Posts tagged non-fiction

Chernobyl Prayer: Svetlana Alexievich’s Heart-Breaking Oral History

When I visited Belarus last year, I thought I’d read some Belarusian literature, and what better writer to start with than Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Alexievich’s Nobel win was unexpected because her books are non-fiction, a kind of oral history (although as this New Republic article points out, she takes considerable liberties with the testimonies she collects). After reading Chernobyl Prayer, though, I can see exactly why she won. I don’t think I’ve ever come away from a single book with such a comprehensive… Read More

February Reading Roundup

After a slow January, I hit my reading stride in February. We stayed in Croatia all month, with just a quick side trip to Slovenia, so I had plenty of time to read and catch up with writing too. Here’s a quick roundup of the books I read last month. Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval We’ve all met people who don’t have good boundaries, haven’t we? But in this disturbing Norwegian novel set in England, this is quite a literal problem, as a young biology student finds herself melding with… Read More

January Reading Roundup

Better late than never! Here’s my reading roundup for January. It was a month in which I did a lot of travelling, driving from Greece to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and now Croatia (via Romania again and a brief stop in Serbia). So I didn’t spend as much time reading and blogging as I wanted to, but I still managed to read some excellent books to start 2019. The Great Passage by Shion Miura This was my contribution to the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by Dolce Bellezza (which you can still… Read More

“Rogue” sociology?: Floating City by Sudhir Venkatesh

What a difference a title makes, or even a subtitle. The version I read, the US edition which I received as a review copy, had the subtitle “A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy.” This irritated me throughout the book, because I kept expecting Sudhir Venkatesh to “go rogue”, and he never did. He perhaps got a bit more emotionally involved with his subjects than sociologists are supposed to, but he was always scrupulous about not affecting the outcomes, about being ethical and honest and reading… Read More