Posts tagged Reading

See What I Did There?

Has anyone else noticed an annoying trend in contemporary writing? OK, there are probably several that spring to mind (“I was sat?”), but the one I’m thinking about today is “See what I did there?” You’re likely to encounter this phrase any time the writer has used a rather obvious pun, but it could appear after any piece of wordplay. Here’s an example from the Washington Post: “The Chargers, on the other hand, have an electrifying offense (see what I did there?).” You see, he’s talking about the Los Angeles… Read More

April Reading Roundup

Time for another roundup. My month was consumed on the blog with the Radetzky March readalong, but in between that, I also read some other great books. Read on to get my reading recommendations, and let me know how your month went in the comments below. Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants by Hsiao-Hung Pai Wow, this one was powerful. I had no idea that the recent movement of 200 million Chinese peasants is the “biggest mass migration in history”. Hsiao-Hung Pai tells their stories in this book,… Read More

The Radetzky March Readalong: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the readalong of Joseph Roth’s novel The Radetzky March, kindly organised by Caroline and Lizzy. For Part 1, click here. To avoid spoilers, don’t read anything at all. But who cares about spoilers, right? Are there characters you like or dislike particularly so far? Roth has a great knack for making characters feel real, without making them particularly likeable or dislikeable. I feel sorry for most of them, locked as they are into quite horrible lives and seemingly unable to escape from them. I find myself drawn to the… Read More

The Radetzky March Readalong: Part 1

This month, I am reading Joseph Roth’s novel The Radetzky March in the excellent company of fellow book bloggers Caroline and Lizzy. The readalong takes place over three weeks, Roth having helpfully split his novel into three parts just for this purpose. This week, I read Part 1, and I am responding to questions that Caroline and Lizzy came up with as prompts. Welcome to the #germanlitmonth spring readalong of Joseph Roth’s most famous novel, The Radetzky March.  What enticed you to readalong with us? A strange sequence of coincidences…. Read More

Refined and Elegant Things: The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

The eggs of the spot-billed duck. Shaved ice with a sweet syrup, served in a shiny new metal bowl. A crystal rosary. These are just a few of the items on a list of “refined and elegant things” in the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. Then there are “things that make your heart beat fast”, “things that make you nostalgic”, and, on the other hand, “infuriating things” or “things later regretted”. And, beyond the lists, there are anecdotes, jokes, improvisational poetry competitions, and some quite beautiful observation of life. One… 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

December Reading Roundup

December has been a good reading month for me. It’s been a good month in general, in fact, and I wanted to write a longer post about some of the things I’ve done and seen, but I don’t know if I’ll have time, so for now here are the reading highlights. (Side note: I often give extra little titbits in my monthly email newsletter, so subscribe using the quick form in the sidebar if you’re interested.) Hounded: Stories From the American Road by Alan Emmins In this collection of long-form… Read More