Tag: Books: Translated Texts


So You Want to Read… (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Posted 17 November, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

And here we are, it’s November…For this edition of So You Want to Read…, I decided to feature Rainer Maria Rilke (see author tag). His poetry seems fitting for these autumn days when the temperatures are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and you’ve broken out your sweaters and off to Starbucks for their seasonal items. I got around to reading his poetry in 2015 and just fell in love with his work and the nature imagery and his choice of words to express certain feelings…Anyway, here’s my recommendations on where to start if you’ve never read any of his work:

  • The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Briggs (review) — This is the only novel he’s every written and it’s more of an experience as the main character finds himself reminiscing about the past and experiences he had. All the while he’s meditating on a number of different topics and ideas. And did I mention it was beautifully written? 🙂
  • Letters to a Young Poet — I could’ve sworn I had reviewed it at some point as a mini-review but anyway, definitely required reading for everyone who’s into writing. His letters are encouraging, thoughtful and meditative, and overall just a boost-me-up especially when you find yourself wondering if your writing will make it or if it’s worth it. It’s also an interesting look at the way he approaches writing.
  • Duino Elegies (review) — I read this as part of The Poety of Rilke (see review). This one stood out for me with the mix of nature and religious themes, the contemplation of life, death, and existence, and contains some of the most stunning lines I’ve read from him. Of all of his poetry, it’s a good place to start just to get a sense of how he writes an what he writes about.



And that’s my list! I hope it helps 🙂 If you’ve read any of Rainer Maria Rilke’s works, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Review: The Lost Daughter

Posted 20 September, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Lost Daughter
By: Elena Ferrante
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

From the author of The Days of Abandonment, The Lost Daughter is Elena Ferrante’s most compelling and perceptive meditation on womanhood and motherhood yet. Leda, a middle-aged divorce, is alone for the first time in years when her daughters leave home to live with their father. Her initial, unexpected sense of liberty turns to ferocious introspection following a seemingly trivial occurrence. Ferrante’s language is as finely tuned and intense as ever, and she treats her theme with a fierce, candid tenacity.

This is the final book from her list of fiction that I haven’t read. After reading the fraught-ness that was The Days of Abandonment (review) I was looking for something a bit quieter to read. Good thing I left this for last 😛

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 8 September, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Another day, another round of mini reviews! This is another poetry edition as I’ve read a bit of poetry in the last few months that I wanted to talk briefly about 🙂 Included in this batch are:


The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

More than a century has now passed since F.T. Marinetti’s famous “Futurist Manifesto” slammed the door on the nineteenth century and trumpeted the arrival of modernity in Europe and beyond. Since then, against the backdrop of two world wars and several radical social upheavals whose effects continue to be felt, Italian poets have explored the possibilities of verse in a modern age, creating in the process one of the great bodies of twentieth-century poetry.

Even before Marinetti, poets such as Giovanni Pascoli had begun to clear the weedy rhetoric and withered diction from the once-glorious but by then decadent grounds of Italian poetry. And their winter labors led to an extraordinary spring: Giuseppe Ungaretti’s wartime distillations and Eugenio Montale’s “astringent music”; Umberto Saba’s song of himself and Salvatore Quasimodo’s hermetic involutions. After World War II, new generations—including such marvelously diverse poets as Sandro Penna, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Amelia Rosselli, Vittorio Sereni, and Raffaello Baldini—extended the enormous promise of the prewar era into our time.

A surprising and illuminating collection, The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry invites the reader to examine the works of these and other poets—seventy-five in all—in context and conversation with one another. Edited by the poet and translator Geoffrey Brock, these poems have been beautifully rendered into English by some of our finest English-language poets, including Seamus Heaney, Robert Lowell, Ezra Pound, Paul Muldoon, and many exciting younger voices

I bought this monster of a tome on sale at Book City; I’m always up to reading more translated texts and more Italian literature so the intersect between Italian literature and poetry with this book was a win-win for me.

Like the title and blurb mentions, the book covers Italian poetry over the course of the twentieth century, convering everything from life in Italy at the turn of the century to the two world wars, to experimentation in the latter half of the the twentieth century in culture. It’s a bilingual text, which I always enjoy checking out, and whilst there were some I didn’t care for or felt moved by (the really weird experimentation from the mid-century just will never appeal to me) there were others that did intrigue me and whose works I will keep a lookout for as solo collections, such as Giovanni Pascoli and Giuseppe Ungaretti.

Overall, I’m glad to have checked out this collection 🙂

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Review: The Days of Abandonment

Posted 4 September, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Days of Abandonment
By: Elena Ferrante
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A national bestseller for almost an entire year, The Days of Abandonment shocked and captivated its Italian public when first published. It is the gripping story of a woman’s descent into devastating emptiness after being abandoned by her husband with two young children to care for. When she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal.

Oh man, this book has long been on my wish-to-read list. Aside from her Neapolitan books, The Days of Abandonment is Elena Ferrante’s other most notable work, and I was keen to read it and find out what everyone was talking about. Plus, I’m slowly making my way through the remainder of her bibliography so it was high time I got around to it 😉 However, I wasn’t sure if it was the best of ideas to bring it with me to work to read during my break as I knew it was going to make for a bit of a hefty read, but it was also one of the slimmer volumes sitting on my TBR pile at the time 😛 Contains spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Summer Book

Posted 4 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Book of Summer
By: Tove Jansson
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.

I had been eyeing this book for ages (I’ve been saying that a lot with some of these books, but it’s true!). Her Moomin comics are popular but I wanted to read her fiction as the premise of her books sounded quite interesting. Well, I finally got my hands on this book and thought it would make a perfect summer read.

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