Posts in Reading

The Unsaintly Side of Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi is one of those people whose position as a hero of history is assured. He overcame the most powerful empire on earth with the power of nonviolence. He is immortalised through his quotable epigrams like “Be the change that you want to see in the world” and “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they… Read More

July 2020 Reading Roundup

I’m writing this in the middle of a two-week quarantine in the UK. Don’t worry, I don’t have any Covid-19 symptoms—it’s just a precaution for people arriving from certain “high-risk” countries. Why the UK (with 46,000 deaths) is quarantining people from Serbia (with 500 deaths) could be the subject of another post about the intersection of Covid rules and international… Read More

May 2020 Reading Roundup

The COVID-19 lockdown here in Belgrade was very strict in March and April, but this month it ended, and things are more or less back to normal now. The cafes, shops and restaurants are all open again, and there’s rarely a mask to be seen. Everyone seems to have decided the pandemic is over, and so far the numbers are… Read More

April 2020 Reading Roundup

In a short time, I’ve gone from travelling full-time to being under strict lockdown in a Belgrade apartment. Perhaps that’s why I’ve spent the month travelling through the world of books, from the Russian wilderness to a still-divided Germany and from the Balkans to the UK’s “hostile environment”—with a couple of side trips to Jamaica thrown in.

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Amora by Natalia Borges Polesso: Review

Amora won several major literary prizes when it was first published in Brazil several years ago, and having just got my hands on the soon-to-be-published English translation, I can see why. The short stories in this collection by Natalia Borges Polesso are often intimate, often poignant, and always beautifully written. They mostly explore love between women, all the way from… Read More

The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata: Review

Imagine you’re a parent who’s always done the right thing, lived life carefully and respectfully, had a decent job, raised a family. Then you see your children’s lives and marriages falling apart. Your son cheats shamelessly on his wife. Your daughter and granddaughter behave in ways you find distasteful. Are you responsible for the sins and failures of your adult… Read More