Tuesday 26 July 2022

Books I read between January and  March 2022

I started the year on a reading binge totalling 15 books in three months. Out of these, ten scored 4 stars or over in my complicated rating system. Below is the full list of books I read and their respective rating. I have linked each book to Goodreads where you can compare the average book rating with my own, read more detailed reviews (including mine - look for Lorna Dykstra) and get a better idea whether you will like the book or not. As you know, I am not the easiest reader to please. So any rating over four means the book was beautifully written and definitely worth my time. 

  1. A Thousand Days In Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi 4⭐
  2. A Month In Siena by Hisham  Matar 4⭐
  3. Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote 4.1⭐
  4. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson 4⭐
  5. The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor 4.5⭐
  6. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain 4.8⭐
  7. Circe by Madeline Miller 4⭐
  8. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff 4.5⭐
  9. Fresh Water For Flowers by Valerie Perrin 4.2⭐
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 3.2⭐
  11. Where The Forest Meets The Stars by Glendy Vanderah 3.2⭐
  12. A Room With A View by E.M. Forster 4.1⭐
  13. The Day The Nazis Came by Stephen Matthews 3.75⭐
  14. The Last Bookshop In London by Medline Martin 3.5⭐
  15. The Postman Always Rings Twice my James M. Cain 3.3⭐
I am not going to bore you with a lengthy and wordy review of these 15 books because we'll be here till Autumn. Instead I am just going to write a few sentences about the ten that stood out for me. The text in italics is my interpretation of the essence of each book.

A Thousand Days In Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi

This memoir is a charming account of the time Marlena and her Venetian husband spent in San Casciano dei Bagni, an ancient village in the hills of Tuscany. 
"An intoxicating insight into Tuscan life, cuisine and traditions". You may read my full review here.
Genre: memoir

A Month In Siena by Hisham Matar

Pultizer  prize-winning author Hisham Matar captures the essence of Siena in this lyrical tribute to its art and culture. 
"A book that will strike a chord with all those that have visited and loved this enchanting medieval city".
Genre: memoir

Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote

This short story is very different from the famous movie starring Audrey Hepburn and I thought that the final outcome is more true to the character of Holly Golightly that Capote created. 
"A short, witty and wistful read".
Genre: modern fiction

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

This book is presented as a series of vignettes with each chapter recounting an adventure that six year old Sophia has with her Grandmother on an isolated island located in the Gulf of Finland. 
"A heartwarming and nostalgic reminder of how summers should be lived".
Genre: modern classic

The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor

Recounted by a survivor of the atrocious experiments carried out on identical twins by Doctor Josef Mengele (the 'angel of death') in a simple and gentle style that belies the heavy subject matter. 
"A harrowing and horrifying memoir that teaches an important lesson".
Genre: memoir

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

This is a love story for grown-ups (not because it is X-rated in any way but because the protagonists are middle-aged and don't take themselves too seriously). My full review is here and I have just one piece of advice: read it.
"An enchanting Parisian romance".
Genre: contemporary romance

Circe by Madeline Miller

This retelling of the ancient Greek myth is written in Madeline Miller's inimitable style. There was never a doubt in my mind that her Circe would be a fascinating character. 
"A compelling read about the mysterious sorceress who seduces Odysseus".
Genre: Greek mythology

84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff

A book that is written as a series of often-droll letters between the author and a bookshop in London represented by their senior buyer Frank    33 Doel. 
"An iconic example of a long-lasting trans-Atlantic friendship built on a mutual love of books".
Genre: modern classic

Fresh Water For Flowers by Valerie Perrin

This story about a cemetery-keeper with a heart-breaking  past is anything but morbid. 
"A novel that reminds us of the restorative power of hope. I loved it".
Genre: contemporary fiction

A Room With A View by E.M. Forster

This book may be viewed as a social commentary on Edwardian society and its rigid class system written by a contemporary. It is a coming-of-age novel in a bygone era. 
"A reminder that rules and class do not define who we are".
Genre: modern classic

I hope that you enjoy the new format and that some of the books I have featured will capture your interest. If anyone would like me to write a longer review about any of the books, let me know in the comments and I will be happy to do so. 

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Summer makes most people happy but I think that by now you know that I can only tolerate temperatures of 30C happily. Anything above that and I turn into the worst grump imaginable. We've already had two major heatwaves, both of them lasting well over ten days. But the temperature is tolerable right now so I'll leave it at that.

I've been away from my blog for a while again which makes me wonder where I want to go from here.

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

The future of this blog

To be honest, I no longer know whether this blog has a future. Readership keeps dwindling and I seem to have neither the time nor the inclination to do anything about it - which is sad, after all these years but, like I've said in the past, people are more inclined to read blogs that offer some advice or information rather than those that exist solely for the joy of making connections. Maybe I'm wrong but it sure feels like that right now.

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

So many people whose blogs I loved to read no longer update them any more and it has left me feeling strangely stranded. Other people's motivation and creativity helped fuel my own. I feel as parched as   Maltese field at the beginning of August after 4 or more months of drought - not a good thing.


Believe it or not I am finding it harder to write. My thoughts seem very fragmented and writing at length about a single subject is becoming harder. I've taken up micro-journaling because a couple of sentences every so often is all I can manage at the moment. I am finding it strangely liberating and it is teaching me to be concise.

Sincerely Loree: Tarxien, Malta


My reading is progressing at a steady rate. I have read 27 out of the 35 books that I pledged to read during 2022. I'm running our of books now so I see a book-shopping spree on my horizon. Once again, I have read many books inspired by WW2 but it is time for me to pick up other genres. Reading only helps one grow when we pick up books outside our comfort zone. Otherwise. like all things, it becomes a mundane activity rather than one which expands the horizon of our imagination and knowledge.

All the reading I do leaves little time for blogging, unfortunately. I haven't even done the first two quarterly posts about the books I have read. Shame on me. One more thing I need to put on my 'to do' list.

Sincerely Loree: Rabat, Malta


Photography, like writing, requires the right frame of mind and heaps of motivation, both of which I'm sorely lacking right now. I've already talked about Malta's over-development and it just keeps getting worse. Village cores have been changed beyond recognition, more of the countryside keeps being eaten up by ugly blocks of 'apartments' that look like modern slums and it seems I am constantly taking photos of the same things, the ones which haven't changed for centuries (and which I've randomly scattered throughout today's post). They're all taken with my phone so please forgive and blurred edges.

Sincerely Loree: Rabat, Malta

What next?

So, what next, dear readers? Perhaps I'll use these slow and sultry summer months to recharge my batteries and come back with bigger and better ideas. Or perhaps I'll just give up. I really don't know at this point. All I know is that all the algorithms in place on Google and Instagram and everywhere else on the internet have killed creativity and since they ensure that only the 'big fish' are found by search engines. Everyone else is forgotten. It's a sorry state of affairs indeed.

Sincerely Loree: Rabat, Malta


Sincerely, Loree. Theme by STS.