Five Things Series: Hannah Kent

Hello peeps, and welcome back to my blog, Tea and Paperbacks! This post is a special dedication to one of my new favourite authors, Hannah Kent. Ever since I picked up Burial Rites and loved it, I have been meaning to read her other works and review them for you.

I read her two books quite a long time ago. I finished the second book I read by her, The Good People, on June, while I read her first novel, Burial Rites on October last year. Here are five things I loved about Hannah Kent’s books.

My review of Burial Rites, and The Good People.

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#1 The atmosphere and setting of her books

Both Kent’s books are set in Ireland in 1820s, but revolves around different events. In both novels, she has a similar theme running through the atmosphere and vibe of the books. They were all set in a cold country, and you can really feel the climate taking a huge role on the stories and the characters. The cold was what really struck to me as very Hannah Kent, echoing across both the books similarly.

On another note, the location of these stories are also very important. I can still clearly imagine the hills and small houses in Burial Rites, while the edge of the forest in The Good People, as well as the creeks and houses scattered in the village where the main character lives is still fresh on my mind.

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#2 Her few yet very well carved out characters

In her first book I wrote a review and stated that I didn’t really remember or had a strong impression of her side characters, but her main characters were so strong and well written that those who weren’t in the spotlight became just a blur. Overall though, her books do not have a huge cast of characters. Only a bunch of main characters, each of them unique in their own ways and so fleshed out you can feel how human they are.

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#3 Those book covers!

Just look at them.

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#4 That beautiful and quotable writing

This is almost the main reason why I picked up The Good People after reading Burial Rites. Hannah Kent has a way with writing her stories, weaving in the atmosphere and weather (like I mentioned), the characters, their dialogues, while also paying attention to the flow of the story. I agree, it is quite slow at lots of times, but I realized that those are the types of books that I love, the books that have a slow paced story with amazing writing that makes you want to underline a lot of the passages.

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#5 How the themes she discusses makes you contemplate about life

In Burial Rites, Hannah Kent tells a story about the last days of a woman who was persecuted to die because of a crime she claimed she didn’t commit. That’s a very heavy topic and reading the story from partly the woman’s point of view is very eye-opening. Additionally, in The Good People we find the main character, a grandmother who thinks her grandson is a changeling and tries to save him but in the end kills him instead. There are so many layers into the main characters, and the events that happened in the books, and it really makes you think about them a lot.

The sky comes closer and for a moment I am going to collide with the clouds, but then I see, they have put me on a horse, and like a corpse they are going to take me to the grave, like a dead woman they will bury me in the earth, pocket me like a stone. There are ravens in the sky, but what bird flies underwater? What bird can sing without stones beneath him to listen?
Natan would know. I must remember to ask him.

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So, have I convinced you all enough to pick up a book by Hannah Kent? I hope so! To find out my full thoughts on these two books, check out my review of them in Goodreads. Until next time!

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Movies, Glasses, and Chillin’: Weekly Wrap Up #2

Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog, Tea and Paperbacks! I’m Ayunda, and in this post I’d like to say, happy weekend, and how has your week been? Today I’d like to post my weekly wrap up earlier because I’ll be away from my house all day tomorrow. It’ll be a quite eventful day tomorrow, but I’ll include that in my next weekly wrap up instead. Anyway, let’s get on with it!

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On the bookish side of life, this week I have been reading tons. I finished Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, which was my plan from last week. I really really enjoyed this murder mystery novel. I’ve heard so many good things about it and it truly explains why so many people admire and love Agatha Christie so much. She really does make amazing mystery stories that are totally unsolvable. Now I cannot wait to watch the movie!!!

I haven’t written my full-length review of this book yet. But be sure to add me as a friend on Goodreads so that when I do write it, you’ll know and be able to read it right away on my Goodreads.

Another book I’ve been burying my nose in is Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch, which I’ve already started since last week. It’s also a sort of mystery novel revolving around a writer, Mr. M, and a mysterious person writing this book to him, and this writer seems very creepy and scary, and I have been super into the story so far. The writing style is a little different than what I’m used to. I’m not sure if it’s because it was translated from Dutch, or if it’s just the author, but the narration is quite long, sometimes winding, with a lot of details explained. I read Herman Koch’s previous book The Dinner as well and really liked it, but this feels much longer and more intricate than the previous book. SO far I’m only a third through the story, and not really much have happened. Even so, I spent a huge chunk of my chill Saturday reading this novel. We’ll see if I like it when I finish it!

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On other entertainment, this Monday I went out with my girlfriends to the cinema to watch It, the movie adapted from the novel by Stephen King. I myself haven’t read the book yet, even though I’ve read a lot of Stephen King before, I was intimidated by the length of this novel. I was quite excited to watch the movie, though. I’m not a huge fan of horror movies but based on the trailer I felt like it was going to be super scary.

Indeed, it was a frightening movie, even from the first minute of the movie I was cowering in the dark and covering my ears (the way I deal with horror movies is not by closing my eyes but closing my ears). It was definitely a well-made movie, I really like the characters and the plot but I thought the movie was a little too long, and some parts weren’t as scary as I expected it would be. However, a solidly exciting and good movie overall.

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I also watched two other movies this week, yay me! My friends and I watched The Hours as we found it randomly on Netflix and quite enjoyed it, though it’s a little too deep and sad and depressing at times. I also watched Jurassic Park by myself on Wednesday because I read the book by Michael Crichton a few weeks ago and loved it, and I wanted to compare the book to the movie. Of course I’ve watched it before, years ago, but I realized that I forgot most of it anyway. I loved how true to the book the movie is, but I found myself feeling a little bored on some scenes around the middle. I feel like the effects and songs were a little outdated at times, which was part of the reason why I didn’t love it as much as I loved the book. It wasn’t as scary or thrilling as I thought it would be. Once again, another case of the book is better than the movie!

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I also watched some cartoon this week! I caught up with the latest Rick and Morty episodes, and I really really liked them. As for the other series I am still following, House of Cards and Assassination Classroom, I didn’t make the time to watch them this week.

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On other life updates, I had a horrible accident one Thursday morning in which I broke my glasses! I was devastated and hated myself for doing it, and I searched for a new one immediately, because I disliked having to wear my spare ones. I finally got a new prescription and a new frame of glasses that I really liked in Own Days, a store near my place. It’s so light and suited to an Asian nose/face like mine, which is just perfect for me.

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I also said last week that I was planning to be more active and do more sports this week, and I did! I didn’t do any yoga this week, but I’ve been really good and went swimming on a day off where I didn’t have any classes. I adore swimming, because a) I’m an introvert and hate sports where I need to interact with others or on a team, b) you get to move and sweat but not feel the sweat at all, c) you get to play around with water or float around when you’re tired of actually swimming. I hope I can make this a weekly habit, but we’ll see!

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So, that was my week! Quite busy, but I get to spend a whole day by myself and chilling on my bed today (Saturday). I woke up late and spent the day reading, watching Youtube videos, snack, and lie around and be lazy. It’s wonderful!

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Plans for next week:

  • Study, study, study!
  • Maybe go swimming again on Tuesday
  • Have a lovely vacation, because I’ll be going to Lisbon, Portugal from Wednesday to Sunday
  • Read and finish Monsoon Tiger and Other Stories before I leave for vacation
  • Bring my Kindle on my vacation and finish a book there

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So how has your week been? Tell me about the books you read, what you think about swimming, and what type of glasses you wear in the comments! Talk to you in my next post, bye!

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Classes, Morning Reading and Shopping: Weekly Wrap Up #1

Hi everyone! I’ve decided that I will do a weekly wrap up of my life in general, and my reading progress! I think it’ll be fun to discuss what I did throughout the week and post it on Sunday night. Hopefully I can do this regularly and do it every week!

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This is the first week of classes for my third year in university, and it’s been great! There are a lot of new classes that we’ve never had before, and it’s exciting to learn new topics and some are definitely boring and some looks really difficult, but I love learning so I can’t wait to see what the classes this semester has to offer to me. I have several classes spread across three days of the week, but on Monday and Thursday I didn’t have any classes so I could just chill at home and it’s wonderful.

On mornings I’ve tried to read more instead of watching Youtube videos. On Thursday I promised myself I’ll try to read until midday and not open my laptop at all, and I did! At the beginning of the week I started reading Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, which started a little slow because I wasn’t familiar with the characters yet. Throughout the week this book was what I was mainly reading, and now I’m around 70% through. It’s really fun reading in the morning as I’m eating my toast, with the morning sunlight streaming through my window and enjoying a murder mystery underneath my blanket.

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I also started Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch, but I’m still only on the first chapter and haven’t continued reading it.

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On Thursday night I watched the premiere of Inhumans in IMAX at the cinema with my boyfriend (because he’s a huge Marvel fan). I wasn’t excited at all, I had zero expectations and to be honest, I was a little reluctant to spend that much money on IMAX to watch the first two episodes of a series I probably won’t watch. In general I didn’t hate the first two episodes, but I didn’t love it either. You can really tell it was made for IMAX and the director really showcased a lot of the camera and cinematography skills. The story itself is quite interesting, but that is due to the comics. The characters aren’t very apparent, you don’t really know them that well yet, but I do like them. The dialogues weren’t amazing, and the directing wasn’t that good, it felt too forcedly dramatic. Overall, around a 3 star “movie” for me.

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Food and health wise, I haven’t done ANY sports (even though I’m a generally lazy person, I’m trying to lose weight by doing yoga in the past). For food, I’ve tried my best to not snack on too much sweets, which I’ve quite succeeded! For breakfast I ate one piece of toast with sandwich spread and cucumbers, and sometimes tea. For lunch I had a huge salad with pan-fried chicken, arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a lemon-olive oil dressing. For dinner I had various dishes, I cooked yaki udon with chicken and mushrooms one night and it was marvelous.

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On Friday night after classes, I had a wonderful time with my friends and our boyfriends, we went to Murphy’s Law in The Hague and had drinks while enjoying live jazz. The atmosphere was warm and fun, and we rarely ever go out for drinks but we feel very adult-y and it’s wonderful to have fun with my friends outside of class.

On Saturday me and my boyfriend and my two housemates (and their boyfriends) went to Roermond for a day to their famous factory outlet to spend some money on CLOTHES. I planned on buying a winter coat that is branded where I know it’s good quality, and for an affordable price, and others wanted winter coats, or bags, or shoes, etc. I’m not a huge fashionista and I hate buying new clothes – in my opinion, I only need 2-3 coats for winter and it’ll be enough for me. My old parka which has served me for 2 years is still good but its zipper is broken, which is a shame.

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In the end I bought a dark-red, really really thick parka from Superdry which I’m really happy with. I’m a little sad I have to spend so much money, but I can try to save more in the future, and I think it’ll be a good investment for me. It looks a lot like this one, but with a deep red color. And the weather is not cold enough for me to wear it yet –  I might put up a picture sometime in the future!

The trip was fun, we spent around 2 hours to get there from our house by train. I spent it napping, playing on my phone, chatting with the others, playing Black Stories, and reading a short story collection I bought written by Rain Chudori, titled Monsoon Tiger and Other Stories. It’s a lovely, small, well published book that’s not very thick and has large font but the stories are very enjoyable, easy reading and the writing is often times very beautiful.

So that was my week! Very fun and not too exciting, especially since I’m still in the beginning of the school year so I’m still pumped to study and the workload isn’t that heavy yet.

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Plans for next week:

  • Start doing yoga again
  • Food: milk & cereal for breakfast, salads for lunch, low carb and small portion of dinner. Fruits for snacks
  • Study well, do more homework
  • Read more in the mornings, since I don’t have many morning classes. Write reviews for the books I’ve read.
  • Finish the short story collection and Murder on the Orient Express, and start reading another book on my Kindle.
  • Watch at least one movie on the cinema.

How was your week? What did you read? Let me know in the comments down below!

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