Book Review: Dickens by Stefan Majchrowski

the book


dickens-majchrowski
Original Title: Dickens
Author: Stefan Majchrowski
Publisher: Obzor
First published: 1977
Pages: 299
Language: Slovak
Format: print. (library copy)
My rating: 4/5

 

the author

“Stefan Majchrowski (1908 – 1988) was a Polish writer who fought in the Invasion of Poland of 1939. He was later captured and incarcerated in the German POW camp. After his liberation by American forces, he served in the Polish Armed Forces in the West. In 2009, he was posthumously awarded by President Lech Kaczynski the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta “for outstanding contribution to the independence of the Polish Republic, for activities on behalf of democratic change in Poland as well as veterans and social activities for their performance in the work undertaken for the benefit of the country and social activities”. // wikipedia

the review

I will start off by saying that this was the first biography of Charles Dickens I have read, so I realize I have nothing to compare it to, therefore, my giving this 4 stars is solely based on my enjoyment of Majchorwskis book and not on comparison with other Dickens biographies.

Majchrowski provides a great insight into the life and work of one of the world’s most famous and beloved authors. Despite the fact that I’ve only ever read one, I would say this is a pretty good introduction to Dickens‘ biographies. It has a nice mix of Dickens‘ personal life and the political and historical situation in England as well as France, so you are able to put things into further context with regards to happenings and events of that time.

Along with describing and introducing Dickens as a man of the 19th century, he provides some brief analyses of his literary works in relation to his current situation and his motives and inspirations for his works.

The book is divided into 21 parts/chapters according to several periods of Dickens’ life, which make it fairly easy to read. It is written in chronological order starting with Dickens’ difficult childhood which is critical in understanding his later works. Same goes for Dickens’ writings – Majchrowski mentions them chronologically and spends some time introducing and analysing each of his works.

The reason I did not give this biography 5 stars is the lack of pictures and visual evidence. There were no pictures or photos in this book and even though it is still an interesting read, if the author would have provided some photos, it would have been a more enjoyable book.

Dickens’ fame & success

What makes Dickens different from many other world-famous authors is the fact that he was incredibly famous & beloved even in his own time. Many writers that are now considered the best in their field were not, infact, quite as popular when they lived. But Dickens was. He was very much appreciated and every one of his novels (then released in monthy installments) was anxiously expected by the whole England. That is why I find reading about Dickens and his success not only intellectually enriching but also quite motivating. He knew what he wanted and he worked hard for it.

“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.” – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.

Overall, I consider this biography a great and insightful material to study the ever fascinating Charles Dickens and his interesting and eventful life.

my rating

4 stars black

 

Thank you for reading!

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Autumn 2016 Book Releases

buff got paris

xmas rothfus sun

beasts girl-online talking

I can’t wait for the illustrated edition of A Game of Thrones even though it is too expensive for me so I know I won’t buy it but I just can’t wait to browse through it in the bookstore.
Also, I am a huge fan of Gilmore Girls (and by huge I mean HUGE – even just hearing their theme song makes me teary-eyed!) so I’m really excited for Lauren Graham’s second book despite the fact that I haven’t even read her first one yet… oops.

Tell me, which of these are you most excited for?

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The Autumn Reading Tag

Hello there!

Recently, Jen Campbell made a video tag about Autumn reading plans, which I found very interesting, so I am now doing it in the form of a blogpost. Feel free to answer these questions yourself, either in the comments or on your own blog!

So, make yourself a nice hot cup of tea, sit back and enjoy!

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1) Are there any books you plan on reading over the Autumn season?

Well, I’m in the middle of a Jane Austen “read-along”, so I plan on finishing Northanger Abbey. After that, I have to decide which specific books I want to read next, because I got quite a lot from the library and there is no way I will be able to read all of them in the course of one month (that is for how long they lend you books in my local library), so I will have to pick some. Either Hopeless by Coleen Hoover, or a very popular Slovak fantasy series The Adventures of Captain Bathory, which is definitely a commitment, because it is a very long series…

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2) September brings back to school memories: what book did you most enjoy studying? And what were your favourite and least favourite school subjects?

I could choose a few different books to answer this question, but to pick the main one: I especially loved Bleak House by  Charles Dickens when we were studying it in college. I remember that I fell in love with Dickens’ characters and his enormous, well thought out plots that somehow always made sense in the end.
Another one that I really enjoyed in school was Anne of Green Gables, which we read in sixth grade. This was the first book that made me fall in love with literature and reading in general, and I have re-read it quite a few times since then. Anne Shirley, with her sincere kindheartedness and wild imagination, is definitely one of my favorite protagonists in literature in general.

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3) October means Halloween: do you enjoy scary books and films? If so what are some of your favourites?

To be honest, I am a huge wuss when it comes to scary stuff. I scare very easily, I have a crazy imagination, and even though I’m 23 years old, I often get scared in the dark, too.  Which is funny because I also regularly work night shifts in a hotel, where I am completely alone and it gets pretty scary for me sometimes. I don’t know why I agreed to this job… (Btw, this is why I can’t read The Shining right now, even though I really want to – I hear it takes place in a haunted hotel?! Nope, not reading that while I work there!) So, given that I avoid these types of books – no, I don’t have a favorite scary book. But, I can share with you my absolute favorite movie that could be considered eerie. Donnie Darko. Phenomenal!

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4) With November it’s time for bonfire night & firework displays. What’s the most exciting book you’ve read that really kept you gripped?

It’s old news, but Gone Girl was definitely one. But also, more recently, The Girl in The Ice by Robert Bryndza was something I could not put down until I found out what exactly happened and who was behind it! I definitely recommend this book and the whole series to everyone.

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5) What book is your favorite cosy comfort read?

Harry Potter! I mean, what other answer is there?! For our generation, at least. In this time of year I always re-read Harry Potter (accompanied with watching the movies, of course) and it just makes me feel so calm, so at home. Yes, it also reminds me of my childhood, but its not only the nostalgia that makes me appreciate Harry Potter books. It’s the way it’s written, and the amazing and complex wizarding world we’re thrown into, and the wonderful cozy feeling Rowling managed to create in the first, more children-appropriate books.

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6) Curled up with a good book, what is your hot drink of choice?

Honestly, it depends on the book itself. If it’s fiction, and a fun read for me, I love drinking hot chocolate while reading. But if it’s something about productivity, or something I’m reading for study purposes, I like to drink coffee with it, because it puts me in a different mindset, and makes me more alert.

autumn-divider

 

Would you like to do this tag as well?
Feel free to share your answers with me!

Thank you for reading!

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September 2016 WRAP-UP

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Hello there!

Today, I’m bringing you my September reading wrap-up, i.e. all that I’ve read in the month of September. I read 4 books in total. Which is not a lot, but I have already surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for this year, so I consider this whole reading year a success already, haha.

This month has been a “Classics” month for me. Maybe it is because of all the Back to School influence on the internet, even though my school hasn’t started yet. But I guess I was in the mood for some classics, for something intellectual.

pycha-a-predsudokFirst, I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. (In Slovak: Pýcha a Predsudok)
This was probably my fourth time reading this book. I read it in Slovak and afterwards, I re-read some of my favorite chapters in English. I just can’t help it, I absolutely love this book! (Also, I got two English copies of Pride and Prejudice this month because I didn’t own any… I guess book haul is coming soon, haha)
The book cover pictured here is the beautiful edition by Slovart – a popular publishing house here in Slovakia. They really did a great job with these covers! ♥

 

 

laska-slecny-elliottovejI guess I was really feeling Jane Austen, because the second book I read was Persuasion. (In Slovak: Láska slečny Elliotovej)
This was my first time reading Persuasion, and I really enjoyed it! The only copy of this book I own is the Dover Thrift edition, which I call my “study copy” – I allow myself to write in the margins, underline my favorite quotes and passages, basically I don’t have to be careful with this one because I’m definitely planning to get myself a nicer copy in the future. I read this one exactly like Pride and Prejudice – first I read it in Slovak and then I read some parts in English.

 

a-christmas-carolAnother classic I read, was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Who doesn’t love Dickens? His characters, his enormous yet engrossing plots, his talent for portraying and describing anything and everything – who wouldn’t love that? Of course for many, the off-putting quality about his works is their huge length, but this one was a very short story about Christmas and their true meaning.

 

 

 

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-9781442408937_hrAnd finally, I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin A. Saenz.
And by finally, I mean – FINALLY! This one has been sitting on my desk for several months, waiting to be read. And I finally read it this month. But to be honest, for the hype it got, I expected much more… But I’ll save it for my review.

 

So there it is – the books I managed to read in September. 
What have you been reading these past few weeks? 

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Weekend Reads

After a whole day at work yesterday (and a night shift ahead of me tonight), I can finally sit down for a bit, read a good book and snuggle up under my blanket with a nice cup of tea in this cold September weather. This is what I’ve been looking forward to all day yesterday! Well, this, and seeing my little brother (he’s 5) and maybe playing a little WoW. (Yes, I sometimes play World of Warcraft. Greatest game ever!) But that’s not what I wanted to talk about in this post… After all, it is called Weekend READS, so I should be talking about what I’m currently reading…

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I finally picked up my copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which has been sitting on my shelf since I got it a few months ago. Everyone has been raving about this book so I decided I should finally give it a try, too!
I’m only at the 12th chapter (they’re really short, btw!) and so far, I like it, it reads quickly, but it is nothing too exciting. Will let you know what I think about it when I’m finished with it! 🙂

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Also, I’m slowly but surely making my way through all of Jane Austen‘s novels. So far, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility. If you’re not aware, Zoe is hosting a book club called Austentatious, where we read one Austen book a month. In October, we’re reading Northanger Abbey, so that one is also waiting for me on my nightstand.

So, that is what my reading has been like lately.
What books have you been enjoying? 🙂 

Have a lovely weekend!

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New In: Lots of new books!

Hello!

Since I’ve been at my new job and finally making money, I’ve been constantly making excuses to buy new books and in the past two months it’s been worse than ever. I bought 8 books! For me, that’s a lot! And I’m not saying I regret these purchases, but I’m saving up for college so I should really think twice before just buying any book that I see at the bookstore. I might go on a book-buying ban soon… Right after I receive another 3 books in the mail, that I ordered from BookDepository, lol.

So today I’m gonna share with you the books that I’ve purchased in February and March.

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Most of these books are in Slovak – in my mother tongue. Mainly because I’ve been reading so many English books lately that I started to really neglect my native language! Plus, my mom, who is also an avid reader, hates it when I buy books in English because she doesn’t speak English, therefore she can’t really read them, haha. (But I always say that there’s a very simple solution – just learn English, no excuses.)

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The first purchase that I’m gonna mention made me the happiest! I bought the Lord of the Rings (Pán Prsteňov) trilogy in Slovak for less than 15€ altogether! That is an amazing price! They were in the “damaged” section at our local discount bookstore and even after carefully examining them, I couldn’t really see where they were damaged, so I bought them all. They’re in a perfect condition and for less than 15€! Also, the translation usually makes the book a little more expensive, as you would expect, so that’s another aspect where I managed to save some money. Woop woop!

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Under the Never Sky (Pod vražednou oblohou) by Veronica Rossi: this one I also bought at our local discount bookstore for only 2€. Another great purchase!

I think you’re all familiar with the book We Bought a Zoo (Kúpili sme Zoo) by Benjamin Mee, which was also made into a movie. I think they had it for about 4€ and I really wanted to read it so I just bought it.

The one on the right, The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted (Provensalský dom zázrakov) by Bridget Asher, I knew nothing about. I simply bought it because I fell in love with the cover (yes, I do judge books by their covers), it had a very summer-y feeling, it made me really excited for spring and summer and of course, this one was also really cheap.

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Lastly, I’ve got two English books.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – I’ve been toying with the idea of starting The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices series. I have a feeling I would really dislike TMI and The Infernal Devices series has better reviews anyway, so I decided I’d read the first book in TID series and then see for myself if I wanna continue with the series or if it’s just not for me.

I was really surprised to see that The Hitchhiker’S Guide to the Galaxy is such a short book! I had no idea! Had I known it was so short, I would have read it ages ago, haha. But I finally got it and I can’t wait to start reading it. A friend of mine is constantly telling me about how crazy and incredible it is, I think his favorite is book 2, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

These are all the books I managed to buy in the recent months.
Thank you for reading and now I’ll hopefully focus on posting more and more reviews!

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Currently Reading: The Warring Forties

Lately, I’ve really been into history, I’ve been watching documentaries about JFK, about the holocaust, and I’ve also been reading some history books. Currently, I’m reading a Slovak book called “Vojnové 40. roky” which isn’t in English, but the translation of the title would be The Warring Forties.

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It is written by Juraj Šebo, a man in his seventies, who’s been living in Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia) all his life. He also wrote about the 1950s, 1960s, etc, basically about every decade in the last 80 years or so. He got his parents and some friends and other people to contribute and describe the life in the 1940s, especially in Slovakia. from several different points of view.

The book is written in a very easy-to-read format, there are many different chapters and parts, and the author also included lots of pictures. Unfortunately, the majority of the pictures are very small, but it’s only understandable that the author wanted to provide as many photos as possible on top of all the information.

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Of course, a significant part of this books talks about the war, but you also get a great insight into the people’s lives before and after WW2. I especially love finding out about the small stuff, like what games did kids like to play or where adults spent most of their time or what were their favorite leisure activities. These are the most interesting parts for me.

My favorite part so far has been learning about a well-loved café in Bratislava, called “Štefánka” where a lot of our famous Slovak literary figures gathered and spent their time together. It’s different when you learn about these great people in high school, you mostly just learn about their literary works without ever knowing what kind of a person they used to be – it almost feels like ancient history. But when you read about them as if they were still alive, when you read about the details like where they liked to drink their coffee, who they spent their time with or what they liked to discuss, they finally feel like real people. They actually lived only a few decades ago.
That’s why I never liked literature (the subject) in school – we never learned about these interesting people, we only had to memorize their works for the tests. But that’s a rant for some other time, haha.

I hope you have a beautiful day and spend as much of it reading as possible! ♥ 

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Book Fangirling Award

blogawardbuttonHello!

I’ve been nominated for this award by the lovely Jen from Jen’s Bookish Journey. Thanks, girl! ♥
The original Book Fangirling Award was created by Hannah from BookFangirling.

 

 

 

 

 

T H E     R U L E S:

  • Create a post to accept your award Checked box symbol
  • Add the blog award button into your post and put it on the side of your blog as a widget Checked box symbol
  • Answer the questions I have set below Checked box symbol
  • Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think deserve this award Checked box symbol
  • Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees Checked box symbol

Jen’s questions:

  1. What’s the one book that you like but no one else seems to know about?
    Broken Wings (and Midnight Flight) by Virginia Cleo Andrews. It’s such a great, interesting, haunting series, but nobody seems to have read it.
  2. What is the one book that everyone seems to like but you don’t ?
    The first that comes to my mind is the Divergent series – loved the first book but was absolutely disappointed by the second one.
  3. What is your most anticipated release in 2016?
    Uhmm I’ve been into Saga lately and since it’s a comic, the issues come out regularly, so I’m constantly waiting for the next issue to finally come out, haha.
  4. What genre do you least like? Why?
    Lately, I’ve had it with YA dystopian.
  5. What are you currently reading?
    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Loving it so far!

Here are the blogs I want to nominate:

Justine @ Bookwormaniac
Eunice @ nerdytalksbookblog
Emma @ bluechickenninja
Stacey @ prettybooks
Kevin @ Bookevin

M Y     Q U E S T I O N S:
• Have you read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell? If so, did you like it & would you recommend it?
• Do you collect merch from your favorite books/series?
• Have you ever written a fanfic about your favorite books/characters?
• What time of day do you find best for reading?
• Do you encourage your family/friends/loved ones to read?

Hope you have fun answering these and go check out these lovely blogs! 🙂 


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Top 5 Wednesday: Best Suggested Books

Good evening!

This week’s #T5W topic is “Best Suggested Books That You Loved”, meaning, basically your favorite recommended books, I guess. 🙂
Here are some links that you absolutely need! ↓

> Lainey’s channel
> Goodreads group

Okay, now to the actual topic. On one hand, I read a lot of recommended books, but on the other hand, these are pretty much all recommendations from the internet. I don’t really know a lot of people that read as much as I do and even if the occasional person recommends a book to me, I end up not loving it that much. So, I’m gonna list books that I absolutely loved which were recommended by multiple people on the internet that I trust.

 

Ugly LoveUgly Love by Colleen Hoover

I first noticed the hype on booktube, plus I have previously read Maybe Someday by CoHo and really liked her writing and the characters, so I decided to go for this one, too. And I definitely do not regret it. I loved this book so much! True, I did find many similarities with the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey, but this was thousand times better! Ugly Love is how Fifty Shades probably SHOULD HAVE gone, but somewhere along the way it just became creepy and disgusting. I will definitely pick up Ugly Love and read it again, I really enjoyed that book.

 

 

SYBGSince You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Again, another recommendation from YouTube. This is a story about a young introverted girl who’s pretty much the wallflower at every social gathering, and her coming out of her comfort zone and experiencing new and exciting things. I very much related to this character, and reading this book made me wanna go skinny dipping ASAP! Loved it!

 

 

 

Tidying UpThe Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I love anything that makes me look at things from a different perspective, be it a person, a situation, a song, a book, etc. This book managed to make me see that what they say is indeed true – crowded space equals crowded mind. While reading, I constantly looked around myself and realized I do not need 75% of things that my bedroom was cluttered with. I immediately started cleaning up my space (which is still not done, btw) and felt an immense relief and clarity after throwing out stuff I always knew I didn’t need, but was never quite able to part from.

 


SagaSaga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I was never into comic books or “graphic novels”, as they are now called. At least, I though I was never into them, even though I’ve never read one before. Pretty close-minded, I know. But I’m so so so happy that my best friend recommended this to me! I’ve read every single issue that’s out and loved every second of it! I love the complex plot, I love the artwork, I love the jokes, I love the narrator Hazel and how she spoils stuff for the readers sometimes, I love everything about it! Patiently waiting for the next issue.

 

 

The Bronze HorsemanThe Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

And lastly, my absolute favorite read of last year, The Bronze Horseman. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved this book. The phrase that describes it perfectly is “all the feels” because, really it makes you feel all the feels! It makes you sad, it makes you happy, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you wonder, it is a wonderful, wonderful book!

 

Hope you enjoyed my list and found some of your favorite recommendations, too!
Have a beautiful rest of the day!

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New In: Bleak House

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Ahh, this year’s already to a great start – my newest (and so far, the most valuable & the most beautiful) addition to my bookshelf has arrived in the mail, and it’s oh so beautiful! ♥
I’m sure most of you book nerds know about the Penguin Clothbound Classics edition and I’m sure many of you have already been lusting over these lovely books or even started building your collection.

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Well I’m just starting to build mine. My very own clothbound edition of Bleak House by Charles Dickens has arrived in the mail recently. It made me so happy I just had to share this on my blog. I am looking forward to collecting a few other beautiful pieces from this wonderful collection. ♥