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,

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Reading wrap-up + Favourites // August 2017

Hello, beautiful people!

The month of August has come to a close, which is so sad for me, because this month was full of holidays, the first long ones I've had in two years. I'm so not ready for real life to start again and to my anxiety to come back full force, but I guess every good thing must come to a close at some point. Enough with the sad thoughts, because August was such an amazing month for me and I'm so excited to talk about it.

  • Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman 
  • Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy ☆ (reread)
  • The Lily of the Valley by Honoré de Balzac 
  • Summer in February by Jonathan Smith 
  • Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes 
  • Emma by Jane Austen 
  • Travelling to Infinity by Jane Wilde ☆.5
  • Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir 
  • The Changeling's Journey by Christine Spoors ☆.75
  • L'Oubliée de Salperwick by Annie Degroote (French book) 
  • Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier ☆☆☆☆.5
  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson ☆☆☆
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab ☆☆☆☆
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry ☆☆☆
August was an amazing reading month and I had decided to crush my TBR pile before going to London, which I did because I managed to read eleven books in two weeks. Yup. It was a month filled with classics, and I enjoyed every single one of those! Most of my favourite books of the month were classics, with my reread of Far from the Madding Crowd (my favourite book), Emma and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The only exception to this apparent rule was Crystal Storm, the fifth instalment in the Falling Kingdoms series, which I love so much.


TV SHOW // Downton Abbey (rewatch)

If you didn't know, Downton Abbey is my favourite TV show and I really missed it. Somehow, I managed to rewatch the first three seasons in a week and a half (and even watched season 1 twice, oops) and it was so much fun to rewatch it with my best friend (sometimes I was just staring at Matthew and didn't follow anything though). I loved it even more than the first time around, because it's perfect for me. It's filled with history, England, amazing plotlines, characters and relationships, and most importantly... Dan Stevens. Matthew Crawley is so perfect, I'll cry forever.

TV SHOW // Poldark

Season 3 finished airing in the UK in August and after seeing people raving about it, I watched it in three days. I wasn't a huge fan of season 2, but the third one was everything I wanted and more. I was so obsessed with it that I couldn't think about anything else. This show truly is amazing and it makes me want to visit Cornwall someday (read: ASAP). Besides, I would protect Dwight Enys (has anyone else noticed that he looked a lot like Matthew Crawley?) and Morwenna Chynoweth at all costs.


So. If you follow me on social media... You already know that I'm completely obsessed with Dan Stevens (and that's an understatement). Well, I've been quite infatuated since Downton Abbey all those years ago, but it came back full force this year (because of Legion and Beauty and the Beast) and in August? It got crazy. This month, I watched Summer in February (okay book, great movie), Criminal Activities (Dan's character saved the movie because meh), rewatched Beauty and the Beast and Downton Abbey and started to listen to the audiobook he recorded for And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I'm helpless. I also need to rewatch Legion because it's my favourite show of the year and I still have to wait six months for season 2 (sad months ahead)(also season 2 starts filming tomorrow!!).

BOOKS // Daphne du Maurier

In June, I discovered My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier and it became one of my favourite books of the year. In August, I watched the 2017 adaptation and it made me love the book even more (was it possible? Apparently). I also devoured Jamaica Inn, which was absolutely amazing and it left me craving for more. I'm currently reading The Loving Spirit (her debut novel) and I'm loving it. Then I really want to discover The House on the Strand, Frenchman's Creek, The Birds and Rebecca obviously (but I'm taking my time with this one, because I've already watched an adaptation). Daphne du Maurier is becoming one of my favourite authors.

EVENTS // Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's signings in London 

Last but certainly not least, on August 17th, I met Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. I'm still in shock. I went to London for the event basically and I will always cherish these memories. It was fun to meet Holly, who is hilarious, because I told her it was with The Spiderwick Chronicles I realised I was a fast reader and I showed her my very old copy. Meeting Cassandra Clare was a dream of mine and I never thought it would happen, least of all this year. I was freaking out but she was the nicest and we talked for so long! She used to live in Paris (like me) and we even talked in French (!!). I also told her I had started to read in English for Clockwork Prince and she was so surprised, but what can I say. One of the best moments of my life.

What was the best book you read in August? 
What were your favourite things this month?

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

London Book Haul (part 1)

Hello beautiful people!

I spent two days in London for Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's signings last week and I benefited from that time to buy some new books, for my TBR was very small and I really wanted to buy classics. I'm so excited to read them all, because these were all at the top of my wishlist. I'll admit it, when I saw so many of the Penguin English Library collection reunited, I couldn't resist and that's mostly what I bought.

Side note: This one is called London Book Haul (part 1) because I'm going back to London on September 1st, the day of Harry Potter's epilogue. I'm crying in advance.

Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab

While I was at Forbidden Planet, I stumbled into signed copies of Victoria Schwab's books and I was so excited, for I love her books so much. I had yet to purchase Our Dark Duet, sequel to This Savage Song, which is why I couldn't resist and I'm so excited to read it. It's the only one of Schwab's YA books I still have to read.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

I have seen this book everywhere on Bookstagram and many people said it was their favourite book of the year. It is set during the Victorian era and involves the mythical Essex serpent, which is making me very curious (even though I'm terrified of snakes), I'm pretty sure it is right up my alley. Besides, this hardcover is absolutely gorgeous and it was only ten pounds.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I read Great Expectations years ago in French, my first ever Dickens, and it is one of my favourite books ever. I'm planning on rereading it with my friend Clara in the near future and I really wanted to buy this hardcover edition, because it's absolutely gorgeous and there are so many notes in it. 

You can see glimpses of the artwork for each of these Penguin English Library editions,
I'll take more pictures of them in the future, of course!

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Last year, I read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and really enjoyed it. I wanted to discover more of this author's novels and while I'm a little intimidated by this one because of its length (794 pages), Ellie Dashwood got me so excited about it.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Now that I've read (and loved!) Emma, I only have Mansfield Park and Persuasion to read, when it comes to Jane Austen's novels. I'd rather read Persuasion last, because it was the last one to be published, which only leaves... Mansfield Park. Out of all Jane Austen's novels in the Penguin English Library edition, Mansfield Park is for me the most beautiful and I'm really excited to read it! This is one of the longest of Jane Austen's novels, but as I've managed to read Emma, it shouldn't be a problem.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

This is one of Dickens' more popular novels and I still haven't read it. *hides* However, visiting Charles Dickens museum while I was in London made me so eager to read more of his books, starting with this one.

I have read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, I have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, but Anne Brontë? I still have to read anything she wrote. To be accurate, I'm currently reading it and so far, I'm really loving it; I sure hope it stays that way, as I've heard so many people loved it.

The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier

I have now read two of Daphne du Maurier's novels, My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn, and want to read all of the books this author ever wrote. I didn't know which one to pick up next, but The Loving Spirit is her debut and I'm curious to see what her first novel is like.

Have you read any of these books? What was the last book you bought?

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

My Cousin Rachel // From page to screen

Hello beautiful people!

I've been thinking for a while about new content for this little blog and I realised that I truly wanted to talk about book adaptations, especially when it comes to classics because a) I love period dramas b) I think adaptations are a great way to keep you motivated when you're reading a classic and it's a little dense. This new feature is called "from page to screen", because my blog name is ofwishesandpages, it was absolutely fitting. 

Anyhow, I wanted to start this series of posts by talking about My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, for the movie was recently released.

What is My Cousin Rachel about?

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly. Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose's letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet... might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?

My thoughts

In My Cousin Rachel, Daphne du Maurier creates a gothic atmosphere filled with tension and anticipation, for it takes the first half of the book for the reader to finally meet Rachel. Despite her physical absence, she's everywhere, a mighty being the reader can't help but try to picture, until she ends up being human. This novel is gripping and keeps the reader on the edge of his seat, for he wants to know the truth behind all the deceptions. While the characters are deeply flawed, you can't help but emphasize with every single one of them in turn and that is the genius behind the novel. You have to think for yourself, because du Maurier doesn't hand the truth to you on a silver platter: it's up to the reader to make his interpretation.

When it comes to the movie that was released this year, I thought that it was such an amazing adaptation of the novel. The atmosphere created there reflected the book so well, with the music filled with tension and a spectacular scenery. It was so Daphne du Maurier when they were in Cornwall, I was speechless. I thought it went a little fast in the beginning, as it is a short movie and we don't have the luxury to wait for Rachel for a long time. Because of that, Philip's obsession with her and how he tried to picture her was a little lost on me because I kept comparing it to the book and I'm not sure it was seen the same way by an audience which hadn't read the book. Nevertheless, it made more sense to do it that way, I'm just a little bitter because I wanted to see Florence more, but as I recognized all the places they showed, I was quite pleased.

The main actors of the movie did an amazing job of carrying it on their shoulders. I love Sam Claflin and was very excited to see him play Philip and I thought that he did a very good job, he acted Philip's obsession and infatuation with Rachel so realistically, while Rachel Weisz portrayed a clever, manipulative and frightening Rachel. Their relationship jumped back and forth, made the audience doubt of Rachel's feelings and it was so well-done. Secondary actors, I'm thinking about Holliday Grainger (Louise Kendall) and Iain Glen (Nick Kendall), also delivered a very good performance, but Rachel Weisz obviously was the real star of the movie. Moreover, can we talk about who they cast as Ambrose? They are so clever.

The movie was very good at creating doubt in the mind of its audience. Several times, it was asked: "did she, didn't she?", to remind us that there wasn't only one solution. I actually liked that one interpretation hinted in the book was made a little clearer here, especially at the end of the movie, because you leave the movie thinking about it. 

Overall, My Cousin Rachel is one of my favourite books of the year and its adaptation was very good at recreating du Maurier's atmosphere as well as the doubt. I'm not sure how it stands for itself when you haven't read the book though, but it made me want to read all of Daphne du Maurier's books, even more than before.

Have you read My Cousin Rachel? Seen the adaptation?

Lots of love,

Thursday, 3 August 2017

TOP 5 // Classics I want to read the most

Hello beautiful people!

Lately, I've been in a huge mood to read English classics, which couldn't make me happier, as classics used to be a big part of my reading life. Because I have so many of them on my wishlist - I'm going to London soon and I'll buy tons of them - I thought I would share the five of them I want to read the most lately. 

Emma by Jane Austen

I still have three of Jane Austen novels to read and because of the YouTube channels I've been watching lately or my craving for period drama, I'm so excited to continue to read them. Emma is the one I'm the most excited to get to because many of my friends told me it was either their favourite or second favourite Jane Austen. That's all I need to be excited. After Emma, I'll also have to get to Mansfield Park and Persuasion, then to move on to her youthful writings.

When it comes to the Brontë sisters, I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights six years ago, but as Anne Brontë isn't well-known in France, I never got around to read one of her novels. I'm really curious to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I've heard it was considered scandalous when it was published, but quite a sucess and that it was very mysterious and feminist. 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Ever since I read Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, I've been eager to read more of Tolstoy's novels. I read Anna Karenina while I was still in high school and had absolutely loved it. I think I'll reread it in the future, because I don't remember it that well, but for now, I really want to read War and Peace, because I've had the 2016 mini-series on my laptop for a year, but also because I'm very curious about the way he wrote it, considering how huge it is (more than a thousand pages).

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Last year, I read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and really enjoyed it. I wanted to read more of her novels, but I didn't know where to head next, until I watched Ellie Dashwood's most helpful video. I really want to read all the books she mentioned, but I think I will to start with Wives and Daughters, because it sounded absolutely amazing when she talked about it. Besides, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote a biography about Charlotte Brontë and I need to read it.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I don't know anything about this one, except that it's one of the first mystery and "sensation" novels and that some people consider it to be the first example of detective novels. Besides, this novel was written during the Victorian era (that's my thing) and Wilkie Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens, one of my favourite writers!

Have you read any of these books? What classics do you really want to read?

Lots of love,