

#14 - Virginia Woolf: Orlando
I love this book so much so I really don't want to finish it at all. I'm slowly consuming Woolf's amazing writing and her complex character with the notion of fluidity of gender - something that was unthinkable at her time. But I'm actually have to finish it soon because it's one of the books for a seminar I'm taking this semester.

#15 - Morrissey: Autobiography
Masterpiece I don't have time to read right now. But soon!

#16 - Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
An amazing piece of magical realism but it's quite daunting and also not easy to follow. So I think I might have to start again with this one.

#17 - Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle
A brilliantly written book, almost a classic I'd say. But it's quite thick so I don't know what to do with it now.

#18 - Peter Anghelides: Torchwood - Another Life
A Torchwood companion novel that I want to finish so I could get through another few I have but the time's just never right for reliving these memories.

#19 - Jo Nesbo: Headhunters
Another Scandinavian crimi (or a thriller maybe?), this one I actually want to finish really quick since I'm halfway through but it wasn't the right time yet.

#20 - John Green: Zombicorns
This is my first foray into a John Green something and I was really disappointed there were no zombie unicorns. Also I didn't really like the writing and the plot wasn't very interesting. I should probably finish it since it's like what - 50 pages long, maybe shorter, but I don't know if I want to.

#21 - Cornelia Flunke: Inkheart
I bought this trilogy very cheap and started to read this one but life happened and I forgotten all about it. Now it's waiting for me to read it and I really hope I'm gonna do it soon.

#22 - Pierre Choderlos de Laclos: Dangerous Liaisons
I was supposed to read this last semester for a class I was taking and then read something else instead so I ended like halfway through. Now it's sitting on my bedside table at my parents' house waiting for me when I have nothing else to read.

#23 - Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon
I don't remember where exactly I stopped reading but it was mainly because I've read it on my Kindle and I use it mainly when I'm travelling and I kind of didn't commute from Prague to my hometown for a while or when I did I had university reading to do so I never continued even though it is actually quite short read.

#24 - Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus
I'm about 50 in and I like it but it's not one of the books that would keep me reading and not put it down so there's some other time to read this one.

#25 - Alice Sebold: The Lovely Bones
I started reading this again because of the film and I've actually seen the film now, thought it was stupid and the book wasn't much engaging either. I might or might not come back to this, either way I'll decide about it this year.

#26 - Henning Mankell: The Man From Beijing
I love Scandinavian crimi and I like this book but I had a copy from a library and never finished reading it. And now I have other Mankell's book to read so I plan on buying a copy of this one after I read the White Lioness (a Wallander book).

As for all these books, I plan to read or cross out all of these by the end of the year, we'll see if I succeed.

UnderHyped Read-A-Thon WrapUp

No comments
In which we wind out how terrible I am at keeping with my TBR lists...

I've read... well, not as much as I wanted to but given the fact I actually had three exams that week and has to write a report on a book I haven't read before (yay for speed-reading history books) I think it was all right.

So here's what I read and finished:

Doris Lessing: The Cleft
I've read this book for over a year, maybe a lot over a year actually. For past half a year I had only last 70 pages to finish (out of 220 pages total). And it didn't happen until now. So now I'm satisfied. Finally! And the end was quite good actually so it's only the middle part that destroyed it for me. Such a shame but I'll definitely read some more Doris Lessing some time soon.
The story is a fictional tale of beginning of the human race as written by a Roman historian (I think he was Roman). The best thing about it is that everything started with women which is a take you rarely get.

Hagen Schulze: States, Nations and Nationalism
So here's the history book. It was a good one and I managed to finish the report on time and the teacher like it so I'm not gonna talk about this any more...

Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
This Read-A-Thon wasn't all about reading and much more about listening for me because I've had a mild migraine lately so listening is easier for me. Also I can listen to audiobooks when in work or on my way to school and it's really nice to ignore everyone for once.
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is a short story collection and it was my first run-in with Hilary Mantel. Honestly I love most of the book. The writing style is great and most of the stories were beautifully crafted. But to be honest there were couple of them that I can't remember at all. Some of them just didn't get my attention and even though I remember listening to them I just don't know anything about them. But I'll be definitely looking to reading something more from Hilary Mantel.

Keith R.A. DeCandido: Dragon Precinct and Unicorn Precinct
I've read some review describing these books (from a series called Cliff's End) as a C.S.I. novel in fantasy setting and I think they were about right. I've since listen to all four novels and I really enjoyed them, the first one was entertaining, the second one was a bit less because I just expected it to be better than the first one and it wasn't. The thirth (Goblin Precinct) and fourth (Gryphon Precinct) were both better though.

And here's what I didn't finish (because of reasons):

Glastonbury: Když svatí pochodujou
A collection of essays published by Czech musical journalists for the 40th anniversary of Glastonbury festival. There isn't really much to say about that, I've read 74 pages so far and I love it but it's non fiction so I don't feel the need to rush through it at any quicker pace.

John King: Skinheads
This is one of books that have been on my shelf for ages and I plan to read it some time this year but so far it looks like I'll stay 25 pages in for a while.

The Donor (Rae)

No comments
Written by: Nikki Rae

*** Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ***

The review contains spoilers, consider yourself warned!

I never know what to expect from new adult or romances or even paranormal romances. Yet I still go on and read them. Sometimes I'm amused, sometimes I'm bored. Romances are usually similar. One "normal" girl, one "hot/wealthy/older" guy, things happen, they can't be together, then they are. Happy end.

And then there's The Donor. And I don't think I can sum my thoughts about it without going through the spoiling ground.

1. Casey, the main character, needs money and needs them fast. And that would be because she's dying, she's got medical bills to pay and she doesn't want to leave the bills to her parents, who doesn't have much money as it is.
2, Casey meets a guy online - he's a vampire, wants her blood, she's promised a large sum of money if she goes to him across the country for a short stay.
3, The guy, Jonah, founds out about her condition and decides to help her instead of drinking her.
4, Stuff happens, Jonah's daughter needs new lungs and Casey is a match.
5, But Jonah likes her.
The ultimate dilemma - does he turn her or does he safe his daughter.

I think that's the thing about this novel. Vampires are just another thing here, nothing special. And the story might be about Casey but in the end it isn't really about her. We know she dies without having to see her dying. She makes the ultimate sacrifice but does she really?
For me - from that point we find out she's a match for Jonah's daughter, it stops being about Casey and her choices and it starts being about Jonah. And I really liked that.

That said, I had a few problems with this book. Most of them have all to do with how fast we are done with everything. And with the absolutely unnecessary physical aspect of Casey and Jonah's relationship.

The first problem, of course, can be explained by the fact it's a novella.
The second problem I can only explain by the "new adult" category. In all honesty I would be much more satisfied with the story if there wasn't the aspect of "I'm dying, let's do everything we can" which to me translates into "I don't want to die a virgin". I honestly thought that it was redundant.

However I appreciated the novella for what it is - a good entertainment without happy ending - which as you can see is not necessary to write a romance book.