Posts tagged Reading

November Reading Roundup

After a busy few months of travel, we slowed down a bit in November and spent more time just staying in comfortable rural hotels in Bulgaria and northern Greece. That meant more time for work and writing, but also for reading, so I had a good reading month overall. Here’s how it went… Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald I started off the month with an excellent read for German Literature Month. I found a beautiful meditation on memory and loss, as we follow Jacques Austerlitz piecing together the fragments of his… Read More

October Reading Roundup

Did you read any good books in October? I had a decent reading month, starting with a dud but progressing to some fascinating reads, including one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Here’s a rundown. The Mimic Men by V.S. Naipaul I really don’t get why this novel is so celebrated. It’s the life story of a fictional West Indian politician, and it reads like a political memoir, a dull enough genre even when the politician in question really existed. I had no interest in the… Read More

September Reading Roundup

Last month, I started a series of monthly reading roundups. This month, to my astonishment, I am continuing it for the second straight month. So here’s a quick summary of the books I read in September. Life Begins on Friday by Ioana Pârvulescu I was travelling in Romania for most of September, so I decided to read this novel by a contemporary Romanian writer that I bought at a bookshop in Iasi (which I wrote a bit about—the town, not the bookshop—back in August). Life Begins on Friday was a fresh, slightly bizarre… Read More

August Reading Roundup

When I first started this blog (over ten years ago now!), I intended to review every book I read. Even by September 2008, I was already talking about that intention in the past tense, and by now I have to admit that it’ll never happen. I read too much and blog too little. But perhaps I can manage a monthly roundup? A few sentences on each book? We’ll see. Inspired by A Cocoon of Books, anyway, I’m going to try. So here’s what I read in August. How was your… Read More

“H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald: Review

H is for Hawk is a beautiful evocation of grief and the way in which the sudden death of a loved on can rip away your sense of control over the world, reminding you that you are powerless in the face of mortality and that everything you love and cling to is transitory.

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“Tram 83” by Fiston Mwanza Mujila: Review

It isn’t every day that you get to read a Congolese novel in English. In fact, the last time it happened, the country was still called Zaire. Tram 83 is an innovative literary novel that also deals with issues like neocolonialism and the scramble for Congolese resources.

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Review of Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones

Did you know that there’s an Albanian tradition in which, if there are no male heirs, a woman can choose to become a man, as long as she swears herself to virginity for life? Neither did I until I read Sworn Virgin, a fascinating novel by Albanian writer Elvira Dones, translated into English and published in 2014 by And Other Stories (a wonderful not-for-profit, largely reader-funded UK publisher). I’ve been interested in Albanian literature ever since I discovered Ismail Kadare (who wrote the foreword for this book) many years ago, and… Read More