Macbeth Readalong

MacBeth readalong

There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I did not grow up in a country where English was the first language. So, I can admit it without embarrassment: I have never read anything by Shakespeare. Now, I don’t know if I really missed out on much, but October is the month to find out!

Together with Suzanne (Biliosue) and Adam (Roof Beam Reader) I’ll be reading MacBeth, which, I’m told, fits well with the Halloween month. We’ll be reading one act per week, so that’s nothing too strenuous.

I’ve got an age 13+ version of the play on paper plus the BBC adaptation on DVD. I’m well prepared!

Do join in if you feel MacBeth deserves your attention!

Have you read MacB before?


Book Review: The Double by José Saramago

The Double by José SaramagoThis is a classic that I bought after I read Blindness, a dystopian novel that I loved. The Double is again a non-realistic novel, but closer to reality than Blindness. In fact, the only strange thing is that a man discovers there is someone who looks identical to him living in the same town.

Tertuliano Maximo Afonso, a History teacher, is depressed. His colleague, a Maths teacher, suggests he watches some fun DVDs to lift his spirits. The movie recommended by the Maths teacher includes a man that looks exactly like Tertuliano.

He then tries to find out who this man is, and how he can contact him. What happens next is all the result of him wanting to keep this similarity quiet from the people around him. I wasn’t quite clear why he found it necessary to keep this knowledge from people, but he goes through some trouble in order to make sure it does not become known.

There is of course a bit more to the story, but not a lot. The actual storyline is quite thin. Most of the fun of reading this book comes from the observations and reflections Tertuliano makes on the situation. A lot of it is anticipation of what people might say or do. While this is entertaining, it made reading the book quite slow, not helped by the sparse punctuation (lack of quotes and new lines in dialogs, for instance).

I loved the fact that in this very normal world that Tertuliano lives in, there is this one discrepancy: a man completely alike to himself (including identical scars and moles). It’s a fun but also tedious story, and not everyone will enjoy this. But if you loved Blindness, you must definitely try this book.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Number of pages: 304 (Dutch edition: De man in duplo)

First published: 2002 (Portugese: O Homem Duplicado)

I got this: bought at a secondhand book market

Genre: literary fiction, classic

Extra: My review of Blindness.

Extra: I read this for the TBR Challenge 2013 and for the Eclectic Reader Challenge The 2013 TBR Pile ChallengeEclectic Reader Challenge


Quick Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (DNF)

Dickens in December

Caroline at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Delia at Postcards from Asia are organising the Dickens in December event. There is a read-a-long, a watch-a-long and there are of course book reviews.


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

After A Christmas Carol, which I really enjoyed, I tried A Tale of Two Cities, which I enjoyed at first, but later found extremely uninteresting.

The back of my book says: “A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Dickens’ greatest historical novel, traces the private lives of a group of people caught up in the cataclysms of the French Revolution and the Terror. Dickens based his historical details on Carlyle’s great work – The French Revolution – and also on his own observations and investigations during his numerous visits to Paris.”

I should have read that first. I just thought “Here’s a book by Dickens I haven’t read, let’s try it.” I have enjoyed some of his other novels, Oliver TwistNicholas NicklebyA Christmas Carol, and one or two others, and I enjoyed those very much.

I did not finish A Tale of Two Cities and I think my main problem is the main topic: the French Revolution and the complots etc. They did not interest me. I enjoyed the beginning where an English gentleman is rescued after many years from a lowly French establishment (Book 1). This was fun. But then it continued with some different characters, I lost track a little, and I didn’t find anything in the story that made me want to read on.

A pity, but it’s just one of those things. Maybe I’d enjoy the book if I read it at a different time, and maybe I will re-try sometime. For now, a did-not-finish (after 120 pages).

Rating: did not finish

Number of pages: 321 (I read until page 120)

First published: 1859

I got this book: bought

Genre: classic

Have you read this book?

Did you enjoy it?

Dickens in December Event: A Christmas Carol readalong

Dickens in December

Caroline at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Delia at Postcards from Asia are organising the Dickens in December event. There is a read-a-long, a watch-a-long and there are of course book reviews.

I participated in the read-a-long of A Christmas Carol. It’s not the first time I’ve read it. I read it a few years ago. Also, I’ve seen movie adaptations more than once so I was pretty familiar with the story before I started reading this time around.

Questions for the read-a-long:

Is this the first time you are reading the story?
This was the second time, I think.

Did you like it?
Yes, I loved it. I found it so funny.

Which was your favorite scene?
When Scrooge calls a boy on Christmas Day and asks him to bring the biggest goose he can get. And he says to himself what a lovely boy this is, and how clever, etc.

Which was your least favorite scene?
In the beginning, when Bob Cratchit is described as having hardly a coal in the fire to keep warm while working. I felt so sorry for the poor man!

Which spirit and his stories did you find the most interesting?
I liked the Ghost of Christmas Present the most. I loved it when Scrooge wanted to join in with the jolliness he saw in the visions.

Was there a character you wish you knew more about?
I was wondering about Jacob Marley, what sort of person he had been. Was he just like Scrooge, or did he have a family? What was he like when he was alive?

How did you like the end?
The end was a bit quick. I’d have liked to spend a bit more time with the new Scrooge. Seeing in more detail how he spends his Christmas Day and how he visits his nephew and is all likeable and friendly.

Did you think it was believable?
Well, I don’t believe in ghosts, so: no. Also, I can’t see that someone would be so easily changed in the course of a (long) night. Most people would begin with defending their way of living, rather than quickly accept it’s not right. He converted a little too easily!

Do you know anyone like Scrooge?
I know people who are the opposite to Scrooge. They like to pay for everything. Which is actually pretty annoying! 🙂

Did he deserve to be saved?
Yes, of course. Especially now that he turned out to be a generous man, willing to help out other people.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) – very good

Pages: 91

First published: 1843

I got this book: bought it secondhand, a few years ago (re-read)

Genre: classic

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