You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘book talk’ category.

IMG_2090

There’s not much I can say about this book that hasn’t been said 1.000 times before, so just some quick thoughts for posterity:

I went into One Hundred Years of Solitude with some fear, because it has happened that my re-reads turn teen favorites into just-oks. This one however, was still as amazing, as captivating and as fierce as I remembered. It’s that type of book that’s experimental and “intellectual” and yet emotionally engaging. Like a Michelin-star meal that really make you feel full.

The plot is simply summed up as the story of a family in a remote village in an unnamed South American country, but then each character is a world in itself, and the language… oh the language!

Márquez’s style is very much in the oral tradition, as if he just captured what he’d heard from someone old, wise and incredibly funny. That’s why the magic realism feels so real, why every relationship and emotion are described with such power and why the way he moves from one character to the other flows so well. The book may have the most depressing title ever and it does deal a lot with loneliness, but in fact it’s a really bright, energetic, colorful story, that feels always in motion. Hard to explain, you have to read it!

One of the biggest complains I’ve read about One Hundred Years is that the characters’ names are all the same (e.g. father José Arcadio Buendía, son Aureliano, grandson José Arcadio) and it confuses everything. Well, that might be true (as of the 4th generation I had to draw a family tree), but for me it’s a demonstration of Márquez sense of humor.

Also, surely Úrsula Buendía should belong to all the lists of “Best heroines of all time”.

I’ve read it in Portuguese but I’m aiming to pick up the original next time. I wonder how it reads in English and can see how part of the language’s richness is lost. I was debating with myself whether the “solitude” in the English title shouldn’t be “loneliness” instead. “Solitude” is almost a voluntary isolation, and the Spanish “soledad” doesn’t read like that.

Have you read this one? Any thoughts?

***

Other thoughts: A Striped Armchair, Jules’ Book Review, Confessions of a Bibliophile, Man of La Book, Other Sashas, of blog, Shelf Love, Fifty Book Project, The Labyrinth Library, Avid Readers’ Musings, bookhimdanno, Passion for the Page, My Library in the Making, Rivers I have Known, Old English Rose Reads, The Reading Life (thoughts?)

***

image (2)Read for the A More Diverse Universe Challenge

x

x

x

.Re-Read Challenge.. and the Re-Read Challenge

Advertisements

16885958542_74fd710db4_b

Like all toddlers, David loves everything with a touch-screen. He climbs furniture, flashes his winning smile and any other stratagem to get just a few minutes with our phones or tablets. The Kindle isn’t his favorite but it’ll do if nothing else is available.

Over the last few month he accidental bought 6 books (thank heavens for Kindle’s return policy!). He seems to have an eclectic taste: a couple of mysteries, a romance, a sci-fi, one non-fiction that sounds really depressing and finally (my boy, sniff) a Lonely Planet!

Have your kids ever bought anything by accident?

(Blurbs from Goodreads)

obsessedObsessed (Lizzy Gardner #4) by T.R. Ragan

Desperate for better ratings, radio psychologist Madeline Blair tells her listeners she’s being stalked, unaware that her long-time listener and biggest fan, Seth Brown, will do anything to protect her. When her publicity stunt is revealed, Seth becomes enraged by her deceit and dangerously unhinged.

When her friends mysteriously begin to vanish and damning evidence points to Madeline, she turns to private investigator Lizzy Gardner for help. Lizzy knows her way around a murderer’s mind, after surviving her own horrifying ordeal at the hands of a serial killer years ago. As Lizzy closes in, Seth Brown is undeterred. Madeline wanted a stalker and now she has one. Nothing is going to stop him. He’s obsessed.

x

true crime

True Crime (Nathan Heller #2) by Max Allan Collins

Nate Heller survived his confrontations with Al Capone, only to find himself facing Ma Barker, Baby Face Nelson, and perhaps the biggest and most dangerous question in his life: Who was the man shot down in the alley next to the Biograph Theater, the man the FBI had confidently identified as John Dillinger?

Heller’s search for the answer leads him into a confrontation with J. Edgar Hoover, and into a much more comfortable meeting with Sally Rand…but not before the streets of Chicago run red with blood.

x

x

 

38 resonsI Want To Marry My Boyfriend by Lynn Enright

She has a fulfilling career, a wide friendship group, a supportive family, a lovely boyfriend and quite nice hair. So why does Lynn Enright’s life seem to be missing something? Why, she wonders, does she still care so much about getting married?

Armed with a suspicion that she is not the only one, she sets out to explore the role marriage plays for women of her generation. It’s an outdated institution, which seems to fail so very often – so why are we still in thrall to the idea of being wed?

A listicle with ambitions above its station, this is a hilarious and moving account of being a woman in love in 2015.

x

speakerSpeaker for the Dead (The Ender Quartet #3) by Orson Scott Card

In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told of the true story of the Bugger War.


Now long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens’ ways are strange and frightening…again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery…and the truth.

x

x

silence of the godSilence of the God by Max Gray

The other side of the story to great history is not as pretty as they teach us in grade school. ‘Silence of the God’ by Max Gray is a book filled full of live excerpts from eyewitnesses for the outrageous crimes against humans ever recorded in history.

These people had no chance of survival. There are only so many ways to describe babies getting their heads bashed in, women and children raped, men and women having their body parts chopped off and burnt to death.

x

x
europeLonely Planet Europe on a shoestring

A guide to traveling in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland features information on galleries, museums, motoring tours, and more. Original.

 

 

IMG_1813

IMG_1761

Had my eyes on The Gracekeepers for a while now, so couldn’t resist when I found it on the Scottish section.

Finally got to see Dorothy Dunnett’s plaque in front of the Writers’ Museum. Actually, the whole trip make me want to read her, but I’m keeping my last Niccolo for a cozy winter’s night.

IMG_1743

Anything I should pay special attention to? Anything I should put on the back-burner?

(1/102/10, 3/10, 4/10, 5/10)

IMG_5937

Thing have been quite over here, but normal service will resume shortly. Between holidays in Morocco and a work assignment in Senegal, both with somewhat unreliable internet connections, blogging was neglected, but much reading was done!

I’ve finished Retribution Falls by Chris Woodding (loved the Firefly vibe, but the tell-not-show style, among other things, was a let down), and The Brontës Went to Woolworths by Rachel Fergoson, re-read Tracy Chevalier’s The Lady and the Unicorn after a weekend in Paris where I saw the Cluny tapestries live for the first time (wow!) and started Sayers’ Busman’s Holidays. Also listened to Mandel’s Station Eleven (well deserved hype) and my first Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge (sooo good, but not the lightest of reads).

Looking forward to digging into my Feedly and know what y’all were up to!

photo (11)Ladurée Champs Elysées

IMG_0514Moroccan desert

IMG_0378

Courtyard of our riad in Marrakesh. I wish the photo could carry the smell of orange blossoms…

photo 1 (4)

Reading Dorothy L. Sayers in Dakar

quizPicture round: movies by Richard Attenborough

… the worst ever. I only got 2 right (TWO!). And I call myself a booklover…

  1. Who was the feminist author of “The Women’s Room”, “The War Against Women”, “Women’s History of the World” and “From Eve to Dawn”? [Answer: Marilyn French]
  2. How many days did it take Phileas Fogg to get around the world? [79]
  3. What was the title of A. A. Milne’s second collection of stories about Winnie The Pooh? [The House at Pooh’s Corner]
  4. In which novel by Tolstoy does Konstantine Levin appear? [Anna Karenina]
  5. What is the name of the omniponent head of state in 1984 by George Orwell? [Big Brother]
  6. In which Charles Dickens novel does the character Alfred Jingle appear? [The Pickwick Papers]
  7. What did George Eliot described as “Snowy, Flowy, Blowy, Showery, Flowery, Bowery, Hoppy, Croppy, Droppy, Breezy, Sneezy, Freezy? [The months]
  8. To which literary figure was Anne Hathaway married to? [William Shakespeare]
  9. From which former province of Spain did Cervantes’ Dom Quixote come from? [La Mancha]
  10. Which well-known children’s story was written by Swiss author Johann Weiss? [Swiss Family Robinson]

How many would you’ve gotten right?

brontessmCredit: Hark! A Vagrant

I have a dysfunctional relationship with the Brontës. I often find myself rolling my eyes at all the DRAMA! in their stories, which I usually go out of my way to avoid in other books. I rebel against Charlotte’s negative portrayal of my beloved Brussels and her snide remarks about Jane Austen. I cringe at Emily’s glorification of an abusive hero. I go a bit easier on Anne because I have a soft spot for her – she has her sanctimonious moments, but I’m anxiously waiting for the day when the world realizes she’s the true ground-breaking feminist in the family.

The truth is: I can’t get enough of them and can’t think of a more interesting family (maybe the Mitfords come close?). It’s almost like I’m also a Brontë sister, always bickering but loving them all the same, vigorously defending them from outside attacks.

I’m also a proud member of the Brontë Society, and its Brussels Bronte Group  branch (post about our weekend in London). I’ve read many books about the family and since Charlotte’s birthday is coming up, I’ve decided to start celebrating earlier with a list of my favorites. Have you read any of them?

51Hre4BoOvL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Brontës by Juliet Barker
(Previous reviews: Part I; Part II)

This is on my top-3 favorite biographies of all time. It’s huge, but it reads like a 300-page Sarah Addison Allen novel. It starts with Patrick Brontë’s youth and arrival in England and goes right through to the family’s growing popularity after everyone’s been long dead.

Juliet Barker’s approach is that a reliable biography of each Brontë cannot be done in isolation, since their lives were too connected and they constantly inspired each other’s work. She’s also in the business of myth-busting.

x

41QR7VCP9HL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Brontë Myth by Lucasta Miller

Like Start Trek, each new generation creates a new zeitgeist version of the Brontës. Miller examines the way these perceptions change over time by taking a comprehensive a look at all body of work produced about the family.

The impact of Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë was especially interesting to read, as well as the ripple effect of the cinema adaptations of their works and lives.

x

x

414kKQAFasL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell

This was the book that started the Brontë myth and crystallized it for many years. Gaskell was a friend of Charlotte Brontë and, for better or worst, it shows. Even if you know little about Charlotte, it’s obvious this is a very romanticized and sanitized version of her life. Gaskell was very keen to keep up Charlotte’s domestic-goddess image – fascinating stuff to read from a 21st century perspective.

I’ve had really geeky conversations with other Brontë aficionados on the best order to read the first three books on this list. The Brontës was the last to be written and it’s a great intro to the family. It talks about how both The Myth and The Life fit the narrative. The Myth describes in detail how The Life impacts how we perceive the Brontës even today. It’s really interesting to read The Life after The Brontës and The Myth, but it would probably be a very different experience if read first.

107973The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë by Daphne du Maurier

Oh Branwell, golden child, the unfulfilled promise, the most tragic element of a tragic family. This is Branwell’s biography and a great example of du Maurier’s non-fiction skills. From what I’ve gathered, she saw this book as an opportunity to prove herself beyond her “popular literature”.

Confession: I didn’t know this book even existed until I won it in a raffle at the last Brussels Brontë Society Xmas Lunch.

x

x

51RudzNVRzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The Brontës Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson

A novel for a bit of change. The Brontës Went to Woolworths is about three sisters that share an imaginary world that threatens to become more real than reality. And it actually does, because after a table-turning session, the Brontë sisters come knocking on their door.

It’s such a witty and fun book and unlike The Eyre Affair (don’t get me started on that one, a pet hate of mine), the Brontës act as I’d expect them to. It’s one of those forgotten diamonds that deserve more limelight. How come it’s not a Persephone?

Any other recommendations?

Anything I should pay special attention to? Anything I should put on the back-burner?

(1/102/10, 3/10, 4/10)

IMG_5942

Anything I should pay special attention to? Anything I should put on the back-burner?

(1/102/10, 3/10)

IMG_5944 (1)

Currently reading

Currently listening

Project Gutenberg Project

Pledge

Advertisements