Posts in Reading

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.

Read More

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

February 2020 Reading Roundup

From Japanese literature to the history of Serbia via the aftermath of war in Sierra Leone, this has been a good month’s reading for me. Here’s a roundup of the books I’ve read in February. The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata This was my read for this year’s Japanese Literature Challenge. I plan to write a full review… Read More

January 2020 Reading Roundup

The first month of the year took me from Greece to Serbia via Vienna (don’t ask!), and in the world of books it took me from a Cretan classic to a medieval poet, via some self-help literature, a road-trip novel, and a new theory of climate change. Here we go… Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future by… Read More

Shulem Deen’s Powerful Memoir of Hasidic Life

All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen is a powerful account of the author’s escape from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect known as the Skverer Hasidim—an escape that ultimately costs him his relationship with his wife and kids. But it’s also more than that. It’s a book that raises interesting questions about belonging, identity, integrity and conformity. The tale… Read More