A short history of nearly everything, by Bill Bryson


I have little to say about this book, except for leave whatever you are doing and read it. Now.

A short story of nearly everything Bill Bryson

If you want to know a little bit more, let’s say this is a book about every branch of science, which explains what we know, how we got to know it, and what is still ahead of our actual knowledge, including brief biographies of great scientific men and women who studied issues and made discoveries we now take for granted. And all that is told in a humorous and concise manner, which not only does it make you get involved in all the mysteries of our world, but also be willing to learn more.

Because we all have studied books about the distance between the Earth and the Sun, or the age of the Universe, etc. and, nevertheless, we don’t know how they actually measure it! Those processes that leaded the way to the facts that we now find in textbooks involved incredible adventures and epic disagreements among scientists, and knowing about it makes science far more interesting.

Believe me: this is a book to read and re-read. To learn about men and women who tried to find answers. To think about everything that is awaiting for us to discover.


A short history of nearly everything
Bill Bryson
Published by Broadway, 560 pages
Non-fiction November
Non-fiction reading challenge: 10/10

#TTWIBRAT: Finish line


I’ve spent a fabulous fortnight together with some blogger friends reading and talking about books set all over the world. Unfortunately, this last week I’ve been so busy, so I mostly participated in the first week, but it was great anyway. Here is what I have done:

Instagram photo challenge:

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed all the books that I’ve been photographing for the challenge. It was really fun – one day I even had to go to the library in order to get the books I wanted!

My first book map!

Thanks to Guiltless reader‘s mini-challenge, which included an easy tutorial, I have created my first book map in order to keep track with all the countries I’m visiting through my reads! Here you go:

You see I’ve driven crazy with the icons, haha:

  • Book: story set there
  • Person: author was born there
  • Flower-power: author+story

Twitter chat:

Tanya scheduled a twitter chat the first week taking into account my time zone, so I am really grateful because this was my first twitter chat and I had a great time writing down titles and talking to the other participants :)

Favourite characters:

Another mini-challenge thanks to Lucy! I participated in the last minute because of my busy week, as I told before, but I did it! This was my proposed cover, with a teddy bear for a character :D


Yes, I also read a little, you know ;) I finished Persepolis, and I started The unicorn road. I’m still reading the latter, and loving it so far, so I think that the readathon went well for me, since I’m a very slow reader.

Thanks, Tanya, for all the fun!

September, by Rosamunde Pilcher


I wish I could live in one of Pilcher’s books…

September Rosamunde PilcherIt’s late 1980s and, after many years from the last party, a wealthy family is organizing one to celebrate their daughter’s eighteenth birthday, and it will take place in September. The mood of the Strathcroy inhabitants, in Scotland, instantly lightens up, because they long for the old days and the party is the perfect excuse to bring up old memories… and old people too!

The party is the premise Pilcher uses to introduce a number of characters whose life is beginning to fall apart, as the old Scottish traditions do. There is a little boy, Henry, whose father wants him to go to a boarding school; the mother of this boy, who can’t stand the idea of the separation; an old woman, Edie, who has to take care of a cousin with a mental illness; a young girl who is living her first romance, or Pandora, a woman who left the village when she was a teenager and has never come back…

My copy of the book.

My copy of the book.

All the characters have to fight over their own wellbeing, that kind of happiness that sometimes is so elusive. The narration addresses one character in every chapter, letting the reader take part of their lives, their struggles; there are no bad or good people here, just the pursuit of their place in the world. And no less important is the setting, in a village of the Highlands, a magical place where all those character come together to form a special unit which wouldn’t be the same without the bonds between them, together to face the twilight of the way of life they had known.

September is another little gem of Rosamunde Pilcher, an invitation to a party in Scotland you shouldn’t decline. I will be waiting for you there, in the Highlands. In September ;)


#TTWIBRAT Mini-challenge: The perfect couple


Hi everyone! How is the Travel the world in books Readathon going? I hope you are traveling to a lot of countries through your reads.

If you are an obsessive compulsive reader, like me, you might also have obsessive compulsive behaviors, like matching every book you read with its perfect bookmark while reading it… Am I alone in this? I hope not.

I have a little collection of bookmarks from different cities and countries, and I love to use them when reading books by authors of those countries. Here are some of my favorites:

A friend from Argentina sent me these beauties that I’ll use when I finally read Jorge Luis Borges.

A friend from Argentina sent me these beauties that I’ll use when I finally read Jorge Luis Borges.

My parents visited the Czech Republic recently and brought me these bookmarks, which I’ll probably pair with a Milan Kundera novel.

My parents visited the Czech Republic recently and brought me these bookmarks, which I’ll probably pair with a Milan Kundera novel.

The challenge:

  • Find a book set in a different country or by an author from a different country than the one you live in.
  • Find a suitable bookmark for that country and make a perfect couple with them. You can also make the bookmark yourself (scraps from magazines, your own pictures or draws… be creative!).
  • Take a picture of your couple and post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or your blog (be careful with the privacy settings, we want to see the picture!) with the hashtags #TTWIBRAT and/or #PerfectCoupleChallenge.
  • Leave the direct link in a comment on this post.
  • Participate with as many pictures as you want!

Here is an example:

A book by José Saramago with a beautiful bookmark of Porto (Portugal)

A book by José Saramago with a beautiful bookmark of Porto (Portugal)

The prize

It’s a modest one: there will be two winners who will receive a handmade bookmark, created especially for this event, together with some bookmarks of my blog.

I’ll pick up the two winners on November 1.

Perfect couple Prize

Now, show me your couples!

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Instagram: @Isiorejas

Facebook: From Isi book blog

Informative books about Type 2 Diabetes by Zeena Nackerdien


I think all of us are aware of the raising of Type 2 Diabetes in the modern world due to our new not-so-healthy habits regarding the food we eat. This week, for instance, I watched a video in which a Dutch young man stopped eating processed sugar and he, at first, had symptoms similar to the drug addicts when they cut off drugs!

Perspectives on type 2 diabetes zeena nackerdien

Perspectives on Type 2 Diabetes explains a little about the disease according to data from different countries. Apparently, there are differences among the different human races and other factors, but all of them are more likely to suffer from Diabetes thanks to their lifestyle, being the number of diabetics increased in countries that are growing economically.

In HIV/TB/Diabetes Resource Kit, the author talks about AIDS, Tuberculosis and Diabetes in her country, South Africa. I had no idea, but these three illnesses are connected, so people with AIDS have a high risk for Diabetes and Tuberculosis, being the latter the main cause of death in that country. The diseases are explained briefly, and the author proposes an educational approach in order to fight them: thanks to education at young ages, people would be more aware of the risks of unprotected sex, unhealthy lifestyles, etc., which is the main step to prevention.

These books are short, filled with data, and very informative, written to the public, not for people in the scientific or medical field. I think the aim of the author is to open our eyes about the increase of these conditions in the first world in order to take the necessary steps to prevention, because it is obviously easier than treatment. However, I would have been interested in more information about the diseases themselves – I know a little because I studied them in the university, but I think it would be benefitial for other people who don’t know much about medicine.

I received the books thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours.

Travel the world in books: South Africa
Non-fiction reading challenge

Sparrow: The story of a songbird, by Giovanni Verga


Sparrow the story of a songbird giovanni vergaMaria’s mother passed away when she was seven and her father sent her to a convent to receive an education and become a nun. Now she is almost twenty years old and is spending some time with her father, stepmother and siblings in the country, staying away from a cholera epidemic in the city. There, Maria experiences the freedom of being outdoors, enjoying the sun, the flowers and the fresh air, as well as the joys of the family life that have always been neglected to her. And yes, in those days she also finds love, a new feeling that some days brings her sadness, and others fills her heart so deeply she can hardly believe it’s real.

However, all good things come to an end and, when it is safe to return to the city, Maria has to return to the convent. But once you have tasted a glimpse of happiness, how can you come back to a cage, knowing that you will never be allowed to fly free again? Trying to fight against her own feelings, this young nun writes to a confident who lived in the convent with her in the past, and her missives are so profound and heartbreaking that have brought tears to my eyes.

My copy of the book - a brand new Spanish edition

My copy of the book – a brand new Spanish edition

Beautifully written, this short novel is a journey in a roller coaster of feelings, from the little joys of life, which this young protagonist has never known before, to the despair of being locked against her will, letting go of the love she found and the future she, for a moment, dared to dream. The book is also a criticism of the religious standards of the time: Maria asks her correspondent why God creates all the beautiful things only to deprive His wives of them.

I’m not afraid to compare this Italian classic with my beloved Stefan Zweig, for these two authors can create female characters who are hard to believe they are not real. I felt really moved by Maria and the dichotomy she faced – whether to experience love for a brief moment and then be aware of its absence for the rest of your life, or to live oblivious to what could have been; empty, but perhaps happier. Who can answer to this?

rakin5Sparrow: the story of a songbird
Giovanni Verga
Published first time in 1870
180 pages.


Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith


This is one of those books I wouldn’t have read if someone doesn’t insist on my reading them – my boyfriend, in this case, who had just finished it and said very seriously that I had to read it as well.child 44 tom rob smith

Leo Stepánovich is a young man who works for the Soviet Union security service, a job he likes because it allows him to have special benefits for he and his family when it comes to the apartments they live in or the food they can afford, and also makes him help to keep the country clean of those who want to destroy the freedom and equality only communism can bring to people… But this wonderful life Leo has ends when he is asked to spy his own wife and report to his superiors if she is actually a traitor.

At the same time, Leo has detected a series of crimes – some children have been murdered near the railroads, and he needs to find the killer, even when “crime is a capitalism illness” and he can barely ask for help, because just by saying that there have been murders he can be considered a political traitor himself.

I borrowed my copy from the library

I borrowed my copy from the library

Crimes and communism in the USSR are nor really my favourite topics for a novel, but I have been hooked on this book, so if you think this is not for you either, just get out of your comfort zone and try Smith’s Child 44.

The end is wonderfully solved, connecting the two lines of the novel – Leo’s personal and professional lives – but the real issue is the political background, which is as dangerous for an agent in the security service as for anyone else, because anybody can just report his neighbor and the guy will be in a torture chamber by the end of the day. Everyone is guilty, they seemed to claim.

So, would you report your own partner just to save yourself?

rakin4There is a film based on this book, but this is one of those times in which the film is not worth your time because the book is far more superior. Besides, they have changed the connection between Leo and the murderer, and in the film it doesn’t make any sense.

Summarizing: read the book!

Duet for three hands, by Tess Thompson


Duet for three hands Tess ThompsonIt’s late 1920s when Nathaniel, a virtuoso pianist with limited social skills, is delighting his audience, not knowing that some hours later his life would change drastically: in the after-party he would meet his future wife, Frances Bellmont, and his career as one of the best piano concertists would fade away.

The other part of the story is set at the Bellmonts’. Whitmore Bellmont, Frances’ little brother, is a talented boy on the art of drawing who is in love with the maid’s daughter, Jesselle, a black young girl who has been taught by Mrs. Clare Bellmont all the school subjects she couldn’t have learned otherwise because of the color of her skin. The relationship between Whitmore and Jesselle must be kept secret, as well as the lessons Mrs. Bellmont schedule every day for Jesselle, because the society of their time would raise Cain if they knew.

Finally, there is a young widow called Lydia, who eventually would know the rest of the characters, when she decides to leave the farm she has always lived in, in order to master the piano.

Tess Thompson, one of my favourite romance authors, has surprised us, her fans, by writing a historical fiction novel this time based on the life of her great-grandmother, which has been a pleasure to read.

From several points of view, the story shows a portrait of that time, regarding human rights, education, arts, and the beginning of the movie industry, with a wealthy southern family in the center. Every one of the characters has a unique voice and, even when each one has their own conflicts to solve, all of them converge throughout the narration, interconnected in the overall story.

However, my favourite has been Nathaniel; I felt really sorry for him when he had to stop playing music and give up his fascinating career as a concertist only to be stuck in a marriage where love was absent. I also enjoyed Jesselle’s story; a girl divided between two worlds, fighting for growing up and make her dreams come true, with her only two weapons against the world: her love for Whitmore and her will to learn.

With the issues it addresses and the charming characters the novel has, I think most readers will be captivated by Duet for three hands as much as I was.

rakin4Duet for Three Hands, by Tess Thopmson
Published by Booktrope, 384 pages

Book on Amazon.com
Book on Goodreads
Tess Thompson’s web

Everything you dreamed Cary Elwes would whisper to you: “As you wish”



As you wish cary elwesImagine you love a film for its charming characters, its witty humor, the adventures, and the inconceivable turns of a plot that every single time makes you hold your breath, mourn or laugh in complete delight. Of course, there is only one film that fits that description, and we all know it’s The princess bride. Cary Elwes, the actor who plays Westley, has made our dreams come true thanks to this book.

A couple of years ago there was an event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film, and Elwes came up with the idea of narrating his experience during the making of The princess bride, answering all the questions he has been asked during his acting career, which he thinks will be most remembered for the role of Westley.

Sometimes I hear people say that they don’t have a favourite book, or that they can’t decide which one their favourite is, and I just think they still haven’t read that book, because I sometimes pick up The princess bride just to read one or two pages at random, and that alone brightens my day – this is what a favourite means, and every reader needs to find their own.

As you wish Cary Elwes1

As for a film, I think it’s the same. If you happen to know every line of The princess bride by heart, you will enjoy As you wish from cover to cover. Elwes starts at the beginning, as it should be, when he was casted in Germany for the role, and continues with anecdotes of all the cast members during the shooting, including comments about that time from the other actors and several behind-the-scenes memories of friendships that still last nowadays. They made a special piece of art which has never stopped gaining fans over the years, and this is Elwes’ homage to all of us, the people who have enjoyed watching it over and over.

I think it’s indispensable to read As you wish if you are a fan of the film; in fact, I don’t think anyone who doesn’t know every sequence in the film will like this book.

So grab your copy and place yourself again in the Fire Swamp fighting against Rodents of Unusual Size and saving Buttercup from the fire, training for the Greatest Sword Fight in Modern Times, which didn’t need stunt doubles, or burst out laughing with Miracle Max and Valerie, who improvised most of their lines! You’ll have the greatest of times, I promise.


As you wish, by Cary Elwes
Hardcover, 260 pages

The Martian, by Andy Weir


If you ask me for the genres I don’t like, I would first mention horror, followed by science-fiction. But guys, that was before I read The Martian!

The Martian Andy WeirMark Watney is left alone in Mars during a sandstorm, when the crew had to evacuate and thought Watney was dead. But he is not. The astronaut has no way to contact Earth to tell them he is alive, and the next mission to land on Mars is scheduled in 4 years, so this man has a problem. The fact that the food he has would feed him only for less than a year before starving to death doesn’t help either. But Watney is a resourceful guy and soon he comes up with a plan: plant potatoes on Mars!

The adventures of Watney on Mars will keep you glued to the book. The story is told through daily entries he keeps in case he finds a solution to send them, but soon we start knowing what’s going on on Earth and also with Watney’s crew on their way home. This astronaut is a genius for the way we works on staying alive and getting a way to communicate with NASA, and he is also very joyful despite the situation he is in, so the book is going to lift your spirits. It talks a lot about science, though, but I think it is explained very well even for non-science people so that anyone can follow Watney’s operations.

The martian quote

Watney’s wisdom

I listened to the audiobook, being this the first fiction novel I haven’t read in Spanish before that I have listened to, and I think the narrator totally becomes Mark Watney. It’s like he is real and tells you what he is doing. I was so engrossed in the novel that, near the end, I had to stop, take a few minutes to think about the possible outcomes of the story (because the reader doesn’t have the slightest idea about what is going to happen), sob a little in advance in case he didn’t get it, and then continue with the book.

I really recommend it.

rakin5I think that the film will be on theatres in October, and it looks really good, doesn’t it? Be careful if you still haven’t read it and you plan to, because the trailer reveals most of the story:


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