Category: Books


Review: Selected Poems

Posted 12 February, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Selected Poems
By: Giuseppe Ungaretti
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) was a pioneer of the Modernist movement in Italian poetry and is widely regarded as one of the leading Italian poets of the twentieth century. His verse is renowned and loved for its powerful insight and emotion, and its exquisite music. Yet, unlike many of his peers, Ungaretti has never been adequately presented to English readers. This large bilingual selection, translated with great sensitivity and fidelity by Andrew Frisardi, captures Ungaretti in all of his phases: from his early poems, written in the trenches of northern Italy during World War I, to the finely crafted erotic and religious poetry of his second period, to the visceral, elegiac poetry of the years following the death of his son and the occupation of Rome during World War II, to the love poems of the poet’s old age.

Frisardi’s in-depth introduction details the world in which Ungaretti’s work took shape and exerted its influence. In addition to the poet’s own annotations, an autobiographical afterword, “Ungaretti on Ungaretti,” further illuminates the poet’s life and art. Here is a compelling, rewarding, and comprehensive version of the work of one of the greatest modern European poets.

I honestly don’t remember now how I first came across Giuseppe Ungretti’s poetry. What I do remember was that the moment I did come across his poems, I knew I had to check out more. Not a lot of his poetry is available in English but I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of this collection featuring some of his selected works.

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 9 February, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

First batch of mini book reviews for the new year! The following are books that I read recently or from last year that I never got around to writing full book reviews for. Included in this batch are:


Luminae
By: Allison Marie Conway
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A seductive mix of poetry and prose, Luminae is about soul-searching, longing, finding your truth, and feeling comfortable with an inner being who is both tender and strong.

Luminae will resonate with intuitive souls, those who yearn to explore the wild depths of their true nature, and who believe they must hold sacred both the darkness and the light, without turning their backs on love. It speaks to those who embrace the totality of the human experience—even the difficult, ugly, and messy parts.

Our chaotic world is starved for wholehearted, compassionate words like these. Now, more than ever, is the time to quiet the outside noise and come home to the splendor, power, and magic of yourself.

Now is the time to experience Luminae.

I actually read this collection late last year after having followed her poetry IG for some time. The book blurb is pretty apt in that her works are a bit about soul searching, of what is and what can be. On a personal note, and I don’t think I mentioned it previously, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer just straight up short–not necessarily micro–format poetry over poetic prose (I don’t know the actual term for them but they’re like mini essays). Nonetheless I like her poetry, some of them resonated with me and I enjoyed reading her collection.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Review: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

Posted 2 February, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
By: Nicholas Ostler
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Nicholas Ostler’s Empires of the Word is the first history of the world’s great tongues, gloriously celebrating the wonder of words that binds communities together and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe, these epic achievements and more are brilliantly explored, as are the fascinating failures of once “universal” languages. A splendid, authoritative, and remarkable work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet’s diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises.

I think I first came across this book…on The Economist as a book review. This was years ago. I was intrigued by the book because while language isn’t my strong suit per se, language’s importance in history and culture and just the overall development and progression over the centuries greatly interested me (perhaps the former moreso as that was the focus of my grad work, and something I realised was very important when studying national identity politics and culture). Fast forward to last year and I finally got my hands on the book 😀

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Review: A Winter Scandal

Posted 30 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

A Winter Scandal (Legend of St. Dwynwen #1)
By: Candace Camp
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

When plain and proper Thea Bainbridge stumbles upon a baby in the manger of her church’s nativity, she is understandably shocked. Discovering a brooch bearing the insignia of Gabriel, Lord Morecombe, hidden among the child’s clothing, she is certain the dissolute rake is to blame. Incensed, Thea sets out to reproach the arrogant lord—only to find herself utterly swept away.

Gabriel is intrigued by the vivacity in Thea’s flashing gray eyes when she accuses him of fathering the orphan, even as he adamantly maintains his innocence. The brooch is one he remembers all too well, however, and Gabriel is determined to find the mother of the missing child. As the mystery around the baby deepens, Gabriel is continually thrown together with Thea—and finds himself growing more entranced every day.

Even with whispers of winter scandal swirling around them, they cannot deny the longing in their hearts. A longing which promises the best gift of all: a shelter from the storm . . . in each other’s arms.

I first heard about this book from Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook and thought it sounded really interesting so I decided to check it out 🙂

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Review: Night Soldiers

Posted 29 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Night Soldiers
By: Alan Furst
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin’s purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934–45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a work on a grand scale.

This is not my first Alan Furst novel–that would be Mission to Paris (review)–but this was the first book I had ever heard of by the author and it has long been on my wishlist. Well last year I finally got around to picking it up and reading it 😀

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