In laywoman's terms

I'm the odd one always carrying a book, clueless to fashion, making obscure references that no one get. Socially awkward, emotionally constipated, stay-at-home nerd. Hoarder. Self-dubious. Paranoid.

Aprende gramática rápido y fácil

Aprende gramática rápido y fácil - Aída Calderón, Elizabeth Sayún Affordable, very well explained and to the point. This little book is a very useful aid for someone teaching Spanish grammar. The concepts are presented in a very comprehensive way, with examples to make the understanding even easier. The only thing that let me down a bit was that there was no section with the correct answer to the many exercises of the lessons so you can't be sure you got it right all the time.

El que susurra en la oscuridad: Orden y caos II (Biblioteca Lovecraft)

El que susurra en la oscuridad: Orden y Caos II - H.P. Lovecraft, Alberto Santos Castill, José A. Alvaro Garrido I've probably read this one some five times already. Weird thing is I like it better and better every time I read it again. There's something very, very compelling about the way Lovecraft talks to the reader. You know quite well where the whole thing is going yet you keep on reading 'cause it's very enjoyable. All in all, I find Lovecraft's depiction of extraterrestrial beings innovative and the length of this story just right to leave a reader satisfied.

Las alas rotas

Las alas rotas - Kahlil Gibran I got this book 'cause I wanted to know what all the hype was about this author. I had previously read something by him but it was a collection of really short stories so I couldn't get a proper idea of what the guy's writing was about.

I tried to read it on the first months of this year and dropped it after a few pages; it felt too pretentious and slow. Months went by and I ran out of things to read so I decided to give it another shot. After some Goethe and some Dante, Gibran's writing didn't feel that tiring anymore. This is one of those book I would usually have disliked with all my might, too poetic and with little plot. I continuously felt the story was too unrealistic and engineered to be a tragic love story. You could predict the whole thing since very early.

I hate myself for it but I enjoyed the way the story was written. That's totally not like me, I can't stand poetry unless it tells a very compelling story and that wasn't the case here. Maybe I was on a sentimental moment but I found some of the author's metaphors and comparisons moving.
Assassin's Creed: Renaissance (Assassin's Creed (Unnumbered)) - Oliver Bowden I read this book without having played the game so I thought this was the first book on the Assassin's Creed saga ('cause that's how it is listed) but then I was told by someone on the know about the games that there's a previous story to this one. Maybe it wasn't that crucial to the current book I was reading but it did get mentioned and knowing what happened before would have made things easier.

It's a very simple book with even simpler writing. I didn't find many things worth of quoting, it was all very straightforward and fast. Actually, the story skips several years in between chapters, making things feel rushed for me. I later had the opportunity to see someone play the game and it does move that fast but there is a reason for it (the whole thing is actually a bunch of memories someone is reliving so you skip from one to another all the time).

The writer probably didn't have much chance to add things to the mix but I think things could have been done better. It's basically a transcription of dialogues and documents from the game. You can't not know you're reading and adaptation, it feels too literal; for example, sometimes you know you're in the middle of a tutorial and that annoyed me a bit.

Game tops book, hands down.

La Divina Comedia

La Divina Comedia - Dante Alighieri Hmm. Okay, let's see. I tried reading this book some ten years ago and I found it horrendously boring, and I had the illustrated edition. I decided to give it a go again now 'cause it's one of those books you have to read at some point if your life as a reader.
It was enjoyable at the beginning, it didn't feel as tiring and complicated as I remembered it. I had recently finished reading 'Faust' and I couldn't help comparing it to 'The Divine Comedy'; I liked the latter a whole lot more. Dante had an understandable plot, for starters!

Anyway, I did find a bit hard to follow the constant mention of Italian names and the feuds they had against one another. Social critique and politics of 1300's Italy were heavy subjects and can wear down the average reader as it eventually did to me.

I read a review by someone saying that the reason people immediately think about hell when 'The Divine Comedy' is mentioned is due to the rest of the book being rubbish. I would like to say I don't agree but I don't really disagree entirely. The first part is more eventful than the rest, full of gore and impossible punishments; I guess you can say it was quite creative. And there were also some apparition of famous personalities from Ancient Greece, which I found very interesting even if scarce.

Sadly I started losing interest by the end of Purgatory and downright lost it a few chapters into Paradise. It was all so theological and philosophical and cosmic.

Overall, I think the story needed more punch. I mean, I was expecting some word exchange with the Devil when they finally got to him, but they just moved along like it was nothing but an ugly piece of furniture in their way.

I get this book us if huge importance to the history of literature and linguistic but, well, it's not the 1300s and I'm no Florentine. I'm not the target demographic for this book.

Vampiros vivos y vampiros muertos

Vampiros vivos y vampiros muertos - Edgar Ceballos This is an old second-hand book. I had some expectations about it 'cause I knew it had some excerpts from Montague Summers' work. I was looking forward to an analysis of what a vampire is and cultural believes related to the vampire myth but all I got was some badly written sensationalist vampire tales, some that I already knew of and had read in the past. Nothing new to add to my vampire knowledge.

Fausto. Werther. (Sepan Cuantos, #21)

Fausto. Werther. (Sepan Cuantos, #21) - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Oh, I just couldn't stand Faust. It was all over the place. I can't deal with books that have such a lack of a consistent plot. There's no consistency at all. Some parts are so heavy on social commentary and contemporary critique that it can bore a modern reader to death.

Werther was slightly better. At least it had a more proper storytelling and regular characters. It was very predictable and made me roll my eyes a few times but I could bear it and finish it in a short time.

It's sad that I don't have any positive comments to make about any of these stories after all the time I invested in them.
La condesa - Rebecca Johns I didn't disliked this book. Can't say I loved it either. It presented a nice look into what nobility had to face to remain wealthy and powerful. Something I didn't like about the way the book was written was the lack of an element of surprise. As soon as a character was introduced the author gave away the role they would play in the story, having the countess say things about how unexpected it was that they would become lovers or how said character would betray her.
Most part of the book felt like it was building up to some great thing, some main event, and it just didn't come. A sad yet unremarkable book.

El Llano en llamas

El Llano en llamas - Juan Rulfo I happened to read this book in the middle of doing research about the Mexican Revolution and that made thing make more sense than they would have if things were different. The whole revolutionary process was messy and took its toll on the Mexican people. I hate to imagine that the sickening feeling of despair and uncertainty about the future that Rulfo portrayed was the reality of so many people in the past.
I understand the point of this book, of telling these horrible stories of injustice and poverty, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. I wanted to be done with the whole thing before I even finished the book's first story. I'm not sayinf Rulfo is a bad writer or that the book was terrible. I'm saying that I dislike having to get such a close look of the dire circumstances people lived in my country a few generations back.
Unholy Night - Seth Grahame-Smith I think it was mostly the cover what made me buy this book. I was on a shopping spree for my birthday (I wasn't the one paying) so I didn't care much that it wasn't exactly the book I would usually go for. I had already started reading the story when I realized it was by the same author of [b:Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter|7108001|Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter|Seth Grahame-Smith||6596168]. I liked that other book a lot more than this one, actually.

My main complaint was how predictable this book was. It felt like some sort of biblical fanfiction. And all the last minute miracles to save the day felt like a cop out to shirk from writing true solutions to situations. I would have liked way better than the godly nature of baby Jesus was left unclear to the reader.

Pedro Páramo - Juan Rulfo I've read some works on the 'Magic realism' genre and I can't get into them. It's so... disjointed and unreasonable, I guess.

I read this book some years back and I remember mildly enjoying it; this second time I was much more critical about what I was reading and didn't find it as eerie as I did in the past. Maybe I've grown to be a real control freak when it comes to narrative.

The feeling I got from this story and all the characters' tales was sadness. It seemed like bad endings were the only game in town, most of them brought upon them by themselves, which made them restless spirits that kept reliving their sins long after their demises. Huh. It was sort of like Silent Hill in a way. Interesting thought.

Not my particular cup of tea but okay enough.

Demonio de libro (Exprés)

Demonio de libro (Exprés) - Clive Barker This was my first Clive Barker book. I was very enticed by the prospect of a medieval demon trapped inside a book. Sadly, it didn't live up to my expectations.

For starters, Jakabok wasn't very likeable (I can't believe the amount of pages spent on his rant about why we should stop reading the book, it was so annoying) or special in anyway, and his story was all over the place; the author sort of used the demon's disjointed narrative as a cop out to jump from one thing to another without really telling a consistent story. Also, the depiction of what hell was like was strange and seemed anachronistic to me.

The only thing I sort of liked was the love relationship between Jakabok and Quitoon but it was soon smashed and left inconclusive. Shame about that.

Interesting idea, defective performance.
Never Trust a Dead Man - Vivian Vande Velde I got through this book in a few hours. It's a very simple story with simple writing and simple characters. A bit predictable here and there but not enough to reveal the entire mystery of the plot. If I could change something about it that would be the little character development there is, it made things seem a bit too superficial and maybe rushed as well.

Quite good for a YA book, specially for not being one more of the many silly romance YA stories out there. Though I would have liked this book better if it had ended with a romance between Selwyn and Farold to be honest. Or maybe Kendra. 'Cause I'm not so convinced about the faint hint of him starting something with the witch.

Svmma Daemoniaca

Svmma Daemoniaca - José Antonio Fortea Peculiar little book about demons written by a Catholic priest. It covers many subjects, such as how demons came to be, how they communicate, how much they suffer, what's effective against them. He also classifies them by the way they harass humans and the way they possess them.

One of the parts of the book that I liked most was the one with accounts of real cases of demonic possession of different kinds. Sadly it was a very brief section. Some of the things that I did not like was the lack of bibliographic references, the large amount of typos and orthographic errors I came across and the repetition of certain points already made at some other moment in the book.

There are some points that made me raise my eyebrow in doubt, such as claiming that the demonic possessions that lead to the Salem witch trials were authentic and in fact a sign from god to remind humanity of his power and the need to refrain from pagan or evil practices. And that not being enough he went to say that antisemitism is in fact a creation and still fueled today by the devil, for he holds a great grudge against them.

I could make more critiques about it and the way the author seemed a bit too close-minded about his interpretation of the bible but I shall not. I would recommend this book to catholics, people that think they're under demonic possession, and those interested in learning about demons from a religious point of view.
The Devil: A Visual Guide to the Demonic, Evil, Scurrilous, and Bad - Tom Morgan, Genevieve Morgan Having been raised a Catholic and being an avid reader this book didn't offer me much I hadn't already come across at some point of my life. And as the title says, this book is more about the visuals than anythings. Most part of the art in it I had already seen, specially Gustave Doré and Albrecht Dürer's works. Some of the other art sources used are very mainstream and you can find them in other similar compilations. Pictures take large parts of the pages and even entire pages at times, leaving text more as a complement.

The information the authors present here isn't something you haven't heard or read before if you are already acquainted with occult lore. The first part of the book centers exclusively on the devil, that's the part I liked best. Next there is information about demons, which I also liked but didn't find very enlightening and isn't too different from what you can find on your own online in several sites. After this my interest started to decline, even more so 'cause the authors began to throw information on all sorts of dark beings that ain't too directly related to the devil (e.g. fairies, vampires, werewolves). There were mentions of Dante, Faust and the Malleus Maleficarum that a knowledgeable reader wouldn't care much about. And the last part was an uninteresting amalgamation of superstitions.

Funny thing, a lot of the info found in here I had read a long time ago in [b:The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter|124976|The Sorcerer's Companion A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter|Allan Zola Kronzek||41405] and [b:The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts|483445|The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts|David Colbert||471792]. Not exactly the edgiest occult book if you can equiparate it to those two, which are meant for kids.

I would recommend this book to unexperienced readers and people with very little knowledge on the occult. Or maybe someone who wants to see some pretty pictures featuring evil creatures.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selección poética

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selección poética - Juana Inés de la Cruz Sor Juana turned out to be such a sassy lady. I enjoyed reading her opinion on unrequited love and how we usually fall for the one that doesn't love us. The writing was too lyric for me, I had trouble staying focused on what was said. Poetry has always been a problem for me because I'm a very impatient and straightfoward type of person. Why take five stanzas when you can get an idea cross in a single sentence? I know that's the beauty of poetry, how things are said, but I think it's just not for me.
One thing that I wasn't too keen about was the constant naming of characters in an ambiguous way. Sometimes Silvio was Celio or Feliciano and then there was Fabio who was also Lisardo. I kept getting confused about who was who and what was said to whom.

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