YVO’S SHORTIES #7: Captain Alatriste & Utopia


Time for more Yvo’s Shorties! This time around I will be reviewing the last two books I read in 2017. Basically I picked up these two instead of other titles to try and finish at least two more challenges before the end of the year. I was supposed to read these long before, but with the slump and all things got a little last minute. Oops? The first is my first and only Spanish read last year called El Capitán Alatriste (Captain Alatriste) by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, which is set in 17th century Spain.The second is a long pending classic called Utopia by Thomas More, first published back in 1516.


Title: Captain Alatriste
(Adventures Of Captain Alatriste #1)
Author: Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure
First published: January 2nd 1996
Publisher: Alfaguara
Finished reading: December 30th 2017
Pages: 242
(Read in original language, Spanish: ‘El Capitán Alatriste’)

“No era el hombre más honesto ni el más piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente.”


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I had made a promise to myself last year to start reading more in Spanish again, but apparently that promise was soon forgotten… I only just managed to squeeze in this story before 2017 ended, which definitely wasn’t what I had originally planned for the year. I have read Arturo Pérez-Reverte‘s work in the past, so I thought the first book of the Adventures Of Captain Alatriste would be a safe bet. This first book is simply named after the main character of this series set in 17th century Spain: El Capitán Alatriste. I have a weak spot for both historical fiction and books set in one of my favorite countries, Spain, so I thought I would really enjoy this one. Unfortunately, things turned out to be different. I know Spanish isn’t my native language, but I both have a degree in Spanish Philology and have been using Spanish daily for years, so I can confirm the language itself wasn’t a barrier. What did slow me down considerably is the general tone and pace of the story, and the fact that nothing much happened during the story. Not only was the historical setting quite weak and could have been elaborated a lot more, but I also found the way the story was told through someone close to Alatriste not entertaining at all. This probably has a lot to do with the writing as well as the lack of a proper plot and more action… I did appreciate the incorporation of old Spanish literature in the text. But still, I definitely won’t be continuing this series any time soon.


Title: Utopia
Author: Thomas More

Genre: Classics, Philosophy, Politics
First published: 1516
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Finished reading: December 31st 2017
Pages: 135

“Pride thinks it’s own happiness shines the brighter by comparing it with the misfortunes of others.”


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I’ve had this classic on my TBR pile for ages now, and to be honest I was a bit intimidated by the fact that Utopia was published that long ago. This kind of classics are not always easy to read, but thankfully the English translation I read was not difficult to read at all. Thomas More wrote Utopia originally in Latin back in 1516, and in it he reveals some both very interesting and puzzling ideas on what the ideal society would look like. I can’t say I agree with everything he said, but every aspect of the Utopian society is well elaborated and shows exactly how things would work for the inhabitants of Utopia. The beginning of Utopia reads a bit slow, but as soon as the story starts elaborating the different aspects of Utopian life the pace picks up considerably. All in all quite an interesting read for those who are interested in philosophy and politics.


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Top Ten Tuesday #5 – August 12th: To Read Or Not To Read?

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The Broke And The Bookish presents us every week a new top ten with a different theme. And this Tuesday it’s time to post my Top Ten To Read Or Not To Read! It’s all about those books I thought I would love when I first heard about them, but now I’m not so sure I would like anymore… They are listed below in no particular order and with short descriptions copied from Goodreads:

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  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: “We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret…”
    # There has been quite a hype around this book, and after reading mixed reviews, I’m not so sure anymore if I would enjoy it.
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner: “The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.”
    # Before starting The Maze Runner, I thought I would love the series and got the three books together. Now I’m not sure if I want to continue reading the series after a disappointing first part.
  • The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu: “In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know. But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.”
    # I’ve read mixed reviews about this book, and The Truth About Alice have moved down my TBR list quite a bit…
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: “Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.”
    # Another hyped book I’m not too sure whether it’s worth reading still.

 

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  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth: “Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.”
    # I loved the first book, was disappointed by the sequel, and now I don’t know whether to read the final part of the Divergent trilogy.
  • Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins: “Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test.”
    # When I first got Sweet Evil, I thought I would love it, but now I’m having doubts.
  • Silence by Michelle Sagara: “For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan’s death.  But tonight was different.  Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery.”
    # Same as with Sweet Evil, I’m not too sure about my choice of Silence anymore.

 

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  • Bumped by Megan McCafferty: “When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. A strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.”
    # I mainly wanted to read this because it sounded similar to Brave New World (Which I loved), but I’m not sure if it’s a book I would enjoy anymore.
  • Utopia by Thomas More: “Through the voice of the mysterious traveler Raphael Hythloday, More describes a pagan, communist city-state governed by reason. Addressing such issues as religious pluralism, women’s rights, state-sponsored education, colonialism, and justified warfare, Utopia seems remarkably contemporary nearly five centuries after it was written.”
    # I got this book as part of my classics haul, but I’m not sure if I’m in the mood to read this classic any time soon.
  • Purity Of Blood by Arturo Perez-Reverte: “The fearless Alatriste is hired to infiltrate a convent and rescue a young girl forced to serve as a powerful priest’s concubine. The girl’s father is barred from legal recourse as the priest threatens to reveal that the man’s family is “not of pure blood” and is, in fact, of Jewish descent—which will all but destroy the family name.”
    # I got this book a long time ago since I’ve enjoyed other books of this author before, but somehow I just cannot get into the story. I’ve actually picked up and abandoned Purity Of Blood twice before already… (I’m reading it in Spanish by the way.)